Soft, golden, and chewy, the cranberry walnut bread is guaranteed to fly off the shelf! It’s a bakery-style bread studded with tart cranberries and nutty walnuts, but it’s ludicrously easy to make, perfect for beginners even!
Before you scroll down, this is a take on my easy homemade bread recipe for every day. The method is very much the same (with some tasty additions). Just in case you need a more detailed step-by-step process, click that link or watch the video I’ve attached to this blog.
YOU’LL LOVE THIS CRANBERRY AND WALNUT BREAD
Have it for breakfast, a snack, or a meal.
It's so simple that you won’t even need to follow the bread recipe after the first time.
The flavor and texture of this everyday, easy bread will make you drop to your knees.
HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY WALNUT BREAD?
Step 1: Bloom yeast and sugar with the water until foamy (10–15 minutes).
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix the flours and sea salt. Make a well in the center and add olive oil and the bubbly yeast mixture.
Step 3: With your hands (or a spatula), bring everything together into a rough, scraggy dough with no dry patches.
Step 4: Fold in chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.
Step 5: On a lightly floured surface, turn out the walnut and cranberry bread dough on it. Begin kneading by pushing the dough away from you, using the heels of your hands. Then fold over half the dough towards you, press down, and again push outwards. Turn it sideways and continue with the kneading. Keep turning and kneading till the dough feels soft, elastic, and just a tad sticky.
Step 6: Transfer to a greased bowl. Cover and let it proof in a draft-free spot for 1 -2 hours, or until it doubles.
Step 7: Take the risen bread dough and turn it over on a floured surface. Deflate, shape into a ball, and place on a parchment-paper-lined tray.
Step 8: Cover with a kitchen towel and let it proof for a second time in a draft-free spot for 5 minutes or till it’s puffy.
Step 9: Preheat your oven to 250°C. When you’re ready to bake the walnut-cranberry bread, slash the top with a sharp knife.
Step 10: Spray some water on the bread to moisten it. Lower the oven heat and bake immediately until the crust is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Final step: Cool. Slice. Serve.
TIPS FOR THIS RECIPE FOR CRANBERRY WALNUT BREAD
- The water has to be lukewarm. Too cold, and it doesn’t let the yeast do its magic. Too hot, and it kills the years. The water should feel comfortable on your hands.
- Use as little extra flour as you can when kneading. Too much, and it’ll harden the dough and yield dry bread with a thick crust. If the dough is too sticky to handle, rub a little flour on your hands or wet them.
- Take a break from kneading. About halfway through, cover the dough with a damp towel and give it a 5- to 6-minute rest. Your hands get a break, and the dough is much easier to knead.
- A spray bottle is handy. Moistening the dough crown before baking gives the crust a nice, even golden hue.
- It’s wise to wait. Consider cooling the baked bread as part of the process. Don’t slice it while it’s still hot.
MAKE THE WALNUT CRANBERRY BREAD DOUGH A DAY BEFORE!
Some days I want quick recipes, and other days I want make-ahead ones. This one is both! After you’re done kneading, there are two ways to proof the bread:
- You can put it in a bowl, cover it, and leave it in a warm corner till it doubles in size.
- But if you’re not in a rush to bake, after the dough has spent 30 minutes in the corner, refrigerate it overnight. The next morning, leave it on the countertop to come down to room temperature and then follow the rest of the recipe from step 7.
That 12 to 14 hours in the fridge gives the yeasty flavors time to develop, so the bread gets an extra boost of taste that’s a thousand times better. Not that the walnut bread isn’t good on the same day. It is. But overnight proofing yields true bakery-style bread! Psst: You can use this trick for any bread!
DOUGH DONE OR NOT DONE
Generally, the window pane test is a good way to tell if your bread dough is ready to be baked. But for this kind of artisan cranberry walnut bread, the poke test works better because it’s crammed with nuts and berries. Poke the risen dough with your finger. It should bounce back quickly.
I don’t score (slashing the top with a blade) every day breads elegantly. However, it is necessary to allow the steam to escape and the bread to expand while baking. Here are 2 tips if you’re scoring bread for the first time.
- Use the sharpest knife (or a super-sharp blade or lame).
- Your movement has to be quick, confident, and smooth.
SOFT OR CRUSTY HOMEMADE BREAD
This is a crusty nut bread. If that’s where your heart lies, great. But if you’re like me and love a soft crust, brush the bread with butter the second you take it out of the oven.
CRANBERRY WALNUT BREAD INGREDIENTS SWAPS
Flour: I used all-purpose (1.5 cups) and whole wheat (half cup). A ratio of 1:1 of both flours would be just as delicious. Or you can use just one of the flours for dried cranberry recipe bread. You’ll have to adjust the amount of water since whole wheat absorbs more. If you can get your hands on bread flour, then that works too.
Yeast: Dry active, or instant; pick whatever is in your pantry. The quantity remains the same. The only tip for a cranberry walnut bread recipe with yeast is to bloom it beforehand. It’s my way of making sure that the yeast is still working, and that it’ll give the bread the rise I want.
Fat: Olive oil is my choice, as it lends the cranberry and walnut bread a lovely texture and fruity flavor. Any regular vegetable oil would be a fine substitute.
Sugar: Helps the yeast bloom and brings a balance to walnut bread flavor.
Sea salt seasons the bread crumb beautifully and makes it more flavorful. You can easily replace it with regular salt.
Add-ins: Cranberry and walnuts are a magical pairing. I used dried cranberries, and I haven't made the bread any other way yet, so I’m not entirely sure if fresh or frozen cranberries will work.
SERVING ARTISAN CRANBERRY WALNUT BREAD
This walnut bread with cranberries is super delicious as-is. By the time you finish the first bite, you’ll be a new person. That said, you’ll also love it:
- Slathered with bread
- Alongside dips and stews
- With some cheese
- Toasted with a drizzle of honey and nuts on top
- For a sandwich, the combo of sweet and savory is wonderful
NEED A NO KNEAD BREAD RECIPE?
Half the joy of cooking is sharing it with others. That’s why I’m always eager to hear from you. So go right ahead and drop a comment or reach out on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or Facebook. I hope you love this cranberry walnut bread as much as we do!
Cranberry Walnut Bread Recipe
- 1 cup / 230 gms Warm water
- 1.5 tsp Dried active yeast
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 1/2 cup / 190 gms All-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup / 80 gms Wholewheat flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/2 cup/ 70 gms Chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup / 75 gms Dried cranberries
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the water. Let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
- In a large bowl, mix both the flours and salt.
- Make a well in the center and add olive oil and the bubbly yeast mixture.
- Mix well with a fork or your hand till a rough shaggy dough forms.
- Flour your work surface well, and turn the dough onto it.
- Add the chopped walnuts and cranberries to the dough and knead for 12 -14 minutes, until the dough is soft, supple, and just a tad sticky. You can also knead the dough in your stand mixer.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and keep in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in size.
- Once it is doubled, gently degas it.
- Shape the dough into a ball. Place on a baking tray and cover it loosely with a kitchen napkin or cling wrap.
- Let the dough rise in a draft-free spot for 30-40 minutes until it doubles in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 250C.
- When the dough has proofed, make 4-5 slashes with a very sharp knife or a blade on the loaf. Put the tray in the oven and lower the heat to 200 C. Bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes or until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least an hour before slicing the bread.Enjoy!