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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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Jeff is holding a pizza-throwing clinic (and book-signing) at Borders, Saturday 12/18, Maple Grove MN

I’m going to be at the Borders in Maple Grove, Minnesota, tomorrow (Saturday December 18), at 2:00pm for a book-signing.  I’ll be tossing pizza dough up in the air– come on out if you want an advance look at the throwing instructions that will be in our third book:  Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, scheduled for release in October 2011–we submitted the manuscript yesterday–Halleluyah!!

Jeff

The Ultimate Jelly Doughnuts!

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.

We want to thank Willie Geist for featuring Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day on this weekends broadcast of the TODAY SHOW. What a thrill!

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New video’s coming (on how to get steam into your oven); but we’re two weeks from manuscript deadline, so here’s a Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse…

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… …and I’m having trouble finding time to finish editing the video.  Zoe and I have two more busy weeks of last-minute editing for our pizza and flatbread book (which will be out in October of 2011).  I’ll get the new video up here as soon as possible (on how to get steam into your oven), but meanwhile here’s a re-print of an old post– on roasted red pepper fougasse– a gorgeous stuffed flatbread from France, which looks ahead to next year when we’ll be talking about flatbread all the time. Continue reading