Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls

Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls

Well, we’ve made our Master recipe in a crock pot, our brioche in a crock pot, dinner rolls, and even our gluten-free dough in the slow cooker. It seemed a good time to add to the list, and so we took on crock pot cinnamon rolls. I’m happy to report that they work just as well; it’s as easy as rolling out dough, brushing some butter and sprinkling sugar, shaping rolls, and then letting them bake for an hour. My family couldn’t tell they weren’t baked in the oven, and my kids had the best after school snack of the year.

(more…)

Cream-filled Brioche Buns with Fruit for the 4th of July

We come to you again this week with one more 4th of July dessert, after realizing we didn’t have a version of these brioche buns on our website. These sweet little treats are made with our no-knead dough, filled with pastry cream and fresh fruit, then sprinkled with pearl sugar, making these red, white, and blue desserts perfect for your holiday weekend, or any day this summer.

Cream-filled Brioche Buns with Fruit

2 pound Brioche dough (page 300 in New Artisan Bread in Five)

Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked together)

1 cup Pastry Cream (page 348 in New Artisan Bread in Five)

2 cups fruit (sliced strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries work best)

Pearl sugar, for sprinkling

Divide the dough into 3 ounce pieces. Gently smooth the pieces into round balls of dough. Grease English Muffin Rings, and flatten the dough into 1/4 inch disks and place them in the molds on a parchment-lined baking sheet (if you don’t have rings you can make them free form, but they won’t keep their shape as well). Cover loosely with plastic wrap (spraying the plastic with a little cooking spray will help it not to stick to the top of the dough) and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. While the dough is rising, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and and preheat the oven to 350F.

Use a pastry brush to brush each round of dough with egg wash. Gently press in the center of the dough to make an indentation. Fill the center with 2 tablespoons of pastry cream.

Place the berries over the pastry cream, and sprinkle the edges with pearl sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the buns are puffed and light golden brown.

Eat the buns slightly warm; best eaten the same day they are made. Happy 4th of July!

Potato Brioche Buns for Father’s Day

It’s almost Father’s Day (did you remember?) and that might mean pulling out the grill this weekend and serving Dad up some serious burgers. We came up with this soft and delicious Potato Brioche Bun to serve alongside your favorite burger recipe, and it’s easy enough to put together that the kids can jump in and help, too. As with all our no-knead, refrigerated dough recipes, you can bake as little or as much as you want. So if you are social distancing and only need a couple buns (because the grill-out party is small this year), this is a perfect recipe for that.

If cooking and mashing potatoes just seems like too much work (even for a holiday), you can always check out our straight up Brioche Burger Buns, complete with Lamb Burger and Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce.

Potato Brioche Buns (based on the Brioche Recipe from New Artisan)

1 1/4 cup warm water

1 cup mashed Russet potatoes (sent through a food ricer for fine consistency, or mashed by hand)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water)

Seeds, for sprinkling (optional) – plain sesame seeds work fine; I used a bagel seed mix

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

Mix in the flour, using a spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours. Chill the dough for at least two hours, and up to 3 days.

The dough can be used as soon as it is chilled. This dough is way too sticky to use after the initial rise, but once it is chilled it is very easy to handle.

Divide the dough into 3 ounce pieces (this dough will make about 14 buns, but you can make less if desired). Gently smooth the pieces into round balls of dough. Grease six English Muffin Rings. Flatten the dough into 1/4-inch disks place them in the molds. If you don’t have rings you can make them free form, but they won’t keep their shape as well.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap (spraying the plastic with a little cooking spray will help it not to stick to the top of the buns) and allow the buns to rest for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on temperature of your kitchen), until the dough is just peeping over the top of the rings, and feels like a marshmallow when gently pressed/jiggled.

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Use a Pastry Brush to paint on the egg wash, and then sprinkle with seeds if desired.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown (I baked with steam for an extra soft bun, but you don’t have to do that).

Perfect for loading with a burger and toppings, or just nibbling on with a slice of cheese.

Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Coffeecake for Mother’s Day

Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Coffeecake

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend (you remembered, right?) and if you are celebrating your Mom or any other women in your life, we have a lovely (and easy!) coffeecake for you to put together. It is made with our 5 minute no-knead brioche and a delicious strawberry-rhubarb filling, but in a pinch you can use your favorite store-bought jam to substitute. We also have a coffeecake in Blueberry if that is more your jam (pun intended).

