In Grandma Joyce’s kitchen, “every recipe is an approximation.” That means there’s no such thing as a recipe that can’t be fiddled with (except maybe Grandma Tanner’s divinity or Sour Cream Cut Cookies where ingredients and amounts have to be precise).
This is the perfect example of Grandma Joyce’s expertise for creating something new and delicious out of a basic recipe. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Grandma started teaching “online” cooking lessons. It wasn’t quite as good as being there in person for Sunday dinner, but it was a pretty close “approximation,” as Grandma would say.
Because we couldn’t be there to enjoy her cooking in person, she set up group cooking lessons and began with the basics. Roast Beef. Vanilla Custard. Basic artisan bread.
What Grandma is teaching us is that once you have mastered the basic skill, any recipe can be tweaked, altered, or made even more delicious. That’s exactly the case with this very basic white bread recipe. Grandma taught the basic bread recipe and then showed us how to turn it into something even more delicious by adding one or two additional ingredients. The result is a hot-out-of-the-oven yeast bread you can take from start to finish in an afternoon. It was the perfect shelter-in-place option for our family, and we hope yours will enjoy it just as much.
Pineapple Cranberry Artisan Bread With White Chocolate
2 1/4 cups very warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup sugar or honey
1/4 cup oil
6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
Butter for top of loaves, optional
ADDITIONAL ADD-ON INGREDIENTS (0PTIONAL)
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup Craisins
1 cup white chocolate chips
Here’s the process, adapted for the added ingredients:
- Add warm water (abt 110 degrees) to large bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer or Bosch). If you are making plain bread without the add-ons, increase the water to 2 3/4 cups.
- Add yeast and sugar (or honey), stir to incorporate and let the mixture rest a few minutes to activate the yeast.
- Add oil and part of the flour (probably about 3 cups) and then add the salt.
- Add the pineapple, chocolate chips, and Craisins
- Add additional flour and mix with dough hook until dough pulls away from the side of the mixing bowl.
- Add additional flour if needed (to compensate for the moisture in the pineapple) and beat for about 5-6 minutes. If you are kneading by hand, mix on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, or until blisters begin to form on the surface of the bread.
- Place in a lightly greased large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a light kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk (about 30 minutes).
- Form into about 3 round loaves and place on cookie sheets that have been sprayed lightly with baking spray (or form into loaves and place in sprayed bread pans).
- Let rise in a warm place (I use my oven heated to 110 degrees – no warmer) until double in bulk (about 10-15 minutes – it rises quite quickly so watch carefully).
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 -35 minutes. The bread will double in size as it bakes. Make sure you don’t underbake or the finished product with be too moist.
- Remove to a wire rack, brush with melted butter and let cool.
The loaves can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic or placed in a bread bag, for a couple days, or frozen for up to a month.