Incorporating dried fruit, nuts, or herbs into stored dough: Thanksgiving Cranberry Corn Bread


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Read on for a discussion of how to roll things into stored dough.  It works the same whether you’re rolling in dried fruit, nuts, or even herbs…

Before I launch into our Thanksgiving Cranberry Corn Bread, Zoe and I want to thank everyone who posted their bread stories into our blog this past week.  Hearing other people’s stories about their bread has been the best part of doing this website. Kelly (see the post from 11/11) is the first winner of the signed book.  Kelly does not use her bread machine and loves giving bread away.  Bravo.   Beth, who posted on 11/14, is the 2nd winner– a working mom with an active blog of her own.   We’ll be in touch with both of you.

This week’s bread is a yeasted corn bread adapted for American Thanksgiving but based on the Portuguese Broa style (page 146 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day).  It’s basically our regular Master Recipe, but with 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour taken out and replaced with an equal amount of cornmeal.

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

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The Thanksgiving recipe’s on page 86, but here’s what you need to do.  Take about 2 pounds of the Broa dough mentioned above and shape it into a ball; then flatten it with your hands and a rolling pin until it’s about 1/2-inch thick.  Sprinkle the dough with 1/3 of a cup of dried cranberries (or 1/2 cup fresh):


Now break out your microzester, and use it to scrape the zest from half an orange…


… now sprinkle that over the cranberries, and then sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar over that…


Now roll it up like a jelly roll… If it sticks to the board as you’re rolling, nudge it off with a dough scraper.


Tuck the ends under to form a ball, flatten it on a work surface, and then, using your hands and a rolling pin, make a disk the right size for a 12-inch cast iron pan.  It should be about an inch or inch and a half thick.   If you don’t have a cast-iron pan, see below.**  This instruction applies to this flattened thanksgiving bread only; you can make loaf breads this way too (freeform or in a pan).

Grease the pan well with butter, lard, bacon grease, or oil (I used olive oil today), and place the dough round in it.


Allow to rest for at least 1 hour and 20 minutes.  You’ll get a more open hole structure if you wait two hours.

Put a broiler tray in the oven to dump water to make steam.  20 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F if you keep a baking stone in the oven.  If you don’ t use a stone, a 5-minute pre-heat is adequate (the stone isn’t required since you’ll bake in the cast-iron).

Just before baking, heat the cast-iron pan over medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes to jump-start the baking process and promote caramelization of the bottom crust.  Don’t overdo it–no more than 2 minutes.  It will start to sizzle.

Place the pan on a rack near the center of the oven.  Pour 1 cup of water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door.  Depending on the thickness of your loaf and the weight of the pan, baking time will be about 25 minutes.

Carefully turn the hot loaf out of the pan onto a serving plate or cooling rack, or just cut wedges directly out of the pan once it cools.  Be careful with the hot cast-iron pan!

You should get a result just like the cover photo.  Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks again to all of you who participated in the drawing.

And I guess if this is kinda-sorta Thanksgiving, maybe we should let you know about Holiday sales.  Retailers are going to be discounting heavily this season because of the economic slowdown.  So Amazon is having a Home and Garden Markdown… it’s not all Kitchen stuff but there are some interesting things on the list.  Good luck!


** This bread can be done as a simple free-form loaf right on a baking stone, cookie sheet, or silicone mat (about the same baking time, or in a loaf pan (longer baking time needed).  Either way, it’s done at 425 degrees.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Join us on Twitter to keep in touch anytime

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106 thoughts on “Incorporating dried fruit, nuts, or herbs into stored dough: Thanksgiving Cranberry Corn Bread

  1. I can’t believe I won – I’m beyond thrilled. Thank you both so much!

    This recipe looks delicious and gives me a great excuse to use my neglected cast iron skillet.

  2. I love coming to your website because it encourages me to try yet another bread! The regular repertoire always includes the master boule, deli rye and light wheat – it’s fun to see your photos and then try a new bread.

  3. Thanks Lu! Believe it or not, all that cornmeal doesn’t make this heavy. Let us know what you think.

    Kelly– your book needs to get signed by Zoe too, then off on Priority Mail– hope you enjoy it.


  4. Our Portuguese Broa is rather heavy, and definitely gives a lot of work to get it right. This sounds like a much lighter yummy version!

