For spring break my family visited Puerto Rico. It took me less than 24 hours to find myself an amazing local bakery with all kinds of tasty pastries and breads to try. My favorites, which I managed to sample several times during our stay, were the Quesitos and Mallorca buns. The buns are a sweet enriched dough that is wound up into a snail shell shape and dusted with a thick coating of powdered sugar. We ate them plain with coffee or split open, stuffed with eggs and bacon, as a breakfast sandwich. When I got back home, I used our brioche dough to recreate the sweet buns and they are delicious and easy to make. Continue reading
… at least if it’s got some whole grain. Michael Pollan was on MPR May 2, 2013, with Kerri Miller. Charming guy, you can listen To the interview: click here. He was in town to promote his new book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.
To our ever-lasting joy, he really focused on bread; that’s where the conversation started. Long-fermented (like ours), and home-baked. Lots of whole-grain loaves are in Healthy Bread In Five Minutes a Day, most of our white-based breads are in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (which Amazon is heavily discounting at the moment). Michael, by the way, talked about the value of a little white bread now and then. Everything in moderation, including moderation!
Given how lazy I am, you’d think I’d have started using a KitchenAid mixer years ago. But believe it or not, I’ve recipe-tested for three books using nothing but a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk.
Well, I’m tired. So above, my new KitchenAid Professional 600 series, 6-quart capacity stand mixer, which is an outstandingly beautiful piece of industrial design that hasn’t really changed its look in nearly 100 years. I have been visiting it in the kitchen as a way of avoiding work. More on the mixer in a bit.
So many doughs, so little time. I’m hooked on this machine, especially when I have to make more than one dough for a recipe, like in this very beautiful Braided Black-and-White Pumpernickel and Rye Loaf from two doughs in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (this photo by Mark Luinenburg):
Yes, we took on the Pinterest Easter bunnies. Have you seen them, pinned on everyone’s holiday boards? Turns out that picture is actually of a bunny cookie, and these sad rolls are more an accurate visual of how things would turn out. But, I’m happy to tell you that after making dozens upon dozens of rolls, we have some tips to help you make some cute little bunnies.
However, I won’t lie to you (it is Easter, after all) that they are a little tricky. And you may have some rolls that end up a little wonky. But, as my children oohed and ahhed over even the misshapen ones, I could see we had a winner idea.
Making these bunnies is way too much fun, lots more photos are here…
This beautiful loaf is the traditional bread of Easter in Greece and many other Christian countries. It is an enriched dough that is twisted around brightly dyed eggs. The bread is often braided with three strands to represent the holy trinity, formed into a circle as a reference to life and the eggs are dyed red as a symbol of Christ’s blood. The dough is lightly sweet, flavored with orange zest and a traditional Middle Eastern spice called Mahlepi, which is made from ground cherry pits. The spice can be found in Middle Eastern or Greek markets. If you don’t have the spice, you can make the dough with ground Anise seed or even Cardamom. Continue reading
They say that everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and I hope that’s true, because I love the Irish–for their music, their literature, their Guinness Stout, and believe it or not, for their food. It’s been many years since I was in Ireland, but I remember swooning over the fresh, wild salmon, buttered potatoes (of course), and the moist and flavorful brown bread. But brown bread’s not particularly festive (or green!), and Zoe and I don’t have a recipe for classic Irish soda bread, which is made without yeast (for that, I rely on James Beard’s recipe in Beard on Bread– the first bread I ever made). Then Zoe reminded me about our broccoli-and-cheddar buns in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Turns out that four-leaf clovers aren’t especially Irish, but they’re very lucky! Sprinkled with cheese, these make a lovely accompaniment to corned beef and cabbage. One little disclosure– the broccoli doesn’t make it all that deeply green, as you can see. Some would have used green food coloring, I suppose. Bain taitneamh as do bhéil! Hearty appetite (I think)… Continue reading
I must admit that I use my Pullman pan quite frequently – there is something about those neat, square pieces that seem to make my sandwich more special. However, I wanted to change things up a bit, and decided to get a little creative. Normally I prefer sweet swirled breads, but sometimes something savory is needed. I found that this French olive spread (tapenade) is just the thing.
Nothing expresses your love as much as a tasty homemade gift. All you need is a bucket of brioche, a heart shaped cookie cutter and red decorating sugar to make this gorgeous heart shaped loaf. It’s an easy and fast project to do with little kids on Valentine’s Day.
Well, I’m just going to come right out and say it: these little brioche danish are so very tasty. They came about after a lazy Sunday morning; I had some whole wheat brioche dough in the fridge, and wanted something sweet that didn’t involve a lot of work. I also happened to have a tube of almond paste, goat cheese, and pistachios, and so the great experiment began. It was delicious from the start, but after a few tries and a little tweaking, a perfect weekend treat was born.
In 2009 I was in Pittsburgh just before SuperBowl (go Steelers!) and mixed up a batch of Master Recipe dough with host Jon Burnett on KDKA-TV Channel 2 (the CBS affiliate). Pittsburgh was awash in Steelers mania, and I couldn’t resist cutting a loaf of Pain d’Epi (wheat stalk bread) but calling it Pain du Football (page 41 in our book). I’m bringing this bread to a Super Bowl party because each individual roll is shaped like a football– well, something like a football. Perfect for dipping into chili in front of the game. Jon was disappointed that my baked bread was a bit stale (I’d had to bake it in Minneapolis and it was two days stale!) so he insisted on eating the RAW bread dough instead (he made me eat it too). Click here or on the video screen above to view the TV segment, this was great fun.
Have a look at Zoe’s post on Pain d’Epi (wheat stalk bread) for some nice shots of the cutting technique. Remember to cut at a very shallow angle with long-bladed shears, almost all the way through the baguette you form.