January is a perfect time for no-knead cranberry walnut bread

No-knead cranberry walnut bread
No-knead cranberry walnut bread

January here on my little patch of heaven is a slow, cold month a perfect time for making yeast breads. Our current favorite is an Artisan type, golden crusted cranberry nut bread. The bonus is the bread does take time, but not hands on. It’s a version of the famous no-knead bread shared in 2006 by Jim Lahey, owner of New York’s Sullivan St. Bakery. Countless variations exist, and cranberry walnut bread is a stellar example of how far you can go with a basic recipe. And it’s one that a reader requested.

So simple mix flour, nuts, cranberries, salt and yeast in a bowl, then add warm water and honey. No kneading. Let rise for up to a day (that’s where time comes in), and you’re ready to bake. This beautiful, rustic bread begs for a smear of butter, a drizzle of honey or whipped goat cheese.

No-knead cranberry walnut bread

Left: bread baked on sheet pan. Right: bread baked in Dutch oven.
Left: bread baked on sheet pan. Right: bread baked in Dutch oven.

I made two loaves, one in my cast iron Dutch oven (that’s the classic recipe) and one on a baking pan for those of you who don’t own a Dutch oven. Both turned out yummy.


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely

3/4 cup dried cranberries

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1-1/2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons honey


Properly risen yeast dough
Properly risen yeast dough

In large bowl, whisk together flour, nuts, cranberries, salt and yeast. Make well in center.

Mix water and honey, pour into well and stir until shaggy dough forms.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 12-24 hours. Mine proofed for 14 hours. Dough doubles with bubbles pushing through.

When ready to bake, put oven safe Dutch oven with lid (5-7 quart) into oven. Preheat to 450 degrees.

While oven preheats, pour dough onto floured surface.

Fold sides into center to form as smooth of a ball as you can. Dough is sticky. Work quickly with floured fingers so you don’t deflate. Do not knead.

Put dough onto doubled piece of parchment.

Cut an “X”  in top to produce an Artisan look.

When oven is ready, pot and lid are very hot. Carefully remove lid with mitts. Using parchment as a sling, put dough into Dutch oven. Put lid on to develop steam.

Bake 20 minutes. Bread may look pale. Remove lid with mitts and bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown and internal temperature is 200 or so degrees.

Remove bread, peel off parchment. (Parchment may be a bit scorched).

Place on rack and cool 20 minutes.

No Dutch oven?

Ready to bake dough
Ready to bake dough

When preheating oven, place cake pan on bottom rack. Fill with very hot water. This makes steam to form a crusty bread.

Place parchment with dough on baking pan. Bake 30-35 minutes on center rack until bread is golden brown and internal temperature is 200 or so degrees. This bakes up darker than Dutch oven bread.

Change it up

Rita Heikenfeld
Rita Heikenfeld

Use any dried fruit and/or nuts.

Keeps at room temperature, covered, 3 days. In refrigerator, up to a week and in freezer, up to 3 months.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: No-knead cranberry walnut bread recipe