Challenge yourself to make a beautiful blueberry filled coffee cake!
Recipes for using cans of beans and other imaginative things to do with pantry staples are not really my thing. And there are a lot of much better chefs out there who are creating and sharing those kinds of recipes for you.
I am working on the assumption that the cooks among you are looking for projects, something to stretch your mind and talents and hopefully result in something fun to eat (#gettingfatfromcoronovirus). Starting next week, I am replaying one episode from the Great British Baking Show, Season One and doing one of the three challenges. And I will keep on doing it, season by season, until we are out of this mess!
This week, however, I am sharing with you the recipe for a yeast bread coffeecake which will keep you busy for a couple of hours and is very satisfactory with its showy, but easier than it looks, design.
We will start with the dough.
Put 1 cup of flour, the yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade and mix it briefly.
Heat milk and butter gently until the butter has melted. Cutting the butter into small chunks will speed the process and help melt it before the milk gets too hot. Test the temperature of the milk with an instant-read thermometer. It should be between 120 and 130 degrees (f). If you are using a whole vanilla bean, cut it in half and add it to the milk as you heat it. Remove it before the next step.
Pour the milk into the flour mixture while the mixer is on low speed. Once all the milk is poured in, beat it on medium speed for two minutes. Add the egg and vanilla (if you didn’t use a bean!) and beat again on medium speed for two minutes. Gradually add the rest of the flour, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat it until it is just combined.
Change the blade for the dough hook and beat it at medium speed 6-8 minutes until it has formed a sticky dough. You will know it is ready when you can tear off a bit and stretch it until you can see through it.
If it breaks instead of stretching knead it some more. This makes a sticky dough so don’t worry if it is still adhering to the sides of the bowl.
Grease a large bowl and put the dough in it, turning the dough to grease it too. Cover it and put it in a warm place to rise. How long it takes to rise depends on how warm the spot is. Ideally it should be about 75 degrees (f). I warm my oven a little bit, then turn it off and put the dough inside the oven with the door just ajar. Let it rise until it has doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
Now comes the fun part!
Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes then divide it into 4 equal portions. This is a good place to use your kitchen scale if you have one. If not you will just have to eyeball it. Roll each portion into a ball, cover them and set them aside for 15 minutes.
While the dough is resting make your filling. Mix softened cream cheese together with lemon zest, chopped dried blueberries, powdered sugar and an egg white until it is well combined. I added a little blue and red food coloring to give it a faint purple tinge.
Take one ball of dough and roll it and stretch it out to an 11” circle. You can trace a circle on a piece of parchment paper to use as a guide if you need to.
Put the circle on a baking sheet which you have lined with parchment paper. Spread 1/3 of the filling evenly over the circle, stopping just short of the edge.
Roll out another circle, place it on top of the first and spread it with filling. Repeat with the third circle, using up the last of the filling.
Roll out the fourth circle and place it on top. Take a small glass or cookie cutter and make an indentation in the center (without breaking through the dough) about 1-2” in diameter.
Now cut the dough into 16 slices leaving the center intact.
Two at a time, take the end of one cut piece in each hand and twist each one twice in an outward direction, away from each other. Bring the ends together, kind of like a little heart and pinch them together. Once you have done the first one, it will all be clear to you!
When you have done this all the way around the circle, cover the dough again and let it rise once more, 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
When the dough is nearly doubled in size again, pinch together any ends that may have separated. Brush it all over with an egg wash and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes until it is golden brown. An instant-read thermometer will register 190 degrees when it is done.
Let the bread cool on the pan and then glaze with a cream cheese glaze.
BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE
For the dough
- 3 ¼ c and 2 tbsp bread flour
- ¼ c sugar
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1 c milk
- ¼ c butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
For the filling
- 1 egg white
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ c dried blueberries roughly chopped
- Zest from ½ lemon
- 4 drops blue food coloring
- 3 drops red food coloring
For the egg wash
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
- Demerara Sugar
For the glaze
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 2 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 ½ tbsp milk
Make the dough
- Put 1 cup flour, the sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade. Mix together for 10-15 seconds.
- Put the milk is a small saucepan. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the milk. Heat gently, stirring, until the butter is melted, and the milk is no more than 130 degrees (f). If you are using a vanilla bean, split it in half and add it to the milk as it heats. Remove before the next step.
- Slowly add the milk to the flour in the mixer, scrape the sides as needed and beat for two minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla bean or vanilla extract and beat for two more minutes
- On low speed, add the remaining flour and mix it until just combined.
- Change the paddle blade for the dough hook and knead on medium 6-8 minutes. Scrape the bowl down once or twice as it kneads.
- Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl turning it over to oil the surface of the dough as well. Cover and let rise in a warm place (75 degrees ) until doubled, 45-60 minutes.
- Punch the dough down and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Using a scale if you have one, separate the dough into four equal balls. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Make the Filling
- Beat together the cream cheese, lemon zest, blueberries and egg white until smooth and spreadable. Add food coloring to make a light purple color if desired.
Assemble the bread
- Roll out one ball of dough to make an 11” circle. You can stretch it with your hands if need be.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the dough circle on it.
- Spread 1/3 of the filling mixture on the dough, leaving an edge around the circle.
- Roll out a second ball into an 11” circle and place on top of the first one. Spread with 1/3 of the filling.
- Repeat with a third ball.
- Roll out the fourth ball and place the circle on top of the others. Take a small glass or cookie cutter and make an indentation 1-2” in diameter in the center of the top layer of dough
- Cut into 16 equal slices without going through the center.
- Take the end of one slice in one hand and the end of the slice next to it in the other hand. Turn each slice twice in an outward direction (away from each other). Bring the ends together and pinch them to hold. Continue until all of the slices have been joined to another and you have an eight pronged star.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (f)
- Make the egg wash by whisking together the egg and the water.
- Brush the bread all over with the egg wash and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
- Bake 20-25 minutes until the bead is golden brown. It should register 190 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
- Let cool on the baking sheet.
- When the bread has cooled, make the glaze by beating together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk until smooth.
- Drizzle with glaze and serve