Craftsy

We’re on the cover of Cooking Club Magazine, with a full four pounds of dough

I love the Twin Cities.  No one thinks of Mpls-St. Paul as a big media center, but wonderful local networks make all the difference for locally grown books like ours.  Zoe and I were introduced to Cooking Club Magazine though a colleague at Cooks of Crocus Hill, where we teach all the time.  She works at Cooking Club, made an introduction, and it turns out that the magazine is produced right here in the Twin Cities metro.  Locally produced, but with a national circulation of loyal readers numbering over 550,000– it’s a fantastic magazine.  Voila– they asked us to write a story, which they used on their February/March cover.

The magazine ran a scaled-up version of our basic recipe— one that produces a generous four pounds of dough (the version in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day makes 4 loaves that are slightly lighter than a pound, more like 0.9 pounds).

For more on our basic white-flour recipe, check out our Back to Basics link and fire any questions you have our way.

Valentine’s Day Bread!

Valentine’s day is near and we have a fun way to celebrate. No, that is not dough tinted with red food coloring, but our Red Beet dough from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day! It’s bright color  is perfect to be baked on the holiday all about red hearts. Those who are beet lovers will consider this the best gift ever. If your valentine is not a big fan of this jewel toned root vegetable, you can certainly make the heart-shaped loaf with any of our doughs, especially the chocolate dough.

Thank you all for entering so many wonderful ideas in our pizza contest, we were blown away by your creativity. The winning combination will apear in our upcoming book Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day. We have also picked 5 random winners who will receive a signed copy of HBin5. Those winners are listed below. Continue reading

Larger loaves: What adjustments are needed?

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In our books, our standard size for a loaf-bread is 1 pound (450 grams), or a piece of dough about the size of a grapefruit.  Why did we opt for these relatively small loaves?  Because for beginners, they reliably brown without burning, and are easy to bake through to a nice result in the center of the loaf.

Larger loaves need more baking to avoid a gummy result in the center, and that means longer baking times at the listed temperature.  Two pound loaves need about 45-50 minutes, and three pound loaves need about an hour.  Let the crust get nice and dark.  When baking large loaves, temperature is critical, so you must check your oven temp with an oven thermometer (click to see one on Amazon). 

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

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The Best Granola I’ve Ever Had!

granola

Thank you for all the wonderful pizza recipes, it is going to be very difficult to pick the winning combination to appear in Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. Jeff, myself and the editors at St. Martin’s Press will pick one and announce it next week. We will also announce the winners of the 5 signed copies of HBin5.

While we make our selection here is a post that originally appeared in 2008 about our granola from ABin5. Perfect Winter comfort food! Continue reading

Your Pizza Idea in our Next Book (CONTEST NOW CLOSED, WINNING PIZZA CHOSEN)

photo by Mark Luinenburg

We can’t stop thinking of pizza even though we made deadline for our upcoming pizza and flatbread book (Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, Macmillan/Th Dunne Bks Oct 2011).  Even though we’re technically done, there’s still time to put a new recipe or two into the book, and you can see that there are a world of ingredients that could end up on pizza other than mozzarella and tomato (though we love that too).

We’d love some help with new recipes.  All we’d need is your concept, as in “how about yak sausage, lemon rind, and Slim Jim on a pizza?”  We’re not looking for full recipes here, but something imaginative, like Zoe’s pizza with a fresh cracked egg and an assortment of Tuscan goodies:


The winning concept entry will be selected by a jury (Zoe, me, and our editor at Thomas Dunne Books), will win a copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and have their concept published in our pizza book this October (see “Betsy’s Seeded Oat Bread” in Healthy Bread -first names only in the book).  See rules for our contests, the most important being US entries only.  In addition, for this contest, the Authors reserve the right to decline to publish any recipe in the upcoming book if none meets with the jury’s approval.  Also, the winning entrant agrees to grant all copyright for the winning entry to Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.  Five random entrants will also receive a free copy of Healthy Bread in Five. Contest CLOSED!

Be imaginative– it doesn’t have to be a main course, so even desserts are fair game.  And remember that many of the ingredients and ideas you might think of are already in our almost-finished manuscript, so being creative increases your chance of selection.  Entries are due anytime before January 19, 2011. Contest CLOSED!

