Wednesday, May 6, 2015
BLUEBERRY MUFFIN BREAD
One day left in Florida and I knew I would be busy packing. Carol has graciously shared another fabulous recipe with us.
Many, Many thanks Carol.
Blueberry Muffin Bread
I grew up in a family of bread makers. I would stand on a stool and watch my Nana knead dough on her big wooden board that would magically turn into the most wonderful cloverleaf rolls. My Mom used that same board to make delicious loaves of Italian bread, French bread and rolls. Watching was learning for me and it developed into a love of making homemade bread and sweet rolls every chance I get.
Back in the late 90s when bread machines were the rage, I thought why not invest in one? I distinctly remember the day I did....my daughter Robin and I were out shopping and I found one at a super price. How great would it be to put all the ingredients in the machine and let it do all the work, plus end up with a nice loaf of homemade bread ready to slice and eat? I bought it...along with some books and a slicing guide for that wonderful bread.
I DID however keep all the bread machine cookbooks I invested in because I knew I could take those recipes and convert them to conventional bread making with no trouble at all. Such is the case with this recipe.
We haven't had bread in the house for months. Bob has gotten away from eating sandwiches at lunch, so there was no need to buy it. A "recipe challenge" post on the Taste of Home recipes forum got me back into bread baking mode last week when I made a Honey Mustard bread. MAN was it ever good..so good that I made 2 loaves, sliced and froze it in packages of 4 slices so that I could take small portions out and use them right away. I had so much fun making that bread that it made me realize how much I missed the whole process. I wanted to make another new-to-me recipe-and soon.
Taking inventory in the baking cupboard, I found that I somehow I ended up with an abundance of dried blueberries/blueberry flavored dried cranberries, so the search was on to find a bread recipe that would use some of those up. I stumbled over this one and it sounded like the perfect fit. A little refiguring and off to the kitchen I went.
I made the dough using the steps I would when making a regular bread dough recipe. I stayed true to the ingredients in the original recipe, only adding a little vanilla and some butter extract just to give the dough a little richer flavor. I also increased the amount of dried blueberries to 1/2 cup from the 1/3 cup the original recipe called for.
What a gorgeous and easy-to-work dough this is. Once it had risen to double the size in the bowl, I punched it down, kneaded in the dried blueberries, formed the loaf, set it aside to double, and in what seemed no time at all, it was ready to bake. When I turned on the oven light to check the bread's progress, I was blown away at how beautiful it was baking up. Once it came out of the oven, I gave the top crust a light brush of melted butter to keep it soft, then out of the pan and onto a wire rack to cool. I'll tell you what, it was torture waiting for it to cool enough to slice. And yes indeed, I put that bread slicing guide I bought to use with my bread machine to good use slicing this loaf up.....what an easy way to get even slices. I LOVE that thing!
Now the test.....does it taste as good as it looks? YES! Bob and I each had a slice toasted this morning for breakfast...oh my, it's heavenly. The bread is slightly sweet-not overly so. Toasted, it's crispy on the outside and soft in the middle with a smattering of blueberries here and there. When I make it again-and I WILL-I'm going to chop the dried blueberries into smaller pieces so they'll disperse into the dough better. I've found a few slices had all of no berries where others had plenty...hard to tell where they end up when you've kneaded them into the dough and formed the loaf.
It's official....no more buying bread from the supermarket for me. I'll be making any bread we need from here on out. It's not hard to do at all once you get the hang of it and I think it really does save money. I can get quite a few loaves of bread out of a bag of bread flour...and it tastes SO much better. Don't let working with yeast "scare" you....give bread baking a try. It's relaxing, it's fun, that delectable aroma while it's baking and taking that beautiful loaf out of the oven makes it all worth it.
I'm so glad I kept these bread machine cookbooks. Now...which loaf of bread will I be trying next? It's going to be hard to choose!
Oh and by the way-I now have that large wooden board that I watched my Nana and my Mom knead bread on It sure brings back some nice memories. If that board holds out, I'll be passing it to Robin someday-she's fallen in love with bread baking too.
Safe travels to you, Linda, Gabe and Max. Thanks for having me guest post. We'll see you when you get back to Long Island! :)
BLUEBERRY MUFFIN BREAD
(Source: adapted from Better Homes and Gardens The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking-original recipe found HERE )
3/4 c. milk
3 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 1/2-3 c. bread flour, divided
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. (2 1/4 tsp.) rapid rise or instant yeast
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. butter extract
1/2 c. dried blueberries or blueberry flavored dried cranberries, chopped
A little melted butter to brush over the top of the bread-about 1/2 Tbsp.
Place the milk, water and butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat to 120-130 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups bread flour, the sugar, yeast, salt and nutmeg. Add the warmed milk mixture and beat on medium speed of an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, butter extract and 1/2 cup more flour. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough to grease the top. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap or a clean linen towel, place in a warm spot and let the dough rise until doubled, about 40-60 minutes, depending on how warm it is in your kitchen. A test to see if the dough is doubled is to stick 2 fingers into the side of the dough about 1/2" in...if the indentations remain, the dough has doubled. If they fill in, recover the bowl and let the dough to rise a little more.
Punch down the dough, knead in the dried berries and form the dough into a loaf. Place the loaf into a greased 8x4-inch loaf pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap or a clean linen towel and let rise until the bread doubles and the top is slightly above the edge of the pan, about 25-35 minutes depending on how warm it is in your kitchen.
When the dough has almost doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Uncover the loaf and bake @ 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.
Lightly brush the top of the loaf with a little melted butter, remove the loaf from the pan to a wire rack and let the bread cool completely before slicing. Makes 1 loaf (about 14-16 slices).