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Cranberry Walnut Bread Revised

gluten-free cranberry walnut bread revised

After receiving this comment about my gluten free Cranberry Nut Bread from a reader named Caroline I became somewhat concerned about the recipe.  I proceeded to test it several times in response.  First, though, before I share my results with you, here is Caroline’s comment:

Hello – I have just made your cranberry walnut bread using your exact recipe and strangely, my bread turned out very, very dark, as if there was molasses in it.  The batter looked much lighter in colour before it went in the oven, so something must have happened during baking!

As well, the bread tastes very nice but has a 2cm thick gelatinous layer on the bottom; quite strange!  I wonder if anyone else had the same experience? Any thoughts?  (I used a silicon pan; maybe there was some weird reaction with the agave? Doubt it though).
thanks! Great website.

Let’s start by saying that this is not one of my easier recipes.  While coconut flour is delicious and full of fiber, it can be a bit fussy.

Here are my findings; for the original recipe I baked the bread in a 8.5 X 4.5 X 2.5 inch loaf pan, yet when I baked it again, I found that it was a bit of a challenge to get the bread to bake through without making the outside of the loaf very brown.  Because of this I decided to split the batter into 2 mini loaf pans.  The results were good.

With the change to 2 mini loaf pans, I altered the baking time as well from 50 minutes to 35 minutes since the loaves were smaller.  While the outside of the loaves were brown, and even the inside of the loaf became somewhat brown, there was no burnt taste whatsoever (not that there was when I baked it as 1 loaf in the larger pan), so don’t worry (Caroline and others) if your loaves brown both inside and out.  This is normal and the bread still tastes delicious.

I did not in any of my 5 retests encounter any loaves with a gelatinous layer at the bottom and am not sure to what this could be due.  I’m wondering if it’s an egg issue and if you do happen encounter this problem, you may want to add a step into this recipe and whip your eggs before you mix them with the rest of the wet ingredients.  I have not had to do this myself and only recommend it as a possible solution if you encounter the gelatinous problem Caroline had above.

So, here is my revised version of this recipe.  Just so you know, when I create a recipe for my website, I test it several times and then post it here.  How is this different from the testing process for the recipes in my book, The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook?  Each of those recipes has been tested by at least 3 people and many of them were tested a dozen times before they were perfected.

I consider this blog to be somewhat of a space for creativity and more of a laboratory, whereas the book is, well, a book.

Cranberry Walnut Bread Revised


  1. Place coconut flour, salt and baking soda in a food processor
  2. Pulse ingredients together
  3. Pulse in eggs, grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla
  4. Remove the blade from the food processor and stir in cranberries and walnuts
  5. Pour batter into (2) greased 7.5 x 3.5 magic line loaf pans
  6. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes
  7. Cool and serve

Speaking of my book, several bloggers have been reviewing recipes from it of late.  As I mentioned previously, Diane from thewholegang.org spent a day in the kitchen with her son and made a bunch of recipes.

More recently, Kalyn of kalynskitchen.com made the gluten free Cheese Crackers and her own low calorie, gluten free version of the zucchini bread from the book.  And just yesterday Wendy from celiacsinthehouse.com made crackers and quiche from the book.

Tomorrow I’m packing the family off to San Francisco where I will be speaking at the Blogher conference on “How Blogging Best Practices Apply, No Matter Your Blogging Niche.”  I’m looking forward to meeting Kalyn and Diane and hopefully, Wendy too.

I will also be doing a book signing while in SF at Crepe O’Chocolat 75 O’Farrell Street 3:00 to 4:00 PM.  Hope to see you there!

posted on September 24, 2009, 64 comments

  1. mandy (from Brooklyn)

    Hey Elana!
    I made your pear crisp for my fiance last week – we love the book, can’t wait til i can make more after the wedding! it was great meeting you :)

  2. christie, honoring health @ honormyhealth.com

    This looks delicious! I have not ventured into coconut flour yet but I bet my husband would love this bread! Thanks for sharing your recipes with us!

  3. cottagesweet

    I have always found it best to split most of my gluten-free breads into smaller loaves. I gotta tell you, that photo of the cranberry walnut bread looks awfully GOOD!!

  4. Looks good! Like the smaller loaves.

    Have fun in SF!!

