Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting-These light and fluffy cinnamon rolls will remind you of apple pie, but in cinnamon roll form! They are the perfect breakfast treat for fall! Perfect Fall Cinnamon Rolls My dad’s cinnam…

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting-These light and fluffy cinnamon rolls will remind you of apple pie, but in cinnamon roll form! They are the perfect breakfast treat for fall! Perfect Fall Cinnamon Rolls My dad’s cinnamon rolls are the BEST! If you’ve mad them, you know. And if you haven’t read…

The post Apple Cinnamon Rolls appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Homemade Croissants Recipe

Homemade Croissants Recipe
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to make croissants, this step-by-step tutorial loaded with tons of pictures and a video will walk you through exactly how to do it.
READ: Homemade Croissants Recipe

Homemade Croissants Recipe

If you've always wanted to learn how to make croissants, this step-by-step tutorial loaded with tons of pictures and a video will walk you through exactly how to do it.

READ: Homemade Croissants Recipe

Homemade Pizza Dough

I know it sounds cheesy, but pizza really is my favorite food. It has endless possibilities and usually includes my favorite things: bread, tomatoes, and cheese. And when you make your pizza dough from scratch, pizza is one of the cheapest dinners you can make. The best part? All of the ingredients for pizza dough […]

The post Homemade Pizza Dough appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I know it sounds cheesy, but pizza really is my favorite food. It has endless possibilities and usually includes my favorite things: bread, tomatoes, and cheese. And when you make your pizza dough from scratch, pizza is one of the cheapest dinners you can make. The best part? All of the ingredients for pizza dough are pantry staples, so you can make this whenever without planning ahead. AND it’s freezer-friendly so you can always have some stashed and ready to thaw on a moment’s notice.

Originally posted 7-2-2010, updated 6-16-2020.

Close up of a homemade pepperoni pizza

What is in Homemade Pizza Dough?

While there are several styles of pizza dough out there in the world, this particular recipe is super simple and only includes:

  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • Olive Oil

That’s it! Really! This particular recipe creates a crust that is crispy on the outside, but still tender on the inside. If you use a rolling pin to really compact the dough and roll it thin, you’ll get a result that more closely resembles a crispy thin-crust pizza. Toss the dough by hand, gently stretching the dough and leaving some thickness will give you that crispy-yet-tender finish, with a few of those awesome big bubbles.

What Kind of Yeast Can I Use?

The instructions below will work with active dry or instant yeast.

How to Freeze Pizza Dough

After kneading the pizza dough, form it into a ball, coat the dough ball with a little oil to keep it from sticking to the plastic, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place the plastic wrapped dough ball in a heavy duty freezer zip top bag, label, date, and place it in the freezer!

How to Thaw Pizza Dough

To thaw your frozen pizza dough, place it in the refrigerator the night before you intend to bake the pizza. The dough will rise slightly as it thaws. The other option is to allow the dough to thaw at room temperature, which will take about two hours. You’ll want to unwrap the pizza dough from the plastic before letting it thaw. Place the frozen dough in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with a clean towel as it thaws.

Pizza sauce being spread onto a stretched pizza dough with toppings on the sides

Make some homemade pizza sauce to go with your pizza crust!

 
Close up of a baked homemade pepperoni pizza

Homemade Pizza Dough

Homemade pizza dough is easy and costs pennies on the dollar compared to store bought. Make a batch now and freeze it for later!
Total Cost $0.62 recipe / $0.16 serving
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 42 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 272.3kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups warm water $0.00
  • 1 tsp yeast* $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.05
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour $0.30
  • 1 tsp salt $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16

Instructions

  • Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Allow the yeast water to sit for about 5 minutes, or until a thick layer of foam develops on top.
  • While you’re waiting for the yeast, add 1 cup of the flour and the salt to a large bowl, then stir well to combine.
  • Add the olive oil to the yeast water, then pour the mixture into the bowl with the flour and salt. Begin adding more flour to the bowl, ¼ to ½ cup at a time, until it forms a ball of dough that can no longer be stirred with a spoon.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, then knead for about 5 minutes, adding a little flour as you go to keep it from sticking.
  • At this point you have three options: use the dough tonight (one hour after kneading), use it tomorrow (allowing it to rise in the refrigerator over night) or within a month (freezing the dough).

To Use the Pizza Dough Same Day

  • Place the kneaded dough back into the mixing bowl, drizzle with a little oil, then turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl loosely and let the dough rise in a warm place for one hour, or until it is double in volume.
  • Once risen, stretch or roll the dough out to a 14 to 16-inch circle, place on a pizza pan, and top with your favorite sauce and toppings. Bake the pizza in a preheated 450ºF oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are brown and crispy.

To Use the Pizza Dough the Next Day

  • Allowing the dough to proof (rise) slowly in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours gives the dough even more flavor. Form the dough into a ball and coat with oil. Place the dough in a covered container and refrigerate for 18-24 hours. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before stretching, topping, and baking.

To Freeze the Dough for Future Use

  • Form the kneaded dough into a ball, coat it with oil, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag and transfer to the freezer. When you are ready to use the dough, simply place it on the counter for one hour prior to use. The dough should be at room temperature before stretching, topping, and baking.

Notes

*active dry or instant yeast

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 272.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.1g | Protein: 6.85g | Fat: 4.18g | Sodium: 592.4mg | Fiber: 1.98g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of a bubble in a slice of pizza

How to Make Pizza Dough – Step By Step Photos

yeast being added to a measuring cup with water

Start by dissolving 1 tsp active dry yeast (or instant yeast) and 1 Tbsp sugar in ¾ cup warm water.

Foamy yeast water in a glass measuring cup

Let the yeast water sit for about 5 minutes, or until a thick layer of foam develops on top.

Flour and salt in a bowl

While the yeast is blooming, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 tsp salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until combined.

Yeast water and oil being poured into bowl with flour and salt

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the yeast water, then pour it into the bowl with the flour and salt. Stir until the mixture is fairly smooth.

More flour being added to the bowl

Begin adding more flour, about ¼ to ½ cup at a time, until you can no longer stir the mixture with a spoon.

Dough ball in the mixing bowl

Once it forms a ball that you can no longer stir with a spoon, turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface.

