With the advent of farmer market season in Colorado, Abby and I have been hankering to make homemade jam. On Monday morning, after a run at the gym, we met at the store to pick up a dozen quilted jam jars and got to stewing fresh fruit in her beautiful kitchen (I can't wait until I get a larger kitchen space). Our blueberry rhubarb jam came together quickly, and we talked of opening up a small bakery that served only homemade bread and freshly canned jam.
Subsequently, on Tuesday morning, I filtered through a list of bread recipes to find a loaf that I thought might pair well with my jar of jelly. I settled on a multi-grain bread with sunflower seeds, rolled oats and poppy seeds. The bread rose with ease, and as the smell of yeast filled my house, I set my jar of jam on the counter, ready and eager to spread a layer across my first slice.
Blueberry Rhubarb Jam
4 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 3-4 stems)
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
Zest from one lemon
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP honey
1. In a large heavy saucepan, combine blueberries, rhubarb, lemon rind and juice and water. Bring to a steady boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and simmer, gently for ten minutes.
2. Stir in sugar and honey; increase heat to high and boil vigorously until jam reaches setting point (218-220 degrees Fahrenheit), about 10 -15 minutes. Stir vigorously to prevent burning.
3. Remove from heat, skim off foam and stir for 3-5 minutes to suspend fruit evenly throughout jam. Fill sterilized jars and seal.
This loaf rose wonderfully (sometimes when you add a lot of discrete ingredients, like nuts or seeds, bread loses its rise). I divided this loaf
and baked it in two mini loaf pans....I wanted Abby to have some bread to go along with her jar of jam. But there was almost too much dough for those little guys to manage, so I would recommend using a standard 8 x 4.5 inch pan.
Like any multigrain loaf recipe, feel free to adapt this bread by replacing the sunflower seeds with your favorite nut. Walnuts or almonds would work wonderfully. I added poppy seeds to my bread, but I think flax or sesame seed would be equally appetizing. In summary, allow yourself to experiment but just remember to keep your proportions the same.
*adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe
1 cup water
1 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup rolled oats (uncooked oatmeal)
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 1 tablespoon water OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast
1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to lightly greased surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes, or until your dough begins to become smooth and elastic. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer). This dough is stickier than most...you may need to add some extra flour.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until puffy, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
3. Move the dough to a lightly oiled surface and shape into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.
4. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 35 minutes, until light golden brown. An instant read thermometer should register 190 degrees. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool for at least one hour before slicing and serving.