76 Comments

  1. I love making food for large groups of people and feel slightly out of place when I’m asked to dinner without being allotted a kitchen task.
    Reading Jeffrey Steigarten made me think about strands of protein and then I was given McGee on Food and Cooking! In my opinion (and aside from bread being a food staple), there’s something wonderful about the dough growing before you bake it. I gave my grandmother a bowl for mixing dough, when I was about 13, hoping she’d make fresh bread. Sadly, she said her bread making days were long gone and promptly used the bowl as a flower pot!
    I read Jeffrey Steingarten’s article in American Vogue, back in 1993 or 94 and I can’t help thinking that he popularised the idea of deep fried turkey for Thanksgiving (not to mention a lot of household fires – though that’s down to naivety on the part of the cooks), which when done sensibly, is very good.
    Great bread Amanda! 😉

    • So interesting right, all the science behind baking. I’ve actually never been allowed in my mom’s or grandma’s kitchen. My role was always that of dutiful eater. Too bad about your grandma’s turning your bowl into a flower pot 🙁 I guess you’ve had to make up for it. The idea of deep fried turkey scares me, but my brother makes a mean turducken (chicken within a duck within a turkey) with jalapeno cornbread separating the layers and then smoked. It’s fabulous and gross at the same time. We go pretty traditional in my family, except that everything is exceptionally tasty. I’m just excited to bring a loaf of awesome bread 🙂 Have a great week MD!

      • I’m still fascinated by the fact that bread has to grow before you bake it. None of my family were any good at cooking, so I was delighted to eat in the homes of my friends (as a teenager) and discover new things. Apparently Paul Prudhomme invented the tuducken – I was surprised to discover that since I thought it must come from a bygone era. Jalapeno corn bread sounds fantastic! There’s nothing to worry about with deep fried turkey as long as one is sensible. The most common errors are; cooking indoors, not taking oil displacement into account when lowering in the bird and use of a frozen turkey in boiling oil! If it’s done outdoors in a big enough pot and the bird is at ambient temperature, everything should be fine – it’s the same level of common sense required for barbecues and bonfires 🙂

  2. the bread looks great! The no knead is an Interesting process. My mama still cooks for my family (14-15+) at 73 years old. She wouldn’t have it any other way and I she enjoys it. I don’t want to challenge of making Thanksgiving myself and it really wouldn’t be much of a Thanksgiving without her cooking.

  3. Fig & Quince

    I have yet to make it myself but have heard (and seen with mine own eyes and mine own hungry greedy mouth) how tasty and good the results and yours looks lovely and I love the walnut/cranberry riff which must make the texture ever so awesome and definitely a delightful candidate to set at the Thanksgiving table! If we don’t chat before than, have a lovely happy and super awesome Thanksgiving Amanda! I certainly am thankful to count you as one of my blogging buddies 😉 Gobble gobble!

    • Thanks, Azita! You should definitely give this a try. I just told my office-mate that his 4 year old son could do this. I had to add cranberries and walnuts to make it “thanksgiving-y”. I’m thankful to count you as one of my favorite online friends too. We can try to meet up soon too. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  4. Your bread sounds and looks delicious! I hardly ever eat cranberries, but I do love walnut bread, and I bet adding cranberries adds a pleasant touch of tanginess. And I must admit it is the same here; I have started cooking for my parents now and then and even made a whole Christmas dinner once, but I wouldn’t dream of replacing them on Thanksgiving day. My dad is in charge of the turkey and stuffing (which is fantastic), and my mom makes the pies. My brother and I just enjoy the food until we can no longer breathe.

  5. I don’t think I even knew that you could make a virtually no-kneed bread. I really should try this. My gf makes excellent bread, so it makes me lazy (even though she doesn’t make it often.) I should treat her to this beauty sometime!

    • I actually had seen versions of this recipe and assumed it was like a pre-bought/pre kneaded bread before I actually opened up one of the recipes to read it. It’s a fool-proof method. Lucky you to have someone baking great bread for you. Be careful though, you might set a precedent!

