Here’s a not-so-secret secret: tart cranberries paired with sweet oranges make a remarkably delicious combination.
So, I give to you, the perfect brunch recipe: Cranberry-Orange Pull-Apart Bread. While the bread was still very good, it would have benefited from juicer berries for more moisture. I recommend re-hydrating them in some orange liqueur, orange juice, or even just some warm water, for about 30 minutes before throwing them into the bread.
Alternatively, you can use some orange marmalade instead of orange sugar for the filling, fresh cranberries instead of dried, or even leftover cranberry sauce.
Cranberry-Orange Pull-Apart Bread
Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves
What You Need
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 4 cups + 2/3 cup all-purpose flour; divided
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 Tablespoons orange zest (about 3 to 4 large navel oranges)
- 1 cup dried cranberries* (see note below)
- 1 stick of butter; softened to room temperature
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange juice
- 2 teaspoons milk; plus extra if needed
How to Make It
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar and orange zest, set aside while you prepare the dough.
- In another bowl, reconstitute dried cranberries (optional, but recommended)
- In a large (8 cup) saucepan, mix the milk, sugar, and vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is steaming. Remove from heat and cool to luke-warm (110-115F degrees), then add the yeast. Stir to combine; let sit 5 minutes to allow yeast to bloom.
- Stir 4 cups of flour into the milk mixture and put lid on the pot. Allow to sit for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, add remaining dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour dough out onto a large sheet of saran wrap and wrap dough tightly. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or up to overnight. (You could also roll the dough out immediately by sprinkling the counter with flour and kneading until the dough is no longer sticky. Once the dough isn’t sticky, cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes to allow the dough to rest)
- To roll the dough
- Pour dough onto lightly-floured surface and separate into two equal halves. Roll one half to a 12 x 20-inch rectangle and cover the other with a kitchen towel to prevent from drying out. Spread softened butter over the dough. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 6 long 2-inch wide strips.
- Spoon generous amounts of orange sugar onto one strip of dough and sprinkle with cranberries, top with another strip and sprinkle sugar/cranberries onto that strip. Repeat until all of the strips are in a pile and covered with sugar/cranberries.
- Slice the strip of dough into 5 4-inch wide strips. Stack strips tall-wise into a loaf pan. It will be sloppy, they’ll flop everywhere, it’s OK.
- Repeat with the other half of dough, sugar, cranberries, and butter.
- To bake the dough
- Cover and let rise 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Once dough has risen and oven is preheated, bake bread 45 to 55 minutes until cooked through. If the top starts to get too brown, lightly tent with a piece of foil and continue cooking.
- Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to continue cooling.
- Mix ingredients together, adding more milk if the mixture is too thick or more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin.
- Those of you who use a thermoter, you want the final temp of your bread to be between 190F and 200F.
- Glaze is entirely optional, if you do use a glaze be sure to pour it on while the bread is still nice and warm.
- You can re-hydrate dried cranberries by covering with water, or another liquid. Pour liquid over dried cranberries and let stand 30 minutes.