In Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, we talked about one way to get steam into the oven to create a great, crispy, caramelized crust on lean (un-enriched) loaves: pouring water into a pre-heated METAL (not glass) broiler tray or other pan just before you close the oven door. To be extra-safe about your glass oven window, protect it from the water with a towel before you approach with the water–some older non-tempered glass windows can crack if you get water on them when they’re hot. This metal-tray method works well in most ovens.
But some ovens are a bit temperamental about this. Really large ovens, or really well-vented ones, and in many cases, professional-quality ovens installed in homes, seem to let the steam escape and you end up with a dull, pale-colored crust that never gets crisp. We’ve got a video of some excellent alternatives… Continue reading →
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.
To celebrate the holidays and this frigid weather we are doing a giveaway with Red Star Yeast! They are giving a package of these fabulous baking items to 6 lucky winners.
This week is Chanukah and my family revels in the amount of doughnuts (sufganiyot) we can eat. It is tradition during the holiday to eat fried food, lots of it, which is something I easily embrace. We start with lacy potato latkes and end the meal with jelly doughnuts. This year I filled the doughnuts with many types of jam, jelly and preserves, each had a different topping to go with it. Each one became my new favorite. With a bucket of brioche dough from ABin5 and some oil you are ready to make doughnuts that are better than the bakery down the street.
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.
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 →