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.
Since Zoe first published these photos a few years back, it’s become one of our most popular posts. Why? It answers many of the questions that you asked us here on the site, and we’ve incorporated that into our new book, The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which was released today. Thank you all for making this new edition possible–our readers are where the new ideas come from. We were on TV this afternoon talking about all this, on Twin Cities Live (KTSP-ABC Minneapolis):
The winners of our book giveaway drawing from October 17 were picked and have been notified…
Here is the perfect treat for back-to-school (or for that brunch your hosting this weekend, or just a midnight snack). This time of year is always bittersweet for us parents. Our little cherubs are headed back to school; we miss them, but also rejoice the quiet, in equal measures. Baking something sweet and tasty seems like a great way to celebrate. The best thing about this recipe is that it is easy enough for the kids to bake themselves (a bit of help with the oven for the little ones.) My 12-year-old son started a “bakery” this summer (read about his entrepreneurial endeavor here) and he made these cinnamon rolls. I handed him the galley copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking; he mixed the brioche dough (using a Scale and a Danish Dough Whisk), rolled it out, made the filling, baked them, whipped up some frosting, and then ate one (quality control) before his customers arrived at 7:30am. I did nothing but photograph his adventure in the kitchen and watched the oven.
As you may know, Jeff and I have been using Red Star yeast since the very beginning of this bread baking venture. We love the results we get, we can get it in bulk and it is less expensive than the other brands, what’s not to love? They have recently come out with a new product, so of course we were eager to give it a try. Truth be told, I’ve been using it for about a year, since they gave me a sample when they first developed it. It has all the great aspects of their regular instant yeast, but they’ve added dough enhancers. These “enhancers” are what professional bakeries use in their recipes to improve the rise and to strengthen the dough. Anything that makes a dough rise better and bake up taller seems like a good idea. The enhancers are all natural, but not gluten-free, so Platinum yeast should not be used in our gluten-free doughs. The other Red Star products are all gluten-free. Continue reading