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Barm Brack - Irish Dried Fruit Bread

Posted Dec 12 2012 1:12pm

Once you are comfortable baking yeast breads (which really means trying it out once and realizing it isn't hard), baking yeast bread is actually one of the easiest things one can do in a kitchen. Nearly any other kind of recipe requires all of its attention  at once, but bread progresses leisurely towards completion in stages - perfect for when you only have a few moments here and there between madcap dashes to and from work, late night meetings, cocktail parties (not as glamorous as it sounds, I promise), graduate school classes, and delivering bits and pieces of your husband's Air Force uniform to the base hospital because they were left behind at the house at 5am.

And contrary to popular belief, I find bread very forgiving. I set this one up to rise Tuesday night in the 20 minutes I had at home between the office and another meeting, let it rise overnight (I am quite the fan of overnight dough rising - just as I seem to be a proponent of accidental overnight laundry soaking as well), popped the dough in the fridge the next morning to slow the rising somewhat, and, voila, baked it the following evening! Nothing makes the house smell quite as perfect as fresh baked bread...

Barm Brack - Irish Dried Fruit Bread
(Adapted from )

2 1/2 + 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 c. Lukewarmsoy milk 
2 tbsp. SmartBalance Light spread, melted
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Place the yeast in the warm soy milk and stir to dissolve, then let the mixture rest for ten minutes or so.Whisk together the flour, allspice, salt, sugar, and dried fruit in a deep bowl.When the yeast mixture is showing some bubbles and froth, make a well in the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture along with the melted SmartBalance Light, mixing to form a sticky dough. Turn the dough ball out onto a cool kneading surface and, using the flour from the bowl that hasn’t been worked into the dough, knead the sticky dough until it forms a smooth ball of dough.Coat a large bowl with cooking spray and get a slightly damp towel ready. Turn the dough ball in the bowl to lightly grease all sides, cover with the damp towel and place the bowl in a warm sunny location for a little over an hour.When the dough has doubled in size, gently press it down and turn it into a large round casserole, coated with cooking spray.Cover with the damp towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F while the bread rises.When the dough is plumped up, bake for 15 minutes in the pre-heated oven. After 15 minutes, cover the bread with foil, lower the temperature to 350°F and continue baking for another 30 to 45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.Turn the bread out of the casserole to a cooling rack and let it cool before slicing.

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