Note that there is an updated version of this post, click here to view.
Some people get excited by a football game or a new pair of shoes, but for me it is finding fresh cake yeast at my local grocery store. I haven’t played with fresh yeast since I was in culinary school many years ago. I certainly hadn’t tested the recipes in our books with it, because I assumed it was too difficult to find. There it was sitting next to the cream cheese in the dairy section of the store. I admit I yelped and did a little dance right there in the aisle. I will most certainly continue to use granulated yeast, but thanks to Red Star there is a fresh option available for those of you who want to give it a try. It is very easy to use and for those with a sensitive palate you may detect a difference in the flavor. I loved working with it and the bread was wonderful. The only draw back is that fresh yeast has to be used when it is FRESH. Most only survives about 10 days in your refrigerator and Carol at Red Star Yeast says that freezing it is tricky business. For those of you who get excited about trying new techniques and ingredients I highly recommend you give it a go.
Recently we have seen lots of new readers on the website who are asking wonderful questions about how to perfect their loaves. First I’d like to say welcome to the site and thank you for trying the bread. As I bake through the basic Master recipe from ABin5 I will try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and also introduce you to a few new pieces of equipment I’ve recently started to use that make the whole experience just a little easier. The goal is to create a large batch of dough that stores in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. That’s why our method saves you so much time– all the mixing and prep is divided over four one-pound loaves. Continue reading
The “black and white” pumpernickel/rye braid is a New York specialty that brings back fond memories for me. Mark Luinenburg’s photo above is downright savory; you can almost hear the caraway seeds crunching in your mouth. Pumpernickel is a kind of rye, and we included a whole grain version in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which also has a rustic Bavarian-Style pumpernickel based on the same dough. Let’s throw together the recipe for this healthy and hearty dough, plus talk about a new feature on our website: The FAQs–Frequently Asked Questions tab… Continue reading
Our new book has a terrific braided challah with whole wheat and wheat germ, and I’ve been playing with a variation that includes cranberries and orange zest. This same challah recipe lends itself to many other holiday traditions as well, forming the basis in our book for Scandinavian Christmas breads like Pulla and Julekage. It’s really just a lightly enriched yeast dough that is very, very versatile. The recipe… Continue reading
Return to FAQs page
(… and a recipe for pitas from so-called “Cornell” dough). Our third book will be officially released on October 25, 2011, but it’s now available for Pre-Order on Amazon! To view the book’s cover, which is now finalized, click here. It will have pizza and flatbreads from all over the world—plus, the recipes will be complemented with soup, salad, and dip recipes so that these pizzas and flatbreads become the basis of an entire five-minute meal. As in all our books, the idea is to do all the mixing once, but serve many times from a big batch. That’s a perfect fit for soups and dips (and you can get a salad ready while your bread’s in the oven).
Turns out that you can make great flatbreads (like the pitas above) using a modification of our Whole Grain Master Recipe (that original appears in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day). The modification was inspired by ”Cornell Bread,” a bread baked from soy-enriched dough originally developed as a vegetarian protein source during World War II. Many of you have asked us about whether our recipes work with some soy flour— they do… Return to FAQs page, or scroll down for more on Cornell Pitas…
Panettone was traditionally a Christmas bread sold all over Italy during the holidays. It finds its origins in Milan around the 15th century, and has been the subject of much romantic lore. The most often told story of how this bejeweled bread came to be goes something like this. A young nobleman by the name of Ughetto Atellani fell in love with the daughter of a poor baker named Toni. In order to impress her, Ughetto disguised himself as a pastry chef’s apprentice in her father’s bakery. He creates a tall fruit studded bread to present to her father, calling it “Pan de Toni.” The bread, rich with eggs and butter, sweet with honey, scented with vanilla and lemon zest, with the finishing touch of dried and candied fruits was a success in the bakery and wins the admiration of the lady and the father’s respect. The baker blesses the marriage and Ughetto marries the daughter.
The story is rich and fanciful, just like the bread. Today this sweet loaf is no longer saved just for Christmas, it is eaten at other holidays throughout the year and served sliced and toasted for brunch and as a dessert with a selection of cheeses and sweet wines. The bread, despite its rather lighthearted lore is quite sophisticated. The traditional method for making panettone is done over the course of several days. It included long sessions of kneading and allowed for up to 20 hours of rise time in order to create a flavor that is both sweet, but also has a complexity caused by the fermentation of the dough. Today, we want the same balance of flavor, without having to labor over the process or wait several days to enjoy our bread. Although you can bake the bread after only a couple of hours of refrigeration we recommend letting it sit for about 24 hours to develop its full flavor.