Five Minute Bread: British version of our 1st book on sale today in the U.K.; one of the top 50 ways to feel good this year…

Twenty-seven years ago, I rode a bicycle through southern England, and it was a delight.  If I was on the road in the late afternoon, someone would materialize and invite me in for tea (I fear that I might have looked lost).  It was an unforgettable first time in Europe.

I hope I was well-behaved, and that anyone who invited me in for tea will remember and give our little book a try.  Five Minute Bread has been released in London by Random House/Ebury and is available at Amazon UK, and at booksellers all over England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  Britain’s largest daily newspaper, the Telegraph, says we’re number 20 on its top-50 list of ways to feel good this year. If you’re new to our method, this book is based on our best-selling U.S. bread cookbook, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.   Our bread cookbooks are different because we make a large batch and store it in the refrigerator, where it’s ready when you are for quick daily baking (click here for more on our method and a sample recipe– 2 pounds equals 910 grams, by the way).

American readers should note that this book isn’t available for sale in the U.S., because U.S. rights to our book belong to Macmillan/Th Dunne Bks (the books aren’t allowed to compete with each other).  So, what’s new in our British edition? Continue reading

Breadsticks from Whole Grain Dough! NEW VIDEO

Breadsticks are among the easiest and fastest things we bake, because you roll out a thin sheet, cut the sticks with a pizza cutter, and then it’s into oven, with no resting time needed– they go into the oven as soon as they’re cut.  Here, at long last, is the TV segment we did on this last February:

Freezing the Dough: Can I do it?

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Yes, you can, just wrap it very well or seal it in airtight containers, anytime after the initial rise. Defrost overnight in the fridge when ready to use, then shape, rest, and bake as usual.  How long to freeze is a bit controversial — our dough loses a bit of rising power over time in the freezer, and that’s especially true for enriched doughs like challah and brioche.  Our testers were happy with lean dough frozen for four weeks (dough made without eggs, butter, or oil). For enriched doughs, we’d recommend shorter frozen storage times: challah, three weeks, and for brioche, two weeks. There’s no need to increase the yeast or make any other changes to dough that will be frozen.

This can be very handy when you don’t use up the entire batch before it reaches the end of its storage life in the refrigerator.

Same recommendations for our gluten-free doughs…

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

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Three Ways To Get Steam Into Your Oven For a Great Crust: VIDEO

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In Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, we talked about a 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 pour the water; remove the towel before closing the oven door. 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

Panettone – The Sweet, Fruit Studded Christmas Bread!

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This post may look familiar to some of you, but will be exciting and new to others. As you may know Jeff and I just sent in the manuscript for our next book, Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day. We are now either celebrating or sleeping, not necessarily in that order. We are taking this week off from providing new content to the website, but wanted to give you a taste of the holidays.

Panettone was traditionally a Christmas bread sold all over Italy during the holidays. It finds its origins in Milan around the 15th century, and has been the subject of much romantic lore.  The most often told story of how this bejeweled bread came to be goes something like this…  A young nobleman by the name of Ughetto Atellani fell in love with the daughter of a poor baker named Toni.  In order to impress her, Ughetto disguised himself as a pastry chef’s apprentice in her father’s bakery. He creates a tall fruit studded bread to present to her father, calling it “Pan de Toni.”  The bread, rich with eggs and butter, sweet with honey, scented with vanilla and lemon zest, with the finishing touch of dried and candied fruits was a success in the bakery and wins the admiration of the lady and the father’s respect. The baker blesses the marriage and Ughetto marries the daughter.
The story is rich and fanciful, just like the bread.  Today this sweet loaf is no longer saved just for Christmas, it is eaten at other holidays throughout the year and served sliced and toasted for brunch and as a dessert with a selection of cheeses and sweet wines. The bread, despite its rather lighthearted lore is quite sophisticated. The traditional method for making panettone is done over the course of several days. It included long sessions of kneading and allowed for up to 20 hours of rise time in order to create a flavor that is both sweet, but also has a complexity caused by the fermentation of the dough. Today, we want the same balance of flavor, without having to labor over the process or wait several days to enjoy our bread. Although you can bake the bread after only a few hours of refrigeration we recommend letting it sit for about 24 hours to develop its full flavor and it will be easier to work with.

The winners from last week’s contest for the Red Star Yeast package are announced below.

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