Valentine’s Day Swirled Bread

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I’ve just returned from an incredible week in Denver. I was there working with Craftsy to create another class, this time on show stopping cheesecakes (it will be out in a few weeks). I love working the with the Craftsy team. They work hard and laugh harder. We spent months developing the class concept, all the materials/recipes and then got together for 4 days of non-stop baking and filming. I like to think I’m a hard worker, but then I see the folks at Craftsy and I realize how much more a human can do in a single day when they work as a team. I loved it. Not only the work, but also the people. Writing books and blogging are two pretty solitary jobs, so having 5 days in the kitchen with their crew was a blast. It’s fun to watch other people create beautiful food. It is also fun to see my recipes come to life.

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As we were prepping all the cheesecakes for my class, Victoria, the kitchen assistant extraordinaire, told me about a bread she bakes for her young daughter. Victoria helped me on my Craftsy bread class* and played with the recipe to create a rainbow of colors with it. Brilliant. I immediately thought of a Valentine’s Day Bread with swirls of pink and red.

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*If you haven’t checked out our Artisan Bread in Minutes class on Craftsy, I am always so happy to have new bakers join the class. If you’re interested be sure to use this link to sign up, you’ll get $20 off. It makes a lovely Valentine’s Day Gift for the baker in your life.

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Stovetop Pizza with Spelt Dough

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With the holidays tucked safely behind, I’ve found myself trying to incorporate healthier foods into my family’s New Year diet. There were some subtle groans about the 100% whole wheat flour bagels and bread that showed up in our kitchen January 1st, foreshadowing things to come. After a few weeks of slowly letting go of the white flour, however, no one seems to mind quite as much anymore. Along with the whole wheat flour, I have also been adding spelt flour to many of our baked goods and breads. I’ve always loved the flavor of spelt, and find it easy to work with in most applications. I had forgotten about the Whole Grain Spelt Dough recipe in Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads, and it has been a welcome addition to dinner. My kids didn’t even notice the crust on their beloved stovetop pizza was slightly heartier, and gobbled down their slices without batting an eye.

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Raisin Walnut Bread (Baked in an Emile Henry Bread Baker with Red Star Platinum Yeast)

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I have to admit when Emile Henry asked if I wanted to try this new covered loaf pan, I was a bit skeptical about the claims they were making. It’s a gorgeous loaf pan, but would it really bake a bread with a perfectly crisp, shiny crust on the top and bottom, just because of the holes in the lid and on the bottom of the ceramic baking vessel? Well, I’m here to say I was wrong to judge without trying, again. Just as I was wrong about the crock pot baking great bread, this loaf pan really does bake a fantastic loaf. The crust is thin and golden brown, without having to add steam or remove the cover during baking. It’s all about the holes! You can see the same loaf baked in a regular loaf pan at the bottom of the post and see for yourself just how well it works.

I used Red Star Platinum yeast to mix up this raisin walnut bread dough, and I loved the results with this loaf.

Bread Baker, Book and Platinum Giveaway | Breadin5

Because I loved this loaf pan and the bread I baked so much we asked Emile Henry and Red Star to participate in a Holiday Baking Giveaway. Leave a comment below and you can win the Bread Baker, a case of Platinum Yeast and a copy of our The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (or our Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day if you prefer). The winner must be in the USA and all our normal contest rules apply.  Contest is finished and Michele was our winner! Continue reading

Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread

pumpkin spice monkey bread | bread in 5

We’ve had a lovely Autumn here in Minnesota, with warm weather lasting far into October. However, November has brought about a winter chill, and with it the desire to head to the kitchen and bake with cinnamon and pumpkin. Often I turn to cinnamon rolls or caramel rolls, but I decided this time around to make Monkey Bread.

Monkey Bread is easy to make; it’s basically a pull-apart cinnamon roll baked in a Bundt or loaf pan. Zoe’s posted a standard recipe before, but today I’m doing one made with pumpkin spices, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and topped with a cream cheese icing. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the coming cold.

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Crock Pot Nutella Swirl Bread

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Last weekend I lived the ultimate bread bakers’ dream. Thanks to my friends at Red Star Yeast I travelled to the heart of wheat country in Kansas and had the great honor of judging the National Festival of Breads baking contest. The contestants submitted their recipes and were chosen from hundreds of bread bakers from across the country. Eight women came to Manhattan, KS and baked in a theatre-style kitchen in front of about 1500 bread lovers. They deserve a prize for that alone. The breads were all amazing, but one by Lisa Keys of Good Grief Cooks was the one that stood out to all the judges. Her Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread had a combination of flavors, texture and beauty made this the clear winner. You can read all about the contest (you should consider entering for the next one), the contestants and their winning recipes at the National Festival of Breads.

Another absolutely gorgeous loaf that was baked for us was a chocolate swirl bread. I’ve recreated that idea with our Whole Wheat Brioche dough and a swirl of Nutella. It is healthy and decadent all at the same time and it’s baked in a crock pot. I turned to my crock pot when I turned on the AC for the first time yesterday and I really didn’t want to heat up the kitchen by cranking up the oven. The crock pot is ideal for a bread like this, since it fits the shape and we want a soft crust. The result was perfect.

