Cranberry-Walnut Braided Bread

Posted by alannak on Nov 16 2008 | Bread

Today, Alex and I became nostalgic for the Sundays when we used to sit around all day, just doing homework and baking bread.

See, we’ve been having a lot of Sundays of sitting around, just doing and homework and NOT baking bread, and they just don’t compare.

Because of the work dilemma, we opted for a recipe straight from Epicurious, our old and faithful source for all things delicious.  This recipe received amazing user reviews, and it’s clear why.  It’s beautiful, straightforward, seasonal and delicious.  I’ve cut myself off for tonight, but I’m already thinking about the slice that I’ll toast for breakfast tomorrow morning.

I’m re-posting the recipe below for your convenience (and ours, as we’ll probably make this again and again).

3 cups (or more) bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 envelopes quick-rising dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp orange extract
1/3 cup (about) hot water (120°F to 130°F)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 large egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in large bowl. Add buttermilk, 2 eggs, melted butter and orange extract and stir until well blended. Gradually stir in hot water until dough is soft and slightly sticky. Knead dough until smooth, about 7 minutes. Knead in dried cranberries 1/3 cup at a time, then knead in walnuts, form into a ball, and place ball in an oiled bow.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and then a towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

Lightly oil heavy large baking sheet. Punch down dough, and divide into 4 equal pieces.  Then divide 1 dough piece into 3 equal pieces and reserve. Roll out each of remaining 3 large pieces into 13-inch-long ropes and braid them together, tucking ends under and pincing together. Transfer braid to prepared baking sheet. Roll out each of reserved 3 small dough pieces to 10-inch-long ropes and braid them together.  Brush large braid with some of egg glaze, and top with small braid atop center of large braid. Brush small braid with some of egg glaze. Let rise uncovered in warm area until almost doubled, about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Brush loaf again with egg glaze, and bake until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 45 minutes.Cool at least 45 minutes before slicing, and serve!


9 comments for now

9 Responses to “Cranberry-Walnut Braided Bread”

  1. Mama Fresh

    That is one scrumptious looking bread. It would be perfect for Thanksgiving…or Christmas…or Hanukkah… or New Year’s…

    16 Nov 2008 at 11:26 pm

  2. mama’s right, i’d take this any day of the week (year round!) :)

    17 Nov 2008 at 11:57 am

  3. Wow, this is so beautiful! How on earth did you manage to braid it so nicely? Great bread for the holidays too.

    18 Nov 2008 at 10:05 am

  4. This looks like a perfect breakfast bread!

    I often get stuck reading the reviews on epicurious and trying to decide if I believe what they say or not!

    18 Nov 2008 at 7:07 pm

  5. This looks soo yummy. It makes me want to fire up the oven. Too bad it’s not too cold here yet. I’m waiting for the frigid weather and I’ll start up the oven for stuff like this. Ever thought of San Francisco sourdough? The starter takes some time, but it’s sooooo good. Hope you guys are faring well!

    20 Nov 2008 at 3:00 am

  6. [...] Cranberry-Walnut Braided Bread ~ Two Fat Als [...]

    21 Nov 2008 at 4:02 am

  7. Nigitstil

    This bread is fantastic! I’ve made four loaves so far for the Christmas holidays for everyone in my family. Its easy, tastes delicious the next day toasted, with butter. Its a wonderful holidays bread. I recommend you try this one for sure

    24 Dec 2009 at 5:19 pm

  8. [...] night I baked this bread with James. He was driving in from College Station to Temple for an interview and stopped by [...]

    05 Mar 2010 at 8:56 pm

  9. KD

    We’ve been making a variation on this bread for 35+ years, for each and every Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner. It was recently suggested to us that we could french-toast it, and we are now considering adding other holidays to the tradition.

    30 Apr 2014 at 5:44 pm

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