Cinnamon Buns – Child’s Play (plus Brioche made with Red Star Platinum Yeast)

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Here is the perfect treat for back-to-school (or for that brunch your hosting this weekend, or just a midnight snack). This time of year is always bittersweet for us parents. Our little cherubs are headed back to school; we miss them, but also rejoice the quiet, in equal measures. Baking something sweet and tasty seems like a great way to celebrate. The best thing about this recipe is that it is easy enough for the kids to bake themselves (a bit of help with the oven for the little ones.) My 12-year-old son started a “bakery” this summer (read about his entrepreneurial endeavor here) and he made these cinnamon rolls. I handed him the galley copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking; he mixed the brioche dough (using a Scale and a Danish Dough Whisk), rolled it out, made the filling, baked them, whipped up some frosting, and then ate one (quality control) before his customers arrived at 7:30am. I did nothing but photograph his adventure in the kitchen and watched the oven.

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As you may know, Jeff and I have been using Red Star yeast since the very beginning of this bread baking venture. We love the results we get, we can get it in bulk and it is less expensive than the other brands, what’s not to love? They have recently come out with a new product, so of course we were eager to give it a try. Truth be told, I’ve been using it for about a year, since they gave me a sample when they first developed it. It has all the great aspects of their regular instant yeast, but they’ve added dough enhancers. These “enhancers” are what professional bakeries use in their recipes to improve the rise and to strengthen the dough. Anything that makes a dough rise better and bake up taller seems like a good idea. The enhancers are all natural, but not gluten-free, so Platinum yeast should not be used in our gluten-free doughs. The other Red Star products are all gluten-free. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Bread – (Brioche made with Gold Medal Bread Flour)

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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.

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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.

Happy Holidays! Continue reading

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Brioche Swirl Buns With Chocolate Ganache and Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour

Winter is slowly approaching (although here in Minneapolis we hit 70 degrees this past weekend!), and that means the smell of pumpkin is in the air. These swirl buns came together on a whim; we were asked to bring something to a brunch, and there was pumpkin pie brioche dough in the fridge, a favorite recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. A little chocolate ganache was easily whipped together, and after an overnight rise in the fridge, these buns were baked off in the morning, filling our house with early Holiday cheer.

The original recipe for this dough was made with White Whole Wheat for a lighter effect, but we decided to re-test it with traditional whole wheat.  Gold Medal regular whole wheat worked beautifully…

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Hot Cross Buns!

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(This is a post that first appeared in 2009 – we hope it is fresh for some and a welcome memory for others!)

“Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, everybody loves hot cross buns!” are the words to the children’s song and it is so true. I made these buns at the request of many of you and my kids devoured them within minutes. They are the buns traditionally served at Easter time. A sweet dough, spiced, studded with dried (sometimes candied) fruit and decorated with a cross made of icing.

As I researched these delicious buns I realized that there are as many ways to make them as there are families who bake them. Some people slash the dough to make the cross, others use a flour and water paste to create the symbol and others use the sweet icing. Tell me how you make your buns, and if you don’t have a family tradition yet, you can start with these!

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Monkey Bread – Brioche dipped in cinnamon sugar and caramel!

I have to admit that I have never made Monkey Bread before. My brother’s used to make it when they were younger, but I’d already left the house for college. My husband has even made it for my boys, but always when I am out of town, a father/son tradition. In both cases it was made with a dough or biscuits that come in a pop-open-tube from the grocery store. You know just what I am talking about. This is perhaps why my husband only made them when I wasn’t around. Trust me, I love anything made with cinnamon sugar and caramel, so the concept appeals to me. When I found myself with a bucket of brioche and wanting to make the boys a treat, I thought Monkey Bread. Now I wonder how come it took me so long to figure this out? It is simple, fun and absolutely delicious. Only make them when you have people to share them with, or you will find yourself nibbling at them all day like I did. Luckily, my boys and their friends came home and saved me from eating the entire pan. Continue reading

Red, White and Blue Brioche Tartlettes for the 4th of July!


With the 4th of July coming up I’ve been on a quest to create perfect picnic treats. Small and tasty fits that bill. Earlier this week I made Bakewell tarts on ZoeBakes and realized that it would be such an easy dessert to recreate using brioche dough, something I always have on hand.  The tarts are made with a brioche crust, a spoon of jam, a layer of frangipane (almond cream) and topped with fresh fruit. I used cherries and blueberries to create red, white and blue tarts. Continue reading

Brioche Berry Pudding – something gorgeous for Mother’s Day!

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This is a post I did a couple of years ago on Mother’s Day. It is bright, cheery and gorgeous, just the thing to make for mom,especially after such a long winter. We MN mom’s need a bit of sunshine!

Some things are worth a little more effort, right! Like a dessert for your mom on Mother’s Day.  This berry pudding is really very simple to make, but I admit it will take just a bit longer than 5 minutes to put together. Berry puddings are a slightly retro English sweet and I think they deserve a come back. Their drop dead gorgeous color comes from the dark berry juice soaked brioche, hiding a treasure of sweet, slightly drunken berries within.

You just can’t resist something this wonderful and if you have a bucket of brioche on hand it will go together really very easily. Happy Spring to you all! Continue reading

A Sneak Peek at the Red Star Yeast Test Kitchen!

This is Roberto, one of the luckiest people I have ever met. He and Mark, who run the test kitchen at Red Star Yeast, have what I consider a dream job. They work in this amazing kitchen to come up with all kinds of yeasty treats. The equipment is top notch, the ingredients limitless and the space is massive. I have kitchen envy in a big way. No wonder they are such fantastically nice guys. They were kind enough to invite Jeff and me into their kitchen to play with them. We baked all kinds of breads from our books and did presentations to the rest of the Red Star team. Continue reading