‘At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.’ – Rainer Maria Rilke
I’ve got peaches and apples in my kitchen. Summer is gently fading, and autumn is slipping in with an occasional cool breeze, a golden leaf here and there. I don’t know how August is already over, but here is September with its crisp ciders and juicy pears. I’m ready for bread-making again, and am starting the cooler months off with this brioche cake.The juicy peaches and the apple-cinnamon flavor are a good combination; a perfect intermingling of the seasons.
When Jeff and I set out to write Gluten-Free Artisan Bread, we tried every commercially available flour blend to see if there was one that matched the results we got by mixing our own. Sadly, there were none. They either didn’t taste good, which was a deal breaker, or the bread had a dense texture that we weren’t willing to put up with. So, we created our own mix of flours, which creates a great tasting bread with a lovely texture. But, it does require buying several flours to create just the right flavor and texture.
As I slipped through time looking at gorgeous photos on Instagram recently, I noticed a bunch of gluten-free pastries made with Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour. I was skeptical, because of my previous experience with other brands, but I finally gave it a shot. Well, you can guess, based on the fact that I am writing about it, that I LOVED the results. Not only was the flavor there, but the texture was nearly the same as our home mixed flour. It is really convenient to have a single flour to buy, especially for those who don’t do other gluten-free baking and don’t stock a variety of flours.
I mixed up our Master recipe from our Gluten-Free Artisan Bread and used Better Batter ounce for ounce to replace our Flour Mixture #1. After baking these beautifully crusty Epi, I also tested our pita breads, which came out perfectly puffed and had a lovely color. I haven’t tested all the breads in the book, but I think it is worth a try. Until then, I am confident that it works in our Master recipe and will bet it will be a success in any recipe using our Flour Mixture #1.
I contacted Naomi Poe, who started Better Batter and she graciously agreed to host a giveaway with us, so you can have a chance to try out the flour for yourself. She is going to send out a 5-pound box of Better Batter to FOUR lucky winners. All you have to do is write a comment below and you will be entered to win. US citizens only. All of our contest rules apply. (more…)
Summer months means fresh fruit a plenty. I love going to the market and finding rows and rows of peaches, plums, and several varieties of berries as far as the eye can see. I always look for ways to incorporate them into everything: pies, tarts, scones, and our no-knead bread dough. Swirling fresh blueberries in brioche dough (with just a little bit of sugar and cinnamon) was my latest experiment, and the results were a delicious morning bun I’m happy to wake up to. (more…)
This is a babka cheat, but no one will complain that it just took a few minutes to put it together. I just used a piece of whole wheat brioche dough, slathered it with Nutella, rolled it up, tucked it into a loaf pan, let it rest and baked it. That’s it. Super Easy. Super Tasty. Super Fast. And Beautiful.
Check out the Swirly Crock Pot version as well. It is perfect for hot summer days or when your oven is occupied with other goodies.
I went pretty light on the Nutella, so the bread would have a bit of chocolatey sweetness, but wouldn’t be over-the-top. You can use more and go with our brioche dough from New ABin5, for a more decadent treat. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.
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. (more…)
This week is the one time a year when we purposefully make our food look creepy. Halloween is great fun for the kids, but we adults love to play with our food too, and its great fun to watch people squirm just a bit. Even though these breadsticks are ghoulish, they are crunchy and delicious as well. Stick a few in the lunch box to give your kids a little Halloween thrill at school. (more…)