My New Thanksgiving Cranberry Bread

This is the recipe I said I would not post. At least, it’s the recipe for the cranberry bread I’ll be serving for Thanksgiving this year.

Three years ago I wrote (and re-posted for the two years following that) about why I never changed Thanksgiving dinner, why it had been the same reliable cranberry bread for years (along with the same turkey, the same stuffing, and the same potatoes), and would be for years to come. It was the recipe from the back of the bag of Ocean Spray cranberries; you could get it there if you wanted it, and I wasn’t about to go messing with it.

So this year, I messed with it, a little. Added some whole wheat flour. Took away some sugar. Made the loaf a little bigger. Converted everything into grams because that just feels better to me. Call it fine tuning.

In the scheme of things, it’s not that big a deal. And by the scheme of things, I mean that for the past year — and for the first time ever in my life – my household has consisted of just me. Throw a new home, graduating from baking school, and becoming adept at toilet repairs into the scheme, and messing with a cranberry bread recipe is just not that big a deal.

It’s all good, because even really fine, reliable traditions can use a little fine tuning every once in a while, and even really fine lives can withstand some major turbulence.  Because even when the bread changes, the house changes, the life changes, and the plumbing breaks, I still have so much to be thankful for. (And if it makes anyone feel any better, I didn’t change the stuffing recipe at all.)

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Cranberry Bread

This bread freezes well. I suggest slicing it before freezing; once thawed, wrap it in foil and put it in a 350F oven for 10 minutes right before serving.

Yield: one 10 x 5-inch loaf


  • Prep and mix: 15 minutes
  • Bake: 55 minutes


  • 169 g flour
  • 135 g whole wheat flour
  • 200 g sugar
  • 6.6 g (1-1/8 t.) salt
  • 2.5 g (1/2 t.) baking soda
  • 6 g (1-3/4 t.) baking powder
  • 31 g butter, melted
  • 55 g egg (one large), beaten
  • 195 g orange juice
  • 6 g orange zest (from one medium orange)
  • 188 g cranberries, very coarsely chopped
  • 65 g walnuts, very coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F, or 325F if you have a convection setting.
  2. Butter a 10 x 5-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. Add the butter, egg, orange juice, and orange zest; stir to combine.
  5. Add the cranberries and walnuts; stir just until evenly distributed.
  6. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top.
  7. Bake for about 55 minutes, until a bamboo skewer poked into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Have a very wonderful Thanksgiving Susan. For our holidays, I like to change a few things and then keep some rock steady. Traditions like your cranberry bread are a wonderful part of the holidays.

  2. Dave says

    Have a happy Thanksgiving and good luck with your new life!

    Plumbing isn’t that hard once you get the hang of it and have good tools. It’s one of those things that makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something big, once you fix the leaks. Kind of like life in general.


  3. says

    Oh WOW! I just stumbled across your blog! Beautiful, beautiful bread!!! I LOVE making homemade bread almost more than anything! It’s such an art and so spiritual and such a thing of beauty!

  4. says

    Seems like just the right time to mess with tradition just a bit! You never know when you’ll stumble on something that you want to make your new standard.
    My fiance and I are having Thanksgiving on our own, without parents or any other family, for the first time this year. It’s a big change but I’m excited to start my own traditions!

  5. Susan says

    I’m going through changes myself, most of which I have no control over. Thanks for reminding me that I too have a lot to be thankful for. Thank you also for the many wonderful recipes, including this lovely looking cranberry bread.

  6. sydnee kennedy says

    Beautiful Susan! I always look forward to your new posts. It was great meeting you and all the other Students at SFBI, your class had a lot of heart!

  7. LindyD says

    Sometimes our recipes and our lives need a bit of fine tuning. I know you’ll have a terrific Thanksgiving, Susan. It’s a good time to count our blessings.

  8. says

    Maybe it’s about taking life back in your own hands one little cranberry at the time (tweaking cranberries scores higher on my list than tweaking pipes anyway ;-)

    Happy Thanksgiving Susan!

  9. says

    Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, Susan. Wish we had that same kind of tradition here in France, where we so easily forget to be thankful (and so often even fail to acknowledge all the things we should be thankful for, busy that we stupidly are to grumble about each and every small annoyance…).

  10. Jan says

    Susan, Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for having met you last year and for your kind instruction at SFBI. My baguettes consistently come out great and I am taking them as my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Keep up the excellent work on this site.

  11. says

    Congratulations, your bread is beautiful….it has caused me to lick my wounds (of past failures) and proceed with wild abandon. ;)
    Changing things up can prove a bit daunting, but we find reserves of strength we didn’t know we had, and just look at that bread:


    Happy Thanksgiving, Susan!

  12. J says

    Time for a change indeed! I’ve never seen fresh cranberries before, nevermind working with them, but I decided to give this bread a whirl last night. I have to say, this is a keeper! Thanks Susan!

  13. says

    Hey Susan! This looked familiar… I made it earlier this week for the first time with a leftover bag of cranberries. Very yummy and perfect for breakfast. I actually found it a bit salty, so next time I’d cut the salt by as much as half. Definitely making it again, so I’m looking forward to trying the whole wheat variation.

    Happy Holidays!


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