Kneaded dough ball

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding a little flour as you go to prevent it from sticking. Once kneaded, you should have used about 2 cups flour total, since the first step of stirring salt into the flour. Total flour amount can vary depending on humidity and other factors. At this point you can let the dough rise and make a pizza same day, refrigerate the dough and make pizza with it the next day, or freeze the dough for future use.

oil being poured onto a ball of dough in a mixing bowl.

To make a pizza same day: Place the dough ball back into the mixing bowl, add just a small drizzle of oil, and turn the dough to coat it in the oil. The oil will keep the dough from drying out as it rises.

Risen pizza dough in the bowl

Cover the bowl loosely and let the dough rise for about an hour, or until it is double in volume.

Pizza sauce being spread on stretched dough

Preheat your oven to 450ºF. Stretch or roll the pizza dough out to 14-16 inches and place on a pizza pan. Add your favorite pizza sauce…

Cheese and pepperoni added to pizza dough

And your favorite toppings…

Baked homemade pizza

Bake in the fully preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust and toppings are browned.

Side view of a slice of pizza being lifted from the pan

Slice and enjoy!

Try These Homemade Pizza Flavors:

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No-Knead Focaccia

Once you try focaccia, you’ll never go back to plain bread! This hearty No-Knead Focaccia is coated in olive oil and herbs, making every bite full of delicious flavor. And the best part? It only takes about 5 minutes of hands-on work to make an amazing loaf. This delicious bread pretty much makes itself! Originally […]

The post No-Knead Focaccia appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Once you try focaccia, you’ll never go back to plain bread! This hearty No-Knead Focaccia is coated in olive oil and herbs, making every bite full of delicious flavor. And the best part? It only takes about 5 minutes of hands-on work to make an amazing loaf. This delicious bread pretty much makes itself!

Originally published 4-30-2011, updated 5-28-2020.

 A stack of focaccia slices, sides visible showing off bubbles

How Does No-Knead Bread Work?

When making regular bread, you have to use a lot of elbow grease kneading the dough to make the gluten strands line up and form a sort of matrix that gives the dough strength and texture. With no-knead bread, the dough is allowed to ferment overnight. During fermentation enzymes break down the gluten in a process called autolysis, which makes it easier for them to untangle, line up, and form the matrix that usually takes a lot of kneading to form. 

An added bonus is that overnight fermentation adds a lot of flavor to the bread. AND, since the yeast has so much time to grow and multiply, you only need to use ¼ tsp yeast, compared to about 2 tsp for a normal loaf of bread! Win-win!

What Kind of Yeast Can I Use?

This no-knead style bread is a little unique because the yeast is combined with dry flour, instead of being mixed with water and allowed to “proof” first. Because it’s not proofed first, you’ll need a specific kind of yeast—instant yeast or bread machine yeast. These types of yeast do not need to be “woken up” in warm water before being added to bread dough.

What Do You Serve With Focaccia?

Focaccia is such a versatile bread! It makes a great side dish with just about any meal, but I think it’s particularly nice with soups and stews. It’s hearty texture makes it great for dipping, dunking, and sopping up sauces, stews, and soups. It’s also fantastic for sandwiches, especially pressed sandwiches like paninis. You can also use this bread to make pizzas or flatbreads. Simply top it with your favorite cheese, meat, or vegetables and bake again until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Freeze the Extras!

This makes a BIG batch of focaccia bread, so I highly suggest freezing the leftovers. Most bread, including focaccia, freeze beautifully, so you can have homemade bread with any meal without a lot of work. To freeze the focaccia, simply let it cool completely until it is room temperature, cut it into slices (whichever size or shape you prefer), then place it in a gallon-sized freezer bag. The frozen no-knead focaccia thaws quickly at room temperature.

Can I Use Whole Wheat Flour?

Yes, you can substitute some of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat. Using all whole-wheat flour generally creates a very heavy and dense bread, so I highly suggest using only some, up to 50%, whole wheat flour. You may need to use slightly more water, as whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture than all-purpose flour.

A hand holding a slice of focaccia so you can see the bubbles in the side

 
A stack of no knead focaccia slices viewed from the side

No-knead Focaccia Bread

Fresh, hearty focaccia bread is incredibly simple to make with this no-knead method. It's perfect for sandwiches or dunking into soups and stews. 
Total Cost $1.31 recipe / $0.11 serving
Prep Time 16 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 16 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12 squares
Calories 177.83kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour $0.61
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast $0.02
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt $0.03
  • 2 cups water $0.00
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30

Instructions

  • The night before, combine the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Stir until everything is evenly combined. Add the water and stir until it forms one cohesive, sticky, shaggy ball of dough with no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl. If there is still dry flour in bowl, add a little water (1-2 Tbsp) until the dough comes together (scroll down to the step by step photos for examples). Loosely cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours.
  • The next day the dough will be wet, bubbly, and very fluffy. Dust the top of the dough with some flour, then scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough over on itself a few times until it forms a ball in the center of the bowl.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil then drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Spread the oil to coat the surface of the foil, then sprinkle cornmeal on top of the oil.
  • Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Stretch and pat the dough out into a large rectangle. You may need to dust your hands with flour throughout this process to keep the dough from sticking.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the surface of the dough and use a soft brush to spread it evenly over the surface. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning (or any type of herbs) over top. Let the dough rise for another hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Using your fingers, press dimples into the risen dough. Bake the focaccia for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven or until the surface is golden brown. After removing from the oven, allow the focaccia to cool before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sqaure | Calories: 177.83kcal | Carbohydrates: 33.13g | Protein: 4.45g | Fat: 2.69g | Sodium: 356.03mg | Fiber: 1.22g

Try More No-Knead Bread Recipes:

Three slices of no-knead focaccia piled on a wooden cutting board

 

How to Make No-Knead Focaccia – Step By Step Photos

Flour Yeast and salt in a bowl

Start with 4 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp instant yeast, and 1.5 tsp salt. Stir them together until everything is well combined.

Water being poured into flour mixture

Add 2 cups water to the flour mixture. This part will require a little flexibility on your part. You may need to add slightly less or slightly more water depending on the ambient humidity in your home and fluctuations with measuring the flour. I’ll show you what to look for in the next photos.

Dough that is too dry

Stir the water into the flour until it forms a ball of sticky dough and there is no more dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl. In the photo above, the dough is too dry. You can see dry flour on the bottom of the bowl and the dough ball is not cohesive. If this is your dough, add a tablespoon or two more water.