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Fresh Bread made with Older Dough

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As I am testing recipes, I can find myself with several buckets going at once. I have a family of four and we just can’t always use up all that dough in a timely fashion. I just opened a bucket of dough that had been untouched for several days, well more than several and it was gray, leathery and had some liquid on it (pictures below). It had a strong “sourdough” smell to it, since it had been fermenting for a very long time. For those of us who like that kind of character in our bread, it was very exciting. BUT, there wasn’t that much dough left and if I were to peel back the leathery bits to get to the creamy dough beneath, I wouldn’t even have enough dough for a full loaf. The best thing to do with this older dough is to incorporate it into a new batch. It jump starts the flavor in your new dough, without having to wait days for the fermentation. It is like having a sourdough starter, that you never had to feed. Although in the dough I will show you, I am using the full amount of Red Star Platinum yeast.

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Weighing The Ingredients: Whole Grain Baguette Buns With Extra Sourdough Kick. And, a winner in our Super Peel contest…

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Before I launch into these fantastic buns, our winner of the SuperPeel was… Sandy! Congrats, we’ll be in touch. That contest is now closed.

In this post, I’ll go through the method for using a kitchen scale to measure in flour and other ingredients, which some readers, especially outside the U.S., have said they prefer. In this recipe, I used these weight equivalents for scoop-and-swept cup measures:

1 cup white all-purpose flour:  5 ounces (140 grams)

1 cup whole wheat flour:  4.5 ounces (130 grams)

1 cup water:  8 ounces (225 grams)

Most home scales aren’t accurate enough to weigh small quantities of yeast and salt for single recipes.

These buns are from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, being cut from a baguette-shaped cylinder, which gives the buns crusty little edges that will impress your guests.  They’re incredibly easy to make from any of the lean stored doughs that you already have in your fridge, mixed up from our book… Continue reading

Gluten-Free Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Video

GF boule from gluten-free artisan bread in five

(photo by Stephen Scott Gross)

(video by Sarah Kieffer)

Many of the folks who are baking from Gluten-Free Bread in Five Minutes a Day have asked:

  1. What’s the dough supposed to look like?
  2. How do you handle such unstructured dough?
  3. What’s it look like when baked?

Click on the “play” button in the video image above to see Zoe showing all that, using the Master Recipe from the book (the egg-white version, though you can make a version without egg). About stand mixers: We’ve had best results with our gluten-free recipes when we’ve used a stand mixer. Hand-mixing works too, but you really have to go a long time to make it nice and smooth. We have lots of experience with the 5-quart KitchenAid stand mixer. You can use the 6-quart or larger capacity, but we’ve found that those large models have a harder time mixing gluten-free dough.

You’ll notice that Zoe used Red Star Quick-Rise yeast, which is gluten-free (so is their Active Dry Yeast product). Gluten-free bakers can’t use the Red Star Platinum product, which has dough conditioners derived indirectly from a wheat protein–so it has a trace of gluten.

More on gluten-free bread-baking in Gluten-Free Bread in Five Minutes a Dayor on our Gluten-Free FAQs page.

SkinnyTaste Hot Soup and Fresh Bread on a Cold Night!

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It wasn’t that long ago I spent a magic filled weekend with Todd and Diane (White on Rice Couple) in their California studio. It was one of those experiences I will never forget. Not only is their sun soaked space a dream come true for anyone with a camera, but they have a prop room the size of most homes. They invited a group of food bloggers to play in their kitchen and challenged all of us to push our photography in new directions. The talent of the group was mind bending, but it was really the generosity of the group, who freely shared their wisdom, that was so inspiring.

One of the lovely people I met that weekend was Gina Homolka from SkinnyTaste. Her blog and her book are both beautiful and a pure reflection of the woman behind them. She served a salad at the studio party that was simply incredible, so I bought her book. Now that I am home in the polar vortex that is Minnesota, and pretty much snowed in until March, I am all about hot soups. I wanted something that felt hearty enough to conquer the cold, but didn’t make me feel like I needed to nap after. I flipped through Gina’s book and found “Un”stuffed Cabbage Soup. I love stuffed cabbage. It reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen, but I’ve never had the patience to make them. This soup has all of those wonderful flavors, but none of the work. Perfect for a cold night with a loaf of fresh bread. I went with an ultra crusty Epi, but to keep it skinny, I made mini ones.

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Cinnamon Brioche Wreath, and a book giveaway (WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN)

cinnamon brioche wreath | bread in 5

I’ve written before about being enamored with braided breads, and after making twisted loaves I thought it was time to add a wreath into the mix. Seeing braided wreaths of bread all over Pinterest makes me immediately think of the Holidays, that holly jolly time of year when everyone turns a blind eye at eating too many delicious sweets. I have a special breakfast for Thanksgiving and my family always makes these cinnamon rolls for New Years Day, but Christmas Eve needed something special. This wreath is the perfect treat. It looks harder than it is: just a few simple twists sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon make for a beautiful presentation. Click continue viewing below for more. But also: anyone posting a comment to this post will automatically be entered into a drawing–we’re giving away a copy of our any one of our U.S. books to five lucky winners (either The New Artisan Bread in 5, Healthy Bread in 5, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5, or Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in 5). Contest closes and winners will be selected on December 19. Usual rules apply, (will only ship to a U.S. address, only one entry allowed, and must respond within 24 hours if you’re a winner). Contest is closed; winners have been chosen and notified in e-mail as of 12/19/14.

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