Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Bread

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This Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Bread is THE BREAD to make this spring and summer. It is light, citrusy, and full of color. This loaf is made with lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh blueberries for a sweet and flavorful fruity sourdough bread.

lemon blueberry sourdough bread cut in half with a lemon propped to the side and blueberries

With a crispy crust and fluffy interior, this Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Bread is delicious on its own or topped with butter, cream cheese, or lemon curd. The lemon and blueberry flavors compliment each other so well in this loaf. Every bite packs a punch with a sweet but tart lemon flavor, and juicy blueberries. Trust me, you need to try this loaf!

2 pictures of cut lemon blueberry sourdough bread with lemons and blueberries

Lemon Blueberry Mix-Ins

Ever since I started making sourdough bread 5 years ago, I have been experimenting with sourdough mix-ins. While I love a plain loaf of sourdough bread—there is something so fun (and delicious) about trying out new flavors. It is one of my favorite things to do, which is why my first blog post was 21 sourdough add-ins you need to try.

The base of this recipe comes from my simple artisan sourdough bread recipe, with a few tweaks. First is the addition of sugar to the dough. While you can omit this, the sugar helps to sweeten up the dough just slightly and balances the lemon blueberry flavor perfectly. This recipe also replaces 20 grams of water with lemon juice and uses lemon zest to add more lemon flavor to the dough. During the stretch and folds, the fresh blueberries are gently added to the dough for a delicious fruit loaf.

slice of lemon blueberry sourdough bread with lemons and blueberries

Another fun way to mix up this Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Bread is by adding lemon curd to the dough during shaping. Simply stretch the dough out into a chubby rectangle and plop little spoonfuls of curd throughout. Fold the dough into a trifold and add another layer before rolling the dough up. My only note when adding lemon curd is to bake your loaf an extra 5-10 minutes as the added moisture will make the loaf take longer to bake.

Lemon Curd

I’ve tried this loaf with and without lemon curd, and honestly, you can’t go wrong either way! The lemon curd really helps to make the lemon stand out in the loaf and adds an extra layer of sweetness.

For convenience, you can buy lemon curd or you can make it homemade. This was my first time making lemon curd, and I was surprised how easy it was to make! It only has 5 simple ingredients in it and was done within 10 minutes. I used Julia’s recipe from Plated Cravings. When I added the lemon curd to the dough during shaping, I added about 1 cup, the full amount from the recipe linked above. But you don’t even need to add it to the sourdough bread dough—it is delicious as a spread on top of the bread once baked.

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Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Bread Ingredients

  • Bread Flour – Flour with a higher protein content, like bread flour, is ideal for sourdough bread. Sourdough bread is a higher hydration dough so it needs a flour that is efficient at absorbing water, like bread flour. You can also use unbleached all-purpose flour, but I recommend reducing the water by 25 grams.
  • Active Sourdough Starter – An active sourdough starter refers to starter that was recently fed and is bubbly and doubled in size.
  • Water – Despite what many people say about only being able to use filtered water, I’ve always used tap water with no issues.
  • Sugar- can sub for 25 grams of honey.
  • Salt – Any type of salt will work.
  • Lemon juice- You will need about 20 grams for the dough so you can either fresh squeeze a few lemons or use lemon juice.
  • Lemon zest
  • Blueberries- Fresh blueberries work great!

How to make Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Bread

cut lemon blueberry sourdough bread with lemons and blueberries

FEED SOURDOUGH STARTER

The first step to making bread is to feed your sourdough starter. The temperature of your house, activity level of your starter, and how much you feed the starter will all impact how quickly your starter rises. A 1:1:1 ratio meaning 1 part starter: 1 part flour: 1 part water will rise in about 4-6 hours. Whereas a 1:5:5 ratio meaning 1 part starter: 5 part flour: 5 part water will rise in about 12 hours. Feed based on the timing you want to make bread. Once the starter doubles or exceeds its size and becomes bubbly, it is ready for use. If you can’t use the starter while it is at peak place it in the fridge until you are ready.

MIX INGREDIENTS

Mix together the flour, water, salt, sugar and starter together with a danish dough whisk (10% off with link), spoon or hands until incorporated. The dough will look shaggy at this point. Cover bowl with a lid or dinner plate and let it sit for 30 minutes.

