Blueberry Orange and Walnut Bread


First of all OM NOM NOM NOM NOM. This is probably one of the best dessert breads I’ve ever had let alone made. I’m don’t like things being sugary sweet and this bread dough was not sweetened at all. The sweetness comes from dried wild blueberries (you can find them at TJ’s) and I used a few healthy handfuls. The scent of blueberries and oranges is wonderful. The blueberries partially rehydrate themselves and they become juicy again. They give a little pop that has a nice texture contrast to the walnuts.

I will make this again, and again, and again. It is a new favorite. This is a modified overnight recipe that I saw on the interwebs. You can do a quicker bread with a quicker rise by using more yeast. I baked this in a dutch oven to create the steam but you can also do this on a baking stone like my previous recipes.

My basic bread technique can be found here : http://cookingforthogg.livejournal.com/3982.html

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1.5 cups room temp water (plus an extra tablespoon or so to make up for what the blueberries soak up)
  • 1/2 tsp yeast (or if not doing an overnight bread use 3/4 Tbs yeast and a 2 hour rise)
  • 3/4 Tbs salt
  • a few generous handfuls of dried wild blueberries (or any other variety that has a good strong flavor)
  • the zest of 1 largish orange
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped raw walnuts (or more or less to suit your taste)

Directions:

  1. Into a large bowl add your water, yeast, salt, blueberries, orange zest and walnuts.
  2. Measure your flour directly into the large bowl and mix until it comes together with a spatula. Kneading is not necessary as the long rise time will allow the gluten strands to form.
  3. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and leave it in a spot that is free of drafts. I usually pop mine into the microwave and close the door. In the morning you will be ready to get baking. You want to give the dough 12-16 hours to rise and develop flavor and structure.
  4. Turn your oven to 450 degrees. Get your dutch oven out and ready. Take the bread, dust it with some flour and gently form it into a rough ball (try not to punch it down too much, bubbles are good and we aren’t doing a very long second rise). Onto a generously dusted pizza peel or other board, place the ball of dough and cover with the saran wrap again.
  5. Once the oven comes up to temp, place the covered dutch oven inside. Set your timer for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes, carefully take the hot dutch oven out, take off the lid, get plenty of flour on your hands and plop the ball of dough directly into the center of the dutch oven. Replace the lid and bake, covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. I’ve found that the crust is a little less crunchy when using the dutch oven method vs my traditional baking method, but that makes it better for dessert breads.
  7. Let cool for a little and then dig in. I find that this bread is best served when still a bit warm.

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