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.

Tsoureki: Easter Bread from Greece

Easter is right around the corner, and while it is celebrated in different ways by many, one common thread is to involve colorful eggs, either in hunts or baskets or bread.

Tsoureki is the traditional bread of Easter in Greece and many other Christian countries. The dough is enriched and then twisted around brightly dyed eggs. The bread is often braided with three strands to represent the holy trinity, formed into a circle as a reference to life and the eggs are dyed red as a symbol of Christ’s blood. The bread is sweet, flavored with orange zest and a traditional Middle Eastern spice called Mahlepi, which is made from ground cherry pits (the spice can be found in Middle Eastern or Greek markets). If you don’t have Mahlepi, you can make the dough with ground Anise seed or even Cardamom. We’ve made them individual-sized here, with light pink eggs, but you could make them any color you would like (for a large loaf, we have a recipe here).

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Cheesy, Spinach and Egg Boat

Once in a while I make a decision that seems like a fantastic idea, then it terrifies me and then proves to change my life. Agreeing to write Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day with Jeff in 2005 was one such moment. Recently, I gave my dad a gift that falls into the same category. He has been going into the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) on the Minnesota/Canada border for decades. He’s gone alone, he’s taken my brothers, he’s taken my sons, but I have never gone. To say I am not a camper is an understatement. I like memory foam and a thread count on my sheets that you can’t buy at REI. So, when I asked him to take me camping in the BWCA, he was thrilled and booked the date before I could change my mind, which I have considered many times. I am so excited, slightly terrified and I’ve heard many people say this is a trip of a lifetime. I have no doubt I will come back a changed woman.

My dad came over to start planning our big canoeing adventure, so I figured a cheesy, spinach and egg boat was a fitting lunch. This savory flatbread is featured in our The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, made with our whole wheat master recipe. Today I made it with brioche dough and it was fantastic. It’s a really fun flatbread, that is easier than you think to make and will jazz up a breakfast, lunch or brunch. It may or may not change your life, but it will add joy! (more…)

Cinnamon Twists

We’ve been on a breadstick kick. My children are obsessed with them, and love them even more than pizza. They’ve started begging for breadsticks at every meal, and while I don’t always heed their cries, I do find I am making them more than usual. Why? Well, they are so easy to put together, and work with almost any kind of meal. Pizza and breadsticks. Spaghetti and breadsticks. Chicken and breadsticks. Lasagna and breadsticks. (Don’t worry, there are plenty of vegetables served alongside, too). One weekend morning, when breadsticks were brought up for breakfast, I decided to surprise them with cinnamon twists instead. They were an instant hit, and while these are not a weekly affair, they are a fun, simple way to sweeten up a breakfast, brunch, or even dinner table.

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Easy Sourdough Starter

The recipe that excites me most in our latest book, The The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is the easy Sourdough Starter. I’m an admitted baking geek, so spending hours on a recipe can be exciting to me, but I know this concept sounds like work to some and just terrifies others. That’s why Jeff and I set out to write these books in the first place, being able to compel busy people to bake bread at home has been our mission. Now you can also create a sourdough starter; easily, without fear and without dedicating your whole day to the project. In fact, it only takes a few minutes a day to get your starter up and running. It really is that easy, but it takes several days to get your starter strong enough to actually use in a batch of bread. Until it is ready to go, you can always bake any of the other yeast filled recipes in our books.

All you need to make your sourdough starter is flour, water and a container to keep it in. Nothing special or fancy. Just make sure the container can hold at least two quarts of starter. You’ll see some Baking Bloopers below of what happens if your container is too small.

Once you have created your starter you can use it to bake beautiful loaves, with or without added yeast. The flavor is incredible and you will still be making a large batch of dough and storing it for up to a week, so you will do the work on one day for many loaves.

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Pretzel Rolls

It’s a New Year. Regardless of your political convictions and leanings, one thing we should all agree on is that pretzel rolls need to be on our 2017 agenda. Easier to make then pretzels (no shaping and twisting and forming!), these rolls taste amazing on their own, or sliced open and made into sandwiches. I can’t decide how I like them best, but I do know they are on my baking list every single week. (You can find regular pretzels and baked pretzels on our site as well!)

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Easy Dinner Rolls

Soft pull-apart buns are a classic dinner accompaniment. Known for their tender texture and delicious taste, they are a favorite for both adults and children alike. The whole wheat version of our recipe found in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day gives you a slightly healthier spin without compromising the great, buttery taste. While they are easy enough to make any night of the week, these dinner rolls can also find their way to your entertaining table.

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Raisin Walnut Bread (Baked in an Emile Henry Bread Baker with Red Star Platinum Yeast)

Raisin Walnut Bread | Breadin5 14

I have to admit when Emile Henry asked if I wanted to try this new covered loaf pan, I was a bit skeptical about the claims they were making. It’s a gorgeous loaf pan, but would it really bake a bread with a perfectly crisp, shiny crust on the top and bottom, just because of the holes in the lid and on the bottom of the ceramic baking vessel? Well, I’m here to say I was wrong to judge without trying, again. Just as I was wrong about the crock pot baking great bread, this loaf pan really does bake a fantastic loaf. The crust is thin and golden brown, without having to add steam or remove the cover during baking. It’s all about the holes! You can see the same loaf baked in a regular loaf pan at the bottom of the post and see for yourself just how well it works.

Raisin Walnut Bread | Breadin5 17

I used Red Star Platinum yeast to mix up this raisin walnut bread dough, and I loved the results with this loaf.

Bread Baker, Book and Platinum Giveaway | Breadin5
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Chocolate and Orange Confit Brioche

chocolate orange bread

With less than a week away from the most wonderful time of the year (sing that to yourself in a Bing Crosby voice), I find myself frantically baking for this Saturday and Sunday. I love passing out goodies to the neighbors each year, and while we have stacks of cookies and bars, somehow a loaf of bread is most ideal. This loaf is extra special – with both a tender crumb and studded with chocolate and orange pieces, it is breakfast and dessert, a sweet indulgence to bring tidings of comfort and joy. This recipe makes two loaves, so you can make one for snacking and one for giving. Happy Holidays!

chocolate orange bread

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Milk and Honey Braided Buns with Dried Fruit and Pearl Sugar

raisin buns

The Holidays are quickly approaching, but I’m sure you’ve had some inkling of that, seeing as most stores started blasting the Christmas tunes the day after Halloween. I will admit to starting it a little too early, as this time of year is my favorite, and I’m always ready to jump into the celebration. Holiday baking is high on my list of favorite things to do, and while I spend plenty of time making cookies and bars and candy, yeasted treats are the most delicious.

We’ve made plenty of delicious holiday breads here on our site (Christmas Stollen, Brioche Cake with Sugared Cranberries, Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread, and Panettone, just to name a few), and we’re going to add one more to the line up: Milk and Honey Braided Buns. Studded with dried fruit and topped with pearl sugar, these little braids are a lovely addition to any Christmas breakfast or New Years’ Brunch. (And, if you’re in need of any more Holiday music, I have a playlist here and here you can check out.)

raisin buns

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