Today’s post is a double entendre, partially because I like the turn of phrase, the way it rolls seamlessly off the tongue, but mainly because it’s true.
Let’s start with some buns.
♫ My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hon. ♫
Wrong buns, and not as open to a welcoming drizzle of fresh icing. Things can get sticky awfully fast.
Today I’m sharing Donna Currie’s Blueberry and Cream Cheese Buns with Lemon Zest because simply put, they’re AH-Mazing, and it also just so happens to be the one year anniversary of her cookbook, Make Ahead Bread, 100 Recipes for Bake-It-When-You-Want-It Yeast Breads.
Bready, doughy, delicious carbs with an emphasis on things you can make days ahead of time. Since I rather enjoy cooking in phases, this particular book speaks to me almost as much as backsides talk to Anthony Ray.
Now while I do adore my carbs, I will also be the first person to tell you yeast and I are not friends; mostly because we’ve never really been acquainted; certainly not in an intimate one on one setting, which of course means I had to get my hands dirty and take a crack at these buns. That and I couldn’t stop singing.
♫ Dial 1-900 Mix-A-Lot and kick them nasty thoughts. ♫
So this past weekend, I rolled my sleeves up, cracked my knuckles, and then tackled those same buns. I established a relationship with yeast rather quickly too. In fact, I’m pretty sure he got to second base, and I think he liked it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I struggled a bit with this recipe, all due to my own inexperience though. I used whole wheat bread flour instead of the white, light and fluffy kind recommended in the actual recipe.
I also had no idea what kneading entailed, nor did I let the dough rise long enough. In the end, additional flour was sprinkled around my kitchen almost as liberally as my cussing, which is pretty fucking liberal.
Despite my many blunders, these buns came out remarkably well. They’re a forgiving sort, even for those not accustomed to yeast (cough, cough, me).
The real star of the show though is the blueberry and cream cheese filling with lemon zest. It is out of this world, lick the beater, good. Truly, it takes these buns to a whole ‘nother level, especially when you finish them off with a light and lemony icing.
♫ She’s sweat, wet. Got it goin’ like a turbo Vette. ♫
Now the important question: Even with my many hiccups, would I do it again?
The simple and short answer is yes, absolutely.
The longer version is I have to thank Donna Currie for giving me the opportunity to try something new. I feel confident and capable enough to tackle yeast now, plus all sorts of other bready deliciousness.
Send in the carbs.
I also learned my hand mixer comes with a dough hook (who knew?) so it will be put to good use, preferably with more recipes from Donna’s Make Ahead Bread cookbook.
Now way back in the beginning of this post, I opened with talk of a double entendre. It’s entirely possible after all my ramblings, you’ve completely forgotten. I get it, I would have forgotten too.
My second point though is there’s another bun in my oven right now.
Literally. Figuratively. Metaphorically. Philosophically.
Whatever way you want to put it, the Hubby is in big trouble.
- 1 Egg beaten, plus water to equal 1 1/2 cups total
- 3 1/2 cups Bread Flour (15 3/4 ounces), plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 1/4 tsps. Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 cup Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
- 1/4 nonfat Dry Milk
- 1 Tbsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 tsps. Kosher Salt
- 4 Tbsps. Unsalted Butter
- ON PREP DAY: Combine all the dough ingredients and knead by hand (mix first in a large bowl and then turn out and knead) or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, until the dough is elastic. I used my hand mixer outfitted with a dough hook for about five minutes. I should have kept at it a bit longer.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, at least one hour in a warm room. While it had risen some, I should have let mine sit for a second hour. It's chilly here in Cleveland.
- Meanwhile, make the filling (see filling recipe below).Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. When the cheese has softened, place it in a small bowl with the sugar, lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon milk. Mix well. You need a spreadable consistency, but it shouldn’t be runny. Add more milk, if necessary.
- Spray a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan with baking spray or grease with butter (I used the latter).
- When the dough has risen, flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Pat it into a rough square shape and then use a rolling pin to roll it to about 12 x 16 inches. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the dough in as even a layer as possible. It’s easiest to dollop the mixture on, then spread it in that area rather than trying to spread it all from one large blob. An offset spatula works great for spreading. Leave about an inch of the dough uncovered on one of the long ends.
- Sprinkle the blueberries evenly on top of the cream cheese.
- Roll the dough, jellyroll style, beginning at the long end opposite the dough you left uncovered. Leave the roll a little bit loose as you go.
- Cut the roll into 12 even pieces (each about 1 inch thick) and arrange them cut side up in the prepared baking pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap or place the whole pan in a large plastic bag and tie the open end closed. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
- ON BAKING DAY: Take the pan out of the refrigerator and heat the oven to 350°F
- Remove the plastic from the pan and bake the buns until they are golden brown, about 40 minutes. If you’re not sure the bread is fully baked, insert an instant-read thermometer into the bun dough—not filling; it should read 190°F.
- Let the buns cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool.
- Recipe reprinted with permission from Make Ahead Bread.
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
- 2 Tbsps. Sugar
- Zest of 1⁄2 lemon
- 1 to 2 Tbsps. Milk
- 1⁄4 cup Dried Blueberries
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. When the cheese has softened, place it in a small bowl with the sugar, lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon milk. Mix well. You need a spreadable consistency, but it shouldn’t be runny. Add more milk, if necessary.
- Recipe reprinted with permission from Make Ahead Bread.
Here’s a host of other bloggers sharing more recipe from Donna’s cookbook, Make Ahead Bread:
Buttermilk Rolls from Renee of Magnolia Days
Cinnamon Rolls from Sandra of Dear Lauren Love Mom
Pizza Bread from Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Sesame Seeded Semolina Bread from Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Sourdough English Muffins from Alisa of Go Dairy Free
Stuffing Bread with Dried Cranberries from Stacy of Food Lust People Love
Sweet Potato Monkey Bread from Kirsten of Farm Fresh Feasts
Sweet Potato Monkey Bread from Renee of Magnolia Days
Sweet Potato Monkey Bread from Laura of Mother Would Know