Zesty Blueberry Bread

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12-16 slices per loaf

Tip: Whether using fresh or frozen berries in this quick bread, toss them in some of the flour mixture from the recipe before gently folding them in at the end. This will help to keep them distributed in the bread and not sink to the bottom.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 oz unsalted butter
4 oz plain, unsweetened kefir*
2 large eggs
1 large fresh lemon
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan with butter; set aside.
Wash and dry lemon. Remove zest; reserve for recipe. Cut off about 1/3 of the zested lemon; set aside. Refrigerate rest of the lemon for another use.
If using fresh blueberries, wash and pat dry. If using frozen, keep frozen until recipe calls for them in directions below.
Cut butter into chunks and melt gently in the microwave or on your stovetop. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs in a not-too-small bowl; add kefir and juice from the 1/3 lemon you cut off above. Stir together; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest; remove about 1/4 cup of this dry mixture and toss with the blueberries (fresh or frozen) to coat them completely.

Pour the egg/kefir mixture into the dry ingredients and stir partially to begin combining. Add the melted butter (it should not be very hot at this point) and stir gently to combine until dry ingredients are almost all moistened. Gently fold in the coated blueberries to keep them from breaking up. Don’t overwork the batter and don’t be concerned if some of it looks a little purple.

Spoon batter into the buttered loaf pan; bake for 45-65 minutes until the top is golden and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a cooling rack. Who am I kidding?…slice it while warm and eat as much as you can…with or without butter. 😀

*My preference for kefir is Maple Hill organic, grass-fed whole milk, plain, unsweetened. You can substitute another kefir product or use buttermilk, yogurt or whole milk. I find that full-fat dairy provides a richer flavor and improves the texture of baked goods.
**Frozen berries will stiffen the batter more than fresh when you fold them in. Baking time will most likely be a little longer with frozen berries. Once you reach the 45 minute baking point, if there is still moist batter in the center, continue to bake checking about every 7-10 minutes until you have the result described above.

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