I have a confession. I didn't follow the recipe completely. The dough was supposed to be refrigerated overnight in between the first and second rise, then brought back to room temperature. My impatience took over, as well as my practical sense of not fully understanding the need for refrigeration. Who knows? Perhaps my loaves do indeed lack "character" as described in the recipe, resulting from the refrigeration!?
Regardless, my three mini loaves turned out beautifully!
I used dried sweetened cranberries instead of the called-for fresh cranberries. My local produce dude said I'm "too early" with such a request, and there were no cranberries in the freezer section. Since my kiddos love to snack on the dried, sweetened variety, it's all good. They are perfectly delicious!
The dough is rather sticky to begin with, but rises beautifully. Look at those yummy toasted walnuts and sweet cranberries!
The dough is divided in three, then patted into rough 5 by 7 rectangles....
....and placed in mini loaf pans.....
....to rise a second time. (That is, if you disregard the refrigeration as instructed in the recipe.)
The loaves are baked for about 35 minutes (mine were ready at 30), then cooled on a wire rack. My family is really looking forward to having this tomorrow for breakfast! Don't tell them I snuck a piece while taking pictures for this post.....shhhhhh!
There is no comparison between this loaf of bread and a typical "quick bread" type of pumpkin bread. The two recipes are completely different, and honestly shouldn't be compared. The pumpkin flavor in this recipe is far less pronounced, and the bread is not very sweet. That said, it's yeasty goodness with crunchy walnuts and sweet cranberries is simply delicious. I'm already looking forward to my next slice, even as I type!
This week's host is Rebecca of This Bountiful Backyard. Rebecca and I seem to have a few things in common----former teachers and now stay-at-home moms being two of them! Please visit Rebecca's blog for the complete recipe for these lovely Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaves. And if your interest is even more piqued, buy the cookbook, Baking With Julia, by Dorie Greenspan. If you're up for some adventurous baking, you'll love it as much as I.