toast

Perfect Toast

My favorite breakfast is a homemade bread, toasted to perfection, fruit preserves, and a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I know it sounds simple, but getting that bread to caramelize and crisp up on the outside, but have a soft interior, isn’t always as easy as you may think. We’ve heard from some readers that they have a difficult time toasting, so here are some simple steps to getting a perfect slice. Continue reading

bagels

Bagels (a dedication to the late Murray Lender)

Most Americans were introduced to bagels through the frozen bagged bagels by Lender’s. In all honesty the bagels in a bag weren’t all that great, but they made the doughnut shaped breads a household staple. People no longer had to search for a Jewish bakery to find them. Today Murray Lender died and in honor of the man who put the bagel on the American map, we are sharing our recipe for making bagels at home. They are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and so easy to make.

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peasant bread

How to Make a 2-pound Loaf

In Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day we suggest baking a 1-pound loaf and give detailed instructions for making this smallish bread. It seems like a nice size loaf for a family of 4 to eat in a day. On some occasions you may want to bake a larger loaf and it requires a few adjustments to our recipe. Here are step by step instructions for baking a 2-pound free form loaf. Continue reading

Balthazar 05

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizzette

The concept for these little pizza/tarts came from a family recipe. My cousin, Riad Nasr, is a world class chef and quite often the source of inspiration in my kitchen. He practices his craft in New York City at a line-up of crazy-popular restaurants including Pastis, Minetta Tavern and Balthazar. Several years ago he wrote the Balthazar cookbook and included a savory tart with herby caramelized onions and goat cheese. I made it and fell in love. When Jeff and I decided to write our Pizza book I knew this flavor combo would be fantastic as a pizza. I’ve made it in several classes that we’ve taught to rave reviews, so I thought I would make it with you here.

The key to this pizza is caramelizing the onions. You can speed up the process by using a slightly higher heat and adding a touch of sugar, but for this recipe we’re going the old fashion route and doing it slow. I admit this may take a few more than 5 minutes, but I think it’s worth it. For those of you looking for a speedier version you can find one on page 108 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Continue reading

Lamb Pita

Turkish Spiced Lamb Pita – (Lahmacun)

In addition to making pizza on superbowl sunday, I propose that you shake things up a bit with these Spiced Lamb Pitas. This is one of my favorite recipes in our new book. I love it for many reasons, but the story behind my first bite of Lahmacun is as rich as the bread itself.

I arrived in Istanbul with my husband and two sons (9 & 11 at the time), after a long trip from Minneapolis. As we entered into the city, with the sweetest cabby in the world, and the fastest driver I have ever seen, we realized we were not in the Midwest anymore. It was a feast of the senses. To say we were overwhelmed by the beauty, smells, sounds and traffic, would have been a gross understatement. No sooner had we put our bags down in the hotel, then the concierge called the room to say I had a “friend” waiting for me in the lobby. He whispered into the phone and said “Please, be careful of people who claim to be your friend in a new city.” His way of warning me about something. I didn’t know anyone in the city, and hadn’t made plans to meet up with anyone, so I heeded his warning and sent my husband to the lobby to find out who this mysterious “friend” might be. It was indeed a friend, a dear sweet woman named Serap, who I’d met in the States. She owns a delightful Turkish restaurant called Depot 62 in Manchester, Vermont. I had told her I’d be in Istanbul, asked her for tips on where to eat, but that was all I ever expected to hear. Here she was, the loveliest surprise in the world. She was visiting her sister in istanbul, and they took the day to give us a tour of the city. They fed us the most glorious foods and she introduced me to her favorite Turkish food; Lahmacun. I will never forget that day and this flatbread is forever linked with one of my most precious memories. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

This thin pita is topped with Spiced lamb, quickly baked, so it is still soft, topped with chopped onions, parsley and a squeeze of lemon, then it is rolled up like a crepe.  Continue reading

pullman loaf

Pullman Loaf – perfectly shaped sandwich bread

The beauty of a pullman loaf is the perfectly shaped slices. If you don’t want to take a chance on a loaf that has a slightly irregular shape, then this is the pan for you. It make for a perfectly square sandwich loaf or movie-worthy toast. Any of our bread doughs will work in this pan, but some rise more than others, so you will have to adjust the amounts. In this post I used a 100% whole grain oat bread from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which will rise less than our recipes using only white flour from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. You may need to experiment a little, but I will walk you through the process below.

Jeff and I are back on the road to bake pizzas. We are teaching a few classes on the way and would love for you to join us. There are a couple of spots left in our class in Atlanta if you are free to join us on 1/14, for more information visit our events page. Continue reading

Doughnuts

Savory Doughnuts

This week is Chanukah and it is all about frying our food, which brings me great joy. I am constantly trying to come up with something new to add to our menu of latkes, jelly doughnuts and all the other traditional fare. These savory doughnuts were inspired by the fried pizzas I had in Naples. We ate them as snacks during the day, to tide us over to the next pizza. Most of the pizzarias sold them outside their front doors to people waiting in long lines or folks on the run. Pizza dough stuffed with ricotta and deep friend; simple, but perfect. My boys love them stuffed with a variety of fillings, so use your imagination and create your own savory doughnuts. Continue reading

Apple Strudel Bread

It is apple season again, one of the best times of the year. In MN we are blessed with a bevy of apple choices, which makes baking so exciting. When I make a recipe with apples I like to combine them for flavor, texture and color. In HBin5 we feature apples in our Strudel Bread, which combines all the flavors of the traditional Viennese pastry, with the easy and speed of our dough. Roll the filling into almost any dough and you have a bread that shouts “autumn is here!” Anyone who loves apples will fall head over heels for this loaf.

My eldest son is going through a NO nuts or raisins phase, which I hope to break him of soon, but in the mean time, I bake without them for his sake. Usually this loaf would be made with both of those delicious additions and I highly recommend you try that version. In order to make the loaf more interesting without the nuts and raisins, I replaced them with a sharp cheddar cheese. The loaf was gone within minutes of the school day ending, so I know he appreciated the effort.  Continue reading

Rosemary Crescent Rolls

If you start with a bucket of the Master recipe you can quickly and easily created these tasty, crusty, rosemary crescent rolls. This technique is an easy way to incorporate flavors into the dough without fuss. Shape matters; everything seems to taste better when it looks great and these crescent rolls are adorable. My boys claim to have a certain disdain for the strong flavor of rosemary and yet they ate the entire batch of these rolls when they got home from school, never realizing they were stuffed with the dreaded herb. Oh, the tricks we parents play to get our kids to be more adventuresome eaters. At least this one is fast and easy, as well as delicious! Next time I try it with spinach. ;)

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Loaf Breads – The Best School Lunches start with Homemade Sandwich Bread!

sandwich01small

This is a reposting of one of our most popular topics!

It is now what I consider “sandwich season.” Some may call it “back to school,” “end of summer” or even “fall,” but to me it is the season when I have to come up with a million types of sandwiches and other lunches to keep my boys from growing up on PB&J alone! Although school lunches have come a long way since I was a kid, they still leave much to be desired and are mostly to be avoided.

To start I need the perfect loaf of bread. My boys want a loaf that looks and feels like what all the other kids are eating; square and soft. They love crusty bread, but not on their sandwiches, especially not PB&J. To achieve just the right sandwich loaf I have slightly altered what we do in the book. Continue reading