Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves

I’m so happy to be hosting this round of Tuesdays with Dorie, and no, that doesn’t mean I’m having everyone over to my house!  It means I get to post the recipe, which appears at the end of this entry.  Thank you for the opportunity, Laurie and Jules!

Although this recipe took about eighteen hours to make, it was worth it.  I started referring to it as my third child because I put so much care into it, making sure to measure exactly, knead lovingly and time correctly.  I even had to take this little baby, still in dough form, to my parents’ house so it could finish its second rise.  (My parents weren’t nearly as excited to see their bread child as they were to see their grandchildren.)

I used canned pumpkin and frozen cranberries, but the egg was fresh from one of Carol’s chickens.

The process itself wasn’t too difficult.  It was just time-consuming.  First came finding the ingredients.  You would think it would be easy to find cranberries this time of year, but I think we were just a little too early.  I did finally find some cranberries at Dominicks in the frozen food section, and I looked everywhere for mini loaf pans, finally settling on some disposable foil ones.

I started baking at 8:00 on Friday evening, and the dough was all mixed up by 9:15.  After waiting until 11:15 for the first rise, the dough went into the refrigerator for a good night’s rest.

It was hard to get all of the cranberries and raisins to mix with the dough, but look how colorful!

I took it out the next morning around 9:00, and brought it to my parents’ house. When we arrived around 1:00, I formed it into loaves, covered it, and awaited the second rise.

The bread rolled out easily just by using my hands and some flour.

At 4:00, I put it in Mom’s oven for 35 minutes.  This was the best part because it made the entire house smell like pumpkin pie and bread.

I couldn’t believe how much the bread rose during the second rise and baking.

We served the bread with a delicious dinner of grilled turkey breast, pasta salad, local corn, and caprese salad made with homemade mozzarella. I love coming home for dinner with the family.  And did I mention it was a birthday celebration for my sister and me?  Double fun!

The verdict: I enjoyed the texture of the bread; it was light and soft, but the cranberries were really sour.  If I made it again, and I probably will, I might use dried cranberries instead.    I brought a loaf of it to my in-laws the next day with some apple butter from my Foodie Penpal, and it was delicious! The sweet apple butter relieved some of the tartness of the berries.

If you are interested in making this yourself, check out the recipe below, or buy the book, Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  To see other bakers’ renditions, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blog.

Thanks for reading!

Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves

Makes 3 Small Loaves

  • 2 2/3 to 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons tepid water (80 F to 90 F)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) pureed cooked pumpkin or butternut squash, fresh or canned solid packed (see note)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 cup plump golden raisins
  • 2/3 cup cranberries (if frozen, thaw and pat dry)

Mixing and Kneading

Whisk 2 2/3 cups of the flour, the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl just to mix; set aside until needed.

Pour the water into a small bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, and whisk to blend. Allow the yeast to rest until it’s creamy, about 5 minutes.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add the pumpkin and egg and beat until blended. Don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled; it will come together when you add the dry ingredients.

Set the mixer speed to low 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 does not come together (it might be because your pumpkin puree was liquidy), add a few more tablespoons of flour.

Mix and knead the dough on medium-low speed for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl and the hook now and then with a rubber spatula.  At the start, the mixture 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 just ball up on the hook. (This dough develops much the way a 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. (Inevitably some cranberries will pop and stain a patch of dough red; think of this as charming, and proceed.)

First Rise

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 in bulk, about 2 hours.

Chilling the Dough

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.

Shaping the Dough

At least 6 hours before you want to begin baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Leave the dough, covered in its bowl, until it reaches at least 64 F on an instant read thermometer.  (This will take as long as 3 to 4 hours–don’t rush it.) If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, look for the dough to be slightly cool and just a little spongy.

Lightly butter three 5 3/4- by 3 1/4- by 2-inch loaf pans.

Working on a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into thirds and pat each piece of dough into a 5-by 7-inch rectangle; keep a short end facing you. Starting at the top of each rectangle, roll up the dough toward you and seal the seam by pressing it with your fingertips. Seal the ends, then place each roll, seam side down, in a prepared pan.

