Cranberry Walnut Bread

A soft and tender Cranberry Walnut Bread with a tart cranberry filling swirled throughout the sweet yeast dough. The buttery topping adds the perfect touch.

Soft Cranberry Walnut Swirled Bread

In my home, yeast breads have a special place of honor, especially around the holidays. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Slavic people made all kinds of fancy sweet breads for most holidays, Easter, Christmas, etc. I really like that yeast breads are practically fuss free, but have an air of elegance and sophistication to them. There is so much less work involved than making a cake or tedious cookies, and but these breads look so pretty and festive. I especially like that they aren’t too sweet, but still satisfy the craving for dessert.

Yes, it takes time for the bread to rise, but there’s only a few minutes of actual hands on work involved here.

During one of my trips to Barnes and Noble a few years ago, I was looking through a stack of magazines, and this beautiful bread immediately caught my attention. I just love tart flavors – lemon, raspberry and cranberry is certainly tart with a capital T. I adjusted it slightly and we love making it. The bread is so soft and tender it pairs so nicely with the tart filling. The buttery topping is the perfect finishing touch.

Ingredients:

  • all purpose flour
  • granulated sugar
  • salt
  • butter
  • milk
  • water
  • active dry yeast
  • cranberries
    • You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. Instead of using cranberries, you can use other berries, like raspberries, strawberries, etc. (You’ll probably need to use less sugar with those.)
    • Instead of making your own jam from fresh cranberries, you can use store bought cranberry jelly or raspberry jam instead.
  • brown sugar
  • lemon juice
  • walnuts
    • If you don’t like nuts, you can omit them.
Ingredients for Cranberry Walnut Bread

How To Make Cranberry Walnut Bread

  1. First, make the yeast bread.
    • Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then pour in the milk and water. Make sure the milk mixture is around 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, not higher, otherwise cool it off until it reaches the correct temperature.
    • Add the yeast and sugar to the warm milk mixture, pouring it all into a mixing bowl. Set aside for a few minutes until it becomes foamy.
    • Add the flour and salt into the liquid ingredients, using a dough hook attachment to mix it all together until smooth and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
    • Cover and set aside to rise until double in a warm area, about an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the cranberry filling.
    • Place the cranberries, into a medium saucepan along with the brown sugar and water.
    • Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 10-15 minutes. The berries should “pop”.
    • Add the butter, lemon juice and walnuts, mixing to combine. Set aside while the dough finishes rising.
  3. Grease a 9×5 inch bread pan with butter or oil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping, with one Tablespoon of butter, setting the other Tablespoon of butter aside. Mix with a fork, until you have a crumbly texture. Set aside.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 20×10 inch rectangle.
    • Spread the Cranberry Filling evenly over the surface of the rolled out dough, leaving about a 1 inch border around the edges.
    • Roll up the dough tightly, starting with the long side. Place the rolled up dough into the prepared bread pan, in a zigzag way.
  6. Melt the remaining Tablespoon of butter and brush it over the top of the bread. Sprinkle the topping on top of the bread.
    • Place the bread in a warm place to rise, until it doubles in size, about 40 minutes.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven, 40-45 minutes. Take the bread out of the bread pan onto a cooling rack until it cools for about 5 minutes, then take it out of the bread pan and cool completely. But who am I kidding? I can never wait that long!
How to make Cranberry Walnut Bread tutorial

More Delicious Yeast Breads

Cranberry Walnut Bread - soft and sweet yeast bread with a cranberry swirl filling
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Cranberry Walnut Bread

A soft and tender Cranberry Walnut Bread with a tart cranberry filling swirled throughout the sweet yeast dough. The buttery topping adds the perfect touch.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 mins
  • Yield: 1 loaf of bread 1x
  • Category: Sweets

Ingredients

Scale

Bread Dough:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cranberry Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (if you like things sweeter, use 1/2 cup of sugar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • optional – 1/3 cup dry cranberries

Topping:

  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cold butter and 1 Tablespoon melted butter

Instructions

Bread Dough:

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add the milk and water and immediately turn off the heat. The hot butter will warm up the milk and water. Make sure that the temperature of this mixture is around 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, and not higher than 115 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Pour it all into a large bowl (you can mix it by hand or use a stand mixer). Add the yeast and sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes until it gets foamy. 
  3. Add the flour and salt to the liquid ingredients, using a dough hook attachment, until all the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (If the dough is too thin, add 1 Tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.)
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Cranberry Filling:

  1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, add the cranberries, (you can use either fresh or frozen), brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 10-15 minutes. The berries should “pop”.
  2. Add the butter, lemon juice and walnuts, mixing to combine. Set aside while the dough finishes rising.
  3. Grease a 9×5 inch bread pan with butter or oil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Topping:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping, with one Tablespoon of cold butter. Mix the ingredients with a fork, until you have a crumbly texture. Set aside.

