Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves

"I love, love, love this bread! The ingredients may seem sweet to you, but it really isn't. It's a little spicy, a little sweet, a little savory. I made my first batch when I was pregnant, ate one entire loaf right out of the oven, and then started another batch that same day so I wouldn't run out! I couldn't stop eating it, it's that good. It does require some long rising times, but the actual work you put into it is minimal. You need to allow 2 full days to make this bread. You will be rewarded, though - it's incredible. From Baking with Julia, my favorite baking book..."
photo by wicked cook 46 photo by wicked cook 46
photo by wicked cook 46
Ready In:
24hrs 55mins
2 loaves




  • Note: This bread has an overnight rise.
  • [b]Mixingand Kneading[/b]: whisk 2 2/3 cup flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  • Set aside.
  • Sprinkle the yeast on the water and allow to bloom about 5 minutes.
  • In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light.
  • Add the pumpkin and egg and beat until well blended.
  • Don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled.
  • Set the mixer to low speed and add the yeast, then begin to add the dry ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time.
  • As soon as the mixture starts to form a dough that comes together, scrape the paddle clean and switch to the dough hook.
  • If your dough doesn't come together (it might be because the pumpkin had too much liquid) add a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it does.
  • Mix and knead the dough on med-low spped for 10-15 minutes, scraping down the bowl and dough hook now and then.
  • At the start, the dough will look more like a batter than a dough, but as you continue to work, it will develop into a soft, very sticky dough that will ball up on the hook.
  • The dough develops much the way brioche does.
  • With the machine on low speed, add the walnuts and raisins, mixing only until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Add the cranberries and mix as little as possible to avoid crushing them, although some cranberries will pop and stain a patch of the dough red; think of this as charming and proceed.
  • [b]FirstRise[/b]: scrape the dough into a lightly buttered large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to rise until nearly doubled- 2-3 hours.
  • [b]Chillingthe dough[/b]: when the dough has doubled, fold it over on itself a couple of times to deflate it, wrap it tightly in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  • [b]Shapingthe dough[/b]: at least 6 hours before you want to begin baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator.
  • Leave it covered, in its bowl, until it reaches at least 64 degrees F.
  • on the insta-read thermometer.
  • This will take as long as 3-4 hours- don't rush it.
  • If you don't have an insta-read, look for the dough to be slightly cool and just a little spongy.
  • Lightly butter 2 loaf pans.
  • Working on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half and pat each piece of dough into a rectangle, keeping the short end facing you.
  • Start at the top and roll the dough toward you and seal the seam by pressing it with your fingertips.
  • Seal the ends, then place each roll in the pans, seams down.
  • [b]SecondRise[/b]: cover the pans lightly with a kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the dough has nearly doubled.
  • It will rise to just above the rim of the pans.
  • [b]Baking[/b]:preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake about 50-55 minutes or until deep golden.
  • Remove the pans to cooling racks.
  • After resting 5 minutes, turn the loaves out of the pans to cool to room temp.
  • The breads can be kept at room temperature for a day or two or frozen, wrapped airtight, for up to 1 month.
  • Thaw, still wrapped, at room temp.
  • NOTE 1: I have made this bread in small loaf pans and given them as gifts.
  • They will bake in about 30 minutes if formed into the small loaves.
  • NOTE 2: The rising times are approximate.
  • They definitely rise on the longer side of the time-table, but whatever you do, dont' rush the rising.
  • Give yourself 2 full days to make this.
  • But- the result will be totally worth it.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Petit Four, I love this bread, too!!! These loaves are delicious and so moist and tender from the pumpkin, with really a surprising final flavor that has just a bare hint of sweetness. I really enjoyed the tart explosions of the whole cranberries. As always, your directions are flawless.
  2. I was going to post this recipe but it was already up! This is the best bread I've ever made. The texture is so soft and fluffy--it really is a lot like brioche. I had some difficulty mixing in the cranberries/walnuts/raisins, and I think the bread would be delicious even without these additions (if I had to pick one I would leave in either the cranberries or the raisins). I made one full-sized loaf and 6 large muffin-sized "loaves", and I must say I actually prefer the muffins and would likely make them all this way next time. Great recipe from a great book (if you don't have Baking with Julia you should definitely get it!). Thanks for posting so I don't have to!
  3. Delicious. I was having a hard time with rising but my kitchen was very cold. Very different yet very good bread. DH had some toasted and said YUM. Made for Iron Chef SI Cranberries



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