It may sound funny, but yeasted dough takes my breath away. It always has. When I see it I want to touch it. I want smell it. About 30 years ago, I was watching a bakery segment on Sesame Street when a glimpse of hundreds of puffy round loaves rising on speed racks touched my heart. Even though I was just a kid, I can remember the moment clearly, along with the feelings of amazement and intrigue that washed over me. At that instant, I heard my calling. I saw that dough and I knew that we were meant to be together.
Ready your flour stash and fire up your oven: Bread is back. And hopefully it’s here to stay. According to food industry experts, “An era of good bread is upon us again.” We can expect to find its various starchy incarnations at restaurants, stores and cafes across the country, challenging the low-carb ethos that dominated in 2015. “Fancy toasts and tartines, flatbreads topped with everything … bagels and babka … and cheesy bread from all over the world” are just a few of the items on our radar this year.
When preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving, don’t let the breadbasket become an afterthought. As the vehicle for soaking up precious gravy-drenched, cranberry-stained bits of food from your plate, bread is a key player for the big feast. Yeast or no yeast, baking from scratch is easier than you think. But we’ve got a trick for jazzing up frozen dinner rolls, too, just in case.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite recipes to pass around the table for the big night. Make your own cheesy crescents, Parker House rolls, fluffy biscuits and more. Whatever you decide on, don’t forget to factor in the next day’s leftover turkey sandwich. The best leftovers of the year deserve to be sandwiched between something equally delicious.
This versatile dough can be transformed into four amazing recipes: sea salt dinner rolls, herbed fan-tans, cranberry knots and three-cheese crescents. Bake them now, then stash them away in the freezer until Nov. 26 (or up to one month). Before serving them with your turkey, thaw them at room temperature for 30 minutes, then reheat in a 375 degree F oven for 10 minutes.
What’s better than enjoying a warm, buttery sweet bun fresh from the oven? Eating a warm bun while still in your pajamas. In order to have that luxury you might think you need to start baking at 4 a.m., but that’s not true at all. These overnight blueberry babies look complicated, but they take only about 20 minutes of active work to put together, and they’re perfect for breakfast.
You start by making a simple enriched dough. With a stand mixer, the whole process takes about 10 minutes. Without one, you’ll have to do the kneading by hand, but this pillowy dough is easy to work with. The first rise should take about an hour. Then all you have to do is shape the dough and pop it in your fridge. The rolls rest overnight; this makes the recipe simpler and develops delicious yeasty flavor in the dough. The buns actually get tastier in the fridge while you sleep.
If you think toast is boring to make or to eat, Jill Donenfeld’s new book, Better on Toast, challenges you to think again. The book is a 70-recipe adventure into the world of open-faced toast possibilities, and it’s a delicious ride from the first dish to the last. “It’s not rocket science we’re talking about here,” Donenfeld writes. “It’s not even molecular gastronomy… Food tastes better when it’s eaten on a piece of hot, crispy bread.”
How right she is. With dishes ranging from the Avocado Classic Toast (mashed avocado on toast with lemon and red pepper flakes, drizzled with olive oil) to the luscious, creamy Tomatillo Egg Toast (pictured above and recipe below for you to savor at home), you’ll find a whole collection of crusty, mouthwatering recipe gems. Donenfeld covers everything from proper breadselection and toasting technique to using up leftover ingredients in the rare event you find you haven’t eaten the whole dish in one go. There are visual guides that show how you can take one ingredient and dress it up a handful of ways (like the burrata toasts below, and another similar feature of ricotta variations). She even includes a wonderful little note template for you to use when inviting neighbors over to try your new favorite toast recipes. (Or not … nobody would fault you for wanting to keep these plates all to yourself.)
Toast itself is a simple concept, but really good toast can be made with just a few small tweaks to the cooking process. Get the most out of each crispy, crunchy bite with these tips from Donenfeld:
Don’t: Dry-toast in the toaster oven — this makes for dry, flaky toast.
Do: Toast with a fat (mayo, butter, oil) in a pan — this creates a crispy crust that melts into the interior of the bread as you take a bite.
There is nothing more effective at knocking the cold grip of winter off your home than filling it up with the aroma of fresh-baked bread. Making bread from scratch at home might seem like an intimidating thing to do, but master baker Nick Malgieri was kind enough to share with us his foolproof tips for success, as well as his recipe for Easiest Home-Baked Bread (pictured above and recipe below). What does a master baker do to get a perfect loaf every time? When we asked him, Malgieri said.
- Use the right flour: unbleached bread flour. I like Gold Medal best.
- Measure accurately: In my book Bread, I specify weighing even the liquids. The only things measured by volume are spoonfuls of salt, dry yeast, etc.
- Take your time: Bread dough that rises slowly over a long time develops a better flavor and texture than breads that are rushed.
- Try something easy first: focaccia, or one-step white bread. Once you’ve had a few successes, you’ll have the confidence to attempt more elaborate projects.
There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread to cozy up your home for the holidays. So what about the scent of hundreds of loaves fresh out of the oven? Delightful. Such is the aroma at French bakery Maison Kayser in New York City, where master baker Yann Ledoux has brought a French holiday favorite to America: chestnut bread. The specialty bread is available only during the month of December, but with just a few ingredients and a bit of patience while the yeast works its magic, you can make the seasonal classic at home.
A good breadbasket is a necessity on any Thanksgiving table. A warm, fluffy roll sops up the last gravy, cranberry sauce and potatoes on a plate better than any utensil ever could, and there’s nothing better for piling on leftovers than a fresh slice — especially when the bread is homemade. This year, fill up your Thanksgiving Breadbasket with cornbread, biscuits, rolls and more from your very own oven.
There’s no denying it, Thanksgiving can be a hectic holiday. If you’re longing for a new homemade recipe to add to your menu, then we’ve got the perfect solution. This year, leave those canned rolls on the store shelves. Yeast Rolls are the ideal authentic side dish that you can prepare intermittently as you’re doing the important prep work for the more-intricate dishes like the turkey. The appeal of this dish goes beyond its minimal degree of attentiveness; while you’re letting the Yeast Rolls do their thing, the nostalgic and delightful aroma of yeast will waft through your kitchen, making everyone feel at home at your Thanksgiving feast.
When I was growing up, my mom always kept a stash of stale bread destined to become breadcrumbs. It’s a thrifty way to make use of leftovers, and also not waste any of your grocery budgets. I always mean to do this, but the truth is I get impatient. To make breadcrumbs, the bread must be rid of all moisture. Depending on the temperature in your house, this could take weeks of waiting. You could speed the process up by baking the bread at a low temperature, essentially dehydrating it. Once I get to the point of turning on the oven, though, I want a bigger payoff.
What starts as a journey for homemade breadcrumbs eventually turns into croutons or crisps, like the recipe for these savory, cracker-like ones below. They’re perfect for topping with some creamy ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey, and they also lend some oomph to a charcuterie platter. If I manage to have any left, I give them a whirl in the food processor for seasoned homemade breadcrumbs, which brings my cooking endeavor full circle.