Currently viewing the tag: "yeasted bread"

wreath30a

‘The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; such
an oracular fever! flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle
less than lovely! and only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended…

and though the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain — not a single
answer has been found —
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.’
-Mary Oliver, excerpted from American Primitive

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Many of you know that I contribute over at Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – I’ve been working  for Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François about four years. While I write some blog posts for them and spend a good deal of time pinning to their Pinterest boards, one of the highlights of my job is helping them work on cookbooks. A little over a year ago we spent another week together, along with photographer Stephen Scott Gross, mixing buckets of dough and baking piles of bread for their book.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I was a fan of the Bread in Five series before I met Jeff and Zoë, and now after spending time with the two of them, I can’t rave about them, and their books, enough. I’ve made boules, baguettes, bagels, doughnuts, beignets, coffee cake, sandwich bread, dinner rolls, bostok, and cinnamon rolls with their dough. They recently put out a new edition of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which is revised and updated with new recipes. I’m a huge fan of the whole wheat brioche dough, and use it often in my baking. It works great made into whole grain doughnuts, Christmas Stollen, Caramel or Cinnamon Rolls, and this Pistachio Chocolate Twist, which is a new family favorite.
pistachio wreath

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If you haven’t tried out any Bread in 5 recipes yet, I highly encourage you to! If you’re new to bread baking, their recipes are a great place to start, and if you’ve been baking bread for awhile, there is so much room for experimentation. It’s an easy and delicious way to make bread a part of your daily life.

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Today I made Danish rings; one for today, and one unbaked, tucked away in the freezer for Christmas morning. They are laced with almond paste and goat cheese, topped with sweet sugar icing and salty pistachios. They are decadent yet comforting, simple but complex. A perfect treat for all the possible faces of this holiday season.
 
For I am warm, I am calling you close to my table
Where I have made us a feast
For the year of troubles, they have gone
The winter brings a Christmas song
And all the trust we put in things
In dictionaries, in engineering
In calendars, and television
And father’s friends, and consequences 
And by the time there’s nothing left
An empty tree, a winter vest
A winter vest, a winter vest
-The Child with the Star on His Head, Sufjan Stevens
My husband lays next to me, whispering, ‘I’d give all we have to make sure we are always connected: you and I, and us and them.’ I find his hand in the dark and do not let it go.
This earthly Victory | does not have wings: | she wears bread on her shoulders instead. | Courageously she soars, | setting the world free, | like a baker | born aloft on the wind. – Pablo Neruda

blackberry-basil focaccia bread | the vanilla bean blog
One little basil leaf stared at me today, and it’s posture struck me as I snapped it’s picture. There it lay so small, so lonely, as if it were trying to curl itself up and sneak out; wishing for a gentle gust of wind to just take it to the right. I was instantly flooded with hundreds of similar stories of myself; there were all those awkward moments, flashing right through me.
I knew this leaf well.

A little basil leaf has so much to offer. Although the plant can grow strong and tall, turning itself into white blossoms, it would be silly to keep it just for this end. If it flowers too soon, it will dull the flavor of the leaves, keeping the plant from it’s full potential in the present. Because those leaves! those lovely green leaves with their perfectly cut lines have so much to give. Beautiful on their own, simple but sure, deep and determined, they will make your food dance. Chop them into long, lengthy ribbons, crush them gently, whirl them with some sugar, and they come alive, ready to accent everything they can get into.
blackberry-basil focaccia bread | the vanilla bean blog
blackberry-basil focaccia bread | the vanilla bean blog
And sometimes, it can take thirty-four years or so to figure out that going through life with determination just to be a flower isn’t really living. Beauty is found in adding and giving to others, in outstretched hands and honest hearts. So you may not fit into those jeans or may never have been asked to dance, but gosh darn that shouldn’t stop you from being! Wiggle off that stalk and get yourself in some soup! Don’t fold up and disappear – there is bread and drinks to flavor, to tint pale green and add dark flecks to. There is pesto to take charge of and ice cream to be churned into; pasta to curl around and pies and cakes to make interesting. And then, as aging comes, right before the cold and winter find you, then it’s your time to let go. You will send your white petals and your seeds to the air, and they will make their way back into the earth, to be born again.
blackberry-basil focaccia bread | the vanilla bean blog

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I apologize in advance if this post is somewhat incoherent. No, it’s not due to any sassy pre-holiday drinks, it’s all because of a near-Mommy melt down. My sweet little two year old, who, for the last eight months has gone to bed like an angel, has refused to nap [when it is very needed] and then decided five-thirty a.m would be a perfect time to wake up on a daily basis. I’ve taken to looking like mad Madam Mim, muttering to myself at the grocery store while I pace up and down the aisle, looking for items right in front of me.
So here’s where I thank my lucky stars for no-knead pizza dough. It’s another gem from the Artisan in Five Minutes series, and it’s a lifesaver. It can be made days in advance, stored in the refrigerator, and pulled out in pieces as needed. A perfect dinner for those trying days; dinner is easy, but quality is not sacrificed. And then, when those sweet littles are [finally] fast asleep, I may call it a day and go help myself to that drink.

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A few years ago I discovered no knead bread. It has, of course, been around for awhile, and there are now amazing amounts of variations on it. While I’ve tried out several different recipes, and they have all made good bread, I keep coming back to the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
What’s unique about this version is that the dough is mixed, allowed to rise, and then is refrigerated. This allows for many things, but the two that I love are the flavor development and the easy factor.
The bread can be put aside in the fridge and used when needed in a 2 week time frame. The amount of dough needed is pulled out, shaped, allowed to rise for a short amount of time [while the oven is heating, no less], and then baked to perfection. It’s lovely.
I started making this a couple years ago and then stumbled across a dutch oven version, which I love even more. The dough bakes up so nice and round, and there is no need for extra pans of water for steam.
It’s a fabulous concept, and has helped keep homemade bread on our table. And while I will admit it’s taken me time to get it just right: figuring out shaping, cooking time for my oven, how wet I want the dough, perfecting a crackly crisp top and a soft, holey center; it has been a worthwhile investment. Even the ‘learning’ bread – the bread with no holes, or too doughy, or too crispy, or cut too soon – has been better than anything bought in a grocery store.

Fresh, warm bread can’t be beat. My little ones look forward to the soft inside, and soak their pieces in puddles of olive oil. We make french toast, sandwiches, and bread pudding out of leftovers. We are thankful, so thankful for our daily bread.
Purchase my cookbook!

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