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Two halves of a bread loaf stacked on top of each other.

Cranberry Pecan Bread

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This easy cranberry pecan loaf is perfect for holidays and cozy weather!


  • 9 grams active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 6 grams honey (about 1 teaspoon) (use sugar if you prefer)
  • 300 grams warm water (about 1 1/4 cups; see recipe notes)
  • 400 grams All Purpose Flour (2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups) plus extra for dusting (see recipe notes)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped (toasting is optional but recommended)
  • 8 grams kosher salt (1-2 teaspoons, depending on the brand)


Proof the yeast: 

Mix the dough and first rise (1 hour):

Shape the dough and final rise (30 minutes):

Bake (30 minutes)

Remove the lid and finish baking (5-15 minutes)


Additions and Substitutions. Use raisins or another soft dried fruit (cherries, apricots, figs, etc) in place of dried cranberries here if you like. Swap the pecans for walnuts, almonds, or pistachios. Use bread flour in place of all purpose if you like. Replace up to 100 grams of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour (we don’t recommend using more wheat flour than that as it can alter the texture of the final loaf).

Toast the pecans for extra flavor. If you’re short on time, you can skip this step. But if you have a minute or two to spare, giving your pecans a quick toast in a skillet brings out a TON of flavor! To toast pecans, place the nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook them for just a few minutes, stirring constantly, until they're fragrant and have just barely darkened in color. Let them cool completely, then give them a rough chop and add them to your bread dough.

If you have a kitchen scale, please use it! Measuring by weight is much more accurate than measuring by volume (with cups) and will give you more consistent bread. That being said, you can certainly make great bread without a kitchen scale! To measure flour in cups: If you measure flour by dipping your cup straight into the bag or bin and shaking off the excess, plan to use about 2 ½ cups of flour. If you measure by stirring the flour with a spoon or scoop before scooping it into a measuring cup and leveling it off (the “scoop and level” method), plan to use about 3 to 3 1/2 cups of flour. You can always add more flour if you need to - just be aware that this is a relatively slack (wet) dough, so it will be a bit shaggy and sticky at first (but it will smooth out and become more elastic as it rises and again as you shape it!)

Equipment notes. We recommend a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven for best results. Le Creuset, Staub, Marquette Castings, and Lodge are all good choices. As always, please check the care instructions on your equipment: Be sure your Dutch oven is safe at high temperatures and double-check that it has a metal (not plastic) knob on the lid. We use an 8.5-inch proofing basket, but an 8- or 9-inch banneton or medium-sized mixing bowl also work well for the final rise. Be sure to use parchment paper when baking (not waxed paper). 

Ingredient notes. For best results, use a high-quality flour for this recipe: We recommend King Arthur Flour and Bob's Red Mill flour. This recipe was developed with Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, which is colloquially known as the "least salty salt." If you need to use table salt or another fine salt and you are measuring by volume with a teaspoon, reduce the amount of salt by ¼ teaspoon (if you're measuring by weight, don't worry about what brand of salt you're using - just follow the gram measurements!) 

How warm should my water be? A good rule of thumb is "warm to the touch." Too-hot water (typically 130 degrees F and above) will kill your yeast, but use too-cold water and your yeast will move verrrrry slowly. We like to use water that's between 95 and 110° Fahrenheit. You should be able to comfortably hold your hand under water running at about 100 degrees - it should feel warm, but not hot. Use a kitchen thermometer for a precise measurement if you like!

No Dutch oven? See this post for alternative baking methods (you can still make great bread without fancy equipment!) 

How to store this bread. If you have a full half-loaf left, store it cut-side down on a cutting board on the counter for up to 24 hours (no need to cover it!) Store extra sliced bread in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days. This bread also freezes very well - wrap it tightly and store in the freezer for up to 4 months, then defrost on the counter when you’re ready to use it. 

Want a taller loaf of bread? The mix-ins can weigh this dough down a bit and make it a little denser than other loaves: it won’t be as tall or airy as, say, a loaf of sourdough. Check out our FREE Bread Bootcamp Webinar for our favorite techniques to make taller, airier loaves (one of our favorite tips: Cover the dough and put it in the fridge overnight for its first rise!)

Still have questions? We cover a ton of other info in the FAQ section in our Easy Crusty Bread recipe, and we walk you through everything you need to know about baking bread at home in our Everyday Artisan Bread online course.

Keywords: bread, holiday, christmas, baking