Artisan Bread in 5
‘At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.’ – Rainer Maria Rilke
I’ve got peaches and apples in my kitchen. Summer is gently fading, and autumn is slipping in with an occasional cool breeze, a golden leaf here and there. I don’t know how August is already over, but here is September with its crisp ciders and juicy pears. I’m ready for bread-making again, and am starting the cooler months off with this brioche cake.The juicy peaches and the apple-cinnamon flavor are a good combination; a perfect intermingling of the seasons.
Apple-Peach Brioche Cake
Inspired by this Braided Cinnamon, Apple, and Pecan Bread from Floating Kitchen.
1 small apple, peeled and grated (I used a Gala apple)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup peeled and diced peaches
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2-4 tablespoons water
Remove 1 pound of dough from your dough bucket, and place it on a generously floured surface. Knead the dough a few times, and shape into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and let rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes.
While the dough is resting, peel the apple, and then grate it directly over a clean dish towel. Wring out the dish towel over a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, catching all the apple juice. Set the grated apple aside to use later. Pour the apple juice into a small saucepan, and add the granulated sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and let simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and starting to turn sticky. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the slightly cooled apple juice, and stir to combine. Add the grated apple pieces and stir again to combine. Set aside.
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Grease the ring of a 10-inch springform pan.
Once the dough is ready, roll it to a 1/4-inch thick rectangle, using flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the counter. Brush the melted butter over the dough. Use an off-set spatula to spread the apple-sugar mixture evenly over the butter, leaving a 1/2 border around the edges. Sprinkle with the chopped peaches. Starting with the long end of the dough, carefully roll the dough into a log. Gently transfer the log to the prepared sheet pan (you may need to use a bench scraper or spatula to help move it). Mine fit on the sheet pan diagonally. Chill the log in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until firm.
Using a scissors or sharp knife, gently cut the roll into half lengthwise so the layers of dough and filling are visible, but leave one end still attached by about 3/4-inch.
With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half, and continue until you have braided the entire roll. Press the ends together.
Starting at the cut end, gently spiral the braid into a circle, no bigger than 9-inches across, making sure not to leave any holes or gaps. If any peaches fall out, tuck them back inside the braid. It’s okay if a little filling leaks around the edges, too.
Place the ring of the spring form pan around the bread. Cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours, until puffed and touching (or almost touching) the sides of the pan.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 350F.
Remove the plastic wrap, but leave the spring form pan around the dough. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Gently remove the spingform ring from the bread (if it’s sticking, use a thin knife or off-set spatula to help release it).
For the icing
Put the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons water, and mix until combined. If the icing is too thick, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over warm the warm bread.
Best eaten warm. Enjoy!
I was working on another show concept when I heard that Chip and Joanna Gaines were starting Magnolia Network. I called the producer I had been working with and said something to the effect of “THAT’S MY DREAM NETWORK!”
Yes, I said it in all caps.
I have always admired the passion and intensity that Joanna and Chip have for the work they do, but still impart so much joy into their projects. That resonates with me.
Baking is a craft I LOVE and want to share that with the world. I couldn’t think of a better platform to do that on than Magnolia Network and I am sooooo grateful they felt the same way when they saw my audition “sizzle” and invited me to join their community of creators.
Zoë Bakes is more than a show about baking, although there is lots of that too. It is an ode to my entire food community in Minneapolis. I am excited to share this town with people, who may not know its long tradition of baking.
Minneapolis sits on the Mississippi river and was developed as a wheat milling town. Those old mills (now museums and restaurants) still stand on the banks of the river as a reminder of our roots. My house is in a neighborhood built by the wheat barons. The history is everywhere. The current community of farmers, millers, and bakers have rich stories to tell and I am so honored to share them on Zoë Bakes.Episodes Available Now | Zoe Bakes on Magnolia Network
Zoë François bakes up a table full of irresistible pies and cooks up one of her favorite desserts to share with friends and family on her porch as they kick off their annual tradition of welcoming spring back to Minnesota.
Recipes: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie | Strawberry Fool
Zoë is invited to a backyard barbecue and visits a local chef known for his biscuit baking. She incorporates his tips into her own recipes as she makes two of her favorite Southern-inspired sweets.
Recipes: Tender & Flaky Homemade Biscuits | Banana Pudding | Biscuit Topped Cobbler
Zoë dives into the magic of meringue when she bakes it into a Pavlova (from Zoë Bakes Cakes), a whipped cream and fruit-filled dessert, for a dinner party with friends. She also visits a local pie maker who has mastered the art of meringue and uses it as a crust.
