Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Second Koan

After the cinnamon crumb cake, the second koan in my baking practice was a cranberry-banana-walnut bread, and the first obstacle in this koan is where does one get fresh cranberries in Atlanta early in the month of September?

Publix Supermarket? No, and the produce manager looked at me queerly when I asked.  Aldo Market?  Nope.  Good old Trader Joe's?  Not there, either.   

I finally found frozen whole cranberries at Fresh Foods in Buckhead, and the packaging insisted that I could use them frozen or thawed just as one would use fresh cranberries.  The most Zen-like part of the whole baking process was cutting each individual cranberry in half as the recipe directed, and keeping one's full concentration on the somewhat tedious task of splitting two full cups of cranberries.

The frozen state of the cranberries did not affect the outcome, and after a little confusion on my part regarding the correct baking temperature (lesson learned: one first has to toast the walnuts at 325 degrees, then bake the actual loaf at 350), the end result was a bread that's a little softer than I had hoped, but every bit as moist as one could want.  Better slightly undercooked than overdone and dry, no? 

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