My family tends to meet after Christmas to get together, it’s easier in a way when the pressure from the actual event has died off.  This year, I fancied making everyone a loaf presented in a basket and that loaf should be related to Christmas in some way.  After a bit of brewing on it, I came up with the following ingredients and made four pretty consistent loaves, which I was pleased with.


350g Strong flour
50g Rye flour
100g Chestnut flour
50g Pumpkin Seeds
100g Cranberries
12g Salt
1tsp Nutmeg
1tsp Ground cloves
10g Milk powder
7g Yeast
350ml Water



I chose to make two at a time so I did the initial mix in the bread machine by placing the berries and salt in the water and adding everything else on top. The yeast was the last to be added, so avoiding direct contact with the salt.  Afterwards, I found that the dough was too heavy for the machine to knead, so the dough was hand kneaded for about five minutes on the work top.  The dough was then placed in a bowl, covered and left outside for about ten hours.  Temperature here at the moment is just above freezing, so it provided a slow bulk fermentation.  In the evening, after work, I got back and halved the dough and shaped it into two boules.  Placed these into bannetons and left overnight.

The following morning, I heated the dutch oven to 230ºC in the cooker and then placed a boule inside.  I reduced the temperature to 210ºC and baked for 20min, removed the lid and baked for another 12min.  I then rotated the tin and covered the bread with a silicon mat, baking for another 10min.



Firstly, the smell in the house making these loaves was incredible, I wanted to bottle it!  I have to say, I am really pleased with the consistency of the loaves, they have all come out really well and the scoring worked.  The bread itself I haven’t obviously tried, but the trial run I made was good, hoping everyone enjoys this.

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