Valentine’s Day Bread!

Valentine’s day is near and we have a fun way to celebrate. No, that is not dough tinted with red food coloring, but our Red Beet dough from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day! It’s bright color  is perfect to be baked on the holiday all about red hearts. Those who are beet lovers will consider this the best gift ever. If your valentine is not a big fan of this jewel toned root vegetable, you can certainly make the heart-shaped loaf with any of our doughs, especially the chocolate dough.

Thank you all for entering so many wonderful ideas in our pizza contest, we were blown away by your creativity. The winning combination will apear in our upcoming book Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day. We have also picked 5 random winners who will receive a signed copy of HBin5. Those winners are listed below.

Heart-shaped Bread:

Use a 3/4-pound (large orange sized piece) Red Beet dough page 180 in HBin5, or any other dough from our books

Flour for dusting

Parchment for baking

To bake the heart bread:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (or follow the oven temperature for the dough you are using), with a baking stone in the middle of the oven and a broiler pan on the bottom shelf for adding steam.

Form the piece of dough into a ball, then poke your thumbs through the ball and create a doughnut shape. If the dough doesn’t want to stretch easily just let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Eventually the dough will relax and allow you to stretch it into a large circle.

Form the dough into a heart, pinching the points together so it will keep its shape as it bakes. Let the loaf rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap for about 40 minutes.

Dust the loaf with flour and slash the dough every 3 inches around the heart.

Place the loaf on the baking stone, add water to the broiler pan and bake the loaf for about 25 minutes.

The winners of the books are: Sheena, Teresa, Maureen, Lisa and Grace.

We had a very difficult time picking just one pizza from all of the fabulous entries. With the help from our team at St Martin’s Press we picked the Chicken Pot Pie concept from Joelein. Now we have to come up with a delicious pizza that will do her idea justice and it will appear in Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day.

Congratulations and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

63 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Bread!

  1. I’ll know I’ve found Mr. Right when he bakes me a heart-shaped Valentine’s loaf and gives it to me with an assortment of meats and cheeses.

    Why, yes, I am Liz Lemon, why do you ask?

  2. Hi Zoe and Jeff,
    Can this beet bread recipe be turned into GLuten Free dough/ bread maybe? I love beets ;) Thanks for makng yourselves available to frustrated GF bakers.

    • Nancy: My best guess is that the beets are going to weigh down the less-structured GF doughs, which rely on xanthan gum rather than the strong gluten in wheat. Might be too dense. And wet. But you could use just a little?

      But worth a try, as an experiment. If you do it, please let us know how it turns out. Jeff

  3. OMG!!!! I never win anything, and to think that this wasn’t some thing won by luck, but by my love of bread and the chaos that then ensues in the kitchen. Thank you for choosing me and thank you Zoe and Jeff for the concept that made it possible: baking bread can be easy and fun.

  4. After reading high altitude comments from others I cut my yeast to 1T and left the initial counter rise for 2 hours. FINALLY got a rise out of it!. Next question is why are my loaves so small? I cut off a grapefruit sized piece, let it rest for 90 minutes and bake as directed and the loaf is only 4″ wide x 4″ high. Suggestions?

    • Hi AwcSam,

      If your loaves are coming out well, but you just want a larger one, then you can just form a larger loaf. When you do this you will need let the dough rest longer before baking and bake it longer as well. A 1-pound loaf is not very large, but we try to only bake what we will eat in a day. You can certainly go larger!

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. I can’t wait to try this one — both for the appearance the a sneaky way to get beets into my daughter’s diet. Incidentally, my husband is sooo happy I bought your books. He is enjoying freshly baked crusty bread with a new favorite with each new batch. Right now the roasted garlic is the favorite meal time with the brioche/caramel rolls the favorite dessert.

  6. I’m sorry but I find the appearance of this bread a little scary! It looks like a body part. I’m it’s delicious, though.