  5. I know what I’m making this weekend! Yum!

    Re: the ‘gelatinous layer’ – I think it could be overmixing. I’ve had this happen when making banana bread if I stir the ingredients any further than ‘just combined’. Hope this helps –

    Elana – quick question. I moved to NZ last year from lovely Portland, OR and have been a little dismayed at the unavailability of true almond ‘flour’ here. I can either buy a 70 gram package at the store for $3 or buy ‘ground almonds’ in bulk for $25/kg. And really? They are *ground* almonds…I’m hard pressed to even call it ‘meal’. Do you know of any ways that I can make it myself (to note, I do make my own almond butter) or do you have any South Pacific resources for almond flour? I know it’s a long shot, but thought I’d ask as I finally got a copy of your book, courtesy of my very best friend in the States. Thanks! :)

  6. Laney

    I LOVE your book. I use it at least a couple times a week. In the oven right now is a pizza with your pizza dough recipe. I have made the Chicken Fingers, Chicken Parmesan, Chocolate Cream Pie (with the Coconut Pie Crust=to die for), Pancakes, Sesame Crackers, Biscuits, Chocolate Chip Scones, Turkey Loaf, Turkey Burgers, and well it goes on.. THANK YOU!! Are you ever going to open up a bakery or restaurant?

  7. Diane-The WHOLE Gang @ thewholegang.org

    Thank you for the shout out. I love this cookbook. It was our turn to make soccer snack so I made a double batch of your Chocolate Chip Scones. Keep in mind my son is the only one on the team that eats gluten free. They were eaten up so fast if you blinked you would never know they were there. The soccer team loved them. Thank you for helping my son fell comfortable with soccer snack.

    We ate at Crep O’Cholat for lunch today. It was great! I had the quinoa stuffed portabello mushroom with a side salad. It was really good. They had lots of gluten free foods. Great find in San Francisco! We went because I remembered seeing the name on your blog. We’re here until Monday and may have to go back again!

    Can’t wait to meet you too!

  8. oh I would love to do a review of your cookbook. It looks so great!

  9. Wendy-Celiacs in the House @ celiacsinthehouse.blogspot.com

    We tried your GFCF Pumpkin Pie last night. Great to know how to roast a fresh pumpkin in this canned pumpkin drought. Now on to the Thai Fish Cakes for tonight’s dinner. Thanks for the shout out.

  10. I absolutely loved how the cheese crackers came out and I love the sound of this recipe too. Can’t wait to meet you.

  11. Charlotte

    Jessica, overmixing is never an issue when it comes to coconut flour because there is no gluten that develops to alter the consistency. I may suggest to add an extra egg since I always use the 1/4 c. coconut flour – 3 egg ratio. Also ovens are a factor when it comes to baking and regular ovens can bake unevenly. I use a countertop convection oven which has a fan that blows air around, and my breads come out fabulous. I am not a fan of silicone bakeware and feel this could be her main problem. I would suggest Caroline use a glass pyrex pan instead, plus use natural parchment paper on the bottom for better results. I use an 8 x 8 glass pan, and have enjoyed this recipe as a snack cake.

  12. Kimberly@Living Free @ livingfreeforever.wordpress.com

    I have made your Cranberry Walnut bread before and it was VERY good. I did have a little trouble getting it to be done in the middle, but it just made it really moist. I thought maybe it would be good to make muffins next time. Regardless, I loved the taste and didn’t mind the moistness:)

  13. Ninufar

    I bake this in a glass pie dish, and then it’s not too wet in the middle. I leave out the agave and one of the eggs, so I wasn’t surprised to need to tweak it a bit… This is still the very first coconut flour that I’ve tried which did not turn to un-tasty leather without sweeteners! And (even w/less egg content) it cooked speedily!

    Will try some more after I get used to my new work schedule.

  14. Hi Elana, I have encountered problems with coconut flour recipes because of how people measure the dry ingredients. I always sift my coconut flour and carefully scoop it into the measure cup. I watched in one of your videos that you scoop your measuring cup directly into the jar of coconut flour, so that it’s somewhat packed down into the cup. The way I measure coconut flour makes your muffins turn out oily because there’s simply not enough to absorb the wet ingredients. Hope that helps!

  15. Amanda

    I tried this recipe yesterday and it still took a little longer to cook even though I had it separated into 3 small bread pans. I’m glad to read that others had theirs come out very moist because I was worried it was because my frozen cranberries had some ice in the package too. It is the best recipe using coconut flour I’ve made yet, although I have to admit I liked your cranberry lemon muffins better. I have some issues with almonds, so I used a mixture of buckwheat/brown rice and arrowroot and it came out amazing. Thanks for sharing your amazing recipes!

    • Amanda, you mentioned using frozen cranberries. In Bruce Fife’s book, Cooking with Coconut Flour, he stresses using dry berries when adding them to a batter. He suggests that if you use frozen, to thaw them first and dry them off. That extra bit of moisture can make a big difference. Coconut flour seems to soak up moisture like a sponge, but when it starts heating up, it seems to release the moisture back into the surrounding batter.

  16. KC

    Hi. This recipe looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it. We live in Mexico and I can not find any gluten free anything here but my son and I both have allergies to gluten. Is it possible to make my own coconut flour? Everything I have found on line says to mix it with flour. Is that what coconut flour is? Any info on this would help. Thanks.

