For spring break my family visited Puerto Rico. It took me less than 24 hours to find myself an amazing local bakery with all kinds of tasty pastries and breads to try. My favorites, which I managed to sample several times during our stay, were the Quesitos and Mallorca buns. The buns are a sweet enriched dough that is wound up into a snail shell shape and dusted with a thick coating of powdered sugar. We ate them plain with coffee or split open, stuffed with eggs and bacon, as a breakfast sandwich. When I got back home, I used our brioche dough to recreate the sweet buns and they are delicious and easy to make. Continue reading
Given how lazy I am, you’d think I’d have started using a KitchenAid mixer years ago. But believe it or not, I’ve recipe-tested for three books using nothing but a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk.
Well, I’m tired. So above, my new KitchenAid Professional 600 series, 6-quart capacity stand mixer, which is an outstandingly beautiful piece of industrial design that hasn’t really changed its look in nearly 100 years. I have been visiting it in the kitchen as a way of avoiding work. More on the mixer in a bit.
So many doughs, so little time. I’m hooked on this machine, especially when I have to make more than one dough for a recipe, like in this very beautiful Braided Black-and-White Pumpernickel and Rye Loaf from two doughs in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (this photo by Mark Luinenburg):
This beautiful loaf is the traditional bread of Easter in Greece and many other Christian countries. It is an enriched dough that is twisted around brightly dyed eggs. The bread is often braided with three strands to represent the holy trinity, formed into a circle as a reference to life and the eggs are dyed red as a symbol of Christ’s blood. The dough is lightly sweet, flavored with orange zest and a traditional Middle Eastern spice called Mahlepi, which is made from ground cherry pits. The spice can be found in Middle Eastern or Greek markets. If you don’t have the spice, you can make the dough with ground Anise seed or even Cardamom. Continue reading
Nothing expresses your love as much as a tasty homemade gift. All you need is a bucket of brioche, a heart shaped cookie cutter and red decorating sugar to make this gorgeous heart shaped loaf. It’s an easy and fast project to do with little kids on Valentine’s Day.
Here is a fun, easy way to pack lunch right into your loaf of bread. No, I don’t mean the typical sandwich our kids are sick to death of, I mean ham and cheese (or whatever you are in the mood for) is folded into the dough and baked as a loaf. Each slice is a sandwich. In order to get the layers to keep their shape, I made the dough with Gold Medal Bread Flour, which boosts the amount of gluten and gives the loaf a little more structure. To make it a touch healthier (I’m constantly sneaking whole grains where kids will never see them) I also used Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour. This technique would work equally well with many other doughs from our books.
As the name suggests you can just pull sections of the loaf apart, but I sliced into this one to show you how the ham and cheese ends up woven through the bread.
When I just checked Amazon, they were selling the Kindle Edition of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for $6.99. Not sure how long that will last, but if you’ve ever considered trying the E-reader version, this would be a great time to dive in.
Sweet Brioche is the latest in my series of crock pot breads*. It may have taken me a while to give the old slow cooker a try, but now I am unstoppable. Some of you may know that I am in the very last stages of a kitchen remodel, which has me displaced and baking under less-than-ideal conditions. So, the crock pot is the perfect way to get the job done. It can travel from room to room and it takes up no space at all. This time of year we may not be concerned with heating up our house with the oven, in fact, I rather look forward to it. That is precisely why we northerners refer to winter as the “baking season,” because we do as much of it as possible to keep ourselves warm. But, this time of year can be a battle to find enough oven space. Thanksgiving and Christmas can pose a Rubik’s Cube style challenge of getting everything baked and on the table at the same time. Why not eleviate some of the pressure by throwing a ball of dough in your crock? Next I have to see if I can make bread pudding in my slow cooker. I do look forward to having my kitchen back, but until then I will not be without fresh baked bread.
Happy Holidays! Continue reading
People often ask us why we only used all-purpose flour (where we called for white flour) in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Why not “bread” flour, which is higher in protein and is often considered traditional in bread? Well, not in all traditions! French baguettes, for example, are typically made with lower-protein flour for a more tender, and less chewy crumb. And we knew most of our potential book-users already had all-purpose flour in the house. But sometimes, a stiffer dough is desirable, like when something really needs to hold its shape, like these wreath-shaped, well… bagels. You can always swap bread flour into our recipes that call for all-purpose, just by adding a little extra water (details below). And we’ll announce our contest winner at the end of this post… Continue reading
No matter how big your Thanksgiving feast is or how many people are gathered around your table, chances are there’s more leftovers than you know what to do with. Here is a way to use the extra turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, plus anything else that graced your holiday table and make it into something new. We feature an Italian Torta recipe in Artisan Pizza in Five, but why not swap out the layers for all those leftovers? It is tasty and gorgeous and goes together in a flash if you are cleaning out the fridge of all those half empty tupperware containers. Continue reading
We hope you will make your voices heard tomorrow and VOTE!
Form any 5 minute dough into the letters V – O – T – E and let them rest on a piece of parchment while a baking stone preheats to 450°F. Slide them onto the stone and bake with steam for about 18 minutes.
Share with your neighbors, friends, family and kids! Enjoy your right to vote!
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