One of the best indicators that spring is finally here to stay is when my rhubarb plant finally pops above the ground. It is incredibly faithful; no matter how cold the winter was, it never fails to grow again each May. Right now it is out-of-control, as the towering green leaves threaten to take over my entire garden. I’ve been looking for new ways to cook and bake with it, and was intrigued by several rhubarb upside-down cakes I spotted on Pinterest. However, I had a bucket of brioche in my fridge, so instead of mixing up cake batter I simply rolled out my dough and placed it over hot rhubarb and sugar. It was a success: a sweet-tart treat perfect for breakfast, or afternoon snacking.
My family loves eating bread, but some evenings, after school, work, and afternoon activities, there isn’t much time to bake a whole loaf in time for dinner. We recently re-discovered focaccia bread, however, and it has been a quick way to put bread on the table.
Focaccia is terribly delicious; it’s a perfect accompaniment to pasta or soup, and it even makes great afternoon snack. While focaccia can be topped with all kinds of ingredients, we prefer ours rather simple: onions and rosemary scattered on an olive oil-dough flatbread. We even keep the ingredients light to promote nice browning, and the results are a well-flavored bread with a crisp crust. If you’re feeling more adventurous you can try our Meyer lemon-thyme version; Meyer lemons are much sweeter than regular lemons and are a delicious option.
Jeff and I have been busy with another project, maybe our biggest and most exciting yet. We are thrilled to finally be able to introduce you to Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Baking Revolution Continues with 90 New, Delicious and Easy Recipes Made with Gluten-Free Flours. We’ve been adding gluten-free recipes to our wheat packed books for years, but we realized that folks who can’t eat wheat probably would prefer a book dedicated to gluten-free breads they can enjoy. Along the way we also decided to tweak our GF baking method to make it even easier and faster to make. Not only are they easy and fast, but they taste fantastic, and they’re made with easy-to-find supermarket ingredients. We’re really excited to have you try them, but you’ll have to give us just a wee bit more time until the print date. Amazon and other retailers have the book available for pre-orders and it will ship on October 22nd. It will be worth the wait!
After a year of our readers recommending the Baking Steel, I’ve finally given it a try. It is a little surprizing that this hadn’t happened earlier, since I have every other baking surface ever created. As you know, if you read my review of baking stones, I love my Lodge cast iron baking “stone,” but it isn’t perfect. The round shape makes it a bit hard to make baguettes and the lip around the edge makes it tough to clean. The handles on the Lodge are convenient for getting it in and out of the oven, but it means I can’t lay a baking sheet on top of it, so I have to take it out of the oven before baking anything on a baking sheet. None of those things prevented me from using it constantly, until I got the Baking Steel. The shape of the steel is more conducive to baking beyond just pizza and there is no lip or handles to work around. Just like the cast iron, the Baking Steel is virtually indestructible, heats up a bit quicker and conducts heat really well. In fact, I think the steel is the best heat conductor of any of my “stones.” The Baking Steel is a bit more expensive than my other stones. Is it worth it? For me, yes. The shape and heating properties make it worth the extra money, and I’ll use it daily and so it’s worth the investment. The fact that I don’t have to worry about it ever breaking (even on the grill) is a comfort as well.
The dimensions of the baking steel 14×16 inches.
If you’d like a chance to win a Baking Steel with carrying case and a copy of our book, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day please leave a comment below about your favorite pizza. (The package is only available to be shipped in the USA and subject to all our regular contest rules.)This giveaway is over! Continue reading
Yes, we took on the Pinterest Easter bunnies. Have you seen them, pinned on everyone’s holiday boards? Turns out that picture is actually of a bunny cookie, and these sad rolls are more an accurate visual of how things would turn out. But, I’m happy to tell you that after making dozens upon dozens of rolls, we have some tips to help you make some cute little bunnies.
However, I won’t lie to you (it is Easter, after all) that they are a little tricky. And you may have some rolls that end up a little wonky. But, as my children oohed and ahhed over even the misshapen ones, I could see we had a winner idea.
Making these bunnies is way too much fun, lots more photos are here…
Zoe did a great post last month on a traditional braided loaf (made with peasant dough). I thought now might be a nice time to do a new video (it’s way at the bottom of this post), showing one of my favorite techniques, the flatbread braid. Flat or traditional tall, these techniques also work great with challah or brioche dough (but you need to bake those lower temp (350F) because of the egg and sweetener in the challah or brioche). As in the photo, you can turn around a straight braid to make a very festive ring, and I topped it with egg wash and poppy seeds. This dough is about 50/50 whole wheat and white flour, which is a wheatier version of the Light Whole Wheat (you don’t have to use the “old” dough). The 50/50 recipe appears in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Continue reading
Zoe will be doing baking demonstrations at the 2014 Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York City. Her event this Thursday, March 20, 2014 is only open to “the trade,” folks who are in the home design or cooking industries. But this supposedly includes food bloggers, so please see the show’s website for details if that applies to you. The Friday, Saturday, and Sunday events are open to the public (though Zoe won’t be presenting those days).
I’m sure she’ll appreciate the change of pace, because the last month or so has been nuts–we’ve been feverishly editing our next book. Unfortunately, our publisher will kill us if we say more about what’s actually in it. If you see Zoe in New York Thursday, she’s been instructed to say that mum’s the word. We can say that it has nothing to do with The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which came out five months ago. Our new project is a completely different kind of book filled with completely different material.
They say that everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and I hope that’s true, because I love the Irish–for their music, their literature, their Guinness Stout, and believe it or not, for their food. It’s been many years since I was in Ireland, but I remember swooning over the fresh, wild salmon, buttered potatoes (of course), and the moist and flavorful brown bread. But brown bread’s not particularly festive (or green!), and Zoe and I don’t have a recipe for classic Irish soda bread, which is made without yeast (for that, I rely on James Beard’s recipe in Beard on Bread– the first bread I ever made). Then Zoe reminded me about our broccoli-and-cheddar buns in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Turns out that four-leaf clovers aren’t especially Irish, but they’re very lucky! Sprinkled with cheese, these make a lovely accompaniment to corned beef and cabbage. One little disclosure– the broccoli doesn’t make it all that deeply green, as you can see. Some would have used green food coloring, I suppose. Bain taitneamh as do bhéil! Hearty appetite (I think)… Continue reading
Last month, I taped a segment with Lynne Rossetto Kasper on The Splendid Table, on National Public Radio. It airs today, but if you miss it you can click on the “Play” button above to listen (it starts at 1 minute, 19 seconds). Thanks Lynne!
Our first book offer came because of Lynne’s show… you can listen to my call-in in 2000 (click here).
Braiding doesn’t just have to be for sweets. I found myself with some 2 week old – (truth be told it was closer to 3 weeks) dough and it was a little wet to shape a nice tall boule. We always recommend using older dough for flatbreads or baking it in a loaf pan, since it can lose some of its rising power in the later stages of storing. Well, it turns out this older dough makes a wonderful braided loaf, with lots of flavor and a really open crumb. Because the braid isn’t as domed as a boule, the older dough has all the rising power it needs.
My dough was made with Gold Medal Organic All-purpose flour, a bit of rye, whole wheat and Platinum yeast by Red Star. Like I said, it was almost 3 weeks old, but this technique can also be done with fresh dough and really any of our doughs, not just the Peasant dough recipe will work great.