Cranberry, Plum & Cocoa Tree Bread

Cranberry & Plum Tree BreadCranberry & Plum Tree Bread




Treelicious bread! Yes that’s right – a tree (and a ‘treet’) in every slice! And it’s true that good things come in trees. Such as cranberries and hazelnuts and lovely soft dough; well, at least that’s what this tree contains :). Overall, I was pretty pleased with these, and they were rather poplar! Oh what acorny pun. I am also incredibly happy because I’ve FINALLY submitted my dissertation for my masters. Woohoooo!

This recipe is adapted from this panda bread recipe. I made panda bread a few posts ago, and it got me thinking about other images you could present in a slice of bread. And that was the inspiration behind this post. But I would also like to branch out from here by making flower bread because I would enjoy calling it ‘flour bread’. Also I want to eventually make successful cat bread, but my first attempt of that project was not the best. Will tweak it a bit and make a post when it’s perfected!


  • 230g strong white bread flour
  • 70g plain flour
  • 30g sugar
  • 210g (1 egg yolk plus milk)
  • 4g salt
  • 18g unsalted butter
  • 7g sachet of fast action yeast
  • 50g cranberries (dried)
  • 1tsp cocoa powder (dissolved in 2tsp of water, or until the cocoa powder just dissolves)
  • 15g finely chopped cashews
  • 1 tsp of plum bitters (used in cocktail making mostly, but it works really well in baking)
  • green food dye


1) Mix the milk and egg yolk together. Microwave for 40-50 seconds – until you can dip a finger in for 5 seconds and the liquid is warm but not too hot to handle.

2) Mix in the yeast, sugar, salt, butter and plum bitters. Then mix in the flours. Mix until it comes together into a smooth dough. Knead for 5 minutes. (The dough gets kneaded a little more later when you knead in the colours)

3) Now my dough weighed 450g in total at this stage. I divided it into three portions; about half of the dough was for the green bit with cranberries, and the remaining dough was half cocoa & cashew (for the trunk) and half white dough.

4) Knead the portions individually. Knead the green food dye and cranberries into the biggest piece of dough. It takes a little time, but I got there in the end. Knead the cocoa and cashews into one of the smaller pieces. Knead the white piece of dough on its own for a few minutes. Make sure the table is clean so that it doesn’t get green or brown patches!

5) Let rise for about an hour. I wrapped mine loosely in cling film.

Cranberry & Plum tree bread

6) Now you can assemble the dough in a loaf tin like this:

Assembling tree bread

and then place the green layer on top:

Assembling tree bread

6) Loosely cover with cling film and let rise again. I let mine rise for about an hour and a half, but my kitchen is freezing!

7) When its risen, bake on the middle shelf of an oven preheated to 180C for about 25 to 30 mins. It may need tenting with foil towards the end as it browns quickly.

I was pleased with this – but want to try it a few more times with different ratios of dough. I also think it’s possible to increase the quantity of dough a little so that when it bakes it spills over the side of the tin to create a really treemendous tree. Also I think it would be cool to have the tree trunk branch into two. So that it looks more like this:



Also here is a shot of how the different slices vary:

cranberry & plum tree bread

There are so many variations that can be done with this too. Green tea flavoured, or matcha instead of using colouring? Or different dried fruits instead of cranberries. Or just chocolate. Or white chocolate AND cranberries!

And just maybe one day I’ll twig and realise tree puns aren’t funny….


8 thoughts on “Cranberry, Plum & Cocoa Tree Bread

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