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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Very Berry Lemon and Blueberry Sweet Bread



Our friend, Susan, is celebrating the first anniversary of her event, YeastSpotting, today. Stop by and see all the glorious breads that have been made for the occasion.


No visit to Cape Cod would be complete without sampling Portuguese sweet bread. It was brought to the cape by the wives of Portuguese fisherman and the eggy, sweet bread quickly became a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Fortunately, the Portuguese established enclaves outside of Provincetown so the bread is also available to those who are not on vacation. Bob and I spent several decades on the east coast and did a lot exploring in ethnic communities of the area. One of our favorites was a stretch of sidewalk that twisted its way through several blocks of the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey. The area was an almost imperceptible blend of Italian and Portuguese families who refused to leave the area. Ferry Street was lined with restaurants and bakeries, some of which were truly wonderful. Bob and I would meet for lunch here several times a month. The area had an old world charm about it and I loved to market here. Round loaves of peasant bread with crackly crusts and soft crumb were stacked in bins next to discs of the the sweet bread we so enjoyed. We retired to an area in which the Portuguese population is minuscule, so I had to learn how to make the sweet bread or do without it. I used an old James Beard recipe as my starting point, but it's evolved over the years. My bread now contains lemon and blueberries and the traditional shot put has become a loaf. The loaf is easier to manage when there are only two people in the house. I slice and freeze the bread in slices that can be pulled from the freezer when they're needed. This bread makes wonderful toast and I like to keep some in the freezer for guest breakfasts and afternoon tea. The bread is easy to make and the marriage of lemon and blueberry takes an already lovely sweet bread to another level..

Lemon and Blueberry Sweet Bread

Ingredients:
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
4 large eggs, divided use
1 tablespoon salt
1 cups dried sweetened blueberries
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
1) Place yeast, 1 teaspoons sugar and warm water in a large bowl. Let sit until foamy. Combine butter, warm milk, reserved cup sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Add to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add 3 eggs, lightly beaten. Whisk in salt. Add blueberries. Using your hands, knead in flour, a cup at a time, to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball. Place into a greased bowl, turning to coat surface. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk. This is a slow rising bread.
2) Punch down dough and divide into two pieces. If making round loaves shape into balls and place in two greased 9-inch cake pans. If making loaves, shape into loaves and place in two 8-1/2 X 4-1/2 X 2-1/2-inch bread pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubles in bulk. Remember this is slow rising bread. While bread is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat reserved egg; glaze loaves with egg. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until bread is a dark, shining color and sounds hollow when rapped. Cool on racks. Yield: 2 loaves.

38 comments:

the ungourmet said...

I love this kind of bread, it's not too sweet. I also love the idea of freezing it until needed.

Katy ~ said...

I haven't had Portuguese sweet bread in a long time.... yummm... so good!

Your loaf looks so good; I am picturing it toasted with melted butter.... Oh my! So delish and satisfying!

Donna-FFW said...

Love the lemon/blueberry combo! Also I enjoyed the history tour through Newark.

mbkatc230 said...

This sounds wonderful! I'm not much of a bread baker, but this sounds manageable. Thanks for the tip about freezing, there are only 2 of us also and I would just hate to have to eat it all in a day or so lol. Kathy

Hootin' Anni said...

Ohhhhhhh, yummy. Anything with citrus [and blueberries] just has to be good, right? This looks and sounds fabulous.

I wanted to thank you for the link to the chocolate turtles too. Much, MUCH appreciated.

Martha said...

I do like this type of bread but alas, have never made it -- but love the idea of lemon and blueberry. Perhaps . . . we shall see.

I did make Hasselback potatoes -- they are wonderful!

Susan said...

That is an aboslutely perfect photo.

Mariana said...

You are too much Mary. Is there anything you cannot do? This bread looks amazing.

Netts Nook said...

Love all the blueberries what a hit. I freeze bread all the time it is so fun to pull out a different flavor.

singinghorse said...

Gorgeous bread! I love the bright color. Great work!

girlichef said...

Yum, Mary...I always enjoy your stories and the amazing morsels they lead up to :)

Mary said...

Mariana, I can most definitely tell you there is much I can't do. I just won't tell you yet :-)

Cathy said...

