Cranberry Honey Walnut Sourdough Bread - Another Delicious Failure!

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noboundaries

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Sep 7, 2013
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Roseville, CA, a suburb of Sacramento
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Soooooo, my wife LOVES the cranberry walnut bread at Costco, but I only go there when we're out of absolute necessities due to the crowds. With my recent delicious failure at sourdough, I thought I'd tackle Cranberry Honey Walnut Sourdough. It too was a failure that I had to use my noodle to recover from, but the result was the best tasting bread I've ever made, and I've made a lot of bread the last few years.

The starter appeared active after a feeding. I used a 70% hydration with a mix of AP flour, bread flour, and whole wheat. Autolyse, salt, and starter inclusion went well. Slap and folds went well resulting in great gluten development. Inclusion of the honey, cranberries, and walnuts went well without breaking the gluten Then, nothing happened. 8 hours of proofing and not even a hint of any rise or activity. Time to adapt and recover!

I dissolved 3 tsp active dry yeast into 1/4 cup of water. I spread 1/3 cup more AP flour on the dead dough, added the yeast mixture, and worked it all together with my hand. The gluten structure broke quickly but reformed as I worked the dough.

Back in a warm place to proof and the result was almost immediate. It doubled in 45 minutes.

I tossed the banneton and greased up a loaf pan before adding the dough. Fired up the oven and stone while the bread went through a second rise. 35 minutes later it had doubled.

40 minutes in a 425F oven, covered for 20, uncovered for 20. Cooled and sliced. Full of flavor and structure! It could probably have had another 10-15 minutes added to the second rise, but I was happy with this failure's result.

Once I quit making the mistakes and get the recipes perfected, I'll post them here. The lesson though is that mistakes are delicious when you think outside the box and adapt to conquer!
 
Bread looks and sounds great. How much starter you using? I can send you some of my dried starter. It is a combination of three starters. Breadtopia, Dan's and Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter or an send you any of the above by itself. Use one teaspoon to start and it will be ready in 2 days.
 
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Great looking bread. Nice job of improvising.

Thanks, TC! I was minutes away from tossing the batch when the idea bulb flashed on.

I agree with the above statement, “nice job of improvising”

Thanks, Justin!

Bread looks and sounds great. How much starter you using? I can send you some of my dried starter. It is a combination of three starters. Breadtopia, Dan's and Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter or an send you any of the above by itself. Use one teaspoon to start and it will be ready in 2 days.

Thank you, Brian. That's very generous and unexpected. I'm kinda having fun making the adaptations with this old starter so I'll back pocket the offer for now.

How much starter did I use? 60 gr of fed starter (100% hydration) was mixed 60 gr of bread flour and 60 gr of water. That rested on the counter for 12 hours, more than doubled. I mixed 252 gr of water into 360 gr of flour (160 gr AP, 120 gr bread, 80 gr whole wheat) to autolyse the next morning. The starter and other stuff was added after that.
 
Using 50 grams I bulk overnight. Than 24 hours in the fridge. My normal one I use 100 grams. If you decide want some dried I will send. Good luck. It's a great journey!

Thanks, Brian. That's good info and very helpful. I've mastered smoking patience. Obviously still working on the sourdough version.
 
🤣I love how you call all of these delicious failures! In my opinion, they look amazing and if their delicious it’s definitely a win! I’d pay money for that!
 
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🤣I love how you call all of these delicious failures! In my opinion, they look amazing and if their delicious it’s definitely a win! I’d pay money for that!

Thanks! That's a great compliment.

My wife is a devoted recipe follower. Me? A recipe or technique is merely a suggestion because I grew up eating amazing food prepared by talented women cooking and baking without recipes. Nowadays, I'll read several recipes and watch lots of videos, usually starting with a flavor destination and a general idea what I'm gonna do. I've made lots of mid-course corrections over the years but rarely throw anything away. I came close this time, though, until, who knows, one of those wonderful, long-gone ladies whispered in my ear "add yeast, water, and a little flour old man." I've smiled with every slice.
 
Looks darn good for a "failure". Bring on the butter i'm game.
Jim

Thanks, JL! It's so tasty with butter or mascarpone cream cheese. Mmmm...

Your getting better every time!
Looks real good!
Al

Thanks, Al. You might remember a long ago post of mine where I said, "I'm not a baker." Well, except for pizza. Then my biga pizza dough turned into bread which has turned into so many other goodies. Still not a baker, but it's fun trying, failing, adapting, and eating the results.
 
Your failures look delicious! Reminds me of years ago and mom making coffee cake... the center always fell and made her so mad! She said feed it to the dogs! We cut the center out and ate it first, it was so moist and delicious. Anyways, when I grow up I wanna be a non baker like you!

Another fine job
Ryan
 
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Your failures look delicious! Reminds me of years ago and mom making coffee cake... the center always fell and made her so mad! She said feed it to the dogs! We cut the center out and ate it first, it was so moist and delicious. Anyways, when I grow up I wanna be a non baker like you!

Another fine job
Ryan

Thanks for the first smile and chuckle of the day, Ryan. Great story, and the compliment made my day.

I resisted baking anything that didn't come out of a box for decades. Why? Two reasons. First, my non-recipe Italian mom and grandma made HUGE batches of baked goods. Their first ingredient was always a 5 lb bag of flour. Second, and much later, my wife convinced me that baking from scratch was a precise art and any deviation from recipe or technique would result in failure. I stuck to cooking and barbeque as a result because I could play infinitely with ingredients and technique.

I've since learned that if you're not locked into tradition and historical duplication of a baked good, you can play almost as much with ingredients, style, and technique to deliver a delicious and edible baked treat.

Now that I'm retired, have mastered my preferences for cooking and barbeque, baking became the next challenge. I'm already planning my next sourdough loaves, incorporating a little yeast into the process to speed things along yet maintain that wonderful flavor.

The journey continues.
 
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Look forward to more posts! I too am not a baker... enjoy it when I have time tho! Looking forward to winter just for that reason.

Ryan
 
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Hard to see the "failure" in that loaf Ray, bet it'd make some great French toast! RAY

Thanks, RAY! I've recently rediscovered my love of mascarpone cream cheese so been slathering that on slices. There's still about 40% of the loaf left. You just put French toast on tomorrow morning's menu!

Look forward to more posts! I too am not a baker... enjoy it when I have time tho! Looking forward to winter just for that reason.

Ryan

Thanks, Ryan. More will follow.

My wife and I were discussing this thread this morning and I mentioned my mom and grandma using the whole 5 lb bag when they baked. It wasn't until my second year at uni when I started cooking for roommates that I realized you could store unused flour. I thought if you opened a bag you had to use the whole thing because that's all I ever saw!
 
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