Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whole Wheat Orange Cranberry Bread

I have been baking bread for more than 5 years now. It is 5 1/2 years since I was given a bread machine as a gift. We have bought bread from the store probably 2 - 3 times since then. If I write down all the breads I had baked before I started blogging, this would have been considered a 'Yeast Bread Baking Blog'. I love working with yeast for couple of reasons. It can be made with very less fat unlike quick breads. It doesn't have to be a sweet bread all the time. And mainly I can make any yeast bread egg less without compromising on the texture.
This particular bread is one of my favorites. I have baked this many times prior to starting this blog. For some reason, I had not made this bread for a long time now. I made this couple of weeks back, but before I could take pictures, the bread was cut in a not so nice way that I decided to bake it again.

Whole Wheat Flour - 3 cups
Vital Wheat Gluten - 3 TBSP
Orange Juice - 3/4 cup
Warm Water - 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Honey - 4 TBSP
Oil - 2 TBSP
Dry yeast - 2 tsp
Sweetened Dried Cranberries - 3/4 cup (optional)
Milk for brushing the loaf before baking (optional)
Oil or butter for brushing the loaf after baking (optional)
Mix honey and warm water. Sprinkle yeast on the top and let it get foamy. Set aside for about 5 - 10 minutes until it is ready. Take flour, vital wheat gluten, salt in a large bowl. Mix them and make a well in the center. Pour the frothy yeast, water, honey mixture in the center and start mixing the dough. Add the orange juice and mix well. When all the flour has been mixed to make a dough, start kneading for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Knead in the dried cranberries if using. Make a ball and coat with oil all over. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 1 hour. Dough might not double. As long as the indentation remains when you press, it is ready for shaping.
Deflate the dough and shape into a loaf. Place in a greased 9 X 5 pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap or aluminum foil and let it rise for the final time about 45 minutes to an hour or till the dough comes till the rim of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. When the oven is ready, brush the loaf with some room temperature milk. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325 F and cover with an aluminum foil if the top is getting brown. Bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes or till the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on the wire rack. Slice when completely cool and serve toasted with some butter or jam.

As I said above, adding sweetened dried cranberries is optional. Cranberries and orange go very well together. This bread is quite sweet. Not over sweet though. If you like your bread to be very mildly sweet, reduce honey. You might have to add 1 or 2 TBSP extra water to get proper consistency of the dough.
I am sending this loaf to Susan's yeastspotting.

Counting Calories:
Happy Baking!! Pin It


  1. Lovely bread Champa!! I had been waiting for this post.. I am sure to try this out sometime soon. Why is it OK for the dough not to double for the first rise? And same applies for the second rise too?

    If I am using a smaller tin, how much of dough can I put (since doubling is not necessary), how can I gauge if dough is ready ?

  2. Suma,
    Usually completely whole wheat flour bread dough doesn't double in volume like the white flour one. When you press with your finger, if the dough doesn't shrink back and the indentation you made remains, the dough is ready for shaping. I have used a 9 X 5 pan. This is about 1 1/2 pound loaf. I don't know how big your loaf pan is. You could split this between 4 mini loaf pans. When you deflate the dough and shape rolling it tightly, the dough should be filling just a little over half full in the pan. Hope this helps.

  3. sounds amazing...really u r this one too...

    Tasty Appetite

  4. looks perfect and are an expert!

  5. Hi Baker,

    Thank you for the feed back regarding the messed up cone cake.As I was posting I knew you would be for sure responding to my question. When I looked at the title of your post I thought you were going to be baking a pound cake like bread. They sell the ready made mixes at Trader Joe's during the holidays and we love it. But this is a wonderful looking regular bread. Will try it out sometime soon.

  6. enri full dose of Vit C in bread. Helathy and well baked :)

  7. Healthy Bread and Awesome pic!

  8. Lovely! I make a similar bread that is requested for every holiday get together. Love that orange cranberry combo.

  9. Champa I baked a whole wheat flour bread today but it was stuck at the bottom and sides (I actually had to use a knife to loosen it). I only greased the bottom and sides.

    also the bread rose beautifully 9not to double though) but the baked bread is somewhat chewy...I forgot to bake it after the second rise and it actually rose for near to 2 hrs. could that be the reason?

    also how important is that vital gluten? I dont have any, would we get easily in India?

    Sorry and long comment but I want to make perfect brown bread after baking with flour with an amazing result. but thats not good for health.
    thanks for your patience champa.

  10. Sayantani,
    Vital wheat gluten improves the texture of the bread. It makes it spongier. No, it is not crucial to use when you bake with whole wheat flour. I think your oven could be too hot that it got over baked and got chewy. I can't say without seeing how the loaf turned out, but it does affect if you leave it for too long before baking. Something happens to the strength of the gluten and they weaken. Suma Rowjee of cakes and more has had luck getting gluten in B're. I don't know where you live, but if you do in B're, check her blog for details.

  11. Hi,

    I was referred to your blog by a couple of my co-workers. Thanks to Raji and Sirisha.

    Love your site.

    Baked the orange cranberry bread today. I used fresh cranberries (just added 2 tsp of brownsugar to sweeten them a little bit) and also substituted 2 tbsp of Agave nectar + 1 tbsp of honey instead of all honey. I baked it in my bread machine (that I have not touched for more than a year now). I could tell that the kids ate better at breakfast (although I didn't utter a word about it being whole wheat ;-) to them). Definitely think that the Vital Gluten made a big difference to the texture of the bread.

    Thanks to you for this recipe.


  12. Deepa,
    Thanks for letting me know. I can only imagine. My kids love bread too.


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