  7. Your book has changed our lives! Seriously. Only 1 question (so far): should lidded container also be 5 QTS or other size? I’m mostly thinking about the master recipe, but also for other recipes. What would be your rec?

    • Hi Miss_fae,

      Yes, all the containers should be at least 5 quarts for a full recipe. Anything smaller and the dough may grow out of the container.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  8. My take on a valentine treat is to use the brioche in the caramel rolls, but include craisins in the filling with butter and sugar and put whole berry cranberry sauce in the pan for baking and then drizzling. Looks great on a plate.

  9. I’ve had your first book for at least a year now (OK, Amazon says since January 30, 2009–so two years), but never baked from it. Bread baking intimidates me. Wanted to tell you that you guys saved me when I was snowed in this week. I have four kids–and we were out of bread. Ended up making a batch of the basic boule. It was so forgiving…I didn’t have enough yeast (only 1/2 a pack…but let it sit out for about 5 hours and it worked great) I didn’t have enough AP flour, so used 2-1/2 cups of whole wheat. Turned one part into delicious homemade pizzas. Turned two portions into a sandwich loaf which I baked in a rectangular pyrex (don’t own a loaf pan). Have one bunch left for pitas. Best bread ever. My kids loved it, as well. I have your new Healthy Bread book and am planning to actually use it once I pick up some vital wheat gluten. I think I’m going to become a regular baker now. Thanks :)

  10. Stupid question, but do the beets change the flavor if this bread, & if so, what do they taste like? I’ve never had a beet, but I was thinking this bread would be fun to pair with the lasagna I’m making my husband for Valentine’s Day (it’s his favorite food). Do you think this bread would taste good with a nice garlicy lasagna? Or would the beet flavor make that weird?

    • Hi LH,

      I would recommend that you try a beet, either roasted or boiled and see if you like them. People tend to have strong opinions about beets, so it is best to try them before you bake the bread.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. I’ve just mixed the Gluten free Boule recipe and it appears quite sticky in comparison to my non gluten free dough recipes. Is this normal? What should the consistency of this recipe be?
    Thanks
    Your fan
    Dana

  12. Jeff & Zoe, I know in the book you recommend not using a glass container to store the dough in the fridge.
    But, having a chronic illness that is exacerbated by exposure to or ingestion of toxins, I am trying to eat organically and limit my use of plastics.
    Would a glass container that isn’t air tight work? Are there other options?
    Thanks in advance for your input!

  13. Hi Zoe and Jeff!

    Like a lot of people, I found you via GFGirls+Chef’s website and was overly, super excited to have discovered the possibility of endless amounts of bread that was GF. I was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant in ’06 and but like many (it seems), cheated a lot when it came to bread. In the last year or so, I’ve gotten more strict in my diet and have using spelt exclusively to bake breads, naans and farls as I can tolerate and digest spelt with no problem. While spelt is awesome, the one thing that seems to have issues with is making sandwich bread or using it for pastries. The ability to make pastries, baguettes, brioches, boules and other delights with your GF recipes is beyond fantastic.

    With that being said, I’m having huge problems with making the recipes work!

    I obtained HBi5 (first edition) via my local library and went ahead and attempted to make the GF Brioche. I did the recipe in full and the only substitutions I did was the following:
    Ground flaxseed meal instead of xanthan gum (1:1 ratio)
    Soy milk instead of cow milk
    Egg substitute instead of eggs

    The dough was beyond wet: it was batter-like was as thick like a stew and not approaching dough-like at all!

    I ended up adding nearly 2 cups of AP GF flour to the mix (self AP-mix of 6 different types of flours + 2 starches via GFG+C’s website suggestion) to make it resembling a dough. After sitting overnight, I baked the bread the next day following the rest of the instructions to a T and while it was edible, it wasn’t awesome. I ended tossing the rest of the dough and decided it must have the following:

    *I missed something in the recipe (added too much of X or not enough of Y)
    *The AP GF flour threw the taste off (very likely)
    *There was an error (checked the errata sheets and no errors where found anywhere on this recipe)
    *I skipped/went ahead with a step (always possible)
    *Missed something in the beginning of the book (also possible as I went directly to the recipes and did not read the first few chapters)
    *I didn’t make a slurry out of the flaxseed meal, which may not have been an issue with the wetness but definitely could have been an issue with the taste/look.

