This elegant pull-apart star has a particularly elastic and forgiving dough.
Blueberry-Lemon Cream Cheese Bread
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Line a 17½×12½-inch light-colored rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, blueberries, lemon zest, egg white, and cardamom until well combined.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.