How is it that I’d never tried Dutch Crunch bread, never even heard of it? It’s a loaf that seems to be ubiquitous in the San Francisco area, and it would seem that they have been keeping it all for themselves. Now that I’ve had it I can’t blame them. Dutch Crunch gets its name from a similar bread found in the Netherlands, which is called Tiger Bread (tijgerbrood or tijgerbol). It’s easy to see how it got that name. The tiger spots are created by covering the dough with a slurry of rice flour, sugar, yeast and toasted sesame oil. The fragrance of the sesame is fantastic and the slightly sweet crispy bits on the loaf are hard to resist picking off and snacking on before you ever cut into the bread. Continue reading
I was thrilled when doughnuts took over as the “hot dessert trend” from the fanciful cupcake. I do like cupcakes, but they don’t excite me like a freshly made doughnut. These days you can find gourmet doughnut shops popping up all over the USA. They offer the classic flavors along with some very exotic, even esoteric combinations. I’ve seen everything from bacon to rose petals on a doughnut. I’ve tried every combination I can find and for me it all comes down to the dough. I like soft, airy yeast dough and it should be slightly sweet, but not overly so. The gourmet shops use great ingredients and treat their dough with TLC, so they often cost a small fortune. Truth is, homemade doughnuts are super easy and quick to make, especially with our five minute dough. You can make them as fancy or simple as you like and they only cost about 20 cents each, add a few cents for the bacon and rose petals! Continue reading
Getting a perfect result with homemade pizza on the gas grill in the summertime is easy–you just need to mix up some lean dough from any of our books–we’ve been testing with Red Star Platinum Yeast–with fantastic results (today’s dough was the light whole wheat, but you can use any of our lean doughs)…
… and follow a few simple rules from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day…
1. Clean the grill’s grates
2. Get your dough thin, to 1/8 of an inch thick
3. Bake the first side of the crust “blind” (without toppings) for about three minutes, then flip and top. Prep all your toppings in advance.
4. Cut the cheese into small cubes, or grate it so it melts fast, before the bottom crust burns. That way, after flipping and topping, the pizza will be finished in five to ten minutes, depending on burner heat and position under the pizza.
5. Don’t overload with toppings
Here’s a video on how to do it: (includes demo of pizza dough-throwing technique):
One of the best indicators that spring is finally here to stay is when my rhubarb plant finally pops above the ground. It is incredibly faithful; no matter how cold the winter was, it never fails to grow again each May. Right now it is out-of-control, as the towering green leaves threaten to take over my entire garden. I’ve been looking for new ways to cook and bake with it, and was intrigued by several rhubarb upside-down cakes I spotted on Pinterest. However, I had a bucket of brioche in my fridge, so instead of mixing up cake batter I simply rolled out my dough and placed it over hot rhubarb and sugar. It was a success: a sweet-tart treat perfect for breakfast, or afternoon snacking.
Zoe did a great post last month on a traditional braided loaf (made with peasant dough). I thought now might be a nice time to do a new video (it’s way at the bottom of this post), showing one of my favorite techniques, the flatbread braid. Flat or traditional tall, these techniques also work great with challah or brioche dough (but you need to bake those lower temp (350F) because of the egg and sweetener in the challah or brioche). As in the photo, you can turn around a straight braid to make a very festive ring, and I topped it with egg wash and poppy seeds. This dough is about 50/50 whole wheat and white flour, which is a wheatier version of the Light Whole Wheat (you don’t have to use the “old” dough). The 50/50 recipe appears in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Continue reading
Braiding doesn’t just have to be for sweets. I found myself with some 2 week old – (truth be told it was closer to 3 weeks) dough and it was a little wet to shape a nice tall boule. We always recommend using older dough for flatbreads or baking it in a loaf pan, since it can lose some of its rising power in the later stages of storing. Well, it turns out this older dough makes a wonderful braided loaf, with lots of flavor and a really open crumb. Because the braid isn’t as domed as a boule, the older dough has all the rising power it needs.
My dough was made with Gold Medal Organic All-purpose flour, a bit of rye, whole wheat and Platinum yeast by Red Star. Like I said, it was almost 3 weeks old, but this technique can also be done with fresh dough and really any of our doughs, not just the Peasant dough recipe will work great.
Pizza for dinner is always a favorite around my house, and while I’ve tried it every which way: classic margherita, deep dish, hand tossed, and grilled, it had been awhile since I’ve made a stovetop version. Our Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes A Day book has a great recipe for pizza made in a cast iron skillet, and after making it quite often this past week I remembered how easy and tasty this method is. It’s perfect for dinner, but especially for lunch; pizza is ready quickly without even turning on the oven.
When we wrote our first book we were testing dozens of loaves a week, and despite our healthy appetites, we just couldn’t consume all that we baked. Our neighbors were happy to take some of the bread, but there was more than a city block could consume, so we started making all kinds of recipes using up the leftovers. There are beautiful salads and puddings that are perfect for leftover (even stale) bread. In the New ABin5 we added this Savory Bread Pudding, which can be made with just about any loaf you bake. Well, I may have found the exception…I tried this recipe with some leftover Panettone and my very opinionated and vocal family requested that I not use that particular bread again for this. My husband described it as Thanksgiving stuffing, but richer. I liked it, but I was alone. The panettone does make exquisite sweet bread pudding however. They all agreed that peasant bread and/or challah is the way to go. The peasant and challah breads alllow the flavors of the caramalized onions, spinach, spices and cheese to shine through. It is perfect for breakfast (a little bacon in the mix would be fabulous) or as a side dish with dinner.
This week I got a chance to bake with Elizabeth Ries and Chris Egert on KSTP-TV’s show Twin Cities Live. They are great sports and we had fun tossing pizzas together, one of them is a bit more skilled at the toss, but I won’t mention names. Here’s the clip:
There are many ways to get a crusty loaf of bread, but one of our favorites is to use the tried and true method of baking in a clay cloche, here, the Emile Henry brand cloche. It is very similar to using a Dutch Oven, but the cloche was designed to bake bread, so it is an even more intuitive method. In other words, you aren’t lowering the bread into the piping hot vessel, you just lift the lid and slide the loaf onto what is essentially a baking stone. The cloche traps the steam from the dough to create a perfectly crisp and beautifully shiny crust, without having to add steam to the oven.
This loaf was made with our Master Recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, using Gold Medal All-purpose flour, Platinum Yeast from Red Star, water and salt, that’s it! If you’ve never made our bread, or just want a refresher, please watch our new video that we put together in the Gold Medal baking studio. In no time at all you’ll have a gorgeous, homemade, crusty loaf of bread.
Breakfast has been said to be the most important meal of the day, but so often it is made up of coffee and not much else. I make a point to purchase store-bought bagels and English muffins to have on hand, but they lack flavor and I find myself skipping that first meal more often than not. I remembered back to Zoe’s post on baked English Muffins, and decided to try the same technique on the stove top to save some time. Sure enough, they were amazing! Soaked in butter and a little jam, or filled with eggs and cheese, these biscuits were worth making every time. They also re-toasted well; I made a large batch Sunday morning and had a delicious breakfast the rest of the week.