Cinnamon Twists

We’ve been on a breadstick kick. My children are obsessed with them, and love them even more than pizza. They’ve started begging for breadsticks at every meal, and while I don’t always heed their cries, I do find I am making them more than usual. Why? Well, they are so easy to put together, and work with almost any kind of meal. Pizza and breadsticks. Spaghetti and breadsticks. Chicken and breadsticks. Lasagna and breadsticks. (Don’t worry, there are plenty of vegetables served alongside, too). One weekend morning, when breadsticks were brought up for breakfast, I decided to surprise them with cinnamon twists instead. They were an instant hit, and while these are not a weekly affair, they are a fun, simple way to sweeten up a breakfast, brunch, or even dinner table.

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Easy Sourdough Starter

The recipe that excites me most in our latest book, The The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is the easy Sourdough Starter. I’m an admitted baking geek, so spending hours on a recipe can be exciting to me, but I know this concept sounds like work to some and just terrifies others. That’s why Jeff and I set out to write these books in the first place, being able to compel busy people to bake bread at home has been our mission. Now you can also create a sourdough starter; easily, without fear and without dedicating your whole day to the project. In fact, it only takes a few minutes a day to get your starter up and running. It really is that easy, but it takes several days to get your starter strong enough to actually use in a batch of bread. Until it is ready to go, you can always bake any of the other yeast filled recipes in our books.

All you need to make your sourdough starter is flour, water and a container to keep it in. Nothing special or fancy. Just make sure the container can hold at least two quarts of starter. You’ll see some Baking Bloopers below of what happens if your container is too small.

Once you have created your starter you can use it to bake beautiful loaves, with or without added yeast. The flavor is incredible and you will still be making a large batch of dough and storing it for up to a week, so you will do the work on one day for many loaves.

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Pretzel Rolls

It’s a New Year. Regardless of your political convictions and leanings, one thing we should all agree on is that pretzel rolls need to be on our 2017 agenda. Easier to make then pretzels (no shaping and twisting and forming!), these rolls taste amazing on their own, or sliced open and made into sandwiches. I can’t decide how I like them best, but I do know they are on my baking list every single week. (You can find regular pretzels and baked pretzels on our site as well!)

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Easy Dinner Rolls

Soft pull-apart buns are a classic dinner accompaniment. Known for their tender texture and delicious taste, they are a favorite for both adults and children alike. The whole wheat version of our recipe found in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day gives you a slightly healthier spin without compromising the great, buttery taste. While they are easy enough to make any night of the week, these dinner rolls can also find their way to your entertaining table.

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Raisin Walnut Bread (Baked in an Emile Henry Bread Baker with Red Star Platinum Yeast)

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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.

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I used Red Star Platinum yeast to mix up this raisin walnut bread dough, and I loved the results with this loaf.

Bread Baker, Book and Platinum Giveaway | Breadin5
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Chocolate and Orange Confit Brioche

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With less than a week away from the most wonderful time of the year (sing that to yourself in a Bing Crosby voice), I find myself frantically baking for this Saturday and Sunday. I love passing out goodies to the neighbors each year, and while we have stacks of cookies and bars, somehow a loaf of bread is most ideal. This loaf is extra special – with both a tender crumb and studded with chocolate and orange pieces, it is breakfast and dessert, a sweet indulgence to bring tidings of comfort and joy. This recipe makes two loaves, so you can make one for snacking and one for giving. Happy Holidays!

chocolate orange bread

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Milk and Honey Braided Buns with Dried Fruit and Pearl Sugar

raisin buns

The Holidays are quickly approaching, but I’m sure you’ve had some inkling of that, seeing as most stores started blasting the Christmas tunes the day after Halloween. I will admit to starting it a little too early, as this time of year is my favorite, and I’m always ready to jump into the celebration. Holiday baking is high on my list of favorite things to do, and while I spend plenty of time making cookies and bars and candy, yeasted treats are the most delicious.

We’ve made plenty of delicious holiday breads here on our site (Christmas Stollen, Brioche Cake with Sugared Cranberries, Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread, and Panettone, just to name a few), and we’re going to add one more to the line up: Milk and Honey Braided Buns. Studded with dried fruit and topped with pearl sugar, these little braids are a lovely addition to any Christmas breakfast or New Years’ Brunch. (And, if you’re in need of any more Holiday music, I have a playlist here and here you can check out.)

raisin buns

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Whole Grain Christmas Stollen

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Christmas Stollen is a wonderful German baking tradition this time of year. A sweet loaf that is studded with dried fruit, spiced with cardamom and a special treat of almond paste runs through it. Once it comes out of the oven it is traditional to slather the warm loaf in butter then roll it in sugar, but we skip the extra butter and dust it with a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar to look like the snow outside. This loaf actually holds up very well for a couple of days and that makes it a great gift for the holidays.
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Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

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You are on the right site, we are just taking a short break from baking bread to bring you one of our absolute favorite recipes from Sarah’s new book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. You all know Sarah’s gorgeous work here on Breadin5, but you may not be as familiar with her baking website. Sarah has been working with us on the Breadin5 website and has been instrumental in our cookbook photoshoots as a food stylist. During our last marathon photo session she brought us cakes, cookies, scones and even pie she was testing for her own cookbook. When she brought in these chocolate chip cookies we took a moment out of the shoot to declare them the best cookies any of us had ever had. I do not say that lightly, considering I had a cookie company in college, have baked no fewer than 500 chocolate chip cookie recipes and have consumed even more. These are the best and now you have the recipe.

We are thrilled for Sarah and are so proud of her and this brilliant book! She and her publisher have graciously offered a copy of her book to a lucky winner of our GIVEAWAY. Just leave a note in our comments and we will select someone at random. It will make a great addition to your cookbooks or a lovely gift for someone on your list. All our normal contest rules apply. This contest is over.

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Holiday Gift Ideas for Bread Bakers!

All of our books are available on Amazon, so click on the book-images to the right (or on our home page) to go there. Plus, here are the products we’ve used, tested, and love:

oven-thermometerOven thermometer… so important for getting the perfect crust and crumb.

 

baking-stoneFull-size baking stone… same! There are even super-small ones that fit in a toaster oven (college students have made our loaves in dorm rooms). Cast-iron “stones” are also great, and more durable.

digital-scaleDigital scale

 

pizza-peelPizza peel… for free-form loaves, pizza, and flatbread. This one’s wood, but there are also nice options in composite material.

danish-dough-whiskDanish Dough Whisk… to more easily hand-mix our doughs.

 

dough-bucketDough bucket… Amazon sells the lids separately, but this price is much better than what you’ll find it for in kitchen stores. Many more baking products…

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