Eat Well, Spend Less: Multi-Grain Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Breads, Breakfast and Brunch, Breakfast Breads, Healthy Eating, Quick Breads | 15 comments

While I’ve already made some headway with a few of my 2012 goals, I still have a couple more that I need to get to work on. This January for the Eat Well, Spend Less Series we’re taking a look at our 2012 Food Resolutions. How does this relate to Multi-Grain Pumpkin Cranberry Bread?

One of my 2012 Food Resolutions is to eat a larger variety of grains. I mentioned that our family is great about using freshly ground white whole wheat flour as a substitute in many of our favorite baking recipes.

Last year I adapted our family’s favorite waffle recipe to create “Healthier” Whole Wheat Waffles, a recipe we still enjoy quite frequently and feel much better about eating.

But I’d like to take it a step further. I want to experiment with using other grains besides whole wheat to bake with. I came up with this delicious recipe for Multi-Grain Pumpkin Cranberry Bread.

Now, some of you might be a little intimidated by baking with whole grains and flours other than whole wheat. Believe me – I was too! So I thought I’d offer a few of my tips to you before sharing my recipe for Multi-Grain Pumpkin Cranberry Bread.

3 Tips for Baking with Whole Grain Flours

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If you’re curious why you should use other whole grains in your recipes, check out this post on 5 Reasons You Should Grind Your Own Flour from Whole Grains.

grinding your own flour from whole grains

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Getting Started and Purchasing Grains

Examine the grains before you purchase them. Grains should be uniform and undamaged. Start out by purchasing a small amount of the grains you’d like to try using. Fresh grains don’t have an indefinite shelf life (unless they are packaged for long term storage) and you won’t yet know in the beginning what you like and don’t like or what works and doesn’t.

Stock up once you’ve found your grove and are regularly using whole grains. We purchase a 25 lb. bucket of white whole wheat flour at Costco now since we know we’ll use it regularly.

Fresh is Best

I like to grind my own flours using an electric grain mill. Because it can be cumbersome to lug the machine out each time I might want to bake, I grind two 1 gallon sized freezer ziploc bags at a time of flours that I use often, such as whole wheat. Less if it is a flour like oat or rye flour that I use in smaller quantities.

Whole grain flours need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and in a tightly sealed container. These flours contain the oil-rich germ which causes the flour to go rancid when not stored properly. Unfortunately, these flours lose their nutritional value quickly, so they’re best used within 3 months of grinding.

Practice Makes Perfect!

When I first started baking with fresh whole wheat flour a few years ago I got comfortable with the change by substituting half of the all-purpose flour quantity for the whole wheat. Just this small change with increase the nutritional value of your recipes.

After that, maybe increase to using whole wheat flour for 2/3 or 3/4 of the full flour amount, or substitute another portion of the all-purpose flour for a different grain. For example, in this Multi-Grain Pumpkin Cranberry Bread I added small portions of barley and oat flour to the recipe as an experiment.

Sometimes you might find that adding more liquids helps baked goods from being dry. Why? Whole Wheat Flour absorbs more liquid than all-purpose flour.

You’ll also find what combinations of grains you like to work with and what flavors your family prefers. We learned that for whole wheat we prefer white whole wheat flour for it’s mild taste.

eat well spend less for fall

This post is part of the Eat Well, Spend Less Series where, along with a few of my friends, I bring you suggestions for how you can eat delicious, tasty meals without wrecking your grocery budget.

This month we’re discussing tackling our 2012 Food Resolutions. If you made resolutions of your own, I hope you’ll share what they are and how you’re keeping yourself accountable and on track.

Check out what the rest of the Eat Well, Spend Less group has to say here:

 What are you doing to tackle your 2012 food resolutions? Got any great tips to stay on track?

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Multi-Grain Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Yield: 1 - 2 loaves, depending on the size

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 - 60 minutes

Total Time: 50 - 70 minutes, plus cooling

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1 2/3 cup freshly ground white whole wheat or spelt flour
2/3 cup cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup barley flour
1/3 cup oat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
1 - 15 ounces can pumpkin puree
1 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium-large mixing bowl combine the flour through brown sugar. Stir well. In a small bowl, combine the butter though pumpkin puree. Mix well.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the liquids and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed. Don't over beat, just stir until it is combined and there are no dry spots left. Fold in the cranberries

Divide batter between 1 or 2 greased loaf pans, depending on the size you have. I have a nice large pan that fits all the batter in.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


I lowered the sugar, some similar recipes use up to 3 cups of sugar. I, however, wanted this to be more of a breakfast bread than a dessert bread. Feel free to increase the sugar if you desire.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - January 25, 2012 @ 5:21 am

    Great tutorial, Katie. I’ve been looking into getting my own grain grinder. This beautiful bread just might have me convinced!


  • 2
    Mandi @ Life...Your Way - January 25, 2012 @ 5:31 am

    Oh, yum!! This looks amazing!


  • 3
    Deborah - January 25, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    I have it on my list to own a mill one day so I can grind my own flours. This bread sounds delicious!!


  • 4
    Katie @ Epicurean Mom - January 25, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    Great tips Katie!! I’ve never considered grinding my own flours. Sounds like a healthier option! The bread looks wonderful!


  • 5
    Melissa // thefauxmartha - January 25, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    I think I need to purchase a grain mill after reading this. Love your baking philosophy!


  • 6
    Casey@Good. Food. Stories. - January 25, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

    Excellent ideas! I just bought a Vitamix and am getting the dry blade so I can work with fresh whole grain flours. I also love the idea of using pumpkin and cranberry year round!


  • 7
    Living The Sweet Life - January 25, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

    I adore pumpkin bread – - fantastic recipe :) and amazing tips on baking with whole grain flours!!


  • 8
    Mansi - January 27, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    I try using whole wheat too for most of my baking love this version, and will try it soon!


  • 9
    Tracy - January 27, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    Beautiful bread! Wish I had a slice right now!


  • 10
    Kelly@frugalfoodiefamily - January 30, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

    This bread looks amazing! And right up my healthy eating on a budget alley!


  • 11
    Carolina - January 31, 2012 @ 7:57 am

    Just had to share this with you! A friend introduced me to Bread Beckers in Woodstock, GA, and they are a wonderful resource for learning how to get started milling your own wheat/grain and baking your own bread. I started milling my own wheat in July of ’11 and have just been making quick breads – muffins and pancakes. I think the number 1 reason you should grind your own wheat is for the nutrition. Bread Beckers has co-ops across the country, and they have instructional videos on their website. Bread Making 101 is probably where I would start. Glad this trend is catching on!


  • 12
    Amy - January 31, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    This bread looks so yummy, Katie! You always have the best tips, my friend. Love the new look too on the blog :) xoxo


  • 13
    Sues - February 01, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    I’ve been loving my grains lately, and this bread looks awesome. I especially love all the spices in it!


  • 14
    Becca B. - May 17, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

    This looks so good! I’ve printed it, and have the barley flour sitting in my refrigerator just waiting.


  • 15
    Pili vargas - October 04, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

    I just did this I just used 1 cip of unrefined cane sugar plus 2 tablespoon and sweet potato purée from scratch, is in the oven righnow and it looks delicious


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