Lemon Blueberry Quick Bread…

My husband has an insatiable sweet tooth and lucky for him he can eat sweets and stay thin. So I’m always looking to make something for him, and there are times I just don’t want a lot of fuss getting it done. When that happens, this recipe allows me to make him something fresh without a lot of work on my part. And oh, did I happen to mention – it tastes divine!

I love baking with blueberries. When they get hot enough they burst and release sweet juices into whatever it is you’re making. This particular quick bread is loaded with them and when you add the lemon zest to the batter and frost it with lemon glaze, the combination of flavors are to die for.

So not only is this a great tasting sweet loaf, it’s quick and utterly delicious. So let’s talk lemon blueberry quick bread…

Lesson Learned 1 – Be careful when baking with blueberries: Blueberries can be tricky and believe me I’ve had my failures where blueberries are concerned. You have to coat them with a small amount of flour before you put them in the batter. If you don’t they’ll all sink to the bottom of your bread and you’ll have a blueberry mess on your hands.

It’s very important that you coat with blueberries thoroughly with the amount indicated in the recipe. I’ve also made the mistake of thinking they were fully coated and pouring them into the batter only to find that there was still a bunch of flour on the bottom of the bowl. I recommend that you place your blueberries in a small cereal bowl and stir them from the bottom of the bowl up. That way you’ll know that you’re using all the flour. Check the bottom of the bowl for any residual flour. If there is some, scoop it on top of the blueberries and continue to stir until there’s no flour on the bottom of the bowl when you pour the blueberries into the batter.

This quick bread was so good I made it twice within the span of a week. The second time I tried a few tweaks and I liked the way the bread turned out even better. One of the tweaks I did was change the amount of blueberries. Originally I used 1 cup of blueberries in the recipe and the bread was loaded with blueberries. Don’t get me wrong, that was fine, but I felt the blueberries were a tad overpowering. The second time I only used 3/4 cup of blueberries and I liked that ratio of blueberries to batter much better. So I recommend using only 3/4 cup of blueberries.

Another trick I used to avoid having the blueberries sink to the bottom of the cake – once the batter was in the baking pan I used a small spoon, dipped it into the batter and scooped some of the blueberries up to the top. I went about half way down in the batter and did a few scoops to make sure all the blueberries didn’t settle in one place. Doing a few scoops with the spoon and making sure the blueberries were completely coated in the flour gave a good distribution of blueberries in the batter.

Lesson Learned 2 – High altitude baking: I live in the Denver area which is 5,000 feet above sea level. When you live in high altitude it affects your baking and you need to make adjustments in order to get your desired results. If you don’t make adjustments your cakes and sweet breads will wind up sinking in the middle with the edges being more than done. It’s frustrating. And it takes some time to get used to high altitude baking.

The main difference between high altitude and sea level baking is air pressure. The higher the altitude the lower the air pressure, and lower air pressure plays havoc with baking. The King Arthur Flour’s website has an excellent article explaining why adjustments need to be made with high altitude baking and recommended adjustments for cakes, cookies and the like. If you’re in high altitude I highly recommend you check it out. I will write out the recipe with sea level ingredients and put in parenthesis the high altitude adjustments. Keep in mind my adjustments are for 5,000 feet. If you’re at 3,000 or 7,000 the adjustments change. The article gives specific adjustments for those altitudes as well. And if you’re at sea level (which I was for many years) just follow the recipe as is. You’ve got nothing to worry about. The link to the article is directly below:

https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

Other than how to work with blueberries and how to adjust for high altitude this quick bread is super simple to make and super delicious. Try it out and tell me what you think…

Lemon Blueberry Quick Bread...

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

Quick Bread

1 1/2 cups flour + 1 tsp., divided

2 tsp. baking powder (1 1/2 tsp. for high altitude)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup sugar

Zest of one medium size lemon, plus the juice for the glaze (see below)

3/4 cup whole milk (+ 1 Tbs. for high altitude)

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp. canola oil

3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Baking spray

Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar

1-2 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 (365 for high altitude).

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Stir in the sugar and lemon zest. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl whisk together the egg, milk and canola oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Use the remaining teaspoon of flour and coat the blueberries with the flour. Add the blueberries to the batter and gently fold them in.

Coat an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with baking spray. (I used the one that also includes flour). Pour the batter into the pan. Place a small spoon into the batter (about half way down) and scoop some of the blueberries up to the top. (repeat this two or three times).

Bake for 40-50 minutes (mine was done in 40 minutes). Remove the pan from the oven. Move a rounded edged knife along all sides of the pan. Let the pan cool for 15 minutes, then remove the quick bread from the pan and let it continue to cool.

Once the bread is completely cooled mix together the glaze ingredients. Start with 1 Tbs. lemon juice and add more to achieve your desired thickness (I used 2 Tbs.). Drizzle the glaze over the top of the bread before serving. Store any leftovers in an air tight container.

