Back-of-the-book blurb: There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread to fill a kitchen with warmth, eager appetites, and endless praise for the baker who took on such a time-consuming task. In Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, coauthors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François prove that bread baking can be easier than a trip to the bakery. Their method is quick and simple, bringing forth scrumptious perfection in each loaf. With nearly 100 recipes to put this technique to use, this cookbook will open the eyes of any potential baker who has sworn off homemade bread as simply too much work.
She is Too Fond of Books’ review: Well, they’ve done it again! Or, rather, they did this first … I’ve been having so much fun baking with the techniques and recipes in Hertzberg and François’ Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (and my family has really appreciated the yummy results!); I decided to try the book that started this ‘baking revolution’ – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
While Healthy Bread focuses on whole wheat (or ‘mostly wheat’) breads, and has a section for gluten-free baking, the original Artisan Bread concentrates on mostly white breads, with other grains added for variety.
The steps are the same, it really is as easy as:
- mix ingredients
- allow dought to rise for two hours
- shape and bake the loaf
- refrigerate remaining dough for up to two weeks, then repeat Step 3
I laugh when I read “refrigerate remaining dough for up to two weeks,” my dough NEVER lasts that long – we are little bread piggies at She is Too Fond of Bread Books! The Master Recipe makes four 1-pound loaves; I make two larger loaves over a five-day period. It is so satisfying when the kids walk in from school, smell the bread and grin, “you made bread!” I don’t even mind when they fight over the crusts (amazingly crisp crusts that we top with all kinds of goodies – kosher salt, rosemary, poppy, sesame, or sunflower seeds).
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day explains the basic ingredients and equipement needed (I only needed to add a pizza peel and baking stone to my kitchen cabinets; there’s really no “special” equipment needed), the technique, and ‘tips and tricks.’
The remainder of the book is filled with full-color photographs and tasty recipes in three categories: peasant loaves, flatbreads and pizzas, and enriched breads and pastries. One recipe I tried is the Sun-Dried Tomato and Parmesan Bread:
The picture above is the dough (I made the Light Whole Wheat recipe), rolled out and sprinkled with tomatoes and cheese. I was a little concerned about rolling out the dough, since the “don’t over-handle” mantra had been drummed into me (you want to preserve the gas bubbles that have formed during rising, in order to create a light airy crumb).
I plan to continue to use both Artisan Bread and Healthy Bread in my kitchen. Healthy Bread gives us the whole wheat bread that is a staple in our kitchen; the Artisan Bread recipes have more variety with the add-ins, various forms, and WOW-factor.
Once you start baking this bread, you’ll want to visit the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day website and blog. It’s updated frequently with video demos, additional recipes, and tips. They’re also on Twitter as @ArtisanBreadIn5.
FTC disclosure: I purchased this book at a local bookstore.