New Video: Grilled pizza!

I promised a video to go with last month’s recipe for this fantastic mushroom and potato pizza from Provence (Rustic Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza), a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I did it outside, on the grill with a stone, so here it is.  A few things:

  1. Grill temp: Though some of the stones say to crank the gas grill as high as it can go, we’ve found that pizza done this way scorches on the bottom before the toppings are hot.  I used about 500 degrees F by by grill’s thermometer (250 C).  Today I used the Emile Henry Flame Top Pizza Stone, which worked beautifully (give it a 20 to 30 minute pre-heat)
  2. Baking without a stone: That works too; follow the directions here if you want to go for a crisper, smokier effect.  We’ll have much more on that in our upcoming pizza book (pre-order on Amazon).

Rustic Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza Provencal

Well, we do have a pizza book coming out in October, so we can’t start putting those recipes up on the site.  But here’s one of my favorite from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, our first book (2007).  It’s never been on the web before, and it’s a gem of Mediterranean simplicity.  In the next several days, I’m going to put up a video of the gas-grill version of this bread, so check back– for now, here’s the oven version (though you can probably figure out  how to do this from our old grill-pizza posts—

As you can see, if you choose portobello mushrooms, they’re dark, dark brown in the first place and as they caramelize in the skillet and on the pizza, they become almost black.  Don’t be alarmed– they aren’t burned.  They’re just developing intense flavor as the dehydrate a bit. Continue reading

Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day is available for pre-order. Plus, outdoor bread and grilled flatbread ideas…

… and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon.  We are so excited, and it comes on the heels of the Wall Street Journal’s weekend announcement that our first book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, had made the Journal’s best-seller list for the second week in a row. Best-seller lists are not common for books that have been out for four years.  Thanks to all of you for helping our work come to fruition this way.

Our pizza book’s official publication date is October 25, 2011, so if you pre-order now, Amazon guarantees that your actual price will reflect the deepest discount they’re offering at the time the book ships (it’s 35% off list price now).

And in case you thought we stop making bread in the summer, think again. Here are some great grilled flatbread and outdoor Dutch oven baking ideas with our doughs– just click on these links:

Grilled pizza

In a Dutch Oven

Pumpernickel done on the grill

Rustic fruit tart on the gas grill

Brioche on a grill

Bread on a Coleman stove while camping

Kohlrabi Greens Pizza right on the grates

Fruit pizza on the grill baked with the stone

Grilled flatbread

Whole wheat pita on gas grill, on a stone

Limpa, in a cloche, on the grill

Brioche Berry Pudding – something gorgeous for Mother’s Day!

berry pudding

This is a post I did a couple of years ago on Mother’s Day. It is bright, cheery and gorgeous, just the thing to make for mom,especially after such a long winter. We MN mom’s need a bit of sunshine!

Some things are worth a little more effort, right! Like a dessert for your mom on Mother’s Day.  This berry pudding is really very simple to make, but I admit it will take just a bit longer than 5 minutes to put together. Berry puddings are a slightly retro English sweet and I think they deserve a come back. Their drop dead gorgeous color comes from the dark berry juice soaked brioche, hiding a treasure of sweet, slightly drunken berries within.

You just can’t resist something this wonderful and if you have a bucket of brioche on hand it will go together really very easily. Happy Spring to you all! Continue reading

Our Pizza Book is Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

(Photo courtesy of Mark Luinenburg)

Though the official publication date for Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day is October 25, 2011, you can place an order for our third book on Amazon now (they’re discounting the book 34% as of today).  If you’re only interested in the electronic version, that can’t be pre-ordered; you’ll have to wait until October.  If you do pre-order the bound book, nothing comes off your credit card till the book is shipped in October.  If Amazon decides to discount it further between now and when the book’s first available, they guarantee that your final price will reflect the deeper discount.

I for one would like to see this thing in my hands.  Two years of eating pizza have gone into this book (nice work if you can get it!), and we are terribly excited.  Timing will be perfect for cooler weather (though we do pizza on the grill all summer, more about this in the upcoming months here on the site).

Another pumpernickel as cool weather baking yields to Spring


As the cool-weather baking season starts to wind down (in Minnesota, I should add the word “mercifully”), I thought I’d reprise one of my favorite hearty cool-weather breads– pumpernickel.

The “black and white” pumpernickel/rye braid is a New York specialty that brings back fond memories for me. Mark Luinenburg’s photo above is downright savory; you can almost hear the caraway seeds crunching in your mouth.  Pumpernickel is a kind of rye, and we included a whole grain version in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which also has a rustic Bavarian-Style pumpernickel based on the same dough.  Let’s throw together the recipe for this healthy and hearty dough… Continue reading

Cinnamon Rolls

I think my children love me just a little bit more now that I have baked these. The buns are made with brioche dough and layered with cinnamon sugar and just a touch of zest, whats not to love? You can add more to the mix, like nuts, raisins, a dash of cardamom, or just leave them simple. The cream cheese icing is the crowning glory and makes these breakfast treats completely addictive. I ended up making two batches this weekend, because of the demand and how easy they are to throw together. Continue reading

A Sneak Peek at the Red Star Yeast Test Kitchen!

This is Roberto, one of the luckiest people I have ever met. He and Mark, who run the test kitchen at Red Star Yeast, have what I consider a dream job. They work in this amazing kitchen to come up with all kinds of yeasty treats. The equipment is top notch, the ingredients limitless and the space is massive. I have kitchen envy in a big way. No wonder they are such fantastically nice guys. They were kind enough to invite Jeff and me into their kitchen to play with them. We baked all kinds of breads from our books and did presentations to the rest of the Red Star team. Continue reading

Baking Flatbreads on a Frozen Minnesota Lake… or, shaping flatbreads is easier with whole grain dough

Well, I had the best of intentions–  really did mean to do a skillet-baked bread on a frozen lake right here in Minneapolis.  It works perfectly, er, in the summer.  On dry land.

As you can see, I ran into technical difficulties with my Coleman stove.  Something about the temperature.  Welcome to my winter.

So, back into the kitchen we went, where I decided to bake the flatbreads.  In an oven.  We’d toted along whole grain dough from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and as you can see in the video, one real advantage of whole grain dough is that it yields to flattening very, very easily.  If you’re going to try your hand at a pita or pizza without using a rolling pin, this is the dough to try it with (or even our 100% whole wheat dough).  Whole grain doughs are lower in gluten than white-flour doughs, and in addition, the tiny jagged flakes of bran serve to cut the gluten strands as they form.  As much as gluten is necessary, it can really slow you down when you’re trying to form a flatbread or pizza.

The more pizza you bake, the faster spring will come.  Or something like that?

“King Cake” for Mardi Gras!

Don’t adjust the color balance on your monitor, this “cake” really is purple, green and gold. King Cake, named for the three kings who came to bring gifts to Jesus, is traditionally served during Mardi Gras in New Orleans and throughout the South. Not only is it decorated with the colors of the festival, but it also has a hidden trinket in the dough. I’ve used an almond, but in New Orleans bakers often use a ceramic or plastic doll to represent the baby Jesus. The person who gets the slice with the trinket is responsible for making the King Cake the following year.

There are many versions of this sweet bread, depending on the traditions of different families. Our version is made with Brioche dough which has nutmeg, lemon zest and citron added into it.  The dough can be Braided and/or formed into a Couronne (crown shape) as I have done here. Some bakers even use a cream cheese and praline filling, but we went with a more traditional filling. Continue reading