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary And Sun Dried Tomato Artisan Bread…

My husband is a bread lover and consequently bread is part of every dinner at our house. Carbs aren’t a factor for him, he’s as thin as a rail.  He just loves to have a couple of slices of bread warmed in the toaster oven to accompany his meal. It is one of life’s simple pleasures for him.

Over the past year I’ve experimented with making bread in various ways. When I was growing up homemade bread was a special event, especially since it took nearly all day to make with lots of arduous kneading and several hours of rising time. Now we’ve figured out how to make bread more simply, calling it artisan bread and using various methods to produce loafs that don’t challenge your muscles in the process. Last year I published a blog about Artisan No-Knead Bread and if you haven’t tried that particular method I suggest you do. It makes wonderful bread. The only challenge with that recipe is you have to let the dough rest and rise for a minimum of 18 hours, so if you forget to mix the dough the night before you’re out of luck.

IMG_2809This particular recipe mimics the packaged bread mixes that are out there that promise to give a loaf of “homemade” bread in less than an hour. All you have to do is add water. And that’s great. I’m not sure of the last time I had homemade bread that included azodicar-bonamide or mononitrate. And in my quest to lessen the amount of processed foods in my life I am trying more and more to make things from scratch and not from out of boxes with hard to pronounce ingredients. But you have to admit it is tempting to use these products in order to make fresh bread quickly. And I think I have a recipe that can give you a great loaf of bread in as short of a period of time as possible without all of the processed food additives we want less of in our lives.

This recipe is simple and straightforward. It does call for allowing for the dough to rise twice, first for an hour and then for a half hour. But that’s nothing. The ingredients are so easy to assemble that you can be doing a lot of other things while the bread is rising. Thirty minutes in the oven completes the process and you have great tasting, non-processed artisan bread. Even the novice cook can be successful the first time making this bread.

Lesson Learned 1 – Let the yeast bloom: You need to make sure the yeast is activated in order for this bread to work. Take 2 Tbs. of active dry yeast (slightly less than one pouch) pour it into a bowl, add one cup of very warm water and then whisk the two ingredients together until combined. Let the mixture sit for 3-5 minutes. You will see some bubbling action on the water and then you will see the yeast bloom (almost like mini chalky volcanic eruptions on the surface of the water). Once that happens you know the yeast has been activated and can add the rest of the ingredients.

Lesson Learned 2 – All that’s left is combining the remaining ingredients: It couldn’t be any simpler. Combine all of the remaining ingredients and let the yeast do its work.

pro-line-nonstick-baking-sheetLesson Learned 3 – Prepping the baking sheet: I use a professional grade baking sheet (picture on the left). I have to include a disclaimer that I work at Crate and Barrel which carries this particular baking sheet. I am not trying to sell this, but have found that if you invest in good housewares i.e., cookware, bakeware, gadgets, etc. it will pay dividends in the kitchen. This particular baking sheet is a non-stick baking sheet. It does not have a traditional non-stick surface but notice the groves throughout the bottom of the pan. That allows for heat to circulate underneath whatever is on the sheet and consequently it does not stick. To make this particular bread all I had to do was dust the pan with some cornmeal. When I took the bread out of the oven, I simply lifted it off the sheet with a silicone spatula. The bread did not stick. If you don’t have a pan similar to this you will need to grease a baking sheet with some vegetable oil and then dust it with cornmeal.

I guarantee if you try this recipe you will impress your family and friends. The end result is exquisite and no one will ever believe how easy it was to make. So throw away the box and say good-bye to processed bread mixes. You are now a “from-scratch” bread maker!

Rosemary And Sun Dried Tomato Artisan Bread

  • Servings: 1 Loaf
  • Difficulty: Easy
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IMG_2779INGREDIENTS:

2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups flour

cornmeal for dusting

vegetable oil for baking sheet prep

1 egg white (for an wash on the top of the bread)

1 Tbs. milk (for a wash on top of the bread)

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sized bowl combine yeast and warm water. Whisk to combine. Let the mixture sit for 3-5 minutes until the yeast starts to expand and bloom. Add the tomatoes, rosemary, salt and flour all at once. Use a wooden spoon to combine. If dough is too sticky add a little more flour. If the dough feels too dry add a little more water. The dough should be a bit sticky but capable of being formed into a ball. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 hour.

After an hour either dust a non-stick baking sheet with cornmeal or, if not using non-stick, brush the sheet with some vegetable oil and dust with cornmeal. Shape the dough into a ball with your hands (or you can use a heavy duty silicone scraper to shape into a ball) and put it on the prepared baking sheet. Cover the dough with a dishtowel and let it rise for and additional 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After 30 minutes, bake the dough for 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and brush lightly with the whisked egg white and milk mixture. Put the bread back into the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the outer crust turns a nice light golden brown.

Bread Dough Ready To Rise On Prepared Baking Sheet...

Bread Dough Ready To Rise On Prepared Baking Sheet…

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Fresh Out Of The Oven…

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Rosemary and Sun Dried Tomato Artisan Bread…