Sticky dough ball

Your dough should look like this. Sticky, but not slimy or shiny, and no dry flour on the bottom of the bowl. This style of dough is much more wet than traditional bread dough. Cover the bowl loosely and allow it to sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours.

Bubbly, fermented dough

After 12-18 hours the dough will look very bubbly and large, like this. Am I weird for thinking that’s gorgeous??

Pull dough from sides of the bowl

Sprinkle a little flour over the dough to keep your hands from sticking and pull the dough from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough over onto itself a few times until it forms a sort of ball. Keep your hands well floured as you do this.

Dough ball in the bowl

This is what the dough looks like after I folded it onto itself a few times. The gluten matrix is well developed. You can tell by how smooth it is and the air bubbles trapped right under the surface.

Olive oil being drizzled onto a baking sheet

Line a baking sheet with foil, then drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil over the surface. Use your hands to spread the oil to evenly coat the surface of the foil, then sprinkle about 2 Tbsp cornmeal over the oil.

Shaped focaccia on baking sheet, topped with more oil and herbs

Transfer the ball of dough to the prepared baking sheet and press and stretch it out until it fills the entire baking sheet. Drizzle one more tablespoon of olive oil over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning over the surface (you can use a mix of basil, oregano, and red pepper if you don’t have Italian seasoning).

Fingers making indentations in unbaked focaccia

Let the dough rise for one hour (or a little more if your ambient room temperature is on the cool side). When you get close to the end of the rise time, begin preheating your oven to 425ºF. Use your fingers to make dimples all over the dough.

Baked focaccia on the baking sheet

Once the focaccia has risen and the oven is fully preheated, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the focaccia for 20-25 minutes, or until it is nicely golden brown on top.

Focaccia on baking sheet, cut open

Look at those gorgeous bubbles!

No Knead Focaccia loaf cut into squares

Let the bread cool before slicing. You can slice it into 12 squares, or into strips, which are nice for dipping and dunking into soups and stews.

The post No-Knead Focaccia appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Monkey Bread Recipe (From Scratch!)

Monkey Bread Recipe (From Scratch!)
A completely homemade monkey bread recipe – no canned biscuit dough here! Homemade dough is rolled into balls, dipped in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, then baked until bubbling and glazed to perfection. Perfect f…

Monkey Bread Recipe (From Scratch!)

A completely homemade monkey bread recipe - no canned biscuit dough here! Homemade dough is rolled into balls, dipped in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, then baked until bubbling and glazed to perfection. Perfect for any holiday breakfast or weekend brunch.

READ: Monkey Bread Recipe (From Scratch!)

English Muffin Batter Bread

English Muffin Batter Bread

English muffins are one of my favorite breads to toast. They not only have a great flavor, but they are full of nooks and crannies to fill with butter and jam. You can make them at home, but it’s much easier to make this English Muffin Batter Bread, instead! …

The post English Muffin Batter Bread appeared first on Baking Bites.

English Muffin Batter Bread

English muffins are one of my favorite breads to toast. They not only have a great flavor, but they are full of nooks and crannies to fill with butter and jam. You can make them at home, but it’s much easier to make this English Muffin Batter Bread, instead! The yeast bread is called a batter bread because it is made from a batter and requires no kneading. The finished batter bread captures the flavor of an english muffin in a loaf form that anyone can bake.

When I say that this bread requires no kneading, I’m not kidding! It can be mixed up in one bowl and doesn’t require any special tools to make, although you will need active dry yeast for this recipe. Once the yeast has bloomed, all the ingredients are combined into a thick, smooth batter that is poured into a grease loaf pan to rise. After an hour or so, it goes directly into the oven to bake.

The finished bread has a fairly open texture that is similar to the holey-texture of an English muffin. The baking soda in the batter helps to create this texture. While it is added as leavening in many quick breads, baking soda is in this recipe to supplement the yeast. It begins to react as soon as it is stirred into the batter, creating all kinds of tiny air bubbles. As the bread rises and bakes, these bubbles expand even more and then set – leaving you with a bread that is a fantastic texture for toasting.

English Muffin Batter Bread

Don’t forget to lightly grease your loaf pan before pouring in the batter to ensure that your loaf comes out easily. Allow it to cool completely before slicing it into thick pieces with a serrated knife. The bread is good on its own, but it really shines after it has been toasted and that is my favorite way to serve it. The bread will keep for at least a day or two after baking, in the event that you can’t eat it all in one day.

(Note: This post originally appeared in September 2005. The post has been updated, but it’s amazing that this recipe is just as popular then as it is now!)

English Muffin Batter Bread
3/4 cup water, warm (approximately 100-110 F)
1/4 ounce active dry yeast (1 package/ 2 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp sugar
3 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk, warm (approximately 100-110 F)

Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a small bowl, 1/4 cup of water with active dry yeast and sugar. Stir, then allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes until yeast is foamy.
Transfer yeast mixture to a large bowl, along 2 cups of flour, salt, baking soda, milk and remaining water. Mix until a smooth batter forms. Gradually stir in remaining flour until batter is thick and uniform. This can also be done in the stand mixer using a dough hook.
Pour batter into prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until about doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes, until the top of the loaf is golden and it sounds hollow when tapped. An instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should read 190-200F.
Turn bread out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.

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Hot Cross Buns

This hot cross buns recipe is filled with warm spices and bright citrus. Make it a part of your cherished Easter traditions!

The post Hot Cross Buns appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

This hot cross buns recipe is filled with warm spices and bright citrus. Make it a part of your cherished Easter traditions!

Three hot cross buns on a serving plate, one sliced in half.

Much more than just a nursery rhyme, hot cross buns are an important part of spring holiday celebrations around the world. Easter just isn’t Easter for many folks without these treats.

I made a version of hot cross buns many, many years ago and while they were good, they fell short of great. I began testing and re-testing recipes again this year again (much to the delight of my raisin-loving husband and kids!) and finally came upon the holy grail of flavor and texture. Loaded with orange zest, spices, and lots of raisins, these bake up super soft and with the best texture.

Hot cross buns on a baking sheet.

What is the significance of hot cross buns?

