We wanted to sneak in some summer berries before apples and pumpkin take center stage (and also take over the internet). This delicious focaccia bread is based on a recipe from Edd Kimber’s beautiful new cookbook, One Tin Bakes; his version uses fragolina grapes and rosemary. But I had blackberries in my fridge that needed to be used, some leftover Master dough, and my basil plant is currently larger than life, so Blackberry Basil Focaccia was born.
This focaccia is sweet: it’s dolloped with mascarpone and sprinkled with sugar, and the results are amazing. You will want to eat this the day it’s made, and I highly recommend digging in while it still slightly warm.
Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into a quarter sheet pan (a 9 x 13 pan will work, too) and use a pastry brush or your fingers to to rub it all over the base and up the sides of the pan. Place the dough into the pan, coating the bottom with oil, then turn the dough over so that both sides are coated in oil. Using your fingertips, gently spread the dough into the pan in an even layer. If the dough resists, let it rest a few minutes and try again, until the dough is nestled into the pan and into the corners. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425F. Gently dimple the dough with your fingertips.
Scatter the blackberries evenly over the dough, then sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top (it will look like too much sugar).
Dollop the mascarpone mixture over the dough, and then drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Bake the bread for 18 to 25 minutes, or until light golden.
Scatter the basil leaves over the top of the hot bread. Move the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then remove the focaccia from the pan and let cool on a wire rack (this helps it stay crisp).
Cut the bread into squares and serve. Best eaten the same day it’s made.
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.
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.
Our Holiday Star Bread was quite popular last year, so we decided to come up with yet another version: this one with pumpkin filling and sprinkled with sanding sugar. Our original version is filled with sugar and holiday spices, but we’ve also tried it with jam and Nutella, so if you are interested in playing around with recipe, there is also room for your own interpretation! This beautiful bread made it into our newest book, Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it is one of the prettiest, easiest and most sensational breads to make for a family gathering or work party.
1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree 1/4 cup light brown sugar 1 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt)
For the pumpkin filling: Combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, butter, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring continuously until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium and continue to heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (the mixture is quite thick, so you need to look for slow bubbles). Once the puree is bubbling, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the mixture for about 5 minutes, still stirring. Remove the puree from the heat. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.
For the star bread: Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll the pieces into balls, and let rest for 20 minutes, covering with plastic wrap.
With a rolling pin, roll out all the dough balls into 10-inch circles. Place one of the circles on a piece of parchment paper. Put a couple tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture on the round and spread evenly.
Place another circle on top of the first circle, and spread a couple more tablespoons of pumpkin. Repeat with one more circle, then place the final circle on top. (I like to chill the star for 20 minutes at this point; it helps make cutting and twisting a little easier.)
Place a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (or other round object) in the center of the circle, and then use a bench scraper to cut the circle into 16 equal strips (starting at the circle and out to the end), cutting through all the layers.
Take two pieces of dough, and twist them away from each other twice. Repeat around the whole circle.
Pinch the ends of the pairs of strips firmly together to create the star (you should end up with 8 points).
Remove the biscuit cutter. Transfer the star on the parchment to baking sheet. Cover the star gently with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a bit puffy. During this time, preheat the oven to 400F. Before putting into the oven, brush the star with egg wash and sprinkle the center with sanding sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Best eaten the day it’s made.
Lesaffre Yeast Corporation (Red Star) provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.
A popular recipe on our site is the Raspberry Brioche Braid, a pastry Zoe came up with to mimic a Danish braid without quite as much work. Since berries are now behind on us and we look forward to cold days and even colder nights, I decided to try my hand at an Apple version of Zoe’s creation. Since my children devoured the braid in moments I can assure you that is it in fact, quite delicious, and a perfect way to start a day, or end one.
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) for topping braid
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
To make the jam: Place the grated apple, apple cider, sugar and salt into a pan and stir together. Simmer over a medium/low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until most the juice has cooked into the apples. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. (The mixture will still look very ‘grated’, but the apples will continue cooking as the bread bakes.)
To make the cream cheese filling: mix the cream cheese, zest and sugar in a bowl until smooth.
