I baked two loaves of Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread, one for each of my favorite ways to enjoy breakfast.
The first is in quiet, seated at a bar stool in my kitchen, alone except for my piping hot cup of coffee. The sky is dark, my laptop is closed, and for just one second, I feel like the only person in the world.
It’s peaceful, not lonely, and I am absolutely content for this private moment with a giant, fluffy slice of cranberry orange cinnamon swirl bread. Mouth full, I thank the heavens to live in a world where something this warm and wonderful can exist.
I also smear my slice with extra butter and make a really loud (likely unattractive) MMMMMM!!! noise, since I can benefit from the lack of witnesses. Morning peace is broken. Time for a second slice.
My other favorite way to enjoy breakfast is crowded at a table with friends, passing plates from person to person, and reaching over to snitch just one more slice of cranberry orange cinnamon swirl bread. Smearing with extra butter and MMMMMM!!! noises are permissible in this company too.
How to Make the Best Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Whether enjoyed in a moment of solitude or at a chaotic holiday brunch, cinnamon swirl bread is anything and everything I could hope for in a breakfast when the air is crisp and the excitement of the holidays is buzzing. The dough is lightly scented with orange, and the gooey brown sugar cinnamon filling is studded with chopped fresh cranberries.
If I ran a bed and breakfast, I’d serve lightly toasted cranberry orange cinnamon swirl bread every single morning in November and December, and I’m confident the guests would leave asking for another loaf to bring home.
For the recipe, I adapted my whole wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Hazelnuts, adding orange zest to the dough and chopped fresh cranberries to the filling. The cranberries add a bright pop to every bite and keep the dough from becoming overly sweet.
Like a cinnamon roll, this bread is wonderfully soft with a marvelously gooey filling, but it is far less heavy and more versatile. Though comforting, this bread would work just as nicely to start a work or school day on a happy, productive note (food-coma free), as it would to be served at a decadent brunch, perhaps in French toast form (food coma guaranteed).
Cranberry orange swirl bread is also easier to make than cinnamon rolls, so amateur bread makers, fluffy cranberry cinnamon, carb-a-licious bliss can be yours too!
How to Store Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- To Store. Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze. Cover the bread tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze it in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
More Delicious Baked Goods to Try
- Apple Bread
- Homemade Pumpkin Monkey Bread
- Gingerbread Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
- Snickerdoodle Bagels with Cinnamon Crunch
- Chocolate Chai Cinnamon Rolls
The recipe yields two smaller loaves. Keep one and give one, enjoy one now and freeze one for later, or eat one for breakfast and one for second breakfast. No matter how, where, or with what amount of butter you enjoy cranberry orange cinnamon swirl bread you’ll feel more spirited with every slice.
Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread
For the Dough:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
- 1 packet Red Star Platinum Yeast (scant 2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted and at room temperature
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup buttermilk plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice
- Zest of 1 orange
For the Filling:
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, yeast, and salt. Add the butter, egg, and orange zest.
- Heat the buttermilk and ¼ cup orange juice squeezed from the zested orange to the temperature specified by the yeast manufacturer (120 to 130 degrees F for Red Star Platinum). If the buttermilk separates, simply whisk it back together. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, mix on low speed (or mix by hand with a wooden spoon) until the ingredients come together and form a ball.
- Switch to a dough hook (or turn out onto a lightly floured surface) and mix on medium speed for 8 minutes or knead by hand for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough is soft, pliable, and slightly tacky but not sticky. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, until the dough doubles in size. To check dough readiness, gently press the dough with two fingers. If the indent stays, the dough is ready.
- Prepare the cranberry filling: In a food processor, pulse the whole cranberries until they’re ground and pebbly, but not completely pureed, scraping the machine down once or twice. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set both aside.
- Lightly oil two 8 inch x 4 inch loaf pans. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces (use a kitchen scale if you have one). Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface and pat into a rectangle that is 5 inches wide by 8 inches long. Brush with half of the melted butter, sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture (it will seem like a lot, but pile it thickly), and scatter half of the cranberries over the top.
- Working from the short (5-inch) side of the dough, roll up the length of the dough, jelly-roll style, pinching the crease with each rotation to seal in the filling and strengthen the dough’s surface tension. The loaf will spread as you roll, reaching 8 to 9 inches (the length of your loaf pan). Pinch the final seam closed, then lift the loaf and rock it gently back and forth to even it out. Place the loaf in one of the prepared pans. Repeat with second piece of dough. Mist two pieces of plastic wrap with cooking spray and loosely cover the pans. Let the loaves rise at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, until the dough is nearly doubled in size. (Alternatively, you can let the loaves rise in the refrigerator overnight, then bake the next morning, allowing the loaves to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.)
- Place rack in center of oven, then preheat to 350 degrees F. Place the loaf pans on a large sheet pan, ensuring that they do not touch. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the sheet pan 180 degrees, then bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until the loaves reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees F. The finished loaves will be brown on the top, golden on the sides, and sound hollow when tapped.
- Immediately remove the bread from the pans, then let cool for at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy warm with butter.
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As usual, I baked this Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Swirl Bread with trusty Red Star Platinum Yeast. It’s foolproof, yields consistent results, and most importantly, creates super-fluffy, tender breads every time. For baking tips, check out Red Star Yeast’s step-by-step baking guide, and don’t forget to follow Red Star on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for recipes and inspiration.
I created this recipe and post in partnership with Red Star Yeast. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands and companies who make it possible for me to continue providing quality content to you!