Everything about the pastries symbolizes something significant:

  • A warm mix of spices signals the melting away of winter’s chill, as well as the embalming of Christ at his burial.
  • Bright citrus reminds you of the past winter’s provisions and the light that exists even in the darkest times.
  • The proofing yeast represents life returning and the Resurrection.
  • And of course, the cross on top represents the Crucifixion.

Beyond just the components of the bread, there are so many superstitions and beliefs about them! Some believe a bun hung in the kitchen will prevent fires and ensure bread bakes perfectly.

They’re believed to protect seafarers against shipwrecks and to be medicine for the ill. Many also believe that if you bake them on Good Friday, they’ll never go moldy.

No matter what you believe about them though, one thing is for sure: they’re super delicious!

White plate piled high with hot cross buns.

What are the ingredients?

I love how fluffy and moist the crumb is, how deliciously spicy and oozing of a fresh orange scent. These very much remind me of the Greek Celebration Bread that I made in the past and it’s likely that the two may be related if we trace the family tree back a few centuries!

A rundown of the key ingredients:

  • Dry Ingredients: Bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt
  • Fats: Milk, butter, and egg
  • Fruits: Orange zest and raisins
  • Flavors: Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
  • Cross paste: Flour + water
  • Glaze: Apricot jam

Step by step photos of mixing dough for hot cross buns

Step by step photos of mixing raisins and spices into dough.

How to make hot cross buns

A lot of people get really intimidated when it comes to the idea of making yeast bread, but you shouldn’t be scared! Just follow the steps outlined in the recipe, and I promise you can do it. A quick summary:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients, then make a well in the center.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients, add to the well in the center of the bowl.
  3. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
  4. Rise until doubled in size (it takes about an hour).
  5. Add the raisins, orange zest, and spices to the dough, knead it into the dough with your hands, then cover and allow to rise again.
  6. Divide the dough into 15 balls, shape into rolls, place on a baking sheet and allow to rise again.
  7. Make the cross paste and pipe onto the risen rolls.
  8. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Brush the rolls with warm apricot jam.

Yes, there are 3 (three!) rise times; honestly, I feel like this is what sets this recipe apart and makes utterly fantastic, melt-in-your-mouth rolls. I tried testing different variations with only two rise times and this version was far and away superior!

Hot cross buns being piped with crosses.

Recipe tips and notes

For making the best hot cross buns!

  • Bread Flour: The higher protein content creates a chewier texture and helps the rolls hold up to all of the raisins and zest. You can substitute all-purpose flour if that’s all you have, but the texture will be a bit different.
  • Yeast: Instant yeast makes this a breeze to make, however you can use an equal amount of active dry yeast if necessary. It will need to be activated: warm the milk, sprinkle the yeast over and let sit for 10 minutes. Then mix with the rest of the wet ingredients and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Please note rise times may be a bit longer.
  • Raisins: You can substitute currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or just about any other dried fruit you’d like!
  • Spices: I’ve included my preferred mix of spices, but feel free to play around with your favorites.
  • Cross Paste: Baking the cross into the tops of the buns is the most traditional method, but you can also pipe a cross on after baking with a simple sugar glaze – mix together powdered sugar and a little bit of milk (thick enough for a piping consistency) and pipe onto cooled buns.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can shape the buns, place on the baking sheet, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to bake them. Once risen, pipe with the cross paste and proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Freezing Instructions: These freeze beautifully! Allow to cool completely, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or pop in the microwave.

Hot cross bun with bite taken out and others in the background.

Want more Easter bread ideas? Try my Italian Easter Bread and Tsoureki (Greek Easter bread).

If you make these hot cross buns and love them, please take a moment to stop back and leave a review below; they help out fellow readers so much! Thank you! xo

Print

Hot Cross Buns

This hot cross buns recipe is filled with warm spices and bright citrus. Make it a part of your cherished Easter traditions!
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Rising time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 15 buns
Calories 188kcal
Author Michelle

Ingredients

  • cups bread flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup milk room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 egg room temperature, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 1 orange zested
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch nutmeg

For the Cross

  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 to 8 tablespoons water

For the Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Make a well in the center.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, egg, and vanilla extract, then add to the center of the bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir everything together. The dough will be sticky, but should come together. Add more flour a tablespoon at a time if needed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  • Place into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • With the dough still in the bowl, add the raisins, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. With your hands, knead everything into the dough, making sure it is well distributed. Cover the bowl and allow to rise again until doubled in size, another 1 hour.
  • Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 15 even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place at least 1 ½ inches apart on a half sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the rolls are puffed, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Make the Cross Paste: In a small bowl, stir together the flour and 5 tablespoons of water. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time; use only enough to make a very thick paste. Spoon the paste into a piping bag or resealable plastic bag and snip off the end. Pipe the paste down and across each row to make a cross on top of each roll.
  • Bake until golden brown and the internal temperature registers 195 degrees F, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Prepare the Glaze: Heat the jam in a small saucepan over low heat or, alternatively, in the microwave in 30-second bursts until melted. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove chunks, then brush over warm hot cross buns.
  • Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Video

Notes

  • Bread Flour: The higher protein content creates a chewier texture and helps the rolls hold up to all of the raisins and zest. You can substitute all-purpose flour if that's all you have, but the texture will be a bit different.
  • Yeast: Instant yeast makes this a breeze to make, however you can use an equal amount of active dry yeast if necessary. It will need to be activated: warm the milk, sprinkle the yeast over and let sit for 10 minutes. Then mix with the rest of the wet ingredients and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Please note rise times may be a bit longer.
  • Raisins: You can substitute currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or just about any other dried fruit you'd like!
  • Spices: I've included my preferred mix of spices, but feel free to play around with your favorites.
  • Cross Paste: Baking the cross into the tops of the buns is the most traditional method, but you can also pipe a cross on after baking with a simple sugar glaze - mix together powdered sugar and a little bit of milk (thick enough for a piping consistency) and pipe onto cooled buns.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can shape the buns, place on the baking sheet, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to bake them. Once risen, pipe with the cross paste and proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Freezing Instructions: These freeze beautifully! Allow to cool completely, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or pop in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 165mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 155IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.6mg

(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food)

Originally published in 2011, this hot cross buns recipe has been updated to include a better technique, new photos, a helpful video tutorial, and more in-depth recipe tips.

