Ham and Cheese Pull-Apart Bread with Gold Medal Flour

pull apart bread 05

Here is a fun, easy way to pack lunch right into your loaf of bread. No, I don’t mean the typical sandwich our kids are sick to death of, I mean ham and cheese (or whatever you are in the mood for) is folded into the dough and baked as a loaf. Each slice is a sandwich. In order to get the layers to keep their shape, I made the dough with Gold Medal Bread Flour, which boosts the amount of gluten and gives the loaf a little more structure. To make it a touch healthier (I’m constantly sneaking whole grains where kids will never see them) I also used Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour. This technique would work equally well with many other doughs from our books.

pull-apart bread

As the name suggests you can just pull sections of the loaf apart, but I sliced into this one to show you how the ham and cheese ends up woven through the bread.

When I just checked Amazon, they were selling the Kindle Edition of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for $6.99. Not sure how long that will last, but if you’ve ever considered trying the E-reader version, this would be a great time to dive in.

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Sweet Brioche in a Crock Pot

Sweet Brioche is the latest in my series of crock pot breads*. It may have taken me a while to give the old slow cooker a try, but now I am unstoppable. Some of you may know that I am in the very last stages of a kitchen remodel, which has me displaced and baking under less-than-ideal conditions. So, the crock pot is the perfect way to get the job done. It can travel from room to room and it takes up no space at all. This time of year we may not be concerned with heating up our house with the oven, in fact, I rather look forward to it. That is precisely why we northerners refer to winter as the “baking season,” because we do as much of it as possible to keep ourselves warm. But, this time of year can be a battle to find enough oven space. Thanksgiving and Christmas can pose a Rubik’s Cube style challenge of getting everything baked and on the table at the same time. Why not eleviate some of the pressure by throwing a ball of dough in your crock? Next I have to see if I can make bread pudding in my slow cooker. I do look forward to having my kitchen back, but until then I will not be without fresh baked bread.

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Zoë’s adventure with the Barefoot Contessa!

Ina Garten

I just wanted to share a mind-blowing-adventure I had with Ina Garten. The Ladies’ Home Journal invited me and a few other food bloggers to attend Ina’s very first holiday cookie swap. I, of course, went with our bread books tucked under my arm, hoping Ina would be willing to add them to her extensive library. Being the consumate host, she accepted the books with utter grace and excitement. Ok, my real hope is that she will become a 5 minute bread baker! You can read all about my time at Ina’s house and see some behind the scenes, post champagne pictures at ZoeBakes. And, Ladies’ Home Journal is hosting a contest, which results in a lucky winner getting to have lunch with the Barefoot Contessa.   She is delightful, so enter and I hope you win!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Torta

Thanksgiving leftovers

No matter how big your Thanksgiving feast is or how many people are gathered around your table, chances are there’s more leftovers than you know what to do with. Here is a way to use the extra turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, plus anything else that graced your holiday table and make it into something new. We feature an Italian Torta recipe in Artisan Pizza in Five, but why not swap out the layers for all those leftovers? It is tasty and gorgeous and goes together in a flash if you are cleaning out the fridge of all those half empty tupperware containers. Continue reading

VOTE

vote

We hope you will make your voices heard tomorrow and VOTE!

Form any 5 minute dough into the letters V – O – T – E and let them rest on a piece of parchment while a baking stone preheats to 450°F. Slide them onto the stone and bake with steam for about 18 minutes.

vote

Share with your neighbors, friends, family and kids! Enjoy your right to vote!

Ghoulish Breadsticks for Halloween!

halloween breadsticks

This week is the one time a year when we purposefully make our food look creepy. Halloween is great fun for the kids, but we adults love to play with our food too, and its great fun to watch people squirm just a bit. Even though these breadsticks are ghoulish, they are crunchy and delicious as well. Stick a few in the lunch box to give your kids a little Halloween thrill at school. Continue reading

Baked Apple Doughnuts with Gold Medal Flour – updated

It is that time of year again in Minnesota, when the weather goes from 90°F one day, to 48°F the next. It is bittersweet to lose summer, but we enthusiastically head into baking season. This time of year also brings the apples, glorious apples. This week alone I have made pie, fritters, waffles and these baked doughnuts with all the apple varieties I found at the farmers market. Baked Doughnuts? Many of you have requested a doughnut recipe that is not fried. I admit I was hesitant, since I am a doughnut fanatic and was afraid the baked version would be a poor substitute. I am, once again, thrilled to announce YOU WERE RIGHT! The baked apple doughnuts are tender, sweet and studded with pieces of tart apples. The trick is to coat the dough in lots of cinnamon sugar, then bake them so they are still soft on the inside and have a wonderful sugar crust on the outside. The Maple Glaze gives them an even more decadent feel, even though they are the healthy version of our favorite treat. You may never miss the fried version again, but if you are like me, you’ll make both.

As you may know, we have always used Gold Medal Flour to test our recipes. It is the most widely available flour, its quality is always predictable and the results are fantastic. Not to mention, you can make a batch (4 loaves) of our dough using their flour for 40 cents a loaf.   When the folks at Gold Medal Flour invited us to Kansas this summer to meet their farmers, ride a combine, tour the mill and play in their test kitchens, we jumped at the opportunity. We were blown away by the company and came away with even more respect for the brand. So, when they asked us to partner with them, we decided it was a perfect match.

Baked Apple Doughnuts:

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Baking at the Gold Medal Bread Festival in the Mill City Farmers Market and Focaccia!

Bread Festival

This weekend we joined Michelle Gayer (above with Jeff) from The Salty Tart Bakery, to make pizzas in a wood-fired oven at the 2nd Annual Bread Festival, hosted by Gold Medal Flour and the Mill City Farmers Market. It was a perfect fall day to bake outside and enjoy freshly baked breads and pizzas.  Continue reading

How-to: Six-Strand Braided Challah

challah

September is the month of the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This Six-Strand Braided Challah, using our five minute dough, is a beautiful and festive way to celebrate. Traditionally for Rosh Hashanah we bake the bread in the shape of a ring studded with raisins, but if you serve any of our delicious challahs you will do the holidays justice.

Braiding six strands takes a bit of technique, but once you have the rhythm the braid goes together quickly and easily. Keep in mind that you are only working with one strand at a time, so there is no juggling to do. You want to be sure to keep your hands and work surface well floured so the strands don’t become sticky as you work.

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Herb Crock-Pot Dinner Rolls – Summer Baking

crock-pot buns

Weather is something we Minnesotans take great pride in. We love our winters, mostly for the bragging rights of surviving them, and the fact that it can go from -40° to 90°F in a blink of an eye. This summer we add an unprecedented heat wave, which may rival the “Halloween snow” in weather lore. As the thermometer on my back door reads 95°F for what seems the entire summer, I find myself pulling out the crock-pot to bake. What was originally a lark, bread in the slow-cooker has become my go-to summer baking method. Yesterday I picked a bunch of fresh herbs, made them into a savory dough and then at dinner I baked up some dinner rolls. All the wonderful aroma, the delight of fresh bread, without the heat of the oven. Check with your crock-pot’s manufacturer before trying this, since some model’s instructions specify that the pot has to be at least partially filled with liquid to avoid safety or durability problems.  And never bake  in a crock-pot unattended. Continue reading