5 Minute Easter Bread – Tsoureki

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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

Valentine’s Day Bread – (Brioche made with Gold Medal Bread Flour)

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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.

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Ham and Cheese Pull-Apart Bread with Gold Medal Flour

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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.

pull-apart bread

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.

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Sweet Brioche in a Crock Pot

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

How & When to Swap Bread Flour for All-Purpose: Testing w/Gold Medal “Better for Bread,” and Announcing a Winner of the Books

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

Thanksgiving Leftovers Torta

Thanksgiving leftovers

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

VOTE

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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.

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Share with your neighbors, friends, family and kids! Enjoy your right to vote!

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

Herb Crock-Pot Dinner Rolls – Summer Baking

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Weather is something we Minnesotans take great pride in. We love our winters, mostly for the bragging rights of surviving them, and the fact that it can go from -40° to 90°F in a blink of an eye. This summer we add an unprecedented heat wave, which may rival the “Halloween snow” in weather lore. As the thermometer on my back door reads 95°F for what seems the entire summer, I find myself pulling out the crock-pot to bake. What was originally a lark, bread in the slow-cooker has become my go-to summer baking method. Yesterday I picked a bunch of fresh herbs, made them into a savory dough and then at dinner I baked up some dinner rolls. All the wonderful aroma, the delight of fresh bread, without the heat of the oven. Check with your crock-pot’s manufacturer before trying this, since some model’s instructions specify that the pot has to be at least partially filled with liquid to avoid safety or durability problems.  And never bake  in a crock-pot unattended. Continue reading

Why You Need to Slash Loaf Breads Before Baking…

Couldn’t resist showing you this–I was doing a loaf bread on the outdoor covered gas grill, right on the grates (indirect heat), flipping at midpoint, for about 30 minutes total baking with both burners on low.  I figured that since it was being done on “low,” maybe I could skip the slashing.

Wrong! Continue reading