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 freshly baked Cranberry Nut Bread is so much more!!
Cranberry orange bread is a tasty treat to cook up for special occasions, holidays or even just a weekend brunch at home. Just be sure to plan ahead to allow plenty of time for the bread to rise!
Once baked, serve it up with a simple smear of fresh butter or cranberry jelly or strawberry jam. It's also tasty with a bit of hot honey.
What Makes Orange Cranberry Nut Bread So Good?
- Great taste! Whole wheat bread really goes well with the rustic cranberry walnut flavor.
- The texture is also king in this bread. Most people have a misconception of what wheat bread tastes like. Let me change that. This cranberry nut bread is light, tender, and so fluffy thanks to my secret ingredient!
- It is a healthy loaf of 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 processed sugar.
- Perfect for the novice bread baker. This recipe will teach all about using wheat flour to produce a delicious loaf of bread.
Let's take a look at what you will need for this cranberry bread recipe. For the quantities, check the recipe card.
- Whole wheat flour: I used spelt flour, but you could also use red or white wheat, kamut, or einkorn.
- Instant yeast: You could also use active dry, but I like the instant here.
- Honey: This is a refined sugar-free wheat bread loaf. Plus honey and wheat make a truly winning combination.
- Orange juice: I learned this trick from King Arthur flour. It helps to cut the tannic acid which sometimes gives the bread a bitter taste. Try it, you won't look back!
- Butter: You can also use oil if you prefer, but I love the rich flavor butter brings to the loaf.
- 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: Added for a bit of sweetness and a bit of seasonal flavor.
- Walnuts: If there are cranberries, there needs to be walnuts!
- Egg: The egg isn't used in the bread dough, but for the egg wash on top. It isn't necessary, but I love the shine it gives the loaf.
- Milk: Combined with the egg and brushed over the top of the loaf before baking.
How To Make Whole Wheat Bread No Sugar
This bread is simple to make through a process called straight dough which means everything is added to the mixer at once.
- Add all your bread ingredients at once to the mixer, except the cranberries and walnuts. Start with the smallest flour measurement as you can always add later if needed. Mix for about 1 minute, then check the dough.
TOP TIP: 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 the dough is overly sticky add one-quarter to one-half cup more flour and then mix again. Once the dough is the right consistency mix it on medium speed for 6 minutes.
- Next, add the walnuts and cranberries to the mixing bowl. These are added last so they don't tear your gluten strands while they are developing (which is what mixing does).
- Then mix again simply to incorporate into the dough.
- Cover and let the bread double in a warm place.
- Then turn it out onto a floured surface 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!
How to Store
Freshly baked bread is best stored well wrapped on the countertop for up to three days. To extend the shelf-life, store the bread in the freezer for up to one month.
When you're ready to eat it, thaw it out at room temperature and enjoy!
There are a few things you need to know about baking this cranberry orange bread with wheat flour.
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 added. 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.
Take the 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!
Follow all my instructions above. Make sure the dough is hydrated enough, mix it well, allow for proper rising time, and bake it at the correct temperature.
The best way is by using a digitial thermometer. Cook this loaf to 190 degrees F, 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 Nut Bread (Whole Wheat, No Sugar)
- stand mixer or you can knead by hand.
- baking sheet or loaf pan
- Digital thermometer
- 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!