There is nothing more American than grilling on the 4th of July, well, maybe a star spangled pizza is the most patriotic of all. This is a super fast pizza that is ideal for breakfast, which I just served my family this morning, or can be throw together at your holiday BBQ as dessert. I made the pizza in a small baking sheet, but you can make a larger one if you have a crowd to feed.
OK, first the disclaimer, I did not bake the breads above, this is from an old post I did after a trip to France, where these loaves were bought and eaten. I also need to admit that it looks like I bit the perfect tip off the baguette on the right (I did, on my walk back from the boulangerie–bakery). Truth moment, even though you can bake baguettes in your gas grill (and I’ll prove it in a video below), they won’t look quite like these. No matter, they’re still delicious. Read on–click “more” below…
It’s almost Father’s Day (did you remember?) and that might mean pulling out the grill this weekend and serving Dad up some serious burgers. We came up with this soft and delicious Potato Brioche Bun to serve alongside your favorite burger recipe, and it’s easy enough to put together that the kids can jump in and help, too. As with all our no-knead, refrigerated dough recipes, you can bake as little or as much as you want. So if you are social distancing and only need a couple buns (because the grill-out party is small this year), this is a perfect recipe for that.
If cooking and mashing potatoes just seems like too much work (even for a holiday), you can always check out our straight up Brioche Burger Buns, complete with Lamb Burger and Cilantro-Yogurt Sauce.
1 cup mashed Russet potatoes (sent through a food ricer for fine consistency, or mashed by hand)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water)
Seeds, for sprinkling (optional) – plain sesame seeds work fine; I used a bagel seed mix
Mix the water, potato, butter, eggs, sugar, yeast, and salt in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the flour, using a spoon until all of the flour is incorporated.
Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours. Chill the dough for at least two hours, and up to 3 days.
The dough can be used as soon as it is chilled. This dough is way too sticky to use after the initial rise, but once it is chilled it is very easy to handle. That said, because potatoes can vary in their water-content, you may have to adjust the flour–you can add more after everything’s mixed, but give the dough a couple of hours on the counter to re-ferment or the buns will be dense.
Divide the dough into 3 ounce pieces (this dough will make about 14 buns, but you can make less if desired). Gently smooth the pieces into round balls of dough. Grease six English Muffin Rings. Flatten the dough into 1/4-inch disks place them in the molds. If you don’t have rings you can make them free form, but they won’t keep their shape as well.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap (spraying the plastic with a little cooking spray will help it not to stick to the top of the buns) and allow the buns to rest for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on temperature of your kitchen), until the dough is just peeping over the top of the rings, and feels like a marshmallow when gently pressed/jiggled.
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Use a Pastry Brush to paint on the egg wash, and then sprinkle with seeds if desired.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown (I baked with steam for an extra soft bun, but you don’t have to do that).
Perfect for loading with a burger and toppings, or just nibbling on with a slice of cheese.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend (you remembered, right?) and if you are celebrating your Mom or any other women in your life, we have a lovely (and easy!) coffeecake for you to put together. It is made with our 5 minute no-knead brioche and a delicious strawberry-rhubarb filling, but in a pinch you can use your favorite store-bought jam to substitute. We also have a coffeecake in Blueberry if that is more your jam (pun intended).
1 cup rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces 3 ounces strawberries 1/4 cup granulated sugar (if your rhubarb is really tart, you can add up to 1/2 cup sugar total, however the streusel and icing will add a lot of sweetness, so it’s better to keep the jam slightly on the tart side) Pinch salt
Icing 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 2 tablespoons milk Pinch salt 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 to 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Prepare the streusel topping: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the all-purpose flour, sugars, almond flour, salt, and cinnamon on low. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together but still is quite crumbly.
Prepare the fruit filling: Place the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and salt into a medium pan and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often, until the rhubarb and strawberries have broken down and the jam has thickened. The jam will cling to a wooden spoon when it is done. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the jam until ready to use. (Taste your jam – if it is a little flat, you can add a squeeze or two of lemon juice – about 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until it brightens the flavor.)
Grease an 8-inch springform cake pan with butter and dust with flour. Set aside. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. Divide the piece in two, dust with more flour, and quickly shape each piece into a rough ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
Roll the balls out into two 1/4-inch thick rounds, about 9 inches across. As you roll out the dough, add flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place one of the dough rounds in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Top with half of the fruit filling and and sprinkle half the streusel topping over it. Repeat with the remaining dough round, fruit filling, and streusel.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
While the cake is baking, prepare the icing: In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, milk, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and mix again until smooth. If the mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
Move the cake pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Pour the icing over the cake, and then let it continue cooling for 20 minutes.
