Cranberry Braid Bread

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I get frustrated when my pictures don’t show the food very well. This is one of those times. This bread is beautiful, golden brown braid with cranberry filling peeking out. Use your imagination, because my photography just isn’t going to help you see it.

Oh, and it tastes wonderful too! The recipe is from the Country Living: Country Morning cook book. It makes 2 loaves.

Gather up you ingredients:

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1 12oz package cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/3 cup orange juice

1 1/3 cup water
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
7 – 7 1/2 cups flour
2 packages rapid-rise yeast
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs. finely grated orange rind
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs

Prepare the filling: Rinse the cranberries. In a 3-quart saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the orange juice and cranberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly until the berries are crushed and the mixture thickens to the consistency of preserves, about 10-15 min. Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

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Prepare the dough: Heat the water and butter till melted together. In a mixer bowl combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar orange rind and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the water-butter mixture. Beat for 2 min.

Separate 1 egg, reserving the white for later. Add the yolk to the dough mixture, then beat in the remaining 3 eggs and 2 cups of flour until if forms a soft dough. With a wooden spoon, stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.

Lightly oil a large bowl and set aside. Knead the dough, working in more flour if necessary until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 min. Shape it into a ball and put it in the oiled bowl, turning to bring up the oiled side. Cover it loosely and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or 1 1/2 hours.

Grease 2 baking sheets (or use baking stones). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Shape each half into a ball and let them rest 5 minutes. Use a floured rolling pin to roll each ball into a 14 x 10 inch rectangle and place on the baking sheets. Lightly brush the top of each with the slightly beaten egg white.

Spread half of the cranberry mixture in a 3 inch wide strip lengthwise down the dough. Cut the dough crosswise on each side of the filling into 1 inch wide strips. Fold these over to braid. Cover and let them rise again for 20 min. Brush the braids with the egg white and bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. Brush again with the white and bake 10 more min.

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You can see my dough was a bit too long for the baking stone.

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Braiding is easy.

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I ended up cutting off the ends to make it fit the stone. I have no perfectionist tendencies. Your bread will probably look prettier than mine. I also tried to make a round braid on my round stone, but there wasn’t enough dough to go all the way around. I’ll spare you the picture. It might not have looked good, but it sure tasted great!

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  1. growingupartists says:

    Oh yay, a well-illustrated cooking blog!! I’ll be back to explore.

  2. OOOOOOOO! I would have NEVER thought to use cranberries as the filling. What a PERFECT holiday treat! I’m so intimidated to try a braid, but this one looks just good enough to try. 😉

  3. That looks really nice! I may have to try it cause I just got some fresh cranberries for 10cents a bag at WM and now wondering what to do with them.

  4. The Blonde Duck says:

    Gorgeous! I’ve never made a braided loaf, but this doesn’t look too terrifying. And I adore cranberries!

  5. Ashley @ Domestic Fashionista says:

    You are making me hungry girl! Fabuloso! thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂 Ashley

  6. Tina @ Mommy's Kitchen says:

    That looks so good. I bet it would be good with a powdered sugar glaze on top.

  7. Tiffany,
    Mark loves cranberries. I think he would love this bread.

    I used to have a recipe for a Christmas bread that was braided (it even came on a Christmas card) . It was sort of sweet, but was a yeast bread. It was so beautiful and fun to make. I lost the recipe in one of our moves, and I have been looking for a replacement. I think you just gave it to me. I can’t wait to try it!

    Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas!


  8. YUM! Thanks for a blog with great food and pictures to boot. It helps the domestically challenged, but trying, folks like me.

  9. The peanut butter balls below – yum! One of my favorite treats. I’m so glad to find a recipe for them because I don’t have one! And the cranberry bread…I just want to go eat food now, it looks so good.

  10. That looks delicious! I know exactly what you mean about the pictures not doing the food justice. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today!

  11. It looks great. I wish you would have cut it because I bet you it looks beautiful when it’s cut! Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

  12. Living on the Spit says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just love it when visitors come by.

    By the looks of that gorgeous braid, you are quite an accomplished baker. I love to bake, and quilt, and just stay busy.

    I must now run to the store to get the ingredients for this recipe…looks really delish!


  13. Tabitha Blue says:

    Ohhhhhhhh, what a delightful bread!!!! Perfect for the holidays!! Looks delish!!! I’ll send you my address for a loaf right away!!!! Haha. Thanks for the recipe!!

    Merry Christmas!!!


  14. I think that bread looks delish.
    So do the peanutbutter balls. I used to make those every Christmas.
    My boys get mad at me every year because I haven’t made them for a while. I’ll have to start.
    Merry Christmas to you too!


  16. OMGoodness! That looks SO yummy!!!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Merry Christmas!

  17. Very festive, looks super tasty.

  18. Tina @ Mommy's Kitchen says:

    It still looks pretty and the cranberry filling is a nice change. I need to find some more cranberries and stockpile some bags.

  19. This looks so pretty – I hope you had a great holiday!

  20. Erin, Nick and Merrick says:

    I LOVE how you braided this bread.
    I totally did it to my french bread for Christmas!

  21. This looks simply WONDERFUL! I can’t wait to try it!

  22. The Blonde Duck says:

    Happy New Year!

  23. Word Warrior says:


    hi…stumbled across your blog looking for a picture–you have just the pics I need (and didn’t take a picture of myself!)

    I am writing a new ebook with basic recipes for “beginner cooks” and wondered if I could get permission to use your step-by-step pics of this braided bread recipe.

    I would give you a “photo courtesy” with a link if you allow me to use the pics.

    Thanks so much! (I looked for an email to ask you an didn’t see one)…btw, I’m a homeschooling mom too! Check out my blog if you get the chance. I’m glad I found yours!

  24. Jennifer says:

    Hi! I just had to say that my mother made this bread for years every Thanksgiving when I was growing up after finding the recipe in Country Living magazine (I believe). It was honestly my favorite part of the holiday, so when I found out that she had recently lost her recipe I was very upset. Thank you so much for posting the recipe! now I just have see if I can do it for myself now that I’ve got a family, hopefully I’ll be successful because I’d love to carry on the tradition for my own children!

  25. Have you ever tried putting a glaze on this bread?

    • I haven’t ever done a glaze, but it would be good. An orange glaze would really compliment the flavors. Great idea, Beth!

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