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No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread

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This No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread is the ultimate fresh-baked holiday loaf, perfect with a slathering of creamy butter on Christmas morning. It’s an easy, three-hour rise, no-knead bread recipe that is a holiday family favorite.

We pack this homemade bread with a generous measure of sweet dried cranberries and crunchy walnuts, a flavor combo that really shines through in every slice!

Overhead view of bread in a Dutch oven

Once you bake and taste this cranberry walnut bread you will be impressed! You will never again pay $8 at the local bakery!

Our No-knead Cranberry Walnut Bread recipe is pretty simple to make (just like our no-knead Dutch oven bread) which is another reason we love this holiday classic. Plus, who are we kidding- fresh-baked bread is impossible to beat!

Whether it’s served as a starter, alongside a holiday meal, or as a slice all on its own, this cranberry walnut bread just feels right.

May I also take a moment to point out how well this loaf works if you’re dining small-scale this year?

Leftover cranberry walnut bread makes an especially tasty turkey sandwich. Or turn days-old bread into a delicious french toast. Pop a slice into your toaster, slather with butter and enjoy! You can’t go wrong!

Close up view of a cut loaf of bread and two broken chunks

ingredients for no-knead cranberry walnut bread

The ingredient list is quite simple for this No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread. It’s a loaf that requires little, but I promise, it delivers big on flavor.

Here is what you will need:

  • All-purpose flour. You can also use bread flour.
  • Quick Rise or RapidRise instant yeast. Make sure you have this kind of instant yeast. It is a sub-category of instant yeast and acts quicker than regular instant yeast. If you use regular instant yeast, see the recipe card for instructions regarding the proof time.
  • Table salt
  • Dried cranberries
  • Roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Honey
  • Warm water (120-125°F)
Ingredients for no knead cranberry walnut bread

How to make cranberry walnut bread

This cranberry walnut bread recipe is an easy one, which means it’s possible to squeeze into any holiday food prep you have going on.

For the full process, scroll to the bottom of the page to check out the entire recipe and ingredient amounts. Here’s a quick rundown of the steps:

Processing college to make no-knead cranberry walnut bread
  1. Make the bread dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts. Combine the honey with the water and add the wet mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a spoon to combine well.
  2. Proof the dough: Scrape the dough into another large bowl that has a good coat of oil spray. Cover the bowl with a damp light cloth or a sheet of plastic wrap and set it in a warm, draft-free area. Let the dough proof for 1 hour (check the recipe notes for proof time if you are using standard instant dry yeast). Coat a large piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and set it aside.
  3. Shape the dough: Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a dough scraper or oiled hands, fold it over several times to form a large mound.
  4. Second proof: Place the dough in the center of the parchment paper. Lift the parchment paper to carry the dough, and set it inside the bowl. (This keeps the dough in a nice shape while it rises). Cover the bowl and let it rise for another 15 to 30 minutes.
  5. Bake the cranberry walnut bread: While the dough is doing its final rise, place a 6-quart Dutch oven in the oven and let it preheat to 450°F. Use a sharp knife or scissors to score the bread dough on the top with a slash or X. Place the dough into the hot Dutch oven. Cover with the lid and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an extra 12-15 minutes until the bread is brown on top.
  6. Cool and enjoy! Transfer the bread to a wire rack and cool before slicing.
No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread

Tips for the perfect no-knead bread

This no-knead bread recipe is a breeze to make, but we do have a few tips to ensure you end up with the perfect no-knead cranberry walnut bread for your holiday table!

  • Scoring the bread dough is optional, but it does help the bread expand, giving it more height, and adds a pretty, decorative touch to the top of the loaf.
  • Keeping the lid on the Dutch oven for the first 45 minutes of bake time helps prevent the crust from getting too thick.
  • A Dutch oven is best for bread baking because it holds the steam in and helps the bread rise better. This makes for a lofty loaf with a lovely, crackling crust.
  • If you don’t have a Dutch oven you can bake the bread on a baking sheet or a pizza stone. It won’t rise quite as high but it will work.

How to tell if bread is done

You can tell the bread is done a couple of different ways. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the bread should register 200°F when inserted into the top of the loaf.

Another easy way to tell if bread is done is to thump the bottom of the loaf. It should sound hollow- that’s how you can tell it has baked long enough.

Overhead view of a loaf of cut loaf of bread

This No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread gives us all the festive feels! Make it for the people you love or gift it to a neighbor this holiday season- it will certainly be enjoyed.

Happy baking!

SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:

  • Easy sourdough bread: Sourdough bread has never been so easy to bake! And this recipe is not only easy, you don’t need to worry about any special bread flour. All-purpose flour works just fine. An Artisan-style loaf of bread with a crunchy crust and a moist, tender interior!
  • Sprouted Rye Bread: Finally, a recipe for homemade rye bread! We love this rich, dark loaf that has a distinctive rye flavor and bits of caraway seed. A combination of organic sprouted whole wheat flour, and organic sprouted rye flour makes this fine-textured, soft bread the perfect choice for sandwiches.
  • Quick Barley Bread: There is no yeast required when baking this loaf of all-rye bread. It has a unique, complex flavor with a texture similar to cornbread.

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Close up view of a cut loaf of bread and two broken chunks

No-Knead Cranberry Walnut Bread

Yield: 16 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

An easy, 3-hour rise, no-knead, cranberry walnut bread with a generous measure of cranberries and walnuts. Slice and serve with a slathering of butter! This large loaf of bread is a holiday family favorite.

Ingredients

  • 4-1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons (580 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 packets (11 grams) or 3 teaspoons Quick Rise or RapidRise instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped roasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-1/4 cups warm water (120-125°F)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and the yeast. 
  2. Add the cranberries and walnuts and stir to combine with the flour mixture.
  3. Combine the honey with the water and add to the flour mixture.  Stir with a spoon until well combined. 
  4. Scrape the dough into another large bowl that has been coated with oil spray.  Cover the bowl with either a damp light cloth or a sheet of plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free area for 1 hour. (If you are using regular instant dry yeast, let the dough rise for 3 to 3-1/2 hours).
  5. Coat a large piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside.
  6. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and using a bench scraper or oiled hands, fold the dough over several times to form a large mound.  
  7. Lift the mound of dough and place on the center of the parchment paper, seam side down.   
  8. Using the parchment paper as a sling, lift the dough and set it, and the parchment paper into the bowl. This will help keep its shape during the final rise.
  9. Cover the bowl and return it to the draft-free area and let rise for 15 to 30 minutes (rise time will be 1 hour if you use regular instant yeast).
  10. While the dough is rising, place a 6-quart Dutch oven in the cold oven and set the oven temperature at 450°F and let it heat while the bread dough is in the final rise.
  11. Transfer the heated Dutch oven from the oven and carefully remove the lid. 
  12. Using a sharp knife, scissors or a taser blade, score the bread dough on the top with a slash, (see Notes). 
  13. Carefully lift the dough, together with the parchment paper, and set into the hot Dutch oven.  Cover with the lid and return to the oven. 
  14. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake the bread an additional 12-15 minutes until nicely brown and it reaches 200°F when a thermometer is inserted into the top of the bread.
  15. Transfer the bread to a wire rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Notes

  • Honey adds a touch of sweetness and it also increases the liquid. Adding the additional 3 tablespoons of flour compensates for the additional liquid.
  • Scoring the bread dough on the top is not mandatory but doing so will allow the bread to expand and give it more height.  It also adds a nice decorative touch to the finished loaf.
  • Dried cranberries are recommended for this recipe I have not tried fresh or frozen cranberries but suspect they will be too soft.
  • Keep the lid on the Dutch oven for 35 minutes then remove the lid so the crust does not get too thick.
  • Bread baked in a Dutch oven works because the Dutch oven holds the steam in and helps the bread rise better. This produces a lofty loaf with a crackling crust. 
  • To determine that the bread is cooked completely, tilt the bread on its side and thump the bottom.  It should sound hollow.  You can further check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer when done it will register 200°F when inserted in the top of the bread.
  • We used quick-acting instant yeast in this recipe. It is a sub-category of instant yeast and acts much quicker. You will need to increase the proof time if you use regular instant yeast.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 132Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Sharon

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

Over the top delicious! Does it work with regular yeast?

Dahn Boquist

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

Yes, it sure does! If you use regular yeast then let it proof for about 2 to 3 hours the first time then shape the loaf and let it proof for about an hour or two before baking. The proof time will vary depending on the temperature in your kitchen but it turns out beautifully with regular yeast.

angiesrecipes

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

This looks bakery perfect. I love the combo of flavours and no knead is just life saving :-)

Dahn Boquist

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Thanks Angie!

John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Love cranberry walnut bread! In fact Mrs KR recently baked some. Her recipe is different from yours, though -- I'll have to show her this. It looks wonderful! Good stuff -- thanks.

Pat Nyswonger

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Hi, John! I'm sure Mrs. KR's is just as delicious as this recipe. Every year I anxiously await Costco to bring there cranberry walnut bread out to the bakery. This year I picked up a loaf to put into my cart and decided to save $8 and bake it myself. I was so pleased with the result! Thanks for your comments 😊

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