I love to bake bread year round, even in my warmer summer kitchen. I will often bake in the evening though, when things cool down a bit. And in the summer, I love to add fresh fruit into my yeast bread.
This cherry bread is a great example, needing only a handful of fresh cherries. Add in the raisins and walnuts and it’s a wonderfully, flavourful bread. This bread is lovely eaten warm or toasted with butter, but you haven’t really lived until you’ve tried it paired up with turkey and havarti for a great sandwich!
Now, about those almonds (that were supposed to be) on the top. The original recipe suggests just sprinkling them on the top before baking. I had two problems with that: 1) the almonds would have burned if I hadn’t covered the baking loaf after about 20 minutes and 2) those almonds just wouldn’t stick! So, I’ve adapted the recipe to add an egg-wash to give the almonds something to stick to. They should also give the finished loaf a lovely shine. Alternately, a lemon/sugar glaze would be nice as well, for a sweet/tart topping. Either one will help those almonds out. I’ve also suggested loosely covering the baking loaf with foil after about 20 minutes to prevent the almonds from burning.
Recipe: Fresh Cherry Yeast Bread
Summary: This recipe was adapted from a British recipe, so if you have a scale, I recommend using the gram measurements to weigh out your ingredients. If not, I’ve added the Imperial measures as best as I could figure them out.
- 500g bread flour (4 cups) *or 3 cups all-purpose + 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 15g salt (1 Tbsp)
- 2 tsp. instant yeast
- 80g sugar (1 cup)
- 80g butter (5 Tbsp)
- 260 ml water (1 cup + 1 Tbsp)
- 80g sultana or golden raisins (1/2 cup)
- 50g chopped walnuts (1/2 cup)
- 80g fresh cherries, pitted and quartered (1 cup)
- 50g blanched sliced almonds, for top (1/2 cup)
- 1 egg, for egg wash
- In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), mix together the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, butter and water into a soft dough.
- Turn onto a clean work surface and knead for 3-4 minutes . Add the raisins and walnuts and knead for another three minutes. Add the cherries and knead in about one minute to distribute through the dough.
- Set dough under an over-turned bowl to rise for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough out into a log-shape about 18-20 inches long. Cut log down the middle lenghwise, into two pieces. Lay the two pieces side-by-side and twist them together into one piece, overlapping one piece over the other. Pinch ends together. (Alternately, you can press into a rectangle, roll-up jelly roll style and bake in an 8×4-inch loaf pan, for a regular loaf shape)
- Set loaf onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another hour or until risen and puffy.
- In a small bowl, mix egg with 1 tsp. of water. Brush onto loaf. Sprinkle with the almonds, pressing them into the loaf so they’ll stick. (*Alternate glaze: mix granulated sugar with just enough lemon juice to make a paste and brush onto loaf then sprinkle with almonds).
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Bake the cherry bread for 30-35 minutes (*Check at about 20 minutes and cover loosely with foil if almonds are browning too quickly) until golden brown and it reaches an internal temperature of around 190° F (if you have a thermometer). Remove loaf to a cooling rack.
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Total time: 2 hours
Number of servings (yield): 1 loaf