Cranberry-Walnut Bread

Cranberry Walnut Bread Sliced

Heavy on cranberries and walnuts, bejeweled strips of dough barely held itself together as I tried to make a braid out of it. It didn’t seem like the freshly kneaded ball could take the large amount of dried fruits and nuts, but sure enough, everything came together as advertised after a few folds.

As you can clearly see in Exhibit A above, the result is a fruit-nutty equivalent of Chips Ahoy! (a chocolate chip in every bite). What isn’t quite obvious from the photo is the essential scent of orange extract that pulls everything together.

Citrus and cranberries have a natural affinity, so much so that Trader Joe’s decided to package both as orange-flavored cranberries, easily my favorite TJ foodstuff. It must be pretty popular because it’s been around for a while — TJ products are quickly dropped if they don’t fly off the shelves fast enough.

I use orange-flavored cranberries anywhere regular dried cranberries are needed. It’s not bad for light snacking, too. The only bad thing about it is I’d forgotten what cranberries are supposed to taste like.

recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Yeastspotting at Wild Yeast Blog

Cranberry-Walnut Bread

makes one braided loaf, boule, or batard
the shaped bread will fit on a half-sheet pan

Dough Ingredients:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
bread flour                       3 cups         13.5          383
granulated sugar                  3 tbsp          1.5           43
kosher salt                     1/2 tbsp          0.2            5
instant yeast                 3 1/2 tsp           0.4           11

orange or lemon extract       1 1/2 tbsp          0.8           21
large eggs, lightly beaten        2               3.3           94
whole milk, at room temp        1/2 cup           4            113
unsalted butter, melted           2 tbsp          1             28
water, room temp                1/4 cup           2             57

dried cranberries             1 1/2 cups          9            255
coarsely chopped walnuts        3/4 cups          3             85

1 whisked egg, for the egg wash


  • Use about 3 tablespoons of citrus zest or an equal amount of orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier) instead of orange or lemon extract.
  • The combination of cranberries with pistachios are a close second.


Mix             Stir the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together. Add
                the orange or lemon extract, eggs, whole milk,
                butter, and water. Mix until a shaggy ball of dough
                is formed.

Knead           5 to 6 minutes

Rest            5 minutes

Knead           Add the cranberries and knead gently for 2 to 3
                minutes. Add the walnuts. Gently fold the dough over
                itself until the cranberries and walnuts are
                evenly incorporated.

Bulk Ferment    2 hours at room temperature

Shape           double-decker braid (as suggested in the original
                recipe), three-braid (as shown), boule, or batard.

Cranberry Walnut Bread Proofed
Chockful of fruits and nuts. Just like high school.

Egg Wash        Glaze with about half of the egg wash. Refrigerate
                the rest of the egg wash for a second coating
                after the final proof.

Preheat Oven    325ºF / 165ºC

Final Proof     60 to 90 minutes at room temperature while uncovered,
                or until almost doubled in size

Egg Wash        Glaze with the rest of the egg wash

Bake            Bake for 50 to 55 minutes at 325ºF / 165ºC, rotating
                the loaf halfway through baking if necessary. The
                center of the loaf will register 185ºF / 85ºC to
                190ºF / 88ºC when done. 

Cool            At least 1 hour

Cranberry Walnut Bread Crust
Freshly baked cranberry-walnut bread.

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43 Responses to “Cranberry-Walnut Bread”

  1. Caitlin says:

    Wow, I absolutely love the color of that crust. Too beautiful for words. I love braided bread too – not too much work for maximum impact.

  2. Jackie says:

    Great job on the braiding! I also love the look of those slices filled with chopped walnuts and cranberries.

  3. maris says:

    This looks unbelievable! I’m a carb addict and could probably eat half of this in a sitting! LOL.

  4. Christina says:

    That is the most gorgeous bread I’ve ever seen! It’s nice to see a yeast version of cranberry bread.

  5. Soma says:

    How much more beautiful can your breads get Jude? Each one of them is a work of art. Love cranberries & nuts. I am so cranberry obsessed now.

  6. Maya says:

    perfect braiding. I made little rolls this weekend but this looks even better!

  7. kat says:

    I want french toast made out of that!

