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Whole Grain Breakfast Bread! — an article on the Smart Living Network
November 14, 2011 at 8:00 AMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Whole Grain Breakfast Bread!


A Breakfast Craving

This morning I woke up craving breakfast bread - hearty, whole-grain bread filled with fruit and nuts. So, I found a basic bread machine recipe, gave it the dietitian’s touch, and now, a few hours later, here I am enjoying the fruits of my labor!

I chose to incorporate walnuts and cranberries into this recipe as both are nutritional powerhouses. Walnuts are one of the best plant-based sources of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient found to reduce inflammation and help lower (lousy) LDL cholesterol. These tree nuts also provide vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol, which studies have found to reduce the risk of heart disease. The nutrient content of walnuts do not end there, providing iron, manganese, magnesium, copper, and B vitamins as well.


I chose fresh, dried cranberries as the perfect counterpart for this rich bread. Fresh cranberries are a great source of flavonoids (anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins) and phenolic acids. Studies have found that these phytochemicals help to reduce the growth of certain human cancer cells, and that's reason enough for me to make cranberries a regular part of my meal plan! The more commonly known reason to opt for cranberries is their link with urinary tract infections (UTI). This berry contains certain compounds that exert a teflon-like effect, making it difficult for bacteria to cling to the urinary tract wall, therefore reducing the ability of bacteria to cause a UTI. If eating cranberries helps to reduce your risk of this painful infection, why not? They are especially delicious this time of year, just in time for the holidays!

Round 1 (Subject to Change)

Now this is round one for me with this bread and as a self-proclaimed recipe-tweaker, I may change things up the second time around. Perhaps playing with the balance of whole grain flour versus bread flour, mixing in some ground flax seed, replacing the buttermilk with orange juice (my usual), or swapping out the cranberries for blueberries or diced apple… It’s fun to be able to mix things up, and I often tweak the ingredients based on who will be enjoying the bread with me! Today, my husband is flying home and as a big fan of ‘Craisins,’ I wanted to make sure they were a part of his homecoming treat. What would you do to shake things up in your favorite recipes? 

Whole Grain Cranberry Walnut Bread Slice

Nutrition Facts

One slices of a loaf cut into 15 pieces will provide roughly 170 calories, 5 grams fat, 200 mg sodium, 25 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, and 5 grams of protein.


Serves: 15

1/4 cup water

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + splash of lemon juice)

1 egg

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups rolled oats

1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup bread flour

1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1/4  cup fresh cranberries

2/3 cup cup dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1-2 tablespoon orange zest


  1. Put all ingredients except cranberries and walnuts in the bread machine pan.
  2. Bake at light crust, basic setting.
  3. Check the dough in the early stages of mixing. It should form a smooth but slightly sticky ball.
  4. Add additional flour, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough ball looks right. I usually have to add 2-3 tablespoons more flour, but it varies with the amount of humidity in the air.
  5. Add cranberries, craisins, walnuts, and orange zest when your machine indicates it is “mix-in” time. If your machine does not have this setting, wait to add your final ingredients until roughly 5 minutes before the end of the kneading cycle.

More from Health Coach Jessica Corwin MPH RDN Others Are Reading


  • Jessica, this looks like a delicious, healthy recipe. I absolutely LOVE homemade bread, especially with cranberries. I just had some bread my friend made with cranberries and walnuts. Looks like you two were craving the same thing! :)

  • Any thoughts on making that without a bread machine? I'm not sure how to calculate cook times/temps, etc.

  • Great question, Sprouty. I do not have the explicit recipe conversion for preparing this in an oven, but as it is a yeast bread you would use the same ingredient amounts yet follow the general backing instructions for a yeast bread. Here is an example:

    -Proof the yeast (dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in warm water, amount will depend on the recipe).
    -Combine the ingredients and mix well.
    -Knead the dough until smooth and soft.
    -Let rise until doubled.
    -Punch down, and shape into a loaf.
    -Place bread in a greased loaf pan, or on a baking sheet for a round loaf.
    -Rise again until doubled.
    -Bake, as most bread is baked in a moderate oven, about 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) this is a good temperature to start with.
    -Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (this will depend on your oven and the bread itself so be careful here), or until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

    You could always find one of your own yeast bread recipes and simply swap in these ingredients while following the recommended oven temperature. Then you could just keep an eye on the bread until it is rising nicely and achieves a beautiful brown coloring :)

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