10th Anniversary of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

How time flies when you are having fun baking bread. 10 years ago we published our first book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it’s been an exciting journey ever since. Our publisher took a chance on two unknown authors; a pastry chef and a physician with a crazy idea of how to change how people bake bread. The publisher printed 5000 copies, hedging their bets in case it didn’t sell, but they sold in a week. They printed another 5000 and those too sold right away. They did it again and again, thinking it would slow down, but it didn’t. Here we are 10 years later, a second edition, 5 other titles and 750,000 copies of our books sold. This is all because of you, our incredible readers and the inspiration for all of our books. You have been there with us and for us, and we want to thank you!

Our first edition of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is no longer in print, but the second edition The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is even better and we want to give you a copy. For a chance to win, please leave a comment here and we’ll pick 5 winners. You can also go to our Instagram page, like our page and tag two friends for another chance to win. We’ll be giving away 5 copies to our Instagram followers. Please see our giveaway policy. This contest is finished! (more…)

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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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…)

Baking in a Cloche

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There are many ways to get a crusty loaf of bread, but one of our favorites is to use the tried and true method of baking in a clay cloche, here, the Emile Henry brand cloche. It is very similar to using a Dutch Oven, but the cloche was designed to bake bread, so it is an even more intuitive method. In other words, you aren’t lowering the bread into the piping hot vessel, you just lift the lid and slide the loaf onto what is essentially a baking stone. The cloche traps the steam from the dough to create a perfectly crisp and beautifully shiny crust, without having to add steam to the oven.

This loaf was made with our Master Recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, using Gold Medal All-purpose flour, Platinum Yeast from Red Star, water and salt, that’s it! If you’ve never made our bread, or just want a refresher, please watch our new video that we put together in the Gold Medal baking studio. In no time at all you’ll have a gorgeous, homemade, crusty loaf of bread.

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Pumpkin Swirl Bread

Pumpkin Swirl Bread | Breadin5

Pumpkin pie and brioche are two of my all time favorites, so why not combine the two. The result is a bread rich with butter, eggs and spiced pumpkin puree. Spreading the pumpkin onto the brioche dough and rolling it into a log creates the swirl pattern when you cut it. The bread is gorgeous and tasty, perfect for Thanksgiving or just a fall morning with a cup of coffee.

Next week is the official release of our book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Woot! To celebrate we are doing a giveaway, before the book even hits the stands. It is a small token of our appreciation for all your help in creating this new edition. We’ve incorporated what we’ve learned from your comments, your questions and your suggestions. Please leave us a comment below about your favorite experience baking bread or what you are most eager to try. We will give away 5 copies of the new book to randomly picked winners next week.* Thank you! Our usual contest rules apply (click here for rules); you need to respond within 24 hours of notification or we have to pick someone else. CONTEST CLOSED, WINNERS CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED 10/22/13.

To make the Pumpkin Swirl Bread:

Pumpkin Swirl Bread | Breadin5 (more…)

Chocolate Coffee Cardamom Bread, And a Three-Book Set Giveaway! CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

Thanksgiving has come and gone too quickly yet again. We have finished eating our Thanksgiving Leftovers Torta, but we’ll continue to hold on to our reasons to stop and give thanks, especially as the holiday madness begins in earnest. We’ve come up with two great ways to celebrate the season with you–and they don’t involve turkey or long lines of shoppers.  First, there is this decadent chocolate bread, laced with coffee, cardamom, and more chocolate, and second, we have a book package giveaway!

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Your Pizza Idea in our Next Book (CONTEST NOW CLOSED, WINNING PIZZA CHOSEN)

photo by Mark Luinenburg

We can’t stop thinking of pizza even though we made deadline for our upcoming pizza and flatbread book (Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, Macmillan/Th Dunne Bks Oct 2011).  Even though we’re technically done, there’s still time to put a new recipe or two into the book, and you can see that there are a world of ingredients that could end up on pizza other than mozzarella and tomato (though we love that too).

We’d love some help with new recipes.  All we’d need is your concept, as in “how about yak sausage, lemon rind, and Slim Jim on a pizza?”  We’re not looking for full recipes here, but something imaginative, like Zoe’s pizza with a fresh cracked egg and an assortment of Tuscan goodies:


The winning concept entry will be selected by a jury (Zoe, me, and our editor at Thomas Dunne Books), will win a copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and have their concept published in our pizza book this October (see “Betsy’s Seeded Oat Bread” in Healthy Bread -first names only in the book).  See rules for our contests, the most important being US entries only.  In addition, for this contest, the Authors reserve the right to decline to publish any recipe in the upcoming book if none meets with the jury’s approval.  Also, the winning entrant agrees to grant all copyright for the winning entry to Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.  Five random entrants will also receive a free copy of Healthy Bread in Five. Contest CLOSED!

Be imaginative– it doesn’t have to be a main course, so even desserts are fair game.  And remember that many of the ingredients and ideas you might think of are already in our almost-finished manuscript, so being creative increases your chance of selection.  Entries are due anytime before January 19, 2011. Contest CLOSED!

Pumpkin Pie Brioche just in time for Thanksgiving!

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Pumpkins are associated with the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, a decadent pie filled with spices and sweetness. The pumpkin adds a smooth and luxurious texture that amounts to pure comfort food. Pumpkin is not only wonderful for its flavors but is also chock full of healthy vitamins. This was the inspiration for making a pumpkin pie brioche to include in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I wanted to take some of the butter out of this healthy version of brioche, but I didn’t want to lose the rich texture. Pumpkin is the answer! I added the spices and a touch of sweetness to create what I love about pumpkin pie in this fantastic and versatile bread. It can be baked as a loaf, in a brioche pan or even made into our Indian Spiced Doughnuts (page 287) or as the bottom crust for the Pear Tarte Tatin (page 290). It is fabulous as dessert or breakfast.

Check out this video that Lenny and Denise from ChezUs made for us at Omnivore Books while we were on book tour in San Francisco. Thank you both for taking the time to make the video, it was so wonderful to see you.

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Our New Book, a New Look and a Giveaway! [WINNERS WERE ANNOUNCED 6/15/09, CONTEST CLOSED]

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As many of you know Jeff and I have spent the past year working on a new book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients
(HBin5). It is a project that started with you! Because of your questions, comments and requests for breads made with whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruits, veggies and even gluten-free ingredients, we set to work to create new recipes. We liked them so well, we decided to do another book. We’ve been playing with ways to make breads that are not only nutritious, but incredibly tasty and still fit into our busy lives. The methods will still be fast, easy and only take 5 minutes, but the results are wonderful breads made with ingredients that will keep us happy and healthy, no matter our dietary needs. Who better than a pastry chef and a doctor to write such a book?

Writing a cookbook takes a long time, not only to test and retest and then test again the recipes, but the editing and designing of the book after we write it.  Although it is nearly done we still have more work to do before it comes out this fall. HBin5 will be available in the book stores on October 27th of this year. In the mean time Amazon has posted it for pre-orders for those of you who want to avoid the mad rush at the book stores! 😉

In honor of HBin5 we’ve launched this new home page on our website. My husband Graham designed and built the site for us and Jeff’s wife Laura, who is also our copy editor, wrote much of it. We are so fortunate to have such a creative and talented team to help us. We want to thank them for all of their work!And THANK YOU for inspiring us to write our second book. As a thank you we are giving away 5 signed copies of our CURRENT book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Here is a little glimpse into our life of writing HBin5: (more…)