    • Ninufar

      Howdy, Bob’s Red Mill will ship you some, or at least here’s what they say on their website:

      “We ship internationally and to military addresses. You have the option of shipping by the US Postal Service or UPS Express, for faster service…”

      I don’t know if the supplier Elana uses (just click on “coconut flour” in the ingredients list to get to their site) will ship internationally too — they might.

      My skeptical side figures that coconut flour is just what’s left after they squeeze most of the oil out of regular coconut, but regardless, it makes very tasty breads and has no gluten at all! (And as you see from the recipe amounts, a little goes a long way. You just need eggs…)

      Best wishes!

  17. Cathy

    Tried these today. Way too salty! Neither my husband nor I could eat them, had to throw them into the trash. (Hated wasting all those eggs, walnuts, and cranberries!)

  18. Karen Schulz-Harmon

    Hi Elana,

    Can you use fresh cranberries instead of frozen for this recipe? If so, would the measurement be the same?

    I’m very excited that I stumbled up your Website! After making 3 disastrous loaves of bread from 3 different gluten free bread recipes, I have decided to try to go yeast free – all 3 loaves failed to rise (this was with ample rising time allotted). And the yeast packets were new – definitely not expired. Everything happens for a reason, right? If the loaves of bread had been successful I would never have found this almond flour alternative. :)


  19. Steve-O

    A couple subs, and it still turned out excellent:

    .5 cups of butter = .5 cups of grapeseed oil
    NOTE: This equals one stick. Melted the butter first

    ~.5 cups maple syrup = .5 cups agave nectar
    NOTE: Used somewhere between .25 and .5 cups

    Probably wouldn’t use maple syrup as a general sub for agave. But when I see a recipe with walnuts, I automatically think maple syrup. :)


  20. ~M

    Hi Elana,

    I’m trying to convert your Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins into a bread, based on this recipe. Comparing the two recipes, some of the ingredients, like the coconut flour, eggs grapeseed oil, and agave are doubled (or pretty much doubled in the case of the egg). However, this recipe has 4x as much salt and baking soda…what’s the explanation for this and how much salt and baking soda would you use for making lemon poppy bread (based on doubling the rest of the ingredients, like above). I hope this makes sense…:)

  21. Hi Elana,

    Love your website. Since I don’t have two small loaf pans for this recipe, do you suggest making them into muffins?

  22. FAY FOX


  23. Caroline

    Thanks so much for taking the time to revise the recipe in response to my comment Elana! Having just moved home to Ireland, and with my family just about settled into our new house/life, I’ve got some time now to get back to baking! Can’t wait to try the bread again, will let you know how it goes.

  24. angela calloway

    Hi Elana,
    Is it really only 1/2 cup of flour? I have 2 cups of liquid and only a smidge over a 1/2 cup dry. It seems like it is mostly eggs. I am going to add another cup and see what happens. I will keep you posted.

  25. angela calloway

    Guess 1/2 cup works just fine! Need to trust the recipe and forget about all of my “regular” baking experience. Gluten free is a totally different way of baking. The bread is fantastic! Thank you so much.

  26. Chana Batkin @ arttosave.com

    I just used your bread recipe as the basis for a cranberry/gingerbread scone and its a big hit. I want to get it out there for the xmas gluten free crowd, so here it is…

    Cranberry / Gingerbread Scones

    3/4 cup almond butter
    2 Tbs coconut oil
    3 eggs
    1/3 cup agave
    2 Tbs vanilla
    1 cup almond flour
    1/4 cup arrowroot
    1 tsp baking soda
    4 Tbs fresh grated ginger
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp cloves
    1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

    Using electric mixer combine all wet ingredients and than add all dry ingredients
    except cranberries and mix well. Stir in cranberries by hand.

    Using 2 cookie sheets covered with parchment. I used and ice cream scoop to drop the batter onto my sheets, I got 8 dollops (scones) per sheet. In other words, 16 scones.

    Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. They should be nice and golden brown and slightly shiny.

  27. That looks very delicious bread, and why do not these companies make them so that everyone van try them.

  28. Yum! I made a few adjustments and turned them into muffins. I didn’t have cranberries on hand so I used blackberries, and I used honey instead to comply with the SCD way of eating. So good to smell them baking in my oven. Thank you Elana! I love you and your amazing laboratory!

  29. Aurania

    Hi Elana
    I live in Australia and have one of your books, however, I can’t make most of your recipes as we don’t have coconut flour here “we are a bit behind where gluten free is concerned”. Is there anything else I can use to substitute. Many thanks

  30. Susan Curry

    I love this recipe. I make muffins instead of the bread – yum.