There are traditional Panettone molds that are very high sided which come either straight or fluted, they give the bread its characteristic cupola shape. These molds can be found in either metal Panettone-Charlotte or Paper Moulds varieties at cooking stores or on the web. We have also used a Brioche Molds, and many people bake them in large, empty, parchment lined coffee cans to achieve the high domed loaf. Continue reading
Back on November 11, I posted about my experiences with fresh-ground whole wheat, and I promised I’d come back and let you know how the dough stored. Short answer: pretty well. I baked off some of the dough on day 10 of the batch-life, and it did beautifully. Here, pictured above, is the same batch on day 15, which is a day longer than we usually recommend. I had a feeling that it was going to be OK when I took the jar out of the fridge (remember, don’t screw the top down if you store dough in jars– gas is still being produced and this could cause a hazard). You can still see some decent hole structure:
So, I’m liking this fresh-ground wheat. Very curious as to all your experiences with it.
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(photo by Mark Luinenburg)
We’re spending Thanksgiving with friends this year, and our family is doing the stuffing and bread for a table for 25. Sounds like a job for a household where they bake bread twice a day anyway…
I’m making the stuffing from basic boules, ball-shaped breads as above. You can use any lean dough you like, including whole-grain dough from the new book. Tomorrow I’ll be using the Peasant Bread from our first book, which is basically the white-flour Master Recipe, swapping out 1 cup of whole-grain rye for 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
Breads for the table are going to be a mix of seeded and unseeded rye breads, very rustic, maybe Anadama bread from the new book. All we’ll need is the belt-buckles on our hats.
Before we talk about the stuffing recipe, I need to announce the ten winners of the Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten giveaway. If you’re one of these folks, please supply your mailing address so that Bob’s Red Mill can ship your prize:
Rosalie from New Mexico
Lynn B (BeeHive5)
Ranee (Arabian Knits)
Two other Thanksgiving recipes from our “library” are:
Thanksgiving Buns and Other Helpful Holiday Hints
Thanksgiving Cranberry Corn Bread
OK, let’s make some stuffing… Continue reading
Pumpkins are associated with the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, a decadent pie filled with spices and sweetness. The pumpkin adds a smooth and luxurious texture that amounts to pure comfort food. Pumpkin is not only wonderful for its flavors but is also chock full of healthy vitamins. This was the inspiration for making a pumpkin pie brioche to include in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I wanted to take some of the butter out of this healthy version of brioche, but I didn’t want to lose the rich texture. Pumpkin is the answer! I added the spices and a touch of sweetness to create what I love about pumpkin pie in this fantastic and versatile bread. It can be baked as a loaf, in a brioche pan or even made into our Indian Spiced Doughnuts (page 287) or as the bottom crust for the Pear Tarte Tatin (page 290). It is fabulous as dessert or breakfast.
Check out this video that Lenny and Denise from ChezUs made for us at Omnivore Books while we were on book tour in San Francisco. Thank you both for taking the time to make the video, it was so wonderful to see you.
(picture from color insert of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, taken by Mark Luinenburg)
The brioche dough in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day was the very first recipe I developed after meeting Jeff and deciding to write the book together. It seemed a natural place to start considering my pastry chef roots and absolute love of this quintessential enriched bread. I had plenty of experience making it the traditional way after working in a restaurant with Andrew Zimmern. He put a fabulous sandwich on the lunch menu that was served on fresh brioche. I went to work early, got the butter to just the right temperature, made sure the room was also at the proper temperature and then set about on the long journey which is brioche dough. Too much work, although fabulous. Fast forward a decade and I meet Jeff, he introduces me to his method and I try melting the butter and just dumping it, along with all the other ingredients in a bucket and quickly stirring. Low and behold I have a luxurious brioche dough in a couple minutes of stirring. I was thrilled and only wished I’d figured this out when Andrew set that lunch menu all those years ago.
For Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day we still wanted to offer a variation of sweets and enriched breads, but they had to fit with our goal of healthier ingredients. This meant less white flour, less sweeteners, less fat and yet still delicious, tender and rich. It took some time to develop, but we came to just the right balance and now I use this dough for everything from a Tarte Tatin crust to my kids’ sandwiches.
But, in the final push of producing the book some numbers were switched around and it makes the recipe as written in the book unworkable–this only affects the very first printing in 2009. We are sad to see any mistakes in the book, and in particular one that will be such a staple to our readers. We apologize and below is the correct recipe. Continue reading
(The picture above is another Mark Luinenburg gem; Mark’s done the photography on our new book). Speaking of our new book…
… this has been a long and wonderful road; tomorrow (Tuesday October 27) is the publication date for:
Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients
We are thrilled with the early reviews, and already have already been on TV to talk about the book. On Amazon, the order window has changed from “Pre-Order” to “Order on Amazon”, and bookstores should have it (if they don’t please ask them to order it). It’s a book we wrote because people posted to us in this website and asked us for it (as in, “can you do something similar with more whole grains?”).
The answer: Yes, you can, but you have to make some changes. We’ll be talking more about this on our book tour, which starts tomorrow, and teaching classes about the changes you need to make to succeed with stored whole grain doughs (check our Events tab for details on cities, bookstores, and cooking schools). If you can’t wait, I’m walking through our whole grain Master Recipe here in this post today. I’ll cut to the chase: you need more water, and one extra ingredient called Vital Wheat Gluten (sometimes labeled “vital wheat gluten flour”), which is available in most supermarkets, or mail-order/on-line from anywhere… Continue reading