[photos by Dee of One Sarcastic Baker]

The post Hot Cross Buns appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

It doesn’t properly feel like Spring until the scent of a toasting hot cross bun is wafting through the kitchen. These sourdough hot cross buns are my spin this year, previously having done bagel, loaf and Chelsea versions of the delicious HCB. Although sourdough can be something that sounds incredibly intimidating to use (and can be very hard to master!) this dough is handled pretty much just like a standard bun dough. It’s not super wet so it isn’t a nightmare to shape. And you just give it a good knead at the start – no hours of intermittent folding involved either. The main thing is that the sourdough nature of this recipe means that it requires a much longer rise (8-12 hours) as the yeast isn’t as powerful as commercial stuff. That’s okay though, just let it rise overnight and you can bake the buns off the next day! Perfect for a weekend baking project for Easter. Have you made this recipe?I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Sourdough Hot Cross Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns on a table with butter and jam by Izy Hossack

It doesn’t properly feel like Spring until the scent of a toasting hot cross bun is wafting through the kitchen. These sourdough hot cross buns are my spin this year, previously having done bagel, loaf and Chelsea versions of the delicious HCB.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns on a baking tray by Izy Hossack

Although sourdough can be something that sounds incredibly intimidating to use (and can be very hard to master!) this dough is handled pretty much just like a standard bun dough. It’s not super wet so it isn’t a nightmare to shape. And you just give it a good knead at the start – no hours of intermittent folding involved either.

A toasted Sourdough Hot Cross Bun with butter and jam by Izy Hossack

The main thing is that the sourdough nature of this recipe means that it requires a much longer rise (8-12 hours) as the yeast isn’t as powerful as commercial stuff. That’s okay though, just let it rise overnight and you can bake the buns off the next day! Perfect for a weekend baking project for Easter.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

Yield: 12 buns
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Paste:

  • 50g (1/4 cup) water
  • 2 tbsp plain flour

Dough:

  • 170g (2/3 cup + 1 tbsp) water
  • 60g (1/4 cup) vegetable oil, plus extra for the bowl
  • 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice (see notes)
  • 90g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 200g (1 2/3 cup) wholewheat bread flour
  • 250g (2 cups) white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150g mixed dried fruit (see notes)

Cross:

  • 75g plain flour
  • 15g vegetable oil
  • 65g water

Egg wash (see notes for vegan version):

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Glaze (optional):

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

Make the paste:

  1. In a small pot combine the 50g water and 2 tbsp flour. Stir together then set over a medium heat on the stove. Cook, stirring constantly, until you get a thick paste. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Make the dough:

  1. Place the cooled paste into a large bowl. Add the water, oil, sugar, mixed spice and sourdough. Stir together briefly to combine, mashing the paste up slightly as you do this.
  2. Add the flours and salt to the dough. Stir together until you get a shaggy dough.
  3. Tip out onto a clean work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, dusting with extra white bread flour as needed to prevent it sticking, until smooth and elastic.
  4. Pat out into a circle then sprinkle over the mixed dried fruit. Roll the dough up into a log, like a Swiss roll, then coil up into a ball.
  5. Drizzle a bit of extra vegetable oil into the bowl you were using earlier. Add the dough to the bowl and turn it to coat with the vegetable oil.
  6. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel (or a shower cap). Leave at room temperature for 8-12 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume (I usually leave it overnight).
  7. If you find the dough hasn't doubled in volume in that time, place somewhere warm (e.g. an oven switched onto the lowest heat for 2 minutes then turned off) for an hour or two to help things along.

Shape:

  1. Tip the risen dough out onto a clean work surface. Pat out into a circle.
  2. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls - don't worry if some of the dried fruit comes out when you do this. You can try to poke some of it back into the ball.
  3. Place the balls of dough onto a lined baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Leave somewhere warm for 2-3 hours until the balls are almost doubled in volume.

Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan / 350°F).
  2. Brush the risen buns with the beaten egg using a pastry brush.
  3. Mix the 'cross' ingredients in a small bowl to get a smooth paste. Place into a piping bag (or sandwich bag with the corner snipped off) and cut off the very tip. Pipe the mixture over the buns in cross shapes.
  4. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until the buns are dark golden.

Glaze:

  1. Heat the maple syrup in a small pot until reduced by about half. Whilst this is still hot, brush it over the warm buns and leave to cool.

Notes

  • Mixed spice is a standard ingredient to buy in the UK. You can DIY it by mixing: of 2 tbsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground allspice, 2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground clove, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • Mixed dried fruit a standard ingredient you can buy in the UK. It is made up of mostly sultanas, raisins and currants with a bit of candied orange/lemon peel mixed in.
  • For a vegan glaze: mix 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) with 60ml water until thin and smooth. Brush this on the buns instead of an egg glaze.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Sourdough Hot Cross Buns appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

March Bake-Along: Danish Pastries

These Danish pastries are made completely from scratch, taste just like a bakery, and are easier than you’d think. Top with all of your favorite fillings!

The post March Bake-Along: Danish Pastries appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

These Danish pastries are made completely from scratch (no puff pastry here!), taste like they came straight from the fanciest of bakeries, and are easier than you’d think. The topping possibilities are endless; choose from cream cheese, fruit, chocolate, lemon curd, or a combination of those! A perfect baking project for overnight guests or special breakfast or brunch.

A plate of cheese and fruit Danish pastries.

Welcome to the March Bake-Along! This month we’re diving head-first into pastries and I couldn’t think of anything better to tackle than the iconic Danish pastries. They scream at me from behind the glass case in my favorite bakery and I’m not even ashamed to say I have a soft spot for the boxed Danishes from the grocery store; my grandma always had one or two on hand in case a neighbor stopped by for coffee and a chat.

I know you might be intimidated by homemade pastries, but believe me when I tell you that they are SO doable and you will be absolutely thrilled when you get to sink your teeth into the final product. I’m going to walk you through the process below and there are very detailed directions in the recipe.

Let’s get going on these gorgeous Danish pastries!

The Butter Block

The most important component of the Danish pastry dough is the butter block. You’ll roll out two rectangles of butter and layer them into the dough before it gets rolled out and folded multiple times. This is what allows those gorgeous (and delicious!) flaky layers to develop.

Side by side photos of a butter block being rolled out.

Laminating the Dough

In order to take full advantage of the butter block we made above, we need to make sure there are layers upon layers of that delicious butter throughout the dough. In order to do that, we roll the dough out, place two layers of butter block between the dough, then fold it up and roll it out.

