Oh, you are going to love this bread! It’s easy to mix up, without fancy techniques or special equipment. I make this dough in my Kitchen Aid Mixer, but you can also easily mix it up the old-fashioned way, by hand.
Just a quick note here, another plug for quality. Really, splurge for the best flour you have available. I love Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour. Yes, any brand of bread flour will make a yummy loaf, so don’t let that stop you. But if you have options, go for the good stuff! It’s worth it!
I also use some Stoneground Spelt Flour in this recipe. It’s always available online, but if you need to you can simply use some Whole Wheat Four in it’s place, or just plain bread flour. I love the nutty and rustic flavor and texture of using a bit of Spelt.
You can also feel free to make substitution for the walnuts and cranberries. Perhaps pecans and raisins? Cashews and dried cherries? Be creative and see what happens!
This dough needs three hours to rise, at room temperature. With all the nuts, berries, seeds and spelt, this is a medium dense loaf, and it’s important not to rush the yeast as it does it’s work. Set a timer for three hours, and don’t be tempted to work the dough any sooner!
After your dough has risen, don’t knead it anymore. Treat it gently so that you won’t squash those air bubbles out of it! Gently fold it over itself a few times, then shape it into a round loaf, and slash the top in a pretty pattern.
A VERY hot oven is the thing that will make this bread crunch crusted and rustically charming. I crank my old oven up to 500 degrees. Preheat your pan along with the oven, and turn your shaped loaf very gently onto it.
I know it’s tempting to open the oven to check on the loaf, but don’t let that precious hot air escape! Let the loaf cook for at least 40 minutes. It will look dark, and the crust will be very crunchy. Rustic Delight!
I recommend not tearing into the hot loaf, though I know how tempting that is! A cooler loaf has the best texture. Serve with plenty of butter, or honey butter, or even a savory soft cheese. Yum!
I hope you love this wonderful bread. It’s not hard to make, and soon you’ll be a pro bread baker. The recipe below is printable and shareable. Bake on!