Cinnamon Swirl French Toast

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It is Sunday morning, the sun is shining, the snow is finally melting and I’m as happy as could be! Seems the perfect time to have a lavish, albeit easy, breakfast. Last night I took out my bucket of brioche dough, rolled in some cinnamon sugar and baked a gorgeous swirly bread. This morning I sliced it, soaked it in custard and made it into sublime French toast. Nothing better than that and with a bucket of dough on hand it is quick and easy.

Here are some other great breakfast ideas from our books/website:

Bacon & Egg in Toast

Homemade English Muffins

Aunt Melissa’s Granola

Almond Bear Claws

Fresh Fruit “Muffins”

Apricot Pastry

Breakfast Pizza

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Back to Basics ~ tips and techniques to create a great loaf in 5 minutes a day.

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Note that there is an updated version of this post, click here to view.

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.

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Whole Grain Pumpernickel, and a look at our new FAQs page

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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 tabContinue reading

Whole Grain Challah With Cranberries and Orange Zest

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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

Cornell Bread (and announcing our 3rd book: Artisan Pizza+Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day…)

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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…

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Panettone for the Holiday!

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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

How’d That Fresh-Ground Whole Wheat Store? Report at 15 Days

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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:

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So, I’m liking this fresh-ground wheat.  Very curious as to all your experiences with it.

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Thanksgiving Stuffing from Homemade Bread (and, announcing 10 winners of Bob’s Red Mill products)

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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:

Marta Lynn

Rosalie from New Mexico

Darlene (MamasNutHouse)

Cat (@catsee)

Lynn B (BeeHive5)

Becky (SabbathSupper)

Joan Vibert

Kristie Larsen

Elizabeth (eyow)

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

Pumpkin Pie Brioche just in time for Thanksgiving!

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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.

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Whole Wheat Brioche from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day!

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(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