In honor of my new year’s baking resolutions, which included the goal to re-make things that didn’t quite work out as planned, I re-attempted the blueberry cream cheese loaf from the weekend.
To recap: this loaf was delicious, but had structural integrity problems. I attempted to solve this using four different strategies:
- I reduced the total amount of oil in the recipe from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup.
- I included NO blueberries in the bottom layer of batter. So each loaf was just one layer of plain batter, one layer of cream cheese, one layer of blueberry batter.
- I then split the recipe and half and tried two different things with each half. In one half, I replaced the frozen blueberries with freeze-dried blueberries.
- In the other half, I used frozen again, but during the “toss with flour” step, I used a sieve, and I shook the sieve a whole lot to remove all excess blue flour.
I also made a few minor changes:
- Started out with the aluminum foil tent to protect the top from over-browning; removed with 30 minutes to go.
- Baked the frozen blueberry loaf for a full 75 minutes without removing from oven.
- Very minimal stirring once blueberries were added.
- Let sit for only 2 minutes after removing from oven then remove to wire rack.
Ummm…. I think the first recipe worked better without all these modifications, y’all!
The freeze-dried blueberry version had the most structural integrity, but it was the most boring. It lost too much moisture. It didn’t taste as nice as the original recipe and I don’t think it’s worth the sacrifice.
The other version, with frozen blueberries only in the top half of the batter, tasted great! However, it lost structural integrity even WORSE, I think because when I inverted the loaf pan to remove the baked loaf, it just went SPLAT right on the weakest part of the structure. In theory, this might be work-aroundable, by lining the loaf pan carefully with foil, then removing the loaf from the top, rather than by inverting the pan. Still, it just seems like a lot of trouble for not that much gain.
In conclusion, this is still a SUPER TASTY recipe and one that I’m still pining for (I wish I had brought it with me to work). I would definitely repeat this to take as a hostess gift or just when I’m feeling like indulging. Here’s what I would do:
- Follow the original recipe for the most part, including the full 1/2 cup vegetable oil.
- Use blueberries in BOTH halves of the batter, just be careful not to over-stir.
- Use frozen blueberries & remove as much flour as possible before adding.
- Use aluminum foil tent for the majority of baking, removing 30 minutes before done.
- Bake 75 minutes.
- Let sit for a full 10 minutes after removing (or longer would probably be ok).
- Just accept that this is a messy recipe!
This one tastes better than it looks, I swear!
I’ve been wanting to use up some buttermilk I’ve had leftover from another recipe, and I bookmarked a ton of ideas. I liked this “bread” recipe because it seemed pretty simple and would travel easily, and I hoped to take it as a hostess gift.
I used this recipe. It’s very similar to a muffin recipe in ingredients and techniques, except you just pour it into loaf pans instead of muffin tins.
- Get ready: preheat oven to 350F, spray and flour two loaf pans.
- Make the cream cheese filling: whisk together 8 oz softened cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar.
- Prep the blueberries: toss 2 cups blueberries with about 1 tbsp flour, and toss to coat. (I used frozen blueberries.)
- Mix the dry ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt
- Mix the wet ingredients: 1/2 cup melted butter, 3/4 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar.
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Don’t overmix.
- Fold in blueberries. Don’t overmix.
- Pour about 1/4 of the batter into each of the loaf pans. Then add the cream cheese layer and spread it with a spatula. Then top with the rest of the batter.
- Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes. (I had trouble with this step.) Cover with aluminum foil for about the last 15 minutes to avoid over-browning. After removing from oven, let rest for 15 minutes in the pan before removing to cool completely.
- Like I said, this TASTES great. The batter is well balanced, and the sweet blueberries pair very well with the cream cheese. The muffin-y aspect is really nice as well, and makes a very tasty and crispy texture on the top.
- However, I had two major issues. One, my blueberries sank to the bottom so much that it’s basically a three-layer cake: blueberry layer, cream cheese layer, muffin layer. That’s not good. The second issue is that either 60 minutes was not enough, or there’s something else wonky with the recipe. I took out one loaf pan at exactly 60 minutes, and left the other one in for 75. Both loaves “fell” in the middle. The one that baked for longer didn’t seem much different, it was just darker.
- I really am going to try this one again, keeping in mind one of my resolutions, which is to try and fix things that don’t work as well. I mean, it’s a SUPER TASTY loaf, don’t get me wrong, but I’m sad that it’s so much uglier and unbalanced than the recipe photos.
- Problem 1: seems overmixed – at least the blueberry stage. I’m going to try a few different ways to fix this. I got both fresh and freeze-dried blueberries at the store, so I’m going to see if the dried ones work better. For the fresh, I’m thinking about using way less flour in the flouring step, and making sure to sift out all the extra flour. I think the reason my bread looked kinda green is because I had too much extra flour on the blueberries. I’m also going to try leaving the blueberries completely out of the bottom layer of the batter – surely if I just put them in the top layer, gravity will do its thing and some of it will fall down anyway.
- Problem 2: didn’t fully rise/fell/seems underbaked – I don’t know yet what to do! My husband suggested baking longer at a lower temp, so I may try that with one loaf – I’m not sure this will fix the issue completely, though. I’m thinking I may try using way less oil. This is an extremely wet recipe, and while that may make it taste nice and last longer, it is also kind of excessive. I may also try removing from the loaf pan earlier, instead of waiting 15 minutes after removing from oven.
- By the way: I know the problem is NOT my oven. I have an oven thermometer and have tested it in multiple points within the oven; my oven heats accurately and fairly evenly.
- Any other suggestions, friends?