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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Caramel Cinnamon Bun Bread Pudding

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Sometimes the best discoveries come from happy accidents. I made a pan of caramel cinnamon buns and I was the only one home to eat them. That in itself is no great tragedy, I took great pleasure in sitting down with a cup of coffee and a warm sticky bun in the perfection of solitude. But, the day went by and the kids were busy with sports, finals and all that kids are busy with, so I found myself with a pan of lovely, albeit slightly stale rolls. My boys would have happily devoured them as a midnight snack, but for my taste they were a bit stiff, after 12 hours on the counter. We talk about using stale bread for pudding in our books, that’s not news, but this recipe elevates a rather humble dessert to a special occasion by using sticky buns. I just put the sticky buns right back in the cake pan, with the caramel and all, then covered it with custard. I baked them and a new classic was born in my house. I served the pudding as dessert, but they are also perfect for breakfast or brunch.  Continue reading

Christmas Stollen and 10 Bread Baking Gift Ideas

Christmas Stollen is a great tradition this time of year. A sweet loaf that is studded with fruit, spiced with cardamom and a little treat of almond paste runs through it. Once it comes out of the oven we dust it with a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar to look like the snow outside. If there is any left the next day it makes amazing French toast. This is a loaf that also makes a great gift for the holidays.

Speaking of gifts for the bakers on your list, here are 10 great ideas for those who love to bake and folks who want to learn how.

The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – A perfect place for both experienced bakers and new comers to start. We also have a GF version: Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Bread Baking Craftsy Class – An in depth video class that will guide you through the mixing, shaping and baking of our Master recipe. We’ll make dozens of breads, including everything from a boule to sticky buns. You’ll see our tips for shaping properly and getting the best results from all your breads, no matter which dough you use. If you buy the class through our site you’ll get $20 off the price of the class. Hope you’ll join us.

More gift ideas at the end of the post.

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Ghoulish Breadsticks for Halloween!

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This week is the one time a year when we purposefully make our food look creepy. Halloween is great fun for the kids, but we adults love to play with our food too, and its great fun to watch people squirm just a bit. Even though these breadsticks are ghoulish, they are crunchy and delicious as well. Stick a few in the lunch box to give your kids a little Halloween thrill at school. Continue reading

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

Garlic Fougasse

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This is the season of soup. It’s cold outside here in MN and nothing is better than a cup of hot soup. Oh, and there is all that leftover Turkey to deal with and the beautiful butternut squash proliferation at the grocery store. To go with all that soup you’ll be making, there is nothing better than homemade bread. This fougasse is a traditional French flatbread. It is both crispy, due to all that crusty surface and tender on the inside. It’s like a fancy breadstick. Because it is a flatbread, it is faster to make, since you have such a short resting time. My husband made a big batch of butternut squash soup from Amanda Paa’s new book Smitten with Squash. To go with the aromatic soup, I added lots of chopped garlic to the bread dough and the result is fantastic. Continue reading

Onion Poppy Seed Twist Bread

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Onions and poppy seeds have to be the most aromatic and delicious combination of flavors. They have been featured on Jewish breads from Bialys, Pletzels and Bagels for centuries. Here’s a new twist (sorry couldn’t resist the bad pun) on the classics. I started with whole wheat bread, spread the savory filling on the dough, rolled it up and then cut the log in two before twisting them together, so you can see the filling peek out. The result is beautiful, but the best part of this loaf if the aroma as it bakes.  Continue reading

Apple and Honey Challah

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Tomorrow I will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, with family and friends. It is traditional to eat lots of honey and apples during this high holy day to usher in the new year with sweetness. The challah dough from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is made with honey, then I fold chopped apples into the dough and braid it into a circle. You can do any shape you like, but the circle is meant to symbolize the full cycle of the coming year. This bread may be ubiquitous at the high holy days, but it is wonderful anytime, especially during apple picking season here in the Midwest. 

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Dutch Crunch Bread

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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