Crock Pot Challah

crock pot challah

Hey, this is Jeff here, writing the intro to Sarah’s beautiful post, photos, and re-cap of our recipe for Crockpot Challah from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Challah’s become a familiar American bread, brought here by Jewish immigrants, and round ones like these are traditional on Jewish New Year, which starts Sunday night. In my family (and in Jewish bakeries), the Challah is studded with raisins or other sweet fruit, in the hopes of ringing in a sweet and happy new year. For today’s rather unconventional baking option–in the crockpot–Sarah decided to skip them, to help the crockpot succeed in baking the loaf all the way through. We’ve been putting crockpot options in our books ever since we did the second edition of our basic book (The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day). The craziest part about crockpot baking for us: the crockpot version of our basic French round loaf (boule) was the most popular post ever on this website.

A NOTE ON FLOUR FOR CHALLAH: There’s just one difference between the challah dough in Holiday and Celebration in 5, and the original in The New Artisan Bread in 5, and that’s bread flour. Holiday and Celebration has recipes for some complicated shapes, and the bread flour option gives you a drier, firmer dough that’s a little easier to handle and shape. The original, made with the same amount of all-purpose flour works great in the crockpot too. And if you’re looking for whole grain challah, check out The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, or even gluten-free challah, in Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Crock Pot Challah

Challah Dough (makes about 4 loaves)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1 tablespoon Red Star Platinum, Active Dry, or Quick-Rise yeast (1 packet)

1 tablespoons kosher salt (or other coarse salt)

4 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1/2 cup honey

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

7 cups unbleached bread flour (or all-purpose, see note above)

Mix the yeast, salt, eggs honey and melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour, using a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle), a Danish, dough whisk, or a wooden spoon, until all of the flour is incorporated.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days.

Three-Strand Challah Crock Pot Braid

On baking day: Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Dust each piece with more flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

Gently roll and stretch each dough ball, dusting with flour so your hands don’t stick to it, until you have a long rope about 3/4 inch thick, about 15 inches long. You may need to let the dough relax for 5 minutes so it won’t resist your efforts.

crock pot challah

Lay the three ropes side by side and, starting from the middle of the loaf, pull the left strand (rope) over the center strand and lay it down; always pull the outer strands into the middle, never moving what becomes the center strand.

crock pot challah

Now pull the right strand over the center strand. Continue, alternating outer strands, but always pulling into the center. When you get to the end, pinch the strands together.

crock pot challah

Flip the challah over so that the loose strands fan away from you. Start braiding again by pulling an outside strand to the middle, but this time start with the right strand. Braid to the end again, and pinch the strands together.

crock pot challah

Join the two ends to form a circle. Place the braid on a piece of parchment.

crock pot challah

Lower the dough into a 4-quart crock pot. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.

Turn the temperature to high and put on the cover. (Not all crock pots behave the same, so you should keep an eye on the loaf after about 45 minutes to make sure it is not over-browning on the bottom or not browning at all. You may need to adjust the time or temperature according to your machine.)

Bake for 1 hour. To check for doneness, it should feel firm when you gently poke the top of the loaf with your finger.

crock pot challah

The bottom crust should be nice and caramel colored, but the top of the loaf will be quite soft and pale. Some folks desire a softer crust, so they’ll love this loaf. You can place the bread under the broiler for 5 minutes or until it is the color you like, with a rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Let the loaf cool completely before serving. This loaf, especially when baked in the crockpot, is sensitive to that–if you eat it warm, it may seem underbaked or gummy.

crock pot challah

Happy New Year!

Instant Sourdough Brioche

We’ve used Red Star Yeast in our recipes since we started writing our very first book in 2005 and trust that their products will ALWAYS get the job done with the highest quality (and rise) every time. We were super intrigued when they introduced the Platinum Instant Sourdough Yeast. It’s the perfect entry into sourdough baking, if you don’t have the days to create a sour starter, nor the hours and hours to let each loaf rise. This yeast contains real sourdough starter, which is activated along with yeast, to create an instant loaf of real sourdough, without the wait. We are thrilled with the results and can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone who wants the sourdough without the wait. Here is our Brioche recipe from Holiday and Celebration Bread Book made with the Platinum Instant Sourdough. You can use this Super Fast Sourdough Brioche for anything you’d make with Brioche, but it has the extra depth of flavor you get from a sourdough starter. The strength of that flavor will increase as the dough rests and we found that the dough behaved best within the first 3 days of storing it in the refrigerator, after that we froze the dough to use later.

