How is it that I’d never tried Dutch Crunch bread, never even heard of it? It’s a loaf that seems to be ubiquitous in the San Francisco area, and it would seem that they have been keeping it all for themselves. Now that I’ve had it I can’t blame them. Dutch Crunch gets its name from a similar bread found in the Netherlands, which is called Tiger Bread (tijgerbrood or tijgerbol). It’s easy to see how it got that name. The tiger spots are created by covering the dough with a slurry of rice flour, sugar, yeast and toasted sesame oil. The fragrance of the sesame is fantastic and the slightly sweet crispy bits on the loaf are hard to resist picking off and snacking on before you ever cut into the bread. Continue reading
The MN State Fair is open, so the annual food-on-a-stick showdown has begun. This is an update of an old post–a few years ago, Jeff and I presented our bread methods and introduced our latest and greatest achievement; Bread-on-a-Stick at booth run by St. Agnes Baking Company, in the Creative Arts Building.
Making cinnamon rolls is hands down one of the most popular ways that folks use our brioche dough. Not only is this an easy dough to prepare, but since it can be used for up to five days after being made, there is the potential to eat cinnamon rolls every day of the week. Of course, we stand by the phrase “all things in moderation,” but it’s still nice to know that there’s a way to make every Monday morning more enjoyable.
Truck stop cinnamon rolls are not much different than our regular buns, they are just significantly bigger (each one can serve two. Or more?). They are perfect for brunch or company; a special indulgence. We have two ways to make them: large and extra large. Our video for Gold Medal Flour shows how to make them plus-sized for just a few, and our post below shows them just a bit smaller, to feed more. Either way, they’re a great choice.
I was thrilled when doughnuts took over as the “hot dessert trend” from the fanciful cupcake. I do like cupcakes, but they don’t excite me like a freshly made doughnut. These days you can find gourmet doughnut shops popping up all over the USA. They offer the classic flavors along with some very exotic, even esoteric combinations. I’ve seen everything from bacon to rose petals on a doughnut. I’ve tried every combination I can find and for me it all comes down to the dough. I like soft, airy yeast dough and it should be slightly sweet, but not overly so. The gourmet shops use great ingredients and treat their dough with TLC, so they often cost a small fortune. Truth is, homemade doughnuts are super easy and quick to make, especially with our five minute dough. You can make them as fancy or simple as you like and they only cost about 20 cents each, add a few cents for the bacon and rose petals! Continue reading
Getting a perfect result with homemade pizza on the gas grill in the summertime is easy–you just need to mix up some lean dough from any of our books–we’ve been testing with Red Star Platinum Yeast–with fantastic results (today’s dough was the light whole wheat, but you can use any of our lean doughs)…
… and follow a few simple rules from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day…
1. Clean the grill’s grates
2. Get your dough thin, to 1/8 of an inch thick
3. Bake the first side of the crust “blind” (without toppings) for about three minutes, then flip and top. Prep all your toppings in advance.
4. Cut the cheese into small cubes, or grate it so it melts fast, before the bottom crust burns. That way, after flipping and topping, the pizza will be finished in five to ten minutes, depending on burner heat and position under the pizza.
5. Don’t overload with toppings
Here’s a video on how to do it: (includes demo of pizza dough-throwing technique):
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.
By keeping a supply of our two gluten-free flour mixtures in the house, you can make any of the recipes in Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Flour Mixture #1, reprinted here from the book, is for a mostly white flour. It’s the only flour you need for some of our on-line recipes, and for the basic white loaf. If you’re sensitive to any of these ingredients, you’ll find substitutions in the book, once it’s released on October 21, 2014. If you’re measuring by U.S. cup-measures (the first unit in each line), be sure to pack the flour tightly into the cup, as if you were measuring brown sugar.
Makes 4 1/4 pounds (2 kilograms) of flour mixture
White rice flour: 6 cups, or 36 ounces, or 1,020 grams
Sorghum flour: 3 1/4 cups, or 1 pound, or 455 grams
Tapioca flour or starch: 1 3/4 cups, or 8 ounces, or 225 grams
Potato starch*: 1 1/4 cups, or 8 ounces, or 225 grams
Xanthan gum or ground psyllium husk: 1/4 cup, or 1.4 ounces, or 40 grams
*Don’t substitute potato flour
The ingredients must be very well mixed, otherwise the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent. Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart lidded container. Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.
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