My tastes are funny when it comes to cranberries and the foods derived from them. I love cranberry juice: neat, on the rocks, as a lemon-lime soda spritzer, or with a splash of vodka – pass me a glass. Cranberry sauce and dried cranberries – meh, no thanks. And up until last week, I thought the only good use for fresh cranberries was for a bit of color on a popcorn garland. In short, for the birds.
Then I spotted a recipe for Cranberry Bread next to the recipe for Shaker Daily Bread, and I thought, “That doesn’t sound too bad.” A few days later, there was a great sale on fresh cranberries (due to this year’s surplus, perhaps?), and I decided to give it a go. The price was so good, I almost couldn’t afford not to try it.
I’m glad I did. The bread was wonderful and perfect for the holiday season. It had a nice crunchy crust and a soft, chewy inside that was pretty fantastic. I omitted chopped walnuts, but the original recipe calls for them. I think this bread would be perfect for Christmas morning, especially since you’re supposed to bake it a day before you intend to eat it. With all the hustle and bustle, it would make for a great way to start the day.
Yield: 1 loaf
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
grated rind of 1 orange
fresh squeezed juice of 1 orange
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup fresh cranberries, ground
1. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Transfer orange juice and grated rind into a measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to make 3/4 cup liquid.
3. Add orange juice, egg, and oil to dry ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are moistened.
4. Fold in cranberries.
5. Bake in greased loaf pan at 325 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Let loaf sit for 12-24 hours before cutting.
A few notes:
❄ I used the food processor to grate the cranberries. It was quick to pour them in and let the Cuisinart do the rest. I suppose you could substitute in some dry cranberries, if you prefer, and the bread would be a bit more like a raisin bread.
❄ You could always make this a cranberry-nut bread by adding in coarsely-chopped walnuts.
❄ Even though I used fresh cranberries, the bread came out super sweet. If you aren’t a fan of really sweet breads or would like the tartness/bitterness of the berries to come through, I recommend dialing back on the sugar.
❄ The original recipe said to wait 24-hours before cutting, but I couldn’t wait that long to try it. I’m impatient, what can I say? I think you’re supposed to wait a day so that the bread is easier to cut, but I had no problem at all slicing it 12 hours after baking.
❄❄ This recipe was modified from the Cranberry Bread recipe in Jeff Smith’s THE FRUGAL GOURMET COOKS AMERICAN.