Pullman Loaf – perfectly shaped sandwich bread

The beauty of a pullman loaf is the perfectly shaped slices. If you don’t want to take a chance on a loaf that has a slightly irregular shape, then this is the pan for you. It makes for a perfectly square sandwich loaf or movie-worthy toast. Any of our bread doughs will work in this pan, but some rise more than others, so you will have to adjust the amounts. In this post I used a 100% whole grain oat bread from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which will rise less than our recipes using only white flour from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. You may need to experiment a little, but I will walk you through the process below.

Jeff and I are back on the road to bake pizzas. We are teaching a few classes on the way and would love for you to join us. There are a couple of spots left in our class in Atlanta if you are free to join us on 1/14, for more information visit our events page. (more…)

Loaf pan breads work beautifully with our method– giveaway of baking equipment from Red Star Yeast (GIVEAWAY CLOSED, see winners on 10/12 post)

cinnamon toast

People think of artisan-style loaves as being free-form, but our method also works beautifully in loaf pans, as you can see above (read on for instructions on how to make the cinnamon-raisin bread in Zoe’s picture).  We love crusty free-form artisan loaves, but nothing says “comfort food” and kicks off the fall baking season like a luscious traditional loaf like this one.

Our friends at Red Star Yeast have offered to provide some great prize packages for a giveaway— perfect for creating loaf-pan breads.  Red Star also shot a video of Zoe and me demonstrating the basic method from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes  a Day

We first met the Red Star people in Milwaukee, while on book tour for Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day— that’s where the company has its headquarters.  Red Star had found out through the bread grapevine (!) that we use their product.  Both of us have used it for years– it gives consistent, excellent results, and it’s the best value in the grocery store.  This fall, you’ll find bottles of Red Star yeast in the supermarket, with our pictures tied to them, in addition to a 75 cents-off coupon, and recipe links:


OK, here’s what’s in our Red-Star giveaway package, which will be awarded to six lucky entrants picked by random drawing next week.  You must enter by commenting HERE, on this post (one comment only), US entries only.  Don’t try to enter on the contest rules page, we won’t see that for the drawing (click here to view contest rules): (more…)

Wood Fired Oven in Italy, a Love Affair!

Istanbul, Greece, Naples, Rome and all the stops between were beyond my wildest expectations, but this pizza oven is where I fell in love. I rented a particular house in Tuscany, not for its stunning views, or proximity to wine, cheese, olive oil, gelato, pasta, pastries, all of which were minutes away, but for this oven. For the first three weeks of our journey we ate hundreds of pizzas and flatbreads, as research for our upcoming book on the subject, and now, in Tuscany I finally got back in the kitchen to do a little creating of my own. With a bit of help from David, our trusted culinary guide and keeper of the oven, I set out to bake pizza in Italy, an admittedly ballsy move. (more…)

Baking Bread in a Closed Clay Pot (“Cloche”)– the best crust yet!

cover-cloche-baked-boule.jpg

So many people asked us about baking our dough inside a closed cast-iron pan that Zoe did a beautiful post on the subject a few weeks ago.  The cast-iron pan method is based on a much older method, where bread is baked inside a closed clay pot (or “cloche,” meaning “bell” in French).  Both methods depend on trapped steam from the dough to create a perfect crust, but the clay pot has the added benefit of being porous, so moisture is trapped, but also conducted away from the surface as the bread bakes.  I tested the Sassafras brand “La Cloche” product, and I’m very impressed with the crust I’m getting –take a look at the picture above; this crust is thin and shatters when broken (the burned bits are perfect in artisan loaves; that’s how you know you’ve baked long enough).  Keep in mind that these crust results are hard to re-create with loaves very high in whole wheat (because of oils in the wheat’s germ).  The bread above is about 15% whole grains– it’s a light version of the Peasant Loaf on page 46 of the book.  Whole grain breads perform beautifully in “La Cloche,” but the crust tends to be softer and thicker.

For crust aficionados, I think the “La Cloche” results are a little better than what I get inside closed cast-iron.  We didn’t put these two methods in our first book, because we wanted to keep things as simple as possible.  But with results like these, they’re going into he second one (publication date is 10/13/09)! (more…)