Recipes: Pavlova | Stephanie Meyer’s Beef Stew
Zoë surprises her best friend by making a devil’s food cake (from Zoë Bakes Cakes) topped with champagne buttercream for her anniversary. She also shares her tips for piping roses and borders, and explores current trends in cake design at a local cakery.
Recipes: Devil’s Food Cake | Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Zoë bakes a beehive-shaped birthday cake (from Zoë Bakes Cakes) for her beekeeper dad, complete with marzipan bees and a variety of honeys from her visit to a honey farm. Then, she whips up baked doughnuts with a honey glaze.
Recipe: Beehive Cake
Zoë wants to give her college son a taste of home by baking delicious chocolate chip cookies that highlight a friend’s fun technique. Later, she sends everything but the milk when she includes a variety of customized brownies.
Recipes: Sarah Kieffer’s Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies | Zoë’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sarah’s Book: 100 Cookies
Zoë visits a pizza farm to learn about her new wood-fired pizza oven and how to use it for baking at home. Then, she gets inspired to create a pizza farm experience in her own backyard for a group of friends.
Zoë kicks off apple season by visiting an orchard and picking new varieties to put a twist on her classic Apple Bundt Cake. She also whips up a few childhood favorites like a Dutch Baby and pink applesauce to share with a friend.
Recipes: Apple Cake with Honey Cider Glaze, Dutch Baby
Zoë explores a Scandinavian tradition called fika, a coffee break with sweets, when she visits a local bakery and finds inspiration for a new twist on her Cinnamon Braid. Then, she makes a Cardamom Pear Cake and enjoys both with an old friend.
Recipe: Pear-Cardamom Cake
More episodes coming soon!
Want to learn more about the guests on my show and receive exclusive recipes from them? Sign up for my Substack where I’ll be featuring Q&As with the featured guests, exclusive recipes, and much more.The Fundamentals of Baking: Cookies
Check out my first Magnolia Workshop, now available on the Magnolia Network app! Download the app “Magnolia | Time Well Spent” and watch my cookie workshop series to learn all about the fundamentals of baking cookies. There are nine chapters that will guide you through some of my favorite recipes and help you create YOUR perfect cookie! This course is basically my Chocolate Chip Cookie 101 blog post on steroids where I bring you step by step through my process of changing a cookie to the texture and flavor profile you love. To find my course, open the app, find “Create,” then click “Workshops” and you’ll see me there!Photos courtesy Magnolia Network
Zoe and I will be doing a live broadcast on Instagram (@BreadIn5), grilling pizzas and flatbreads outdoors on the gas grill, this Friday, August 13, at:
3:00pm Central Time-US (4:00pm Eastern, 2:00pm Mountain, and 1:00pm Pacific).
We’ll demo the method, from dough-mixing to topping, to finishing beautiful pizza and flatbread right on the gas grill—keeping your house cool this summer. You’ll be able to post questions for us to answer right to Instagram, and we’ll answer in real time—pizza questions or anything else about our method. See you Friday!
And as always, we answer questions right here…
Our new book, “The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Favorite Recipes from BreadIn5,” is now available for pre-order (shipping October 12, 2021). We were excited and grateful to be asked to do a “greatest-hits” compilation. Through the lockdowns and trials of the past 18 months, we kept talking with you all here on the website, hearing what you were looking for and sharpening our sense of which recipes really mattered. The new book reflects those conversations, and it’s perfect for anyone who wants a curated collection of the all-time favorite recipes from our seven previous books on super-fast stored dough—for yourself or for the ABin5 newbies on your holiday shopping list. You’ll find:
- The best of the European and American artisan traditions
- Whole grain loaves
- Pizza and flatbread
- Brioche, challah, and other sweet or enriched breads
- Gluten-free recipes (a few)
- Natural sourdough bread
But enough from us—the multitalented Andrew Zimmern graciously agreed to write the foreword to our book so we’ll let him speak for us:
From the Foreword by Andrew Zimmern:
“… What Zoë and Jeff have done with the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes series is prove that the world’s easiest yeasted loaf, the most versatile bread dough recipe (even pizza!), can be taken in so many directions and have so many applications that it has created a series of hits, launched a gazillion home bakers on their own bread journey, and spawned, finally, a Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day… This series redefined bread baking for America, long before the Covid-19 sourdough craze. This series of books launched on a simple premise: bread baking can be easy, simple, and anyone can do it. Then it took off—and took on healthy breads, hydration ratios, flatbreads, gluten-free breads, holiday breads, pizza, and more. That’s what happens in our culture: Success breeds more success and, in this case, more books…”