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Brötchen! GF book is released in Germany: “Glutenfreies Funf-Minuten-Brot”

In 2014, Jeff and Zoe worked on a Gluten-Free book for Bread in 5 readers, first published in the US (in English, of course), and now in Germany (in German of course), where it was published this Spring by Unimedica. “Glutenfreies Funf-Minuten-Brot” is available all over Germany, on AmazonDE, and even in the US. We decided to celebrate the release with some Brötchen (which is German for “little bread”), an egg-white enriched dough which creates an incredible crust and crumb. We are also excited because this is our first post with instructions for baking with wheat OR gluten-free flour! The egg-white especially lightens up the gluten-free version. Note: these pictures are of the wheat-based brotchen.

Brötchen (makes about 10 or 11)

2 pounds Master Wheat Recipe Egg-White Enriched (see below) or Gluten-Free Master Recipe Egg-White Enriched using the Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

Preheat the oven to 450F, with an empty metal broiler tray on any shelf that won’t interfere with the rising brötchen.

Cut off 3-ounce (peach-size) pieces of Egg White-Enriched Dough (see below) and quickly shape into balls, then pinch to form an oval shape. Allow to rest, 2 inches apart, on a baking sheet prepared with oil, butter, parchment paper, or a silicone mat for 20 minutes.

Brush the tops with egg white and cut a single lengthwise slash into the top of each roll, using a serrated knife.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes, or until richly browned. Serve slightly warm.

Egg-White Enriched Wheat Dough: Put 3 egg whites into the bottom of a measuring cup, then add water to bring the total volume to 3 cups of liquid in the Master Recipe (or on page 53 in New Artisan). All other ingredients and measurements are the same. Refrigerate for up to 5 days before freezing in 1-pound portions. This dough is great for brotchen, but you can use it for other rolls or bread as well. The egg-white variation for the gluten-free dough is at the
Gluten-Free Master Recipe.

Need help with your Gluten-Free Dough? We have a video here to show you what it should look like!

You can also bake the Brötchen as a boule, if you want!

Hot Cross Buns for Easter!

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, everybody loves hot cross buns! are the words to the children’s song, and they hold true even now. These little buns are traditionally served at Easter time: A sweet dough that is spiced, studded with dried (sometimes candied) fruit and decorated with a cross made of icing. I made them after many requests and my kids devoured them within minutes; they were nervous about the raisins, but the cream cheese crosses and scent of cinnamon and nutmeg drew them in.

As I researched these delicious buns I realized that there are just 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!

If you follow along on our Breadin5 Instagram, you can watch us make the buns in our Instagram stories. The recipe comes from our latest book, Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which also has a whole chapter on Easter bread recipes.

Hot Cross Buns

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Chocolate Nutella Swirl Buns

chocolate nutella swirl buns

We had such a good response to our Chocolate Bread that we decided to make some Nutella swirl buns to go along with it. The no-knead chocolate dough is not overly sweet, and it balances the Nutella and sugar coating quite well. We made them in individual molds, but you can also bake them free form in a 9 x 13 pan if you don’t have them.

You can also try our Crockpot Nutella Swirl Bread (another Bread in 5 favorite!) or our straight up Nutella Swirl Bread (otherwise known as our Babka cheat) if you are in the mood for Chocolate and Hazelnut flavored treats.

chocolate nutella swirl buns

Chocolate Nutella Swirl Buns

2 pounds No-knead Chocolate Dough, chilled

1/2 cup (or more) Nutella

Granulated Sugar

Butter ten 3 x 2-inch soufflé molds, ramekins, or other straight-sided molds (note: you can use regular muffins tins, but you will need to cut the buns smaller; into more pieces. You can also bake them free form in a 9 x 13 pan like traditional cinnamon rolls). Line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper, and then generously coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess. Place the molds on a baking sheet.

Using a rolling pin, the dough out to an 1/8-inch-thick rectangle, and then spread the Nutella over the dough (you can use more than 1/2 cup, but I found that less is more here, both for taste and ease of cutting the dough into slices). If your dough is really soft and hard to work with, you can place it (filled and rolled) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill for 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Use a kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Transfer the pieces to the prepared molds and place them cut side up. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle lower position. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove the plastic and bake 18 to 26 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the rolls are set (You can test for doneness by tapping the top, if it feels firm in the center, then it is done).

