I’ve just returned from an incredible week in Denver. I was there working with Craftsy to create another class, this time on show stopping cheesecakes (it will be out in a few weeks). I love working the with the Craftsy team. They work hard and laugh harder. We spent months developing the class concept, all the materials/recipes and then got together for 4 days of non-stop baking and filming. I like to think I’m a hard worker, but then I see the folks at Craftsy and I realize how much more a human can do in a single day when they work as a team. I loved it. Not only the work, but also the people. Writing books and blogging are two pretty solitary jobs, so having 5 days in the kitchen with their crew was a blast. It’s fun to watch other people create beautiful food. It is also fun to see my recipes come to life.
As we were prepping all the cheesecakes for my class, Victoria, the kitchen assistant extraordinaire, told me about a bread she bakes for her young daughter. Victoria helped me on my Craftsy bread class* and played with the recipe to create a rainbow of colors with it. Brilliant. I immediately thought of a Valentine’s Day Bread with swirls of pink and red.
*If you haven’t checked out our Artisan Bread in Minutes class on Craftsy, I am always so happy to have new bakers join the class. If you’re interested be sure to use this link to sign up, you’ll get $20 off. It makes a lovely Valentine’s Day Gift for the baker in your life.
With the holidays tucked safely behind, I’ve found myself trying to incorporate healthier foods into my family’s New Year diet. There were some subtle groans about the 100% whole wheat flour bagels and bread that showed up in our kitchen January 1st, foreshadowing things to come. After a few weeks of slowly letting go of the white flour, however, no one seems to mind quite as much anymore. Along with the whole wheat flour, I have also been adding spelt flour to many of our baked goods and breads. I’ve always loved the flavor of spelt, and find it easy to work with in most applications. I had forgotten about the Whole Grain Spelt Dough recipe in Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads, and it has been a welcome addition to dinner. My kids didn’t even notice the crust on their beloved stovetop pizza was slightly heartier, and gobbled down their slices without batting an eye.
Sometimes the best discoveries come from happy accidents. I made a pan of caramel cinnamon buns and I was the only one home to eat them. That in itself is no great tragedy, I took great pleasure in sitting down with a cup of coffee and a warm sticky bun in the perfection of solitude. But, the day went by and the kids were busy with sports, finals and all that kids are busy with, so I found myself with a pan of lovely, albeit slightly stale rolls. My boys would have happily devoured them as a midnight snack, but for my taste they were a bit stiff, after 12 hours on the counter. We talk about using stale bread for pudding in our books, that’s not news, but this recipe elevates a rather humble dessert to a special occasion by using sticky buns. I just put the sticky buns right back in the cake pan, with the caramel and all, then covered it with custard. I baked them and a new classic was born in my house. I served the pudding as dessert, but they are also perfect for breakfast or brunch. Continue reading
With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve found I still don’t have the perfect morning-of breakfast. I have a secret wish to have that one amazing sweet bread my kids will make in their homes one day, for their own children on holiday mornings. After playing around with sugared cranberries and cream cheese frosting, I’ve decided they might be the keys to what I am searching for. The tart cranberries and tangy cheese pair well together, especially when perched on a sugar-swirled brioche cake. We all oohed and aahed on first bite.
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. This is a loaf that also makes a great gift for the holidays.
Speaking of gifts for the bakers on your list, here are 10 great ideas for those who love to bake and folks who want to learn how.
Bread Baking Craftsy Class – An in depth video class that will guide you through the mixing, shaping and baking of our Master recipe. We’ll make dozens of breads, including everything from a boule to sticky buns. You’ll see our tips for shaping properly and getting the best results from all your breads, no matter which dough you use. If you buy the class through our site you’ll get $20 off the price of the class. Hope you’ll join us.
More gift ideas at the end of the post.
I have to admit when Emile Henry asked if I wanted to try this new covered loaf pan, I was a bit skeptical about the claims they were making. It’s a gorgeous loaf pan, but would it really bake a bread with a perfectly crisp, shiny crust on the top and bottom, just because of the holes in the lid and on the bottom of the ceramic baking vessel? Well, I’m here to say I was wrong to judge without trying, again. Just as I was wrong about the crock pot baking great bread, this loaf pan really does bake a fantastic loaf. The crust is thin and golden brown, without having to add steam or remove the cover during baking. It’s all about the holes! You can see the same loaf baked in a regular loaf pan at the bottom of the post and see for yourself just how well it works.
I used Red Star Platinum yeast to mix up this raisin walnut bread dough, and I loved the results with this loaf.
Because I loved this loaf pan and the bread I baked so much we asked Emile Henry and Red Star to participate in a Holiday Baking Giveaway.
Leave a comment below and you can win the Bread Baker, a case of Platinum Yeast and a copy of our The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (or our Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day if you prefer). The winner must be in the USA and all our normal contest rules apply. Contest is finished and Michele was our winner! Continue reading
Over the river and through the wood –
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!’ (Thanksgiving Day, by Lydia Maria Child)
(Of course, at our house, we would be cheering for pumpkin brioche instead of pie.)
Over the years, we’ve done quite a few posts that are Thanksgiving related. Here’s a round up of all our recipes, and also some from around the web. If you bake anything this Thanksgiving from our site or from our books, take a photo and then tag it with #breadin5 so we can see what you’re making! Updated 11/27/15: here’s one more, a recipe for home-made stuffing from your own bread (click to view)! Continue reading
Mary Hunt blogs at EveryDayCheapskate.com, and she’s put up a marvelous review of “The New Artisan Bread…” When you visit, scroll down and you’ll see the holiday gift basket she’s put together, plus some very kind words:
“I may as well be president of the Artisan-In-Five fan club. for how this book and its method changed my life…”
Mary Hunt, EveryDayCheapskate.com
We’ve had a lovely Autumn here in Minnesota, with warm weather lasting far into October. However, November has brought about a winter chill, and with it the desire to head to the kitchen and bake with cinnamon and pumpkin. Often I turn to cinnamon rolls or caramel rolls, but I decided this time around to make Monkey Bread.
Monkey Bread is easy to make; it’s basically a pull-apart cinnamon roll baked in a Bundt or loaf pan. Zoe’s posted a standard recipe before, but today I’m doing one made with pumpkin spices, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and topped with a cream cheese icing. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the coming cold.