Pie dough is chilling in the fridge, cranberries are popping on the stove, sugared nuts are toasting in the oven, coffee is brewing....uh, in the coffee maker. Its only 9:30 and I am well into a mad dash to get everything made for Thanksgiving #2 this afternoon. I am not hosting this year, so the turkey was passed along to someone else, but I have plenty of other items to share with the party.
I am so looking forward to this feast (and of course the one next week as well) especially after spending last weekend not eating. At all. My boyfriend and I came down with the stomach flu on Saturday, and it pretty much put me out of commission the entire weekend and the beginning of the week. What started out as a nice, relaxing Saturday morning with a pot full of coffee and some delicious french toast, turned into a nightmarish 48 hours. I was at least lucky enough to get one last meal in before the flu set in, the boyfriend wasn't so lucky.
A few months back I was watching the Food Network, and they were profiling a diner somewhere in Minnesota whose specialty was their french toast. This was no normal french toast however. They made it with bread, cooked in house. Sound delicious? I'm not done yet. The bread has cranberries and wild rice baked right in. YUM. I knew I had to make this soon, and just happened to pick up a bag of Minnesota grown wild rice last time I was up visiting my family. Game on.
It is a lot of work, obviously you want to make the bread ahead of time, and use any leftovers to make some sublime french toast. Unless you want to do it all in one day and eat breakfast for dinner, which is totally allowed in my book. The bread on its own is delicious, smeared with a bit of butter, or used as sandwich bread.
Cranberry Wild Rice Bread
makes one large loaf, or one small loaf and 6 rolls
recipe adapted from A Bread A Day
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups water, room temperature
2 tablespoons molasses, room temperature
1 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup wild rice, cooked and cooled
1/2 dried cranberries, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, yeast, and salt. Switch to the dough hook attachment, and add the water, molasses, and olive oil. Mix on low until a shaggy dough forms, then increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 7-8 minutes.
Turn the speed back to low, and add the cranberries and wild rice, and knead until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled glass or metal bowl, and tossed the dough around to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you are making rolls) or spray a loaf pan lightly with oil (if you are making a loaf). Lightly deflate the dough and either divide it into 12 pieces, shape into round rolls and place on baking sheet, or place the entire dough ball into the loaf pan.
Cover with a oiled piece of plastic wrap and let rise again for about an hour. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 400F if you are baking rolls, 375 if you are baking a loaf. Brush the tops of the rolls or loaf with melted butter and bake until golden brown. The rolls will take about 20 minutes, the loaf will take about 45-50 minutes.
Let loaf cool in pan for about 30 minutes then remove and let cool completely on wire rack. The rolls you can move directly to the wire rack to cool.
1 cup half and half
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for about 20 seconds
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 - 1/2 inch slices cranberry wild rice bread
4 tablespoons butter
Mix together the half and half, eggs, honey, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Pour mixture into baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a wire rack.
Dip each piece of bread into the egg mixture and let soak for 30 seconds. Flip, and soak for another 30 seconds. Transfer each piece to the wire rack and let wit for 2 minutes before cooking.
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a skillet of medium low heat. Place two slices of bread in the pan at a time, and cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place on wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the bread, adding more butter to the pan as needed. Bake on wire rack for 5 minutes.
Top with maple syrup or whipped cream, serve hot.