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  • Mary Kay

Cranberry Almond Crusty Cast Iron Skillet Bread – NO Need to Knead!


I love making this bread because...IT DOES NOT NEED TO BE KNEADED. Just mix all the ingredients and let sit in a bowl overnight (12-18 hours). There’s not even an electric mixer involved. Just mix it with a spatula.


Make one large loaf or two smaller loaves. Choose your pans for different shapes. I chose a small cast iron skillet and a regular rectangular loaf pan. You could also choose a larger 10” cast iron pan in which to bake the entire recipe.


This recipe makes it so easy to get a tasty loaf of bread with very little work.

 

Preheat your oven to 450F degrees:

About 30 minutes before baking your bread, preheat your oven to 450F degrees. At this time, you can heat a water pan in the oven to create moisture for making the outside of the loaves nice and crusty. (If your oven normally bakes lower than the temp you set it at, try setting it at 460 or 475F degrees.)


Choose your baking pans:

-For one round loaf of bread, choose a 10” cast iron frying pan and line it with crumpled parchment paper. No need to oil the pan.

-For two smaller loaves of bread, you could use a rectangular 9”x5” loaf pan and a round 5-6” cast iron pan.

-Whatever pans you choose, cut parchment paper to fit each one. For the round loaves, crumple the paper and smooth it out to make it fit easier.

 

Choose a pan to heat water in the oven to create a crusty outside:

-To develop a nice crusty outside on the bread, heat up a metal pan of water in the oven on the rack underneath the rack where the bread loaves will go.

-I use a 9”x13” metal cake pan with about 6 cups of water.

-Heat the water in the pan in the oven about 30 minutes before you place the bread dough in the oven.

 

Gather up your Ingredients:

3 C Flour

2 t Salt

¾ t Yeast, regular dry

¾ C Almonds, sliced or rough chopped

¾ C Cranberries, dried, rough chopped

2 T Honey

1 ½ C Water, warm

 

Make and Bake:

-In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeast, almonds and dried cranberries.

-Stir in the warm water and honey until completely combined. There should be no flour showing and the dough will be somewhat sticky. If it’s really sticky add a little more flour, one tablespoon at a time and mix in just until combined. Do not overmix

-Form the dough into a ball shape and leave in the bowl (do not oil the bowl).

-Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and a clean towel.

-Leave it on the counter to rise for 12-16 hours, overnight. There is not need to place it in a warm spot. It will be nice and bubbly and easy to work with in the morning.

-There is absolutely no need to knead this bread dough. When the 12-16 hours are up, scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkling a just a little flour on top, gently form it into a ball.

-Lay the balls onto the parchment paper in each pan.

-If you like a pattern on top, this is the time to make a couple slices with a kitchen shears, cutting at an angle across the top of each loaf. Or you can use a very sharp knife..

-Allow the loaves sit for 30 minutes, covered with a clean kitchen towel.

-Bake 25 minutes. (If you are using a Dutch Oven keep the lid on.)

-Check for doneness by tapping on the top of the loaves, checking for a hollow sound.. The top of the loaves should be a nice golden to medium brown color.

-If they are not done, bake another 8-10 minutes and check for doneness again. I like to err on the side of being a little more done with a darker on top.

-Remove the loaves from the oven and let sit in the pans on a rack for 20 minutes to continue baking on the inside.

-Transfer them to a cooling rack before cutting into them. I hope you enjoy this baking experience!


Optional additions:

-Love walnuts? It's easy to stir in 1/2 - 3/4 cups of rough chopped walnuts in place of the almonds.

-Golden Raisins - add them as is or soak a half cup of them in water or 1/4 cup of rum for an hour before stirring them in.

-Try other dried fruit such as rough chopped apricots. The dried fruit you use should have softness to it as opposed to dried banana slices which are hard and brittle.


Serving options:

-It’s a delicious bread with a crusty outside. I love it with plain or honey flavored cream cheese. It’s also good with another fruit flavor, blueberry flavored cream cheese with fresh or dried blueberries sprinkled on top.

-This bread is also excellent sliced with cream cheese spread, layered with meats and cheeses. I particularly like some of the local aged and flavored Gouda cheeses from Marieke Gouda’s cheese store.

-Try it with a favorite jam or jelly...apricot, blueberry, strawberry, etc.

-This is also delicious with a tuna salad and lettuce as an open face sandwich. 


Storage:

-This bread is easy to store at room temp in a cellophane bag with a twist tie for up to 5 days.

-Refrigeration - I do not store it in the refrigerator since that tends to dry it out.

-I save the extra loaf I made to freeze for up to a month as long as I have it double wrapped in sealable plastic bags. Thaw it on the counter for an hour, or overnight still in the wrappers.

 

However you like to serve up your Cranberry Almond Crusty Bread, it’s delicious in so many ways. “Bake your own Memories!”

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