I had big plans….
Summer is all about having fun, relaxing with your family, enjoying the weather, not having a to-do list. I, however, had big plans for the summer. It was gonna be my time to get back into blogging and baking, two of my favorite things. But summer had different plans for me, and I had to put making this lemon and blueberry brioche bread on hold.
I’m not gonna bore you with all the deets. Ok. I’ll bore you with some. The 18 year old was gifted a car (a 2008 Camry) from his grandparents, so he was able to drive himself up to the cabin for his annual summer job. My daughter and I went up the first few times before he had his car, stayed a few days to hang out, and then picked him up on Fridays so he could be home for a couple days.
My daughter had summer basketball for six weeks. They practiced twice a week and weekends were tournaments; some local that we hosted, a few an hour or so away. Now it’s soccer with the high school. How is THAT possible? High. School.
I was also helping my oldest navigate life. We adopted him when he was like 10 days old. He’s had a rough time and several of his diagnoses haven’t come until later in life (testing he had done at Oregon Health Sciences University this summer confirmed autism). But the alcohol and meth his birth mother consumed will not reverse the brain damage. He’s had trouble keeping jobs and has had to move on a moment’s notice out of places he’s staying. Tough enough for a 20 year old with a normal-working frontal lobe; almost impossible for a kid with a malfunctioning one.
Now you’re all caught up. A few weeks ago, one of the bloggers I follow on Instagram posted about a collaboration. I’d never done one before, but have seen lots of them and wanted to participate. Great way to meet new people and give me a reason to bake!
I’ve posted recipes with brioche before and have loved how easy it is to work with. This collaboration was using blueberries – no requirements. Blueberries are so versatile. Muffins, scones, turnovers, cakes, and even on salads. This brioche dough is sweetened with honey, has more eggs, and has two rises. It seemed that blueberries were going to get along great with that brioche.
Planning for bread making
Brioche is a forgiving dough, but you need to plan ahead. The eggs need to be at room temperature; the butter needs to be melted and cooled; water needs to be lukewarm so the yeast is not killed. Gather all your ingredients and the medium lidded container before beginning to mix.
Any special tools needed?
One of the tools I would recommend buying is a Danish Dough Whisk. I bought mine at Bob’s Red Mill (yea for living in Oregon!) and it is amazing. Don’t buy some cheap knock-off. The beechwood handle and stainless steel head really do a great job of incorporating all that flour. Also a lidded dough container is great to have. It’s easier to see how much the dough has risen and fits better in your fridge than a bowl.
Secret Ingredients (sshhhhh)
I absolutely LOVE lemon in so many things. I wanted to enjoy the taste of lemon without adding extra moisture to the blueberries. Nielsen-Massey makes an amazing lemon paste. It’s perfect – adds enough flavor without compromising the consistency of the blueberry filling. The other secret ingredient I use is the ClearJel. It works with sugar to thicken the juices when the berries bake. I use it mostly in pies, but thought it would work well in this lemon and blueberry brioche bread.
Hope you enjoy this recipe and go to my Instagram feed and check out all the other bakers I collaborated with.
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A sweet bread filled with blueberries, lemon paste, and almonds, braided and baked in a bread pan.
For the dough:
- 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 T instant yeast
- 1/2 T kosher salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup honey
- 12 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 3/4 cups | 18.75 ounces all purpose flour
For the filling:
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup |1.75 ounces sugar
- 2 tablespoons instant ClearJel
- 1–2 tablespoons Nielsen-Massey Lemon Paste
- 1 cup sliced almonds, divided
For the sugar coating:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To make the brioche:
- In a medium sized lidded container, mix lukewarm water, yeast, salt, lightly beaten eggs, honey, and cooled melted butter with a whisk.
- Using a scale for accurate measurement, add in 17.5 ounces all-purpose flour. Mix with a dough whisk until no traces of flour remain. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix blueberries, sugar, and ClearJel in a small bowl and set aside.
- Working on a floured surface, dust the top of the dough with flour and pick up the entire piece of dough. Divide into three equal portions (it’s about 12 ounces each).
- Roll each piece of dough into a log about 10 inches long. Using your fingers, flatten each log into 3 inches wide. Using an offset spatula, spread the lemon paste on each piece of dough. Add the full two tablespoons if you like lots of lemon flavor; add one tablespoon if you like less.
- Sprinkle the blueberries and sugar mixture down the center of each piece of dough. Sprinkle 1/3 cup total of almonds onto each piece of dough. Bring the long edges together and pinch to seal. Dust with a bit of flour to make it easier to roll.
- Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove about 1/3 of mixture and spread over bottom of loaf pan. Tap pan so mixture is distributed evenly around the bottom. It’s okay if it gets up the sides.
- Using a pastry brush, cover each log in butter mixture. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over three ropes.
- Line up the three ropes; pinch one end of the ropes together and then braid them together. Pinch again at the end. Carefully lift bread and place in prepared loaf pan. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle remaining almonds over dough, and place pan on cookie sheet to catch any spills. Bake 45-55 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool before slicing.
Eggs need to be at room temperature for the dough to rise properly. Dough will rise again once baked, so no need to rise more than an hour. I used frozen berries because they tend to burst better from the shock of heat.
Keywords: brioche, blueberries, lemon, bread