    My husband and I went back and forth on using soy milk and egg substitute (soy milk is thinner, less fat for binding), but as I always used them before in baking, I didn’t think this could be the issue as I’ve substituted on things in the past with no problems. But I also concede that anything is possible.

    After ditching the dough, I went through and snuggled in with the book and read the book from the beginning. Not skimming, actually reading. I took upon your suggestions for equipment and such, ordered a few things from Amazon with intent to start again because I really want to make this work.

    For the second go around, I went ahead with the GF Boule and halved the recipe, this time being overly cautious on paying close attention to the sizing and such. I consulted with WolframAlpha.com to make sure my halving was correct. I followed the steps exactly to the T, with the exception of the xanthan/flaxseed swap, which this time I turned into slurry (1 tblsp to 2 tblsp of hot water) with the wet goods and eggs to egg substitute. And when measuring the flours, I made sure to do the sweep method of measurement.

    And even though I halved everything (liquid and dry), the recipe was too wet – again! Batter like, not as bad as the brioche, but pretty close.

    I ended up following the instructions from the beginning of the book and slowly added 1/4cup of flour (I alternated between the brown rice/sorghum/tapioca to keep the taste even) and ended up adding a total of 1 ¾ cups of extra flour to get it to a decent dough. It’s now resting and it looks/feels a lot better then the brioche dough, so hopefully this one will work out.

    After the catastrophe of the first batch, I noticed a few things:
    • Several people commented in older posts on the website about “soy flour” in the GF Brioche dough but there is no mention of soy flour in the recipe (nor is there an errata for the GF recipe 1st edition). I could have totally misread that but I could swear I saw it a few times.
    • The ratio of wet/dry in the GF Brioche recipe is almost 1:1 while in other doughs it’s closer to 1:1.5/2.
    • When adding the wet to the dry for the boule, I noticed that with half of the halved (1/4) liquid added, it was a wonderful dough/texture and became a mess when the rest of the liquid was added.

    Since so many people love how the GF breads are coming out, I must be missing something! I’ve gone through so many posts, reading comments and taking notes but I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Help would be appreciated. ☺

    Signed incredibly frustrated,
    Lisa

    P.S. Sorry this was so long, just trying to make sure to be thorough!

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for trying our g-f breads, I hope we can work out the recipes to fit your dietary needs!

      There will be some trial and error involved in getting your loaves just right, because of the substitutions. I have never tried our recipes without the xanthan gum. Well, actually I forgot it once and it was a disaster, but I hadn’t replaced it with flax or anything else. The flax may not cause the same kind of suspension in the dough that xanthan gum does, and you may need to reduce the liquids as a result? Again, I have not tried this so I’m just going on my hunch.

      Because your dough is so wet I wonder if you are spooning the flour into the measuring cup? We use a scoop and sweep which results in more flour and therefore a tighter dough. Have you had a chance to watch the video that I did on the g-f dough? http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=2378. If not, please let me know if this resembles your dough?

      The brioche dough is significantly wetter than the boule recipe when you first mix it up. Once it rises and then is chilled it should firm up quite a bit. I have found that many people prefer to make this dough in a stand mixer to get a nice smooth dough. You can do it by hand, but it takes a bit more effort.

      Here is a post I did using flax in place of the eggs in our g-f recipes: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1906. You might want to see if the amount of liquid is about the same as what you are replacing.

      Thanks, Zoë

  14. Saw your article in Cooking Club magazine. Nice job–appetizing and exceptionally clearly & concisely written. I know you will gain loyal fans.

