I can’t remember which came first. Whether I decided to make a savory yeasted cranberry bread and then saw loaves of them at Costco. Or if I saw loaves of cranberry bread at Costco and decided to make my own.
In any case, here is my take on cranberry bread. The combination of dried cranberries and fresh rosemary—both the look and scent—says holiday. I’ve made this bread twice now, and it seems to go with everything. We’re enjoying alongside with our salads. A few nights ago I served it with Creamy Lasagna with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions. We’re loving it toasted with cheese for breakfast too.
Every year I make holiday food bags. Some years it’s spiced nuts, other years it’s granola. This year, it might just be this bread. For those of you on my Christmas list, don’t peek!
- 2 teaspoons dry-active yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup tap water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Cornmeal or semolina for coating the pizza peel
- Sprinkle yeast over warm water; let stand until yeast dissolves and starts to swell, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse flour, cranberries, rosemary, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add cold water and olive oil to the yeast mixture, then dump this liquid into the dry ingredients; process until it forms a rough ball. (Although I usually find this amount of liquid right, add a tablespoon or so of flour to the mixture is excessively wet and sticky. Add a tablespoon or so of water if dough feels hard and dry.) Continue to process until dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand for a few seconds to insure that dough is satiny and smooth. Form dough into a round and place into a large bowl that's been coated with vegetable oil spray; cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place until dough doubles, 2 to 3 hours, depending on room temperature.
- Turn dough onto a work surface. Halve or quarter dough, forming each piece into a ball. Transfer dough balls, seam side down, to a cornmeal-coated rimmed baking sheet; cover with a barely damp, lightweight kitchen towel. Set sheet in a warm place; let dough shapes rise until almost doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1½ hours, depending on room temperature. (The initial burst of oven heat will help the dough finish its rise.) About 20 minutes before baking the bread, heat oven to 450 degrees.
- With a sharp knife, quickly slash each risen loaf about ½-inch deep across the top. Slide risen and slashed dough rounds into the oven. If you have an electric oven, carefully toss ¾ cup water onto oven floor and quickly close oven door to create steam. If you have a gas oven, set a pan of hot water in the oven. Bake until crust is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes, depending on loaf size. Cool bread on a wire rack. (Can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature a day or two or wrapped loaf can be placed in a zipper-lock bag and frozen up to 1 month. Warm room-temperature bread in a 300-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes and frozen bread 10 to 15 minutes.)