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Wild Rice, Cranberry and Pecan Bread

As soon as I saw this recipe I knew that I had to make it.  It has three ingredients that I love, it was cold and rainy in San Francisco and I had just enough wild rice and pecans in my pantry to make it.  This recipe is perfect for the Holidays and everyday in between. It is  slightly heavy, chewy from the wild rice, nutty and rich from the pecans and slightly sweetish from the dried cranberries (you could substitute dried cherries or raspberries) nuanced gently with honey and some whole wheat flour.  The whole thing just shouts ‘Yum!’.  And you know, there are some days that are just bread baking days.  The days that you want to spend next to the stove mixing and kneading –pouring your heart and energy into want you are making.

Here is the recipe—I tweaked in gently.  Although this calls for 2 9-inch loaves, I made one smallish 9 inch and 2 mini loaves to give away.

Wild Rice, Cranberry and Pecan Bread

Adapted from Beatrice Ojakangas ‘The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever

1 cup of wild rice

1 ½ cups pecans

2 cups warm water

1 pkg active dry yeast, 2 ½ teaspoons

¼ cup honey

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups bread flour (I used all purpose, and it worked out just fine. )

1 cup dried cranberries, cherries or raspberries

  1. In a large pot, cover the wild rice with water and bring to a boil.  Cook over moderate heat until tender.  This is really important.  You don’t want hard, jaw breaking bits of undercooked wild rice floating through the loaf.  My wild rice was old and took over an hour to cook.  I kept adding water to cover when it started to dry out.  When the rice is tender, drain and set aside.
  2. Toast the pecans in a 350F oven until they are fragrant.  Set aside and when they are cool, coarsely chop.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the warm water with the yeast and honey until the honey is dissolved.  Let stand for 5 minutes, until bubbly.  In a small bowl, mix the whole wheat flour with the salt: add to the mixer and beat until a smooth dough forms.   Mix in 2 cups of the bread flour until smooth.  Add the wild rice, pecans and cranberries and mix until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook.  Add the remaining 2 cups of bread flour and mix at medium speed until a soft, springy dough forms, about 10 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about an hour. (At this point I punched the dough down and put it in the fridge to coo k the following day and it worked out perfectly.)
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  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and divide it into either 2 large loaves or 2 minis and 1 large. Place each loaf in the appropriate loaf pan. Cover and let stand until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
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  5. Preheat the oven to 375F.  Bake the larger loaves for about 35 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean.  The smaller loaves cook in about 25 minutes. Let the loaves stand until cooled slightly, about 30 minutes.

The recipe also says that the bread can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Good Luck and Happy Baking!

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