Whole Wheat Cranberry and Walnut Bread, #TwelveLoaves

December days bring a frenzy of indulging in holiday shopping and sweets. It's fun! Sometimes taking a break to savor life's simple pleasures is equally pleasing. Like baking bread. Like biting into a slice of wholesome wheat bread studded with fresh orange, raw walnuts and dried cranberries…

Whole Wheat Cranberry and Walnut Bread

On the rare occasions when the Tokyo skies sprinkled snow onto the train tracks, school would be cancelled. After hearing the good news on the Far East Network radio, I never went back to bed. The miracle of white snow powdering the cement and backyard outside our kitchen window was to be savored. (As was the unexpected school holiday!) To celebrate the special snow day (and to keep warm!), I baked some kind of quick bread.

The concept of baking with yeast was introduced to me in America by a group of Japanese friends who had an an-pan (red bean paste filled buns) baking party. They convinced me a bread baker was a necessity of life. (Not too much arm-twisting was involved. )Thanks to the same friends, I met up with a professional Japanese baker who was moving back to Tokyo. I inherited her bread-baking machine for a small fee.

Soft whole wheat bread filled with cranberry kisses and walnut crunches.

Many moons later, I’m still baking breads. And own a shiny new bread maker. For my first loaf, I made whole wheat cranberry and walnut bread. Despite the cranberries and walnuts, the bread is unsweetened wholesomeness. The crust is firm and the bread soft. Plain, buttered or with a bit of cheese, my whole wheat cranberry and walnut bread embodies the pleasures of rustic simplicity while honoring the flavors of the season.

The Joy of Whole Wheat Cranberry and Walnut Bread. (And cheese!)

If you are craving a fancier bread, scroll down. This month the lovely ladies of the #TwelveLoaves baking group are bringing in December with loaves of holiday cheer. (If you’d like to join, please scroll down for details.) Some of the breads are quite fancy and undoubtedly delicious.

No matter what type of bread you make this season, may your home and hearth be aglow with happiness.

Whole Wheat Cranberry and Walnut Bread

Holiday happiness: Wholesome wheat bread tickled with orange zest, cranberries and walnuts.

This is a bread maker recipe. But, amenable to your standard procedure of knead, rise and bake. (A 350 degree oven for 45 minutes will probably do the trick.)

Adapted from the Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker Recipes Booklet

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (80 to 90F)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1½  tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2¼ instant yeast
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ zest of a small orange

Making sure to maintain the order listed above; place all ingredients except the nuts and cranberries Into the pan with a kneading paddle of a bread maker.  Select the setting for whole wheat bread. When the bread maker beeps (or signals) an alert for mix-ins, pour in the walnuts, cranberries and orange zest. 


#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and run with the help of Heather of girlichef, which operates smoothly with the help of our bakers. Our host this month is Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake, and our theme is Holiday Breads. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves Pumpkin Breads.

If you’d like to add your bread to this month's #TwelveLoaves collection, here’s what you need to do:

Wishing you holiday magic.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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