This Summer Fruit Yeast Bread is a lovely way to enjoy abundant, fresh Summer fruit is bread form. It's perfect for using up odds and end or slightly past it's peak Summer fruit.
While the warmer Summer months certainly slow down my baking activities, they never really stop completely. On the cooler days, the quieter days or the rainy days, I still heed the call to head to the kitchen for a little bread baking therapy. Only the type of bread changes :)
This Glazed Summer Fruit Yeast Bread is just such a bread. Full of fresh fruit and topped with a sweet glaze, this bread is great for breakfast, snacking or a special treat for Summer weekend guests.
And if you're like me and you collect baskets of Summer fruit faster than you can possibly eat it, it's worth noting that this is an excellent way to use some of that fruit that may have moved past it's freshest best or for odds and ends of fruit. Anything goes with this bread, so change it up with what you have on hand.
Cook's Notes for Glazed Summer Fruit Yeast Bread
My bread here features fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, but you could certainly use any fruit you have around. Raspberries, apples, peaches, nectarines, plums etc.
As this bread is glazed, it doesn't toast, but honestly, this one is at it's best eaten fresh, out of hand, with a smear of butter.
Keep in mind that warm Summer kitchens mean that our bread will rise much more quickly than in Winter, so keep an eye on it and enjoy the shorter rising time :)
This loaf is best in the first day or so of baking, as the fruit has a lot of moisture that will soften the bread quickly. Freeze any left-overs before it gets too moist.
This bread also makes great French Toast or Bread pudding!
What is Instant Yeast
Instant Yeast is a type of yeast that doesn’t need to be proofed in water prior to using. It can be added directly to the dry ingredients. Instant Yeast is similar to yeast labelled Bread Machine Yeast, which also needs no proofing in water and could be used as a substitute if you can't find Instant Yeast. If you only have Active Dry Yeast, you will need to proof it in the water warmed to the recommended temperature before adding to the dough. If you go this route, you will need to use a portion of the liquid in the recipe to do the proofing. Be sure to reduce the additional liquid you add accordingly.
I always use SAF Instant Yeast. I buy it in the 1lb. package and keep it in a freezer storage container in my freezer. I use it straight from the freezer in my baking.
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My Best Tips for Baking with Yeast
I think most of the problems people have with baking with yeast, is treating yeast-based recipes like say, a cake recipe, where you just measure the ingredients, mix them all together and bake.
Yeast-based recipes just can never be that precise. Things like temperature, moisture in the flour your are using, the season your are baking in and rising time can differ from one kitchen to the next. All that makes yeast recipes less consistent from one kitchen to the next.
Now that you know this though, that's more than half the battle :) Baking with yeast isn't just measuring, mixing and baking, like a cake, for example. You'll need to add to the mix a little trust in what you see (it looks sticky, so it needs more flour, regardless of how much flour the recipe says should go in), and a feel for the dough (does it feel smooth like a baby's bottom when you're done kneading?) and watching much it has grown in size as it rises (rather than watching the clock). Do that, and all will be good!
- Be careful with the temperature of your proofing liquid before adding the yeast, so you don't compromise the yeast from the start. If the liquid is too cold, the yeast won't activate. Too hot and it will die. The best temperature range for proofing liquid is 105-110F for Active Dry Yeast. Instant yeast is a bit more forgiving and can take temperatures up to 120F. All yeasts die at about 140°F. An Instant Read thermometer is handy to have on hand to check.
- Always treat the amount of flour specified in yeast-based recipes as "approximate". Flours will vary from kitchen to kitchen and by season, so the amount needed to make a smooth, soft dough will vary.
- Given tip #2, I always hold back 1/4-1/3 of the flour specified in a recipe and add in only as much as is needed. If you dump all the flour in at the start, you may find that it is too much and it's difficult to adjust well after that.
- Use a large glass measuring cup to proof your dough. It's easy to see when the dough has doubled.
- Be patient. Rising times are also "approximate" and will vary as well. Trust what you see and not the clock.
Glazed Summer Fruit Yeast Bread
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter (at room temperature)
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or quartered strawberries
- 3/4 cup icing/confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan until bubbles begin to form, then add the butter. Stir to melt butter completely, then remove from heat. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook, combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast, salt and brown sugar and mix together well. Add water, egg, and lukewarm milk/butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Begin adding more flour, a bit at a time, until a soft, moist (but not sticky) dough forms. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
- Remove dough to a lightly floured surface and gently press down to deflate dough. In a large bowl, mix together the white sugar and cinnamon. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-inch-ish irregular pieces and place into bowl with sugar. Toss dough in sugar to coat.
- Grease two 8x4-inch loaf pans (or one 4x12-inch loaf pan, like I used). Divide chopped dough between the two prepared pans, scattering fresh berries in between the dough pieces as you fill up the pans, and then scattering some on top. Cover loaves with greased plastic wrap and set out to rise until almost doubled, 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake loaves in preheated oven for about 40 minutes, checking at 30 minute mark and covering loosely with aluminum foil if loaves are dark enough at that point. Internal temperature of bread should be in the 195-200 F. range when done.
- Allow bread to cool in pans for about 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Mix together glaze ingredients well, adjusting for consistency by adding a bit more icing sugar or milk, as needed. Drizzle over cooled loaf.
- This bread is best in the first 24 hours after baking, as the extra moisture from the fruit will begin to soften the bread. If you can't eat it all immediately, freeze it for later. This bread would also make great bread pudding!