Making Chef Dominque Crenn’s Unity Bread! My “52 In 22” Cooking Challenge Also Has A Vegetable Parmentier!

Celebrating “Chefs For Unity” With Two Great Recipes!

My latest “52 In 22” cooking challenge is helping raise awareness for an incredible organization called “Chefs For Unity!”

A few months ago, a live streaming event was held to raise awareness and funds to support this incredible charity, which is currently raising money to help those impacted in Ukraine by the illegal Russian invasion.

The event was hosted by acclaimed Chefs Dominique Crenn and Ming Tsai, and I watched the live event and also bought Chef Crenn’s “Unity Bread” kit!

You can order this “Unity Bread Kit” and make it along with these acclaimed Chefs….as they note:

“This recipe comes from 3-Star Michelin Chef Dominique Crenn. Thanks to our partners at Miyoko’s Creamery, 100% of proceeds will go directly to World Central Kitchen and their efforts to distribute fresh meals across Ukraine and at border crossings. As a thank you for your donation, you will get the ingredients to make her beautiful pain de mie!”

I’m so excited to take part for such an important cause – and I bought Chef Crenn’s incredible cookbook as well:

My goal for week #40 of my “52 In 22” cooking challenge is to make a loaf of Unity bread, along with Chef Crenn’s “Vegetable Parmentier” dish – more on that to come, but first, time to bake some bread!

Here Are The Ingredients For “Unity Bread!”

When you donate to the “Chefs For Unity” cause, they send you a box filled with Chef Crenn’s recipe for the bread. Here you go!

  • 153g (⅔ cup) Whole Milk 
  • 83g (2 Whole Eggs), beaten then measured, plus an extra egg for egg wash
  • 63g (¼ cup + ½ teaspoon) Crème Fraîche or Sour Cream
  • 8g (2 ¼ teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
  • 413g (2 ¾ cup) Bread Flour, (set aside 2 Tbsp. extra for dusting)
  • 8g (1 ½ teaspoons) Fine Sea Salt
  • 32g (2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) Granulated Sugar
  • 52g (4 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, softened

Make sure you have all of your ingredients laid out and that your butter is softened and at room temperature. Separate out 2 Tablespoons of the bread flour to use for dusting your table for kneading the dough. Into the bowl of a stand mixer add the milk, egg, crème fraîche, and yeast.

Gently add in your bread flour, with a spatula, or your hands, and begin to gently combine the ingredients together.

Here’s a video doing just that, plus giving a little background on Chef Crenn:

Put the bowl onto your stand mixer with the bread hook attachment and mix on the lowest speed until the dough starts to come together, and then after about 30 seconds, add your salt and sugar. Once those are incorporated, add in your butter.

Here’s a video showing me doing just that:

After about 4-5 minutes of mixing, your dough should start to look like a soft, springy dough. Make sure there are no clumps of any ingredients.

Once the ingredients have been fully incorporated, and the dough is springy, soft, and slightly sticky, take it out of the bowl and put it onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead the dough by rolling it into a loose, plump log and pushing it towards you then pulling it back with the heel of your hand. Then fold one side into the middle, then the other side, rotate it 90 degrees and knead the log the same way again.

Then shape it into a ball. Grease a large mixing bowl and transfer your dough into it, covering it with a kitchen towel. Let it proof for 30 minutes (it will proof two times after this!) in a warm area of your kitchen, such as on top of your fridge or on your oven, which will preferably be around 75°F-80°F.

Here’s my second proof:

So apparently when I said “proof” I was right, not “prove”! I am “proving” that I’m not a baker!

Once the second proof is done, spray a loaf pan with cooking spray then roll your proofed bread into a log to fit into your pan. Cover it with a kitchen towel and proof for one hour back in that warm area of your kitchen. About 10-15 minutes before it’s done proofing, preheat your oven to 375°F.

Put the bread into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a food thermometer comes out at 195°F.

Once it’s out of the oven, carefully unmold the bread from the pan and let it rest on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes.

Now, time to make a terrific dish to go with it – it’s a vegetarian version of a “Shepard’s Pie!”

Chef Dominique Crenn’s Vegetable Parmentier!

This delicious dish is made in two parts: you prepare creamy mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley!

First, here are the ingredients for the vegetables:

  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 carrots or other root vegetables, peeled and diced
  • 1 yellow onion or leek, trimmed and minced
  • 4 c. summer diced squash and zucchini
  • 2⁄3 c. vegetable stock
  • Fleur de sel or kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

As you can see, I prepped all of my ingredients ahead of time. In a pan set over medium heat, warm 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the diced carrots and other root vegetables like my cubed butternut squash and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

I then added my garlic and onion and zucchini and cooked for ten more minutes together.

