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This super yummy bread recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart Baking Handbook recipe. If you don’t have her Baking Handbook yet, I would highly recommend it!

1 cup pecan pieces, toasted

1 1/4 cups warm water

1 envelope active dry yeast

10 ounces bread flour (about 2 cups)

5 1/2 ounces whole wheat flour  (about 1 cup)

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir yeast into the warm water to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. Add the flours, salt and sugar, and mix on medium low speed until dough just comes together. Switch to the dough hook, and beat on medium speed about 4-5 minutes. With the mixer on low, mix in the cranberries and pecans. The dough will feel stiff.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with oil.  Turn the dough out onto a floured suface. Roll out the dough to a rectangle, about 13 x 10 inches, and about 1/2 inch thick.  Turn so the short side is facing you, fold 1/2 inch flaps inward on the shorter sides of the rectangle. Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log. Gently roll back and forth to seal the seam. Transfer to the baking sheet, seam side down, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise about 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until loaf is a deep golden brown.

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One way to cut down on your food budget is to make your own bread. It is deceptively easy, once you get the basics down.  When you buy a loaf of (quality) bread at the store it’s typically around $4, if you make it yourself, it’s around $1. Making your own bread isn’t a lot of work, but it is a lot of waiting. This is my favorite basic bread recipe.

1 package of active yeast

1 tsp honey

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp water

1 1/2 Tbsp honey

2 cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 Tbsp salt

Sprinkle the yeast over 1/2 cup warm water (if it’s too hot it will kill the yeast- read the back of the yeast package!). Stir in the honey, and mix till combined. Let this stand for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, in the bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), add the melted butter, water, and honey. In another bowl combine the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. Once the 5 minutes is up (and the yeast mixture looks nice and frothy) add it to the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time, mixing between each addition. Once everything has been added switch to the dough hook and turn on medium for about 2 minutes.  It should be kneaded enough, but if you like you can turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it a little bit longer. It’s ready when it looks smooth and bounces back when you poke it.

Place the bread in a large buttered bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let this rise and a warm spot for an hour.

Butter a loaf pan, and shape the dough to fit in the loaf pan, loosely cover with some plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes.

Pre heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and put the bread in the oven, immediately turning it down to 400. Bake for about 35 minutes. You may need to cover the bread with aluminum foil if it starts to brown too much.

When the bread is done, let it cool completely before slicing (this will be very hard to do).

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