Other Bread in 5 news: Zoe did a Instagram live with our no-knead brioche, and made cinnamon rolls! You can watch her here shape the buns and cook them (and some other treats) in the slow cooker. We also have a recipe for Crock Pot Cinnamon Rolls if you’d rather take that route for Mother’s Day.

We have updated our Sourdough Starter post, with more helpful tips and troubleshooting suggestions. We also have a FAQ page we are constantly updating if you are having issues with your bread baking.

Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Coffeecake

Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Coffeecake

Streusel Topping

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup almond flour or oats

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling

1 cup rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 ounces strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar (if your rhubarb is really tart, you can add up to 1/2 cup sugar total, however the streusel and icing will add a lot of sweetness, so it’s better to keep the jam slightly on the tart side)
Pinch salt

1 pound (grapefruit-size portion) Brioche dough, from New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Icing
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Prepare the streusel topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the all-purpose flour, sugars, almond flour, salt, and cinnamon on low. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together but still is quite crumbly.

Prepare the fruit filling: Place the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and salt into a medium pan and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often, until the rhubarb and strawberries have broken down and the jam has thickened. The jam will cling to a wooden spoon when it is done. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the jam until ready to use. (Taste your jam – if it is a little flat, you can add a squeeze or two of lemon juice – about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until it brightens the flavor.)

Grease an 8-inch springform cake pan with butter and dust with flour. Set aside. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. Divide the piece in two, dust with more flour, and quickly shape each piece into a rough ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

Roll the balls out into two 1/4-inch thick rounds, about 9 inches across. As you roll out the dough, add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place one of the dough rounds in the bottom of the prepared pan.

Top with half of the fruit filling and and sprinkle half the streusel topping over it. Repeat with the remaining dough round, fruit filling, and streusel.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.

While the cake is baking, prepare the icing: In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, milk, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and mix again until smooth. If the mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.

Move the cake pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour the icing over the cake, and then let it continue cooling for 20 minutes.

Remove the cake from the springform pan while it is still warm.

Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

Kulich for Easter, Two Ways Plus a Book & Red Star Yeast and Book Giveaway! (CONTEST IS CLOSED, winners to be announced)

Full parent confession (because Easter season is the perfect time for coming clean): Weeks before our state issued a Stay-At-Home order, I had already done my Easter basket shopping. I was feeling terribly proud of myself: I had purchased a small gift for each of my two children, plus a guilt-free amount of candy (made up of mostly Reese’s peanut butter eggs, because then I can steal one, two). However, three days into our stay-at-home, I had already handed out the presents to keep my children entertained (distance learning hadn’t started yet! I’m trying to finish a manuscript!) and yesterday I realized I had eaten the last of the Reese’s peanut butter cups without sharing any with my kids. My conscious smote me (even though the candy was supposed to be free from guilt). I wondered what I would do in place of baskets, as we are trying to keep our grocery shopping to a minimum. I remembered this beautiful Easter bread recipe we have in our Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five book, and hoped it’s brilliant white icing and colorful sprinkles would make up for a lack of candy Sunday morning. (It won’t. But we’ll eat it together and focus on grace, because that’s what this holidays is about, right?)

Kulich (cool-ich) is an Easter bread that is scented and colored with saffron threads and topped with a sweet layer of icing. It is often made with St. Lucia Bun dough, but we took our favorite no-knead brioche dough from our New Artisan Bread in Five book and added a little saffron to it to make this version. We also include a recipe for ‘Cinnamon Roll Kulich’ – which is this same dough made with a cinnamon swirl center and baked in a popover pan to help keep its tall shape. Icing and sprinkles are also included, of course.

And, because we know that yeast is sadly becoming impossible to find on the grocery store shelves, we have partnered with Red Star Yeast and are giving away some of their yeast along with copies of our books!

GIVEAWAY! We’ll give away a copy of our book & Red Star Yeast to TEN lucky winners! You can choose from these titles if you are one of the randomly selected winners– CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED, WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED:

Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

–or Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day

–or Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

… to enter, leave a comment below or increase your chances by entering on our @breadin5 Instagram post! (U.S. addresses only, see our FAQ for details).