    Congrats to the winners! 😀

  5. Thanks for visiting all the way from Portugal, Suzana. Though you’re making me nervous 🙂 it’s like when the French evaluate our baguette! Please let us know if you make it, if you have any suggestions. Jeff

  6. Hi Jeff and Zoe,

    I did my first demonstration of your bread recipe and I’ve posted it on my blog (along with an explanation of WHY (lol!) I have linked back to you, heavily. It was a HUGE success and I’m so excited to my next one. I hope you have a moment to check it out – please let me know if you have any suggestions!


  7. Thanks Barb, what a great website you have. There are a few others teaching others based on our book, and some people are even baking carloads of bread this way and selling them at farmer’s markets. But your site documents it the best! Jeff

  8. News alert…It is possible to make bread in a grill pan.
    We just redid our kitchen and I still can’t find all my pots and pans. I wanted to make this bread to bring to our neighbors but could not find the 12-inch cast iron. I didn’t want to recalucualte the amounts for a 10-inch pan so I used the cast iron grill pan. If you don’t mind a funny looking bottom crust the grill pan works just fine. Oh, and the bread tastes good, too.

  9. My family usually doesn’t like cornbreads because they are too dry and crumbly. I tried this recipe and shaped it into a boule. It was a BIG hit at Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks!
    I love your book and tell all my friends. I even went to one friends house and mixed the first batch for her to show her how easy it is. I can’t wait for your whole grain book!

  10. This bread was incredible! It is also a wonderful breakfast treat toasted with a little butter! Your website and your book have been so inspiring! I can’t wait for your next book!!!!!

  11. Thanks Pamela, glad you enjoyed it. Our next book, well it’s only 35 days to book deadline, but then almost another year till release. It’s a relatively slow business. Jeff

  12. Wish I’d read this before making it from the book yesterday. You say to use 3 tablespoons of butter/grease/oil. So I did. It was hard to put that much in, so I reduced it to about 2.5 and even that was way, way too much. The bottom of the bread is almost-disgustingly greasy.

    I couldn’t get my dough to fill the pan and the cranberries poked through the top when trying to push it flatter (I used fresh ones). I let it rest for nearly 2 hours. I also let it rest a bit when I doing the initial patting out–hard a hard time there as well. Any tips?

  13. First, just reduce the butter or whatever you used, to your taste.

    What was the problemw with the resting time, the cranberries etc?

  14. I love the broa as a nice, hearty bread, or better yet as a pizza crust, but this is the first recipe from your book that I thought was terrible! I didn’t think the cranberries and orange went with the cornbread at all; perhaps if it was sweeter like American-style cornbread. I did, however, try out this recipe with brioche dough instead and it was wonderful, the best-tasting bread I’ve ever made. The real delight of your book is how simple it is to adjust recipes to individual tastes.

    1. Hi Steve,

      That is exactly what we hoped people would do, play with the dough and create their own breads. When you have a big bucket of dough you are more inclined to create new taste combinations. Sorry you didn’t care for the broa version, but I’m thrilled about the bread you made with the brioche!

      Thanks, Zoë

  15. I baked your yeasted Thanksgiving bread in a Le Creuset pate terrine on Thanksgiving morning & it was the hit of our family dinner.
    The next day my 85-year old mother-in-law said that the only thing she wants for Christmas is for me to bake her some more of that bread!

    I discovered your first book this summer when I was sitting around the house recovering from spine revision surgeries. I can’t bend or lift & have a lot of other restrictions. My husband would put everything out on our kitchen counter & I’d bake away. I’m working my way through the first book & the second one just arrived. My family & co-workers thank you!

  16. Not sure if this is the right place to ask this question … I want to use the potatoes I have on hand to make some bread. (yes it is St. Pat’s day). The 2 recipes in your ‘Healthy’ book call for raw potatoes cut into 1/4″ pieces. Other recipes call for cooked/mashed potatoes. Do the potatoes in your recipes cook well and become soft in the loaf – and if I were to use mashed/riced potatoes, what is you advice?

    1. Hi Mary Anne,

      Some of the recipes call for cooked mashed potatoes and others for raw diced ones. The raw potatoes are cut small enough that they soften up beautifully while the loaf is baking. The difference in the loaves is the texture. The loaf with the mashed potato is a very hearty loaf with a smooth texture. The other has the chunks of potato throughout. Both ways are great!

      You can experiment adding the riced potato to your recipe, but not too much or it will make the loaf too dense. You may have to add a bit more Vital Wheat Gluten and perhaps more water to get the texture you want?

