Dante’s Blueberry Bread: It's a winner!

dantes-blueberry-bread

Pamplona Spain is famous for it’s running of the bulls each spring, an event for the brave and fleet of foot. For those of us less swift and more laid back, Brattleboro Vermont offers …

Strolling of the Heifers. A heifer is a female cow who has not had a calf yet, and Brattleboro offers a weekend long festival dedicated to these sweet, gentle brown-eyed critters. Strolling is definitely more in tune with our New England temperament but this festival is by no means dull or snoozeworthy.

The festival features live music, artisans and craftsmen, farm art, films, the heifer parade itself,  and of course lots of great food. You can learn more about the festival here.  As you can imagine dairy products are king of the hill and top of the line, but baked goods also play a big role.

This year King Arthur Flour helped sponsor The Great Vermont  Pro-Am Bread Baking Contest at the festival.  The participants were from all throughout the area, with a variety of baking backgrounds.

The rules called for all flours to be King Arthur brand.  To the extent possible, contestants were asked to use fellow sponsors’  Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, locally sourced cheese, maple syrup, and dairy products, along with other local and organic ingredients.

I was lucky enough to be a judge for the competition in the quick bread category. Despite the sweltering heat the entrants’ table was covered end to end  with breads of every shape and size and my fellow judges and I soon got to work tasting, tasting and tasting once again.

I still remember seeing Jean Sarnie’s grand prize winner Dante’s Blueberry Bread for the first time. Golden brown, with a smattering of tiny blueberries evident even from where I sat, 4 feet away. We were handed copies of the recipe at the same time and my heart gave a little leap when I saw one of my favorite ingredients, Fiori di Sicilia on the list.  My fellow judges had never tasted the fiori before and all I said was “You’re in for a treat” and sat back to watch their reactions. Long story short we were all enchanted and Jean’s wonderful bread came out with a well deserved win.

So, stroll on over to the kitchen and let’s make Dante’s Blueberry Bread.

First, pre-heat the oven to 400°F.  Spray an 9” x 5”  loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the butter.

I like to break up the butter with my fingers a bit first before using the mixer. I feel a little more in control that way so that the chunks of butter are more even in size.

Then, use the paddle attachment to incorporate the butter and aerate the dry ingredients.

Whisk the egg, sour cream, milk and honey in a bowl or liquid measure until well blended.

Why do we do this anyway? Why can’t we just dump the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix, mix, mix? Well honey, it’s all about the gluten.

You know gluten is the elastic structure that holds baked goods together, and it’s formed when wheat flour meets water. The more gluten is agitated, the tougher it gets. So, if you were to dump your egg and other liquids into the dry ingredients, it would take quite a bit of mixing to get everything incorporated, especially those tricky eggs that don’t always want to blend in. You’d be over-working the batter, thus over-working the gluten, and you’d end up with a tough, rubbery texture to your cake.

So, do take the extra few minutes to blend the wet ingredients together first. Your quick bread will thank you for it.

Add the Fiori di Sicilia to the liquid ingredients. For those of you who love fiori, this recipe packs a big punch of fiori flavor. For those of you who haven’t used it before or like just a hint of fiori, you may want to start with half of the amount. I used the full amount each time, and loved it!

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and blend well but do not over beat. You’ll be folding in the blueberries next, so don’t worry if some little bits of liquid or flour remain.

Fold the blueberries in by hand until they are well distributed and the batter is fairly smooth.  We like fresh blueberries, but frozen will work just fine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. If the bread is browning too fast, lightly tent with foil.

When the bread is done, cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Our 12” x 4” x 2 1/2” tea loaf pan holds this bread beautifully as well, and serve slightly smaller slices, each about the size of a playing card. You can decide how many “cards” of bread to deal. Hit me with a full deck, please!

P.S. Bet you’re dyin’ to know who Dante is, right? Well, here’s Dante, Jean’s black cat,  all ready to bake.

Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Dante’s Blueberry Bread.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. lishy

    That is lovely, and fiori with blueberries is a great combo! I make a wheat blueberry bread, and I put in fiori and candied orange peel! Such a wonderful flavor pairing! Dante’s looks terrific, and I can’t wait to make this winner with some of those early summer berries I have in the freezer. I love Dante’s picture!

    Reply
  2. SMJ

    Looks delish! I have some blueberries I froze from the summer crop, looks like a great recipe to use them in. I have never tried the Fiori di Sicilia, it seems like a great excuse to buy some.

    That Dante is a fantastic baker! :)
    You might say he’s the cat’s meow! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. Barbara

    Blog indicates a baking temperature of 350; recipe shows 400. Maybe I’ll try at 375?
    Sorry Barbara, my mistake. I guess I’m so used to typing 350! The temperature should be 400°F, I’ve corrected the blog now. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Lance

    I noticed on one page it says to preheat to 350 and if you go to the recipe it says to preheat to 400, which is correct?
    Sorry all, 400° F is the correct temperature, I’ve corrected it now.