Another beautiful blueberry recipe, Mary. With so many wonderful recipes I'll have to make sure my freezer is well stock for next winter.

ameixa seca said...

I´m Portuguese but i do not know this bread. Well, it's never too late to learn, right? :)
One thing i can asure you, portuguese bread is really great and all the other food we do :)
We have some difficulties to find blueberries in Portugal (seems strange he he), can i replace then for dried cranberries?

Mary said...

Ameixa, a hearty welcome to One Perfect Bite. I do hope you'll try the bread. When it is made without lemon or blueberries it's exactly the same in flavor and texture as the bread made by the ancestors of Portuguese seamen on the Cape here in the U.S. You can make this with dried cranberries and orange zest and you will have a wonderful loaf. The shape is up to you. You spoke about Portuguese bread - we love that, too. It's not available in the town where we now live, but we were able to buy it on Ferry Street all those years ago.

Pam said...

I wish I wasn't so scared to bake bread - this looks amazing. I don't think I've ever had anything like it before. You make me want to try baking bread Mary.

Marta said...

I love sweet and enriched breads! Where I am from, there is a huge Portuguese population and they have traditionally been the bakers in the coutry, owning pretty much every single bakery in every single corner in the city. Their breads are irresistable and innundate the streets witht he sweet aromas coming from the oven. This lemony version with blueberries looks perfect to me :)

Bridgett said...

I've never tried this but it sounds delicious! I will have to give this recipe a try.

Karen said...

All I had to do was look at the beautiful browned crust of this bread to know it was Portuguese Sweet Bread. I grew up on this stuff and it's the best. You can see my version on my blog :)

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

I've never had that kind of bread and I've never heard of dried blueberries. I'll have to keep an eye out for them. I'm sure it is yummy.

Anonymous said...

Mary, this looks delicious! One question though: do you soak the dried blueberries in water before you bake with them, so they don't turn too dry? Some recipes that use raisins or dried cranberries do that.
Thanks! -Christina

The Blonde Duck said...

That just sings summer to me!

Mary said...

Hi Christina, welcome to One Perfect Bite. I use small packages of dried wild blueberries. Because they're vacuum sealed they are quite soft and it's not necessary to rehydrate them. If they were dry I would definitely soak before using. The one lovely aspect of using dried berries is they don't bleed the way fresh berries have a tendency to do.

Mary said...

Karen at Nittany Inspirations....I'm so glad you found us. I hope you'll become a regular visitor.

Maria said...

I am wishing I could taste that bread. It looks fabulous! Perfect for summer!

noble pig said...

Mary that looks delicious. I love sweet bread like this and with berries...yum.

newlyweds said...

Beautiful!

Mary said...

newlyweds, I'm glad to see you've found your way to One Perfect Bite.
Come often!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Mary,

Do you think this bread would work with frozen blueberries instead of dried? I just bought a ton of them and this bread would be a great excuse to use them.

Laura

Natashya said...

Sounds delightful! I have never seen dried blueberries before.

Mary said...

Laura, I just caught your question. My thought is perhaps with fresh berries. The problem with frozen berries is their moisture would water the bread as it rises. In either case some of the berries will bruise and bleed into the dough. Flavor will still be wonderful but the appearance of the bread will suffer. I know this is not what you want to hear - sorry :-(.

Chow and Chatter said...

looks great and thats a very interesting history never knew that, thanks for sharing Rebecca

My Little Space said...

I will definitely try this recipe.

Lisa said...

It looks exquisite! Like every bread I see lately, I want to make bread pudding from it, although I would turn down a piece toasted or even plain.

Christina Kim said...

Portuguese sweetbread is a staple in my house - my boyfriend's family is Portuguese, and we live in Cambridge, MA... plenty of Portuguese bakeries around here!! I will definitely have to try making it at home. I just adore it!! Thank you!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I've made Portuguese sweet bread but never like this! Lemon and blueberries, mmm. Thanks for helping celebrate YeastSpotting's birthday, Mary!

Stefanie said...

Lemon and Blueberry-that sounds perfect to me. And I have a really soft spot for sweet breads. The recipe is added on my (much to long) "To bake list".

lisaiscooking said...

Your bread looks amazing! The blueberries look delicious, and it looks perfectly tender.

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