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 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 and healthy 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
I’ve become addicted to adding spelt flour to my Bread in 5 dough (see blood orange doughnuts and stove top pizza), and decided to try it in yet another application: English muffins. My family is a big fan of warm bread first thing in the morning, so this seemed like a perfect application. Not only does the spelt add extra (delicious) flavor, but it has many health benefits, including increasing circulation and helping with digestion. I’ve been adding it to our bread and many of our baked goods as we slowly try to decrease the amount of white flour we are consuming. It worked perfectly again here. The muffins were delicious right out of the oven, and they also toasted up nicely the following day.
When I was growing up in Connecticut I’d spend a fair amount of time in New York City. Every time I’d get off the train I’d get a pretzel from a cart outside the station. That and a trip to the Papaya King were enough to get me through the day. It was a cheap, tasty and filling snack for a teenager.
Part of the characteristics of that perfect New York pretzel is the way they look. Philadelphia has a pretzel culture too, but you’d never confuse it with it’s northern cousin, due to the shape. Philly has figure-8 knots and New York has…pretzel shape. It is admittadly nostalgia that makes me partial to the New York version. And you really should serve them with mustard to complete the experience. I like a grainy mustard and that is just not at all traditional, oh well.
How-to Shape a New York Pretzel Video. Continue reading
If you’ve been around this site long enough, you’ll know that we are big fans here of using our no-knead brioche dough to make doughnuts. We’ve made jelly-filled doughnuts, mini-doughnuts, espresso-chocolate doughnuts, powdered sugar doughnuts, and even s’mores doughnuts. But I firmly believe that there can’t be too many ways to enjoy one of our favorite treats, and so I bring you yet another recipe for warm, delicious circles of goodness. After reviving our spelt pizza dough a few weeks ago, I decided to try and come up with an enriched version of it; I like the flavor it lends to sweet confections, and it makes whatever I am baking a little more healthy, which is always a good thing. This dough is made with both spelt and all-purpose flour, and fries up light and tasty.
I’ve just returned from an incredible week in Denver. I was there working with Craftsy to create another class, this time on show stopping cheesecakes (it will be out in a few weeks). I love working the with the Craftsy team. They work hard and laugh harder. We spent months developing the class concept, all the materials/recipes and then got together for 4 days of non-stop baking and filming. I like to think I’m a hard worker, but then I see the folks at Craftsy and I realize how much more a human can do in a single day when they work as a team. I loved it. Not only the work, but also the people. Writing books and blogging are two pretty solitary jobs, so having 5 days in the kitchen with their crew was a blast. It’s fun to watch other people create beautiful food. It is also fun to see my recipes come to life.
As we were prepping all the cheesecakes for my class, Victoria, the kitchen assistant extraordinaire, told me about a bread she bakes for her young daughter. Victoria helped me on my Craftsy bread class* and played with the recipe to create a rainbow of colors with it. Brilliant. I immediately thought of a Valentine’s Day Bread with swirls of pink and red.
*If you haven’t checked out our Artisan Bread in Minutes class on Craftsy, I am always so happy to have new bakers join the class. If you’re interested be sure to use this link to sign up, you’ll get $20 off. It makes a lovely Valentine’s Day Gift for the baker in your life.
With the holidays tucked safely behind, I’ve found myself trying to incorporate healthier foods into my family’s New Year diet. There were some subtle groans about the 100% whole wheat flour bagels and bread that showed up in our kitchen January 1st, foreshadowing things to come. After a few weeks of slowly letting go of the white flour, however, no one seems to mind quite as much anymore. Along with the whole wheat flour, I have also been adding spelt flour to many of our baked goods and breads. I’ve always loved the flavor of spelt, and find it easy to work with in most applications. I had forgotten about the Whole Grain Spelt Dough recipe in Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads, and it has been a welcome addition to dinner. My kids didn’t even notice the crust on their beloved stovetop pizza was slightly heartier, and gobbled down their slices without batting an eye.
Sometimes the best discoveries come from happy accidents. I made a pan of caramel cinnamon buns and I was the only one home to eat them. That in itself is no great tragedy, I took great pleasure in sitting down with a cup of coffee and a warm sticky bun in the perfection of solitude. But, the day went by and the kids were busy with sports, finals and all that kids are busy with, so I found myself with a pan of lovely, albeit slightly stale rolls. My boys would have happily devoured them as a midnight snack, but for my taste they were a bit stiff, after 12 hours on the counter. We talk about using stale bread for pudding in our books, that’s not news, but this recipe elevates a rather humble dessert to a special occasion by using sticky buns. I just put the sticky buns right back in the cake pan, with the caramel and all, then covered it with custard. I baked them and a new classic was born in my house. I served the pudding as dessert, but they are also perfect for breakfast or brunch. Continue reading
With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve found I still don’t have the perfect morning-of breakfast. I have a secret wish to have that one amazing sweet bread my kids will make in their homes one day, for their own children on holiday mornings. After playing around with sugared cranberries and cream cheese frosting, I’ve decided they might be the keys to what I am searching for. The tart cranberries and tangy cheese pair well together, especially when perched on a sugar-swirled brioche cake. We all oohed and aahed on first bite.
Christmas Stollen is a great tradition this time of year. A sweet loaf that is studded with fruit, spiced with cardamom and a little treat of almond paste runs through it. Once it comes out of the oven we dust it with a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar to look like the snow outside. If there is any left the next day it makes amazing French toast. This is a loaf that also makes a great gift for the holidays.
Speaking of gifts for the bakers on your list, here are 10 great ideas for those who love to bake and folks who want to learn how.
Bread Baking Craftsy Class – An in depth video class that will guide you through the mixing, shaping and baking of our Master recipe. We’ll make dozens of breads, including everything from a boule to sticky buns. You’ll see our tips for shaping properly and getting the best results from all your breads, no matter which dough you use. If you buy the class through our site you’ll get $20 off the price of the class. Hope you’ll join us.
More gift ideas at the end of the post.