There is nothing better than a slice of this Cranberry Walnut Bread when it is warm from the oven! Sweet and tender, studded with dried cranberries and walnuts, this bread is the perfect base for sandwiches, breakfast casseroles, or just to eat toasted. This no knead dutch oven bread may take a bit of time to make, but it is almost completely hands off and is much more affordable than purchasing at a bakery!
I am in love with Cranberry Walnut Bread.
My sister and I had a coffee date at Panera a few months back and instead of a bagel, I opted for a slice of their Cranberry Nut Bread toasted with some smear of butter. And let me just share with you, it was absolutely heavenly!
The bread was chewy and yeasty and filled with tangy cranberries and hearty walnuts.
I knew after one bite, I had to recreate this bread at home!
I used my Whole Wheat Dutch Oven Bread as inspiration for this recipe. Panera's version was crusty and hearty--just like dutch oven bread.
I added in fresh cranberries and walnuts and BINGO! Success!
I had recreated a version of Cranberry Walnut Bread that was everything I had hoped for! Crusty, hearty, and bursting with cranberries and walnuts, this bread is perfection. It is the perfect complement to the fall season and makes a delicious base for a sandwich, killer french toast, and can be used as the base of a breakfast casserole.
However, you slice it (ha! ha!) this bread is good! And good for you!!
There are only 4 ingredients in this easy no-knead cranberry bread recipe! Okay, five if you count water! You probably have all the ingredients on hand and can save yourself a lot of money by preparing yourself.
- Flour: I use whole white wheat flour for this recipe. I have tried using 100% whole wheat and that overwhelmed the flavor of the cranberries and walnuts. However, you can use a mixture of 100% whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour with success. I would just use half of each.
- Yeast: Use regular dry active yeast (not quick rise yeast) and be sure that your yeast has not expired. If it is not fresh, your bread will not proof and will be dense and flat when baked.
- Salt: I always use kosher salt when baking bread. If you only have table salt, that will work, but I highly recommend kosher salt for flavor.
- Dried Cranberries: Be sure you used dried cranberries, not fresh cranberries. The dried cranberries will plump up slightly as the bread rises and add just right amount of tart sweetness.
- Walnuts: Use unsalted, toasted walnuts for the best flavor. And chop the walnut pieces up into small pieces so that no bite is overwhelmed with a piece of walnut.
How to Make Cranberry Walnut Bread
No-knead dutch oven bread is one of the easiest ways to prepare bread at home. There is no need to proof the yeast or knead the dough, making this recipe incredibly easy.
It does take time for the bread dough to proof, so I highly recommend prepping this dough the night before you intend to bake it. I will often take 5 minutes to mix it together while I am preparing dinner and then the dough is ready to bake the next morning.
The dough comes together by simply mixing everything together in a wooden bowl--yep, that it is it! Talk about EASY! Expect the dough to be sticky and wetter than dough of traditional homemade bread.
Once the dough is combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours. The yeast will activate and the bread will get yeasty and bubbly.
After the resting time, it is time to bake. Turn the dough out onto parchment paper and quickly shape into a circle. Let the dough rest, while the oven preheats.
Place a dutch oven pan that is fitted with a lid in the oven and turn on the oven to preheat. It is crucial to let the pan preheat as well--this will give this cranberry walnut bread it's chewy, crispy exterior.
Once the pan is preheated, carefully place the prepared dough into the pan and cover with the lid. If using parchment paper, you can simply pick up the parchment paper and place into the dutch oven. If you don't have parchment paper, just place the bread dough directly to the dutch oven, scored side up. DO NOT USE wax paper or a silicone baking sheet as the temperature of the oven is too hot for either! And really you should never use wax paper in the oven.
The bread will bake covered partially, and then uncovered to crisp up the exterior.
Once baked, let the bread cool slightly in the pan and then turn out and finish cooling on a cooling rack. Allow bread to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
This bread is out of this world sliced up warm and enjoyed plain or with a smear of butter. But if you can resist the urge to devour it all, it can be used for sandwiches, casseroles, or french toast. It is my go to bread for a turkey sandwich and as the base for a ham breakfast casserole. My kids love when I use it in French Toast Casserole as well.
Storing the Bread
Once fully cooled, store bread in sealed container, or bag, at room temperature for 3 days. This bread can also be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month after baked and cooled. Wrap well in plastic wrap, then a layer of foil, and then place in a freezer safe bag. Defrost at room temperature for 12 hours before serving.
More Homemade Bread Recipes
- Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- Homemade Italian Bread
- Honey Whole Wheat Bread
- Whole Wheat Dutch Oven Bread
No Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread
- 3 cup white wheat flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ chopped walnuts
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ cups luke warm water
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, yeast, salt, cranberries, and walnuts. Add in water and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set in draft free spot to sit for 12-18 hours undisturbed.
- After the proofing time has past, turn the dough out onto parchment paper that has been sprinkled with flour and quickly shape into a circle. It will be sticky, so you may want to flour your hands as well. And try to not overwork the dough--just a rustic circle is all you are going for. Let the dough rest, while the oven preheats.
- Place a dutch oven fitted with a lid, in the oven. Preheat to 450 degrees. (Let the pan preheat in the oven.)
- Once the pan is preheated, carefully remove from the oven and then carefully place the prepared dough into the pan and cover with the lid. If using parchment paper, you can simply pick up the parchment paper and place into the dutch oven. If you don't have parchment paper, just place the bread dough directly to the dutch oven. DO NOT USE wax paper or a silicone baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
- Remove bread from dutch oven and let cool on wire rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- When measuring out the flour, scoop the flour out with a spoon and then place in measuring cup--this will ensure you don't use too much flour.
- Feel free to omit the walnuts from this bread to make it nut free or swap out walnuts for pecans if desired.
- Be sure to use regular yeast, not quick rise yeast and be sure your yeast is not expired.
- Allow bread to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
- Once fully cooled, store bread in sealed container, or bag, at room temperature for up to 3 days. This bread can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
- Anywhere from a 3.5 to a 6 quart dutch oven with a lid will work to bake this bread. I use a 4.5 quart myself.
- Baking at high altitude? Check out these adjustments that you may need to follow.
This post was originally posted in 2017, but was updated with new pictures/tips November 2019.