  15. Hi and help! I quickly mastered the white bread recipe–but am having trouble with the basic whole-grain artisan bread. (Healthy Bread in 5 book, p.54) Every time I make it, carefully following directions, I end up with an unpleasantly hard and chewy crust and dense crumb. What could I be doing wrong?

  16. Hi guys, I won your book recently through Silvanas holiday countdown and just want to say a great big thankyou. First for sending it all the way to Australia, and secondly for the great GF recipes. I haven’t bothered trying to make my own gf bread before but I’m really looking forward to it now. Thanks again, Rebecca

  17. Thank you so much! I received HBI5 for Christmas, by request, and have loved it. My daughter is hooked on freshly baked whole wheat pita bread for lunch every day now. I feel like a Super Mom!

  18. A couple of weeks ago I made up a batch of bread dough, p 26 “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. I had unbleached flour and yeast that had a June 2012 date on it. I used the big plastic bucket that you show pictured on here. I wanted bread for dinner, so made it early in the day. It sat on the cabinet for 4 hours, I pulled off a piece to cook and put the rest in the refrigerator. The only thing wrong that first loaf was that I pulled off too small of a piece. When the dough had been in the frig about a week I pulled off a larger piece, carefully followed the directions on p 28 and baked it (on bread stone in center of oven with broiler pan and 1 cup hot water underneath). It looked great but was very hard to cut. The crusty stuff that had been on the top of the plastic bucket in the frig was at the bottom and hard as a rock. And the dough in the middle was gummy and sort of not cooked. I really don’t think it ever rose properly. Since it was 2 weeks old, I threw the rest of the dough out today. What do you suggest that I should do so that the bread will work better next time?

    thanks, Patsy

  19. Julia: Have you checked your oven temp with a thermometer? That could be the issue– if not hot enough, can take too long, drying out the crust.

    Patsy: Same question– have you checked temp with oven thermometer? The small one is easy to get done in the center, but a larger one, less so. About crusty stuff that bakes up too hard– if you’re not going to touch the dough for a week, you need to transfer to a smaller container so there’s less head space– and maybe seal a little better so less air gets in.

    And try a 60 or 90 minute rest after shaping when using older dough– gives it a chance to fluff out a bit. Jeff

  20. Hi!

    I wanted to make your multigrain recipe from the HBin5 book, and I accidentally bought Bob’s Red Mill 5 grain cereal, instead of the 10 grain cereal. I’m going to just give it a try and see if it works, but do you have any suggestions? Will I need to adjust water?

    Also, wanted to let you know that I had a group of 9 women from my mom’s club over last Friday and we made bread together. Everyone brought a bucket and at the end of the evening (first I demonstrated forming the basic boule and we made pizza) everyone mixed up dough and took it home. I’ve been loving hearing of everyone’s excitement and successes! Even busy moms can make fresh bread for their families. :)

    • Hi Camille,

      I have a feeling it will behave just as the 10 grain, with less variety of flavor? Maybe to be safe you might want to try a half batch.

      Your party sounds like so much fun, thanks for spreading the word! Cheers, Zoë

  21. I’ve been making a lot of the breads from the original book, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes. I’ll be rounding up some of the pictures I took of my homeschooled son helping me make some delicious cinnamon bread.

    But this question is about the caramel sticky rolls. I am a slow waker-upper. My dough is made and has been refrigerated. Can I form the caramel sticky buns and put them in the cake pan tonight, refrigerate them in the pan, then rest them and bake them in the morning? That way I don’t have to be very conscious to just get them out of the fridge and start their rest.

    Wondered if you had tried this and if it would work ok.

    We had calzones from the boule dough today — no particular “recipe” – I just USE it. Delicious!

  22. Question from AB in 5, Master Recipe – Boule…

    Seemingly dumb question, but can I bake more than one loaf at a time in my oven if I cover my rack with baking stones?

