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Cranberry, Walnut & Wensleydale No-Knead Bread


no knead cranberry wensleydale cheese walnut bread, easy bread, christmas, festive


Discovering no-knead breads were a revelation for me. Kneading always stresses me out a little, as it appears that both over and under-kneading are Very Bad, and you don’t want to add too much extra flour, but it’s sticking, and your shoulders are hurting, and maybe you should use that technique where you kind of throw it at the bench? That seems easy enough.

And now you’ve got dough all over yourself, the kitchen, and the cat.

So, yeah. No-knead is good by me. I can knead (see the sticky bun recipe), but I prefer to avoid it where possible. And this recipe is so packed with goodness and flavour that I can guarantee no one’s going to turn around and ask about your kneading technique.

Except maybe the cat.

A note on Wensleydale cheese – it’s a fairly mild, hard cheese. You could substitute a mild hard goat’s cheese, or even cheddar here.


  • ½ tsp yeast
  • 350 mL / 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 400g / 3 ¼ cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100g / ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 100g / ¾ cup-ish / 3 ½ oz Wensleydale cheese, chopped into cubes
  • 50g / ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp orange zest to taste
  • chopped fresh rosemary (optional)


Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar and leave in a warm place until you have a nice foam going.

Combine the activated yeast mix, flour, and salt. Mix well, then add the fruit, cheese, nuts, zest, and rosemary (if using). Mix well enough to make sure everything’s distributed well. It’ll be really claggy and rough-looking, but it’s meant to be, I promise.

Leave in a covered bowl in a warm place for 18 hours (which means, if you’re more organised than me, that you can have it ready to go for breakfast the next day).

After your 18 hours, heat a Dutch oven, casserole dish, or other lidded dish (you can also use a pot with some foil over the top) in the oven at 250˚C / 480˚F.

Turn your dough onto a floured surface and shape into a rough ball, giving it a smooth-ish top. Transfer the ball onto a sheet of parchment paper and slash the top lightly. Transfer into your heated pot and cover.

Bake for 25 minutes at 250˚C / 480˚F, then remove the lid and turn down to 225˚C / 440˚F. Bake a further 10 minutes or so, or until the top’s lovely and brown and it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

Devour with lashings of butter. It is best if you let it mostly cool first, though, as that means it’ll slice without squishing up and getting a doughy texture. This freezes well, so I’d eat it on the day or get it frozen. If you slice it before freezing you can grab a piece and pop it in the toaster any time, and it tastes even better that way, if that’s possible.

And if you’re looking for more no-knead bread recipes, my cinnamon-raisin one is here, or you can check out Jim Lahey’s original recipe.


no knead cranberry wensleydale cheese walnut bread, easy bread, christmas, festive


A Toot Hansell Christmas Cracker recipe collection:


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