Maple-Blueberry Whole Wheat Bread

This is a breakfast favorite at the ranch. It was inspired by a recipe from "The Bread Bible", written by Beth Hensperger.

1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2  large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
 finely shredded {peel of 1 lemon} (2 teaspoons)
1 to 2 cups bread flour
3 cups fresh or  frozen blueberries
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
0  finely shredded peel of 1 lemon (2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Pour warm water into a small bowl; sprinkle yeast, sugar, and ginger on top. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl combine whole-wheat flour, milk, butter, maple syrup, eggs, salt, and lemon peel. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth (about 1 minute). Add yeast mixture and 1 cup bread flour. Beat 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in enough remaining bread flour until a soft dough that just leaves the side of the bowl is formed.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining bread flour until smooth, firm, and elastic (about 3 to 5 minutes). Do not add too much flour. Dough should hold shape, but be pliable.

Place dough in a greased bowl; let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours). Gently punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Grease 2 very large baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Roll 1 portion of dough into a 15x9-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to one of the prepared baking sheets, reshaping the rectangle as needed. Spread half of the filling lengthwise down the center of dough, spreading to a 4 1/2 inch-wide strip. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut diagonal strips of dough down the outside edges of the rectangle at about 1-inch intervals. Starting at the top, fold the strips alternately from each side at a slight angle to make a crisscross braid, overlapping dough strips atop Filling as needed. Tuck any excess dough on the ends. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Cover loaves loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 45 minutes.

Sprinkle tops of loaves with the streusel. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer loaves to a cooling rack. Serve warm or cool.

Filling: In a medium saucepan combine blueberries, maple syrup, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture is very thick and liquid turns a deep purple color, gently stirring constantly to keep as many berries whole as possible. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using.

Streusel: In a medium bowl combine packed brown sugar, all-purpose flour, lemon peel, and ground cinnamon. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs are formed. Stir in sliced almonds.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 15-20 min
plus rising time

Cook Time: 30 min

Servings: makes 2 loaves

Recipe By: Shelly Carroccia

From:  Sweet Grass Ranch

Nutrition Facts
As prepared, each serving contains 130 calories, 4g total fat, 20mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate and 3g protein.