  6. Amanda, I love the no knead breads. They are so convenient. Your recipe above is expecially appealing this time of year. I like the method used by Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes. I keep the bucket of dough in the refrigerator and I can make fresh bread in no time and it is delicious. You can’t tell the difference. Here is the link to their site in case you don’t know about them
    http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

    • In my research I did find them, but I didn’t realize they had a website. Excellent! Thanks so much, Jovina. I love the idea that you have a bucket of dough ready to go at any time. Thank you!

    • Gracias! Coming from you that’s a big compliment. I’ve been afraid of breads for so long. I’m with you in feeling that you’re doing something really special as you witness this bread practically make itself. 🙂

  7. I love the process of kneading bread but I also enjoy making and eating these no knead breads. Am curious about how the flavour improves if you leave it a few days before baking. Fully understand about the stress/pleasure of family gatherings (and I’ve now quite firmly moved into the role of head chef!) and enjoyed the dialogue between you and Mad Dog 🙂 Very interesting.

    • Thanks, Chica. Wow, head chef. I’m impressed. The flavor improves because, from what I understand, the yeast takes long to do its job and makes up for extra salt too. It adds a malty depth. I agree with you about kneading though. There is something therapeutic about it. What I love about this is that I don’t get flour and dough everywhere. Enjoy your week 😉

  8. I love your bread Amanda, I also love your directions, it’s a fantastic loaf and one I have to make. Love bread recipes that sit because while they sit they gain flavor and texture and your loaf looks absolutely perfect. I’ll let you know how I do.

  9. I will send my address so you can nonchalantly drop a loaf off here 😉 Seriously, though, that looks amazing. So very seasonal with the cranberries. And your thoughts on holidays and what we bring to them are lovely.

    • Thank you, Liz. It’s so easy to make you’d be shocked. I really appreciate your careful reading and of course the compliments. Thanks again, as always. I’d love to send you this bread, but you’d be awesome at making it.

  10. Amanda, your bread is beautiful with a perfect crust. Great combination with Cranberry and Walnut and the smell of the bread is unbeatable.
    Love reading your post and wonderful pictures too 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m so shocked that it came out so well. Remember how I’d been telling you that I was afraid of yeast…look at me now. You’re right about the smell of bread. It really fills the room and has a sort of magic to it. I appreciate all of your compliments, especially when it comes to baking and photos. You’re kind of a master yourself.

  11. Amanda, I can smell the freshness of your bread. Nothing is better than bake it yourself. I must confess, that I bought a walnut/cranberry bread today at Costco, yeah I know I shouldn’t even say it, it is pretty good. BUT, after having a few bites , having quiet down my hunger, I decided I can do this myself much better. So your recipe just came at the right time. Thank you as always for sharing.

    • Hi Cornelia. No need to “confess”. The whole reason I wanted to bake this in the first place was because Whole Foods had an amazing bread just like this and I thought, “how hard can it be?”. I still feel like theirs might be better, but I hope so considering that they’re professionals and might actually be kneading it the old fashioned way. After a few tries though, I think I nailed it. You may have to try this. It’s easy.

  12. I think even the least scientific of people “geek out” a bit when it comes to bread but some do it more than others. Luckily for the less geeky, there are people like you to explain it all!
    I love this loaf! Sadly I’ve just finished a hoard of walnuts the parents brought back (foraged) from France, and those things are so expensive to buy 🙁 but I know it’ll be worth getting more for this recipe. It looks beautiful AND it doesn’t require kneading? Win win 😀

    • I love that your parents found fresh walnuts. They are a little more expensive. I long to buy pine nuts, but i won’t allow myself the luxury just yet. This loaf is totally a win win. Live your comments as always. Xo

  13. The no-knead bread really was a revelation. Be careful, though. I burned the *#+! out of my hand once getting it out of the pot. Your walnuts and cranberries are a lovely addition, and just call out for some great cheese!

