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.
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.
Pumpkin pie and brioche are two of my all time favorites, so why not combine the two. The result is a bread rich with butter, eggs and spiced pumpkin puree. Spreading the pumpkin onto the brioche dough and rolling it into a log creates the swirl pattern when you cut it. The bread is gorgeous and tasty, perfect for Thanksgiving or just a fall morning with a cup of coffee.
Next week is the official release of our book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Woot! To celebrate we are doing a giveaway, before the book even hits the stands. It is a small token of our appreciation for all your help in creating this new edition. We’ve incorporated what we’ve learned from your comments, your questions and your suggestions. Please leave us a comment below about your favorite experience baking bread or what you are most eager to try. We will give away 5 copies of the new book to randomly picked winners next week.* Thank you! Our usual contest rules apply (click here for rules); you need to respond within 24 hours of notification or we have to pick someone else. CONTEST CLOSED, WINNERS CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED 10/22/13.
To make the Pumpkin Swirl Bread:
Jeff and I just spent a couple of days with the good folks at General Mills and a bunch of super talented bloggers. We got a tour of the GM headquarters, which seems more like a small city, than a company. The campus is outfitted with test kitchens, a cookbook library, photo studios, banks, dry cleaners, grocery stores, secret recipe testing labs (I tried to sneak in, but security is tighter than the white house) and halls lined with the history of the company, which goes back to the 1800s. It is quite amazing to see how this company has shaped Minneapolis and the food culture in general. We were there as part of an event for Gold Medal bloggers. In addition to seeing the inner workings of the company, we got to visit with the people behind the blogs. Some of them we’d travelled to Kansas with to ride the combines and tour the mills, and others we just met for the first time. All of them have amazing blogs, which I have no doubt you’ve visited.
Here are some highlights of our days with Gold Medal – including pictures of us racing on segways. I have to admit I was terrified to reveal any photos on a segway, but it was so much fun I have to own my love for this strange mode of transportation. Continue reading
Here is the perfect treat for back-to-school (or for that brunch your hosting this weekend, or just a midnight snack). This time of year is always bittersweet for us parents. Our little cherubs are headed back to school; we miss them, but also rejoice the quiet, in equal measures. Baking something sweet and tasty seems like a great way to celebrate. The best thing about this recipe is that it is easy enough for the kids to bake themselves (a bit of help with the oven for the little ones.) My 12-year-old son started a “bakery” this summer (read about his entrepreneurial endeavor here) and he made these cinnamon rolls. I handed him the galley copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking; he mixed the brioche dough (using a Scale and a Danish Dough Whisk), rolled it out, made the filling, baked them, whipped up some frosting, and then ate one (quality control) before his customers arrived at 7:30am. I did nothing but photograph his adventure in the kitchen and watched the oven.
As you may know, Jeff and I have been using Red Star yeast since the very beginning of this bread baking venture. We love the results we get, we can get it in bulk and it is less expensive than the other brands, what’s not to love? They have recently come out with a new product, so of course we were eager to give it a try. Truth be told, I’ve been using it for about a year, since they gave me a sample when they first developed it. It has all the great aspects of their regular instant yeast, but they’ve added dough enhancers. These “enhancers” are what professional bakeries use in their recipes to improve the rise and to strengthen the dough. Anything that makes a dough rise better and bake up taller seems like a good idea. The enhancers are all natural, but not gluten-free, so Platinum yeast should not be used in our gluten-free doughs. The other Red Star products are all gluten-free. Continue reading
This weekend I went to the market and bought a bunch of flour. This is nothing unusual for me, as you can imagine. I absentmindedly put several bags of Gold Medal Unbleached All-purpose Flour in my cart, got home and unloaded the bags into my flour bin. That’s when I finally looked at the bag and nearly fell over. There was a logo I recognized, as if I was looking at a family photo, it was our Breadin5 logo, right on the front of the flour bag. Holy-Buckets-of-Dough-Batman, our recipe from the NEW ABin5 is on the bag of Gold Medal Flour!
We’ve always tested our recipes with Gold Medal, so when they suggested we pair up to share our recipe with their customers, we thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t expect to see the bag on the shelves until this fall. I was caught completely by surprise. Pinch me. Scan the shelves of your local markets and see if your store is carrying it. A friend in CA said she found it too, so I know I didn’t dream this.
Here’s the recipe from the bag. Everyone understands that the towel is to be removed from the oven glass before closing the oven door? Some older ovens were made without tempered glass and if you want to be extra careful, protect it. Not a lot of space for clarification on those bags, and some people were confused:
The new book will be out this October in all retail stores, but you can pre-order The New Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day any time.
Note: Gold Medal Flour is a sponsor of BreadIn5 LLC’s promotional activities.
There is nothing more American than grilling on the 4th of July, well, maybe a star spangled pizza is the most patriotic of all. This is a super fast pizza that is ideal for breakfast, which I just served my family this morning, or can be throw together at your holiday BBQ as dessert. I made the pizza in a small baking sheet, but you can make a larger one if you have a crowd to feed.
Happy 4th of July! Continue reading
Stuff it with any fillings you like and you have a simple and delicious lunch. And if you make them small, individual-serving-size, you can pack them for a great school lunch. There is no end to the flavor combinations. This recipe can be made with any of the doughs in our Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day book, but today I made it with the gluten-free dough, which is super tasty and easy to work with. Because the dough doesn’t have the same gluten-full stretch, we have to handle it slightly differently, but it is just as simple as traditional dough with the right technique. Continue reading
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
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