Blueberry-Lemon Cream Cheese Bread

This elegant pull-apart star has a particularly elastic and forgiving dough.

Blueberry-Lemon Cream Cheese Bread
Makes 8 to 10 servings
  • 3¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (422 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package (7 grams) instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 grams) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature and divided
  • 2 teaspoons (12 grams) vanilla bean paste
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (30 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup (9 grams) freeze-dried blueberries, finely crushed*
  • 1 tablespoon (3 grams) lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) lightly beaten egg white
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water
  • Sparkling sugar, for sprinkling
  • Cream Cheese Glaze (recipe follows)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup (125 grams) flour, granulated sugar, yeast, and salt at medium-low speed until well combined, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add milk mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add 1 egg (50 grams) and vanilla bean paste; beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add remaining 2¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (297 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 6 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape dough hook and sides of bowl. (Dough should pass the windowpane test (see Note) but may still stick slightly to sides of bowl.)
  4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Line a 17½×12½-inch light-colored rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, blueberries, lemon zest, egg white, and cardamom until well combined.
  7. Lightly punch down dough; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough, and divide into 4 portions (about 200 grams each); gently shape each into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for 15 minutes. Keeping other portions covered with plastic wrap, roll and pat 1 portion into an 11-inch circle; gently place on prepared pan. (Dough may shrink slightly.) Spread one-third of cream cheese mixture (about 3½ tablespoons [55 grams]) onto dough circle, leaving a ½-inch border. Repeat procedure twice. Roll remaining dough portion into an 11-inch circle, and place on top of previous layers.
  8. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  9. Place a 1½-inch round cutter in center of dough; gently press down just to leave a mark. Using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel, make 16 evenly spaced cuts working from center mark to edge of dough. Grasping 1 cut piece in each hand, twist portions outward and away from each other twice; pinch ends firmly together to adhere. Repeat with remaining cut portions. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until nearly doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes. Pinch ends together again, if necessary.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water and remaining 1 egg (50 grams). Brush top of dough with egg wash; sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  11. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers at least 190°F (88°C), 16 to 22 minutes, lightly covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool completely on pan.
  12. Just before serving, spoon Cream Cheese Glaze into a small piping bag; cut a ¼-inch opening in tip. Pipe over bread as desired.
Test the dough for proper gluten development using the windowpane test. Pinch of (don’t tear) a small piece of dough.
Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready; beat for 1 minute, and test again.

Cream Cheese Glaze
  • ¼ cup (30 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 ounces (57 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ tablespoons (22.5 grams) whole milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.


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