This delicious cranberry swirl bread is what to do with your left-over cranberry sauce! Makes a killer left-over turkey sandwich.
For Canadians, Thanksgiving has come and gone already, but the left-overs live on. It seems that every year I pull out my handy-dandy recipe for cranberry sauce and cook up a batch. And every year, I have 95% of it left after the meal is over. You’d think I’d learn, but in the 360-ish days that separate each Thanksgiving, somehow that little nugget of knowledge disappears ;)
So that’s the backstory for this bread. It’s “what I did with left-over cranberry sauce” and if I do say so myself, it was pretty awesome. Honestly, this bread makes a killer left-over turkey sandwich!
I must warn you though, this bread is a bit messy to make. It will look like a hot mess when you get it in to the baking pan. Just go with it though and trust that it will be beautiful once it’s baked, because it will be. I suggest a fairly thick cranberry sauce. If yours isn’t, maybe drain the loosest liquid off before spreading it on the bread dough, just to keep the mess a bit under control.
I’ve included my cranberry sauce recipe in the Recipe Card below, if anyone’s interested. It uses orange juice and zest, which makes great added flavour in this bread, too. I added walnuts to my bread, which I love, but feel free to omit if you like.
Get the Recipe: Cranberry Walnut Swirl Bread
For the bread:
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. fine salt
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. white or brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water, about 95° F.
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. lukewarm buttermilk or milk
- 2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce, not too runny is best - drain a bit of liquid off, if necessary
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- In a large bowl of the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook, combine 2 cups of the flour, the salt, sugar and instant yeast. Mix to combine. Add the lukewarm water, milk and melted butter or oil. Mix to combine. Begin adding the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until you have a soft and smooth dough that is moist, but not tacky. Remove dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, 45-60 minutes.
- Remove dough to a floured surface. Roll in to a rectangle, approximately 12 inches wide by 18 inches long. Spread your cranberry sauce over the surface, leaving a 1-inch margin on the longest sides. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Starting with the short side, roll the dough jelly-roll style (the best technique here is to lift gently and flop forward), until you reach the end. Pinch seams and ends together.
- (If you'd like a visual of the shaping technique, it is shown in my Cheese Bread Recipe) Using a sharp knife, cut down the centre of the roll from one end to the other. Carefully place the two pieces side by side, with the cut side facing up. Pinch together the two pieces of dough at one end. Proceed to braid the two pieces together, by lifting on piece over the other and then repeating a couple of times. Pinch together the other end.
- Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Using a spatula or a bench scraper, carefully lift the braided dough in to the pan. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place over top of pan. Allow to rise until dough has risen about an inch above the pan in the centre.
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Once bread has risen, remove plastic wrap. Bake for 30 minutes. Check at 30 minutes and rotate the pan front to back. If bread is already well browned, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. (Or about 200° F. when tested with a thermometer). Allow bread to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and remove bread from loaf pan and cool on a cooling rack.
- Allow bread to cool completely before slicing.
- My Cranberry Sauce recipe: Combine 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add a 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries. Cook, stirring regularly, until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes) and liquid thickens slightly. Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken more as it cools.
How much orange zest to add? I have a few oranges but zest is not mentioned in your cranberry sauce recipe here.
I too love a really good cranberry sauce and am making a cranberry, orange, strawberry sauce to use in swirl bagels, on top of pancakes, ice cream, etc. The swirl bread used for turkey sandwiches sounds incredibly tasty. The sauce could be used on salads (veggie or fruit) which could also be put on half-sandwiches. Two slices of bread would be too uncontrollable.
Hi Martha, just a tsp or so of orange zest can be added to the cranberry sauce, if you like.
My family loved it! We toasted it and spread melted brie on it. Wow!
Sounds absolutely delicious, Jodean! Melted brie is never a bad idea :) So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks!
This looks amazing! Totally drooling over the idea of the leftover turkey sandwich on this bread. Might have to request some Christmas turkey so I can replicate that :)
Thanks Odessa :) I recommend it!
Dear Jenn, I can’t get over this wonderful recipe. Could I please share it with my readers? I would love to write about this! We are located so close to your beautiful country. I think people would love to make this. I usually make homemade Cranberry sauce and it gets thrown out because everyone takes so little of it. A turkey sandwich on this is heaven on earth. Thanks, Jenn!
I would devour this bread all by itself . . but I love the idea of leftover turkey sandwiches with this fabulous bread or French Toast or bread pudding .. amazing! LOVE!
Thanks Alice :) It does make the best turkey sandwich!!
Fantastic recipe. I’m intending to start learning about breads and I love sweet breads like this so I’m pinning this for trying sometime over the holiday season. Yum!
Enjoy Laura. Breads are one of my favourite things to bake (as you can probably tell :) The possibilities are endless!
So Delicious! My Morning Breakfast will be this now :)
Thanks Rebecca. It’s perfect for breakfast!
Amazing! Just amazing! Love this gorgeous swirl loaf – sounds delicious!
Looking at these photos while I’m hungry was definitely SUCH a bad idea, because now I’m starving. This bread is gorgeous!! Love that you found such an awesome way to use a leftover pretty much everyone has after Thanksgiving. :)
Thanks Alexandra. I’m always happy when I can use up leftovers!
Gorgeous! I eat a turkey sandwich for lunch almost every day. This bread is totally up my alley :)
Thanks Sarah. It was perfect with turkey!
Wow – that is a stunningly beautiful loaf of bread!! What a great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce _ I’ll definitely keep this in mind next month! It must really make for some phenomenal leftover turkey sandwiches.
Thanks! Yes, the best turkey sandwiches :)
Such a gorgeous bread, I love that cranberry swirl!
Thanks so much, Laura!
This looks so tasty and making a sandwich with this bread sounds like the best idea ever – helloooo thanksgiving leftovers!
Thanks Millie. Yes, leftovers are the best!
I was already loving the bread, but when I scrolled down to that sandwich I almost fainted <3
Thanks Sue. It was delicious!
This bread is beautiful! It would be absolutely perfect for leftover turkey sandwiches, or french toast, or bread pudding… I could go on and on! I have to make this!
Thanks Jessica and yes! Would be great for french toast or bread pudding (maybe with some apples, too!) Would be nice for the holidays.
At first glance I thought “Mmm, this looks yummy”…and then I saw the GENIUS sandwich you made and it took me to a whole new level! AMAZING use of leftovers. And stunning too :)
Thanks Katrina and yes, my main motivation was the idea of that sandwich and it was totally everything I imagined :)
I literally SCREAMED when I saw this photo in my inbox! This looks AMAZING. I’ve always been a HUGE cranberry sauce fan in general but this bread is definitely on my docket of things to make in the weeks ahead. Ah, day is made with this recipe. So made!
Yes! A fellow cranberry sauce lover :) You will love this bread, then Marissa. So glad it made your day. Have a great weekend!