Raspberry Brioche Braid

When my boys were little I took them berry picking. The concept was a good one and in my head it would be like a scene from Kinfolk. The boys sitting quietly by the raspberry bushes, adorably tossing berries into a gingham lined basket. The reality was more Lord of the Flies meets Blueberries for Sal (which is my all-time favorite children’s books). The boys would never sit still in a setting as inviting as this for running and wielding sticks, in-which to sword fight. Nor were they likely to toss a single berry into the basket, when they could just as easily eat them. So, I picked berries, while keeping an eye out to make sure my children were not impaling each other and were accounted for. I got enough berries to bake with, but they were not-so-ceremoniously consumed in the back seat of the car, by the before mentioned sword fighters, on the way home. It was an absolutely charmed day in its way, but not if your goal was to bake something tasty. We stopped at the store and bought Driscoll’s perfect raspberries, I baked a lovely raspberry brioche braid, that ended up in ABin5 and I have not gone berry picking (with the intention of bringing home berries) since…true story!

This raspberry braid is ideal for breakfast, brunch, after school snack or makes a sweet gift for your neighbor who just had an adorable baby (as mine recently did). When you have a bucket of brioche in the refrigerator this can be put together in a no time. First, I used the Driscoll’s berries to make a quick jam, which is so simple and delicious and I recommend making extra to just have around. The red of these berries makes for a ruby colored jam and the flavor is just pure raspberry, no additives or binders. These berries are all natural (organic options are available), never genetically modified and Driscoll’s follows the sun, so they are available and perfect all year round. The jam is spread over a layer of rich cream cheese filling and then the dough is folded over the fillings in a pattern that looks fancy, but is incredibly easy  to do. The finishing touches are a fresh raspberry glaze and sweet whole berries. It will impress everyone and they’ll assume you spent so much time preparing it. They never need to know how easy it is, until you share this recipe with them.

Driscoll’s is hosting a Minnesota-exclusive Giveaway (because we are the most raspberry loving people in the land (fun fact…according to the data reported by The Nielson Company the Twin Cities consumes 132% more fresh raspberries than the nation as a whole. This could be why Garrison Keillor, on the Prairie Home Companion, describes Minnesotans as “…all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average!”). When Driscoll’s asked me to create a recipe and share in their #BerryTogether Sweepstakes, it felt like a natural fit. One lucky, top prize winning, Minnesotan will get a 4-night getaway to Madden’s on Gull Lake. Four 1st-prize winners will receive Driscoll’s berries for a YEAR! All raspberry loving Minnesotans should visit www.berrytogether.com to enter. If you don’t have the good fortune to live in this great state, you can still bake this fantastic raspberry brioche treat.

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Whole Grain Christmas Stollen

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Christmas Stollen is a wonderful German baking tradition this time of year. A sweet loaf that is studded with dried fruit, spiced with cardamom and a special treat of almond paste runs through it. Once it comes out of the oven it is traditional to slather the warm loaf in butter then roll it in sugar, but we skip the extra butter and dust it with a thick layer of confectioners’ sugar to look like the snow outside. This loaf actually holds up very well for a couple of days and that makes it a great gift for the holidays.
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Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

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You are on the right site, we are just taking a short break from baking bread to bring you one of our absolute favorite recipes from Sarah’s new book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. You all know Sarah’s gorgeous work here on Breadin5, but you may not be as familiar with her baking website. Sarah has been working with us on the Breadin5 website and has been instrumental in our cookbook photoshoots as a food stylist. During our last marathon photo session she brought us cakes, cookies, scones and even pie she was testing for her own cookbook. When she brought in these chocolate chip cookies we took a moment out of the shoot to declare them the best cookies any of us had ever had. I do not say that lightly, considering I had a cookie company in college, have baked no fewer than 500 chocolate chip cookie recipes and have consumed even more. These are the best and now you have the recipe.

We are thrilled for Sarah and are so proud of her and this brilliant book! She and her publisher have graciously offered a copy of her book to a lucky winner of our GIVEAWAY. Just leave a note in our comments and we will select someone at random. It will make a great addition to your cookbooks or a lovely gift for someone on your list. All our normal contest rules apply. This contest is over.

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Gluten-Free Epi (and a Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour Giveaway)

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When Jeff and I set out to write Gluten-Free Artisan Bread, we tried every commercially available flour blend to see if there was one that matched the results we got by mixing our own. Sadly, there were none. They either didn’t taste good, which was a deal breaker, or the bread had a dense texture that we weren’t willing to put up with. So, we created our own mix of flours, which creates a great tasting bread with a lovely texture. But, it does require buying several flours to create just the right flavor and texture.

As I slipped through time looking at gorgeous photos on Instagram recently, I noticed a bunch of gluten-free pastries made with Better Batter Gluten-Free Flour. I was skeptical, because of my previous experience with other brands, but I finally gave it a shot. Well, you can guess, based on the fact that I am writing about it, that I LOVED the results. Not only was the flavor there, but the texture was nearly the same as our home mixed flour. It is really convenient to have a single flour to buy, especially for those who don’t do other gluten-free baking and don’t stock a variety of flours.

