Aug 15, 2012

Glazed Blueberry Cocoa Buns #TwelveLoaves

I jump at the idea of baking bread. I like them all. Lately I´ve been experimenting with different flours and a few days ago I made one with carob powder. A very interesting combination with amaranth flour. The days are usually good at this time of year for bread baking, dry and cool.  We still get very humid ones, but occasionally.
So joining Twelve Loaves was a no brainer. In the baking department I really love a challenge. They come courtesy of the season. Since it´s winter here in the southern hemisphere there are recipes that can be substituted, like mangoes instead of nectarines in a pie, and others that prove to be more complicated.

This month we´re baking with fresh summer fruit. Ha. 

My dreams of cherries and peaches inside a sweet dough will have to wait, there´s not a stone fruit in sight. I could bake seasonally and make an apple or pear bread but really, where´s the fun? In a month or so every blog that is now using peaches and blackberries will be sporting some kind of apple concoction.

So the feud was between strawberries and blueberries, the only summer fruits I could get my hands on. It turned out to be much more complicated than I thought because my first ideas were already posted. I had to come up with something different and lately I had posted strawberries and challah, the latter for this group´s last month´s recipe.

In the end I settled for blueberry and chocolate. I wanted to bake a yeast bread not a quick one. Let me tell you it´s not easy to find a good recipe, or simply a recipe never mind a good one, that includes fresh summer fruit and yeast. I tweaked a recipe for hot cross buns that I made for Easter. The dough turns out a lovely, shiny brown color. Very easy to work with. The honey is a great addition since, being the cocoa powder so astringent, it adds good moisture.

In the middle of the kneading process, I realized I couldn´t just dump the blueberries into the mixer and knead a few more minutes, since everything would end up a berry mess. So I decided to add them after the dough had risen once. It worked great, no blueberries staining everything before they were supposed to. And it turned out the berries behaved very well, remained pretty much whole and gave the buns a necessary freshness and tang. They were after all blueberry cocoa buns.

I glazed them twice and that was because I wanted a thicker clear glaze. You can also use milk or water in your glaze, but the lemon juice balances the whole thing out, since these are not too sweet by themselves.
Great for a different kind of breakfast.

adapted from Amy´s Bread, by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree

Yields 15 to 18 buns


For the buns:
1 Tbs + ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
½ cup very warm milk
¼ cup warm water
½ cup canola oil (I used sunflower)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup cocoa powder
3 ¼ to 3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the glaze:
2-3 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar


For the buns:
Line one 12 by 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or sprayed with vegetable oil.
Place the yeast and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer and stir to dissolve with a fork. Allow to stand for about 3 minutes.
Add the warm milk, oil, sugar, honey and salt to the yeast mixture and stir with a whisk to combine.
Add 1 cup flour, cocoa powder, stirring with a wire whisk until the ingredients are well combined. Add the eggs and mix well. Attach bowl to the mixer with dough hook and gradually add 2 ½ to 3 cups flour while kneading on medium-low speed, until you have soft, pliable dough. On medium speed, knead for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky but will start to come together. I added about ¼ cup more flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
Knead the dough for 1 or 2 more minutes, or until it becomes smooth, supple and elastic but not too firm.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat the top of the dough with oil and cover the bowl tightly with oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room tº, until doubled in volume, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. (You can also refrigerate the dough, without letting it rise, and let it double slowly overnight. Take it out first thing in the morning and continue with the next step).
When the dough has doubled, gently pour it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces (each weighing about 2 oz / 50g). I divided it into 15 pieces.
Flatten each piece of cocoa dough, scatter some blueberries on top and close the dough to the center, enclosing the blueberries. Shape the rolls, cupping the pieces with your rounded palm and making circular movements until you have a rounded bun, and place them on the prepared pans, leaving 1-inch space around the edges and 2-inches between the rolls so they won´t grow together as they rise.
Cover them loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let them rise at room tº until almost doubled in volume, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. (If the dough had been refrigerated overnight, it will take twice as long for the rolls to rise).
About 15 minutes before you´re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400ºF / 200ºC.
When the buns have doubled bake them for 10 minutes; then lower the oven tº to 350ºF / 180ºC and bake for an extra 5 to 10 minutes, or until the surface of the buns feels slightly firm but not hard when you press it lightly. These rolls should have a thin soft covering, not a hard crunchy crust. Transfer the rolls to a rack and let them cool for 5 minutes.

For the glaze:
Meanwhile, make the glaze by mixing lemon juice with the powdered sugar. Drizzle on top of each bun. Wait until it hardens a bit, about half and hour or more, and then glaze them again.
They are best eaten the same day they are baked. Store leftovers at room tº in a plastic bag, but it´s better if you freeze them, wrapped in aluminum foil and then a plastic bag. Thaw at room tº before serving.


  1. You are incredibly inventive. Much more than I am since I just posted a recipe for peaches and blackberries (to be fair, I had to use them up after gathering them at a farm) ;) And the idea of adding blueberries after rising so there is no staining is very clever! I love sweet breads.

  2. Paula, You are doing some incredible baking lately….absolutely beautiful! If it wasn’t so warm here I would be joining you…I'm definitely inspired! Your blueberry cocoa buns look wonderful!

  3. This is the only bread I want to eat for breakfast today my friend, it looks incredible :D
    You are brilliant!

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. This would be so good for breakfast right now!

  5. What a great idea - incorporating the blueberries in these buns. They look delicious and I bet that tasted even better!

  6. I wish I had one of these waiting for me tomorrow morning :) I have a weakness for yeasty breads. Looks fantastic!

  7. Great tip on how to add fruit to yeast breads, Paula! These rolls look delish!

  8. This is a great combination...!!! I never made bread (yeast bread) with fruits, but sounds fantastic. It's winter here, but I found fresh blueberries in the market, of course I buy a lot and put on the freeze so I can still baking with blueberries, which I love.

    1. It seems blueberries are found year round here too. They´re a great alternative to the apples and pears!

  9. I have never made a bread with cocoa in it, but hello--it's chocolate. I need to remedy that soon. Those loaves look great!

  10. Baking bread with cocoa in it is such a great idea but pairing it with blueberries is even better!! I'm working on my twelveloaves post today! So excited to join the group. :)

  11. In the past few years, I've been baking with yeast more and more. Just like you, I enjoy the challenge! I imagine that the blueberries and chocolate pair up nicely. Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. Good idea, Paula, throwing in the blueberries after the first rise. You've gotten to be a very innovative cook and baker the past few months. I guess you had no choice. Very nice glazed buns. Experimenting with different flours is on my list of to-dos also. It takes time, doesn't it?

    1. I keep adding things to try and in the end it´s a never-ending list. But different flours are a favorite of mine and it got me interested in gluten-free baking and I love it.

  13. These are so unique and lovely, Paula! I don't often see blueberries in a chocolate bread of any sort. I'm dying to try! I'm so glad you baked with us this month and hope you continue to do so!

  14. hello! stopping by from the twelve loaves challenge - this is such a cool and unique recipe! :)

  15. These look delicious!! Chocolate and blueberries are such a unique combination, I love it!

  16. I'm so glad that you mentioned these...because now I feel the need to make some. I love the combo of blueberries with the chocolate!


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