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
The MN State Fair is open, so the annual food-on-a-stick showdown has begun. This is an update of an old post–a few years ago, Jeff and I presented our bread methods and introduced our latest and greatest achievement; Bread-on-a-Stick at booth run by St. Agnes Baking Company, in the Creative Arts Building.
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
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.
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 is 20 inches of snow on the ground here in Minneapolis and the temperature has dipped WAY below zero. This is why we Minnesotans are such bakers, it warms up the house and makes everyone happy. 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.
Before we even start with this, you should know that this reprised Thanksgiving post is one of many– click here for all our Thanksgiving posts over the years.
Some people shy away from yeast breads and rolls at busy holidays because they think the proofing step (the rest after the loaves or rolls are shaped) is too time-consuming, even with our stored dough. Here’s a great way to get around that–form rolls or loaves the night before, refrigerate overnight and they’re ready for the oven in the morning. Continue reading
Pumpkin pie and brioche are two of my all time favorites, so why not combine the two. The result is a bread rich with butter, eggs and spiced pumpkin puree. Spreading the pumpkin onto the brioche dough and rolling it into a log creates the swirl pattern when you cut it. The bread is gorgeous and tasty, perfect for Thanksgiving or just a fall morning with a cup of coffee.
Next week is the official release of our book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Woot! To celebrate we are doing a giveaway, before the book even hits the stands. It is a small token of our appreciation for all your help in creating this new edition. We’ve incorporated what we’ve learned from your comments, your questions and your suggestions. Please leave us a comment below about your favorite experience baking bread or what you are most eager to try. We will give away 5 copies of the new book to randomly picked winners next week.* Thank you! Our usual contest rules apply (click here for rules); you need to respond within 24 hours of notification or we have to pick someone else. CONTEST CLOSED, WINNERS CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED 10/22/13.
To make the Pumpkin Swirl Bread:
Below, one of my posts from years back, on baking loaf breads on the gas grill in my backyard. Some folks were having trouble with the bottom scorching and one solution is to crumple a bunch of aluminum foil and put it under the loaf so it insulates under the parchment. And here, click on the video for a TV appearance where I had a chance to show how to handle the dough for flatbreads on the grill (didn’t actually go outside).
Other summer posts:
Even in Minnesota it’s 83 degrees today, so out to the gas grill I went. Last summer, we did pizzas, and other breads on the gas grill (I like the Weber gas grills for this), but I never tried baking on a gas grill with a closed cast iron pot. The results are terrific– the crust is much better than last summer’s projects because the Dutch Oven traps steam next to the bread–you don’t have to add any other steam to the baking environment. But you also need to use a pizza stone under the pot, or it can scorch. Continue reading
There is nothing more American than grilling on the 4th of July, well, maybe a star spangled pizza is the most patriotic of all. This is a super fast pizza that is ideal for breakfast, which I just served my family this morning, or can be throw together at your holiday BBQ as dessert. I made the pizza in a small baking sheet, but you can make a larger one if you have a crowd to feed.
Happy 4th of July! Continue reading