    Reply
  5. ndpeter

    How excellent! Something else to use all my blueberries in, a great way to crack open the new larger size bottle of fiori I got. And even better, I got that tea loaf pan last year, I think I used it once and set it aside and it ended up at the back of the shelf. It’s coming back out! Can’t wait to bake up a loaf and share it with my friends.

    Reply
  6. milkwithknives

    What a timely post! (grin) I just got my first bottle of Fiori di Sicilia, and I also just found out my husband loves muffins/quick breads! This looks like the perfect recipe to take the Fiori out for a spin, and thanks for the advice about using half the amount. Would you say this bread is a good candidate for the muffin pan? I don’t see why not, but just thought I’d check first.

    And your Strolling of the Heifers is something I would just die to attend. I love casual events like that, and there is something so endearing about huge, gentle cows with their gorgeous eyes and long eyelashes. Thanks so much for the report.
    I never did get around to trying this as muffins, but I’m sure it would be just fine. Have fun, and maybe we’ll see you next year at the festival! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. calico

    MaryJane, what an unexpected ending… Ha ha! I love the way Dante’s little foot is hanging over the counter. So cute! Great picture, great recipe, great everything! Oh, I know my blueberry-loving husband will enjoy this recipe. The picture of the finished bread looks SO yummy. I just wanted to reach through the screen and grab a piece. I have some blueberries in the freezer that I was intending for blueberry cobbler, but it looks like Dante’s recipe will take precedent. Thankfully, I stopped by your blog first because I was just on my way to place my KA order (free shipping offer – woohoo!) and I don’t have any of the Fiori di Sicilia. Now I can add it to the list! MaryJane, Jean, and Dante, thank you very much for the recipe… and for the big smile!
    I’m so glad we were there to help make your day, and that the free shipping offer helped too. You’ll have to let us know how your hubby likes the bread. :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. breit85

    This looks superb! And I’m impressed that such a great loaf can be made with only 2 T. of butter! (although I’m guessing the added sour cream has something to do with it :) ) Can’t wait to try this! Especially since it has fiori di Silica in. I made some lemon sponge pies over the weekend and threw in a bit of fiori di Silica.. …it was..well…*swoon*
    I LOVE the swoon factor of Fiori. It’s aroma just goes straight to your heart, makes your shoulders relax after a hard day, your eyes close, all is well with the world at least for a little while. Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. KimberlyD

    I don’t have any Fiori di Sicilia on hand, what if I leave it out or can something else be used, I want to try this and can’t wait for an order to come in. Almond extract or lemon extract?
    Well, I’m not going to fib, it’s the Fiori that really makes the flavor of this bread special. You could try using 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract, the bread would come out just fine. ~ MaryJane

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  10. malweth

    I just made these (as muffins). I had to substitute a lot, but they still came out great!

    7 oz of Frozen blueberries (Wymer’s Wild), and I had no sour cream so used milk, lemon juice, and butter. I also still have to order some fiori di Silica, but used lemon extract (1/2 tsp) instead.

    Next time I’ll get the right ingredients (the subs are ok, but certainly not perfect) and maybe add some coarse sugar to the crowns halfway through baking.

    Reply
  11. malweth

    And wow… “P.S. Bet you’re dyin’ to know who Dante is, right? Well, here’s Dante, Jean’s black cat, all ready to bake.”

    I hope you’re not going to bake the cat!
    I guess that line ranks right up there with “Panda eats shoots and leaves”! ;) ~MaryJane

    Reply
  12. morgan

    This looks yummy! I love to use your white whole wheat flour whenever possible—how much could I safely substitute in this recipe? Thanks!
    Hi Morgan,
    Try using 50/50 to start with, and then if you like the results you can bump up the WWW until you have a combo that you like.
    Happy baking! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  13. Irene in TO

    Two tiny things:

    If the berries are fresh, dry on a teatowel and add to dry flour. Makes the folding faster. Same goes for dried fruit if that’s what you prefer.

    If you have frozen fruit, add it to the wet stuff while still frozen. Then dump that into the flour mix.

    Any way you mix it, folding wet stuff in with a spatula makes the tenderest quick bread. The batter should be slightly lumpy at the end, not quite smooth, for the moistest results.

