We’ve had a lovely Autumn here in Minnesota, with warm weather lasting far into October. However, November has brought about a winter chill, and, with it, the desire to head to the kitchen and bake with cinnamon and pumpkin. Often I turn to cinnamon rolls or caramel rolls, but I decided this time around to make Monkey Bread.
Monkey Bread is easy to make. It’s basically a pull-apart cinnamon roll baked in a Bundt or loaf pan. Zoë has posted a standard recipebefore, but today I’m doing one made with pumpkin spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and topped with a cream cheese icing. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the coming cold.
I’ve become addicted to adding spelt flour to my Bread in 5 dough (see blood orange doughnuts and stove top pizza), and decided to try it in yet another application: English muffins. My family is a big fan of warm bread first thing in the morning, so this seemed like a perfect application. Not only does the spelt add extra (delicious) flavor, but it has many health benefits, including increasing circulation and helping with digestion. I’ve been adding it to our bread and many of our baked goods as we slowly try to decrease the amount of white flour we are consuming. It worked perfectly again here. The muffins were delicious right out of the oven, and they also toasted up nicely the following day.
If you’ve been around this site long enough, you’ll know that we are big fans here of using our no-knead brioche dough to make donuts. We’ve made jelly-filled donuts, mini-donuts, espresso-chocolate donuts, powdered sugar donuts, and even s’mores donuts. But I firmly believe that there can’t be too many ways to enjoy one of our favorite treats, and so I bring you yet another recipe for warm, delicious circles of goodness. After reviving our spelt pizza dough a few weeks ago, I decided to try and come up with an enriched version of it; I like the flavor it lends to sweet confections, and it makes whatever I am baking a little more healthy, which is always a good thing. These spelt donuts are made with both spelt and all-purpose flour, and fry up light and tasty.
‘Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river and through the wood –
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!’ (Thanksgiving Day, by Lydia Maria Child)
(Of course, at our house, we would be cheering for pumpkin brioche instead of pie.)
Over the years, we’ve done quite a few posts that are Thanksgiving related. Here’s a round up of all our recipes, and also some from around the web. If you bake anything this Thanksgiving from our site or from our books, take a photo and then tag it with #breadin5 so we can see what you’re making! Here’s one more, a recipe for home-made stuffing from your own bread (click to view)!(more…)
Last weekend I lived the ultimate bread bakers’ dream. Thanks to my friends at Red Star Yeast I travelled to the heart of wheat country in Kansas and had the great honor of judging the National Festival of Breads baking contest. The contestants submitted their recipes and were chosen from hundreds of bread bakers from across the country. Eight women came to Manhattan, KS and baked in a theatre-style kitchen in front of about 1,500 bread lovers. They deserve a prize for that alone. The breads were all amazing, but one by Lisa Keys of Good Grief Cooks was the one that stood out to all the judges. Her Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread had a combination of flavors, texture and beauty made this the clear winner. You can read all about the contest (you should consider entering for the next one), the contestants and their winning recipes at the National Festival of Breads.
Another absolutely gorgeous loaf that was baked for us was a chocolate swirl bread. I’ve recreated that idea with our Whole Wheat Brioche dough and a swirl of Nutella. It is healthy and decadent all at the same time and it’s baked in a crock-pot. I turned to my crock-pot when I turned on the AC for the first time yesterday and I really didn’t want to heat up the kitchen by cranking up the oven. The crock-pot is ideal for this Nutella swirl bread, since it fits the shape and we want a soft crust. The result was perfect.
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.
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.
People think of artisan-style loaves as being free-form, but our method also works beautifully in loaf pans, as you can see above (read on for instructions on how to make the cinnamon-raisin bread in Zoe’s picture). We love crusty free-form artisan loaves, but nothing says “comfort food” and kicks off the fall baking season like a luscious traditional loaf like this one.
Read on to hear more about getting great results with traditional un-coated loaf pans.
In our books, we’ve tended to be on the careful side about loaf pans. Since our dough is so wet, we recommended non-stick pans and even so, to grease them well. Yet a very heavyweight aluminum pan works beautifully too– all you have to do is grease it well (I like olive oil even for American-style breads but you can use any liquid or solid shortening you like):
… and be sure the formed dough is well dusted with flour before putting it into the pan— it shouldn’t feel all sticky as it goes in. If it does stick a bit, just let it sit for 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven and it will “steam” itself out. I love this pan, and when I say it’s heavyweight, I mean it. The pan weighs a full pound…
This was a big loaf 2 pounds, 5 ounces of dough. Loaves this large need to rest for 90 minutes after shaping, and they tend to need extra time in the oven. For this size, a lean dough needs 45 to 60 minutes at 450 degrees F, and enriched doughs will need about an hour at 350. Or more. Go by the loaf color and the firmness of the crust: