These little soft Orange Cranberry Sweet Buns are made with 50% whole wheat flour, packed with whole grain goodness and filled with chewy cranberries. |
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5 from 1 vote

Orange Cranberry Sweet Buns

Prep Time7 hrs
Cook Time17 mins
Total Time7 hrs 17 mins
Servings: 12
Author: Trang


  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup dried orange cranberry or regular dried cranberry
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • Extra flour for kneading AP or whole wheat
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water for egg wash


  • First, zest an orange into a small bowl and squeeze the juice from half the orange into another bowl.
  • Add the dried cranberry to the orange juice and let soak for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure all the cranberries are soaked thoroughly.
  • To bloom the yeast, dissolve a teaspoon of sugar in 1/4 cup of warm tap water, make sure the temperature is between 100°F and 110°F, hotter will kill the yeast. Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast over the water/sugar mixture, set aside. The yeast should be activated after 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, warm the milk and butter in a small sauce pan just enough to melt the butter. Set aside to cool.
  • To the bowl with the orange zest, add 1/4 cup of sugar and mix with a whisk until the sugar turn a light yellow and fragrant.
  • Add the flour, orange sugar and salt into a small mixing bowl, mix thoroughly with a whisk.
  • Before making the bread dough, make sure the yeast is activated, otherwise the bread will not rise. Also make sure the milk and butter has cooled below 110°F so we don’t kill the yeast upon contact.
  • Fit your stand mixer with the dough hook, add the milk, flour, bloomed yeast to the mixer bowl. Scoop out the soaked cranberries (discard any leftover juice), add to the mixer bowl as well. Knead on low for 2 – 3 minutes. The dough will be very sticky.
  • Use a bowl scraper to scrape the side of the bowl, and tap the dough into a ball. Leave in the bowl and let rise for 3 – 4 hours. By this time, the dough should be at least double in size.
  • Butter and flour a baking pan.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, knead by hand a few times to smooth out the dough, sprinkling with as much flour as needed so the dough doesn’t stick to the board.
  • Divide dough into 12 portions. Knead each piece of dough a few times until smooth and shape into a ball.
  • Place in the prepared baking pan about 1” apart, let rise for another 1.5 to 2 hours to about double in size again.
  • Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and gently brush the egg wash all over the dough.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Give the dough another coat of egg wash and bake for 15 - 17 minutes until the top is golden brown.


1. You can use whatever baking pans you have for this recipe. For size reference, I fit 9 buns into my 10” cast iron pan. And 3 more into a smaller pan.
2. Baking time can vary depending on how much space there is between and around the buns. The pan with 3 buns was done at 15 minutes, and the pan with 9 buns needed the extra 2 minutes.
3. If you want individual round buns that you don’t have to pull apart, you can place the buns on a baking sheet further away from each other, about 2”. The baking time will also reduce for this since there is more space for heat to circulate around the buns. Check bread at 12 minutes.
4. Prep time is approximate and includes resting time for buns to rise.