Next, add 2⁄3 c. of vegetable stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost entirely absorbed, about five minutes. It’s like an orchestra of deliciousness:

After five minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste…I also added a bit of oregano because I thought it would add a nice bit of flavor…set aside for now.

For The Mashed Potatoes:

  • 1 kg Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2⁄3 cup whole milk
  • 100 g room-temperature butter, cubed
  • Fleur de sel or kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked white or black pepper, to taste

OK, everyone can make mashed potatoes…peel and cut them, boil in salted water until done, then drain the water.

Once the potatoes are fully drained, place them back in the pot. 

Gradually whisk warm milk into the potatoes, along with the soft butter cubes. If the texture is too thick, add warm water by the tablespoon until your desired consistency is achieved. Season the potatoes with fleur de sel or kosher salt and white or black pepper, to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter your gratin dish, then spoon a layer of vegetables into the bottom. Spoon a layer of Mashed Potatoes on top of the vegetables, then smooth out the potatoes with a fork.

Here’s a video where I did just that – and yes, I left my goofy flub at the end on purpose:

As you saw in the video, the last part is to cover the Mashed Potatoes with shredded Comté cheese.

Bake the Vegetable Parmentier in the oven until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. 

Here’s one last video of me taking it out of the oven and presenting it to you:

Here it is: a gorgeous vegetable Parmentier, which is much like a Shepards Pie without meat – and who needs it?

As you can see, the top turned golden brown and if you watched the video, you see that it forms a nice crispy dome – and is a blast to cut open because the aroma of th vegetable inside is incredible!

The crispy top melts away as the mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables fill your mouth…delicious!

I loved this meal, with plenty of leftovers for later as well! Bravo to all of the Chefs who support his terrific organization, more vital now than ever.

Find out more about this incredible organization by clicking here:

Some of you know that my wife and I met Chef Crenn a few years ago when we ate at her 3-Michelin star restaurant:

And we had one of the best meals of our lives that night – here’s a tase:

You can see all that we ate by clicking on my story here!

Chef Ming Tsai, who co-hosted the Unity event, is a friend and so I had to cook form his great cookbook as well:

This gingered beef recipe is delicious – click here to see it:

Chef Tsai also hosted by PBS cooking competition called “Cooking Under Fire”, wand I cooked from our series cookbook as well:

This “pulled pork with almond cream sauce” recipe is amazing – click the story for the recipe!

Michael Ruhlman was one of my terrific Judges on “Cooking Under Fire” as well, and I’ve already cooked from one of his terrific books:

Ruhlman’s “Egg” cookbook is incredible, but I almost butchered his “Crispy Mollet Egg With Asparagus” recipe – click here to see how I salvaged it: 

If you don’t know the Author’s work, click here to see his insightful look at how we grow and consume our food – and how to make your own Charcuterie!

If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like – from music to movies, books, travel, food and more…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…

Let me know what you think of my “52 In 22” challenge!

As for my “52 Cookbooks 52 Recipes” challenge, I am sharing and storing all of these recipes on my food website as well:

“Bite! Eat! Repeat!” is your site for all things food – from these step-by-step cooking directions for 52 dishes from around the world to fun stuff that is designed to make food even more fun!

If you like what you see, please click on my link and follow this blog as well!

If you like the story, share it with friends on social media! Thanks!

Categories: Art, Awards, Books / Media, cookbooks, Food, food blog, Food Review, Recipes, Restaurants, Talent/Celebrities, TV Show, Wacky Food

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10 replies

  1. I will definitely be making the vegetable Parmentier. It looks so good. I have a friend who owns a lovely little cafe called Inspire in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She has a vegetarian shepherd’s pie on the menu. It is called A Shepherd’s Pie Without the Shepherd. So clever. ( BTW, my mom called it proofing)


  2. I loved this, John. So…if I added some cooked ground beef to the Shepherd’s Pie, I think that would be okay. I agree that Yukon Gold makes the best mashed potatoes. The unity bread looks delicious, and such an important and worthy cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You did great with that bread, John. And the vegetable Parmentier looks delicious too.
    ‘Proof’, or ‘Prove’? It doesn’t matter in the least, but in England we say ‘Prove’, and also ‘Shepherds’ Pie’, with an ‘E’. 🙂
    (I have never heard of ‘Comte’ cheese, despite many trips to France. I had to look it up!)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oh my, both look wonderful and what an amazing cause

    Liked by 1 person

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