Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blueberry and Lemon Batter Bread

My maternal grandmother, Margaret, was a frequent letter writer whose expectations included a prompt response from her grandchildren. She stood proudly with the last of the Victorians and her letters were always proper, chatty and Aesop-like in their desire to instruct and uplift - there was always a message tucked into her lines that would make me stronger, smarter and better equipped to face the world. I adored her, so I had no problems with her hidden agenda, though there was one admonition that became the bane of my childhood. I was bragging - she would call it being prideful - and she thought I should know that "preening pigeons necks are broken fluffing feathers." God knows where that came from or even what it meant, but, having failed muster, I immediately stopped fluffing only to find the damage had been done. I was, thereafter, stuck with the nickname Pige. Her letters always began with "Pige, I had tea, toast and orange for breakfast this morning." I'm convinced that Grandma's days would have been brighter and her spine less rigid had her mornings been less Spartan. Today's batter bread would take her morning toast to a whole new level. This cake-like bread can be flavored with a lemon-blueberry or orange-cranberry combination; it's really simple to make, freezes well and toasts beautifully. She'd love it. So, here's to better breakfasts, special grandmas and preening powder pigeons......

Blueberry and Lemon Batter Bread

1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 small lemon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
4 large eggs, well beaten
4-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry or unbleached flour
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup dried blueberries

1) Grease a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan. Set aside.
2) Add lemon zest to sugar in a medium saucepan. Work with fingers or a fork to evenly distribute zest in sugar. Add butter and milk. Heat, stirring, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm.
3) Sprinkle yeast over water. When softened add to milk mixture and let sit until frothy.
4) Pour milk mixture into a bowl. Add eggs, flour, salt and blueberries. Beat, by hand or with an electric mixer, until dough is smooth and shiny. Turn into a clean greased bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours. Beat down and turn into prepared Bundt pan. Let rise again until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
5) Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden. Let rest 5 minutes. Remove from pan and continue cooling on a cake rack. Yield: 1 loaf.


Prudy said...

Oh the bread looks heavenly. Your grandmother sounds just like a good and proper grandmother. I love the pride comment.

Anonymous said...

Yum! I think Grandma would secretly love this!

Allie said...

Oh what a perfect bread! I'm sure she would love this it looks like a real winner.

Maria said...

The bread looks lovely. Grandma's always know best!

Anonymous said...

This bread looks divine. I am going to try the cranberry-orange idea. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman, and I'm sure that she would love this recipe.

Martha said...

Love the story as much as the bread.


Veronica said...

What a wonderful post! What a fabulous looking bread. Couldn't we all learn something from the wisdom of our Grandmothers?

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely writing on these posts, really enjoy your blog!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Gretchen, I'm so glad you found us. I hope you'll stop by often.

Peter M said...

A simple bread, great for afternoon tea or coffee.

kmherder said...

This bread looks and sounds delicious!

I know it is a small chance that your grandma was Danish but it happens that "pige" in "girl" in Danish!

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