Today is National Doughnut Day! Well, actually it appears there are several ‘National Doughnut Days’ in our country. But, it’s completely understandable that many people want to celebrate doughnuts as often as they can. I’ve decided to go all out today, and bring you an amazingly delicious yet slightly ridiculous doughnut: a s’mores doughnut. This beauty is made from brioche dough, glazed in chocolate, coated in graham cracker crumbs, and then smothered in toasted meringue. Each bite will leave you with a marshmallow mustache and sticky hands, but I promise it’s worth it.
As I am testing recipes, I can find myself with several buckets going at once. I have a family of four and we just can’t always use up all that dough in a timely fashion. I just opened a bucket of dough that had been untouched for several days, well more than several and it was gray, leathery and had some liquid on it (pictures below). It had a strong “sourdough” smell to it, since it had been fermenting for a very long time. For those of us who like that kind of character in our bread, it was very exciting. BUT, there wasn’t that much dough left and if I were to peel back the leathery bits to get to the creamy dough beneath, I wouldn’t even have enough dough for a full loaf. The best thing to do with this older dough is to incorporate it into a new batch. It jump starts the flavor in your new dough, without having to wait days for the fermentation. It is like having a sourdough starter, that you never had to feed. Although in the dough I will show you, I am using the full amount of Red Star Platinum yeast.
My mom informed me today that I was in charge of planning Mother’s Day this coming Sunday. Now that I have two children of my own, I thought that this duty could be passed along to someone else, perhaps someone planning my Mother’s Day. Apparently it doesn’t work like that. She vaguely mentioned something about being Queen Mother and I’ll just have to wait my turn, so Mother’s Day breakfast is on. Good thing I like her a lot, and also like baking bread.
I’ve found brunch to be ideal for that Sunday morning celebration, but eating out is usually a busy affair in these parts. Baked French toast is now my answer to the “what are we going to serve?” question. It is put together in the evening, where the milk and eggs soak into the layers of challah overnight. The next morning it is baked, served warm, and gone within minutes. It also makes me look like I worked much harder than I did.
We are insanely flattered. Epicurious.com, which is the food website of Conde Nast, publisher of Bon Appetit and the late, lamented Gourmet, has named The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day as one of the 53 greatest cookbooks of all time. That’s our book in their picture, right in the middle of some very exhalted company. Bakers like Dorie Greenspan, Julia Child, Peter Reinhart. We’re hyperventilating. Thanks for the shout-out, Epicurious:
“We were surpised that more baking books weren’t nominated… all the baking frontrunners are bread books. The panel’s favorites were Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart.”
For more, click on Epicurious.com, in “The Hunt for the Greatest Cookbooks of All Time”
Yes, we took on the Pinterest Easter bunnies. Have you seen them, pinned on everyone’s holiday boards? Turns out that picture is actually of a bunny cookie, and these sad rolls are more an accurate visual of how things would turn out. But, I’m happy to tell you that after making dozens upon dozens of rolls, we have some tips to help you make some cute little bunnies.
However, I won’t lie to you (it is Easter, after all) that they are a little tricky. And you may have some rolls that end up a little wonky. But, as my children oohed and ahhed over even the misshapen ones, I could see we had a winner idea.
Making these bunnies is way too much fun, lots more photos are here…
Before I launch into these fantastic buns, our winner of the SuperPeel was… Sandy! Congrats, we’ll be in touch. That contest is now closed.
In this post, I’ll go through the method for using a kitchen scale to measure in flour and other ingredients, which some readers, especially outside the U.S., have said they prefer. In this recipe, I used these weight equivalents for scoop-and-swept cup measures:
1 cup white all-purpose flour: 5 ounces (140 grams)
1 cup whole wheat flour: 4.5 ounces (130 grams)
1 cup water: 8 ounces (225 grams)
Most home scales aren’t accurate enough to weigh small quantities of yeast and salt for single recipes.
These buns are from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, being cut from a baguette-shaped cylinder, which gives the buns crusty little edges that will impress your guests. They’re incredibly easy to make from any of the lean stored doughs that you already have in your fridge, mixed up from our book… (more…)
Whenever Zoe and I are on the Splendid Table, NPR’s cooking show starring Lynne Rossetto Kasper, we leave behind a recipe. Now the show’s national listeners have voted our basic recipe as their all-time favorite (click to view). Thanks Lynne, and all the great producers who create this national show right here in St. Paul, Minnesota.
One thing–an updated, and more extensive online version of our basic recipe is right here on the website, with pictures and more detail (click to view).
Hear all three of our appearances on the show:
April 4, 2000, when Jeff called Lynne with the book idea.
March 8, 2014, Jeff talked with Lynne about the changing world of cookbooks and the adventures we’ve had.
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…)
(photo by Stephen Scott Gross)
(video by Sarah Kieffer)
Many of the folks who are baking from Gluten-Free Bread in Five Minutes a Day have asked:
- What’s the dough supposed to look like?
- How do you handle such unstructured dough?
- What’s it look like when baked?
Click on the “play” button in the video image above to see Zoe showing all that, using the Master Recipe from the book (the egg-white version, though you can make a version without egg). About stand mixers: We’ve had best results with our gluten-free recipes when we’ve used a stand mixer. Hand-mixing works too, but you really have to go a long time to make it nice and smooth. We have lots of experience with the 5-quart KitchenAid stand mixer. You can use the 6-quart or larger capacity, but we’ve found that those large models have a harder time mixing gluten-free dough.
You’ll notice that Zoe used Red Star Quick-Rise yeast, which is gluten-free (so is their Active Dry Yeast product). Gluten-free bakers can’t use the Red Star Platinum product, which has dough conditioners derived indirectly from a wheat protein–so it has a trace of gluten.