      Thanks and happy baking! Zoë

    1. Hi Brooke,

      We have several loaves that feature onions in the dough, but generally they are added to the dough after it is mixed. The only one I can think of that has raw onions is the beet bread in HBin5. Hmmmm, an idea for the next book! 😉

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. I added dried rosemary to an original boule, and the bread was delicious. I would like to make this dough into dinner rolls, but I’m not how long to let the rolls rest, or to bake. Any suggestions for making rolls from the “original” and healthy bread doughs will be greatly appreciated.

    By the way, I’m still playing with the various doughs … sometimes they rise beautifully, sometimes not so much. No problem, though, since they are all delicious, even if a little flat!

  18. I just got back from Norway, where the bread is fantastic! Whole wheat with lots of seeds. Can you tell me the best way to incorporate seeds into your bread dough? I just bought the Artisan Bread book, but haven’t started baking yet.

    1. Hi Angie,

      You can either roll the seeds into the dough as we’ve done in this post or your can mix them in the dough when you are first stirring it together. If you choose to add them in at the beginning be sure not to add so many seeds that it will interfere with the doughs ability to rise and stretch. In our second book we have a wonderful seeded bread that you may be interested in taking a look at.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  19. Good morning Jeff and Zoe. I have some leftover buttermilk dough (about 1 and 1/2 pounds ) I was thinking about making it into a granola bread. What do you think and since the dough is already mixed, would I have to make a roll and spread it out OR can I mix the granola into the raw dough and give it a greater resting time? Please help me here. Thanks so much

    1. Bettyanne: I like doing it as a roll-in as above. Mixing it in is going to be more cumbersome, I think, but should work. Not sure how this would affect rest time but I’m guessing you’re right– that it’d need more rest. 20 or 30 min more??

  20. Thanks Jeff, I think I’ll do it as a roll up. Do you think the granola and the Buttermilk Bread are a good match?

  21. Good morning Jeff and Zoe (it’s still morning for me here in CA). My Buttermilk bread and granola bread really tastes fantastic. What a wonderful breakfast with some yogurt. I have a question though. When I slice the bread, the granola all falls out of thebread instead of staying inside. What should I have done different. I did sprinkle a light layer of suger before the granola but maybe I should have done something different. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    1. Hi Bettyanne,

      If you have our book you will want to follow our Aunt Melissa’s granola bread recipe on page 114. If you are folding the granola into dough you already have then you may want to use the Swiss Muesli Breakfast Bread recipe on page 215. This recipe requires you to soak the muesli in milk and then work that mixture into the dough by kneading it, which then requires a longer rise.

      Give either of those a shot and let us know how it goes! Thanks and enjoy, Zoë

    1. Hi Alexandra,

      I have only used almond milk and soy milk in our gluten-free recipes, but I image in they will work equally as well in all of our wheat breads as well. If you are substituting it in one of the recipes you may want to start with a half batch just to make sure you like the flavor of the dough with the milk substitute. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

      Thanks, Zoë

  22. Hi Jeff & Zoe,

    Big “THANK YOU” to both of you for sharing your secrets on baking artisan breads, after all that trial and errors– because of you, I’m proud of my artisan breads!
    Back to business: I love asiago cheese and would love to incorporate the cheese into my bread. Do I just sprinkle and roll up like the cranberry corn bread on on this post (except I will use the master recipe in ABin5 and skip the cornmeal exchange part)? I heard somewhere that if I let the cheese mixed with the dough and rise slowly in the fridge will produce a more flavorful cheese loaf as the cheese has time to develop the complex flavor. But I concern that if I mix cheese with flour in the beginning will the cheese turns bad while the dough stored in the fridge?
    Also, the cornbread dough on this post is 2lb size but baking time is only 25-30 minutes, which is the same baking time for a 1lb dough in the master recipe in ABin5… If I make a 2 lb asiago cheese loaf using master recipe, do I still bake for 25-30 minutes at 425F?

    1. Regina: you can do it either way, I don’t detect a big difference in flavor. Unlikely the cheese will go bad during the storage time for a typical batch.

      But I bet you’ll need a longer baking time, check it often but guessing about 40 min.