Kulich

2 pounds Brioche dough (page 300 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, or the recipe here on the website), with 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads mixed into the wet ingredients

All-purpose flour, for dusting

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), for brushing the dough

Icing

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons cream (or more as needed for a thick but pourable consistency

To bake: Generously grease a panettone mold with butter (the mold I use in the photos is currently unavailable but it is a 6 x 6 inch panettone pan with a removable bottom. Many people also bake them in large, empty, parchment lined coffee cans to achieve the high domed loaf.) Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Place the ball in the greased panettone mold, seam-side down.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. Brush the dough with egg wash. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack.

Make the icing: Mix the confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream together until smooth and thick enough to cling to the cake. You don’t want it to drip off the sides (like the very first photo shows) but if it does (like the one directly above) it will still taste good. Drizzle the icing over the cake and cover with colorful sprinkles.

Cinnamon Roll Kulich

1 1/2 pounds Brioche dough (page 300 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, or the recipe here on the website), with 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads mixed into the wet ingredients

All-purpose flour for dusting

Filling

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

Icing

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons cream (or more as needed for a pourable consistency)

Grease a 12 cup (or two 6 cup) large popover pans. (If you don’t have popover pans, you can use a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.)

Roll the dough into 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Brush the entire surface with the melted butter. In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Spread the mixture over the butter topped dough. Use your hands to make sure you have an even coat of the sugar. Then roll the dough up, starting at the long end.

Use a Bread Knife, Kitchen Scissors or floss to cut the log into 12 equal pieces.

Loosely cover the buns and let them rest between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The long rest will insure that you have a fluffy bun. (You can set these up the night before and let them rest overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning take them out and let them sit on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour.) You may get away with slightly shorter rise, but the buns will not be quite as soft.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, just until the centers are set when poked with your finger (they should be caramel colored). Turn the buns out of the pan (if using the popover pans). Let them cool on a wire rack.

Make the icing: Mix the confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream together until smooth and thick enough to cling to the cinnamon rolls. Drizzle the icing over each roll and cover with colorful sprinkles.

Red Star Yeast provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.

Sourdough Pizza

Making sourdough is a favorite pastime for many, but within the last few weeks thousands more have joined the club, as yeast is suddenly hard to find on the grocery store shelves. We here at Breadin5 have been making sourdough for years, and while we have a post on our Easy Sourdough Starter, we realized there are many more things to make with our no-knead bread method. We had some requests for a sourdough pizza crust, and we are delivering (pun intended).

We know that flour is also scarce, and the bread flour called for below may not be available to you right now. Since different types of flours have different protein levels (and this of course effects the recipe), we have included a video on mixing flour and adding more water if necessary. If you need help finding flour, good places to look are local bakeries (they sometimes will sell flour to customers), and restaurant supply stores. You can also check out Baker’s Field Flour & Bread – they are local to Minneapolis, but ship nationwide.

Finally, if you are interested in all things sourdough, check out this article on the scientists who revived yeast microbes from 4,500 years ago to make a loaf of bread.

Sourdough Pizza

Note: You’re going to need a sourdough starter. If you haven’t started one yet, please check out our post for Easy Sourdough Starter. Our method uses whole wheat flour, but I used bread flour (same proportions) in mine for the pizza.

Flour has different protein contents depending on the type and brand, which can effect how much water to use. If you mix your dough and it seems dry, more water can be added. We have included a video below of Zoë mixing up a batch of dough so you can see how your dough should look, and add water accordingly.

We have instructions in our Healthy Bread in Five Book for ‘semi’ sourdough – using some of the starter along with yeast to give a milder sourdough flavor. Check out page 390 for details.

Extra dough can be portioned into 10-ounce balls and frozen, if desired. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap, and then place in a freezer safe bag. Dough can be pulled out the night before using and thawed in the refrigerator overnight.

If you need extra help rolling out pizza dough and transporting it to the oven, there is a video at the very end where Zoe shows you how to do so.

2 cups lukewarm water (see note above)

3 cups activated levain (sourdough starter)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/8 cup olive oil

6 cups [840 g] bread flour

Mix the water, activated levain, salt, sugar, and olive oil together in 5-quart container or the bowl of a stand mixer.

Mix in the flour with a Danish dough whisk or a heavy duty stand mixer. Cover (not airtight) and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises, two hours or more (sourdough can take a lot longer to rise than commercial yeast. I let mine rise for 4 hours at room temperature, then moved it to the fridge overnight, where it continued to do a slow rise).

