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How to Make Cranberry-Walnut Loaf

Why this recipe works Baked goods studded with tart dried cranberries and rich walnuts often grace the table during the fall and winter holidays. We wanted to bring these seasonal flavors to a sturdy yet moist sandwich bread that we could top with the previous day’s leftovers—or just bake whenever we wished to dress up lunch. We cut the bread flour for our loaf with some whole-wheat flour; since whole-wheat flour doesn’t form a strong gluten network as readily as does bread flour, it helped yield the density we were looking for. The whole-wheat flour also complemented the earthy flavor of the walnuts in our bread. We noticed that the bottom of our loaf consistently emerged from the oven dark and bitter, so we baked it on a stacked set of two baking sheets for added insulation, and we raised the oven rack to the middle position for even heat distribution around the loaf. This browned the entire exterior evenly.

  • makes 1 loaf
  • rising time 2 to 3 hours
  • baking time 45 minutes
  • total time 3¾ to 4¾ hours, plus 3 hours cooling time
  • key equipment 2 rimmed baking sheets, pastry brush, instant-read thermometer

how-to-make-cranberry-walnut-loaf

  • 2¼ cups (12⅓ ounces) bread flour
  • 10 tablespoons (3½ ounces) whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1¼ cups (10 ounces) water, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water and pinch salt

1). Whisk bread flour, whole-wheat flour, cranberries, walnuts, yeast, and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk water, sugar, and oil in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved.

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2). Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add water mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

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3). Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, about 8 minutes.

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4). Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.

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5). Stack 2 rimmed baking sheets and line with aluminum foil. Press down on dough to deflate. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter (side of dough that was against bowl should now be facing up). Press and stretch dough into 6-inch square.

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6). Fold top corners of dough diagonally into center of square and press gently to seal. Stretch and fold upper third of dough toward center and press seam gently to seal.

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7). Stretch and fold dough in half toward you to form rough 8 by 4-inch loaf and pinch seam closed. Roll loaf seam side down. Gently slide your hands underneath each end of loaf and transfer to prepared sheet. Reshape loaf as needed, tucking edges under to form taut torpedo shape.

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8). Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rise until loaf increases in size by about half and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

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9). Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using sharp paring knife or single-edge razor blade, make one ½-inch-deep slash with swift, fluid motion lengthwise along top of loaf, starting and stopping about ½ inch from ends.

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10). Gently brush loaf with egg mixture and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake until dark brown and loaf registers 205 to 210 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer loaf to wire rack and let cool completely, about 3 hours, before serving.

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