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Cranberry Wild Rice Bread

This cranberry wild rice bread is SO easy to make and incredibly flavorful. Packed with nutritious wild rice and sweetened by honey, this is going to be a recipe you’ll want on repeat.

Loaf of cranberry wild rice bread on a wooden cutting board with a slice of bread on a plate next to it.

I may or may not have eaten half a loaf of this bread the same day I made it. I could say it was for “research”.

I mean, I eat the things I bake to make sure they taste good before sharing them with the world. But I won’t lie to you. It wasn’t for research. This is a great recipe!

Every year, we go up to the north shore, and on our way back we stop at a lovely cafe that bakes the most divine cranberry wild rice bread. This recipe was inspired by their delicious bread loaves.

If you’re looking for more delicious bread, check out this tahini banana bread or chocolate chunk banana bread. I love these recipes so much and I think you will too!

Looking to make wild rice fast? Check out how to make wild rice in the Instant Pot to see how I make wild rice for this bread!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s super simple to make! No shaping is needed before baking. Simply transfer the risen dough from the bowl to the Dutch oven.
  • Only 2 hours of rise time – You can make this bread the same day. No need to make it the day before to let it rise overnight (though you certainly could!).
  • So delicious! The cranberry and wild rice pair beautifully together and the honey makes it just sweet enough.
A full loaf of cranberry wild rice bread on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredients

Ingredients for the cranberry wild rice bread.
  • Warm Water – You’ll want your water to be between 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Honey – The honey helps proof the yeast and also adds a subtle sweetness to the bread.
  • Active Dry Yeast – Helps the bread rise.
  • Salt
  • Bread Flour – Bread flour tends to have more protein in it and helps assist with a beautiful rise.
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – You’ll add this to the dough and the inside of the bowl that the dough rises in.
  • Dried Cranberries – You could also use fresh cranberries, but I prefer the taste and texture of the dried cranberries in this bread.
  • Cooked Wild Rice – You’ll need to pre-cook the rice before adding it to the dough.

Equipment

  • Large Bowl
  • Stand Mixer
  • Dutch Oven
  • Parchment Paper or Silicone Bread Sling

Step-By-Step Instructions

Yeast, water, and honey mixed together in a mixing bowl.

Step 1: Add the warm water, yeast, and honey to a mixing bowl. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. It will be ready once the yeast bubbles and foams up as shown above.

Mixing bowl with wild rice, cranberries, flour, olive oil, honey, yeast, water, and salt.

Step 2: Add the salt, flour, extra-virgin olive oil, cranberries, and wild rice. Use the paddle attachment on your mixer until the ingredients are combined. Then, replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment.

Dough being kneaded in the stand mixer.

Step 3: With the hook attachment, knead the dough on medium speed for about 7 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can mix by hand on a lightly floured surface.

Ball of dough in a bowl.

Step 4: Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil, form the dough into a ball, and place it in the greased bowl.

Bowl being covered with a kitchen towel.

Step 5: Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 2-3 hours. Or once it has doubled in size.

Dough that has risen in a bowl.

Step 6: Once the entire dough ball has doubled in size, punch the dough down, form the dough back into a ball, and let it rise while covered for another 30 minutes.

Dough in a parchment lined dutch oven.

Step 7: During the second rise, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the Dutch oven in the oven to allow it to heat up for 30 minutes. Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and line it with a silicone bread sling or parchment paper. Score the top of the loaf with one line down the middle.

Fully baked loaf of bread sitting on a wooden cutting board.

Step 8: Bake the bread in the dutch oven covered for 40 minutes, then take the cover off and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. The bread will be ready when the top is golden brown and it sounds hollow if you knock on top of it. Allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool for another 30 minutes before cutting into it. Top a slice with a bit of butter or jam and enjoy!

YouTube video

Storage

Homemade bread is best enjoyed the day it’s been baked or the next day. Store leftover bread in an airtight container for up to 2 days for best taste.

You can also freeze this bread for up to 1 month. Wrap it in plastic wrap, then store it in an airtight container. Allow it to thaw to room temperature before eating.

