This no-knead Cranberry Walnut Bread is studded with dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. The result is a delicious loaf of rustic homemade bread!
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Whenever I tell folks that I write a recipe blog, I often get questions like, “What’s your favorite recipe?” or “What is your favorite thing to cook?” While it would be impossible to nail down a favorite recipe, I can say that baking bread ranks up there on the list of favorite things to cook (bake).
Years ago, I took the train down to New York City for a work meeting. On the way back through Grand Central Station, I stumbled by a bakery with a window full of loaves of bread. I totally stopped and stared at all of the amazing bread – and I almost bought a loaf just to eat by itself on the train home.
Whenever we travel to other countries, Laura knows that I will seek out the best local bakeries. If she can’t find me, chances are I saw a bakery and ran over to drool at the window. I like to see what sorts of breads and other treats I can find. Clearly I have a thing for homemade bread.
Cranberry Walnut Bread
Enough of my bread obsession. Let’s switch gears over to actually baking homemade bread instead of just talking about it! Cranberry Walnut Bread is always a favorite this time of the year, and it makes for a great sandwich bread – certainly a bit more gourmet than sliced bread from the grocery store.
For this Cranberry Walnut Bread, I used one of my go-to bread recipes. The base recipe for this bread was the same one I used for this Bacon Cheddar Bread. It’s a solid recipe that I’ve used numerous times. Sometimes it includes crispy bacon and cubes of cheddar cheese. Sometimes it’s just a handful of dried Italian herbs. The point is this bread recipe is great!
This bread recipe produces a loaf with a thick, chewy crust and a light, tender crumb. It’s the kind of bread that you just where you just want to pull off hunks and eat it while it’s still warm out of the oven.
For this version, I went with a fruit + nuts approach. The result is delicious. One bite you’ll get a little sweetness from the cranberries and another bite you’ll get the nuttiness from the walnuts.
When it’s fresh (within 1-2 days), this Cranberry Walnut Bread makes for great sandwiches. As it starts to dry out, I’ll switch over and toast it with butter for breakfast. Delicious! Laura said this bread is “bakery quality,” and I learned long ago never to disagree with my wife.
As far as the actual baking, this Cranberry Walnut Bread is a no knead bread recipe. You just mix it in a large bowl and let it rise. You’ll need to fold the dough a couple of times, but it’s really rather easy. The bread itself gets baked in a hot cast iron Dutch oven. The hardest part about this recipe is letting the bread cool before slicing it!
How to Store Homemade Bread
To store homemade bread, let it cool completely and then store in an airtight container at room temperature. (I typically use a large ziploc bag.) Homemade breads also freeze well. To freeze homemade bread, let the loaf cool completely and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Store loaf in a freezer bag for up to 4 months.
I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do around here. If you have other ideas for ingredients to include in this bread, let me know! I’m thinking it might be fun to make a cinnamon raisin bread next. (I’ve made cinnamon raisin bread in a loaf pan, but I want to try a more rustic version.)
Did you make a loaf of this Cranberry Walnut Bread at home? Let me know what you think or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) so I can see your version! Happy baking!
Cranberry Walnut Bread
- Using a small bowl, add warm water and yeast; stir until well combined. (Note: The water should be warm to the touch, but not hot.) Let mixture sit for 5 minutes.
- Using a large mixing bowl, add flour and salt; stir until well combined.
- Add yeast mixture and honey to the flour mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. (Note: The dough should come together. It will be slightly sticky, but if the dough stubbornly sticks to the side of the bowl, add 2-3 more tablespoons of flour. If dough feels too dry, add 1 more tablespoon of water.)
- Cover bowl and let dough rise until it approximately doubles in size (~1½-2 hours).
- Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Pat dough out into a flat disc. Fold dough into thirds, similar to how you might fold a letter. Rotate dough 90° and repeat process.
- Transfer dough back into bowl, cover and let rise until approximately doubled in size (~1-1½ more hours).
- Transfer dough back to a floured work surface. Gently press air out of dough. Place chopped walnuts and dried cranberries on top of dough and fold dough several times until walnuts and cranberries are incorporated into the dough.
- Generously sprinkle cornmeal onto a piece of parchment paper. Shape the dough into a ball and place onto parchment paper. Place dough (on parchment paper) back into mixing bowl.
- Cover bowl and let dough rest for 30-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F. Place a covered enameled Dutch oven into the oven as it preheats.
- Remove Dutch oven from oven. (Tip: Be careful – that Dutch oven will be hot!)
- Uncover dough. Using a sharp knife, score dough lightly. (Note: I like to make 4 cuts in a square on top of the dough. Each cut is ~½” deep into the dough.)
- Lift parchment paper with dough on it out of mixing bowl and carefully lower into the hot Dutch oven.
- Cover Dutch oven and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove lid from Dutch oven and continue baking for 5-10 more minutes or until top of bread is golden brown in color. (Tip: If you have an instant read thermometer, remove the bread from the oven once it reaches 200°F.)
- Let bread cool before slicing.
Looking for more tasty homemade bread recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: