Place bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and let dry overnight.
In a large sauté pan, melt half the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, sage, salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
Add bread cubes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In the same sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a spatula while cooking.
Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.
Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Slice the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into daps and place on top of the stuffing. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, until browned on top and hot in the middle.