Hot Cross Buns!

hot cross buns

(This is a post that first appeared in 2009 – we hope it is fresh for some and a welcome memory for others!)

“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, everybody loves hot cross buns!” are the words to the children’s song and it is so true. I made these buns at the request of many of you and my kids devoured them within minutes. They are the buns traditionally served at Easter time. A sweet dough, spiced, studded with dried (sometimes candied) fruit and decorated with a cross made of icing.

As I researched these delicious buns I realized that there are as many ways to make them as there are families who bake them. Some people slash the dough to make the cross, others use a flour and water paste to create the symbol and others use the sweet icing. Tell me how you make your buns, and if you don’t have a family tradition yet, you can start with these!

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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

We’re on TV in Phoenix with Grilled Pizza: Thanks KPNX-12News (NBC)

We are ready for warmer weather (50 degrees yesterday in Minneapolis!), and that means grilled pizza.  There’s no better place for that than Phoenix, which is Minneapolis’s alter-ego– it’s pretty hot for indoor pizza-baking in the summertime (which is coming!).  So we journeyed south a couple of weeks ago to do a  demo of grilled pizza on the NBC affiliate down there– and soak up a little sunshine.  We also taught again at Barbara Fenzl’s Les Gourmettes Cooking School.  Thanks for an appreciative group, Barbara!

One thing to explain though, hostess Destry Jetton said that this was cracker-crust pizza on the grill–it’s not.  Everything we showed in Phoenix was Neapolitan-style thickness, about 1/8 to 1/4-inch.  We do have lots of directions for both kinds of pizza in Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day.

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

Zoe Francois in Lavender Mag

My Co-Author the Celebrity!

(photos by Hubert Bonnet) Just this week Zoe appeared in Lavender Magazine here in the Twin Cities– in a terrific article on Minneapolis-St. Paul’s rising young pastry chefs.  Above, she’s showing off her signature desserts, created for Tilia in Minneapolis, now one of the hottest tables in town.  Zoe was showcased as “best-selling author, blogger, [and] rising celebrity chef…” (click to view the full article).

Roasted red pepper for fougasse

Fougasse, stuffed or plain: New how-to video

Thanks for being patient with my roasted red pepper obsession.  Above, dropping the scorched peppers into a bowl to steam (see last week’s post on roasting your own peppers).  But now the embarrassing part:  I shot the video on a different day from pepper-roasting time, so I stuffed the fougasse with with tomato and cheese.  So it’s really fougasse in the pizza margherita style.  But you get the picture, or at least, the video:

Roasted red peppers

Roasted Red Pepper: My Favorite Mediterranean Pizza Topping

(photo by Mark Luinenburg)  If you’ve read any of our books, you know that this particularly photogenic fruit (or is it a vegetable?) seems to have captured our imagination.  After a year of perfecting the basic tomato/basil/mozzarella topping, I did (believe it or not) get tired of Pizza Margherita.  Enter the smoky and savory roasted red pepper. Continue reading