Check that bread out. Looks good, doesn’t it? I like baking things that look impressive, but I LOVE baking things that taste even BETTER than they look.
And this bread has got it. This bread is like Hansel, so hot right now.
If I never got to work with another bread dough in my life, I think I would be OK. Because this is the easiest, most reliable, most versatile bread dough ever. If yeast baking scares you this is the place to start. It’s like showing a person who’s afraid of dogs a dachshund puppy – it’s just so adorable and docile, you can’t help but love it.
It’s got a little sugar in it, but it’s certainly not sweet. When it bakes it has the texture of brioche, but not quite as rich. And it takes on flavours beautifully, either savoury or sweet.
The first incarnation of this dough was my Swedish Vanilla Bread – perfectly plain and delicious with a little luxury from the vanilla. This is the next level up from that. It’s so simple, just a few blueberries folded into the dough.
It’s irresistible though. There is no chance you will be able to stop yourself from tearing into this loaf when it’s fresh from the oven, juicy blueberries bursting over the buttery bread, with another slick of salted butter just for luck.
Or maybe you will? I certainly couldn’t. But then again, self control isn’t one of my strong points. Bread eating is though. So it’s not a total wash.
I strongly suggest you make this next time you have anyone over before midday. It belongs equally well at any breakfast, brunch, or morning tea table and people will worship you for your kitchen prowess. Do you have people over for breakfast much? I love a breakfast catch up.
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- ½ stick (50g) butter
- 1 vanilla pod (or 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste)
- 3 + ? cups (500g) plain flour
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- ¼ cup (50g) caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites to glaze the loaf)
- ¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to defrost)
- Place the milk and butter into a medium saucepan and bring up to just under a boil.
- Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds, and add them to the pan along with the pod. Set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the flour, yeast and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- Fish out the vanilla bean from the milk, and add it to the mixer (it should be only just warm by now – if it’s still too hot, leave it for longer), along with the egg yolks and begin mixing on a low speed until the dough comes together and looks smooth.
- If mixing by hand, start with a wooden spoon and then knead until the dough is smooth and combined.
- Cover the dough with plastic, and set aside for an hour or until doubled in size.
- Split the dough into three, and roll them into three ropes about as long as you want the loaf to be. Pat each rope out flat, and then sprinkle a third of the blueberries over each rope.
- Roll the ropes up like a swiss roll, trapping the blueberries inside and braid them together into a loaf, and then place it on a lined baking sheet. Set aside for 45 minutes to prove.
- Preheat the oven to 425F/220C. Brush the loaf with the reserved egg whites, and place into the hot oven for 10 minutes, before turning the temperature to 400F/200C and baking for another 35 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the base.
- Tear into the loaf, and eat it in pieces, smearing with butter as you go.