Assembling the Bread:

  1. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 20×10 inch rectangle.
  2. Spread the Cranberry Filling evenly on the surface of the rolled out dough, leaving about a 1 inch border around the edges. (You can also sprinkle some dry cranberries over the jam. This is optional.)
  3. Roll up the dough tightly, starting with the long side. Place the rolled up dough into the prepared bread pan, in a zigzag way.
  4. Melt the remaining Tablespoon of butter and brush it over the top of the bread. Sprinkle the topping on top of the bread.
  5. Place the bread in a warm place to rise, until it doubles in size, about 40 minutes.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven, 40-45 minutes.
  7. Take the bread out of the bread pan onto a cooling rack, cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the bread from the bread pan and finish cooling on the rack. 
  8. The bread is best served the same day, but you can store it at room temperature, covered for up to 2 days. For longer storage, place it in the refrigerator for up to a week. 
  9. You can also freeze the Cranberry Walnut bread for up to 3 months. 

Notes

Instead of the cranberry filling, you can use jam. So much easier and you can use lots of different flavors. 

You can also add some cry cranberries in addition to the cranberry jam. Just sprinkle them all over the surface of the jam before rolling it up. 

Keywords: cranberry walnut bread, cranberry swirl bread, cranberry loaf

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28 Comments

  • Marina Degler

    Wow , it looks butifull ! I just have to try this weekend.
    Just a question……Olga, you from the North:) but do you ever baked pecan pie?

  • Mariyab

    Yummy! I just bought a bag of cranberries now I know what to do with them:) can I use white sugar instead of brown? I’m just out of it at the moment.

  • Valentin Goncharenko

    This bread is so perfectly delicious! The tartness of the cranberries and the subtle sweetness of the dough go so well together!! Fantastic photos!! Keep the awesome posts going!!

  • Deepti

    Hi Olga! I have been following your recipes for some time now. I love the step by step pictorial representation and have tried quite a few of your recipes. This bread looks yummy though I don’t have fresh or frozen cranberries. Can I substitute with dried cranberries? Keep the posts coming!

    • olgak7

      Hi Deepti! Thanks for visiting and browsing through the recipes.
      You probably can use dry cranberries, but you will need to add more water when you’re cooking them. I don’t think the cranberry filling will be as moist, juicy and tart as when using fresh or frozen cranberries.

  • ksenia

    I made this bread yesterday and it turned out perfect…not too sweet and not too tart! 🙂 The best part of the recipe is your beautiful tutorial…it make the baking process very easy! Thank you for all the hard work!!!

  • Lana

    Hi Olga! I just can’t wait to try it….it looks and sounds like out of this world…..might even make it tonight if i have enough time. Thank you dear for another great post. You are a SUPER star;)

  • Anna

    Hi, I was wondering if I could use active dry yeast instead of the quick rise yeast packages? If so, how many teaspoons would I need?

  • Sandi Solomonson

    Olga, love love this recipe and have made this fabulous bread a couple times, question; can this recipe be doubled to make 2 loaves of cranberry swirl bread goodness. Thank you for your response

  • Shirly

    Hi Olga,

    Your recipe looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it, but I don’t have a thermometer. Would the recipe still work/do you have any suggestions or do I absolutely need one?

    I also don’t have a dough hook. Do you have any suggestions for that as well? Such as reserving some of the flour, using a hand mixer until the dough is sticky, and then kneading it by hand with the remaining flour?

    Thank you!!

    • olgak7

      Hi Shirly,
      Bake the bread according to the time I have indicated, watching to make sure the bread looks golden brown. You can also tap the crust; if it sounds hollow, the bread is done. This may be a bit unhelpful if you’ve never done it before and aren’t sure what it’s supposed to sound like. You can also try inserting a toothpick into the center of the bread and it should come out clean when done; however, sometimes with bread, the crust may be hard enough to “clean” the toothpick as you pull it out of the bread, and it looks clean but the bread isn’t baked through. I would mostly go by the way the bread looks.
      You can definitely finish kneading by hand (or even do all of the kneading by hand.)

      • Shirly

        Thank you for your response! Regarding my lack of a thermometer, I was actually wondering if I can heat up the water, milk, and butter without one, because the recipe says to heat it to 120 deg. If I can, do you have any advice on how it should look or feel when it is warm enough to add into the dry ingredients?

        Thank you!
        Shirly

        • olgak7

          It needs to be the temperature of a warm bath, Shirly. It’s hard to figure out the temperature without the thermometer. It’s important that the liquid ingredients not be too hot, or the yeast will be killed and won’t make the dough rise.

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