Ham and Cheese Pull-Apart Bread with Gold Medal Flour

pull apart bread 05

Here is a fun, easy way to pack lunch right into your loaf of bread. No, I don’t mean the typical sandwich our kids are sick to death of, I mean ham and cheese (or whatever you are in the mood for) is folded into the dough and baked as a loaf. Each slice is a sandwich. In order to get the layers to keep their shape, I made the dough with Gold Medal Bread Flour, which boosts the amount of gluten and gives the loaf a little more structure. To make it a touch healthier (I’m constantly sneaking whole grains where kids will never see them) I also used Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour. This technique would work equally well with many other doughs from our books.

pull-apart bread

As the name suggests you can just pull sections of the loaf apart, but I sliced into this one to show you how the ham and cheese ends up woven through the bread.

When I just checked Amazon, they were selling the Kindle Edition of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for $6.99. Not sure how long that will last, but if you’ve ever considered trying the E-reader version, this would be a great time to dive in.

(more…)

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! (more…)

How & When to Swap Bread Flour for All-Purpose: Testing w/Gold Medal “Better for Bread,” and Announcing a Winner of the Books

People often ask us why we only used all-purpose flour (where we called for white flour) in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Why not “bread” flour, which is higher in protein and is often considered traditional in bread?  Well, not in all traditions!  French baguettes, for example, are typically made with lower-protein flour for a more tender, and less chewy crumb.  And we knew most of our potential book-users already had all-purpose flour in the house.  But sometimes, a stiffer dough is desirable, like when something really needs to hold its shape, like these wreath-shaped, well… bagels.  You can always swap bread flour into our recipes that call for all-purpose, just by adding a little extra water (details below).  And we’ll announce our contest winner at the end of this post… (more…)

Thanksgiving Leftovers Torta

Thanksgiving leftovers

No matter how big your Thanksgiving feast is or how many people are gathered around your table, chances are there’s more leftovers than you know what to do with. Here is a way to use the extra turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, plus anything else that graced your holiday table and make it into something new. We feature an Italian Torta recipe in Artisan Pizza in Five, but why not swap out the layers for all those leftovers? It is tasty and gorgeous and goes together in a flash if you are cleaning out the fridge of all those half empty tupperware containers. (more…)

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!

Bread Basket for 4th of July Picnic!

bread basket

Having just returned from Kansas and seeing the amber waves of wheat, I was moved to bake a bread that represents the American Breadbasket. This simple basket-weave of bread sticks is a stunning way to serve tuna salad (or anything else your craving) at your 4th of July picnic. You can make a large one to share or smaller baskets for individual plates.

Happy 4th of July!

The winner of the Gold Medal Flour giveaway is announced at the bottom of the post. (more…)

Gluten-Free Crock-Pot Bread

Last week I did a post about baking a loaf of bread in a slow cooker. The resulting bread was fast, easy and delicious, not to mention it didn’t require a hot oven on a warm summer day. Several people asked if the same technique could be used with our gluten-free doughs. I am happy to announce that YES, it also works with gluten-free. I used the “Not Rye (But So Very Close)” recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Check with your crock-pot’s manufacturer before trying this, since some model’s instructions specify that the pot has to be at least partially filled with liquid to avoid safety or durability problems.  And never bake  in a crock-pot unattended. (more…)

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!  *

(more…)

Hot Cross Buns!

hot cross buns

(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!

(more…)