Remove the cake from the springform pan while it is still warm.
When we wrote our books, we were aware of the controversies surrounding food consumption and its effect on health, and over the years we’ve received many questions related to health claims made in the media and in popular books. The answers are complex and the science is often inconclusive. Given that, we don’t make any specific health-promotion claims about the breads in our books. When we first wrote Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day in 2009, we knew that it’d generate lots of questions. Below (scroll down), you’ll find part of the introduction to that book, which addresses the state of the science related to nutrition and bread ingredients. In Healthy Bread, we baked with lots of whole wheat and other whole grains, and had a whole chapter on sourdough baking.But bread is a carbohydrate food, and the best advice that scientists give us is this: don’t binge on it. Eat bread and other energy-rich foods in moderation or you’ll gradually gain weight and put yourself at risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions. That’s the best science-based advice we can give. Two specific topics on which we get a lot of questions here on the website:
Sourdough? Are there health benefits, compared with breads made with commercial yeast? Short answer: the science is far from clear on this, and mainstream researchers aren’t promoting sourdough as having any particular health effects, despite it’s natural bacteria and yeast, and supposed effects on acid balance or glycemic index–the evidence just isn’t there. Like all breads, sourdough loaves are a carbohydrate food, and should be eaten in moderation. The main reason to eat sourdough is its wonderful flavor, and that’s the thinking that drove most of the choices in our books.
Gluten-free? We wrote Gluten-Free Bread in Five Minutes a Day primarily for people with celiac disease, a well-documented medical condition that may affect as much as 1% of the population. People with celiac cannot eat bread made from wheat or anything with gluten. For other folks who feel better when they don’t eat wheat or gluten, the science is newer, and less clear. We can’t make any claims about health benefits of gluten-free bread, other than that it’s the only option for celiacs. There’s no credible evidence suggestiong that everyone needs a gluten-free diet.
1. Whole grain flour is better for you than white flour: Because whole grains include the germ and the bran, in addition to the starch-rich but fiber- and vitamin-poor endosperm whole grain flours bring a boatload of healthy substances into your diet, including phytochemicals (beneficial plant chemicals), vitamins, and fiber. Those are pretty much absent from white flour. Iron, niacin, folic acid, riboflavin, and thiamine are added back in enriched commercial white flour, but no other nutrients—so whole wheat delivers more complete nutrition than enriched white flour. But there’s more—because bran and germ in whole grains dilute the effect of pure starch in the endosperm, the absorption and conversion of starches into simple sugars is slowed, so blood glucose (the simplest sugar) rises more slowly after consumption of whole grains than it does after eating refined white flour products. Complex, high-bran carbohydrates are said to have a lower “glycemic index,” a measure of how fast your blood sugar rises after eating a particular food. The evidence for better handling of blood sugar, better digestive function, and heart health convinced the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make two recommendations in their current guidelines:
Consume a high-fiber diet, with at least 14 grams of dietary fiber per 1,000 calories consumed in an ideal-calorie diet each day. For a 2,000-calorie diet (appropriate for most women), that means about 28 grams of fiber a day. For a 2,500-calorie diet (appropriate for most men), that means 35 grams a day). 100% whole wheat bread contains a little less than 2 grams of fiber per slice if you cut a thin 1-ounce slice, and 3 to 4 grams if you cut a 2-ounce slice. White bread contains a quarter of that.
Make sure that at least half of your grain intake iswholegrain.
2. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils are better for you than saturated and trans fats (like butter and hydrogenated oil): Switching to these oils or other heart-healthy fat sources can benefit those with high blood cholesterol.
3. Low-salt breads will benefit people with hypertension, heart failure, and kidney failure: This applies to all our breads—they all can be made with less or even zero salt, though the flavor will of course be different.
4. Nuts and seeds contain heart-healthy oils: Though they’re concentrated calorie sources, nuts and seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fats (monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats).
5. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources for protective phytochemicals and vitamins: In Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, we have a whole chapter of breads enriched by fruits or vegetables, which are fiber-rich and loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
And one final word of advice about diet and health: Please don’t obsess about food. This is supposed to be fun. If you can put some healthy ingredients into your bread and you like the flavor, do it. Most of all, enjoy your food!