STRETCH AND FOLD

Stretching the dough helps build strength and aerates the dough. Typically I aim for 3-4 sets in my traditional recipe but with this simplified version I aim for 1 or 2. If you do 2 sets wait 20-30 minutes in between the sets to let the dough relax. You can also do more sets if you have time. Cover the dough in between sets.

To stretch and fold grab one side of the dough with a damp hand and gently shimmy the dough up and then fold it on itself. Repeat this 3 more times rotating the bowl 90 degrees each time. During the first or second stretch and fold gently add in the fresh blueberries.

blueberries on sourdough

FIRST RISE

After stretch and folds let the dough sit overnight on the counter covered, about 10-14 hours (depending on the temperature) until the dough has risen about 75%, not completely doubled. The dough should be aerated with bubbles showing on the sides and bottom of the dough and jiggle when the bowl is shook. If it does not show these signs continue to let the dough sit, preferably in a warm spot to finish bulk fermentation.

If the dough is very pillowy, sticky, and deflates when working with it, it is overproofed. At this point you can try to bake it if it will hold some shape. Personally my favorite thing to do with overproofed dough is to make focaccia. Put it in an oiled 9×13 pan with more oil on top. Dimple the dough and bake at 425F for 25-30 minutes. Check out my tutorial.

SHAPE DOUGH

The goal of shaping is to create a taut, outer skin on the dough. The skin creates tension, helping the dough to hold its shape when baked, which translates to a good rise and a crispy crust. Try to tuck the blueberries as much as possible so that none of them are poking out the top or bottom, as they will run the risk of burning.

Shaping instructions:

  1. Dump the dough on an unfloured surface and gently spread the dough into a chubby rectangle.
  2. Gently pull the bottom of the dough up, creating tension on the surface of the dough, and bring the dough on top of itself about halfway.
  3. Fold one side of the dough up and over, bringing it two-thirds of the way onto the dough.
  4. Fold the other side of the dough on top.
  5. Starting on one side roll the dough on top of itself into a ball shape bringing the smooth side on top.
  6. Take your hands in cupping shape and rotate the dough counter-clockwise towards you to get a smooth surface on top of the dough.
  7. Using a bench scraper or your hands, flip the dough upside down into a banneton basket lightly floured with rice flour or well floured with all purpose. If you do not have a banneton, line a 9-10″ bowl with a floured tea towel and use that instead.
  8. Cover the basket with something to keep the moisture in. Optional: pinch the seams together once the dough is in the basket to solidify the taut skin on the surface and tighten the ball.

Here’s a video tutorial of shaping.

SECOND PROOF

Place dough in the fridge covered for the final proof. The fridge slows down fermentation which allows your dough to sit for longer periods of time. You can bake anytime after the two hour mark but ideally you will wait 8+ hours. Longer fermentation times will make for a more sour loaf.

SCORING

Preheat the oven with the dutch oven to 450F once the dough is ready. Flip the dough onto a bread sling or parchment paper and score the dough. Hold the blade at a slight angle and quickly slice the bread about 1/2 inch deep.

BAKING

Bake the loaf at 450F in a dutch oven. Begin with the lid on for 25 minutes followed by an extra 10-12 minutes with the lid off. The loaf should sound hollow when you tap on the bottom. That is how you know it is baked through. Once done baking, remove from the dutch oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool.

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Sample Baking Schedule for Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Bread

This schedule is based on rough estimates. The temperature of your dough, kitchen, humidity, and strength of starter will all impact the times, so while this will give you an estimate, it is best to look at the signs the dough is ready to move on. You are looking for about a 75% rise.

There is flexibility in this schedule to make it work for you. If 8am is not a convenient time to feed your sourdough starter, you could opt for a smaller feeding ratio like 1:1:1, 4-6 hours before mixing the dough. If you don’t have time to bake the bread around dinner time, you can always leave the dough in the fridge for an extra day or two. Do what works for you!

If you are looking for more precise timelines based on the temperature of your dough The Sourdough Journey put together a great resource. It looks at different temperatures and percentages of sourdough starter to give you an estimate of how long the first rise will take. My recipe below calls for 10% sourdough starter.

