Recipe: Bluebird Bread

blueberry bluebird breadI love blueberry muffins in the morning. Le Pain's vegan blueberry muffin is my fave. But some mornings I crave a nice chunk of crusty bread to go with my Soy Chai Latte. Something with whole grains, nuts, fruit and a hint of savory-sweetness. And how about a bread with my beloved blueberries in it! Thus the creation of my morning Bluebird Bread.

blueberry parachutingBluebird Bread is a whole wheat crusty loaf made with yeast and whole wheat flour. I added in a few blueberries, slivered almonds, maple syrup and of course some bright blue poppy seeds. The result is a hearty blue loaf that makes for a satisfying and healthy snack or dinner bread. Perfect with a steamy sweet morning chai.

Click ahead for the recipe...

Bluebird Bread
with blueberries, poppy seeds and slivered almonds
makes one round loaf

bluebird seed bread3 cups whole wheat flour
1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 pint of fresh blueberries
1 tsp salt
poppy seeds
black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Oil for brushing
coarse sea salt to taste

garnish: whole blueberries, sesame and poppy seeds

In a food processor or blender:
Combine 1/4 cup blueberries, a few almonds, olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, maple syrup and salt.
Puree until smooth.

In a large bowl:
Combine warm water and yeast.

Stir in 3/4 of puree mixture.

Stir in flour.

Work into a dough.
Add more flour if dough is too sticky.

Turn the dough on a floured surface.

Knead the dough for a few minutes, in a folding motion until dough is smooth and 'happy'.

Grease the large bowl with olive oil and plop dough into it. Roll around a few times to coat dough in a gloss of oil.

Cover bowl with a warm damp cloth or clean dish towel. Paper towels may sink into dough, so are not recommended.

Place bowl in a warm spot. Perhaps the top of your fridge or high cabinet.
let dough rise for 30-60 minutes. (Quick-rise yeast allows for only a 30 minutes rise time. Regular yeast is about an hour.)

After the rise:
Punch out the dough!
One big punch to the dough will do.
Place it on your floured surface and knead gently a few more times.
Fold in a few slivered almonds, whole blueberries, poppy and sesame seeds.

With a rolling pin, roll out dough to about 1-2 inch thick round. You may modify this based on how thick you can your bread.

Place dough on a baking sheet. Lightly oil it or use parchment paper.

Second Rise:
Cover with the towel and let rise again for 20 minutes, in a warm spot.

Brush top of dough with a mixture of your remaining puree. Add whole blueberries to top of dough-press into dough gently. Sprinkle some poppy and sesame seeds on top.

Bake:
Place your dough in a 350 degree pre-heated oven. Let bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a light brown crust forms. Check bread for firmness with a toothpick. Let the bread cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Slice into squares. Freeze individually if you will be eating one in the morning with your tea or coffee.

Or serve to guests warm.
bluebird bread squares

OPTIONAL MAPLE-BUTTER SPREAD:
2 Tbsp vegan buttery spread
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
1 sprinkle cinnamon

Heat in microwave until soft, but not melted. Mix together.

Serve


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