Let us offer a brief lesson in the evolution of baking in quarantine. First, home chefs — namely parents seeking fun treats to keep restless kiddos captivated — started with fresh-baked cookies. Cakes and pies likely came next, with from-scratch pizzas shortly behind. Then there was banana bread. Somewhere along the way, banana bread, the cake-bread hybrid acceptable for both breakfast and dessert, became the unofficial pastry of the pandemic. (In April, web analysts found that banana bread was the most-searched recipe in the country.) We think it’s time for the next wave of bread recipes. Now that at-home chefs have mastered putting ripened bananas to good use, sourdough, challah, and flatbreads are vying for a spot as the next home baking darlings. Here, local chefs offer up fluffy, flaky, savory bread recipes to try — even beyond the crisis.
Soft and Sweet Bread
(makes 10 rolls)
Though based in Detroit and Birmingham, Cannelle by Matt Knio is rooted in French sensibility. At both locations, chef Matt Knio crafts fresh breads and decadent pastries using French techniques and ingredients. This bread recipe, Knio says, is lightweight and can be paired with savory or sweet foods.
4 cups bread flour
3 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups warm milk
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp. dry yeast
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Using an electric mixer, combine all ingredients and mix on slow for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes.
Cover the bowl and let rest for 20 minutes. Next, mix again for 7 minutes on medium speed, then place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 1 hour at room temperature. Cut and shape into 10 rolls.
Let the rolls proof covered with plastic wrap for 1 hour at room temperature. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 18-20 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy.
Cannelle Patisserie, 586-920-2373; goldenwheatbakehouse.com for locations
Lemon Rosemary Sourdough
(makes two loaves)
The biggest takeaway for a home baker, Patrick Kerrigan says, is that making bread takes time and patience. As head baker at Bread by Crispelli’s, Kerrigan recommends starting with sourdough, which offers a great intro to the science behind bread making. “Starting your own wild sourdough starter at home is easy and one of the best ways to be super connected with the bread and understand the chemistry behind baking,” he says. “It takes a good bit of practice to understand how to handle the dough and know where the dough is at in its life cycle. Having some simple tools like a proofing basket, a lame, and a Dutch oven will help with the final result of your bread.” This bread recipe, Kerrigan says, is versatile and can be sliced for a charcuterie board or chopped and made into flavorful croutons.
7 5/8 cups bread flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
5 3/8 cups lukewarm water
1 1/4 Tbsp. salt
7 oz. wild sourdough starter (levain)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
Lemon Rosemary Oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Combine fresh rosemary, lemon zest, and olive oil in a small bowl and refrigerate long enough for the oil to congeal. It helps to stir the mixture periodically while it is chilling so the rosemary and zest are mixed throughout the oil and not settled on the bottom.
Add water, bread flour, and whole wheat flour to a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with a dough hook for 5 minutes, then let the dough rest for 20 minutes. (This process is known as an autolyse.) Next, add the starter and salt and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer up to a medium speed and mix for 3 more minutes. Remove the dough from the mixer into another bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
Fold the dough four to five times into itself. This should be a gentle stretch and knead. Before each fold, sprinkle all of the dried rosemary over the dough and fold it into the dough. Let rest for another hour. Fold the dough another four to five times and let it rest for another hour. Repeat for a third time. You will fold the dough three times in total over 3 hours.
Turn the dough onto a floured wooden board and divide into two balls. Roll each ball into a smooth round piece of dough and cover with a towel. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. (This process is called a bench rest.)
To make the final boule shape, grab each piece of dough and turn it upside down on the board. Scoop 1 Tbsp. of the chilled rosemary lemon oil into the center of the dough. Grab the dough from four different spots on the outside of the dough and pull it to the center to cover up the ball of oil. Turn the ball back over and roll it between your hands, keeping the bottom of the dough on the wooden board. This is a circular motion stretching the dough into itself to create a tight, round boule with a smooth surface. The ball of oil should be buried in the middle of the dough. Place each boule upside down in a bowl lined with a towel or piece of canvas that is generously floured so the dough won’t stick. You can use a banneton if you have one. Allow dough to proof for its final time — anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight — in the fridge. A longer fermentation will develop a stronger sourdough flavor.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. You can bake the dough directly on a stone or in a Dutch oven. Bread requires some steam when baking, so if baking on a stone, you will need a pan of water in the oven for the first part of the bake. Turn your bread out into the Dutch oven or directly on the stone. Score the top of the loaf with a knife or lame to allow the dough to expand. If using a Dutch oven, place the lid on top. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the lid or pan of water. Continue to bake for another 10-20 minutes until the desired color is achieved.
Bread by Crispelli’s, 931 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-591-3800; breadbycrispellis.com
Well known for its fresh breads designed for dunking into spreads, sweet jams, and soups, Zingerman’s Bakehouse is a local leader in sharing the secrets behind baking bread at home. Through Bake! a series of baking and cooking classes, Zingerman’s offers up step-by-step tutorials for fun and easy-to-follow recipes. This bread recipe, developed by Bake! instructor Sue Chagas, transforms the bakehouse’s naan recipe with its own freshly milled einkorn flour. “The einkorn makes this super delicious and interesting tasting,” says Amy Emberling, managing partner of Zingerman’s Bakehouse. “If that’s not enough, it’s also easy to make and relatively quick, compared to many breads. And it’s light, which makes it the perfect thing to pack for a picnic.”
2/3 cup water (room temp)
2 Tbsp. butter (melted)
5 Tbsp. yogurt (whole, room temp)
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 cup + 1 Tbsp. einkorn flour
1 cup + 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sea salt
Melted butter (optional topping)
Minced garlic and chopped cilantro (for garnish)
Preheat oven and baking stone to 500 degrees or hotter 1 hour prior to baking — convection setting is not recommended. In a mixing bowl, add water, yogurt, sugar, cooled melted butter, yeast, and half of the einkorn flour. Stir to combine. You’ll want the consistency of a thick batter. Add the remaining einkorn flour, salt, and all-purpose flour and mix until the dough is shaggy. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto your work surface and scrape out any bits of dough.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Place in a container greased with any neutral vegetable oil and cover. Ferment the dough for 1 1/2 hours. After fermenting, divide the dough into six equally sized pieces. Shape each piece into a tight, round ball and place on a floured surface. Cover the dough with plastic and let rest for 15 minutes.
Use a rolling pin to extend the dough out to an oval or teardrop shape. The dough should be about 8 inches long, with an even thickness of approximately 1/4 inch. Brush with cooled melted butter or ghee.
Once you’ve shaped the naan, place it on your heated baking stone and bake each side until it’s slightly charred and puffs up a bit. This should take about a minute. Once the naan has puffed up into a pillowy shape, flip it on the baking stone and bake about 1 more minute or until lightly colored.
Brush melted butter on top with minced garlic and chopped cilantro and serve immediately, or place in foil packet in warm oven to enjoy later.
Zingerman’s Bakehouse, 3711 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor; 734-761-2095; zingermansbakehouse.com