  23. Jeff,
    Thanks for your reply! I will try the cheese loaf for next batch and let you know of the result.
    Another question: when the bread is out from the oven and cools on the rack, I can hear the crackling sound. Does louder crackling sound indicate the bread has a lighter crumb with bigger holes? I noticed my first batch of dough produced much denser crumb (my dough had lumps after mixing) and I could barely hear the crackling sound. But with my 2nd batch, the bread came out beautifully and I noticed the bread sound more hollow when tapped, and with a louder crackling sound too…

    1. Regina: We generally say that vigorous cracking implies the perfect balance of oven heat, spring, and curing of the crust with humidity, so I’m not surprised by what you say. It’s all related— any chance it was just older dough? Which performs more impressively? Jeff

  24. Jeff,

    I tried the cheese loaves and they are all delicious!
    I added about 4 tbsp asiago cheese when mixing the dough. I think the cheese makes the dough “age” quicker as the dough already smelled like beer on day 2. As I worked to sprinkle more cheese and bacon crumbs (I made a bacon cheese loaf using this batch), the “beer” smell disappeared. I also realize that if I let the dough rest longer to almost 2 hours, the bread will have bigger holes in the crumb. Many thanks again for sharing the recipe! My next try is on enriched bread– Panetonne. Hopefully it will be successful so I can bake some for friends and family.
    Keep up the GREAT work!

  25. I am looking to re-create a recipe for spinach-cheddar-cheese bread. I used to make it in my bread machine and I would like to make a version using your method. In the bread machine the recipe called for fresh spinach leaves and cheddar cheese to be added to an otherwise basic loaf of white bread. I’m sure that I could add cheddar cheese to the basic boule recipe or to the 100% whole wheat recipes but I’m not sure how much to use or if baking time should be changed. What do you think?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      We have a cheddar cheese bread and a spinach feta bread in ABin5, both of those recipes will get you very close to what you are looking for. Is that the book you have? If you have HBin5 we can help you find a similar recipe.

      Thanks, Zoë

  26. Hi Zoë,

    That will work, I have both books, but was looking in HBin5. I guess the busy-ness of the holidays was making me forget about the old one!

    Thanks for the reply. 🙂

  27. your books say to not wash out the plastic dough container, but if you make a regular loaf and then a herb loaf and want to go back to a regular whole wheat loaf w/o herbs or fruit etc. how can you do that w/o cleaning the container?

    1. Hi Viki,

      You will want to wash the bucket if you make dough using herbs, fruit or anything other than a straight lean dough. Obviously you also need to wash after doughs with eggs and dairy.

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. Thank you for your books, I haven’t bought a loaf of bread nowin over a year. My question has to do with incorporating anything into a loaf using the method in Artisan Bread in Five… The dough ball is rolled out and nuts, onions raisins, etc are spread out, then the loaf rolled up, shaped & baked. I always get a very large air bubble above the added ingredients instead of a nice swirl. I’ve had this with the onion rye to the chocolate ganache brioche. I thought increasing the rest period would help, but same thing happens even with 2 hours of rest prior to baking. Any ideas?

    1. Randy: Have to say, I’m stumped. The longer rest time would have been my guess. How thin are you getting the dough before rolling stuff in? If you’ve tried thicker versions, try a thinner roll-out. Jeff

    1. which dough are you using, from which book, page number…?

      Or did you mean can it be used wherever you like the flavor?

      If so, yes!


  29. I’ve been making the whole wheat in your first book pg 74 with white whole wheat flour and unbleached flour. Then added dried cranberries and walnuts before forming into a loaf. Had some fresh cranberries but wasn’t sure if they could be used as well. Love the books. Have been making the bread everyday for several months.

    1. Hi Sherry,

      You can add fresh cranberries, but not too many or their juices will compromise the dough. Maybe you could do a combo of fresh and dried? Sounds tasty, I may just have to give that a try.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. Thanks Zoe,
    I”ll give it a try. My family loves this bread for breakfast toast with a little cream cheese. Yum !

  31. I have the first book. I can’t see anything about whether or not to use the fan in my fan’forced oven?
    Also what do you do when the temperature goes above the marked one on the recipe?
    How do you regulate it or do you just leave it alone?

    1. You can use the convection fan, click on the FAQs tab above and select “Convection oven, any adjustment needed?”

      Adjust the oven temp if it’s different from the recipe’s recommendation; use an oven thermometer like rather than the oven’s dial– they’re always off. Jeff

  32. A friend told me about the ABin5;bought it and then the HBin5. I have tried 3 loaves in the HB and love them and am looking forward to baking more. Can I use seasame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds in any recipe as in Betsy’s Seeded Oak Bread? I love rye bread and would love to incorporate some seeds in the rye recipes.

    1. Joan: Seeds can go into any recipe, according to your taste. I frequently add them where they’re aren’t traditional, as well as where they are. Jeff

  33. Thanks, Jeff. Will try in my next loaf of rye! I’ve been making the Oatmeal and have tried the Banana Bread. Great! So many to try!!

