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

Hot Cross Buns!

hot cross buns

(This is a post that first appeared in 2009 – we hope it is fresh for some and a welcome memory for others!)

“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, everybody loves hot cross buns!” are the words to the children’s song and it is so true. I made these buns at the request of many of you and my kids devoured them within minutes. They are the buns traditionally served at Easter time. A sweet dough, spiced, studded with dried (sometimes candied) fruit and decorated with a cross made of icing.

As I researched these delicious buns I realized that there are as many ways to make them as there are families who bake them. Some people slash the dough to make the cross, others use a flour and water paste to create the symbol and others use the sweet icing. Tell me how you make your buns, and if you don’t have a family tradition yet, you can start with these!

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Balthazar 05

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizzette

The concept for these little pizza/tarts came from a family recipe. My cousin, Riad Nasr, is a world class chef and quite often the source of inspiration in my kitchen. He practices his craft in New York City at a line-up of crazy-popular restaurants including Pastis, Minetta Tavern and Balthazar. Several years ago he wrote the Balthazar cookbook and included a savory tart with herby caramelized onions and goat cheese. I made it and fell in love. When Jeff and I decided to write our Pizza book I knew this flavor combo would be fantastic as a pizza. I’ve made it in several classes that we’ve taught to rave reviews, so I thought I would make it with you here.

The key to this pizza is caramelizing the onions. You can speed up the process by using a slightly higher heat and adding a touch of sugar, but for this recipe we’re going the old fashion route and doing it slow. I admit this may take a few more than 5 minutes, but I think it’s worth it. For those of you looking for a speedier version you can find one on page 108 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Continue reading

Roasted red peppers

Roasted Red Pepper: My Favorite Mediterranean Pizza Topping

(photo by Mark Luinenburg)  If you’ve read any of our books, you know that this particularly photogenic fruit (or is it a vegetable?) seems to have captured our imagination.  After a year of perfecting the basic tomato/basil/mozzarella topping, I did (believe it or not) get tired of Pizza Margherita.  Enter the smoky and savory roasted red pepper. Continue reading

Lamb Pita

Turkish Spiced Lamb Pita – (Lahmacun)

In addition to making pizza on superbowl sunday, I propose that you shake things up a bit with these Spiced Lamb Pitas. This is one of my favorite recipes in our new book. I love it for many reasons, but the story behind my first bite of Lahmacun is as rich as the bread itself.

I arrived in Istanbul with my husband and two sons (9 & 11 at the time), after a long trip from Minneapolis. As we entered into the city, with the sweetest cabby in the world, and the fastest driver I have ever seen, we realized we were not in the Midwest anymore. It was a feast of the senses. To say we were overwhelmed by the beauty, smells, sounds and traffic, would have been a gross understatement. No sooner had we put our bags down in the hotel, then the concierge called the room to say I had a “friend” waiting for me in the lobby. He whispered into the phone and said “Please, be careful of people who claim to be your friend in a new city.” His way of warning me about something. I didn’t know anyone in the city, and hadn’t made plans to meet up with anyone, so I heeded his warning and sent my husband to the lobby to find out who this mysterious “friend” might be. It was indeed a friend, a dear sweet woman named Serap, who I’d met in the States. She owns a delightful Turkish restaurant called Depot 62 in Manchester, Vermont. I had told her I’d be in Istanbul, asked her for tips on where to eat, but that was all I ever expected to hear. Here she was, the loveliest surprise in the world. She was visiting her sister in istanbul, and they took the day to give us a tour of the city. They fed us the most glorious foods and she introduced me to her favorite Turkish food; Lahmacun. I will never forget that day and this flatbread is forever linked with one of my most precious memories. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

This thin pita is topped with Spiced lamb, quickly baked, so it is still soft, topped with chopped onions, parsley and a squeeze of lemon, then it is rolled up like a crepe.  Continue reading

Doughnuts

Savory Doughnuts

This week is Chanukah and it is all about frying our food, which brings me great joy. I am constantly trying to come up with something new to add to our menu of latkes, jelly doughnuts and all the other traditional fare. These savory doughnuts were inspired by the fried pizzas I had in Naples. We ate them as snacks during the day, to tide us over to the next pizza. Most of the pizzarias sold them outside their front doors to people waiting in long lines or folks on the run. Pizza dough stuffed with ricotta and deep friend; simple, but perfect. My boys love them stuffed with a variety of fillings, so use your imagination and create your own savory doughnuts. Continue reading

stuffed naan

Stuffed Naan

One of the most popular recipes from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is our version of naan. It is a non-traditional way of creating the classic Indian flatbread, and it is incredibly fast and tasty. In Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day we decided to one-up ourselves and create a stuffed naan, made from a dough that has a slight tang from the addition of yogurt. This aromatic flatbread is filled with cilantro and onions, then baked until golden on a hot stone. When it comes from the oven we slather it in ghee and serve it hot. You’ll want to make several, because they go fast and they are as good hot as they are cold. Continue reading

#PizzaPartyIn5

World Wide Pizza Party: Please Come On November 15, 2011!

(photo by Stephen Gross)

Where:  On Twitter and here on our website.

When:  November 15, 2011

Twitter Hosts:  @ArtisanBreadin5 and @ZoeBakes

Please come– bake pizza from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day and tweet about it on November 15, 2011 (and through the weekend).  Use the hashtag #PizzaPartyIn5 so we can re-tweet your pizzas.  Looking for pizza party ideas?  See our party video on YouTube?  Bloggers, please include a link to your pizza posts and we’ll let the world know where to find you.

Zoe and I aren’t gluten-free, but some of our friends are, so our second and third books have a nice sampling of gluten-free doughs.  The pizza above?  A gluten-free Pear, Prosciutto, and Blue Cheese Pizza that we featured in the article we just wrote for Easy Eats Magazine (click here for a free sample download of the article). Easy Eats Magazine (EasyEats.com) is brand-new, and it’s specifically for gluten-free folks– there’s no wheat in this magazine.  Our article isn’t just about pizza– there’s bread, breadsticks, pannetone muffins, and challah.  We’re thrilled to be part of the inaugural issue!