Top Tips for this Cranberry Wild Rice Bread

  • Make sure your yeast is fresh. This will ensure the best rise for your bread! If your yeast/honey/water mixture doesn’t get foamy within 10 minutes, it’s most likely because your yeast isn’t fresh. I store my yeast in my freezer. You can also store it in the fridge. This will keep the yeast nice and fresh!
  • A warm environment is best to help the dough rise. I store my bread in my microwave or on top of my stove because it tends to be a nice, warm area which is the perfect environment for dough to rise. Cold, drafty environments will make it difficult for the dough to rise.
  • Measure flour carefully. I like to fluff up my flour before scooping it out. Then use your finger or a butter knife to scrape the top of the flour to level it exactly to the desired measurement.
  • If you’re looking for a great way to use this bread recipe, might I recommend making French toast? I made it Christmas morning for my family and got rave reviews! I like to make multiple loaves of bread. One for the same day and another goes in the freezer for French toast! Simply take the loaf of bread out of the freezer the night before you plan on using it and let it thaw at room temperature overnight.
  • Make sure you use straight wild rice–not a wild rice blend. The wild rice blend is a little different in that it includes other types such as black rice and red rice which is not what we’re looking for here!
  • You can also use this exact cranberry wild rice bread recipe to make bread in your average loaf pan (a 9x5inch pan). I line my loaf pan with parchment paper (or use a greased bread pan) and bake the bread at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes covered and then an extra 20 minutes uncovered. If you don’t have a cover, you can use a second loaf pan to cover the bread or simply tent some aluminum foil over the pan. 
Loaf of cranberry wild rice bread sitting on a wooden cutting board with a few slices cut sitting on the board with it.

FAQ

My dough isn’t rising. What happened?

A few things could be the problem. First, you need to make sure your active dry yeast is fresh. You’ll know it’s fresh when you add the water and honey mixture to it and it foams up after sitting in the bowl (per the instructions listed in the recipe card) after 10 minutes. If it doesn’t get foamy, it’s not fresh anymore. You’ll also need to make sure that your dough has doubled in size during the first and second rise. The best environment for this is in a warm environment. I put mine in my microwave or on top of my stove. A cold environment will not assist in the dough rising.

Do I have to use honey or can I use sugar?

The yeast needs to feed on sugar, so you can certainly substitute sugar for the honey. The honey flavor complements the flavor of this bread, but if you don’t have it, you can absolutely use granulated sugar instead!

What if I don’t have a stand mixer?

You can still make this bread without a stand mixer. You’ll just need to use your hands to knead the bread for about 7 minutes instead of relying on the hook attachment of a stand mixer.

What if I don’t have a Dutch oven?

If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can bake the bread on a baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and cover it with aluminum foil by tenting the foil over the bread. This helps produce steam and adds moisture to the bread.

Can I add my sourdough starter to this recipe?

I have not yet tested it with a sourdough starter (though I plan to!). If you do, let me know how it goes!

Cranberry wild rice bread sliced on a wooden cutting board

Cranberry Wild Rice Bread

This cranberry wild rice bread is nourishing, delicious, and simple to make. You're going to love the flavor of this bread!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Rise Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 280kcal
Author: Jamie

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water between 105℉-110℉
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast this amount is also the equivalent of one packet of active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  • First, make sure to cook your wild rice per the instructions on the packaging. I cook mine in my Instant Pot. To do so, I add 1 cup of rinsed wild rice, 2 cups of water, and 1 tsp of salt to my instant pot and cook for 30 minutes. Let it slow release for 20 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing up the rice.
  • To start making the bread, add the warm water, honey, and active dry yeast to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the ingredients together and cover with a towel, letting it sit somewhere warm for 10 minutes. The yeast will be activated and ready once the mixture is foamy.
  • After 10 minutes, add the bowl to your stand mixer, and attach the paddle attachment. Add the extra-virgin olive oil, flour, salt, dried cranberries, and cooked wild rice to the bowl. Mix on medium until the ingredients are combined. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can use a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients.
  • Switch the paddle attachment to the hook attachment and knead the dough on medium for 7 minutes. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough with your hands on a lightly floured surface.
  • Once the dough has been kneaded, coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil (about a tablespoon) and put the dough ball in the bowl. Cover with a towel and let it sit for 2-3 hours or until it has risen to twice its size.
  • Once it has risen, punch the dough down with your fist. Preheat the oven to 400℉ and transfer the Dutch oven into the oven to heat for 30 minutes. While the Dutch oven heats, shape the dough back into a ball, cover the bowl with a towel, and let it rise for an extra 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the Dutch oven from the oven, line it with parchment paper or a silicone bread sling, and dust a bit of flour on the surface before transferring the dough ball to the pan. Use a blade to score the top of the dough. You can add fancy markings or a simple line–either work.
  • Put a lid on the pan and bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove the cover and bake uncovered for an extra 10 minutes. The bread will be ready when the top is golden brown and it sounds hollow when you tap the top of the bread with your knuckles.
  • Remove the bread from the oven. Allow it to cool in the Dutch oven for 10 minutes. Then, transfer to a wire rack and let it cool for another 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

Bread is best enjoyed the same day it’s baked. For leftovers, store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
You can also freeze the baked bread by wrapping it in plastic wrap, and then in an airtight container for up to 1 month. 
If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can also bake this bread on a baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper. To bake, cover it by tenting aluminum foil over the loaf. This helps produce steam and locks in moisture for the bread. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

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