I’m not a big bread person, but I had such a good time with the #twelveloaves challenge last month, I decided to do it again. This month, the theme is berries. Generally speaking, I don’t like cooked berries. They tend to be mushy and cloying. I love berries in their raw, full, ripeness. The one exception, however, is blueberries. Blueberries raw are tart and lack the mouth feel of a good strawberry. But cooked, they are a beautiful purple explosion in the middle of what is usually a pale yellow confection.
Blueberry muffins are seriously my favorite muffins. I know, how retro, not cool like scones, I suppose. Can I rant? Muffins have become these gargantuan bakery items with every single imaginable flavor foisted upon it. Remember when chocolate chip muffins were a big deal? Now, it’s double chocolate chip muffins with cayenne or sea salt caramel or some such awful twist. I saw a maple bacon muffin. Seems a little “try hard”. Meanwhile, what makes a good bakery product seems to get lost in the quest for unique flavor. Sure, the muffins are huge, but they are likely a dry mess with an overly big top that comes easily apart from the bottom. Not hardly worth the $2 they are charging for them. Rant over.
Quick breads are so called because they don’t use yeast, thus no need to wait for a “rise”. Using yeast as a leavening agent was slow and not always consistent. As chemistry was applied to cooking, someone thought to combine baking soda with an acid like lemon juice, buttermilk, or vinegar and a little heat to give “rise” to cakes and breads. Thusly creating rise with no yeast. The “rise” of the quick breads starts around the mid 18th century. Without this step forward, brownies, cakes, and some cookies would really not be made. As time progressed, chemists worked to create a powder that combined the base and the acid, but that didn’t react until instigated by the presence of a liquid. Baking powder (baking soda and a powdered acid like cream of tartar) in its various brand incarnations (Rumford, Calumet, Clabber Girl, etc.) was born. If you have ever wondered why recipes have both baking powder and baking soda, you’ll probably see elsewhere in the recipe an acid. If so, the recipe is adjusting the baking powder downward because baking soda alone will react with the acid. No need to make the dish unpleasantly bitter with acid in both the baking powder and the acidic ingredient.
Could I translate the parts that I love from my muffin recipes into quick bread? Plus, I have some sour cream in my fridge that I need to get rid of before it expires, could I include that?
I could. And I did.
I love the combination of blueberry and citrus. Round out the flavors with bourbon vanilla and this is my ideal flavor profile for blueberry muffins.
Blueberry Sour Cream Quick Bread
2 cups and 1 teaspoon All Purpose Flour, used separately
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of butter
Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside
Preheat oven to 375
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl, whisk or mix briefly to aerate. Add the butter and sugar and beat until the butter is in small pieces.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg, sour cream, milk, honey, vanilla and zests. Mix until well combined. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Mix the dry and wet mixtures until they are just combined. This will look really dry.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon of flour and blueberries. Toss blueberries until well coated.
Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Combine all the ingredients for the streusel topping and place on top of mixture.
Bake at 375 for about 60 minutes. Check at intervals after 45 minutes to avoid overcooking.