If your dough looks dry (which may happen depending on what type of flour you are using) you can add more water. Zoë demonstrates how your dough should look in the video below:

The dough can be used immediately after it’s initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate it in a lidded (not airtight) container and use for pizza over the next few days.

Preheat a baking stone at your oven’s highest temperature for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle a pizza peel liberally with flour. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 10-ounce piece. Dust it with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap or kitchen towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.

Flatten the dough with your hands and/or a rolling pin on a work surface, or directly onto a wooden pizza peel, to produce a 1/8-inch thick round. (You can also put it on a piece of parchment paper for ease. Note that your crust won’t brown as nicely if doing so! Parchment is shown in the photos below because I needed to move the pizza around to take photos. Also, my kids prefer a lighter crust. But if you want a dark crust, use a pizza peel.) Dust with flour to keep the dough from adhering to the surface. Use a dough scraper to unstick the dough as needed, and transfer to a pizza peel if you haven’t stretched the dough out on one already. When you’re finished, the dough round should have enough flour under it to move easily when you shake the peel.

Add toppings to your pizza (I kept mine simple: sauce and cheese, with a scattering of basil leaves after the pizza emerged from the oven). Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone. Check for doneness in 8 to 10 minutes, and turn the pizza around in the oven if one side is browning faster than the other. I took my pizza out earlier for a lighter crust (my kids’ preference), but you can take your crust as dark as you like.

Allow to cool slightly, preferably on a wire cooling rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

Watch Zoë roll out pizza dough here (you can find the full video on Instagram):

You can also do cracker-crust pizza with this dough, or any of our lean doughs.

Panettone Monkey Bread

We are big fans of sweet dough (especially around the most wonderful time of the year), and while we often choose gigantic cinnamon rolls, we will never say no to monkey bread. Over the years we’ve made Classic Monkey Bread, Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread, and even Crock Pot Monkey Bread, and now we are adding Panettone Monkey Bread to the list. The Panettone dough comes from our Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five book (a fabulous Holiday gift, wink wink), and works well in this adaption; it’s studded with orange, lemon, and dried fruit, coated in sugar and butter and then more sugar and butter. It’s the perfect way to start out Christmas break (or even just Monday morning).

Panettone Monkey Bread

(For step-by-step instructions, check out our Instagram highlights!)

Panettone Dough (from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five)

1 1/2 cups (340g) lukewarm water (100F or below)
1 tablespoon (10g) Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 tablespoon (17g) kosher salt
1/2 cup (170g) honey
8 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks | 225g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
2 cups (340g) mixed dried and/or candied fruit (I used a mixture of dried cranberries and candied orange peel, but golden raisins, dried pineapple, dried apricots, and dried cherries are all good options.)
7 1/2 cups (1065g) all-purpose flour

Filling

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 to 2 tablespoons Triple Sec (optional)

Generously butter a 9 x 4 x 4-inch Pullman Pan or 10-cup Bundt pan.

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. Divide the dough into about 30 equal pieces. Roll the dough into small balls. If the dough is sticking to your hands, coat your palms with a small amount of soft butter. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a bowl. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a second bowl. Drop the dough balls into the butter and then coat them with the cinnamon sugar.

Place the balls in the prepared pan.

Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed int he center of the oven.

Just before putting the pan in the oven, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, and then add any remaining cinnamon sugar, the brown sugar, and the salt. Add the triple sec and stir to combine.

Set the pan on a baking sheet, just in case the caramel bubbles over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until caramelized and set.

Allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes.

Invert the loaf onto a serving tray.

Lesaffre Yeast Corporation (Red Star) provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.

Pumpkin Star Bread for Thanksgiving with Red Star Yeast

Our Holiday Star Bread was quite popular last year, so we decided to come up with yet another version: this one with pumpkin filling and sprinkled with sanding sugar. Our original version is filled with sugar and holiday spices, but we’ve also tried it with jam and Nutella, so if you are interested in playing around with recipe, there is also room for your own interpretation! This beautiful bread made it into our newest book, Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it is one of the prettiest, easiest and most sensational breads to make for a family gathering or work party.

Pumpkin Star Bread

(For step-by-step instructions, check out our Instagram highlights!)

