These classic Easter buns are made of a sweet dough that is spiced, studded with dried (sometimes candied) fruit and decorated with a cross made of icing. Adding a bit of color to the icing and baking them in fluted brioche pans adds a bit of flair, but you can make them free form by baking them on a lined baking sheet or in greased muffin tins. Continue reading
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.
I have to admit when Emile Henry asked if I wanted to try this new covered loaf pan, I was a bit skeptical about the claims they were making. It’s a gorgeous loaf pan, but would it really bake a bread with a perfectly crisp, shiny crust on the top and bottom, just because of the holes in the lid and on the bottom of the ceramic baking vessel? Well, I’m here to say I was wrong to judge without trying, again. Just as I was wrong about the crock pot baking great bread, this loaf pan really does bake a fantastic loaf. The crust is thin and golden brown, without having to add steam or remove the cover during baking. It’s all about the holes! You can see the same loaf baked in a regular loaf pan at the bottom of the post and see for yourself just how well it works.
I used Red Star Platinum yeast to mix up this raisin walnut bread dough, and I loved the results with this loaf.
Because I loved this loaf pan and the bread I baked so much we asked Emile Henry and Red Star to participate in a Holiday Baking Giveaway.
Leave a comment below and you can win the Bread Baker, a case of Platinum Yeast and a copy of our The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (or our Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day if you prefer). The winner must be in the USA and all our normal contest rules apply. Contest is finished and Michele was our winner! Continue reading
Braiding doesn’t just have to be for sweets. I found myself with some 2 week old – (truth be told it was closer to 3 weeks) dough and it was a little wet to shape a nice tall boule. We always recommend using older dough for flatbreads or baking it in a loaf pan, since it can lose some of its rising power in the later stages of storing. Well, it turns out this older dough makes a wonderful braided loaf, with lots of flavor and a really open crumb. Because the braid isn’t as domed as a boule, the older dough has all the rising power it needs.
My dough was made with Gold Medal Organic All-purpose flour, a bit of rye, whole wheat and Platinum yeast by Red Star. Like I said, it was almost 3 weeks old, but this technique can also be done with fresh dough and really any of our doughs, not just the Peasant dough recipe will work great.
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.
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.
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