Before we even start, if you’ve already tried this recipe and are having trouble getting your sourdough starter to the “very-active” stage, or if your loaves aren’t rising well, or if they’re too dense, you can skip to the Troubleshooting tips below… scroll waaaay down. If you’re new to this page, start right here with this post about sourdough starter. –Jeff
The recipe that excites us most in our latest book, The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is the easy Sourdough Starter. We’re admitted baking geeks, so spending hours on a recipe can be exciting to us, but we know this concept sounds like work to some and just terrifies others. That’s why we 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 (in French, levain); 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.
Full parent confession (because Easter season is the perfect time for coming clean): Weeks before our state issued a Stay-At-Home order, I had already done my Easter basket shopping. I was feeling terribly proud of myself: I had purchased a small gift for each of my two children, plus a guilt-free amount of candy (made up of mostly Reese’s peanut butter eggs, because then I can steal one, two). However, three days into our stay-at-home, I had already handed out the presents to keep my children entertained (distance learning hadn’t started yet! I’m trying to finish a manuscript!) and yesterday I realized I had eaten the last of the Reese’s peanut butter cups without sharing any with my kids. My conscious smote me (even though the candy was supposed to be free from guilt). I wondered what I would do in place of baskets, as we are trying to keep our grocery shopping to a minimum. I remembered this beautiful Easter bread recipe we have in our Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five book, and hoped it’s brilliant white icing and colorful sprinkles would make up for a lack of candy Sunday morning. (It won’t. But we’ll eat it together and focus on grace, because that’s what this holidays is about, right?)
Kulich (cool-ich) is an Easter bread that is scented and colored with saffron threads and topped with a sweet layer of icing. It is often made with St. Lucia Bun dough, but we took our favorite no-knead brioche dough from our New Artisan Bread in Five book and added a little saffron to it to make this version. We also include a recipe for ‘Cinnamon Roll Kulich’ – which is this same dough made with a cinnamon swirl center and baked in a popover pan to help keep its tall shape. Icing and sprinkles are also included, of course.
And, because we know that yeast is sadly becoming impossible to find on the grocery store shelves, we have partnered with Red Star Yeast and are giving away some of their yeast along with copies of our books!
GIVEAWAY! We’ll give away a copy of our book & Red Star Yeast to TEN lucky winners! You can choose from these titles if you are one of the randomly selected winners– CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED, WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED:
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), for brushing the dough
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cream (or more as needed for a thick but pourable consistency
To bake: Generously grease a panettone mold with butter (the mold I use in the photos is currently unavailable but it is a 6 x 6 inch panettone pan with a removable bottom. Many people also bake them in large, empty, parchment lined coffee cans to achieve the high domed loaf.) Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Place the ball in the greased panettone mold, seam-side down.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. Brush the dough with egg wash. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the bread to cool on a wire rack.
Make the icing: Mix the confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream together until smooth and thick enough to cling to the cake. You don’t want it to drip off the sides (like the very first photo shows) but if it does (like the one directly above) it will still taste good. Drizzle the icing over the cake and cover with colorful sprinkles.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cream (or more as needed for a pourable consistency)
Grease a 12 cup (or two 6 cup) large popover pans. (If you don’t have popover pans, you can use a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.)
Roll the dough into 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Brush the entire surface with the melted butter. In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Spread the mixture over the butter topped dough. Use your hands to make sure you have an even coat of the sugar. Then roll the dough up, starting at the long end.
Loosely cover the buns and let them rest between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The long rest will insure that you have a fluffy bun. (You can set these up the night before
and let them rest overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning take
them out and let them sit on the counter for about 45 minutes to an
hour.) You may get away with slightly shorter rise, but the buns will not be quite as soft.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, just until the centers are set when poked with your finger (they should be caramel colored). Turn the buns out of the pan (if using the popover pans). Let them cool on a wire rack.
Make the icing: Mix the confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream together until smooth and thick enough to cling to the cinnamon rolls. Drizzle the icing over each roll and cover with colorful sprinkles.
Red Star Yeast provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.
Making sourdough is a favorite pastime for many, but within the last few weeks thousands more have joined the club, as yeast is suddenly hard to find on the grocery store shelves. We here at Breadin5 have been making sourdough for years, and while we have a post on our Easy Sourdough Starter, we realized there are many more things to make with our no-knead bread method. We had some requests for a sourdough pizza crust, and we are delivering (pun intended).
