Valentine’s Day Bread

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Nothing expresses your love as much as a tasty homemade gift. All you need is a bucket of brioche, a heart shaped cookie cutter and red decorating sugar to make this gorgeous heart shaped loaf. It’s an easy and fast project to do with little kids on Valentine’s Day.

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I mixed this batch of Brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, with bread flour It made the dough a bit tighter, which means that the heart shaped loaf will hold its shape even better. If you have a batch of the regular brioche dough (made with all-purpose flour) in the refrigerator, by all means use it and you’ll have excellent results.

2 pounds brioche dough (page 189 ABin5), made with bread flour

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Red and/or white decorating sugar

To make the heart shaped bread:

Roll the brioche out to 1/8-inch thick rectangle. Use a 2 1/2-inch Heart Cookie Cutter to create the heart shape pieces of dough.

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Use water and a Pastry Brush to “glue” the heart pieces together in a Heart shape.

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Allow the heart bread to rest for 40 minutes, lightly covered with plastic. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the loaf with the melted butter.

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Sprinkle the loaf with the Decorating Sugar.

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You don’t want to use granulated sugar or it will caramelize in the oven.

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Bake for about 25 minutes, or just until the bottom edge turns golden. You don’t want the loaf to brown.

Heart bread 07

Allow to cool slightly, eat this loaf slightly warm.

22 thoughts to “Valentine’s Day Bread”

  1. Which breads in your Artisian Bread in Five…may be baked in the crockpot and is their a standard direction for doing this?

  2. Followed the recipe, chilled the dough and it was so sticky it was impossible to cut out the hearts, lift them and place them on sheet without them tearing or going all out of shape. It was a huge mess. I had to add a lot of extra flour just to handle the dough. I ended up cutting out individual hearts and decorating them. They tasted good but did not rise very high, probably not as light as recipe intended. It did look like a great idea.

    1. Hi Caryn,

      You were using the brioche recipe? Was the dough chilled overnight, or just a few hours? Did you use the scoop and sweep method of measuring the flour? This dough is typically much tighter than the master recipe, so I am surprised it was too soft.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. I do have AB5M and HB5M, but don’t have APF5M yet, so I hope this question isn’t redundant. Is there a recipe for crumpets perhaps with one of the doughs, or, a way to make crumpets with one of the doughs?

    The lemon curd from AB5M is *addictively* awesomely good/delicious, and I was thinking it might be wonderful on some fresh crumpets! (so is the kumquat champagne confit…I tried a kumquat for the first time when making this and was pleasantly surprised!).

  4. Jeff, I am so happy you were able to see this dream come true!! Enjoyed your warm bread every Friday morning when I watched the girls! Now I get to enjoy it at home!!

  5. I just wanted to give you guys a huge “THANK YOU!” My husband gave me ABin5 for Christmas, and I have tried many, many of the recipes so far with great success. (And I’m a sloppy baker–comes from extreme overconfidence in the kitchen–so I’m just tickled that your recipes are so wonderfully forgiving!)

  6. I have the HBin5 book and have made the Brioche (275) and master recipe (54). My comment and question is that my two doughs in no way need to be cut with shears – they rip right off. The brioche made wonderful crescents (294) but the master recipe is disgusting. It has an off flavor, almost beerlike, and is too moist in the center. I tried adding flour (42) but it still is not making a good boule or loaf in pan. I made grissini (231) with it, which were good, but still the thin center strip was super chewy with the off flavor. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Kassie,

      It is typical for the brioche to break off in the bucket, since it has butter in it. The master recipe may be a bit too dry or cold, which will cause it to break off and be too dense when it bakes. What kind of flour are you using?

      The alcohol flavor is from the yeast gas building up in the bucket, so I suggest you leave the bucket open just a hair, so the gas can escape. It is a natural part of the fermentation, and some people detect it more strongly than others.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hello Zoe, thank you for your reply. I sure thought it was too wet… the lid is not sealed just setting on top of the container. I used freshly ground hard white wheat and regular AP flour. I did use VWG as called for. When I mixed the brioche I weighed all ingredients and did notice my AP flour was heavier than the conversion table in the book. I measured a cup, poured and compared. I made that recipe by correct measurements and it was fantastic! Should I try the master recipe again using weights?

        Also, I don’t remember reading what to do with the dough after the first, second and third use? Do we add anything, or stir it? The dough looks like I should pat it together or stir it a little. Thanks.

      2. Hi Kassie,

        Thanks for this last note, it helps to clear things up a bit. The freshly ground flour will have far less gluten structure than flour milled commercially, it is much coarser and can’t develop gluten as effectively. Many other readers who have used fresh ground flour end up increasing the vital wheat gluten to make up for the lack of structure and have great results. What brand of AP are you using?

        The batch of dough should not need any additions when the consistency is just right, but in this case you will probably want to add more AP to the remaining batch.

        Thanks, Zoë

      3. Thanks again Zoe. We have ConAgra Mills AP flour. When I made the brioche dough I used the pastry setting on my mill. I used the bread setting for the master recipe. Since the brioche was fabulous should I use the pastry setting for all of your recipes? (And I will only weigh from now on too.) Also, I don’t really understand the science behind VWG do you know how much extra your successful readers are using? I am knew to baking and would hate to waste a whole batch by using too much. Thanks!

      4. Hi Kassie,

        Does the flour come out finer on the pastry setting? If so, yes, I think that is the setting you should try for all the recipes.

        If you are starting with a whole batch of dough, I’d add 2 additional tablespoons of the vital wheat gluten. You may also need to increase the water if the dough seems too dry.

        Thanks, Zoë

      5. Zoe, yay, thank you! The flour is finer on the pastry setting so that is what I will use from now on. I cannot wait to try this again. One last question: Would you recommend the increase in vital wheat gluten for any recipe in HBin5 that calls for it where I use freshly ground flour? Thanks

      6. HI Kassie,

        Yes, I think you are going to need the extra structure it provides. You may have to experiment with the amount.

        Cheers, Zoë

  7. Hi! It’s been a year since I made your bread and I’m having a loss of confidence. The dough seems a bit dry this time. I added a photo to the Flickr group a few minutes ago (“ABi5 dough” by CatCoop) but can’t figure out how to link here. I will figure it out in time for the next photo, I promise.

    It’s been 20m since I mixed a double batch and there are still lots of crags (not just bubbles) and the top looks like it’s already drying out,. However, it’s definitely rising. thoughts?

    1. Hi Cat,

      You can always add some more water to the batch. If you’ve made our dough before and this batch looks drier (which can happen in dry winter months) you can just add water, a tablespoon at a time, until it looks right.

      Thanks, Zoë

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