For today I think I will settle for the magic that happens when bread dough fills up with air and puffs up like a proud chest when nestled in a warm place. Because it is a kind of wonder and I still feel a little in awe of it....
This bread is delicious topped with good cheese and red onion marmalade. The cranberries are sweet with a tart after-bite and the hazelnuts provide a warm crunch. It is also great toasted and spread with butter and/or jam.
Adapted from Neven Maguire's Home Chef
Makes two medium sized loaves
550g bread flour
1 tsp salt
50g butter, diced and chilled
7g sachet easy blend dried yeast
70g chopped hazelnuts
80g dried cranberries
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. You can do this with your fingers and thumb or with an electric mixer.
2. Stir in the yeast, cranberries and hazelnuts until everything is evenly combined.
3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in 350ml/12fl oz of LUKEWARM water. If the water is cold it will work against the yeast and stop the bread rising.
4. Quickly mix until the water is incorporated and then turn knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a food processor with the dough hook. Place in a bowl that has been oiled with a dash of sunflower/olive oil and cover with a damp tea towel or clingfilm. This is to keep in the heat so the yeast will rise more efficiently.
5. Leave in a warm place for at least an hour, an hour and a half if you have time.
6. Punch the air out of the dough with a clench fist then divide it roughly into two round loaves. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise again for about 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 220oC. Remove the tea towel and slash the loaves with a sharp knife. Put the loaves in a middle shelf. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce and bake for another 25 minutes roughly. Turn the loaves around halfway during baking for even baking.
8. The loaves are done with they sound hollow/light inside when rapped by your knuckle. They should be golden brown on top.
9. Allow to cool before cutting.