Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bake up your day: Cran-blueberry swirl bread

Usually when I get sick, I like to curl up in bed or on the couch for as long as it takes for me to feel better.  But as soon as I do feel better, I start thinking about baking.  So many things bookmarked, so many ideas to try out.  Baking makes me feel good.  This last time was particularly sweet though, because my five year old spent all day taking care of me and her little sister and then pampering me for the next few days.  "Mommy, do you need a blanket?  Can I get you anything?  Here, you need to drink this cold water to make you feel better because I feel better when I drink a glass of water.  Okay, if you need anything, just let me know..."  What a sweetie.  That alone helps me feel better!  And now to bake something.  Don't worry, I keep my hands scrupulously clean.  Here is what the girls were gathering for me while I was working on the bread.  Nothing says I love you like a big bouquet of little-girl-picked flowers.

Cran-blueberry swirl bread

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 to 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar (or white sugar)
2 ¼ tsp Instant Yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water, lukewarm
½ cup milk, scalded, cooled to lukewarm
1/3 cup butter, cubed

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup packed lt. brown muscovado sugar
¼ cup water
1 tbsp butter
½ cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp all-purpose or ww flour
2 tbsp cold butter, divided

In a large bowl, combine milk, water, sugar, salt and whole wheat flour.  Beat until butter is mixed in.  Add 1 cup all purpose flour and stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. 

For filling, in a small saucepan, combine the berries, brown sugar and water. If you want a more jelly like filling, chop the berries before cooking.  Cook over medium heat until blueberries split and cranberries plump, about 15 minutes. Mash with a fork as well as you can.  Remove from the heat; stir in the butter, pecans and lemon juice. Cool.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 16 x 9 inch rectangle. Spread filling to within ½ inch of edges. Roll up however you please, jelly roll style or whatever floats your boat.  I rolled mine butterfly style.  You can also roll a bigger rectangle and put it in the pan zigzag for a cool pattern.  Place in a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in 1 tablespoon butter until crumbly. (Try using your fingers to rub the butter in, it's easier.)  Melt remaining butter; brush over dough. Sprinkle with topping. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped. Tent with foil during the last 15 minutes if necessary to prevent over browing.  Carefully remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).

So you can see I have a little dent in the middle just because of how I rolled it and set it in the pan.  Kind of like when you slice down the middle of some loaves.  Tastes fabulous though.  Good plain, or with butter, or toasted with butter...  I have mentioned I love butter, right?  Remember, butter is not bad for you, processed vegetable oils are.  You could certainly use all blueberries or all cranberries for this loaf.   It's versatile.  With the blueberries and streusel topping, it's like a blueberry muffin in bread form.  Enjoy!  This loaf will go up for yeastspotting.


  1. This is a gorgeous loaf of bread. I love the spiral of filling that makes it look so unique. I hope you feel better soon. It's no fun being sick and housebound, though I suspect those flowers made it a much brighter day. Take care...Mary

  2. Great looking bread! And.. I love the flowers. Aren't little girls great!!

  3. I crave bread-baking when I'm sick. Healthy. tired. Stressed. basically constantly.

    The swirl in this is gorgeous! And your daughters sound adorable.

  4. Wow! It's so pretty, I love experimenting with breads and fillings but the fam's not too keen on it :-S. I'm interested with the zig-zag method too! Never thought of that.

    Feel better soon - I'm the same way when I'm sick!


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