I have a thing for cherries and sweet yeast bread. I think they just are so perfect together. And with beautiful, fresh cherries showing up in the markets, it was time to bake a little something.
A delicious fresh cherry yeast bread, topped with dollops of cream cheese and a crumble topping.
This is a new bread for me, a mash-up of a number of sweet bread ideas I have come across, combined with a technique I have used a few times – chopping the dough into chunks (like my Chopped Caramel Apple Bread).
You may be wondering what purpose the chopping part plays in this bread. It’s quite simple – it makes nooks and crannies for the topping. If it weren’t for those nooks and crannies, all the cherries and crumble would roll right off as the bread rose as it cooked. I think we can agree that would be a darned shame.
Even with the nooks and crannies, the cherries need a little coaxing to stay on top of the bread. I relied on the cream cheese to provide a bit of “glue” and placed the cherries right on top of the dollops of cream cheese, to help them stay put.
I wondered afterwards if I should have put some cherries in with the chopped dough, so there would be some fruit in the main part of the bread, as well. I think I might try it next time, maybe cutting those cherries into smaller pieces to make the bread easy to cut. I’ll let you know how it works out.
I should note that despite the topping, you can toast this bread. In fact, it is lovely toasted. I find the slices are tall enough that the top sticks up above the heating elements, so only the bottom bread part toasts. With a little butter and a cup of tea, it’s a perfect morning or afternoon treat.
- 2 tsp. active dry or instant yeast
- 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to lukewarm
- 4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Crumb topping:
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- Cream Cheese Mixture:
- 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened and cut in small cubes (can also use mascarpone, if you happen to have some around)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups fresh, sweet cherries, pitted and halved
- Make Dough: Warm milk and add yeast. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer with a dough hook, add 3 cups flour, salt and sugar. Mix to combine. Add milk/yeast mixture, butter and egg yolk. Knead with mixer or by hand, adding more milk or flour as necessary to form a smooth, moist (but not sticky) dough. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until not quite doubled.
- While dough is rising, halve and pit the cherries and set aside.
- Make the crumb topping by mixing together the flour and sugar and stirring in the melted butter. Set aside. In another small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
- Remove dough to a cutting board. Deflated slightly then using a sharp knife, cut dough into 1-inch pieces. Grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan and throw the dough pieces into the pan evenly.
- Cover pan and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375° F.
- When dough is ready to be baked, drop small spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture over the top of bread. Place halved cherries on top of the cream cheese dollops and sprinkle crumble over the entire top of the bread. Place the loaf pan on top of a baking sheet (just as a precaution, to catch any cherries that might roll off during baking) and bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. If necessary, place a piece of foil loosely over the top of the bread if it is browning too much in the last 10 or 15 minutes of baking. (Be sure to bake this bread close to 45 minutes, even if it looks done sooner, to ensure you don't have a gooey centre).
- Allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then run knife around the edges and carefully remove the bread to a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.