December days bring a frenzy of indulging in holiday shopping and sweets. It's fun! Sometimes taking a break to savor life's simple pleasures is equally pleasing. Like baking bread. Like biting into a slice of wholesome wheat bread studded with fresh orange, raw walnuts and dried cranberries…
Whole Wheat Cranberry and Walnut Bread
On the rare occasions when the Tokyo skies sprinkled snow onto the train tracks, school would be cancelled. After hearing the good news on the Far East Network radio, I never went back to bed. The miracle of white snow powdering the cement and backyard outside our kitchen window was to be savored. (As was the unexpected school holiday!) To celebrate the special snow day (and to keep warm!), I baked some kind of quick bread.
The concept of baking with yeast was introduced to me in America by a group of Japanese friends who had an an-pan (red bean paste filled buns) baking party. They convinced me a bread baker was a necessity of life. (Not too much arm-twisting was involved. )Thanks to the same friends, I met up with a professional Japanese baker who was moving back to Tokyo. I inherited her bread-baking machine for a small fee.
Soft whole wheat bread filled with cranberry kisses and walnut crunches.
Many moons later, I’m still baking breads. And own a shiny new bread maker. For my first loaf, I made whole wheat cranberry and walnut bread. Despite the cranberries and walnuts, the bread is unsweetened wholesomeness. The crust is firm and the bread soft. Plain, buttered or with a bit of cheese, my whole wheat cranberry and walnut bread embodies the pleasures of rustic simplicity while honoring the flavors of the season.
The Joy of Whole Wheat Cranberry and Walnut Bread. (And cheese!)
If you are craving a fancier bread, scroll down. This month the lovely ladies of the #TwelveLoaves baking group are bringing in December with loaves of holiday cheer. (If you’d like to join, please scroll down for details.) Some of the breads are quite fancy and undoubtedly delicious.
No matter what type of bread you make this season, may your home and hearth be aglow with happiness.