Braiding doesn’t just have to be for sweets. I found myself with some 2 week old – (truth be told it was closer to 3 weeks) dough and it was a little wet to shape a nice tall boule. We always recommend using older dough for flatbreads or baking it in a loaf pan, since it can lose some of its rising power in the later stages of storing. Well, it turns out this older dough makes a wonderful braided loaf, with lots of flavor and a really open crumb. Because the braid isn’t as domed as a boule, the older dough has all the rising power it needs.
My dough was made with Gold Medal Organic All-purpose flour, a bit of rye, whole wheat and Platinum yeast by Red Star. Like I said, it was almost 3 weeks old, but this technique can also be done with fresh dough and really any of our doughs, not just the Peasant dough recipe will work great.
Pizza for dinner is always a favorite around my house, and while I’ve tried it every which way: classic margherita, deep dish, hand tossed, and grilled, it had been awhile since I’ve made a stovetop version. Our Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes A Day book has a great recipe for pizza made in a cast iron skillet, and after making it quite often this past week I remembered how easy and tasty this method is. It’s perfect for dinner, but especially for lunch; pizza is ready quickly without even turning on the oven.
We did an interview with Rick Kleffel of Central California Public Radio (and the Agony Column) last week, to talk about The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It was a blast as always, thanks Rick! If you didn’t hear it on the NPR affiliate 88.9 KUSP, check out the podcast here, or Rick’s review of the book here.
Former Minnesotan Steve Dolinsky left Hopkins to make his fortune in Chicago as ABC-7 News’s “Hungry Hound,” with a great show about food in the Windy City. We’ve been on Channel 7 with Steve before (view segment), but most recently, we did a podcast with him from Floriole Bakery and Cafe in Chicago, back on October 28, right after we launched The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Great bakery, and a great time taping the podcast with Steve. Click here to listen (go to “Artisan Bread Made Easy, Jan 29, 2014″)!
When we wrote our first book we were testing dozens of loaves a week, and despite our healthy appetites, we just couldn’t consume all that we baked. Our neighbors were happy to take some of the bread, but there was more than a city block could consume, so we started making all kinds of recipes using up the leftovers. There are beautiful salads and puddings that are perfect for leftover (even stale) bread. In the New ABin5 we added this Savory Bread Pudding, which can be made with just about any loaf you bake. Well, I may have found the exception…I tried this recipe with some leftover Panettone and my very opinionated and vocal family requested that I not use that particular bread again for this. My husband described it as Thanksgiving stuffing, but richer. I liked it, but I was alone. The panettone does make exquisite sweet bread pudding however. They all agreed that peasant bread and/or challah is the way to go. The peasant and challah breads alllow the flavors of the caramalized onions, spinach, spices and cheese to shine through. It is perfect for breakfast (a little bacon in the mix would be fabulous) or as a side dish with dinner.
This week I got a chance to bake with Elizabeth Ries and Chris Egert on KSTP-TV’s show Twin Cities Live. They are great sports and we had fun tossing pizzas together, one of them is a bit more skilled at the toss, but I won’t mention names. Here’s the clip:
There is 20 inches of snow on the ground here in Minneapolis and the temperature has dipped WAY below zero. This is why we Minnesotans are such bakers, it warms up the house and makes everyone happy. Christmas Stollen is a great tradition this time of year. A sweet loaf that is studded with fruit, spiced with cardamom and a little treat of almond paste runs through it. Once it comes out of the oven we dust it with a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar to look like the snow outside. If there is any left the next day it makes amazing French toast.
I’ve been slightly enamored with braided bread this Holiday season – it’s been popping up all over our Pinterest boards, in loaf, wreath, cake, and roll form. I was especially interested in a krantz cake Tara from Seven Spoons made recently; her loaf was braided and twisted so beautifully, and I was sure there was a way to turn it into a Bread in 5 version. Some brioche dough and chocolate-cacao nib filling later, and I had a winner. This bread is a looker, the chocolate leaving swirls throughout and the sugar glaze giving the finished bread a sparkly sheen. It’s sweet but not overly so, and the cacao nibs give just the right amount of crunch. It’s a great edition to your Holiday baking line up.
And, as promised, we have a giveaway winner….congratulations Janna, we’re sending you the Emile Henry Bread Cloche, Gold Medal Flour, Platinum Yeast from Red Star and a Signed Copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Enjoy!
There are many ways to get a crusty loaf of bread, but one of our favorites is to use the tried and true method of baking in a clay cloche, here, the Emile Henry brand cloche. It is very similar to using a Dutch Oven, but the cloche was designed to bake bread, so it is an even more intuitive method. In other words, you aren’t lowering the bread into the piping hot vessel, you just lift the lid and slide the loaf onto what is essentially a baking stone. The cloche traps the steam from the dough to create a perfectly crisp and beautifully shiny crust, without having to add steam to the oven.
This loaf was made with our Master Recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, using Gold Medal All-purpose flour, Platinum Yeast from Red Star, water and salt, that’s it! If you’ve never made our bread, or just want a refresher, please watch our new video that we put together in the Gold Medal baking studio. In no time at all you’ll have a gorgeous, homemade, crusty loaf of bread.
People always ask us about our favorite bread-baking tools, so here are some of them, with links to Amazon:
A thermometer: you really can’t get a good crust until you know your oven’s temp. They’re cheap and effective.
Baking stone: For a great, crisp, crust, you really need one, and this 1/2-inch thick Old Stone brand has been very durable for us. There are other stone/iron options, see our post on that. Continue reading