Berries! Nature’s candy as they say. I had an abundance of blueberries left and decided to make these delicious buns. Boy did they not disappoint! Soft sweet bread with blueberry filling reduced with lemon juice and brown sugar. Such a good combination! The filling has just the right amount of sweetness especially with the lemon icing glaze that made every bite uber good!
*Good To Know*
- Do I use fresh or frozen blueberries? You can use either one since the blueberries will be cooked with lemon juice and brown sugar to make our compote filling. When weighing frozen blueberries for our recipe, if you froze these from fresh, make sure you give it a good rinse with cold water to remove excess ice (if present). If using frozen berries bought from the store, use as is.
- Can I use other type of berries Yes you can. The one thing I will note is that the amount of other berries needed for our recipe may not be the same as blueberries. For example, if you want to substitute with raspberries you may need a little more or less depending on their size. You ultimately want to use about 4.5 cups of berries to make the compote.
- Can I use bottled lemon juice? Technically, yes you can if you don’t have fresh lemons on hand. However, when it comes to baking, using fresh ingredients is always best. Bottled lemon juice has additives and preservatives that just doesn’t taste the same as the real lemon juice.
- How to store and reheat? Left-over buns can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container. On your counter for 1 to 2 days. In the refrigerator up to 7 days or frozen up to 3 months. To reheat, remove all wrappings and reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or until bread is soft again. If still cold or frozen, continue to reheat in microwave with 30 second intervals. If reheating in the oven, set oven temperature to 325°F (163°C) and bake on a tray lined with parchment paper for 5 to 10 minutes or until buns are soft again.
What you need to know before making sweet dough
If you have never worked with yeast dough before, a few key things to keep in mind to achieve a really soft, fluffy bun:
- Make sure the yeast you’re using is still alive / active. My favourite go-to yeast is instant yeast. It does not need to be activated and you can add it directly to the flour (make sure it’s properly stored in the fridge for better shelf life once opened though).
If you’re using active yeast (which is not the same as instant yeast), it needs to be activated by mixing it with room temperature water and sugar. If the mixture bubbles, then your yeast is still good. If it doesn’t bubble, then it can no longer be used.
- Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes (via stand mixer) or 20 minutes by hand. This allows the dough to develop gluten for a softer texture. This step is vital in determining the texture of your buns. Don’t over-knead the dough (more than the recommended time) as there is such thing as over-kneading the dough and it can result in a dry interior and hard crust.
- Let the dough rest and rise in a warm place. My go-to method is to let the dough rise in the oven using one of two methods. Warm up the oven at 170°F (76.7°C), then turn off the oven once you’ve placed the dough inside. Do not open the oven door until proof time is done (to retain heat within). Another way is to use a “bread proof” feature that is available on select ovens. Using one of these two methods will guarantee the dough to rise properly (especially if you’re running your A/C in the summer and room temperature may be cooler)
Bet you can’t eat just one! These were so irresistably good, especially when paired with coffee! With berries sold abundantly in the summer, what better way to utilize them than as a berry filling for these delicious buns?
Lemon Blueberry Buns
- ½ cup (118 ml) half & half cream (10% M.F.)
- ½ cup (118 ml) water
- ½ cup (114 g) unsalted butter (1 stick)
- ½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
- 5 cups (625 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2¼ teaspoon (11 g) instant yeast
- ½ tablespoon (7 g) lemon zest
- 4 large (200 ml) eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
- 2 cups (240 g) powdered icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) half & half cream (10% M.F.)
- Preheat oven to 170°F (76.7°C) or preheat oven using "Bread Proof" feature if available.
- In a small saucepan add cream, water, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Simmer on low heat just until the butter has melted. Don't let it come to a boil. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add half of your measured flour, yeast and lemon zest. On low speed, slowly pour in melted butter mixture until combined. Add in, one egg at a time until all eggs are combined. Scrape down bowl in between if needed. Switch to dough hook, add remaining flour and knead on low or medium low for 10 minutes (not less as gluten needs to develop within this timeframe). Dough should be pliable but not sticky to touch. If too sticky add 1/2 tablespoon of flour and mix until no longer sticky to touch.
- Shape dough into a ball and add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Roll dough ball around in bowl to cover with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and place into oven. If oven was set to 170°F (76°C), turn oven off and leave door closed (no peeking!). If using bread proof feature, leave oven on. Set timer to 1 hour to proof dough.
- In a medium saucepan add blueberries, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, lemon zest and butter. Bring to a boil on high heat then reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally while blueberries are cooking (10 minutes)
- In a small mixing bowl combine cornstarch and water to create slurry. Reduce heat down to medium low and slowly pour in cornstarch slurry. Continuously stir until blueberry compote has thickened. Should resemble thick jam consistency. Set aside to cool ( 15 minutes).
- Brush melted butter evenly inside a 9 x 13 inch oven safe bake dish.
- Lightly dust a clean surface with flour. Punch down dough in the bowl and roll onto dusted surface. Knead dough for a minute to remove any remaining gas bubbles. With a rolling pin, dusted with flour, roll out dough into a long rectangle shape (approx. 20 inch x 14 inch). The long side of the rolled out dough should be parallel to you. Start with the bottom long side (closest to you), with a spatula, evenly spread the cooled blueberry compote on the surface of the dough, working your way to the sides and forward. Leave a 1 inch gap uncovered along the top long side (this will be the seam to seal once everything is rolled).
- Start with the bottom long side, quickly start rolling the dough into a log (tightly), make sure to roll the dough evenly until you reach the top long side. Brush melted butter on the log, then roll it over so that the bottom edge is on the top. Lightly, run your finger along the edge to help seal the log. Brush on melted butter and roll it back so the edge is on the bottom.
- With a sharp, large knife, press down and slice the log into 12 even pieces. Place each piece into the baking dish. Brush melted butter on the surface of the buns. Cover with a clean tea towel and let buns rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F (176.7°C) in the meantime.
- Remove tea towel and place bake dish on middle oven rack. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until buns are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (20 minutes)
- In a small mixing bowl stir together powdered icing sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and cream. Pour into a large plastic zipper bag and zip closed. Cut a small piece off the corner of the bag and pipe icing onto buns in diagonal lines. Repeat the diagonal lines in the opposite direction (or swirl the icing on the buns if that's your preference). Enjoy!