    Reply
  14. Thenar

    I like this idea so I took it elsewhere and made Blueberry Fiori scones. I added some fresh squeezed lemon juice to the mix and it sharpened up the citrus punch just enough without ruining the Fiori flavor. I made a Fiori glaze with half and half, half cup powdered sugar, a squirt of lemon juice and 4 drops of Fiori…Oh my was that good. I recommend basting this upon Dante’s Blueberry bread…OMG…seriously…OMG.
    WOW! Great way to springboard Thenar. Those scones sound amazing, and the glaze is now a must-do for the next time I bake the bread. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  15. nancy

    Luckily I have everything but the blueberries, which I can pick up on the way home…you suggest making this in the tea loaf pan…how long did you bake it, in that particular pan? Thanks to Jean and KAF for sharing!
    Hi Nancy,
    The tea loaf pan is ceramic, so it tends to bake a bit faster. I’d start checking it at 25 minutes, I think it took around 30 minutes total. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  16. lisa19470

    This looks absolutly delicious!

    BTW, My daughter Hannah was looking at the current KAF catalog the other day and said ” I wish the pictures were scratch and sniff !” :D

    Thank you for offering superior products, a wonderful catalog ,website and blog. You have helped me grow my bakery buisness! I only use KAF flour for all of my baked goods…and I tell all of my customers too!

    ~Lisa Gundersen~Umansky

    Reply
  17. Linda

    I made this recipe following the instructions provided by the search of the site. Says to beat the eggs, milk, and sour cream into the dry ingredients … this recipe says to whish the wet ingredients BEFORE adding to dry ingredients. My bread turned out very flat and overdone. Why don’t these 2 recipes match?
    HI Linda,
    I’m sorry to hear that your bread did not come out well. Mixing the wet ingredients together first will help prevent the cake from becoming too tough, but would not result in a flat or overdone cake. For that, you’ll want to check your baking powder is still active. Baking powder should be replaced every 6 months, so if yours is older than that, it may not be working any longer. For the overdone cake, check your oven temperature to make sure it isn’t running too hot, and be sure to check for doneness early and often. I hope this helps. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  18. milkwithknives

    I have a question about the sour cream. I never have any in the fridge but, oddly, always seem to have buttermilk. Would it work to sub an equal amount of (or slightly less) buttermilk in this recipe? Or in any recipe, come to think of it? I would love to make this bread but wonder if I can do it with what I have or if I’d better wait until I have the correct ingredients.

    Yes, you can make this substitution usually without a hitch. Simply add a bit less buttermilk that way you will have more control over the consistency of the batter. The adjustment will vary depending on the recipe, but subtracting 2-4 tablespoons per cup is a good starting point.
    Elisabeth

    Reply
  19. namadadi

    I just received my first bottle of fiori and came across Dante’s Blueberry Bread. What perfect timing to use some of my frozen Michigan blueberries and try out this “secret” flavoring! My results were wonderful although I did tweak the recipe a bit for health reasons and thought I would share my changes with everyone in case others may have a similar situation. First of all, I doubled the recipe to make two loaves and in doing so I used half regular sugar and half Splenda as I have a diabetic in the house. I also used organic yogurt in place of the sour cream and skim milk in place of regular milk. My frozen blueberries were quite large, so I resisted the temptation to throw in extra for fear of making the bread soggy. The results were magnificent. I was afraid the end result would be too sweet, but I actually wish it were a little sweeter! Next time I will do everything the same, except I did find the fiori a little too overpowering and will try using only 1 tsp for future double batches. I do love the unique flavor of the fiori, but now know it is potent. Using an eye dropper as someone else suggested is a perfect idea! Thanks again, KAF. You are the best!

    Reply
  20. AnneInWA

    Do you think that dried blueberries can be used as a substitute? I have tons of them and am trying to figure out ways to use them before they go bad! Thanks KAF!

    Sure they’ll work. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  21. miriambr

    Love Dante! I’m a cat person.

    Cutting to the chase: My bread came out beautiful, moist and delicious – BUT I detected a slight bitter undertone. Could I have been tasting the baking powder? I thought that 1 Tbsp was rather a lot, but I followed the recipe rxactly, which is my wont. After the first try, I’m free to tweak if so inclined.
    I am pleased the bread came out well. Try reducing the baking powder and let us know of it comes out better! Elisabeth

    Reply
  22. cramers

    I’ve tried this recipe 3 times and although the resulting loaf tastes OK, the bread
    is a bit too dense for me. Also, when it first comes out of the oven it looks terrific but as it
    cools it compresses to 2/3 the original height. I don’t know if I should increase the baking
    powder or maybe swap the sour cream with something lighter.
    I’ve had much better results with several other quick bread recipes from this site, just
    stumped on why this one is not giving a better result.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you take a look at the picture along with the recipe, you can see that is this not a high rising quick bread. It does not crown well above the edge of the pan as some will do. I am sure you are probably doing everything correctly! Elisabeth@KAF

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