The holidays are fast approaching and what better way to surprise your family and guests on Thanksgiving than with this not-so-traditional cranberry yeast bread? Sweet and tart, but also fluffy and soft, this homemade bread loaf only requires just 5 ingredients: bread flour, yeast, salt, water and canned cranberry sauce. Easy, vegan, and perfectly pink. Like the real thing, this bread pairs wonderfully with turkey and the usual Thanksgiving side dishes.
Here's why I love this recipe
- vegan - no eggs, milk or butter required
- only 5 ingredients
- healthier than regular white bread
- sweet & tart, and perfect for the holidays
Ingredients Used to Make This Cranberry Yeast Bread
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the baking aisle, or the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Bread Flour - I used bread flour for this recipe (I use King Arthur Bread Flour most), which I prefer and highly recommend for the best texture and structure. Please read the note on the substitution section below if using other flours.
- Instant Yeast - you can find instant yeast in the baking section near the flours. My favorite is SAF Instant Premium Yeast, which works quickly and consistently produces great results. I recommend using instant yeast over active yeast for this recipe since active yeast (unlike instant yeast) needs to be activated in water, which we don't add until the very end.
- Salt - Pink Himalayan salt is what I have at home, so it’s what I use, but you can use any kind for this recipe.
- Canned Cranberry Sauce (whole berries) - you'll need one (14 oz) can of whole berry cranberry sauce to make this bread. You can use homemade cranberry sauce, as well as jellied cranberry sauce instead, but you'll need to adjust the amount of water you add to the dough ingredients since I've only tried making this with the whole berry canned kind.
NOT required in this recipe: SUGAR and OIL. This cranberry bread loaf is plenty sweet without the addition of sugar. Also, while oil is usually a welcome addition to most yeast bread recipes, I omitted oil here because I found that this cranberry bread takes longer to rise, and fats are known for slowing down the gluten-forming process by coating the protein strands. I omitted the oil since it extended the waiting time.
- I used a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough. You're also welcome to use a bread machine, or knead the dough by hand.
- I used a 9 x 4 x 4 pullman loaf pan for this recipe, which helps to create tall breads with straight sides/ edges that's perfect for baking sandwich breads. If you don't have a pullman loaf pan, you can also use a 9 x 5 loaf pan instead.
More Related Recipes (HERE)
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Cranberry Yeast Bread
Mix the flour and instant yeast into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add sugar and salt.
Add the cranberry sauce and water. Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about a minute, until all the ingredients are combined.
Continue to knead for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
**Additional 1-2 Tablespoons of bread flour (or additional water) may be necessary depending on the protein content of the bread flour, what type of cranberry sauce you used, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen.
Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place the dough in a lightly greased bowl.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.
**note: It’s best if the bread dough is put in a warm place. I placed the bowl inside a microwave oven spritzed with some water. A moist condition like this is perfect for the yeast bread to rise without it drying out. You can also place a bowl of hot water inside the oven so that the steam helps to maintain the humidity and keep the microwave warm. This is especially useful during the winter months, when the conditions are cold and dry.
When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a rectangle, about 18 x 10 inches in size.
Fold the dough into thirds, like folding a letter to fit it in an envelope.
Starting from the long side, roll the dough tightly into a tight cylinder (like a sushi roll or cinnamon roll).
Let the dough rise again for 60-120 minutes until puffy and the bread has risen up to the top of the bread pan. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350F / 180C
Bake the bread for 15 minutes, then cover / tent the bread with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning, and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the interior of the bread reaches 190°F.
Take the bread out of the oven, turn it out on a rack, and cool it to room temperature before slicing.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
Here are some awesome ways you can make this bread your own 🙂
- Add more flavor! Add up to 2 Tbsp of lemon or orange zest to brighten up the cranberry flavor.
- Add more texture! Adding chopped nuts, seeds, or dried fruits or oats is a fantastic way to increase the nutrition and flavor in breads. Chopped walnuts (about ½ cup) goes fantastically with this cranberry bread.
Note on Substitutions
- Instead of the whole berry cranberry sauce to make this bread, you can use homemade cranberry sauce, as well as jellied cranberry sauce instead. But you'll need to adjust the amount of water you add to the dough ingredients. The homemade cranberry sauce will vary so I don't have a recommended amount, but you'll need 2-3 Tbsp more water (or more) if using the jellied cranberry sauce.
- Unfortunately, I haven't tried using gluten-free flours in this recipe. So substitute at your own risk!
- While bread flour is highly recommended, all-purpose flour can be used instead with 1 tsp of vital wheat gluten for every cup of flour.
- Liquid sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey or molasses can replace all of the sugar in this recipe, but it makes the dough softer and more difficult to handle since it contributes additional moisture. Increase bread flour by 1-2 Tablespoons to adjust.
What are some ways you can eat and serve this Cranberry Yeast Bread?
- Plain and warm, right out of the oven
- Toasted the next day, served with orange marmalade.
- Sliced and use for any sandwich - If you have any Thanksgiving leftovers, this is the perfect sandwich bread to eat together.
How to Store
- You can store this bread loaf, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
- For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and freeze up to 3 months, then defrost them at room temperature or microwave before eating.
- Weigh your flour for the best results. 1 cup of bread flour = 120 grams / 4.23 oz. This is recommended since scooping the flour directly from the bag can can pack the flour into the measuring cup, and this means you'll end up with more flour than what's called for in the recipe. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you can measure the flour by spooning pre-sifted flour into the measuring cup, then using the straight end of the spoon to level the flour across the top to sweep off the excess.
- Baking time (as well as serving size) will vary based on the size of your baking pan, the material (silicone vs metal) of the pan. If you're not sure whether the bread is ready, you can insert a quick read thermometer into the bread - a finished loaf will register 190 F (or 88 C).
- To make this recipe in the bread machine: add all the dry ingredients into the machine, stir briefly before adding the wet ingredients. The machine can be set for basic. Check the dough for consistency and adjust by adding additional water (or flour) before the end of the first kneading cycle. If you want to add additional nuts or dried fruits, leave them aside, and only them 3 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle.
Cranberry Yeast Bread
- Mix all the dry ingredients (bread flour, instant yeast, salt) in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Add the cranberry sauce, and water to the dry ingredients
- Start to knead the dough at a low setting (speed 2) for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the bowl and forms a smooth, supple ball.
- Note: Additional 1-2 Tablespoons of water (or additional bread flour) may be necessary depending on the protein content of the flour, the water content in the puree, as well as the humidity and temperature of the kitchen.
- Remove the finished dough from the mixer bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 60-120 minutes, preferably in a warm room**
- When the dough is ready, punch down the dough then remove from bowl. Place on a generously floured surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a rectangle, about 18 x 10 inches in size.
- Fold the dough into thirds, like folding a letter to fit it in an envelope.
- Starting from the long side, roll the dough tightly into a tight cylinder (like a sushi roll or cinnamon roll). Fit the rolled dough into a loaf pan.
- Let the dough rise again for 60-120 minutes until puffy and the bread has risen up to the top of the bread pan. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350F / 180C
- Optional: To add some color and shine to the bread as it bakes, gently brush the tops of the bread with 1 Tbsp of non-dairy milk mixed with 1 Tbsp of maple syrup. (Regular milk or egg wash also works).
- Bake the bread for 15 minutes, then cover / tent the bread with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning, and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the interior of the bread reaches 190°F.
- Take the bread out of the oven, turn it out on a rack, and cool it slightly before slicing. Enjoy!
- Note: You can store this bread loaf, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container and freeze up to 3 months, then defrost them at room temperature or microwave before eating.