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Caramelized Cranberry & Brie Pull-Apart Bread

November 12, 2013



Are you guys ready to talk about Thanksgiving? Excellent because it’s been on my mind a whole bunch lately and I am wearing my excitement on my sleeve. Holidays weren’t something I truly appreciated until I moved away and spent months upon months away from my family (it also helps that, in the more recent years, I’ve become obsessed with food as well). These days, it seems like I get more and more excited about the holidays sooner and sooner. Hell, I was ready to start talking about stuffing at the end of September!



Although the ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving congers up images of turkey and sausage gravy for most, this has never been the case for me. For me, it’s all about stuffing my face with as many vegetables sides as possible and perfecting my sage gravy recipe.

And can we chat about these caramelized cranberries? Oh man! The brown sugar engulfs the tart berries so nothing is left but little bursts of sweetness with tiny speckles of vanilla. Need I say more? Well, if I must, we can combine the berries with gooey brie for the perfect mix of sweet & salty. Have you ever had baked brie where the puff pastry is stuffed with gooey cheese and fig jam? Well, think of this as a fresh and oh so delicious twist on that!




What I love about pull-apart bread is that it looks like it’s super complicated to make but has a playful nature to it with it’s imperfect size pieces. This makes it elegant enough for the big meal or playful enough to enjoy as an appetizer. Plus, it’s easy to pass around the table since the pieces are already sliced or wonderful to stick on an appetizer place for people to pull off a piece as they walk by.




So, in case you got lost somewhere up there in the unnecessary amount of pictures and lengthy rambling: This bread is like eating a big chunk of baked brie and a soft buttery roll AT THE SAME TIME. Who needs dinner rolls when you can stuff your face with gooey brie, sweetly caramelized cranberries, and buttery amazingness?



Caramelized Cranberry & Brie Pull-Apart Bread

Adapted from Hungry Girl Por Vida

For the filling:

  • 1 lb fresh cranberries
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds only (optional)
  • 4 oz. Brie, diced small


For the dough:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • + more butter for topping


For the dough: heat  milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the water & sugar. Let cool slightly (should be at about 120 degrees) and stir in the yeast. Set aside for about five minutes or until the yeast is foamy.

Combine flours and salt in a stand mixer with the dough attachment. Add the vanilla and beaten egg to the yeast mixture and turn the mixer on low. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium and let knead until a sticky dough has formed. Grease a large bowl, place dough inside, and cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for an hour.

For the filling: Heat the butter and sugar in a large skillet over medium. Once melted, add in the cranberries, lemon juice, and water. Stir frequently and let cook until a thick and chunky mixture has formed. Remove from heat and fold in the vanilla bean seeds (if using).

Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Deflate the dough and knead it a few times. On a floured surface, roll out a 12×20 rectangle with the dough (this doesn’t need to be exact). Pour the caramelized cranberries over the dough and spread as evenly as possible. Top with the brie chunks. Use a knife (or I used a pizza cutter) to cut the bread into thirds from one end of the long side to the other (about 20×4 pieces). Next, slice the bread into fifths on the short side until the whole thing is cut like a pizza you were slicing into squares. Stack the slices on top of each other and transfer sideways to your prepared loaf pan (the same way sliced bread lays in a pan) and repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or your tea towel and let rise for another 45 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top the loaf with a little butter and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Check often and remove from oven once the top is crispy and the inside is cooked all the way through (to check if insides are done, the inside temperature should be around 180 degrees).




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  • Reply Sandra November 12, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Perfection! I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful this looks. NOW, I am ready for Thanksgiving :)

  • Reply Katie @ Produce on Parade November 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    You take the most beautiful images! I have photo-envy! :) Also, this bread looks ridiculously fantastic and tasty.

  • Reply gina November 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    wowser!! looks so yummy. those pictures are beautiful too!

  • Reply Harriet November 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    What delicious photos!

    (p.s. I’m glad I’m not the only one that’s starting to obsess over holidays. Christmas spices come at me!)

  • Reply Sarah | The Sugar Hit November 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    This is really superb. Absolutely, completely gorgeous. Your photos are blowing my mind at the moment.

  • Reply Bibs @ Tasteometer November 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

    OMG I so want some of this right now.

  • Reply Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate November 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Where has this been all of my life? Holy crap, looks amazing!

  • Reply Em November 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

    This looks ruddy epic and I’m not even a fan of cranberry!

  • Reply Jackie November 13, 2013 at 11:03 am

    OMG I want this now! Tahnk you for sharing! Question–can you use premade dough (making dough scares me)

    • Reply Shellywest November 13, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Yes yes, of course! It’ll be much quicker if you use pre-made dough since you’ll be able to skip the rising process. I’d get a buttery dough (like crescent or super flaky biscuit dough. My favorite pre-made dough brand is Hope that helps!

  • Reply Marta @ What Should I eat for breakfast today November 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I am definitely going to make it. I like each ingredient :)

  • Reply Ala November 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Oh, I’m absolutely obsessed with pull-apart bread as well, and I’ve been looking for a good combo sweet/savory bread to serve up at the next gettogether. Cranberry and cheese is one of my favorite combos–bookmarked! :)

  • Reply Sarah November 14, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Oh my goodness, that looks delicious! I will be traveling and will miss the traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year so I’ve been looking for things to make before and after the holiday to experience the essence of the day. Your bread will taste just as good in December!

  • Reply Katie November 14, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Is there a way to prep this the day before and bake it on Thanksgiving day? I’d love to make this and bring it to my parents’ house!

    • Reply Shellywest November 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Yup – great question! You could either stop (and stick in the fridge overnight) after the first time the dough rises or the second rise. I would suggest going up until the second rise (so then the bread is pretty much done besides baking), cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap, sticking it in the fridge overnight, and then let it come back to room temperature before baking. Easy! Hope your family loves it!

  • Reply Kris November 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Girl, are you kidding me?! This looks unbelievable.

  • Reply maria | pink patisserie November 16, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Shelly, this is such a gorgeous, gorgeous loaf. I’m dying.. I’ve yet to make a pull apart loaf, have always been a bit intimidated by them, but you’ve inspired me! Love it..

  • Reply Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing | Inspirations Recipes November 16, 2013 at 8:27 am

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  • Reply Gabby @ the veggie nook November 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    This is far to epic to even be allowed 😉

  • Reply Leslie November 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Hi, this looks super yummy! Do you know if I could sub the flour for gulten-free flour?

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  • Reply Alanna {The Bojon Gourmet} November 25, 2013 at 12:44 am

    Those chunks of oozing brie are taunting me. This looks too, too delicious!!

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    […] most creative recipe of the week.  – But speaking of brie and cranberries, I can’t forget this bread. I think I am going to bake some sort of pull-apart bread this weekend! Happy weekend […]

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    […] 19. Caramelized Cranberry & Brie Pull-Apart Bread. YUM. Recipe here. […]

  • Reply Eileen November 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    In worried about the cranberry mixture all running to the bottom?

  • Reply Aidan December 8, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Looks delicious! Do you think this would hold up well if I fully baked it the day before and then just (shamefully) microwave it on Christmas day? Or re-heat it in the oven even?

  • Reply Anna M. December 24, 2014 at 8:16 am

    I think that would work, Aidan. This recipe has become a staple on holidays in my house, I absolutely love it! And it holds up pretty well for reheating (if it survives long enough).

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