Second Rise

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.

Baking the Bread

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes, or until deeply golden.  Remove the pans to a cooling rack; after a 5-minute rest, turn the breads out of their pans and allow them to cool to room temperature on the rack.


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 temperature.


To use fresh pumpkin or butternut squash, split the squash, remove the seeds, and place, cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast in a preheated 350 F oven for about 1 hour, or until meltingly tender.  Scoop the softened pulp out of the shell and cool completely.  One pound of squash yields about 12 ounces of cooked pulp.

Contributing Baker Steve Sullivan

from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. P 108-109. 1996.

This entry was posted in Bread Box, Tuesdays with Dorie and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves

  1. Judy says:

    Thanks for hosting. I, too really liked the texture of this bread, but found the cranberries too tart. I used ones. If I make this bread again, I will use dried cranberries.

  2. sunshine x 2 says:

    Thanks for hosting! They look delicious and I bet they went well with your dinner. We have been just eating them for breakfast and anytime in between!

  3. cindy says:

    Yes, it was a little labor intensive. But not really a lot of hands on time. We liked it–can’t wait to have a piece toasted for breakfast in the morning.
    Thanks for hosting.

  4. Cathleen says:

    I love your first photo!! Beautiful! I too had a hard time keeping the cranberries incorporated with the dough. They seemed to keep finding their way out! This loaf did make for good toast. Thanks for hosting!

  5. Your breads came out nice and bountiful. And, happy belated birthday!


  6. Thanks for hosting Rebecca. :)

  7. Pingback: From Blase to Flambe « Trumping the Tart

  8. Jill says:

    Your mini loaves look great! I was dismayed when I read the recipe, but I loved this bread and would babysit the dough again without hesitation. I liked the fresh cranberries, but agree that it would be tasty with dried ones too. Thanks for hosting this week.

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  11. Great job hosting! I couldn’t believe the time this one took either but I think that’s just because it sounds so much like a quick bread when you read the title of the recipe. Glad you got to enjoy it with your family!

  12. I completely agree that this recipe was time-consuming! Great loaves, and thanks for hosting!

  13. Pingback: tuesdays with dorie / baking with julia: cranberry-walnut pumpkin loaves « A Plateful of Happiness

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  15. Miette says:

    Thank you for hosting. I love your reference to the “bread baby”, I feel like that too sometimes. Your loaves look great!

  16. Pingback: Baking with Julia – Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bread « alwaysaddmorebutter

  17. Julia says:

    So pretty and tall! Thanks for hosting!

  18. Ckay says:

    A “happy birthday bread”, this is gorgeous! Hope you had a fantastic time!
    Thank you very much for hosting and for the beautiful pictures…
    Happy Birthday ♥

  19. Pingback: Tuesdays with Dorie: Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaf | Salt and Paper

  20. Melissa says:

    Beautiful! Love that you took the “bread baby” to your parents. Thanks for hosting this week!

  21. The cranberries just add this beautiful vibrant color to this recipe. Great post. Thanks for hosting this week.

  22. Elaine says:

    Your loaves turned out beautifully. I also used fresh cranberries and they were a mixture of sweet/tart which balanced well with the currants. It sounds like your family had a lovely birthday celebration for you and your sister. Happy Belated Birthday and thank you for hosting.

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  25. Thank you for hosting, you did a beautiful job. Craisins sweetened my bread prefect and I will definitely use them again! Blessings, Catherine

  26. Thanks for hosting! This was a great recipe- the bread had amazing texture. Yours look delicious!

  27. breaddivas says:

    Your loaves turned out beautifully! Happy Birthday and thanks for hosting!

  28. spike says:

    Thanks for hosting this week! looks great

  29. Beth says:

    Your loaves are so pretty. It sounds like they were worth all that work!

  30. betsy says:

    Thanks for hosting! I just love that you brought the dough with you to rise at your parents. LOL. I felt the same way about the cranberries — too tart and I’ll use dried ones next time. Otherwise, this was such a great autumn treat!

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  36. Alihood says:

    I have made this twice with dried crams are ally good loaf

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