This bread is wonderful for breakfast. Bake it the evening before, or if you’re an early riser, let the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator and then shape and bake it in the morning.
Put the water in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the water; let it stand for a few minutes to dissolve and become creamy. Add the flour, brown sugar, salt, and dried cherries. Knead on medium speed with a dough hook until the dough comes together and will hold a finger imprint, 5 to 7 minutes. Or knead by hand on a floured surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it doubles in volume, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, shape it into a 10x10-inch square, trying to keep the thickness even throughout. Put the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Slip the baking sheet into a large plastic bag and seal the bag with a twist tie (or cover the dough with a large bowl). Put it in a warm place until the dough doubles in bulk, 45-to 60 minutes and up to 1-1/2-hours if the dough is cold from the refrigerator.
Heat the oven to 400°F. Remove the pan from the plastic bag. Gently dimple the top of the dough with your fingertips. Strew the fresh cherries on top and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake in the middle of the oven until the top is brown and the cherries are soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
nutrition information (per serving):
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Photo: Scott Phillips