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Gluten-Free Cranberry & Bacon Bread – to add to your festive bread basket
This gluten-free bread has a combination of sweetness from the cranberries, saltiness and smokiness from the bacon and a crunchy texture from the walnuts.
I have created these small bread loaves using my mini loaf tin, which are then easy to slice and toast to serve with other meals, but feel free to make mini muffins instead.
How to eat cranberry bread:
There are two ways to serve these cranberry mini loaves: warm straight from the oven or sliced thinly and toasted.
If you prefer to serve these as a sweet item to accompany coffee, leave out the bacon and brush the tops with melted butter plus sprinkle the warm loaves with a light dusting of combined brown sugar and cinnamon powder.
What bacon cut should I use?:
Select a back bacon cut and remove any hard rind. This cut has more meat and flavour than streaky bacon. Back bacon works well in this bread as its flavour is more noticeable and the texture is less crispy than streaky bacon.
Gluten-Free Cranberry & Bacon Bread
- 6 rashers smoked bacon, chopped roughly (use back bacon, preferably)
- 300 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (leave it out if your store-bought flour already has xanthan gum)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 100 g white sugar
- 1 orange, zested
- 150 ml fresh or store-bought orange juice
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tbsp butter, melted & cooled
- 100 g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 150 g fresh or frozen cranberries
Preparing the bread mixture:
- Gather and measure all the ingredients listed.
- Chop the bacon rashers into rough pieces, removing any hard rind if present.
- Fry the bacon without adding any oil to a cold pan and heat to medium, stirring often until the bacon’s fat has rendered out of the bacon and starts to turn slightly golden. Try not to get them too crisp. Set them aside to cool.
- Sift the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
- Mix the orange zest, orange juice, eggs and cooled butter in a separate bowl.
- Create a well in the centre of the sifted mix and pour the orange juice mixture into it.
- Without overmixing, combine the two mixtures.
- Fold in the walnuts, fresh cranberries, bacon and half of the rendered fat from the bacon.
- Pour the batter into a mini loaf pan (or mini cupcake pan) filling the mixture to the top. The mixture may look slightly dry & stiff, but the cranberries will release some juices while baking and moisten the mixture.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Bake for 25 min on the middle shelf.
- Before removing the bread from the oven, insert a toothpick in the centre of one of the loaves or muffins. It should come out clean. Otherwise, bake for 5 more minutes and test again.
- Allow the bread to cool in the baking pan for 10 mins.
- After 10 minutes, remove the bread and allow to cool further on a wire rack.
- Serve straight away with some soft butter or wrap the bread loaves in plastic film once completely cool and cover them with a clean tea towel. They are delicious served warm. Reheat them up for 5 mins covered in foil to prevent the cranberries and walnuts from over-baking.
- Makes 18-20 mini cupcakes if using a cupcake tray instead of a mini loaf tray.
- After the first day, it is best to chill the bread (due to the bacon). Keeps for 3 days.
- Suitable to freeze.
These loaves can be made the day before and reheated in a moderate oven for 5 minutes just before serving. Keep them warm covered with a tea towel.