Blueberry Pull Apart Bread
We love blueberries. By love, I mean we are kind of obsessed with them. They are just so tasty and easy to eat and store! When they go on sale, I buy extra and freeze them. There is alway a pint of fresh blueberries in my fridge. We have them in our smoothies, smashed up on bread instead of jelly, straight from the freezer as a snack, on the side of our eggs in the morning. Blueberry muffins, loaf cakes, tarts, whatever. Love them. Saturday morning my sweet, lovely, precious daughter…..woke me up at about 4:45 a.m. Ugh. I was dragging big time. She wouldn’t go back to sleep and I needed to do something that would keep me moving or else I was going to fall asleep standing. So, I thought about my blueberries. And I thought about those delicious looking pull apart breads that have been floating around Pinterest. Blueberry bread. Yum… You can see where I’m going with this….
Blueberry Pull Apart Bread.
Now, I can follow a recipe no problem, but a seasoned baker I am not. So I had to hunt for at least a place to start with the bread. The rest, I figured, I could manage. I did find a recipe for blueberry pull apart bread over on the blog Le Petit Brioche. Christa had a recipe (with beautiful pictures, I might add) and it looked amazing.
I got lost when I was reading through her directions. I decided I could do it on my own, though. With her basic recipe, I modified the instructions to suit what I know about bread baking from my previous sandwich bread experiences. And it worked out amazingly! I do intend to try Christa’s version at some point, but for all of its differences, mine is satisfying and tasty as well. If you make this bread for yourself, be sure to share some pictures on the facebook wall! I just love to see what you all are up to in your kitchens.
I’m including some helpful process pics for you, so you can follow along and see what you should expect. It’s actually easy to make, but because of the rising times, it will take you a while. But hey, I had nothing but time on my hands at 4:45 a.m……
Blueberry Pull Apart Bread
Makes one loaf
For the dough:
2 3/4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup whole milk
half stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temp.
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen is fine)
half stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 – 2 tbsp. cinnamon
2-3 tbsp. sugar
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp. whole milk
In a small saucepan, warm the milk to just warm to the touch. It shouldn’t boil or even bubble. Once it’s warm to the touch, pour the milk into a small bowl or glass, and stir in the yeast. Set aside to activate while preparing the other ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add to the bowl of a food processor (if you don’t have a food processor, you can easily mix this by hand right in the large bowl. I’m lazy).
With the motor running, add in your water, eggs, and vanilla extract.
By the way, try this vanilla extract. It’s made with bourbon. The flavor is outstanding compared to the other stuff. Trust me. It’s worth the few extra bucks.
Anyways, back to the bread. You will have a mess that looks like this:
Not very dough like, right? Don’t worry. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, and run the motor again. Add in your milk and yeast mixture now.
Things will start to come together pretty quickly, and you’ll see something that looks like this mess:
The dough is still very sticky, but beginning to come together. At this point, I decided to turn the dough out on my floured counter. I knew I was going to need more flour. How much flour you need will honestly depend on the weather outside. I tend to add less in the beginning so I can add more while I knead the dough until it’s exactly how I like it. It’s a feeling, and even if you have never baked bread before, you will know when it’s had enough flour added. Practice guys. Practice.
See how much flour I tossed on top there? I added about that much more, three times. Just some small handfuls, plus whatever was on the counter. Knead with your hands, adding more flour little by little, until the dough turns into a smooth and not very sticky ball. Trust me, it will happen. Just keep going…..but don’t over knead! Once it comes together stop.
It will look like this:
Put the dough ball into a bowl that has been greased with butter. Cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled. It was a cool morning, so it took about 2 hours for this dough to rise for me. I wound up speeding things along by running a tea towel under very hot water, wringing, and laying over the top of the bread. That helped a lot. So, give that a shot if you need to. The dough will double in size at some point.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Oh, by the way. You’ll know the dough has risen enough when you poke it with your thumb and it holds the shape.
Gently press the dough out into a rectangle shape, and then begin rolling it out with a rolling-pin.
Oh wait…..I don’t own a rolling-pin.
No joke. Why? I don’t know. It’s not like these things cost a fortune. I just don’t have one. Every time I’ve ever needed one, I’ve made do with what I had on hand. Maybe I’ll get one for Christmas one of these years, In the mean time, I use an even cup. It works just fine.
Roll until you get a rectangle that’s about…..well I don’t know how big mine was. But the dough was about a quarter-inch thick, and probably double the length of the pan. So do that (sorry for no specifics here, I told you it was early). This isn’t an exact science. The bread police won’t come after you if your dough isn’t a perfect rectangle.
Brush the top with about 3/4 of the melted butter for the filling. Then sprinkle evenly(ish) your sugar and cinnamon. Now cut the dough into 6 equal strips.
Save about 1/4 of the blueberries for the top, and scatter the rest in between layers of dough. Just add some blueberries to one strip, and then lay a strip on top. Then add more berries, layer another strip.
You’ll have a stack like this (there’s blueberries in between the layers!):
Now cut the stack into 4 equal square portions.
See? Not perfect. It’s ok.
Take your stacks, and put them standing on their sides, into a greased loaf pan. The pan will not be stuffed full. It’s going to look like there’s a ton of room left, but we are going to do a second rise. It will fill up. Add the rest of the blueberries on the top of the loaf and kind of tuck them into the bread slices. Brush with the remaining butter. Cover and let rise again. For about an hour this time, until doubled again.
Pre heat the oven to 350˚
Pop in the oven and bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Took about an hour and a half for me. Rotate the pan once or twice, a quarter turn to help the bread cook evenly. If you think the bread is getting too brown, a foil tent will work. Just lay a piece right on top until the bread is done.
Should look delicious and amazing. And it will smell even better!
If you want, you can glaze the bread as well. That will make it kind of like a blueberry cinnamon roll, which is what this bread reminds me of. So I went for it. Mix the powdered sugar and little bits of milk with a whisk until everything begins to smooth out. That’s all. Icing is easy. Turn the bread out into a rack to cool.
Drizzle the icing over the top, making sure to hit every slice and every bit in between. Best to do this while the bread is still warm.
To serve, just pull some slices right off. Maybe add a touch of butter to melt on your slice, but other than that, this bread needs nothing else. Maybe a cup of coffee to go with it.
Look at the cinnamon-y, sugary, blueberry-sweet goodness. Oh. Yes. Worth every last bit of effort! Don’t be intimidated by this recipe. It isn’t hard at all, it’s almost all waiting time. Make this on a Saturday afternoon and have it for Sunday coffee.