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I mixed up our Master recipe from our Gluten-Free Artisan Bread and used Better Batter ounce for ounce to replace our Flour Mixture #1. After baking these beautifully crusty Epi, I also tested our pita breads, which came out perfectly puffed and had a lovely color. I haven’t tested all the breads in the book, but I think it is worth a try. Until then, I am confident that it works in our Master recipe and will bet it will be a success in any recipe using our Flour Mixture #1.

I contacted Naomi Poe, who started Better Batter and she graciously agreed to host a giveaway with us, so you can have a chance to try out the flour for yourself. She is going to send out a 5-pound box of Better Batter to FOUR lucky winners. All you have to do is write a comment below and you will be entered to win. US citizens only. All of our contest rules apply(more…)

Craftsy Class Giveaway!

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It is coming up on baking season and we want to get you all ready and in the mood. As you may have heard, we did a Craftsy video series that shows all the tips and techniques for creating our favorite breads. The class is based on our Master recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but the course is helpful for baking any breads and pizzas from all of our books.

As a big THANK YOU to our Breadin5 community, we’re giving away our Craftsy Artisan Bread in Minutes class to a random winner. All you have to do is click on the link below to enter. Good luck and enjoy the class. (more…)

Super Peel Giveaway CONTEST CLOSED, WINNER HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED

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This is a Super Peel. It is one of those products, like the Danish Dough Whisk, that changes the game for baking with our dough. I was skeptical that this cloth-covered peel would do the trick of transferring our wet dough onto the hot stone in the oven without sticking. I’ve come to use parchment to guarantee the dough won’t stick to the peel, but that’s not at all necessary with the Super Peel. Even after an 1 1/2 hour resting time the dough slid right off the cloth, no sticking, no prying it off with a dough scraper. Voila! The most exciting part is that it scoops the loaf off the hot stone with as much ease. No more chasing the loaf to the back of the oven while trying to get it back on the peel.

Now that we are heading into grilling season, and there is nothing better than pizza on the grill, you have to watch this video about using the Super Peel for transferring pizzas. Gary Casper invented the Super Peel and generously shared the Peel with me to try out. I loved it so much I asked him to do a giveaway so we could share one with you. *Leave a note in the comments below and you will be eligible to win a Super Peel. The winner is: Sandy! We’ll be in touch, Sandy. (more…)

SkinnyTaste Hot Soup and Fresh Bread on a Cold Night!

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It wasn’t that long ago I spent a magic filled weekend with Todd and Diane (White on Rice Couple) in their California studio. It was one of those experiences I will never forget. Not only is their sun soaked space a dream come true for anyone with a camera, but they have a prop room the size of most homes. They invited a group of food bloggers to play in their kitchen and challenged all of us to push our photography in new directions. The talent of the group was mind bending, but it was really the generosity of the group, who freely shared their wisdom, that was so inspiring.

One of the lovely people I met that weekend was Gina Homolka from SkinnyTaste. Her blog and her book are both beautiful and a pure reflection of the woman behind them. She served a salad at the studio party that was simply incredible, so I bought her book. Now that I am home in the polar vortex that is Minnesota, and pretty much snowed in until March, I am all about hot soups. I wanted something that felt hearty enough to conquer the cold, but didn’t make me feel like I needed to nap after. I flipped through Gina’s book and found “Un”stuffed Cabbage Soup. I love stuffed cabbage. It reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen, but I’ve never had the patience to make them. This soup has all of those wonderful flavors, but none of the work. Perfect for a cold night with a loaf of fresh bread. I went with an ultra crusty Epi, but to keep it skinny, I made mini ones.

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Cinnamon Brioche Wreath, and a book giveaway (WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN)

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I’ve written before about being enamored with braided breads, and after making twisted loaves I thought it was time to add a wreath into the mix. Seeing braided wreaths of bread all over Pinterest makes me immediately think of the Holidays, that holly jolly time of year when everyone turns a blind eye at eating too many delicious sweets. I have a special breakfast for Thanksgiving and my family always makes these cinnamon rolls for New Years Day, but Christmas Eve needed something special. This wreath is the perfect treat. It looks harder than it is: just a few simple twists sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon make for a beautiful presentation. Click continue viewing below for more. But also: anyone posting a comment to this post will automatically be entered into a drawing–we’re giving away a copy of our any one of our U.S. books to five lucky winners (either The New Artisan Bread in 5, Healthy Bread in 5, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5, or Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in 5). Contest closes and winners will be selected on December 19. Usual rules apply, (will only ship to a U.S. address, only one entry allowed, and must respond within 24 hours if you’re a winner). Contest is closed; winners have been chosen and notified in e-mail as of 12/19/14.

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