Start a Baking Tradition

Posted by Lori Merrill on 12/02/2015


Here is a great idea for something to do with your children, extended family, friends or include everyone and make a day of it! Glenda Bliss, who is a wonderful supporter of the Keepers Ministry, started this family tradition over 30 years ago and it has become a favorite for them and those receiving this wonderful bread. Recipe is included!!! Glenda is a sweet lady who loves the Lord and others. She has a passion for young women, desiring for them to know the Lord and keep Him as their priority. We are thankful for Glenda’s contributions to this ministry over the years. Enjoy and we would love to hear from you about your family traditions! 

In His Love,



The recipe that forced our family to join ranks is a secret Cranberry Bread. The first loaf we ever tasted was a gift from a dear friend. It was an immediate hit with the entire family. When I asked my friend for the recipe, she explained that it was an old family recipe from her Czechoslovakian grandmother and she was sorry, but she could not share it. Each year for a decade we would receive a gift of the bread from our friend and we savored every morsel. I never ceased to beg her for the recipe and it became a joke between us. 

One year she surprised me with a birthday card and (ta-da) the Secret Recipe! Thus, began our 30-year-old family tradition of baking Cranberry Bread. The recipe is simple, but the procedure is laborious, mainly because we will make 30-50 loaves for gifts during the holiday season. At some point we got the idea of having our men cut the cranberries in half while they watched football games. We eventually got our own assembly line going with my daughters helping with the wrapping of the bread and me assembling the ingredients. We only make it during the holidays, and it has become something friends, neighbors and family look forward to receiving.

The best part is the fun we have had over the years working together as family. One year there was a cranberry shortage and we scoured produce sections paying premium prices. This year looks like walnuts are plentiful, but much pricier than in past years. The gifts of bread are a true blessing, not just for those who receive, but also for us as we continue to share our tradition.

Make holiday baking a tradition in your family with your own special gift ideas! Homemade Caramel Popcorn, Chex Cereal Mix or holiday cookies placed in tins, wrapped in cellophane, and tied with a pretty Christmas bow are just a couple of ideas you could use to get your family involved with the preparation and delivery. Attaching free tickets to your Church's Christmas Program is a good way to share the true meaning of Christmas. Maybe one of your kids is good at the computer and could print out special Bible verses to include. Or attach your family Christmas card. Be creative! Your family will get to experience the secret we discovered years ago: the joy of working and giving together.

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35b


Secret Cranberry Bread Recipe

Prep time: 30 min. before baking, 10 min. after baking

Cook time: 1 hour, 10 min.

Total time: 1 hour, 50 min.

Serves: 1 large or 2 small loaves


  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. melted shortening
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • Zest from one large orange
  • 1 c. walnuts, whole
  • 1 c. fresh cranberries, cut in half


  1. Sift together dry ingredients (flour, soda, & powder).
  2. Stir in sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, shortening, orange juice and zest.
  4. Mix liquid ingredients with dry ingredients (dough will be stiff).
  5. Fold in nuts and cranberries.
  6. Pour into waxed paper-lined loaf pan. (We make a lot of liners before we get started. I think you can purchase the liners pre-made, but we haven't gone to that extra expense.)
  7. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes at 325 F. Recipe makes one large loaf or two small loaves. (The original recipe warns not to ever double the recipe. I don't know why, but I have tried to double it and it just doesn't turn out.)
  9. GENEROUSLY butter entire loaf and wrap in waxed paper, then wrap again in plastic wrap. (We wear latex gloves while handling because bread is sometimes too hot to handle without them, plus your hands don't get all buttery.)
  10. KEEP REFRIGERATED. Chill overnight before serving. Keeps in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

By Glenda Bliss




Glenda Bliss Says:
December 3rd, 2015 at 7:57 am
Thank you for your sweet words, Lori. We started making the bread a day or two before Thanksgiving .... first year my oldest Granddaughter, Samantha, who is 11 will be able to help during her Christmas Break. I plan on getting my Mentee, Chloe, in on the action as well. She is a college student from Iowa. Who knows she may start a tradition in Iowa. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 1213 Miss you girls

Lori Says:
December 5th, 2015 at 11:34 am
Someday I want to try some of this bread I have heard so much about!
Maybe we will make it this year!
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