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

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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