Step-by-step photos of a butter block being folded into dough.

Step by step photos of a butter block in dough, then rolled out.

Then we fold and roll twice more, for a total of three times.

It may initially seem a little over the top, but once you bite into a finished Danish and see those flaky layers, you’ll be reaping the rewards big time!

Danish pastry dough folded and prepped for rolling out.

Assemble the Pastries

After a long chill in the refrigerator, the dough is ready to be divided up and the Danish pastries assembled. I experimented with some different sizes and shaping methods and kept coming back to this simple, delicious, and classic circle. It’s virtually foolproof and has a perfect ratio of flaky pastry to filling.

First, working with one-third of the dough at a time, you’ll portion it out into 12 pieces each, and then roll them into balls…

Danish pastry dough portioned out and rolled into balls.

Next, you’ll flatten them into discs, place on baking sheets and allow to rise for about 1 hour – they will puff up but will not double in size. Then it’s time to fill them!

Filling Ideas

My all-time favorite Danish flavor is cream cheese, so that’s obviously my recommendation, but most of the rest of my family love cherry, so I made some of those, as well ;-)  If you’re looking for ideas beyond those basics, here’s a list to get you started:

  • Cream cheese (recipe is below)
  • Fruit jam, preserves, or canned pie filling
  • Fresh fruit
  • Lemon curd
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Nutella
  • Feta and caramelized onions for a savory Danish!

You can also mix and match many of the combinations above! Cream cheese and berries or chocolate and orange would be fabulous together!

Side by side photos of Danish pastries filled with cheese and fruit before baking.

A Final Drizzle

Last but not least, we drizzle on a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze to make these Danish pastries really look like they just came from the bakery.

If you’d like, you could also sprinkle on some chopped nuts on top of the pastries before drizzling for a little crunch and texture contrast.

Cream cheeses Danish pastries on a baking sheet drizzled with a glaze.

Recipe Success Tips

Some notes to help you make the best Danish pastries ever!

  • When you make the butter block, be sure that your butter is on the cool side or it will be too warm to work into the dough. If it seems too soft when you start working with it, just pop it into the refrigerator to firm up before continuing with the recipe. Or, get it rolled into your rectangle then refrigerate your butter block rectangle until it firms up a bit before laminating the dough.
  • You can tackle this recipe all in one day, or split it up into a more manageable two-day project. Simply leave the laminated dough in the refrigerator overnight and continue with the shaping and baking the next day.
  • Feel free to experiment with different shapes if you’d like, but as I mentioned above, I had the most consistent success with these circular Danishes.
  • These are best enjoyed the same day they are made for optimal flakiness and freshness, however, they will keep in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing the Dough: If you’d like to freeze all or part of the Danish pastry dough, you can do so after Step #11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then wrap the portion you want to freeze in two layers of plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Freezing Assembled Pastries: To assemble the pastries and freeze before baking, complete the recipe through Step #17 (filling the pastries). Then, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until they are completely frozen, at least 3 hours. Transfer the pastries to an airtight container or resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake from frozen (don’t forget the egg wash!), adding an extra 10 to 15 minutes to the bake time.
  • Freezing Baked Pastries: To freeze already-baked Danish pastries, allow them to cool completely to room temperature, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warmed through.

JOIN THE BEB BAKE-ALONG!

To tackle the Danish pastries and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:

  • Make the Danish pastries! I would love to hear how you plan to fill them, share in the comments below!
  • Snap a picture and either share it on social media (#BEBbakealong on Instagram or Twitter), upload it to the BEB Facebook group, or email it to me.
  • Check-in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s Danishes and cheer each other on!

An overhead photo of cheese and fruit danishes.

If you make the Danish pastries and love them, please take a moment to stop back and leave a review below; they help out fellow readers so much! Thank you! xo

Print

Danish Pastries

These Danish pastries are made completely from scratch, taste just like a bakery, and are easier than you'd think. Top with all of your favorite fillings!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, European
Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 5 hours 45 minutes
Servings 36 danishes
Calories 230kcal
Author Michelle

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2 cups unsalted butter divided
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cups milk

For the Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Fruit Filling

  • 1 cup fruit jam, preserves, or canned pie filling

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Glaze:

  • cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • Make the Dough: Cut ½ tablespoon off the ends of each of the four sticks of butter (for a total of 2 tablespoons).
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the 2 tablespoons cold butter and work it in with a pastry blender or your fingers until no large lumps remain. Add the vanilla, milk, and eggs.
  • Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed until a dough begins to form, then switch to the dough hook and knead until a cohesive, but quite sticky dough forms, about 5 to 7 minutes. The dough won't completely clean the bowl and will stick a bit at the bottom. (You can also complete this step in a bread machine on the dough cycle.)
  • Scrape the dough into a ball, and transfer it to a floured work surface. Cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the butter.
  • Make the Butter Block: Cut each stick of butter in half lengthwise, to make 8 long rectangles. On a piece of floured parchment or plastic wrap, line up 4 of the butter pieces side by side, to form a rectangle. Sprinkle lightly with flour, and cover with another piece of parchment or plastic wrap.
  • Gently pound and roll the butter until it's about 6" x 9". The pieces may or may not meld together.
  • Repeat with the remaining 4 pieces of butter. You should now have two butter rectangles, about 6" x 9" each.
  • Laminate the Dough: Roll the dough into a rectangle 12" wide x 24" long. Place one of the butter pieces onto the center third of the dough. Fold one side over the butter to cover it. Place the other butter piece atop the folded-over dough, and fold the remaining dough up over it. Pinch the open ends and side closed.
  • Turn the dough so a 12" side is closest to you. Roll the dough into a 10" x 24" rectangle. Fold each side into the center; then fold one side over the other to make a rectangular packet about 6" x 10".
  • Dust the surface of the dough with flour, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and again roll it into a rectangle about 10" x 24". Fold it into a packet as you did in step #9; it'll be about 7" x 12". Roll one final time, fold into a packet, and flour the dough lightly. Wrap loosely (but completely) in plastic, and chill it for at least 2 hours, or up to 16 hours.
  • Make the Cheese Filling (if using): Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until smooth.
  • Assemble the Pastries: When you're ready to make pastries, remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and cut off one-third. You'll work with this piece first; re-wrap and return the remainder to the refrigerator.
  • Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls into 3" to 3 1/2" rounds, making the center thinner than the edges. You want to build up a slight wall of dough all around the circumference; this will help hold the filling. Place the rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Working with one-half of the remaining dough at a time, repeat the process; you'll finish with three baking sheets, each with 12 dough rounds.
  • Cover the Danish lightly with greased plastic wrap, and let them rise for about 1 hour; they'll become slightly puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Use your fingers to press the centers of the dough rounds as flat as possible, leaving the "sidewalls" puffed. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling into the well of each round.
  • Make the Egg Wash: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water. Brush the exposed edges of the pastries with the egg wash.
  • Bake the Pastries: Bake the pastries, one pan at a time, until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • Make the Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and milk to make a "drizzlable" glaze. If the glaze is too thick, add just a splash more milk at a time until the correct consistency is reached.
  • Drizzle the glaze atop the pastries. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Video