We know that flour is also scarce, and the bread flour called for below may not be available to you right now. Since different types of flours have different protein levels (and this of course effects the recipe), we have included a video on mixing flour and adding more water if necessary. If you need help finding flour, good places to look are local bakeries (they sometimes will sell flour to customers), and restaurant supply stores. You can also check out Baker’s Field Flour & Bread – they are local to Minneapolis, but ship nationwide.
Finally, if you are interested in all things sourdough, check out this article on the scientists who revived yeast microbes from 4,500 years ago to make a loaf of bread.
Note: You’re going to need a sourdough starter. If you haven’t started one yet, please check out our post for Easy Sourdough Starter. Our method uses whole wheat flour, but I used bread flour (same proportions) in mine for the pizza.
Flour has different protein contents depending on the type and brand, which can effect how much water to use. If you mix your dough and it seems dry, more water can be added. We have included a video below of Zoë mixing up a batch of dough so you can see how your dough should look, and add water accordingly.
We have instructions in our Healthy Bread in Five Book for ‘semi’ sourdough – using some of the starter along with yeast to give a milder sourdough flavor. Check out page 390 for details.
Extra dough can be portioned into 10-ounce balls and frozen, if desired. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap, and then place in a freezer safe bag. Dough can be pulled out the night before using and thawed in the refrigerator overnight.
If you need extra help rolling out pizza dough and transporting it to the oven, there is a video at the very end where Zoe shows you how to do so.
2 cups lukewarm water (see note above)
3 cups activated levain (sourdough starter)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
6 cups [840 g] bread flour
Mix the water, activated levain, salt, sugar, and olive oil together in 5-quart container or the bowl of a stand mixer.
Mix in the flour with a Danish dough whisk or a heavy duty stand mixer. Cover (not airtight) and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises, two hours or more (sourdough can take a lot longer to rise than commercial yeast. I let mine rise for 4 hours at room temperature, then moved it to the fridge overnight, where it continued to do a slow rise).
If your dough looks dry (which may happen depending on what type of flour you are using) you can add more water. Zoë demonstrates how your dough should look in the video below:
The dough can be used immediately after it’s initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate it in a lidded (not airtight) container and use for pizza over the next few days.
Preheat a baking stone at your oven’s highest temperature for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle a pizza peel liberally with flour. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 10-ounce piece. Dust it with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap or kitchen towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.
Flatten the dough with your hands and/or a rolling pin on a work surface, or directly onto a wooden pizza peel, to produce a 1/8-inch thick round. (You can also put it on a piece of parchment paper for ease. Note that your crust won’t brown as nicely if doing so! Parchment is shown in the photos below because I needed to move the pizza around to take photos. Also, my kids prefer a lighter crust. But if you want a dark crust, use a pizza peel.) Dust with flour to keep the dough from adhering to the surface. Use a dough scraper to unstick the dough as needed, and transfer to a pizza peel if you haven’t stretched the dough out on one already. When you’re finished, the dough round should have enough flour under it to move easily when you shake the peel.
Add toppings to your pizza (I kept mine simple: sauce and cheese, with a scattering of basil leaves after the pizza emerged from the oven). Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone. Check for doneness in 8 to 10 minutes, and turn the pizza around in the oven if one side is browning faster than the other. I took my pizza out earlier for a lighter crust (my kids’ preference), but you can take your crust as dark as you like.
Allow to cool slightly, preferably on a wire cooling rack. Cut into wedges and serve.
Making cinnamon rolls is hands down one of the most popular ways that folks use our brioche dough. Not only is this an easy dough to prepare, but since it can be used for up to five days after being made, there is the potential to eat cinnamon rolls every day of the week. Of course, we stand by the phrase “all things in moderation,” but it’s still nice to know that there’s a way to make every Monday morning more enjoyable.
Truck stop cinnamon rolls are not much different than our regular buns, they are just significantly bigger (each one can serve two. Or more?). They are perfect for brunch or company; a special indulgence.
Mardi Gras King Cake, named for the three kings who came to bring gifts to Jesus, is traditionally served during Mardi Gras in New Orleans and throughout the South. Not only is it decorated with the colors of the festival, but it also has a hidden trinket in the dough. I’ve used an almond, but in New Orleans bakers often use a ceramic or plastic doll to represent the baby Jesus. The person who gets the slice with the trinket is responsible for making the King Cake the following year.
There are many versions of this sweet bread, depending on the traditions of different families. Our version from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day is made with Brioche dough which has nutmeg, cinnamon, and raisins added into it. The dough can be Braided and/or formed into a Couronne (crown shape) as I have done here. Some bakers even use a cream cheese and praline filling, but we went with a more traditional filling.