Drunken Van Van Mojo Blueberry Cider Bread

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eris van van mojo drunken berry bread Earlier this year I had this random thought pop into my head late on a Friday night….why is no one baking more with hard ciders and beers? I mean beyond quick breads. Ciders and beers have so many flavors now with all the different hops and ingredients brewers use to make their brews. I did this several years back with my beer bread baking project. I visited local breweries, learned all about how beer is actually brewed and made amazing yeasted loaves with the beer I got and the spent grains.

To this day, I still love a good beer bread with spent grains. There’s just something about it. All the flavor notes make for a fab loaf and the grains give it an amazing texture. It also keeps really well if you’re not a huge bread eater.

I reached out to the Illinois Craft Brewer’s Guild and they also thought baking with cider was a good idea…..so here we are. I’m starting off with Eris Brewery and Cider House’s Van Van Mojo. Van Van Mojo is special because it uses the new fruit forward Mosaic hops. Mosaic hops actually bring out the fruit flavors brewers want to shine in their creations. However to me Van Van Mojo smells like blueberries, but tastes more like a traditional dry cider. eris blueberry cider infusion

To bring out that blueberry flavor, we had to work a little magic in the kitchen. To keep the carbonation in the cider, I needed a way to infuse the cider without losing that. Enter the sous vide….placing 1 cup of Van Van Mojo and ½ cup of blueberries I picked last summer into a pint mason jar at 135 degrees for about 2 hours. This really punched up the berry flavor and also gave me cider infused blueberries to use in my bread. 

Then it came down to what to make. For the past year or so I’ve been in love with the softness and texture in Japanese Milk breads. They’re bouncy and stay super fresh for longer than a week on the counter. This is due to the tangzhong, which is a cooked flour paste. I’m sure there’s a scientific reason for the magic that happens when you incorporate this flour paste in to your dough, but just know that it gives you a soft, stay fresh bread in the end.

Yet changing the liquid in a milk bread from milk to cider means you’ve got to add back in fat. I’ve done this by swapping some of the liquid for full fat sour cream.

I prefer to do my dough in the bread machine to keep them on schedule, but I’ll also include instructions to make the dough with a mixer and kneading.

Drunken Van Van Mojo Blueberry Cider Bread
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Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup infused cider
  2. 1 ½ teaspoons yeast
  3. 2 ½ cup bread flour
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon non-fat milk powder
  6. ½ teaspoon salt
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 2 tablespoons lard or unsalted butter
  9. ¼ cup full fat sour cream
  10. 4 heaping teaspoons brown sugar
  11. ½ cup drunken blueberries
Tangzhong
  1. 6 tablespoons infused cider
  2. 2 tablespoons bread flour
Instructions
  1. Let’s start with infusing the cider. You can do this the day before or a week before, the infused cider will keep in the fridge for a while. In a pint mason jar with a lid, combine 1 cup Van Van Mojo cider with ½ cup frozen or fresh blueberries. Place jar in sous vide with a finger-tight lid and heat to 135 degrees. Infuse for at least 2 hours, when done let cool on counter until room temperature. Store in fridge until ready to bake.
  2. To make the tangzhong, in a small saucepan over medium low heat whisk together 6 tablespoons of the infused cider and 2 tablespoons of bread flour. Continue whisking over heat until you get a thick flour paste. Remove from heat and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before proceeding.
  3. Bread machine instructions: In bread machine basket add cider, sour cream, lard or unsalted butter, 1 large egg, salt, non fat milk powder and the tangzhong. Then add the bread flour, sugar and lastly the yeast. Set bread machine to the dough cycle and allow it to do its thing. Mine takes 90 minutes.
  4. Regular instructions: heat cider on the stove until it reaches 110-120 degrees. Add the yeast along with 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Whisk together and let sit 5 minutes until yeast is foamy.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; add sour cream, egg, salt, sugar, tangzhong and nonfat milk powder, whisk lightly to combine. Add the yeast mixture, add bread flour and mix until dough comes together. Beat in either butter or lard 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Either knead in bowl with dough hook 5 minutes on medium setting or remove from mixer and knead on counter for 5 minutes.
  6. In a large greased bowl place kneaded dough, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size.
  7. Punch down dough, divide into four and roll each piece into a skinny oval with a rolling pin. Sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon of brown sugar down the middle of the dough and top with a line of blueberries. Fold the long sides in letter style and roll dough up like a cinnamon roll. Place in greased 9x5 inch bread pan seam side down. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double 45-60 minutes.
  8. Brush dough with egg wash (beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and loaf registers 185-190 degrees when temperature tested.
  9. Remove from pan immediately and let cool on rack.
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