StepsTime
Feed sourdough starter 1:4:4 ratio (i.e. 10 g starter: 40 g flour: 40 g water)8 am
Mix dough7:00 pm
Stretch & folds7:30 pm-8 pm
Shape~7 am
Final proofing in fridge7 am-4 pm
Bake4 pm

How Temperature Impacts Sourdough

Temperature is very important when it comes to sourdough and fermentation. If your house is cooler than 68F, the dough will have a hard time rising. If your house is cold, I recommend using a dough mat (use code country10 for 10% off) or finding a warmer spot in your house. Placing the dough in a draft-free area like a turned off oven or microwave may help. You could also try placing near a heating vent.

If your house is above 75F, I wouldn’t recommend leaving the dough overnight, as it is more likely to overproof. You can try using cold water to help cool down the dough and stick to a shorter timeline like 8 hours as that may help it from getting too warm.

slices of lemon blueberry sourdough bread

Storing Sourdough Bread

Store a whole loaf, or a side that can be placed cut side down with only the crust exposed, on the counter up to 2 days with just a tea towel over it. If the inside of the loaf is exposed I store it in a bread box or in a ziplock back.

Sourdough will not hold its crunch for extended periods of time but can be revived in the oven or toaster. To refresh a loaf preheat the oven to 450F. Run the loaf quickly under water and then place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the crust is crispy again.

Sourdough bread also freezes really well. To freeze a loaf, either place the whole or half a loaf into a freezer safe bag or preslice the loaf and place parchment paper in between each slice before placing in a freezer bag.

To thaw, place the loaf on the counter for several hours in the ziplock bag. If you are in a time crunch I’ve used the defrost feature in the microwave to thaw my loaf. Once thawed, use the same refresh instructions as listed above. For individual slices, pulled from the freezer, pop it in the toaster.

Try more flavored sourdough bread flavors ->

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cut lemon blueberry sourdough bread with lemons and blueberries
slice of lemon blueberry sourdough bread with lemons and blueberries

Lemon Blueberry Sourdough Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Proofing Time: 20 hours
Total Time: 20 hours 50 minutes

Bursting with flavor, this lemon blueberry sourdough bread combines tangy lemon flavor with bursts of sweet blueberries, for a delicious twist on a classic sourdough loaf.

Ingredients

  • 330 grams water
  • 20 grams lemon juice
  • 50 grams sourdough starter
  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 10 grams salt
  • 50 grams sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup blueberries

Instructions

  1. Add water and lemon juice to a large bowl.
  2. Add sourdough starter and mix it up in the water.
  3. Add flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest to the dough and mix until all the flour is combined.
  4. After 30 minutes get your hand damp and then perform a set of stretch and folds. Cover and let rest.
  5. 30 minutes to an hour later add the blueberries to the dough and perform another set of stretch and fold. Cover and let the dough sit on the counter at room temperature.
  6. Once the dough has risen 75%, domed on top, has bubbles on sides it is ready to shape (roughly 10-14 hours later). Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface. Turn the dough over and gently spread the dough in a chubby rectangle. Fold the dough like an envelope, starting at the bottom and pulling up to build tension and then bring on top of the dough halfway. Bring each side up and out and then place slightly over the middle of the dough. Pull the top of the dough out and up and bring it on top of the dough, rolling the dough back over. Cup your hands and begin rotating counter clockwise while sliding the dough towards you. Once you have a taut round ball place the dough upside down in a banneton basket or a floured bowl with a tea towel. Cover with something that will keep the moisture in.
  7. Place the dough in the fridge for about 8+ hours or up to 2 days.
  8. Preheat dutch oven in the oven at 450F.
  9. Flip dough onto parchment paper and score the bread with a bread lame or sharp knife.
  10. Bake bread for 25 minutes with the lid on. Take the lid off and bake for another 10-15 minutes depending on how dark of a crust you would like. I prefer mine a little on the lighter end so I pull at 10 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when you knock on the bottom, this is an indicator the bread is cooked through.
  11. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack. To ensure the loaf is fully baked through wait at least 2 hours before cutting. Or if you are like me slice it warm and enjoy warm bread!

Notes

Top with butter, cream cheese, or lemon curd.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

The nutritional information provided is an estimate from third-party calculations.

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