    • So funny. Yes you have to be careful. That pot is hoottt. I spread goat cheese all over this bad boy and it was perfect. I seriously can’t wait to drop a loaf on my mom in law’s table and then on my mom’s. 😉

  14. Funny. I bought that book years ago, and I think it’s the only book i’ve ever thrown away! Everything about cooking is about chemistry and physics, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a scientist to cook or bake. I can make bread in my sleep, and so can everyone. I love when people get technical, but not me. And this looks just like a typical rustic loaf that I’d love. Beautiful photos, too!

    • I totally agree, Mimi. It was am the science talk that kept me way from bread and baking for so long. I really had no idea how easy it could be when you leave the science to scientists. Ghana so much for your comment. I love what you do over in your space and so appreciate you dropping by mine.

  15. This is really exiting for me as a firm believer in the therapeutic effects of kneading a dough with my own hands. So cool. I love this post from start to finish, Amanda, the combination of flavors in your recipe, the method, and last, not least the photos – especially the one with the wrapped loaf “sitting” at the window!

    • Thanks so much, Sabine! I agree with you about the therapeutic effects of kneading dough and working in the kitchen in general. This recipe takes some guess-work out of the equation. What lovely compliments. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  16. For some reason Amanda you have given me confidence in my baking abilities that I too can make a loaf of bread like this. I want to bake a loaf of bread like this! I am very intrigued by the “geeking out” aspect of bread making, something I think I would enjoy and find great satisfaction in. Why oh why am I intimidated? I haven’t even given it a good try. My first experience with yeast was only last week when my son brought home an “extra credit” project from his Spanish class. He could earn 20 extra credit points if he baked a pan de muertos recipe given to him by his teacher. He did it (with a little help from me) and he shaped the bread into 3 skulls and took them to school. The bread was actually really good! He earned his points and I realized baking with yeast is quite doable! I know I would love this cranberry walnut bread. It’s very attractive too! 🙂

    • Seana! I felt the same way about bread until my challah. I LOVE that you helped your son get 20 extra credit points for a pan de muertos! I really love the Latin idea of Dia de los muertos. i laughed when I read that. I cannot believe you did it! I’ve always wanted to. That’s why I loved Spanish class so much. I think little assignments like that, which fused language, literature and culture is so much of what shaped my interests and ultimately lead to my blog with a Spanish name. I love that your son made the skulls. Did you make it sweet? If you can do that, you can do this. Your son could do this, without your guidance even! I too like the science behind bread making as long as you don’t focus on it too much. I love the romance of it too, the ancient connection to bakers of old, both at home and in bakeries. I’m so excited to keep going with it all. I need to make more time. Anyway, I”m glad that my experiments are making you less intimidated. I have no room in my kitchen and I’m a total klutz and short-cut taker so if I can do it, you totally can. I plan to make this again for Thanksgiving, although now I’m thinking of making a pan de muertos. No, my mother in law might be insulted. I”ll stick to cranberry walnut no knead! 🙂 Have a great one! xo

      • I woke up thinking about your bread this morning! 🙂 I love the thought of cranberries and walnuts together. I remembered a bread a local artisan bakery makes with pears and hazelnuts. It’s a December seasonal and the loaf itself looks very similar to your’s. The pan de meurtos was a bit sweet and it had anise seeds in it too. He coated the top with a sweet orange glaze. His teacher said the loaves were exactly how she had them in Mexico. Happy Thanksgiving! I’m sure your bread is going to be a lovely offering to the the table. 🙂

        • Aw. Glad it came out well. Pan de Muertos is definitely unique and seasonal. I dream about recipes too. Hazelnut and pear? Yum!!! I have to try it now. Talk soon xo

  17. I somehow seemed to have accidentally unfollowed your blog and had been wondering why you hadn’t posted in a while! On a whim, I clicked through to your blog and realized I’d unfollowed you and missed many superb posts 🙁 But Amanda! This bread! It looks insane. I need to make it! I made a version of this in the summer,(http://retrolillies.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/no-knead-artisan-bread/) but yours is SO perfect for this season, and Thanksgiving. I make sourdough bread like once a week, and have slowly been adding in more interesting additions (flaxseed, sunflower seeds, spelt flour) but I’m scared of damaging the crumb structure and upsetting the rising. In my next loaf, I’ll add walnuts and cranberries, and let you know how it comes out! Best! Chaya

