So far, in order to fine-tune the recipe, I’ve made this bread 3 times in the past week (I have the recipe memorized already). :) The first time, the bread was not completely baked until 70 minutes after it went in the oven. By that time, the crust was hard and tasted burnt. The middle of the bread also sank a little. The bread itself, other than those couple of issues tasted absolutely wonderful – tender and moist, with a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness and plenty of cranberries in every bite. :)
For the second time around, I reduced the oven temperature to 325 degrees to compensate for using a darker finish pan – some instructional websites indicate that darker pans will absorb more heat and transfer it to the bread, resulting in a harder crust. From my own experience, sometimes adjusting the temperature does make a difference but sometimes it doesn’t matter (I have had successful results with other recipes without taking the pan finish into consideration). Anyway, this time the crust turned out slightly darker than golden brown (not burnt-tasting which is an improvement) BUT the middle still sank. The bread wasn’t underbaked or anything (we know because we ate it), so the other reason I could think of was that the pan called for is a little too small which I’ve read can result in a sunken center.
Hence for the third trial, I switched to a 9 x 5-inch pan, halved the streusel (I personally like the bread plain – without the streusel and the glaze but Keith likes both. So we compromise by cutting the amount of each item in half) and the result is a perfectly risen, golden brown bread which is now beautiful to look at and delicious to eat! And if you can refrain yourself and not finish it all the same day, the bread tastes even better the next day with the flavors having time to meld together even more. Below are a few pictures from the final trial:
Please note that I did make some changes to the actual recipe by substituting part of or omitting certain ingredients due to personal preference. For instance, I replaced part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and part of the sugar with light brown sugar. In addition, I omitted the grated orange peel from the original recipe because I did not want an overpowering orange flavor but just enough to complement the cranberries (it is a cranberry bread after all, not an orange bread with cranberries). Our preparation method is also slightly different – we use the food processor to combine the dry ingredients and for cutting in the butter (instead of doing it by hand). Check out your local library for the magazine to see the original recipe. :)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup cold butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
¾ cup orange juice
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup dried cranberries (craisins)
2½ tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut in half
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ tablespoon orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
- Process the flours, sugars, baking powder, salt, baking soda together in a food processor until combined. Add the butter pieces and pulse the mixture until crumbly.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg and orange juice. Stir in the dry ingredients (the flour mixture from the food processor) just until moistened.
- If planning to use streusel, use the food processor now to combine the brown sugar and flour; add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Fold cranberries gently into the batter (if using frozen cranberries, let them sit out for about 10 to 15 minutes before chopping them in the food processor by pulsing a few times – the pieces will be uneven and it’s fine). Transfer to prepared pan. Sprinkle streusel over batter.
- Bake the bread until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- For glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over bread.
HAVE FUN BAKING!