Blueberry Bread (A Tasty Work in Progress)

Last week I picked up my annual box of blueberries from the Benson Place in Heath, Massachusetts. I have written before of my love of the tiny blue pearls that come from Heath’s low-bush plants. These berries always seem sweeter than the fat, high-bush variety. I buy a big box of them every summer so that I can eat a lot and still have plenty to freeze for year-round baking.

I wanted to bring something blueberry-ish to my friend Ken to eat on the morning of his birthday and decided to adapt a strawberry bread recipe I was given many years ago—so many years ago, in fact, that I can’t remember who gave it to me. (If parts of it look familiar, please let me know that you are its original baker!)

The bread wasn’t perfect; it featured one of my baking foibles, swamping in the middle. I will refine the recipe one of these days; I think I may be able to avoid the swamping if I use soft (instead of melted) butter and combine it with the sugar before adding everything to the flour. I was going to wait until I had tinkered to post the recipe … but the gang at Ken’s birthday breakfast convinced me that the bread was blogworthy in its present form, swamp or no swamp.

Pat Leuchtman, a founder of the Heath Gourmet Club, rated it A-Plus … and even featured a photo of it on her blog, Commonweeder.

So I’m offering you the recipe as it is. It is chock full of blueberries—and the glaze, colored by the berries themselves into a gorgeous fuchsia tone, is pretty spectacular to look at and to eat.

The Bread


3 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar plus 2 cups later
1 tablespoon key-lime juice
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups melted butter (2-1/2 sticks)
4 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
confectioner’s sugar as needed (about 1 cup)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease two loaf pans.

Place 1/2 cup blueberries in a saucepan; put the remaining berries in a medium mixing bowl. Add the 1/4 cup sugar and the key-lime juice to the berries in the saucepan. Stir and set aside.

Place 1/4 cup of the flour in the bowl with the blueberries and toss the mixture to coat the berries. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the remaining flour, the remaining 2 cups of sugar, the baking soda, and the salt. Making a well in the center of this dry mixture, and stir in the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the floured berries.

Pour the batter into the loaf pans, and bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool the breads in their pans for 10 minutes; then remove them from the pans and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

While the bread is cooling make the glaze. Heat the mixture in the saucepan until it boils, mashing as it heats. Strain the blueberry juice (discarding the resulting solids), and whisk confectioner’s sugar into the juice until you have a slightly thick sauce. When the sauce and the bread are cool, drizzle the sauce over the bread. Makes 2 loaves.

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11 Responses to “Blueberry Bread (A Tasty Work in Progress)”

  1. I must comment: I was there, I tasted the bread, and agreed with Pat – it was quite good. When Tinky arrived with the bread late Saturday afternoon, I re-plated the “loaf” and marveled at the richness and depth of the color of the icing. It was gorgeous, and the photos (on this site and on Pat’s) do not do justice to the appealing intensity of color. I really think of it as a cake, rather than a bread. The icing certainly reinforces, in my mind, the cake-like aspect. I think Tinky is the only person aware of any “swamping”. Surely everyone else decided swamping is to be considered a virtue for breads (and cakes).

    That same weekend I tackled two blueberry recipes for crisps, one from Williams-Sonoma, the other from Martha Stewart. I didn’t have a lot of time to do recipe research and had lost my hands-down recipe for crisp (given to me by neighbor Robin Clark) and figured these two stalwarts of American cooking ought to know something about blueberry desserts. By Sunday midday, after the blueberry bread and crisps had been eaten, it was apparent that neither Martha Stewart nor Williams-Sonoma had ribbon-winning crisp recipes. Their suggestions for thickening the blueberries was slightly repulsive and far less refined than the subtler Hawley recipe called for. The two “commercial” recipes were, I’d say, not up to the glory of the blueberry. Tinky’s bread, on the other hand…

  2. Margie says:

    Looks good to me. I’d like a slice this morning for breakfast.

  3. Jim says:

    Yum again. And thanks for the link to the Benson place, though it looks like they’re sold out this season. Low bushes here on my little farm are few and far between this season also.

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    Flaneur, you flatt-eur me! I actually thought your crisps were better than you did. But you’re making me think it might be time to do a blueberry one myself again.

    Margie, I’d be happy to share if you were a little closer!

    Jim, isn’t it amazing that they can be sold out before it’s even AUGUST?

    If you’re in our neighborhood soon and want to look for Heath berries, you could also try Tripp’s (
    or Burnt Hill Farm (

  5. Lavender Sydebotham says:

    How on earth did you make that lovely marzipan zinnia?

  6. tinkyweisblat says:

    Ah, Laven-dear, I THINK you are being facetious, but just in case I’ll mention that only God can make a zinnia (with a little help from a good gardener).

  7. Grad says:

    Methinks thou doth protest too much, Tinkster. Judging from folk who actually were there…bring it on! I love blueberries and blueberry anything! This is definitely a recipe I will try…I have frozen blues…will they work?

  8. Grad says:

    …and Fie…fie! swamping blueberries (what exactly are those?)

  9. tinkyweisblat says:

    Grad, I should think frozen blues WOULD work, although they would definitely cool off your batter so you’d need to cook longer. If I try them, I’ll let you know!

  10. Nan says:

    I have never, repeat never!, had luck with quick breads in loaf pans. It doesn’t matter what kind they are or what flour I use. I’ve given up and I use either 8×8, 7×11, or 9×13 depending on the recipe. And they never fail that way.

  11. tinkyweisblat says:

    Great idea, Nan … although somehow it does seem less breadlike that way!