Take a one pound piece of dough from the dough bucket (weighing on a scale is the easiest way, but if you don’t have one, a grapefruit-sized piece will do) and roll the dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Make sure to use enough flour that the dough doesn’t stick to the surface or the rolling pin. TRANSFER THE ROLLED OUT DOUGH TO A SHEET OF PARCHMENT. Spread the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough, about 1 inch wide.
Top the cream cheese with about 1/2 cup of the apple filling. You can add more, but some may leak out of the braid as it is baking. There may be a little jam left over to serve with the baked braid.
Cut 1/2-inch thick strips of dough with a pastry or pizza cutter. (Try to get an even amount on both sides, but it’s okay if it doesn’t happen.)
Lightly twist the top two strips of dough, then cross them over the top of the filling. Do not pull the dough too thin or it may break as it rises and bakes. Continue that same routine of twisting the pieces and crossing them over each other on top of the filling, until you are at the bottom. If you find an odd piece of the dough, that doesn’t have a mate, just twist it and place it over the filling. When you get to the end, tuck the loose pieces under the loaf, so they are secure and won’t pop out when baking.
Place the braid and parchment onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic and allow to rest for about 1 1/2 hours.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Just before baking, brush the loaf gently with the egg wash.
Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes or until golden brown (I like to bake this braid on two layers of baking sheets, to keep the bottom from browning too quickly). Allow to cool before topping with the icing.
To make the icing: place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Combine the melted butter, water, brandy, and salt together, and pour it over the powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. It should come off a spoon in a thin drizzle.
Red Star Yeast sponsored this post, and provided yeast samples for recipe testing.
This Holiday Star Bread has been making the rounds all over social media, so I decided to try it with some of our no-knead Challah dough. I’m happy to report that it works quite well, and it is not that difficult to make. Most of the recipes online have the same directions for shaping the star, so I borrowed from those when practicing, but substituted pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon just to change things up a bit. We also have a variation with jam, but Nutella or many other fillings would be fun, so if you are interested in playing around with recipe, there is room for your own interpretation. If you do end up making this bread and post on social media, tag #breadin5 so we can see your creations! You can also find us on Instagram at @breadin5.
It’s that time of year again: pumpkin in everything! I have to admit I don’t mind the pumpkin-y goodness showing up all over the interwebs; there is something very comforting (once the cold weather hits) about all the cinnamon spice in the air. We decided to update our pumpkin pie brioche recipe just a little, and as we are big fans of doughnuts over here, pumpkin doughnuts, of course, had to happen. If you are not yet in the mood for pumpkin, you can find our regular brioche doughnuts here. And, if you need a gluten-free treat, we have Apple Cider Gluten Free doughnuts here.
Also! Don’t forget you can pre-order our new cookbook, Holiday and Celebration Breads in Five Minutes a Day. You can read all about the book here. The book comes out November 6th, and you can preorder here.
Last week I posted a picture of this cinnamon braid (made with our no-knead brioche dough) on Instagram, and had several requests for a recipe. So here it is! It’s basically a cinnamon roll in a prettier package, but it’s fun to make, and would be perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or just because.
And, as it is National Poetry Month, here is a lovely one involving a kitchen, a ritual, and eating together.
smoothing away time with the fluid line
of your memory
i am in place at your table
in the morning damp of your still dark kitchen
i wait for you to come
stepping through the curtained doorway
you enter intent on this day
restart the fire
fill place the kettle
pull open the kitchen door
inviting daylight to come
welcoming it into your house—
bringing it into mine.
-Kimberly Blaeser, Rituals, Your – and Mine (full poem here)
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 these Easter Bunny Brioche Rolls 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.
The older I get, the less I am ‘into’ Valentine’s Day, but I have two little kids who still think it is an amazing holiday, so anything red, pink, and heart-shaped is welcomed into our home on February 14. I was scrolling through Instagram last week and came across this lovely heart-shaped challah, and then, remembering Zoe’s pink swirled bread and pink braid, I thought I could combine the two together for some celebration bread. I’m happy to report that it worked! The heart braid bread turned out pretty, and tasted delicious, too.