Notes

  • When you make the butter block, be sure that your butter is on the cool side or it will be too warm to work into the dough. If it seems too soft when you start working with it, just pop it into the refrigerator to firm up before continuing with the recipe. Or, get it rolled into your rectangle then refrigerate your butter block rectangle until it firms up a bit before laminating the dough.
  • You can tackle this recipe all in one day, or split it up into a more manageable two-day project. Simply leave the laminated dough in the refrigerator overnight and continue with the shaping and baking the next day.
  • Feel free to experiment with different shapes if you'd like, but as I mentioned above, I had the most consistent success with these circular Danishes.
  • These are best enjoyed the same day they are made for optimal flakiness and freshness, however, they will keep in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing the Dough: If you'd like to freeze all or part of the Danish pastry dough, you can do so after Step #11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then wrap the portion you want to freeze in two layers of plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Freezing Assembled Pastries: To assemble the pastries and freeze before baking, complete the recipe through Step #17 (filling the pastries). Then, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until they are completely frozen, at least 3 hours. Transfer the pastries to an airtight container or resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake from frozen (don't forget the egg wash!), adding an extra 10 to 15 minutes to the bake time.
  • Freezing Baked Pastries: To freeze already-baked Danish pastries, allow them to cool completely to room temperature, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warmed through.
Nutritional values are based on one cheese Danish. 

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 423IU | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

(Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post March Bake-Along: Danish Pastries appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

Traditional Focaccia Bread

A traditional focaccia bread recipe with tons of topping ideas that bakes up crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. Perfect for serving with soups and stews, or even for making sandwiches.

The post Traditional Focaccia Bread appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

A traditional focaccia bread recipe with tons of topping ideas that bakes up crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. Perfect for serving with soups and stews, or even for making sandwiches.

A loaf of focaccia bread on a cooling rack.

Welcome to the first BEB Bake-Along of 2020! We’re going to flex our yeast muscles and make a delicious loaf of focaccia bread, which would be a fabulous accompaniment to all of the delicious soups and stews you’re no doubt making this month. January is the unofficial month of warm comfort food, is it not?

Focaccia has always been one of my favorite bakery splurges, with the crusty exterior and soft interior, plus tons of flavor from the herbs and garlic are just heavenly. The traditional Italian bread can also double as a flatbread or pizza dough but is most commonly served as an appetizer bread or side to soup or salad.

No matter how you choose to serve it, I can promise you with 100% certainty that making it at home is a thousand times better than buying it somewhere. Let’s do this!

Squares of focaccia bread cut from an edge of a loaf.

I’ve tried many, many recipes and always come back to this classic from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It bakes up perfectly every single time and is packed full of flavor. The olive oil creates a crisp exterior while the interior remains soft and fluffy.

When you look at this recipe, it will seem very time-intensive, but nearly all of the time is rest time with very little hands-on work. Let’s talk through the recipe…

How to Make Homemade Focaccia Bread

First things first – make the herb oil! This is what infuses the bread with tons of flavor and gives it that characteristic texture. There are lots of flavor modifications and additions you can make to suit your tastes, so be sure to check the recipes notes below.

Herb oil in a small saucepan.

Now, let’s make the dough! It’s a simple dough comprised of just flour, yeast, salt, water, and olive oil. You’ll mix it with a paddle attachment until it comes together and then knead until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.

An important note: this is meant to be a sticky dough; it should not be totally smooth, so don’t worry if it doesn’t clear the bottom of the bowl.

Focaccia bread dough in the bowl of a mixer.

Fold, rest, fold again! This next series of steps only take a few minutes of hands-on time but requires a rest period in between each folding stint. You will first stretch the dough, then fold it into thirds, like a letter, allow it to rest, then repeat twice more.

Focaccia bread shaped into a rectangle, and then stretched.

Folding focaccia dough into thirds.

Focaccia dough before and after resting.

Oil and Dimple – Once the dough has gone through its final rest period, you’ll spoon on half of the herb oil so that it covers the entire surface of the dough and use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it over the surface of the pan. It isn’t necessary that it covers it completely, as once it goes through its final rise before the baking, the dough will puff and fill in the edges and corners.

At this point, the dough goes into the refrigerator overnight to rest and develop all of those amazing flavors and textures.

Focaccia dough covered in herb oil mixture.

Rise and Shine! The next day, the dough should be removed from the refrigerator approximately 3 hours before you plan to bake it so that it has ample time to go through its final rise. First, you’ll pour on more herb oil and give it a final spread/dimpling and then let it do its thing until you’re ready to bake.

Focaccia dough fully risen in the pan.

And then, at last, a beautiful, golden loaf of focaccia bread comes out of the oven.

This is absolutely the best when it’s eaten the same day that it’s baked, but you can keep it airtight at room temperature and continue to eat it for a few days, it just won’t have the same crispness as it had fresh-baked. You could always revive it with a short stint in the oven or toaster oven.

