Hot Cross Buns for Easter!

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns, hot cross buns, everybody loves hot cross buns! are the words to the children’s song, and they hold true even now. These little buns are traditionally served at Easter time: A sweet dough that is spiced, studded with dried (sometimes candied) fruit and decorated with a cross made of icing. I made them after many requests and my kids devoured them within minutes; they were nervous about the raisins, but the cream cheese crosses and scent of cinnamon and nutmeg drew them in.

As I researched these delicious buns I realized that there are just as many ways to make them as there are families who bake them. Some people slash the dough to make the cross, others use a flour and water paste to create the symbol and others use the sweet icing. Tell me how you make your buns, and if you don’t have a family tradition yet, you can start with these!

If you follow along on our Breadin5 Instagram, you can watch us make the buns in our Instagram stories. The recipe comes from our latest book, Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which also has a whole chapter on Easter bread recipes.

Hot Cross Buns

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Chocolate Bread… Yes, chocolate!

chocolate bread

As you all know by now, at BreadIn5 we take our sweets very seriously and chocolate is an essential food group. So we wanted to share one of the great pleasures of The New Artisan Bread in Five: Chocolate Bread. It has an intense chocolate flavor without being too sweet. This bread is equally as good with a sweet cherry jam as it is with a sharp cheddar; it all just depends on your mood. There will rarely be leftovers (but just in case there are we’ve also got a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding, page 362 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, that is out of this world!)

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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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The Best Granola, Ever!

This is one of my favorite recipes in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and it isn’t a bread at all. There is really nothing that smells as good as this granola when it is baking. It tastes incredible and makes a fabulous breakfast, snack or gift. It is one of those recipes you will end up baking over and over again.

I developed the recipe for the book to use in the “Aunt Melissa’s Granola Bread” on page 114. My Aunt lived with my father and me on a commune in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. She baked this granola at least once a week in massive batches to feed the many people who lived with us. It was so popular she ended up selling it to the local co-ops and then beyond. Our commune became all about granola production and I still to this day, over 45 years later, remember the smell of it baking.

My aunt passed away many years ago and the actual recipe with her. This one is very close and brings back all of the wonderful memories of that time and of her. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does! (more…)

Chili Bread Bowl for the Super Bowl

Chili Bread Bowl for Game Day | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

I have to admit that I watch football once a year. The Super Bowl is my kind of game; more about food and music, than actual football. Although I do regret missing the Vikings big game this weekend. Everyone gets excited about a good ending. Fingers crossed we will not only be hosting the Super Bowl in MN, but our team will also play a starring role. I know some of you will be disappointed in my laissez-faire attitude, but I really do take the food for this game seriously, so it makes me oddly qualified to write this chili bread bowl post. Among other things I’m making chili in my Crock-Pot, baking crusty rolls and creating these super tasty chili bread bowls. (more…)

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…)

Loaf Bread – The Best School Lunches start with Homemade Sandwich Bread!

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This is a reposting of one of our most popular topics!

It is now what I consider “sandwich season.” Some may call it “back to school,” “end of summer” or even “fall,” but to me it is the season when I have to come up with a million types of sandwiches and other lunches to keep my boys from growing up on PB&J alone! Although school lunches have come a long way since I was a kid, they still leave much to be desired and are mostly to be avoided.

To start I need the perfect loaf bread. My boys want a loaf that looks and feels like what all the other kids are eating; square and soft. They love crusty bread, but not on their sandwiches, especially not PB&J. To achieve just the right sandwich loaf I have slightly altered what we do in the book. (more…)

Raspberry Brioche Braid

Raspberry Brioche Braid | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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 book). 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 aforementioned 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 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 brioche 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 brioche braid can be put together in a no time. First, I used the 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. 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.

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Blueberry Yeasted Coffee Cake

I’ve been on a jam making kick this week. I read about a really easy recipe in Jennifer Farley’s book, The Gourmet Kitchen and had to give it a go. I am now on my third batch, in as many days. Skillet jam is a super simple way to make fruit jam without the pectin and there’s no need to figure out the whole canning process, since this jam will disappear in a snap. Honestly, I just eat it out of the jar with a spoon. Today I made just enough blueberry jam to fill this brioche based coffee cake. Depending on the season and where you live, you can use fresh or frozen berries for the jam. I used frozen wild blueberries and they have a lovely tartness. This layered coffee cake is a perfect treat to serve at Brunch or pack for a 4th of July picnic. (more…)

How to shape wet dough

The secret to our method is having a nice wet dough. This allows us to store the dough and make a beautiful loaf. One of the most often questions is how to successfully shape the wet dough into a nice neat ball. If your loaf is not shaped well, it may spread out and be too flat or it will bake in a shape you just didn’t intend. Even if your dough is super wet, even wetter than we intended, within reason, it can still be successfully shaped and bake into a gorgeous loaf. We’ll show you how in this video. The trick is using more flour than you may think is okay, but as you’ll see we aren’t working the flour into the dough, we’re just using it to keep the dough from sticking to our hands. As we gently handle the dough we add more flour. This allows us to shape, without overworking the dough. I didn’t use a Bench Scraper in this video, but it is a great tool for keeping the dough from sticking to your hands.

The dough in this video is the Master recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but this method can be used for any of our doughs.