This is a very festive bread, perfect for holiday breakfasts


  • 6 cups (or more) bread flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. quick-rising dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or milk with dash lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 orange, zest grated and juiced
  • 2/3 cup (about) hot water (120 to 130 degrees F)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend (optional, for glaze)


Stir flour, sugar, yeast and salt in large bowl to blend. Add buttermilk, 2 eggs, melted butter and orange extract and stir vigorously until well blended. Gradually stir in enough hot water to form soft, slightly sticky dough. Transfer dough to floured work surface. Knead dough until smooth and slightly tacky but not sticky, adding more flour if necessary, about 7 minutes. Knead in dried cranberries 1/3 cup at a time; then knead in pecans or walnuts. Form dough into ball. Oil large bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

Lightly oil heavy large baking sheet. Punch down dough. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces; then divide 1 dough piece into 3 equal pieces and reserve. Using palms of hands, roll out each of 3 large pieces on work surface to 13-inch-long ropes. Braid ropes together. Tuck ends under and pinch together. Transfer braid to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the other 2 amounts of dough. Brush braids with egg glaze. Let rise uncovered in warm area until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Brush loaf again with egg glaze. Bake until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 45 minutes. Transfer loaf to rack and cool at least 45 minutes before slicing.




Cranberry Braid Bread