  8. CurryLeaf says:

    Perfect bread-Everything is perfect.I wish I were as perfect as you at baking.Love your ideas and explanatory posts.Thanks for the wonderful creation of art.You surely show that ‘BAKING IS ART’

  9. Joelen says:

    Beautiful bread… and love the comment about fruits & nuts, just like high school :)

  10. noble pig says:

    Like highschool! That made me laugh out loud. This is a beautiful piece of work.

  11. Olga says:

    Yum: this looks really, really good! The last time I attempted to make challah, it was a mess. This might be a great recipe to try again.

  12. Manggy says:

    Hah! Your mutant cranberries have spoiled you :P I’d much rather have this plait than Chips Ahoy! :)

  13. Rosa says:

    A wonderfully festive bread! That braiding is perfect!



  14. Meeta says:

    Jude this looks great! I baked my traditional fruit cake a little while back! However I really like the sound of this so I have to try it out.

  15. Lien says:

    Beautiful festive loaf! I love it when it’s just packed with fruits and goodies. When we have bread or rolls with very little raisins or currants in them here in Holland, we say “better bring your bike, to travel from one raisin to the next”. You don’t need a bike here ;-)

  16. Lisa says:

    I’m a first-time reader of your site and was linked here from Foodgawker; thank you SO much for uploading this recipe and the instructions for the double-braided loaf! Looks great and way better than the regular tinned shape ones :) !

  17. Brianna says:

    Absolutely gorgeous Jude! The colors are amazing and you did a beautiful job on the braid.

  18. Peter says:

    Beautiful, reminds me of brioche and panettone…I want some now!

  19. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    I have a feeling this is much better than Chips Ahoy.

  20. Natashya says:

    Mmm, just needs a toasting and slathering of salty butter.
    Perfect for Christmas morning with coffee.

  21. grace says:

    it’s not bread, it’s edible artwork! seriously stunning, jude. :)

  22. We Are Never Full says:

    i don’t know what looks more appetizing – the outside or the inside? this is beautiful and perfect for the holidays.

  23. CookiePie says:

    That’s gorgeous! I bet it would make amazing french toast, too!

  24. Squawkfox says:

    Stumbled. Gorgeous.

  25. Mary says:

    I am just so amazed at not only the quality of the items you make and the photos of the food, but really by how often you make and try new recipes. Looks fabulous!

  26. javapot says:

    wow, looks fantastic!!! Think I got a bag of cranberries in the cupboard, will be trying this soon. ;)

  27. YeastSpotting December 19, 2008 | Wild Yeast says:

    [...] Cranberry Walnut Bread [...]

  28. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Gorgeous loaf. It is surprising how much fruit can go into something like this but then it’s so so good.

  29. Jaime says:

    it looks so beautiful, studded w/the berries and nuts!

  30. Mary says:

    Jude, this is an absolutely gorgeous loaf of bread. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  31. chop chop a to z says:

    This looks fabulous! :)

  32. Jo says:

    wow, this looks absolutely delicious. I love the colours of the cranberry and walnut in each slice. I must really give this a try.

  33. Lori says:

    THat looks so good! I could definitely see this being made at my house!

  34. Jessie says:

    Oh, this is just such a beautiful bread! I can only imagine how good it smells. Well done!

    a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse

  35. Aklat says:

    This bread is delicious. I made it with candied orange peels instead of cranberris and the flavour and taste was amazing. Thanx :)

  36. Beverlie says:

    I love this bread, I just found this recipe 4 weeks ago. I made it every weekend since. I also add a container of healthy fruit and nuts mix and it just wonderful.

    Thank you

  37. Görel says:

    It looks gorgeous! I can’t wait until I get to bake this. Soon there!

  38. Tammy says:

    Beautiful! I’m making mine today. I can’t wait!

  39. Cindy says:

    Your bread is just beautiful. I was tempted to skip this one (more fruit and nuts!!) but after seeing yours I may have to go ahead and make it. What a gorgeous plump braid!

  40. Susie says:

    Great job on the braiding! Love it,

  41. Cindy says:

    Great idea to use orang flavoured cranberries. Your chips ahoy comaprison made me smile!! Your braiding is perfection.

  42. bestbuy says:

    Like highschool! That made me laugh out loud. This is a beautiful piece of work.

  43. Anna says:

    I just made this bread – it looks great! I’m excited to try it. :D Thanks for sharing!

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