    Thanks!

  23. Happy Valentine’s Day! I am baking the chocolate bread for dinner tonight. Having a healthy salad and butternut squash soup.

    Just wanted to let you know how much I love making bread using your recipes and method. So much that I decided to ‘teach’ my friends at church. Everyone brought a large bowl and mixing spoon with them, listened to how the bread is made, made a batch of boule dough and then tasted some of the deli rye I had made just before they came. I keep hearing how great the bread is and the variations they’ve tried as the ladies continue to make and bake more!

    Now we hope to bring this class to our community as it offers an easy and low-cost way to feed families delicious bread (superior to any store-bought bread).

    Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  24. Had to tell you that I made these for dinner tonight. So cute, and really yummy! I was afraid they would be tough, from all the handling – but they weren’t, they had a nice chewy texture.
    They inspired an entire heart themed dinner – just disgustingly cute. :)
    Thank you!!

  25. I have a question unrelated to this post. I just saw your Facebook post about being featured in the Cooking Club magazine and checked out the recipes you included and noticed the quantities in the Master Recipe ingredients are a little different than in your first cookbook.

    Is there a reason for this? the only reason I’m asking is I’ve been making the Master Recipe since Christmas. My dough never comes out runny but it is workable and makes a great fresh baked loaf. This week I started experimenting with backing off on the flour (1/4 cup less than the recipe calls for) and I’m still getting a drier dough but still easily workable. I’m just wondering if the next time I mix up a batch of the Master Recipe, I should use the new measurements you list in the Cooking Club magazine.

    And, by the way, I took your suggestion and do not rinse or wash out my dough container. I now have almost a 2 month old “starter” and the dough flavor really is better every week.

    Thanks and love your recipes. Have made 10 recipes from both of your cookbooks since Christmas. They never disappoint!

    • Kara: The hydration (ratio of water to flour) is pretty much the same in the Cooking Club article. The Magazine wanted us to solidly have four one-pound loaves from the basic batch. As you probably know, our first book’s Master gives you four 0.9 pound loaves (3.6 pounds of dough rather than 4.0)– a little skimpier than what we claimed (well, it was approximate). But the results will be about equal in terms of dough consistency etc.

      Glad you saw the article, thanks for your comments…

  26. I have a quick question about the Olive Oil dough in AB5. Can you form it into a boule and bake it that way?
    We are enjoying Artisan bread in Eastern Canada, thanks so much! My family thinks I’m a genious…

  27. Thanks Jeff for the response. I thought you would like to know that I made homemade pita last night using the olive oil dough and my eight year old son proclaimed: “This is the best pita I’ve had in my entire life! I don’t think I’ll ever have it better than this”. I think I will need to give his future wife a copy of your book.

  28. I am at a loss. I ordered your books for our Library and the Healthy Bread one has gone missing. I really need the recipe to make the chocolate espresso bread. I have done it once and want to do it again. I know I don’t have the name right. You can use the dough for muffins as well. Please just help me with the ingredients.

  29. Love HBI5! I can literally count on one hand the number of times I’ve bought bread since last June. Thankful for that!

    I’m mixing up a batch of the red beet bread today from HBI5. I’m so excited to make the heart shaped bread tomorrow! (I hope it’ll taste good with Swiss cheese fondue :-) I’ve never made this particular dough, so I’m not familiar with the typical color but it seems that this bread is a deeper darker red than the red beet buns pictured in my HBI5 color photo. Am I mistaken or did you do something to make the red from the beets color the dough more thoroughly for this purpose? Again, a recipe I have yet to try so I don’t know…I just want my hearts to look like yours. Thanks!!!

    • Cyndi: Art directors play with the color balance in these photos, so maybe that accounts for the difference? But aside from that, the depth of color seen in the beets varies, some are redder than others. Some are actually orange… Probably not much you can do– we never use artificial colorings in the breads, that’s one thing I can tell you for sure.

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