Hanukkah panini: Jeff’s new favorite Holiday tradition

I recently did an interview for BoschMixers.com, talking about unorthodox Holiday traditions–we talked panini, and anytime of year is the right time of year for one. We’ve done two grilled sandwich posts here on the website. Now, our official panini post isn’t quite right for Hannukah (there’s ham in it, but you can leave it out, of course). Our other grilled sandwich post is more American style than Italian–also fantastic.

What’s your favorite non-traditional recipe to whip up during the holiday season?

Bosch Blogger Interview - Jeff HertzbergMy family is Jewish, and many Hanukkah foods are fried things–commemorating the ancient Jerusalem temple lamp that miraculously stayed lit for eight nights when there was only enough oil for one. So for us, fried potato pancakes (latkes) are traditional. But then, my wife and I have added some odd ones to the mix, partly because she was a college coop baker, and partly because I became an obsessive baker (once she taught me how to do it). These days, when my daughter comes home from college, she’s craving the perfect peasant bread that they just don’t have at her college cafeteria—the bread we’ve been baking at our house since she was a little kid. It gotten even more extreme this year, because she’s in South America studying for a semester. Apparently, they just don’t have a very diverse cheese tradition in Ecuador, so she’s craving perfect grilled cheese made with a terrific sheep cheese we get (manchego)—on that bread. In December, when she’s back, we may crank out some latkes, but the fried Holiday food we’re making will be panini—grilled cheese sandwiches done the Italian way, on a press, in olive oil. That’s the perfect fried food for this particular Hanukkah.

Why is it your favorite?

It has everything going for it—great bread, great cheese, and olive oil!

How did you learn about this recipe?

The bread is from my first book, now in its second edition—The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (2013). It’s the European Peasant Bread on page 94.

When was the first time you made this recipe?

I started making a version of this bread when I was a medical resident—in 1987.

Do you make this dish each year?

The bread is a long-time favorite in my house, and the panini, less consistently. It’s going to be our new Hanukkah tradition.

What does this recipe entail (including ingredients, time, equipment, etc)?

For the bread, with our method you mix and store a large batch of dough for up to two weeks, then cut off 1-pound chunks to bake as often as you like during that time. Flour, water, salt, yeast—that’s it. High moisture is what makes the storage possible.

Do you have any specific accounts or fond memories tied to this recipe?

My kids ate a version of this bread in their lunch sandwiches pretty much every day when they were growing up.

Jeff’s doing a benefit class for Minneapolis’s Legal Rights Center on November 30

Jeff will join forces with New York Times food writer Martha Rose Shulman to create perfect pizza crust and imaginative toppings (guess who’s doing which), in a benefit for Minneapolis’s Legal Rights Center, a non-profit legal organization dedicated to diverting kids from the criminal justice system and into restorative justice programs. The baking demo will be from 4:00pm to 5:30pm on November 30, 2017 ($150 donation to LRC). After the demo with Jeff and Martha, starting at 5:30pm, it’ll be an evening of great conversation with great Twin Cities cooks and foodies who’ll be in attendance, including Lucia Watson (founder of Lucia’s restaurant and cookbook author), Beth Dooley (Twin Cities food writer and cook book author, and Matt Morgan (chef from The Bachelor Farmer, Heartland, Aquavit, and Chef’s Taverna). There’s an additional $100 donation if you choose to stay after the demo.

Click for more information and to register…

How & When to Swap Bread Flour for All-Purpose in Mini-Wreath Pain d’Epis

People often ask us why we only used all-purpose flour (where we called for white flour) in The New 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).   (more…)

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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The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day is Available for Pre-Order!

The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

We are so pleased to announce that our newest book, The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is available for pre-order (click to order)! The book will ship out on November 1 and it will be available in your local stores as well. This project has been a long time in the making. As soon as we got the chance to rework New Artisan Bread, we knew we’d  want to update our healthy book. We kept all the things we loved about the original book (many of the recipes, including our GF chapter) and added more 100% whole grain breads…. (more…)

Corrections to the first printings of The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (2016)

These snuck through in the first printings of The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day:

Page 337, Milk and Honey Raisin Bread, footnote to Ingredients table:  Asterisked footnote should read “If omitting vital wheat gluten, decrease water by 1/2 cup.” Correct quantity of water will then be 1 and 1/2 cups.

Page 354, Pumpkin Pie Brioche, ingredients table: Lukewarm water should be 1 1/4 cups / 10 ounces / 285 grams. There is a line in the recipe calling for 2 cups lukewarm water that should be struck from the table.

 

Fresh-picked Strawberry Danish

Strawberry Danish

The secret of great fruit tarts and danishes?  Great fruit, of course.  If you have great stuff, it’s not all that complicated.  Take out some stored dough, and just a little more effort gets you a great dessert.  My family and some friends had visited Sam Kedem Nursery Garden, near Hastings, Minnesota, where we’d heard they had perfect strawberries ready for picking (they’re on to raspberries now).  So we were well stocked with great strawberries.

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Braided Savory Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nut Dinner Pastry

cover-braided-danish-w-feta-spinach-pignoli.jpg

This started out as a dessert post, but then I looked out the window, and it’s October in Minnesota, and fresh berries from the U-pick farm are long over with.  My family needs something warming tonight, so I dropped my almond cream and raspberry idea, and jogged to the store for spinach and feta to go with the pine nuts I already had in the house.  Not only is this thing delicious, but I stashed gobs of spinach into it and it was super kid-friendly anyway.  (more…)