The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Artisan Bread in 5

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Updated: 14 hours 39 min ago


July 28, 2014 - 12:55pm

I was thrilled when doughnuts took over as the “hot dessert trend” from the fanciful cupcake. I do like cupcakes, but they don’t excite me like a freshly made doughnut. These days you can find gourmet doughnut shops popping up all over the USA. They offer the classic flavors along with some very exotic, even esoteric combinations. I’ve seen everything from bacon to rose petals on a doughnut. I’ve tried every combination I can find and for me it all comes down to the dough. I like soft, airy yeast dough and it should be slightly sweet, but not overly so. The gourmet shops use great ingredients and treat their dough with TLC, so they often cost a small fortune. Truth is, homemade doughnuts are super easy and quick to make, especially with our five minute dough. You can make them as fancy or simple as you like and they only cost about 20 cents each, add a few cents for the bacon and rose petals!

Doughnuts start with Brioche Dough. I used the dough from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but you can make a batch with whole grains from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

1 1/2 cups Water

1 tablespoon Red Star Platinum, Quick Rise or Active Dry Yeast

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt

8 large Eggs

1/2 cup Honey

3 sticks Unsalted Butter

7 1/2 cups All-Purpose Gold Medal Flour

- Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in a 6-quart lidded container. Add the flour and combine with a Danish Dough Whisk or 5-Quart Stand Mixer (with paddle) until a smooth dough forms. Cover, but not airtight, and allow to rest on the counter for 2 hours. It will be quite wet and can’t be used until thoroughly chilled. Refrigerate and use over the next 5 days. For more detailed instructions please refer to page 301 of The New ABin5.

To fry the doughnuts:

Vegetable Oil – 3 to 4 inches deep, use a pot that is large enough that your oil is not sitting too high in the pot.

Cinnamon sugar (one cup sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon)


Powdered sugar

My 13 year-old son and his friend make doughnuts for themselves. Mine are old enough to use the stove, but you may need to be on hand to help with that portion of the process.

Pull out a 1-pound piece of dough and roll it out to a 1/2-inch thick. Use a Doughnut Cutter or round cookie or biscuit cutters.

Use a small cutter to use up all of the scraps. Allow the dough to sit for at least 20 minutes while the oil heats up. I got distracted before heating the oil and the dough sat out for about an hour. The doughnuts were amazingly light and airy. It isn’t necessary, but if you have the time and patience to let the dough sit longer, give it a try.

Once your oil reads 360-370°F on a Candy Thermometer you are ready to fry. I used a smallish pot, so I was only able to fry two doughnuts at a time. The amount will depend on the size of your doughnuts and pots, but be sure not to over crowd them.

Use a slotted spoon or Basket Strainer to flip the doughnuts over after about 2 minutes and then to take them out of the oil once they are golden brown on both sides. Lay them out on paper towel to allow some of the oil to drain off.

Whisk together the cinnamon sugar in a large bowl and dip the doughnuts in it or dust them with powdered sugar. You can get fancier with the toppings if you like. Here are some that we filled with jam.

Eat them slightly warm. The texture is magic.


All you need is a cup of coffee and you have morning perfection, or evening or afternoon.

Five Rules for Making Great Grilled Pizza Outdoors on the 4th of July, With Red Star Platinum Yeast: NEW VIDEO!

July 3, 2014 - 1:16pm

Getting a perfect result with homemade pizza on the gas grill in the summertime is easy–you just need to mix up some lean dough from any of our books–we’ve been testing with Red Star Platinum Yeast–with fantastic results (today’s dough was the light whole wheat, but you can use any of our lean doughs)…

… and follow a few simple rules from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day…

1.  Clean the grill’s grates
2.  Get your dough thin, to 1/8 of an inch thick
3.  Bake the first side of the crust “blind” (without toppings) for about three minutes, then flip and top. Prep all your toppings in advance.
4.  Cut the cheese into small cubes, or grate it so it melts fast, before the bottom crust burns. That way, after flipping and topping, the pizza will be finished in five to ten minutes, depending on burner heat and position under the pizza.
5.  Don’t overload with toppings

Here’s a video on how to do it: (includes demo of pizza dough-throwing technique):

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake

June 13, 2014 - 6:44am

One of the best indicators that spring is finally here to stay is when my rhubarb plant finally pops above the ground. It is incredibly faithful; no matter how cold the winter was, it never fails to grow again each May. Right now it is out-of-control, as the towering green leaves threaten to take over my entire garden. I’ve been looking for new ways to cook and bake with it, and was intrigued by several rhubarb upside-down cakes I spotted on Pinterest. However, I had a bucket of brioche in my fridge, so instead of mixing up cake batter I simply rolled out my dough and placed it over hot rhubarb and sugar. It was a success: a sweet-tart treat perfect for breakfast, or afternoon snacking.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Brioche Cake
We test our recipes with Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour, and for yeast we’ve been using the new Platinum product from Red Star with great results.

1 1/2 pound brioche dough (page 300 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) or whole wheat brioche dough
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
a good pinch of salt
(about) 1 pound rhubarb, cut into long pieces, or 1-inch pieces (see below picture for details)

Preheat your oven to 375.

Size your rhubarb: If using longer pieces of rhubarb to cover the top of the cake, you may want to piece them to fit the pan (instead of using a specific weight measurement) as shown in the picture above. I used about 6 stalks of rhubarb for this cake. If you’d prefer to use small pieces scattered over the top, use a pound of rhubarb, and cut the stalks into 1-inch pieces.

Melt the butter and sugar together in a 9-10 inch cast iron pan. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Carefully layer the rhubarb over the melted sugar mixture, and let cook until the rhubarb is tender, about 5-7 minutes.

While the rhubarb is cooking, flatten the dough with your hands or a rolling pin, and roll out the brioche into a 9-10 inch circle (you want it to snuggly fit the pan you are using).

When the rhubarb is tender, very carefully (the pan is hot!) place the circle of brioche over the top of the cooked rhubarb. Make sure the dough is touching the sides of the pan. Place in the oven and cook for 25-35 minutes, until the brioche is golden brown.

Move the pan to a wire rack, and let the cake sit for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, carefully flip the cake onto a serving platter.

Let the cake cool slightly, and then serve. This cake is best eaten the day it is made.