Happy Thanksgiving! We wish you all a wonderful holiday and lots of fresh bread at your table to share with family and friends. I’m making these soft pull apart buns for our dinner tonight. They are perfect for sopping up gravy and making little turkey sandwiches. You can do this with any of our doughs, but I used the brioche from ABin5 to get a luxurious texture and the soft crust that so many people associate with this style bun.
You can mix our doughs in a big bucket with a Danish dough whisk, which is our standard, or you can mix in a stand mixer. Jeff and I tend to use the bucket, because it is one less thing to wash, but some people find that it is easier to make the doughs in a mixer and then transfer them. Either way produces wonderful dough, so pick your own way.
In the video I share a few tricks for mixing up Brioche that are even faster than what we wrote in the book. I love the taste of this buttery bread and the mini versions are wonderful because they take a fraction of the time to rest and bake. They make perfect soft buns for dinner or you can spread them with preserves for breakfast.
Well it is official, our readers are as obsessed about bread as we are. I know this because so many of you watched a video about dough rising! In fact, I did this post to satisfy the folks using our gluten-free chapter from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and their desire to see the dough in action. I mix up a batch, let it rise, shape and then bake it. Handling the gluten-free dough is very different then our other recipes, so I hope having a video will be helpful.
Jeff and I are always wanting to convey how simple and forgiving these recipes are, not to mention delicious. During my stay in Tuscany this summer I rented an apartment just outside of San Gimignano. The foundation of the house was built around 500AD, but thankfully the kitchen had been updated in this century. It seemed a must for me to bake bread during my week there. I went to the store and bought flour, salt and yeast. Got back to the apartment and realized I had none of the equipment I usually count on in my kitchen. There were no measuring cups or spoons, no pizza stone, no peel and the oven was in celsius, not fahrenheit. No matter, I still dumped everything in a bowl, mixed it up, hoped for the best and ended up with a gorgeous dough. Over the next few days I baked rolls in the house and pizzas in a wood fired oven outside my door.
Jeff and I are teaching in Edina, MN this weekend and we’d love to have you in class! See end of post for details…
This weekend I over did it. Not with buckets of dough, but in my garden. I am determined to recreate the organic urban farm I had last year, but this time I am doing it without the aid of a professional farmer. Just me, a bunch of compost/manure and my dad, who happens to be a long time green thumb. I spent 12 hours prepping the beds and getting in some seeds. At the end of the day my right hand (the hand I write with) was so swollen I couldn’t move my fingers, tendonitis. The Dr. says not to use it for 2 weeks ~ 2 WEEKS! (I am typing this with one hand.) In order to do this post I enlisted my friend Jen to help make a Danish Braid. She is a great sport and it turns out quite skilled at modeling/braiding/baking.
The braid is made with the Brioche from ABin5, but you can do this same thing with any of the enriched doughs from that book or HBin5. We’ve done this same technique with savory fillings, so let your imagination go wild and let us know what you come up with.
Happy Mother’s Day! Continue reading
Once Little League starts its season I consider it the official Hot Dog opener. I don’t eat many of them, but that is shear will power, because I absolutely love a good dog. My husband and I once stood in like at Hot Doug’s in Chicago for 2 hours just to see what all the hype was about. You know what, I’d do it again, they were fantastic! I’m not a purist either, I like them loaded up with all kinds of business. One of my all time favorites is the really-bad-for-you chili dog we get at the Lake Harriet Band Shell in the summer, complete with fake cheese sauce and salty canned chili. It is just one of my weaknesses!
When I make hot dog or hamburger buns I like to use the Brioche dough from ABin5 or some other enriched white dough that make up a lighter bun. I made these with the whole wheat version and I found them a tad on the dense side, but as you can tell from my confession above, I love a junk food hot dog experience. Use any dough that you like and form it just as I have below. Continue reading
Jeff and I are just back from doing a presentation at the Tucson Festival of Books. Nothing like baking bread outside and under a perfectly blue sky to get me in the mood for summer. When we returned to MN the snow was all melted and my grill had reemerged ready for use. Burger time. Many of you have asked us for a bun to match your favorite patty. I like my burgers on a light, vaguely sweet brioche bun, topped with sesame seeds and loaded up with condiments. Others have asked for a bun sturdy enough to hold up to a mega-burger. No matter what dough you choose to use these directions will get you the right shape.
I make a decent burger, but nothing really to write home about. The one I want to introduce you to came from my friend Suvir Saran’s book American Masala. It is a combination of ground lamb, mint, lemon and a kick from cayenne pepper. The burger is so full of flavor and a touch of heat that you don’t need anything else with it, but in case you are like me and want it dripping with a cilantro-yogurt sauce and a bit of crunchy salad for texture I’ve included Suvir’s recipes for those as well. This burger is loved not only by me, but my boys said it was the best I’ve ever made! This recipe first came to fame on the pages of Food & Wine magazine and now Suvir’s lamb burgers are also available through Allen Brothers Catalog. Continue reading
It is Sunday morning, the sun is shining, the snow is finally melting and I’m as happy as could be! Seems the perfect time to have a lavish, albeit easy, breakfast. Last night I took out my bucket of brioche dough, rolled in some cinnamon sugar and baked a gorgeous swirly bread. This morning I sliced it, soaked it in custard and made it into sublime French toast. Nothing better than that and with a bucket of dough on hand it is quick and easy.
Here are some other great breakfast ideas from our books/website:
So many of you have asked for close-up video of someone shaping a loaf (what we called “gluten-cloaking” in the first book). Doing this quick shaping step is the same with whole grain doughs, but the feel is different– it isn’t quite as resilient.
But as you can see in the video, it’s basically the same process with this 100% whole wheat dough (the honey-enriched variation on page 80 of Healthy Bread in Five Minute a Day).
Some people get excited by a football game or a new pair of shoes, but for me it is finding fresh cake yeast at my local grocery store. I haven’t played with fresh yeast since I was in culinary school many years ago. I certainly hadn’t tested the recipes in our books with it, because I assumed it was too difficult to find. There it was sitting next to the cream cheese in the dairy section of the store. I admit I yelped and did a little dance right there in the aisle. I will most certainly continue to use granulated yeast, but thanks to Red Star there is a fresh option available for those of you who want to give it a try. It is very easy to use and for those with a sensitive palate you may detect a difference in the flavor. I loved working with it and the bread was wonderful. The only draw back is that fresh yeast has to be used when it is FRESH. Most only survives about 10 days in your refrigerator and Carol at Red Star Yeast says that freezing it is tricky business. For those of you who get excited about trying new techniques and ingredients I highly recommend you give it a go.
Recently we have seen lots of new readers on the website who are asking wonderful questions about how to perfect their loaves. First I’d like to say welcome to the site and thank you for trying the bread. As I bake through the basic Master recipe from ABin5 I will try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and also introduce you to a few new pieces of equipment I’ve recently started to use that make the whole experience just a little easier. The goal is to create a large batch of dough that stores in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. That’s why our method saves you so much time– all the mixing and prep is divided over four one-pound loaves. Continue reading