Great Crust without the Steam!

without steam

For what ever reason some ovens just don’t trap steam very well. This is true of professional equipment, but some home ovens behave this was as well. The reason to care…if you don’t trap steam in the oven for the first 10 minutes of baking you will end up with a dull, lackluster crust, even if you use a good baking stone (which is essential for great free-form loaves).

There are a couple different ways to achieve this, including the tried and true misting bottle. You use a food grade spray bottle and mist the bread every minute for the first 10 minutes. This requires you to stick close to the oven and open the door repeatedly to spray. A bit more work than I’m generally willing to do, but it will give you a nice result. Here is a much easier way: (more…)

Brioche Dough Recipe

Brioche Dough Recipe | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Here is a classic fall recipe with a twist. It is a lovely and quick dessert, especially if you have a bucket of brioche on hand. For those of you who do not already own The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, here is the recipe and it can be used for all of these wonderful treats: caramel sticky buns, grilled fruit tart, fresh fruit muffins, Brioche à tête, apricot pastries and fabulous doughnuts! Actually the possibilities are endless, just use your imagination and let us know what treats you’ve come up with. (more…)

Cherry Tomato Baguette

Cherry Tomato Baguette

Great minds think alike! 😉  Jeff and I both felt compelled to blog about tomatoes this month. Probably our last ditch effort to use them before we head into the tomato-free season of winter. I swore I’d learn to can this year, but alas the summer and all of its gorgeous fruit has come and gone and I have nothing to show for it. So in these last days of summer we cling desperately to what will soon be just a lovely memory, the tomato. (more…)

Fruit Pizza on the Grill (baked with the stone)

sweet grilled pizza

As many of you now know my house is not air conditioned and it is creeping up into the 80s and 90s every day. So the idea of turning on my oven to bake a pizza is less than a thrilling one. To the grill I go, which we all know by now is not only “man’s” work. I love to grill and with this heat I’ve been doing a lot of it.

My son had a sleep over last night and they wanted pizza for dinner. I pulled out my bucket of dough, rolled it out and they loaded them up with toppings. Instead of baking the pizza directly on the grates, I preheated the grill with my pizza stone to 500° and slid the pizza directly onto the stone. I love the bottom crust on these pizzas, it is always nice and crisp. The topping takes a few more minutes to bubble, but it will eventually. (more…)

Rosemary Scented Baguette

Rosemary Baguette

I just bought herbs to plant in my garden. Unlike my girlfriend Anne Phyfe who lives in Seattle and has a hedge of rosemary in her yard, all year round, I have to replant mine every spring and hope for enough to get me through the season. After I planted the rosemary my hands were perfumed with that fresh herbaceous scent. I was moved to cut off some of the new delicate stems and bake it into the baguette that was rising on the counter. The result was a crust that had the light smell and taste of rosemary. (more…)

Brioche à Tête on Mother’s Day!

brioche a tete

This is a fabulously simple bread to make, and incredibly quick if you have a bucket of Brioche dough on hand. You can bake the bread in a loaf pan but for the Brioche à tête (tête means head) you really want to have the traditional fluted pan. It will be wonderful served with Lemon Curd (page 228) and jam on Mother’s Day this weekend. Not to mention its shape reminds me of the Venus of Willendorf, the ultimate 25,000 year old symbol of being a mom!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the proud moms!

Now let me show you how to shape the Brioche à tête. (more…)

Going back on the road in June!


Hope to see some of you this summer, we’ll be doing classes on our book and its recipes in Chicago, including the Tribune’s Printer’s Row Event (June 5-June 8), Seattle (June 19-June 22), and San Francisco (June 26-June 29). We hope to have some TV/radio/newspaper exposure as we did in Phoenix and in Atlanta in March (at Fox 5 TV News Atlanta, above).

More details when we know them! To keep track of our up coming classes please visit the Events page on this website.

Calzone for Lunch!


These days it is a struggle to find something kids want to bring for school lunch. It has to be easy to eat in the 15 minutes they are given, taste good, not produce a huge mess and make them the envy of their peers! Calzones are perfect, because everything’s wrapped up in the pizza dough–think spinach and homemade meatballs. (more…)