  34. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    I love your first book and I have not had a chance to get my hands on the second book. I was thinking about incorporating wheat germ or oat bran into my bread. Is there a rule of thumb for how much to add? I don’t want the dough to dry out by adding in too much stuff.


    1. Lindsay– problem is that you need to add more liquids with those, and it depends on how much you are using. See our videos for how wet it should look and increase water if necessary. And keep the oat bran to a half-cup or less per recipe, same for wheat germ.

      Or increase beyond that– but you’ll need vital wheat gluten, which we address in the 2nd book. Jeff

  35. Good Morning,

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts and, as a novice baker, am slowly trying to evolve. If I wanted to try adding fresh thyme and/or rosemary to the Master Recipe dough, how would you suggest doing so? Thank you very much.

  36. Hi all,

    I was thinking about trying the WW and flaxseed bread recipe from HB in 5. However, I was hoping to incorporate some all purpose flour into the recipe as I am going to use it as a sandwich loaf and I want it to rise quite a bit. By how many cups should I reduce the whole wheat flour and how much all purpose flour do you think I should add?

    Thanks so much!


    1. Lindsay– we’re travelling at the moment and don’t have the book. Can you remind me, what were the flour and water amounts in that recipe? Jeff

  37. Lindsay: Keep the flax the same, but decrease the WW to 4 cups, add 3 cups unbleached all-purpose, assuming you’re OK with this much white flour. Now the question is how much to decrease the water. I’m guessing 3 1/4 cups is going to do it, but you may need to experiment. Jeff

  38. Hi Jeff,

    Just letting you know that the bread turned out great! I had to increase the water by about 1/4 cup but it was delicious. Thanks so much for the advice!

  39. Hi Guys!

    I just want to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your book AB5M. I’ve been raving about it to all my friends, telling them it’s pretty much “dummy-proof!” I’ve had great success with your recipes. I just wanted to share about my favorite recipe, which is for the Thanksgiving inspired broa.

    I live in Senegal, West Africa, where cranberries aren’t available, but we do have fresh sorrel/roselle/hibiscus flower, which have a similar flavor and texture to fresh cranberries (Check out this link if you’re interested in knowing more about them:

    I substituted it for the fresh cranberries, and it came out so amazingly that my husband said it was the best bread he’d ever eaten. One of my friends has already bought your book since, and hopefully more will once I take said delicious bread to a Christmas party on Wednesday.

    I know for a lot of N. Americans, your book allows them to save some cash and have a superior quality product compared to purchasing store bought bread. Where I live in a small city in West Africa, your book makes the difference between eating the same baguette day after day (and trust me, it’s not an authentic Parisian version!) and having the option of making delicious, varied breads for family and friends. Thanks so much for your wonderful book! I love it! And your website is amazing, too! I’ll come back to it again and again!

    1. Hi Angie,

      Thank you so much for your lovely note, it is incredible to think of you baking all that wonderful bread in Senegal. Your Broa sounds fantastic.

      Cheers and happy holidays! Zoë

  40. Thanks, Zoë! It occurred to me to ask for some baking advice while I’m at it, since you guys are so kind to help out your fans.

    If I bake a bigger than indicated size loaf, how much longer should I bake it? For example, the broa dough that remained in my fridge was a bit bigger than a cantaloupe size, but not big enough to make two loaves. I mixed it all together and it’s now rising in the pan. I am taking it to a party this afternoon, so I don’t mind having more than the recipe calls for. But I do want to make sure it’s baked all the way. How do you suggest calculating that? I’ll wing it this time (since I imagine you’re sleeping right now, since it’s 9 AM in Senegal!), but I’m curious for next time.

    Also, I tried baking two loaves at once recently, and I didn’t bake it long enough and it was a bit doughy and soft (even though I baked it longer). If I use the master recipe and make a boule (I did that and added some caramelized onions and olives), how long would you say it would take to bake two loaves? I used a pizza stone for one and a cast iron skillet for the other, both on the middle shelf.

    Thanks again for your advice and wonderful website! Merry Christmas!

  41. Angie: How’d it come out? With 2 pound loaves (double what we call for in the book), the usual baking time is about 45 minutes. For a 3-pounder, it can go an hour.

    For the bigger loaves, go by crust color, as always, but even more important here. If you have an accurate instant-read thermometer with a probe, the center of the loaf should be 205 degrees F (but we’re not crazy about those thermometers– hard to say where the center of the loaf is and the cheap ones aren’t accurate or instant. Jeff

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