Treat yourself this holiday with this festive cranberry wholewheat bread that takes only minutes to prepare while your trusty bread machine does the rest of the work for you. Enjoy while still warm, fresh out of the pan or as delicious toast with butter along with your morning coffee. It's a great way to sneak cranberries into your diet. The ingredients for this recipe are simple and easy to prepare.
In place of sugar, I used buckwheat honey but other honeys are fine. For those with allergies to honey, 2 tablespoons regular sugar is fine. The original recipe called for half a cup of water but I've found that's not enough. Start with a cup and a half of water at room temperature. Pour one cup into the bread pan and save the remainder for later and pour in a bit at a time when the bread machine first begins to cycle. That way, you'll always use the right amount of water. You can also use half water / half milk or full milk. I prefer clean, filtered water for this recipe.
I purchased a large bag of organic dried cranberries from Costco. These are very plump and perfect for this bread recipe. They can clump up so be sure to separate them by hand before adding to the dough. Some recipes require that you warm your cranberries in the microwave or in hot water on the stove beforehand. This step is not needed for my recipe. As for salt, I always add Himalayan pink salt.
The water and honey always go in the bread pan first followed by the salt and flours. The yeast used is 'bread machine yeast' and is always added last. The cranberries will be added later after the bread machine has cycled for a bit and will beep to let you know when it's ready to add them. When it beeps, simply scatter your cranberries over the dough while the paddle is turning and then, close the lid.
All ingredients chosen are organic, non-gmo whenever possible.
2 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup filtered water (room temperature)
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast
Place the water and honey in the bread pan first. I also prefer to add the salt right away to get it to dissolve in the water. Next, add the white flour, followed by the whole wheat flour. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, flatten the surface a bit to cover over the water and then sprinkle the yeast directly over the flour.
On your bread machine, choose the 1lb loaf setting. For crust thickness selection, I prefer to choose the middle setting. There are usually two whole wheat settings on bread machines, including 'whole wheat rapid' which can have a bread ready in under 2 hours. For this recipe, choose 'whole wheat' as it will knead the dough after letting the dough rise a few times. This will give the bread a delicious texture. With patience, the wait time is about 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Once you click the start button, it may not start kneading right away. Keep a close eye for when the bread machine starts to cycle and add the remaining water as needed. Be careful not to add too much water. Using a long wooden spoon, gently push down any flour that may be caught in the corners. I have a rectangular bread pan and find that I have to do this every time I make bread.
The machine should beep a while later to let you know it's time to add the cranberries. If yours doesn't beep, add the cranberries about half an hour after the first cycle and during a cycle. The paddle should be turning when you add the cranberries. The bread machine then does the rest of the work.
When the bread machine has finished baking the bread, immediately remove from the pan and let cool 20 minutes to half an hour. Enjoy a warm slice with butter. This bread can also be frozen by simply wrapping with clear wrap a couple of time yet I recommend consuming within one month in order to preserve and enjoy its freshness.
Although I'm calling this a 'festive' cranberry bread, it can be enjoyed any time of the year. Let us know how your bread turned out in the comments below.
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