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for a few minutes. Use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to pick up each soufflé mold, then run a knife carefully around the edges of the pan, and flip the roll onto a wire rack. Carefully put the roll right side up, and repeat with the remaining rolls. Let cool for a few minutes, then toss each roll into sugar and cover.

Chocolate nutella swirl buns
chocolate nutella swirl buns

Chocolate Bread… Yes, chocolate!

chocolate bread

As you all know by now, at BreadIn5 we take our sweets very seriously and chocolate is an essential food group. So we wanted to share one of the great pleasures of The New Artisan Bread in Five: Chocolate Bread. It has an intense chocolate flavor without being too sweet. This bread is equally as good with a sweet cherry jam as it is with a sharp cheddar; it all just depends on your mood. There will rarely be leftovers (but just in case there are we’ve also got a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding, page 362 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, that is out of this world!)

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Chocolate Chestnut Bread with Red Star Yeast

Chocolate Chestnut Bread Recipe | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is such an iconic image of Christmas. If you’ve never had roasted chestnuts, they are one of the sweetest and creamiest of nuts and the absolute perfect pairing with chocolate. This elegant chocolate chestnut bread is from our new Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day book and is super easy to make. If you have a tall panettone mold, it makes a really festive loaf for the holidays or a great gift, along with our newest book. You can also bake this in a loaf pan or even muffin cups.

I also used this loaf to make a wonderful bread pudding (recipe link at the end). Watch our video on instagram of how we made the bread and tips for kneading ingredients into dough you have stored in the refrigerator. (more…)

Apple-Cranberry Coffee Cake

Apple-Cranberry Coffee Cake Recipe | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

GIVEAWAY IS DONE!!! RECIPE FOR THIS WONDERFUL COFFEE CAKE BELOW!

For the holidays, we wanted to thank all of you for the inspiration and joy you have given us, so we’ve partnered with some of our favorite folks to do a GIVEAWAY! This Apple-Cranberry Coffee Cake from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a perfect holiday morning treat and we’re going to make baking it even more fun, by giving away a copy of our book, a J.K. Adams Patisserie Maple Wood Rolling Pin and a beautiful Emile Henry Loaf Dish to FIVE lucky winners.

Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, rolling pin and bakeware

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below about what else you might bake with these items (we’re hoping for more inspiration from you all). Read our rules and such for giveaways here. You can also enter on our instagram page for even greater chance at winning.

Now for the Apple-Cranberry Coffee Cake recipe: (more…)

Pumpkin Sticky Nut Rolls with Red Star Yeast

Pumpkin Sticky Nut Rolls | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Christmas is just around the corner, and this year my sister-in-law volunteered to have the meal at her house, so this means I have some free time leading up the day, in which previous years I have not. (I am on pie duty, which I will take any day over making the meal) Since there will be family in from out of town and friends in and out of my house, I like to make sure there is something to eat each day for breakfast that everyone will enjoy. These Pumpkin Sticky Nut Rolls fit the bill perfectly, and the fact that I can assemble them the night before and let them rise in the fridge overnight is a huge bonus.

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White Bread Master Recipe from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five

White Bread Master Recipe | Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

There are about one hundred recipes in all of our books, but we always start with a Master Recipe. It is our opportunity in each book to dive a little deeper into our super fast and simple method of bread baking. In Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day we started with a simple and nostalgic white bread master recipe. It can be the perfect school sandwich bread or the base of some pretty fancy holiday breads. If white bread is not your cup of tea (or loaf of bread) then try one of our enriched or whole grain breads from the new book. With dozens of doughs to choose from in the book, you will find many that suit your holiday needs.

If you are familiar with our dough and method, you may notice that the doughs in this new book are a bit drier than our previous ones. This is on purpose, since some of the more intricate loaves in this book would be more difficult to shape with a very wet dough. Since many of the doughs in the book are enriched (with butter, eggs, milk, etc) they only store in the refrigerator for about 5 days (you can freeze what is left). Because the dough is drier, we find it much easier to mix with a stand mixer, as opposed to a wooden spoon or even a Danish Dough Whisk. You can use those tools, but you’ll need to put some muscle into it, so the dough comes out nice and smooth and consistent.

This post is meant to provide a guide to baking the bread, but the book has tons more details and lots of tips and techniques for those who are just starting out with bread baking or our method in particular.  (more…)