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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April ABC challenge: Mini 100% Whole Wheat Cranberry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I've been cutting down on my intake of breads and sugars lately, which is sort of tough on a baker.  But I decided the way to get around that is to simply make less when I do bake.  With that in mind, I cut this month's recipe down not in half, but to ONE THIRD!  (I figured a third of a loaf is only a few slices, right?)

Here's what I used:

1 1/3 ounce (38g) cool water
1/3 cup (40g) whole wheat flour
a dribble of wild yeast sourdough starter

5/6 (2.3g) teaspoon active dry yeast  (roughly measured)
1 1/3 ounces (38g) lukewarm milk
1 1/3 ounces (38g) orange juice
2 1/3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
4 teaspoons dry whole milk
1 1/2 - 2 ounces (50g) Russet potato, peeled, microwaved and mashed (or 4 teaspoons potato flour)
2/3+1/4 cup (110g) white whole wheat flour

1 egg, beaten, to brush on dough
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon turmeric (for the health benefits -- the flavor is undetectable, but the color isn't)
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cranberries
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts

There were comments in the blog regarding sourdough and the KA response in every case was that this was NOT a sourdough and they had to use commercial yeast.  Interesting response, since KA's usual response to substitutions is, "Try it and let us know how it works!"  Nonetheless, I didn't want to be bothered with whatever tiny amount of yeast I would have needed for the starter.  Besides, I'm not convinced yeast is even needed at this point.  The real task is to hydrate your flour and let it start to autolyze; yeast isn't necessary for that.   (I also had to use regular whole wheat for the starter because I was out of the white.)

After 12 hours, the starter looked like it had puffed up, which actually surprised me.  But when I poked it, it didn't feel aerated, so I'm not sure whether it activated or not.  No matter -- there's plenty of yeast in the rest of the recipe.

Good window pane effect.

The dough mixed up a little dry, so I added about another tablespoon or so of plain water rather than OJ, just because it was easier. I realize there is a danger in small-batch baking to disregard what seem like infinitesimal quantities -- a dash here or a pinch there.  But when your ingredients come in fractions of an ounce, it might make a difference!  I thought about adding some orange zest into the mix, but decided I wanted the flavor of the bread to come through and not be covered with anything else.

That said, since I happened to have some fresh cranberries that I had just started dehydrating, I threw a few of those into the filling, along with a few walnuts for crunch.  Since my bread wasn't going to be very sweet (coconut sugar isn't nearly as sweet as cane sugar), I thought it might benefit from a little extra flavor boost in the filling.

Finished proofing, it's ready for shaping...

Start with a log...

...roll out to 16 x 3.5".
(A 16" tile helps.)

Sprinkle with cinnamon mixture...

... and the cranberries and walnuts, keeping the filling
lighter on the inside part (close end) and heavier on the
outside part, where it has to service more bread mass...

...and roll up tightly.

Hmmm... decisions, decisions.

Aluminum pie pan, final decision.
And ready for the oven.

I followed the rest of the directions as given, reducing the baking time to 35 minutes, when the internal temperature registered 195 F.

Conclusion:  Fantabulous!  Loved it!  Only 11 ounces; very soft, but with a nice chew.  I really loved the tiny bits of tart cranberry here and there -- just a hint.  And it still was plenty sweet for my taste.  A little warm butter was the only dressing I'd recommend.

Original recipe:  100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread via King Arthur Flour


  1. Your mini loaf turned out really nice. I love the swirl. The cranberry addition sounds great. I ended up adding more water too b/c the dough felt really hard but I think I added too much. Mine didn't turn out very fluffy. Taste was good though.

    1. Interesting -- I thought extra moisture helped heavy doughs to rise. Someone else said her dough was very sticky -- mine wasn't at all. (But I live in a dry climate.) I'm going to have to remember the trick of the OJ. It does seem to mask bitterness without producing a noticeably sweet taste.

  2. I love your little loaf and the addition of cranberries and walnuts sounds delicious.
    I think the stickiness of my dough is because of the flour I used which is actually white bread flour with the bran and germ added back in to create the equivalent of whole wheat. The added parts aren't finely milled - the flakes are quite visible - so I think it just takes longer for the liquid to be absorbed. This is typical of all of the whole wheat doughs I make with this flour with the stickiness disappearing after the dough has fermented.

    1. That sounds reasonable, Zosia. But you seem to know how to work with it.

  3. I thought about adding raisins, but decided I'd just go with the recipe--I like the idea of cranberries even more, though. And it's hard to go wrong with adding nuts to anything. It looks very appetizing!

  4. Love the mini loaf. Like the addition of cranberry and walnuts. I am with you on reducing quantity, cut the recipe in half myself.

    1. Baking in smaller quantities is working out really well for me -- I enjoy baking more now!

  5. How sweet this mini loaf looks, very pretty!

  6. Looks great! I love how you chose an unexpected pan.

  7. Very nice bread! I added walnuts, too.
    I think that comment about not to use a sourdough starter doesn't make too much sense. Not all sourdough breads are tangy, and a whole wheat SD is mild per se. Interesting what you said about the flour, I also wondered whether the complaint about a too wet dough didn't have to do with using white whole wheat instead of regular.

    1. I used white whole wheat for the main dough, Karin, but my starter seemed dry, and combined with the dry climate here perhaps that made all the difference with not making my dough too sticky. It's all so unpredictable anyway -- next time will probably be entirely different!

  8. Love the idea of making 1/3 of the recipe. I made 1/2 myself. The addition of cranberries and walnuts sounds good. My dough was too sticky....but then I guess we are dealing with variable like the kind of flour and the humidity and that makes a huge difference.

    1. Yes, this is true. There were several with sticky doughs, it seems. I, on the other hand, can often feel dough getting drier while I'm kneading!