  31. sandra

    Delicious! I made them into muffins with frozen blueberries instead of cranberries and baked for 25 minutes. These are sooo good!

    A nutrition website says they are 200 calories each but hey this more nutritious and lower in calories than any coffee/donut shop muffin

    Thank you Elana, I am a new reader and enjoy your blog and recipes very much!!

  32. aarin

    On the original comment, Edward and Son’s/Let’s go organic brand coconut flour doesn’t work at all for egg-heavy recipes. I so wonder if that’s the problem the commenter was having.

  33. resonnant

    Wow, it is ridiculously difficult to find that size loaf pan. I’ve been all over the place. Usually Amazon.com has everything but even they don’t have it.

  34. Alicia

    This was beyond amazing. It doesn’t taste gluten free one bit!

  35. Susan

    I love Elanas recipes! I tried this tonight using a mini loaf pan and they taste good but maybe a bit dry as I left them in for 35 mins. Since i am using the mini loaf pan, next time I’ll leave them in for 25 mins or until they are light brown. However, the ones I just made are definitely going to be eaten cause they still have a great flavor.

  36. Deb

    I am wondering if there is any good substitute for the agave nectar you use in many of your recipes that I’ve checked out. I would prefer not to have the “sugar”. Do you think Xylitol would be an acceptable alternative? If so, do you have any suggestions about the substitution proportions? I love your site and all your recipes. I have been doing a slow carb, high-protein diet for 6 weeks now and really, really struggle some days with my bread cravings. These recipes are a life-saver (or at least a diet saver)! Thank you.

  37. Made this the other afternoon. I cooked them in 2 mini loaf pans and they came out perfect! Once again my family didn’t notice anything “special” about them. And for a yummy snack we put some goat cheese on it.

  38. Stacey

    Good results with this recipe, as slightly modified according to availability of ingredients. Tried it during summer when fresh/frozen cranberries are hard to find, so I reconstituted some dried cranberries in hot water with some orange zest, then drained them well before adding to the batter. Also followed others’ suggestion to cut back salt to 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used Mediterranean sea salt – didn’t have Celtic sea salt).

    I baked in 2 mini-loaf pans and removed from oven after 30 minutes. Definitely quite browned on the outside, but moist & tasty on the inside. The coconut flour has a buttery flavor that I enjoyed with the nutty texture. For those who do eat dairy, a schmear of cream cheese with it is delicious!

  39. anne

    FABULOUS. i made this for breakfast today with the following paleo swaps –
    raw honey
    coconut oil
    came out so well!!! i used 3 mini loaf pans (i dont have the baby loaf size you suggested, so just used what i had) – i was afraid it would be too much batter for just 2 pans.
    the bread is moist, has a great texture – and made my husband SO very happy!

  40. Emma

    Made these as muffins and they turned out wonderfully! I used maple syrup instead of agave, and the batter filled 12 muffin papers perfectly. Baked the muffins at 350 for 30 mins and they came out nicely puffed up and golden. Can’t wait to try them again soon!

  41. Cecilia

    I have found when making cornbread that if I make a mistake and put in baking SODA instead of baking POWDER it turns out DARK with a strange flavor. Strange but true…

  42. Cecilia

    i.e. just wondering if it might be better with baking powder instead of soda…

  43. J.J.

    Frozen cranberries? Raw – frozen…..or cook first then freeze and use cooked “frozen” berries?

  44. Mary Fitzpatrick

    Frozen cranberries? Thaw first? Can dried cranberries be used? And curious why grapeseed oil?

  45. Joanna

    Hi Elana,

    What do you think about making this recipe as muffins instead of a loaf? Adjust the cooking time down to 25-30 mins?


  46. Hello Elana!

    to start with, I love all of your bread recipes. Have tried them all. The almond bread with arrowroot flour is my favourite. I add ground rosemary, a bit more salt, no sweetener, to it to make it a savoury bread. It’s delicious when toasted, with a bit of ghee on it.

    I read the comment from one of your fellow bakers re the gelatinous layer at the bottom of the Cranberry Walnut bread.

    From past baking experience that sort of layer would indicate that the heat distribution in the oven was either uneven, though nowadays not likely, or – as can happen with yeast bakery if it was exposed to air drafts – the dough just collapses. The same thing can present if the heat is a touch too low.

    As an aside, the first time I baked a honey loaf, I’d forgotten to add baking soda, and then to boot, baked it on too low a temperature. The end result was not salvageable. It was a gelatinous, gewy mess. Honey is a tough sweetener to work with anyway. My Mom called it a heavy sugar, which is probably why recipes can prescribe both baking powder and soda to help the dough to rise, or the use of yogurt or sour cream.


  47. RU

    I made this yesterday…the taste was good but it seems it is missing some density. I did get the gelatinous bottom as well…taste surely was amazing.

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top