Finally, Focaccia Bread Success Tips

Lots of tips and ideas below for embarking upon the focaccia bread journey:

  • Herb Oil – If using fresh herbs, use any combination of basil, parsley, oregano, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and sage. If using dried herbs, you can use a combination of any of the previous herbs, or use a blend such as herbes de Provence. You can substitute 1 tablespoon granulated garlic for the fresh garlic.
  • Herb Oil Extras – You can also add 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon onion powder, or 1 tablespoon dried, minced onions.
  • Herb Oil Storage – Keep any leftover herb oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (it makes a wonderful dipping oil!).
  • Bread Flour – Using bread flour gives the focaccia a chewy texture; you can substitute all-purpose flour without ruining the recipe, but your bread will be significantly lighter and missing that characteristic texture.
  • Make the Dough By Hand – The dough can be prepared without a stand mixer by mixing the dough with a large metal spoon in lieu of the kneading step. You will need to mix vigorously for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Gentle Dimpling – When dimpling the dough, be sure to use ONLY your fingertips and not the flat of your hands to avoid tearing or ripping the dough.
  • Pre-Proof Topping Ideas: 
      • Sun-dried tomatoes
      • Olives
      • Roasted garlic
      • Fresh herbs
      • Walnuts, pine nuts, or other nuts
      • Sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, or onions
  • Pre-Bake Topping Ideas:
      • Soft cheeses – Blue cheese, fresh mozzarella, and feta
      • Cooked ground meat
      • Strips of deli meat
      • Coarse salt
      • Coarse sugar
  • During-Bake Topping Ideas:
      • Dry or semihard cheeses – Parmesan, Romano, regular mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Swiss
  • Freeze Before Baking – If you wish to prepare the dough in advance, complete steps #1 through 7. After the 1 hour rise, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • Freeze After Baking – Wrap individual slices of focaccia in plastic wrap, then in foil, and place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature and, if desired, reheat in a 325-degree oven for 5 minutes, or until warmed through and crispy.
  • Storage – The focaccia is best the day it is made, but it can be stored, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.

JOIN THE BEB BAKE-ALONG!

To tackle the focaccia bread and bake along with me this month, simply do the following:

  • Make the focaccia!
  • Snap a picture and either share it on social media (#BEBbakealong on Instagram or Twitter), upload it to the BEB Facebook group, or email it to me.
  • Check-in on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month to see everyone’s focaccia!

Focaccia Bread

A traditional focaccia bread recipe with tons of topping ideas that bakes up crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. Perfect for serving with soups and stews, or even for making sandwiches.

For the Herb Oil:

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (OR 1/3 cup dried herbs)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)

For the Dough:

  • 5 cups high-gluten or bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups water (at room temperature)

For Preparation

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Pre-proof toppings (optional)
  • Pre-bake toppings (optional)
  • During-bake toppings (optional)
  1. Make the Herb Oil: Warm 2 cups olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat to 100 degrees F (this only takes a few minutes). Add the herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic; stir together, remove from the heat and allow to steep while you prepare the dough.

  2. Make the Dough: Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the oil and water and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until all of the ingredients form a wet, sticky ball.

  3. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. You may need to add additional flour to firm up the dough enough to clear the sides of the bowl, but the dough should still be quite soft and sticky.

  4. Sprinkle enough flour on a clean work surface to make a bed about 6 inches square. Using a dough spatula or bench scraper dipped in water, transfer the sticky dough to the bed of flour and dust liberally with flour, patting the dough into a rectangle. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size. Fold it, letter style, over itself to return it to a rectangular shape. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil or nonstick cooking spray, again dust with flour, and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

  6. Stretch and fold the dough again; mist with oil, dust with flour, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.

  7. Once more, stretch and fold the dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to ferment on the work surface for 1 hour. It should swell but not necessarily double in size.

  8. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Drizzle ¼ cup olive oil over the paper, and spread it with your hands or a brush to cover the surface. Lightly oil your hands and, using a plastic dough spatula or bench scraper, lift the dough from the work surface and transfer it to the sheet pan, maintaining the rectangular shape as much as possible. Spoon half of the herb oil over the dough.

  9. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it to fill the pan. If the dough becomes too springy, let it rest for 15 minutes and then continue dimpling. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to completely fill the pan, especially the corners. User more herb oil as needed to ensure that the entire surface is coated with oil.

  10. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).

  11. Remove the pan from the refrigerator 3 hours before baking.

  12. Drizzle additional herb oil over the surface and dimple it in (you can use all of the herb oil if you want; the dough will absorb it even though it looks like a lot). The pan should be filled completely with the dough and the dough should have a thickness of about ½-inch. Add any other pre-proof toppings (see notes below). Cover the pan with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 3 hours, or until the dough double in size, rising to a thickness of nearly 1 inch.

  13. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Gently place any pre-bake toppings on the dough (see notes below).

  14. Place the pan in the oven. Immediately lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it begins to turn a light golden brown. If you are using any during-bake toppings (see notes below), sprinkle them on at this point and continue baking an additional 5 minutes or so. The internal temperature of the dough should register at least 200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

  15. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately transfer the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Allow the focaccia to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing or serving.

  • Herb Oil – If using fresh herbs, use any combination of basil, parsley, oregano, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and sage. If using dried herbs, you can use a combination of any of the previous herbs, or use a blend such as herbes de Provence. You can substitute 1 tablespoon granulated garlic for the fresh garlic.
  • Herb Oil Extras – You can also add 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon onion powder, or 1 tablespoon dried, minced onions.
  • Herb Oil Storage – Keep any leftover herb oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (it makes a wonderful dipping oil!).
  • Make the Dough By Hand – The dough can be prepared without a stand mixer by mixing the dough with a large metal spoon in lieu of the kneading step. You will need to mix vigorously for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Gentle Dimpling – When dimpling the dough, be sure to use ONLY your fingertips and not the flat of your hands to avoid tearing or ripping the dough.
  • Pre-Proof Topping Ideas: 
      • Sun-dried tomatoes
      • Olives
      • Roasted garlic
      • Fresh herbs
      • Walnuts, pine nuts, or other nuts
      • Sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, or onions
  • Pre-Bake Topping Ideas:
      • Soft cheeses – Blue cheese, fresh mozzarella, and feta
      • Cooked ground meat
      • Strips of deli meat
      • Coarse salt
      • Coarse sugar
  • During-Bake Topping Ideas:
      • Dry or semihard cheeses – Parmesan, Romano, regular mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Swiss
  • Freeze Before Baking – If you wish to prepare the dough in advance, complete steps #1 through 7. After the 1 hour rise, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a freezer-safe bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • Freeze After Baking – Wrap individual slices of focaccia in plastic wrap, then in foil, and place in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature and, if desired, reheat in a 325-degree oven for 5 minutes, or until warmed through and crispy.
  • Storage – The focaccia is best the day it is made, but it can be stored, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.
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[Recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice]

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