Orange Cranberry Holiday Bread has layers of sweet cranberry, pecan, and brown sugar filling woven throughout tender, orange-scented bread. Try it on a holiday morning or afternoon with a cozy cup of something warm.
Makes one loaf
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cool water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon orange flavoring
zest of one large orange
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled
sparkling sugar, for sprinkling top of loaf
1. To make the bread: Combine the starter ingredients, cover, and leave at room temperature overnight.
2. The next day, mix the starter with the dough ingredients (except the reserved egg white), kneading until elastic and satiny (about 5 minutes in a stand mixer). Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in the bowl, then turn the dough over so that the top is greased. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours (depends on how warm the room is).
3. When the dough is almost risen, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, mix the cranberries, pecans, and brown sugar together. Drizzle with the melted butter and mix well. You will have a somewhat loose, wet, sandy texture. Set aside.
4. Punch the dough down, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into three equal pieces and flatten each piece into a rectangle about 4" by 12". If the dough is springy and difficult to flatten, get it as far as you can, let it rest for a couple of minutes, and then try again.
5. Sprinkle each rectangle of dough with a third of the filling, keeping it in a long strip down the middle of the dough. Starting with a long edge, fold each rectangle over in half, encasing the filling. Pinch to seal and lay seam side down.
6. You now have three, 12" long ropes of filled, sealed dough. Put the three ropes together, pinch the tops together, and braid. Tuck ends under.
7. Spray a 9" or 10" loaf pan with cooking spray. (An 8" X 4" loaf pan will be too small). Carefully transfer braid to pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours; it will depend on the temperature of the room. NOTE: You can let the braid rise on, and then bake on, a greased cookie sheet. It will be a little larger and flatter than if baked in a pan.
8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush top of risen braid with reserved egg white, then sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
9. Bake the braid for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool before cutting.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.
Orange Cranberry Bread was baked for World Bread Day. Hundreds of bloggers from all around the world bake bread for this special day. It's a day to have fun and unite with other home bakers, but it’s also a day to honor our daily bread, to be grateful to have enough food, and to heighten awareness of world hunger.
You can find out more about World Bread Day here: