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!

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

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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Holiday Star Bread

This fanciful holiday 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.

This Holiday Star Bread has been making the rounds all over social media, so I decided to try it with some of our no-knead Challah dough. I’m happy to report that it works quite well, and it is not that difficult to make. Most of the recipes online have the same directions for shaping the star, so I borrowed from those when practicing, but substituted pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon just to change things up a bit. We also have a variation with jam, but Nutella or many other fillings would be fun, so if you are interested in playing around with recipe, there is room for your own interpretation. If you do end up making this bread and post on social media, tag #breadin5 so we can see your creations! You can also find us on Instagram at @breadin5.

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Pumpkin Brioche Doughnuts

pumpkin brioche doughnuts

It’s that time of year again: pumpkin in everything! I have to admit I don’t mind the pumpkin-y goodness showing up all over the interwebs; there is something very comforting (once the cold weather hits) about all the cinnamon spice in the air. We decided to update our pumpkin pie brioche recipe just a little, and as we are big fans of doughnuts over here, pumpkin doughnuts, of course, had to happen. If you are not yet in the mood for pumpkin, you can find our regular brioche doughnuts here. And, if you need a gluten-free treat, we have Apple Cider Gluten Free doughnuts here.

Also! Don’t forget you can pre-order our new cookbook, Holiday and Celebration Breads in Five Minutes a Day. You can read all about the book here. The book comes out November 6th, and you can preorder here.

pumpkin brioche doughnuts

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Ham and Cheese Brioche Sandwiches

Ham and Cheese Brioche Sandwiches | Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Tiny baked buns filled with ham, cheese, mustard, mayo, honey and covered in poppyseeds – what’s not to love? I came across the idea for these ham and cheese brioche sandwiches while paging through cookbooks, and immediately headed to the kitchen to make them. With all the ham, cheese, mayo, and butter, I wanted to keep the brioche buns on the lighter side, so I used our no-knead challah dough–it’s basically a light brioche. Plus, my family swoons every time I make it. I wasn’t wrong. These buns are delicious, and they are perfect for every occasion. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, baby showers, pool parties, even Father’s Day.

Ham and Cheese Brioche Sandwiches | Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

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Simple Cinnamon Braid

Bake Cinnamon Braid | Braided Cinnamon Bread Recipe | Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Last week I posted a picture of this cinnamon braid (made with our no-knead brioche dough) on Instagram, and had several requests for a recipe. So here it is! It’s basically a cinnamon roll in a prettier package, but it’s fun to make, and would be perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or just because.

And, as it is National Poetry Month, here is a lovely one involving a kitchen, a ritual, and eating together.

smoothing away time with the fluid line
of your memory
i am in place at your table
in the morning damp of your still dark kitchen
i wait for you to come

stepping through the curtained doorway
you enter intent on this day
restart the fire
fill place the kettle
pull open the kitchen door
inviting daylight to come
welcoming it into your house—
bringing it into mine.

-Kimberly Blaeser, Rituals, Your – and Mine (full poem here)

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Heart Braid

Pink Heart Braid Bread for Valentine's Day | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

The older I get, the less I am ‘into’ Valentine’s Day, but I have two little kids who still think it is an amazing holiday, so anything red, pink, and heart-shaped is welcomed into our home on February 14. I was scrolling through Instagram last week and came across this lovely heart-shaped challah, and then, remembering Zoe’s pink swirled bread and pink braid, I thought I could combine the two together for some celebration bread. I’m happy to report that it worked! The heart braid bread turned out pretty, and tasted delicious, too.

Pink Heart Braid Bread for Valentine's Day | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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