Pumpkin Star Bread for Thanksgiving with Red Star Yeast

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.

Pumpkin Star Bread

(For step-by-step instructions, check out our Instagram highlights!)

2 pounds Brioche dough made with Red Star Platinum Yeast, Challah, Amish Milk Dough or our White Bread Master dough (from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day) (note that the enriched doughs will produce a richer, thicker bread)

Pumpkin Filling

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

Pinch salt

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.

Apple Brioche Braid

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.

Apple Brioche Braid

(For step-by-step instructions, check out our Instagram highlights!)

1 pound brioche dough made with Red Star Platinum Yeast (I’ve used the brioche dough from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and the Amish Milk Dough from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but you could also use Challah dough or one of the enriched doughs from our The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book or even Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

Quick Apple Filling

2 cups grated Gala apple

1/4 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch salt

Cream Cheese Filling

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water) for topping braid

Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon brandy (optional)

Pinch salt

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.

Holiday Star Bread

This fanciful holiday 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.

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.

(more…)

Pumpkin Brioche Doughnuts

pumpkin brioche doughnuts

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.

pumpkin brioche doughnuts

(more…)

Simple Cinnamon Braid

Bake Cinnamon Braid | Braided Cinnamon Bread Recipe | Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

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)

(more…)

Easter Bunny Brioche Rolls with Red Star Yeast—with Video!

Easter Bunny Brioche Rolls | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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.

Easter Bunny Brioche Rolls | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

(more…)

Heart Braid

Pink Heart Braid Bread for Valentine's Day | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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.

Pink Heart Braid Bread for Valentine's Day | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

(more…)

Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread

pumpkin spice monkey bread | bread in 5

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 recipe before, 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.

(more…)

Mother’s Day Recipe Round Up

‘The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlid here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter.’ -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Over the years, we’ve done quite a few posts that are Mother’s Day/Brunch related. Here’s a round up of some of our favorite recipes, and also some from around the web. If you bake anything this weekend from our site or from our books, take a photo and then tag it with #breadin5 so we can see what you’re making!

(more…)

Cinnamon Twists

Cinnamon Twists | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

We’ve been on a breadstick kick. My children are obsessed with them, and love them even more than pizza. They’ve started begging for breadsticks at every meal, and while I don’t always heed their cries, I do find I am making them more than usual. Why? Well, they are so easy to put together, and work with almost any kind of meal. Pizza and breadsticks. Spaghetti and breadsticks. Chicken and breadsticks. Lasagna and breadsticks. (Don’t worry, there are plenty of vegetables served alongside, too). One weekend morning, when breadsticks were brought up for breakfast, I decided to surprise them with cinnamon twists instead. They were an instant hit, and while these are not a weekly affair, they are a fun, simple way to sweeten up a breakfast, brunch, or even dinner table.

Assembling Cinnamon Twists | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

(more…)