Maple Walnut Wheat Bread with Dried Cherries

  • Loaf of Maple Walnut Wheat Bread
  • Rising Loaf
  • Loaf of Bread with Slice
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Loaf of Maple Walnut Wheat BreadThis recipe has been kicking around since my bread machine days – when I decided I didn’t want it to have all of the fun.  I wanted to get my hands dirty, so to speak.   I’ve made some adjustments to the recipe since those early days: bumping up the amount of whole wheat, using prune puree instead of oil, adding a little bit of orange juice to help even out the flavor, swapping maple syrup for the honey, using cherries instead of cranberries and adding walnuts.  Lots of small changes, but the essence stays the same: a slightly sweet, homey bread.

It’s worth baking this bread for the simple pleasure of a kitchen filled with the toasty, spicy smell of cinnamon.  Happily the resulting loaf is as delicious as the aroma – with a soft texture and crumb and bursts of sweet, juicy, tart cherries and the crunch of toasted walnuts.   Even though it contains whole wheat flour, the dough is very easy to work and the rise is impressive.  An excellent and healthy stand-in for cinnamon buns and a reliable breakfast or late afternoon snack companion.   (As I mentioned on Dough, Dirt & Dye, be careful when adding ground cinnamon to a yeast bread recipe.  You want to keep it at or under 1/2 teaspoon as cinnamon is a yeast-inhibitor.)

Maple Walnut Wheat Bread with Dried Cherries
Makes 1 8″ x 4″ loaf

Rising Loaf2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 packet regular yeast
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. prune puree
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 cup dried cherries, plumped in warm water and drained
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

In a large bowl, whisk the yeast in with 1 cup water and a little bit of the maple syrup.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes to let the yeast bloom.  Whisk in the 1/4 cup orange juice, remainder of the maple syrup and the prune puree.  Then stir in the flours, salt, spices and the cherries and walnuts.  The dough will be very sticky.  Add flour a little bit at a time until the dough comes together, but is still tacky.  Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 90 minutes.

Punch down the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface.  Form into a log and place in an oiled 8″ x 4″ loaf pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough has come up about an inch above the top of the pan.

Place the loaf in a preheated 350F oven and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the underside of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  About 10 minutes before it’s done, I remove the loaf from the pan and set it directly on the oven rack.  This helps firm up and brown the bottom.  When the bread is finished, the top should be a lovely brown.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Loaf of Bread with Slice

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  1. The Vegan Kat says:

    This looks really good! I’m making bread now…it’s rising at the moment. I haven’t really ventured into bread making much, so I think it will be my New Year’s resolution to learn how :)

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