There is 20 inches of snow on the ground here in Minneapolis and the temperature has dipped WAY below zero. This is why we Minnesotans are such bakers, it warms up the house and makes everyone happy. 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.
There are many ways to get a crusty loaf of bread, but one of our favorites is to use the tried and true method of baking in a clay cloche, here, the Emile Henry brand cloche. It is very similar to using a Dutch Oven, but the cloche was designed to bake bread, so it is an even more intuitive method. In other words, you aren’t lowering the bread into the piping hot vessel, you just lift the lid and slide the loaf onto what is essentially a baking stone. The cloche traps the steam from the dough to create a perfectly crisp and beautifully shiny crust, without having to add steam to the oven.
This loaf was made with our Master Recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, using Gold Medal All-purpose flour, Platinum Yeast from Red Star, water and salt, that’s it! If you’ve never made our bread, or just want a refresher, please watch our new video that we put together in the Gold Medal baking studio. In no time at all you’ll have a gorgeous, homemade, crusty loaf of bread.
People always ask us about our favorite bread-baking tools, so here are some of them, with links to Amazon:
A thermometer: you really can’t get a good crust until you know your oven’s temp. They’re cheap and effective.
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
Pumpkin pie and brioche are two of my all time favorites, so why not combine the two. The result is a bread rich with butter, eggs and spiced pumpkin puree. Spreading the pumpkin onto the brioche dough and rolling it into a log creates the swirl pattern when you cut it. The bread is gorgeous and tasty, perfect for Thanksgiving or just a fall morning with a cup of coffee.
Next week is the official release of our book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Woot! To celebrate we are doing a giveaway, before the book even hits the stands. It is a small token of our appreciation for all your help in creating this new edition. We’ve incorporated what we’ve learned from your comments, your questions and your suggestions. Please leave us a comment below about your favorite experience baking bread or what you are most eager to try. We will give away 5 copies of the new book to randomly picked winners next week.* Thank you! Our usual contest rules apply (click here for rules); you need to respond within 24 hours of notification or we have to pick someone else. CONTEST CLOSED, WINNERS CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED 10/22/13.
To make the Pumpkin Swirl Bread:
As you can imagine, I tend to make a lot of bread. And while most of it gets eaten gladly, there are times when the bread box is filled with loaves that have gone stale. I never find it too hard to be creative when it comes to ‘old’ bread; french toast always works, and bread pudding, and bruschetta. While I love a traditional take on bruschetta, I decided to change things up a bit by making something with fall flavors; so I took off the tomatoes and added figs.
Figs are in season just a little longer, and my fridge has been filled with them for weeks now. I tend to snatch them up and then cook them down, making a compote that can be used in a variety of ways. The sweetness of this compote combined with the prosciutto and blue cheese makes for such a flavorful bite. And, if the compote is made ahead of time, this can be put together in mere minutes, making this a simple and delicious afternoon lunch.
This weekend I went to the market and bought a bunch of flour. This is nothing unusual for me, as you can imagine. I absentmindedly put several bags of Gold Medal Unbleached All-purpose Flour in my cart, got home and unloaded the bags into my flour bin. That’s when I finally looked at the bag and nearly fell over. There was a logo I recognized, as if I was looking at a family photo, it was our Breadin5 logo, right on the front of the flour bag. Holy-Buckets-of-Dough-Batman, our recipe from the NEW ABin5 is on the bag of Gold Medal Flour!
We’ve always tested our recipes with Gold Medal, so when they suggested we pair up to share our recipe with their customers, we thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t expect to see the bag on the shelves until this fall. I was caught completely by surprise. Pinch me. Scan the shelves of your local markets and see if your store is carrying it. A friend in CA said she found it too, so I know I didn’t dream this.
Here’s the recipe from the bag. Everyone understands that the towel is to be removed from the oven glass before closing the oven door? Some older ovens were made without tempered glass and if you want to be extra careful, protect it. Not a lot of space for clarification on those bags, and some people were confused:
The new book will be out this October in all retail stores, but you can pre-order The New Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day any time.
Note: Gold Medal Flour is a sponsor of BreadIn5 LLC’s promotional activities.
For spring break my family visited Puerto Rico. It took me less than 24 hours to find myself an amazing local bakery with all kinds of tasty pastries and breads to try. My favorites, which I managed to sample several times during our stay, were the Quesitos and Mallorca buns. The buns are a sweet enriched dough that is wound up into a snail shell shape and dusted with a thick coating of powdered sugar. We ate them plain with coffee or split open, stuffed with eggs and bacon, as a breakfast sandwich. When I got back home, I used our brioche dough to recreate the sweet buns and they are delicious and easy to make. Continue reading
This beautiful loaf is the traditional bread of Easter in Greece and many other Christian countries. It is an enriched dough that is twisted around brightly dyed eggs. The bread is often braided with three strands to represent the holy trinity, formed into a circle as a reference to life and the eggs are dyed red as a symbol of Christ’s blood. The dough is lightly sweet, flavored with orange zest and a traditional Middle Eastern spice called Mahlepi, which is made from ground cherry pits. The spice can be found in Middle Eastern or Greek markets. If you don’t have the spice, you can make the dough with ground Anise seed or even Cardamom. Continue reading
I must admit that I use my Pullman pan quite frequently – there is something about those neat, square pieces that seem to make my sandwich more special. However, I wanted to change things up a bit, and decided to get a little creative. Normally I prefer sweet swirled breads, but sometimes something savory is needed. I found that this French olive spread (tapenade) is just the thing.
Nothing expresses your love as much as a tasty homemade gift. All you need is a bucket of brioche, a heart shaped cookie cutter and red decorating sugar to make this gorgeous heart shaped loaf. It’s an easy and fast project to do with little kids on Valentine’s Day.