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

Old dough boule | Breadin5 04

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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Caramel Apple Brioche Cake–for Thanksgiving Breakfast

caramel apple brioche cake | bread in 5

There are so many good things about Thanksgiving dinner. There is the table piled with comfort food, the house full with family and friends, the first evening of holiday music playing, and a day to consider all the good things the year has brought.

There is something to be said, however, about Thanksgiving breakfast. It’s always overlooked, and often skipped while one focuses on cleaning house, peeling potatoes, and setting the table. But what better way to start a day of feasting, really. This cake is one big roll, stuffed with apples and topped with caramel sauce and toasted pecans. It’s perfect to have on hand for overnight guests and bribing kids to pitch in Thursday morning. It also just may remind one to pause with gratitude; this treat is still bread underneath. Breaking it with a loved one first thing in the morning is a sweet sort of communion, a unique way to stop and give thanks.

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Master Recipe from Gluten-Free ABin5

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In 2007, when our first book hit the stores, I had never heard of celiac disease or gluten intolerance. In the past 7 years I’ve had quite an education on the subject. It all started here on the website. People were writing in to say they loved our method, but couldn’t eat wheat. There were many, many requests, so Jeff and I set off to develop recipes that fit our fast and easy method but used flours that were gluten-free. We’ve put gluten-free breads in all of our books since then, but they were just small chapters among a bunch of wheat filled recipes. It seemed unfair to the folks who couldn’t eat wheat to buy a book filled with recipes that didn’t suit their needs, so we decided to write a book for them. Last week Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day came out and we are thrilled to share the Master Recipe with you here.

We’ve had great feedback from our original gluten-free recipes, but we wanted to simplify the method even more. That meant developing two flour mixes that all our recipes are based on, so you just have to mix the flour once for many loaves. You just mix up a big batch of our Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix and/or our Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Flour mix and you’ll be able to quickly mix and bake all 90 recipes in our book. (We’ve tried commercial flour mixes, but haven’t found one that is as tasty, nor do they produce as nice a texture. If you have a brand of GF flour that you like to use, give it a try, but you may need to make some adjustments, so we recommend making a small batch to make sure you like the results.)

We also wanted to provide recipes that are mostly vegan (no eggs) and dairy free. Because eggs are a leavening ingredient, we do like the Master Recipe made with eggs for a lighter loaf. In fact, we find that the dough made with egg whites is the lightest of all the options. You can also use an egg substitute if you choose not to use eggs. And as always with our method, you save time by mixing a large batch and storing it in the refrigerator, pulling off dough to use as you need it.

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The following recipe is our Master Recipe from GFABin5 made with egg whites, but you can make the same recipe with whole eggs, egg substitutes or without any eggs at all. Continue reading

Tips on great results with gluten-free dough: We’re on KTSP-TV Minneapolis (ABC)

Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day was released today, and we went on Twin Cities Live with Elizabeth Ries and Joe Schmit to spread the news. One of the things I liked about this TV segment was that you get to see what gluten-free dough looks like when it’s nicely emulsified in the stand mixer (you can use a spoon or dough whisk, but you have to keep going to get it really smooth). One other thing to clarify from the TV segment: This book was tested with Red Star Active Dry Yeast and Red Star Instant Yeast, both of which are completely gluten-free. Gluten-free folks shouldn’t use the Red Star Platinum product because it has some dough conditioners derived from wheat.

Lesaffre Yeast Corp. (Red Star) provided samples of yeast for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.