Blueberries are all the rage right now. They’re plump, juicy and reasonably priced. And I’ve been eating them in and on everything. So when I saw America’s Test Kitchen was using blueberries as the subject for this week’s Fresh Food Challenge, I knew I wanted to tackle something blueberry. I love lemons, and I love blueberries, so when I saw this recipe for lemon blueberry bread, I knew it was my destiny.
Blueberries: Not just Violet Beauregarde’s fate.
This recipe was actually really easy, so I’ll explain it all in pictures.
Whisk together the dry ingredients: Flour, salt and baking powder.
Simple things are art for my kitchen. Even if they only stay that way for a few moments. Let’s all take a minute to appreciate softened butter. Not your thing? OK, moving on.
And here’s the butter and sugar creamed together. When I was a kid, this was one of my favorite moments in baking. I promise I didn’t take a big bite. But trust me, if my waistline could handle it, there’d be a lot of random creaming of butter and sugar in this kitchen! And, let’s be honest, this step is in recipes mostly so we have a chance to indulge, right? OK, not right? Weird. That’s what I always thought. That’s how it should be!
Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. This is also the point where you add vanilla. I also added about 1/4 tsp of lemon extract. I didn’t want it to be too overwhelming, but simply an extra touch of lemon.
And here’s what it looks like after the eggs and extracts are added. Yes, I do want to eat it with a spoon. So what?
Zesting a lemon makes my kitchen smell like I think it would if I lived on a citrus farm. I wish I did!
I didn’t measure this like the recipe recommended. So this is the zest of one lemon.
At this point you add 1/3 of the dry mixture and 1/2 of the milk and mix. Then add another 1/3 of the dry mix and the rest of the milk. Then the final 1/3 of the dry mixture. Make sure you’re scraping the sides and bottoms of the bowl. You only want to stir until just mixed, so be efficient!
I read somewhere once that if you sprinkle flour in your blueberries they won’t sink to the bottom of whatever you’re making. I figured what the heck! Let’s give it a try. Of course, we don’t really have much of a control other than the final product posted on the original blog. And in that case, the author may have coated her blueberries, too. So this will be unvalidatable research for the sake of research!
Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. I used a pint instead of a cup.
Pour it into a greased loaf pan and cook at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted come out clean. Huh, anyone else think this is cake masquerading as bread? Yeah, I’ve known for a while but chose to ignore it until the whole toothpick thing. Hey, whatever you gotta do!
Meanwhile, bring the juice of one lemon and 1/4 a cup of sugar to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Does anyone else love the “meanwhile” comments in a recipe? I try to add them into my recipes when I can. I feel like they’re telling me, “During the time you’d normally be sitting on the floor in front of your oven watching your creation bake, do this.” But the author acts like you have all of this flexibility with a loose “meanwhile.” OK, I’m weird. And digressing.
The finished product, straight out of the oven. OK, now I see why people care if the blueberries sink to the bottom. For one, it looks prettier spread out. And this is America, the home of the beauty-obsessed. And two, more blueberries per square bite. Bonus! Our previously assumed inconclusive data has been concluded. Quick, someone pound a gavel!
Here’s the glaze we made “in the meantime.” Doesn’t look like much but it smells good. And OK, you caught me. I tasted it. Delicious!
Poke holes in your bread. I re-used the toothpick I used to check doneness of the bread. Look at me, saving trees! And I suppose you could pour on the glaze, but I’ve always wanted to be an artist. So I painted mine on.
Let it cool in the loaf pan for about a half an hour. Then dump it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. I loosened my cake (come on, people, this is hardly bread!) around the edges with a butter knife and it came out nice and clean.
I love how the sun is hitting this. I feel like it’s such a summer dessert.
And a closeup for complete blueberry appreciation.
Here’s a very slightly modified recipe:
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract
Zest of one lemon (outer yellow skin of the lemon)
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
Juice of one lemon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Beat the butter until softened, then add the sugar and cream. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. Then add the lemon and vanilla extracts. Add 1/3 of the dry mixture and mix. Then half of the milk and mix. Continue adding dry mix, milk, dry mix until everything’s added and just mixed. Scraping the sides and bottoms of the bowl as necessary. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Meanwhile, bring the lemon juice and sugar to a boil and mix until sugar dissolves. Sit aside.
Pour into the loaf pan and cook for about an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. Poke holes with the toothpick and brush on glaze. Let the bread cool in the pan for about a half hour. Then let it cool completely on the wire rack. You might need to loosen the bread from the pan’s edges with a butter knife.
This bread is supposed to be best the same day it’s made, but my friend had some the day after and said it was delicious.