When I first started cooking I loved to make quick breads, like banana bread, but I was terrified of yeast breads. I had always heard you could kill the yeast if your water was too hot, it had to be the right temperature for a rise and on and on. So I told myself I would stick with quick breads, no yeast breads for me. Then one day my friend Jen was talking about how she made french bread and bagels and all sorts of different breads and I was intrigued. I asked if she would show me how and so one Saturday she taught me all she knew about breads. It was great. I’m no longer afraid of yeast breads!
After I had learned the basics of bread, another good friend, Rachel, was taking a bread class and had me over to teach me some other bread recipes. This was one of them. It is so simple to make and is very delicious, the only thing you need to remember is to give yourself enough time to make it since you start the dough the night before. The bread has a slight cherry flavor with chewy craisins and sweet melty white chocolate. I’ve had the plain version which is great with a meal, but my family loves this sweet version as a treat after dinner. I hope you enjoy it!
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 can ( 1 1/2 cups) cherry soda
3/4 cup craisins
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 (4-8 quart) covered heavy duty oven safe pot
In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast and salt, mix to distribute evenly. Add the craisins and chocolate chips and mix to distribute. Add the can of soda and stir until flour is incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 18-24 hours. The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles.
After the 18-24 hour rest, place dough on a well floured surface and sprinkle with a flour, knead the dough about 7-8 times, pulling the dough from the outer edge towards the center, creating tension.
Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray and transfer the dough to the bowl, seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it has about doubled in size, about 2 hours.
After the dough has been rising for 1 1/2 hours, preheat the oven to 450 and place the covered pot in the oven while it preheats. The pot needs to be a 4-8 quart heavy pot with a lid.
Carefully remove the hot pot from the oven, remove lid and line pot with a sheet of parchment paper. Turn the dough into the hot pot with the seam side UP. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove lid and bake for additional 5 minutes to brown top.
*Note if you’re bread is getting too dark at the bottom you may need to adjust the temperature down a little bit
Recipe Source: My friend Rachel, adapted from Jim Lahey