For our family July marks the beginning of bread and canning season. By the end of July tomatoes and squash are abundant, peppers are turning rich colors and preparations for canning and freezing have begun.
Baking bread is a hobby I take out and play with every July until well into August. Until this year I have kept to safe and easy recipes, but this year I am taking a bold step into more complicated breads and pastries.
I came across Bread for All Seasons while thrifting a couple years ago. At the time the breads in the book seemed too fancy to make, but I loved the history and stories in the book. Now I have discovered that the recipes are easy and I usually have everything I need in the kitchen already. In the book I discovered that many years before supermarkets, grains that were used to make breads all over the world were harvested in July-October. To celebrate the grain harvest, bread was baked in abundance and shared with friends and family. Perhaps I have some long lost instinct that urges me to bake in July. Whatever it is, my family isn't complaining.
Orange Blueberry Sweet Rolls
Its supposed to make 2 dozen but I ended up with about one. Mine are huge.
4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water (110 deg F)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
3/4 cup warm milk (110 deg F)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (zest two oranges then squeeze them for 1/2 cup of juice)
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 - 5 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
Orange Butter Filling
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 orange (from grated and squeezed orange)
Orange Crumb Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or nutmeg (I used cinnamon)
grated zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
2 cups of fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries (next time I will go for small blueberries not the big ones)
1. Proof the yeast by sprinkling it over the warm water and a pinch of sugar. Let stand until foamy. 10 min.
2. With a whisk or mixer combine the butter and warm milk until dissolved. Add orange juice, sugar, salt, eggs, yeast mixture, and one cup of flour. Whisk hard to combine, about 1 minute. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough clears the sides of the bowl.
Turn out and knead until smooth and shiny, 2 minutes. Place in deep greased bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap (or an unused shower cap) at room temp for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled.
3. Meanwhile prepare butter filling by combining the ingredients until creamy and set aside at room temp.
Prepare crumb topping by combining ingredients until mixture is crumbly. Set aside in fridge.
4. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and roll out to a 12 x 24 in rectangle. Smear surface evenly with butter filling and blueberries. Starting from the long edge, roll in jelly roll fashion and pinch to seal seam. Using a serrated knife cut roll into 1 inch rolls and place on greased cookie sheet or in cake pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes. Blueberry juice is okay, it will caramelize during baking. After 20 minutes, preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
5. Sprinkle surface of rolls with crumb topping and bake in the center of preheated oven until golden brown, 30-40 minutes or more for larger pans. Let stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack, crumb side up, to cool.