Blueberry Bread

Yield:1 loaf, approx. 16 slices
I came across this recipe last summer in the Summer 2006 issue of the King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet and it's becoming a summer tradition. Although the bread could be baked in the traditional way, using a bread machine is a much nicer way to bake in the dog days of summer. This bread makes great toast, or is good eaten plain. A rich sour-cream dough is scented with cinnamon and nutmeg and lemon zest and filled with fresh blueberries. When done, an optional lemon glaze makes it pretty and extra tasty. Unglazed, this bread also freezes well..

1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup fresh blueberries, divided

Glaze (Optional):
1 tbsp sour cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. Place all ingredients except the blueberries and glaze ingredients into the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Set the machine to the raisin/sweet bread cycle if you have one, or the basic cycle if you don't. Set the crust to light color. Start the machine.

2. At the add-in cycle, add 3/4 cup of the bluberries. The dough will be sticky and wet at first.After the machine kneads for about 2 minutes, check the consistency of the dough. If necessary, add flour 1 tbsp at a time, lowering the lid between each addition and allowing a couple of turns to mix. The dough should form a soft, smooth ball. I often need to add quite a bit of flour if my blueberries are very juicy, so don't worry if you start out with a puddle of blueberry soup in the bottom of the pan.

3. Allow the machine to complete the kneading cycle. At this point, remove the dough from the pan and gently hand-knead in the remaining blueberries.  Shape the dough as desired, perhaps braiding 1/3 of the dough and laying it on top of the loaf. Remove the paddles from your machine and place the bread back in the pan and let the machine finish it's rising and baking cycles.

4. Remove the baked bread from the machine and from it's pan and cool completely. If desired, mix all of the glaze ingredients together and drizzle of the bread.

Notes on Shaping the Bread:

I was delighted to find in the same issue of the Baking Sheet directions on making bread machine bread prettier. I've always disliked the often lopsided and obviously machine-baked look of bread made in a machine as well as the huge holes in the bottom. To make it look a little nicer, the bread is removed from the machine before the rise cycle, then shaped and topped with a braid of dough. The paddles are removed from the pan before putting the bread back into the machine to continue the rise and bake cycle. There are still holes in the loaf from the pins that the paddles attach to, but they're much smaller and I don't have to dig the paddles out of the finished loaf. The braid on top gives the loaf a prettier look.

Kneading in the Blueberries
Shaping the Braid
Forming the Loaf