Moist and slightly chewy this easy cranberry and oat bread recipe is made with hearty oats and has a slight sweetness from dried cranberries. With a perfect blend of texture and taste, this loaf is a comforting treat that is delicious for both breakfast and snacking!
With tangy cranberries and hearty oats, this cranberry and oat bread is not only delicious with every bite but the added toasted oats on top making it visually stunning as well! It’s the perfect seasonal bread for fall or winter baking, although you could make it year-round, too!
As the oat bread bakes it will fill your kitchen with the best aroma and when served warm with a slather of butter, it’s almost as if a bakery has magically appeared in your kitchen. Serve it for breakfast, for snack or even as part of your charcuterie with some blue cheese.
Adding oats to baked goods adds flavor, texture and extra nutrition, too! Other recipes with oats to try this season include molasses brown soda bread, apple baked oatmeal and old-fashioned oatmeal raisin cookies.
Table of Contents
Why You Will Love This Bread Recipe
- Homemade bread: There is nothing better than a loaf of home-baked bread and this one looks like it came from your favorite bakery!
- It makes two loaves: Eat one now, freeze one for later or gift one to a friend or neighbor! It would be perfect to have one on hand for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Hearty oats: The addition of oats results in a moist loaf, adds softness to the bread and the oats on the top adds a crunchy texture, too!
- Flavorful: The tart cranberries pair well with the earthy oats for the most delicious combination of flavors.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make this Cranberry and Oat Bread
- Lukewarm water: Your water should not be ice cold nor hot to the touch. The ideal temperature should be between 115-130°F to activate the yeast. Use an instant read thermometer if needed.
- Active dry yeast: This is different from instant yeast so be sure to use the correct kind.
- Bread flour: Bread flour is not all-purpose flour. Bread flour has a higher protein content which gives the bread strength, a high rise and chewy texture.
- Oats: You will need either porridge oats or quick oats. This is different from instant oats, so be sure to read the label carefully.
- Dried cranberries: Adds sweet flavor and a great color to the bread!
- Salt: This adds taste, aids in strengthening the yeast and helps the bread rise.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is best in baking. Your butter will need to be cut into pieces and at room temperature.
Variations to Make it Your Own
- Nuts: Add up to ½ cup chopped crunchy walnuts or pecans would turn this into a cranberry and walnut bread recipe! Seeds such as pepitas or sunflower seeds could also be used.
- Orange zest: ½ teaspoon of orange zest can add a burst of citrus taste as well as a small amount of orange juice.
Other dried fruit: Try it with dried raisins or dried cherries.
- Warm spice: Up to two teaspoons of cinnamon can be added or up to a ½ teaspoon of cardamom
- Sweeter: For a sweeter cranberry oat bread add up to ⅓ cup brown sugar or honey.
How to Make Cranberry and Oat Bread
Activate yeast: In a large bowl of a stand mixer, add the lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes then combine yeast and water.
Make bread dough: To the mixing bowl, add the bread flour, oats, drained cranberries and salt. Using the flat paddle attachment, mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until the mixture begins to come together. Add the butter then mix again into a rough dough.
Knead: Place dough onto a clean flat surface and knead for 8 minutes. Your dough will be sticky, do not add extra flour.
Cover and 1st rise: Form dough into a ball, place into the bowl. Sprinkle the top with flour, cover with a clean towel and let it rest at room temperature for 1-1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
Divide dough into two halves: After the dough has doubled, dust the top of the dough lightly with flour and turn the dough upside down onto a flat surface so that the sticky side is up. Flatten the dough gently and divide it in half. Roll each piece of dough into a ball.
Rest dough and prepare pans: Dust the bread tops with flour, cover again with a cloth and let rest for 15 minutes. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Form into two loaves: Lightly dust a flat surface with flour. Flip the dough ball so that the floured surface is on bottom then flatten the dough into a circle and stretch the dough sideways. At an angle, fold one side ⅔ of the way over the dough and the other side in the same way so that it overlaps the first fold in the shape of an “A”. Roll up the dough from the point towards you tightly and press the seam to stick it together then turn dough over seam side down.
Place loaves on prepared baking sheets: Brush top of the loaf with water and sprinkle with oats. Using a sharp knife, make 5-6 diagonal cuts across each loaf and place them on the prepared baking pan.
2nd rise: Cover the loaves with a cloth and let them rest for 1-1½ hours.
