Caramel Apple Brioche Cake–for Thanksgiving Breakfast

caramel apple  brioche cake | bread in 5

There are so many good things about Thanksgiving dinner. There is the table piled with comfort food, the house full with family and friends, the first evening of holiday music playing, and a day to consider all the good things the year has brought.

There is something to be said, however, about Thanksgiving breakfast. It’s always overlooked, and often skipped while one focuses on cleaning house, peeling potatoes, and setting the table. But what better way to start a day of feasting, really. This cake is one big roll, stuffed with apples and topped with caramel sauce and toasted pecans. It’s perfect to have on hand for overnight guests and bribing kids to pitch in Thursday morning. It also just may remind one to pause with gratitude; this treat is still bread underneath. Breaking it with a loved one first thing in the morning is a sweet sort of communion, a unique way to stop and give thanks.

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Pizza on a Baking Steel

pizza | Breadin5

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.

baking steel | Breadin5

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

Shopping for Bread-Bakers

People always ask us about our favorite bread-baking tools, so here are some of them, with links to Amazon:

Thermometer

A thermometer: you really can’t get a good crust until you know your oven’s temp. They’re cheap and effective.

Baking Stone

Baking stone: For a great, crisp, crust, you really need one, and this 1/2-inch thick Old Stone brand has been very durable for us. There are other stone/iron options, see our post on that. Continue reading

A Baking Party at General Mills with Gold Medal Flour

Gold Medal Flour

Jeff and I just spent a couple of days with the good folks at General Mills and a bunch of super talented bloggers. We got a tour of the GM headquarters, which seems more like a small city, than a company. The campus is outfitted with test kitchens, a cookbook library, photo studios, banks, dry cleaners, grocery stores, secret recipe testing labs (I tried to sneak in, but security is tighter than the white house) and halls lined with the history of the company, which goes back to the 1800s. It is quite amazing to see how this company has shaped Minneapolis and the food culture in general. We were there as part of an event for Gold Medal bloggers. In addition to seeing the inner workings of the company, we got to visit with the people behind the blogs. Some of them we’d travelled to Kansas with to ride the combines and tour the mills, and others we just met for the first time. All of them have amazing blogs, which I have no doubt you’ve visited.

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Lauren Keathing: Healthy.Delicous
Adam+Joanne Gallagher: Inspired Taste 
Sommer Collier: Spicy Perspective 
Maegan Brown: Gold Medal’s BakerMama
Lori Lange: Recipe Girl
Maria and Josh Lichty: Two Peas and Their Pod
Jenny Flake: Picky Palate
Monique Volz: Ambitious Kitchen – she’s also the social media force behind Gold Medal.

Here are some highlights of our days with Gold Medal – including pictures of us racing on segways. I have to admit I was terrified to reveal any photos on a segway, but it was so much fun I have to own my love for this strange mode of transportation.  Continue reading

Brioche Danish With Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Brioche Danish with Goat Cheese and Pistachios | Bread in 5

Well, I’m just going to come right out and say it: these little brioche danish are so very tasty. They came about after a lazy Sunday morning; I had some whole wheat brioche dough in the fridge, and wanted something sweet that didn’t involve a lot of work. I also happened to have a tube of almond paste, goat cheese, and pistachios, and so the great experiment began. It was delicious from the start, but after a few tries and a little tweaking, a perfect weekend treat was born.

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Sweet Brioche in a Crock Pot

Sweet Brioche is the latest in my series of crock pot breads*. It may have taken me a while to give the old slow cooker a try, but now I am unstoppable. Some of you may know that I am in the very last stages of a kitchen remodel, which has me displaced and baking under less-than-ideal conditions. So, the crock pot is the perfect way to get the job done. It can travel from room to room and it takes up no space at all. This time of year we may not be concerned with heating up our house with the oven, in fact, I rather look forward to it. That is precisely why we northerners refer to winter as the “baking season,” because we do as much of it as possible to keep ourselves warm. But, this time of year can be a battle to find enough oven space. Thanksgiving and Christmas can pose a Rubik’s Cube style challenge of getting everything baked and on the table at the same time. Why not eleviate some of the pressure by throwing a ball of dough in your crock? Next I have to see if I can make bread pudding in my slow cooker. I do look forward to having my kitchen back, but until then I will not be without fresh baked bread.

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Chocolate Coffee Cardamom Bread, And a Three-Book Set Giveaway! CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Thanksgiving has come and gone too quickly yet again. We have finished eating our Thanksgiving Leftovers Torta, but we’ll continue to hold on to our reasons to stop and give thanks, especially as the holiday madness begins in earnest. We’ve come up with two great ways to celebrate the season with you–and they don’t involve turkey or long lines of shoppers.  First, there is this decadent chocolate bread, laced with coffee, cardamom, and more chocolate, and second, we have a book package giveaway!

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VOTE

vote

We hope you will make your voices heard tomorrow and VOTE!

Form any 5 minute dough into the letters V – O – T – E and let them rest on a piece of parchment while a baking stone preheats to 450°F. Slide them onto the stone and bake with steam for about 18 minutes.

vote

Share with your neighbors, friends, family and kids! Enjoy your right to vote!

Crock Pot Bread Baking (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker)

crock pot bread

When I moved to the midwest I was introduced to Crock Pot cooking. I had never even seen a slow cooker before and had no idea the range of foods that could be created in a plug-in cooking pot. Since then I have had everything from No-Peek-Chicken, Swedish Meatballs and Peach cobbler, done in one of these magic devices. When my husband was an art director Aveda they had “crock pot parties,” which meant everyone plugged in their slow cookers at their desks and made a dish to share.  Brilliant! Maybe kids should bring crock pots to school and have healthy food cooking at their desks.

But, bread in a crock pot? Over the years we have gotten requests from readers to develop a method of baking our dough in a crock pot. I had my doubts, lots of them. I didn’t think the slow cooker could get hot enough, I thought it would take too long, I didn’t think it would bake through or have a nice crust and I resisted trying it. I was so convinced it would be a fail. Oh, how wrong I was. The crock pot does indeed get hot enough, and it takes less time than using  your oven, because the rising time is included in the baking. The only thing I got right was the crust, it is very soft and quite pale when it comes out of the slow cooker, but just a few minutes under a broiler and I got a gorgeous loaf. I am a convert and it is just perfect for summer baking when you don’t want to heat up your oven. You could even amaze your friends at work by baking a loaf under your desk!  *

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pizza party 05

#PizzaPartyin5 – Great Way to Get the Kids in the Kitchen!

The big day is here and we’re expecting a World Wide Riot of Pizzas for our #PizzaPartyin5! We will be compiling a list of all the food bloggers’ pizza posts below, so come back through the week to see what people are baking.

My kids did the rolling, tossing, topping and baking, with just a little help from dad. The greatest result of writing this pizza book has been watching my sons take over the kitchen. Put out a bunch of toppings, some balls of dough and watch them create. My oldest son has even made pizzas, start to finish, for his friends. It is a gift to teach kids to cook and pizza is the perfect place to begin, especially for pre-teen boys who resist being in the kitchen.

It is not to late to join the #PizzaPartyin5. Just make a pizza, take a picture and post it on Twitter or FB. Use the hashtag #PizzaPartyin5 and let us know where you have put the picture. You can find us on Twitter and FB at @ArtisanBreadin5 and @zoebakes. If you have done a post about your pizza we will RT it and add the link to the bottom of this page. Continue reading