Sunday, 15 June 2014

No Knead Cranberry Cream Bread Muffins

It has been some time since I baked a proper flour bread. Blame it on my recent holiday or the bout of ill health right after that, I was just not intrigued enough to do something as tedious as kneading a bread dough. Somewhere down there in my sub-conscious mind, however, the baker in me was itching to bake something new and interesting, but the regular focaccias and loaves. I searched a lot on the Internet for exciting bread recipes/ideas but none really appealed to me. 
I had almost given up on the thought when suddenly I decided to get a little adventurous and without any second thoughts, jumped onto the idea. I was feeling lethargic to knead on a hot summer day and so thought of giving a shot to a 100% new experiment in the kitchen with ingredients rarely used in bread baking.
I had read about No Knead bakes but never got to try it and what better time than now. The ingredient that I am introducing to Bread Baking today is something which we have used quite often in cakes and curries but never in breads (not that I know), whipping cream. The texture and the taste of the bread is to eat it to believe it! What a wonder I baked at such an impromptu thought! As they say, the best words are spoken when spoken from the heart and this bread elegance is straight from the heart!
2 cups bread flour (all purpose flour can also be used, you can additionally use 1 egg for a softer texture or skip it)
100 ml warm water
1 tsp instant active yeast
100 ml whipping cream (regular cream can be used as well; if using egg, reduce quantity by 50 ml)
3 tbsp brown sugar, divided (can be substituted with regular sugar, quantity depends on your taste preferance)
3/4 - 1 cup dried cranberries (quantity depends on your preference)
1 egg for the egg wash mixed with 1 tsp water
Butter for brushing after bake

In a bowl, take the warm water and add 1 tbsp sugar and dissolve the yeast. Let it stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
In another bowl, take the flour and add the remaining sugar. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Using a spatula, start putting the dough together untill all liquid is absorbed. There will still be dry dough in the bowl. Now add the cream (no need to whip it first) and the beaten egg, if using. Continue stirring with the spatula, scraping the sides. At this point, you can either use a stand mixer with the dough hook or simply use your hands to bring the dough together. You need not knead a smooth dough, just a moist elastic dough. It should however not be sticking entirely on your hands. Transfer the dough to a clingwrap and wrap it nicely. Place the dough in an oiled bowl in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

Once prooved, prepare a muffin tray with paper liners. Punch down the dough gently to release the air and pinch out small plum sized balls. Add some cranberries to the ball and fold it in. Place it in the lined paper cup. Alternatively, you can add the cranberries directly to the risen dough and then pinch out plum sized balls. Once the entire dough is used up, cover with a cling wrap and let it rise again in a warm place for another hour until doubled.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven at 220 degree celsius. Take the muffin tray out and brush the top with the egg water mixture. Bake in the pre-heated oven at. 200 degree celsius for 20 minutes until the top is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and brush the top with little butter. Let it cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then serve. This bread is best had when hot from the oven. For subsequent servings, re-heat in the oven for 5 minutes for best results. Regular Microwave is also an option.

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