Bake: Place a baking dish on the lower rack of the oven and add boiling water to it. Place the loaves on the middle rack and bake at 425°F for 40-45 minutes or until a golden brown color. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Soak your dried cranberries: Soaking your dried cranberries keeps them plump and moist in this bread recipe! To soak, add to a medium sized bowl. Cover with boiling water for 20-30 minutes then drain.
- Don’t add extra flour: If the dough is sticky resist the urge to add additional flour. Oatmeal based yeast breads tend to be more moist.
- No mixer: While a mixer is best for kneading the dough, you can use your hands. Oil them well to prevent sticking.
- Baking scale: For the dry ingredients, I have provided the weight measurements. When baking bread, weighing ingredients on a kitchen scale provides the best accurate measurement.
Store your cranberry and oat bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, wrap the bread, place it in a freezer safe container and store frozen for up to 2 months. Since this bread makes two loaves, it’s great to always have one on hand in the freezer!
Can I use instant yeast in this cranberry oatmeal yeast bread recipe?
While I have not tested it, you may be able to use it. You will not need to activate the yeast as listed in step 1. Add the warm water and instant yeast and mix as directed in step 2.
Do I have to use bread flour?
Bread flour is best for this recipe as it has a higher protein content and is able to develop more gluten during the kneading process. This leads to a cranberry and oat bread that will rise high while baking and have more chew when taking a bite.
You might be able to make your bread flour at home by measuring out one cup of all-purpose flour, removing 1 ½ teaspoons of the flour and adding in 1 ½ teaspoons of vital wheat gluten. I have not tested this method.
Can I bake the bread in a loaf pan?
This may work, you will want the loaves to do the 2nd rise in the pan though to make it easier. After step 8, stretch and pat the dough into two rectangles which are around 8-inches long and 4-inches wide. Bring the sides of each rectangle together in the middle, pinch them together, then place seam-side down into a prepared loaf pan and follow the steps to make the slits on top of the bread, add oats then rise and bake.
How to serve cranberry oatmeal bread?
Enjoy a slice of the bread with a spread of butter, honey or even honey butter. It’s delicious toasted and served warm. Leftovers of this bread would make the most delicious bread pudding or French toast.
More Yeast Bread Recipes
Easy Cranberry and Oat Bread Recipe
- 1¼ cups + 1 ½ tablespoons Lukewarm water (325 grams total)
- 4 teaspoons Active dry yeast
- 4 cups Bread flour
- ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons Oats -porridge or quick (75 grams total)
- 6 tablespoons Dried cranberries**
- 1½ teaspoons Salt
- 1 tablespoon Butter – room temperature and cut into pieces
**In a medium bowl add the dried cranberries, cover with boiling water and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Drain well before using.
- In a large bowl, add the water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes then stir together.
- Add the flour, oats, cranberries and salt then mix by hand, with a dough scraper, or in a standup mixer with flat beaters until mix starts to come together. Add the butter and mix again into a rough dough.
- Transfer the dough onto a clean flat surface and knead again for 8 minutes without any extra flour.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Sprinkle the top with a bit of flour, cover with a cloth and let it rest at room temperature for 1-1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
- Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour and turn the dough upside down onto a flat surface. Sticky side up.
- Flatten the dough gently with your fingertips and cut it in half. Fold and roll each piece of dough into a ball.
- Dust the tops with flour, cover with a cloth and let them rest for 15 minutes to spread lightly. In the meantime line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- Lightly dust a flat surface with flour, working with one dough ball at a time, flip the ball so that the sticky side is up and the floured side is on the flat surface.
- Flatten the dough into a circle and stretch the dough sideways. At an angle, fold one side ⅔ of the way over the dough and the other side in the same way so that it overlaps the first fold in the shape of an "A". Roll up the dough from the point towards you tightly and press the seam to stick it together. Turn the dough over seam side down.
- Brush the top of the loaves with water and sprinkle with oats. Make 5-6 diagonal cuts across each loaf and place them on the prepared baking sheets. If there are any wet patches, let them dry or dust with some flour.
- Cover the loaves with a cloth and let them rest for 1-1½ hours. Pre-heat the oven to 425F (200C) and place a baking dish on the lower rack of the oven. Boil some water. When the oven is ready, pour the water in the baking dish and place the loaves on the middle rack. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until they become a nice golden brown color. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before cutting them. Enjoy!