    • Oh no! Don’t worry, I’ve done that before. You’ll have to go back and read my deep thoughts on life. Lol. I wouldn’t neglect this here blog. It would be like a phantom limb. Im glad you like the bread. It really turned out well. I’m doing it again tomorrow. I need to learn how to make a sour dough starter. It’s Mr favorite bread. You’re such a great baker. I’m still obsessing over your croissants. I’m glad you’re experimenting. It is a fickle structure. Spelt should work though. Glad you’re back! Xo

  18. The bread looks spectacular! Cranberries and walnuts sounds like a great combination. I have never tried a no-knead bread but really want to try one. I enjoy reading the geeky part of cooking and the information is nice to know for when I get to it. Thanks for the science. I also like very much reading about family traditions and how the chef/cook relates to them. Nice reflections on family gatherings. Like you, I’m usually not responsible for the main dishes in the big gatherings, but I do bring a side dish, bread, or the family bread pudding. Have a nice Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks so much, Gerard. It’s so funny that you put out your summary of the Pollan bread chapter the week i tried a new bread technique. This is definition a keeper. that’s how i role over here a little history a little geek. 😉 that’s cool that you bring bread or side dishes. I’m finally confident enough to bring something other than booze or store bought desserts. I now force my cooking and desserts on people. Have a good one!

  19. I am excited to try this recipe. I can’t eat as much bread as I did in my 20s, but cranberry-walnut yeast bread is my weak spot. 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!

  20. The bread is simply gorgeous Amanda.
    I used to make Jim Lahey’s basic no-knead bread and loved the science behind it, the fabulous aroma when it cooked, the taste and texture of the bread, the whole incredibly satisfying process.
    And like you – I don’t do well at big, unwieldy gatherings. I much prefer my own kitchen – my own food, a quiet place, a gentler tempo. Although as you say – there is something both stressful and special about gatherings. And as for Thanksgiving – it’s about food and gratitude – two of my favourite things on the Planet.
    Happy, happy Thanksgiving. xo

    • Thank you, Lindy. I didn’t know you made beautiful breads. You really are a wonder. Im definitely taking thanksgiving at my own pace this year. I have to make one more bread and have it ready but other than that I’m trying to relax. Have a happy thanksgiving too. Food and gratitude. I like it. Xo

    • Soooo good! I”m glad you made it. The second one I did, letting it sit in the fridge for a few days was hands down one of the best breads I’ve ever had! Thanks for stopping by! xo

    • Thank you so much, Lizzie. I appreciate you stopping by and your kind compliments. Definitely try this bread. I really love it and have made a bunch of amazing loaves since I started!

  21. Gia

    Hi Amanda. I made your cranberry Walnut Bread so many times and everyone loves it! I wanted to sign up for your blog but I’m having difficulty. Any ideas? I want to follow you and your recipes!

    • Aww. Thank you. It’s amazing right? I’m almost thinking of doing it again… to sign up if you go on a desktop there a box where you can put your email in to subscribe. Or on a mobile device that box is all the way on the bottom if you scroll down. You can also follow me on Instagram @amanda.whatscooking. I try to post every week. Let me know if you’re still having trouble. Xo

  22. Jon

    Your bread looks amazing, however I think you are missing a cup of flour in the recipe you wrote in the article. Using bakers percentages your recipe has about a 105% hydration. Adding in an additional cup of baking flour (i.e. 3 cups baking flour 1 cup whole wheat, instead of 2 cups baking flour 1 cup whole wheat) would put you at a 79% hydration. 79% is still not the 70% you mentioned earlier in the article but 79% is a common hydration level for these types of breads. Again, your bread looks amazing so I highly suspect its just a typo. Hope this helps others trying to recreate your work.

    • Thanks, Jon. Have you tried it as is? I think a lot of people have gotten great results with this recipe and by far this is the best loaf of bread I have ever made! In terms of the math and science, I’m certainly not an expert, but the result here is quality and worth the risk if you want to make it as is. Thanks for checking in and if you make it, with either proportion, please report the results back!

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