If you are looking for the most perfect whole wheat loaf of bread, you just found it. This is not the dry gross bread most people think of when they think of whole wheat bread. No, this Cranberry Walnut Whole Wheat Bread is so much more!!
What Makes This Bread So Good?
I would say the taste first of all. Whole wheat bread really goes well with the rustic cranberry walnut flavor. I used spelt flour in this recipe.
The texture is also king in this bread. Most people have a misconception of what wheat bread taste like. Let me change that. This bread is light, tender, and so fluffy! I have a secret ingredient I use to make it even more awesome. Read about it in the ingredient list below.
It is healthy bread. Carbs have gotten such an undeserved bad reputation recently, but this bread takes that away. Not only is it made with 100% whole wheat flour, but it also has no sugar. Honey is used as a sweetener, but if you want, you can also leave that out!
If you are new to whole wheat flours, keep reading. This recipe will teach all about using wheat flour to produce a delicious loaf of bread.
- Whole Wheat Flour- I used spelt flour, but you could also use red or white wheat, kamut, einkorn, etc.
- Instant yeast- you could also use active dry, but I like the instant here.
- Honey- this is a refined sugar free loaf. Plus honey wheat is really good together!
- Orange juice- I learned this trick from King Arthur flour. It helps to cut the tanic acid which sometimes gives bread a bitter taste. Try it, you won't look back!
- Butter- you can also use oil if you prefer, but I love the flavor of butter instead.
- Potato Flakes- This is the secret ingredient that I find makes the best whole wheat bread. If you have not tried them in bread yet, you need to!
- Dried cranberries- for seasonal flavor
- Walnuts- if there is cranberries, there needs to be walnuts!
- Egg- not used in the bread dough, but for the egg wash on top. It isn't necessary,but I love the shine it gives.
- Milk- again used for the egg wash.
How To Make
This bread is simple to make through a process called straight dough. What it means is everything is added to the mixer at once.
So, add all your bread ingredients at once to the mixer, except the cranberries and walnuts. Start with the smallest flour measurement. Mix for about 1 minute, then check the dough.
The dough should be slightly sticky (tacky), but not so much that it will stick all over your hands when you touch it. I like to mix for one minute as it gives the flour a little time to incorporate.
If you need to, add in ¼-1/2 cup flour then mix again. Once the dough is how you want it, mix on medium speed for 6 minutes.
Last up is the walnuts and cranberries. These are added last so they don't tear your gluten strands while they are developing (which is what mixing does). Add them and mix to combine.
Cover and let the bread double in a warm place. Next, turn it out and shape the loaf. I made a boule (round loaf) with mine. You can also shape this into a loaf and bake it in a pan if you like.
Cover again and let this rise until doubled again. At the end of this rise, preheat the oven.
Brush the loaf with your egg wash, if you choose to use it. I also scored my loaf. Not necessary, but I like to score as a release for gases in the bread, and also for the look of it.
Bake, and enjoy! We love to slather it with a generous amount of butter!
Notes For Baking With Wheat Bread
There are a few things you need to know about baking with wheat flour. I don't think you should feel intimidated about it, but these are things you should know.
Your dough should be tackier (sticky) than it would with an all-white loaf. Wheat flour absorbs more liquid, so needs a little more liquid. The dough should be barely tacky, not super sticky.
It is also really important the bread is mixed for the proper amount of time. Don't skimp on this. At least 6 minutes on medium speed usually does the job! I love my Bosch mixer for this.
Make sure your bread rises all the way before working with it. The time depends on the heat in your house and the humidity. My bread usually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. This doubling goes for the first and second rise.
The next tip- take a temperature on your bread. This is the most effective way to check for doneness on bread. Oven temps variety, as do so many other factors in bread making. So, for perfection every time, I go for 190 degrees on the quick read thermometer to ensure doneness.
I also really love to grind my own grains. If a grain mill is in your future, which I hope it is, Nutrimill is a great brand to consider. I have had mine for about 15+ years and use it all the time!
FAQ Whole Wheat Bread
Follow all my instructions above. Make it is hydrated enough, mix it well, allow for proper rising time, bake to temp.
As noted above, 190 degrees is the golden temperature. I have found this works best for wheat bread.
I find orange juice does the trick! It only takes a few tablespoons, but it works wonders!
More Whole Wheat Bread Recipes
- Cranberry Star Brioche
- Multigrain Bread
- Honey Oatmeal Bread
- Whole Wheat Challah
- Whole Wheat Pretzel Recipe
Cranberry Walnut Whole Wheat Bread
- Stand mixer, or you can knead by hand.
- Baking sheet or loaf pan
- 1 cup warm water It should feel just warm to the touch
- 2 ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 3-4 tablespoons honey
- 3- 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour I used spelt, but you can use white wheat, red wheat, einkorn, kamut, etc.
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 6 tablespoon softened butter you can also use oil if you prefer
- ½ cup potato flakes I buy these at my local Winco in the bulk bin section.
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Add all ingredients to your bowl for the bread dough, starting with 3 cups flour. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Check the dough. It should be "tacky" (slightly sticky) but not too sticky. You can see this in the video.
- If you need to, add in ¼ cup more flour, then mix another 30 seconds and check. If you still need it, add in the last ¼ cup. Just keep in mind the dough should be tacky.
- Mix on medium speed for 6 minutes until the dough is smooth. Add in the cranberries and walnuts and mix for another 20-30 seconds until it is well combined.
- Cover, move this to a warm place and let this double. Mine took about 45 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, shape your dough. I made mine into a boule, which is just like a giant roll shape. You can also just form it into a regular loaf.
- Place on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Or butter your baking sheet and place the loaf right on that.
- Cover and let this double. Mine took about 30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes, make sure and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When it is ready, mix the egg and milk, then brush over your loaf of bread. I scored my bread, and you can as well if you like.
- Move to the oven and let this bake for about 30-40 minutes. I like to check by taking the temperature of my bread. This is the best, most accurate way to check wheat bread. It needs to be 190 degrees.
- When it is done, remove it from the oven. It is best to let this cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing, the bread will continue to bake during this time. I also like to move it to a cooling rack so it doesn't sweat on the bottom.
- That is it and you are done!! Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!