Does the holiday season have you craving belly-filling comfort foods that fill your house with intoxicatingly festive aromas and flavors? Our honey and cream cranberry bread, adapted from Living the Gourmet, is a scrumptiously addictive nibble that you’ll want to make all holiday season long.
The heartwarming smell and melt-in-your-mouth crumb of homemade baked bread is a welcome treat all year round, but holiday-inspired breads are especially cherished for their tugs on our tradition-loving emotions. This honey and cream cranberry bread whets the appetite for holiday cheer and family dinner. Whether you gobble the loaf up all by yourself or share it with others, baking this bread may just become one of your favorite holiday traditions.
Bread-making takes time. Though this yeast-risen bread recipe has only a few ingredients to prep, you’ll have to wait for the dough to rise — twice! Certainly, this is an exercise in patience, but the result is worth every yummy bite. The rich and tender crumb from the cream, along with the sweet hint of honey and the chewy nibble of dried cranberries, will make you glad you waited. When the bread is ready, immediately and generously slather with butter and dig in.
Give this bread as a gift. It’s the holiday season, after all. Spend a weekend baking — and eating — bread, then deliciously surprise your loved ones with a loaf. Once the bread is completely cooled, decoratively gather each loaf up with clear vellum gift wrap and tie a big festive bow around the top. A loaf of home-baked honey and cream cranberry bread will be far more appreciated than a garish fruitcake.
Warm liquid helps activate the yeast in yeast-risen baked goods. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine honey and heavy cream. Heat until the liquid reaches 110F, then remove from heat. Note: Hotter is not better. If the liquid is too hot, it can actually kill the yeast.
Add the yeast
Pour the warm honey cream into a bowl and sprinkle on the yeast. Whisk the mixture and allow the yeast to proof for 10 minutes. The yeast will multiply and create bubbles in the cream as it feeds on the natural sugars in the honey and cream. The gasses created from this reaction will give the bread its rise.
Combine the dry ingredients
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Mix on low to medium speed until combined.
Add the cream mixture, butter and cranberries
Pour the cream mixture into the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until a soft dough comes together. Add the softened butter and mix again until the butter is incorporated. Add the cranberries and mix until well-blended.
Let the dough rise
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover. Place the bowl in a warm, dark place and let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Shape and let the dough rise a second time
Resist the urge to punch the dough down. Simply dump the dough into a greased loaf pan and use a spatula to evenly shape the dough in the pan. Cover and let the dough rise again, until the dough is 1 inch or less from the top of the pan. This can take up to 2 hours on the countertop. To speed up the process, set the covered pan in the microwave with the light on. The warmth from the light will hasten the rising.
Brush and bake
Brush the loaf with the remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Bake at 375F for 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the loaf has turned golden. Set the loaf on a wire rack to cool.
Slice and serve
Lucious and tender this bread will not dissapoint!