2 pounds Brioche dough made with Red Star Platinum Yeast, Challah, Amish Milk Dough or our White Bread Master dough (from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day) (note that the enriched doughs will produce a richer, thicker bread)

Pumpkin Filling

1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt)

For the pumpkin filling: Combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, butter, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring continuously until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium and continue to heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (the mixture is quite thick, so you need to look for slow bubbles). Once the puree is bubbling, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, still stirring. Remove the puree from the heat. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.

For the star bread: Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll the pieces into balls, and let rest for 20 minutes, covering with plastic wrap.

With a rolling pin, roll out all the dough balls into 10-inch circles. Place one of the circles on a piece of parchment paper. Put a couple tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture on the round and spread evenly.

Place another circle on top of the first circle, and spread a couple more tablespoons of pumpkin. Repeat with one more circle, then place the final circle on top. (I like to chill the star for 20 minutes at this point; it helps make cutting and twisting a little easier.)

Place a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (or other round object) in the center of the circle, and then use a bench scraper to cut the circle into 16 equal strips (starting at the circle and out to the end), cutting through all the layers.

Take two pieces of dough, and twist them away from each other twice. Repeat around the whole circle.

Pinch the ends of the pairs of strips firmly together to create the star (you should end up with 8 points).

Remove the biscuit cutter. Transfer the star on the parchment to baking sheet. Cover the star gently with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a bit puffy. During this time, preheat the oven to 400F. Before putting into the oven, brush the star with egg wash and sprinkle the center with sanding sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Best eaten the day it’s made.

Lesaffre Yeast Corporation (Red Star) provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.

Apple Brioche Braid

A popular recipe on our site is the Raspberry Brioche Braid, a pastry Zoe came up with to mimic a Danish braid without quite as much work. Since berries are now behind on us and we look forward to cold days and even colder nights, I decided to try my hand at an Apple version of Zoe’s creation. Since my children devoured the braid in moments I can assure you that is it in fact, quite delicious, and a perfect way to start a day, or end one.

Apple Brioche Braid

(For step-by-step instructions, check out our Instagram highlights!)

1 pound brioche dough made with Red Star Platinum Yeast (I’ve used the brioche dough from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and the Amish Milk Dough from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but you could also use Challah dough or one of the enriched doughs from our The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book or even Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

Quick Apple Filling

2 cups grated Gala apple

1/4 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch salt

Cream Cheese Filling

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) for topping braid

Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon brandy (optional)

Pinch salt

To make the jam: Place the grated apple, apple cider, sugar and salt into a pan and stir together. Simmer over a medium/low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until most the juice has cooked into the apples. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. (The mixture will still look very ‘grated’, but the apples will continue cooking as the bread bakes.)

To make the cream cheese filling: mix the cream cheese, zest and sugar in a bowl until smooth.

Take a one pound piece of dough from the dough bucket (weighing on a scale is the easiest way, but if you don’t have one, a grapefruit-sized piece will do) and roll the dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Make sure to use enough flour that the dough doesn’t stick to the surface or the rolling pin. TRANSFER THE ROLLED OUT DOUGH TO A SHEET OF PARCHMENT. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough, about 1 inch wide.

Top the cream cheese with about 1/2 cup of the apple filling. You can add more, but some may leak out of the braid as it is baking. There may be a little jam left over to serve with the baked braid.

Cut 1/2-inch thick strips of dough with a pastry or pizza cutter. (Try to get an even amount on both sides, but it’s okay if it doesn’t happen.)

Lightly twist the top two strips of dough, then cross them over the top of the filling. Do not pull the dough too thin or it may break as it rises and bakes. Continue that same routine of twisting the pieces and crossing them over each other on top of the filling, until you are at the bottom. If you find an odd piece of the dough, that doesn’t have a mate, just twist it and place it over the filling. When you get to the end, tuck the loose pieces under the loaf, so they are secure and won’t pop out when baking.

Place the braid and parchment onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic and allow to rest for about 1 1/2 hours.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Just before baking, brush the loaf gently with the egg wash.

Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes or until golden brown (I like to bake this braid on two layers of baking sheets, to keep the bottom from browning too quickly). Allow to cool before topping with the icing.

To make the icing: place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Combine the melted butter, water, brandy, and salt together, and pour it over the powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. It should come off a spoon in a thin drizzle.

Red Star Yeast sponsored this post, and provided yeast samples for recipe testing.

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!