Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (Cookbook Review)

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

I have long been interested in the idea of bread in five minutes a day, but I didn't have a copy of the original Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois.  When I had an opportunity to review The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, I couldn't say Yes fast enough.

What's the secret to making artisan bread in five minutes a day?  Making a large batch of dough and keeping it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.  I had to try it.

I didn't have a container large enough to make the Master Recipe, so I made a half batch--enough for two one-pound loaves.  The dough came together in five or ten minutes.  Really.  I let it stand on the counter for about three hours (longer than the standard two hours, because our house is cool and I started with cold water).  By that time the dough was full of bubbles and smelled deliciously yeasty.  I refrigerated the dough overnight.

The next day I removed about half of the dough, shaped it into a loaf of ciabatta bread (rather than the round loaf pictured on the book cover)--which took less than five minutes--and let it rest on the counter for twenty minutes.  I preheated the oven, put in the bread, added hot water to the steam tray (an empty pan on a lower oven shelf), and let it bake.  The resulting loaf was beautiful and tasty, with the open and chewy texture that we expect from ciabatta.

Aside from the minimal time investment, what do I love about this book?
  • The authors don't insist on specific tools, but offer alternatives.  Don't have a pizza peel?  Use a greased baking sheet or line your baking sheet with parchment.  No kosher salt on hand?  Adjust the measurement and use table salt.  Don't happen to have a Danish dough whisk?  Use a spoon, a stand mixer, or a food processor.  
  • The book explains things in a methodical way that's accessible to anyone, not just long-time bakers.  It's so, so easy to make bread using this book.
  • Like sourdough?  Don't wash the container, but leave some dough and mix it into your next batch.  
  • Each basic recipe can make multiple variations; for example, the Master Recipe can make at least eight types of bread including round loaves, ciabatta, a ring-shaped loaf, and baguettes--even Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker.
  • The book includes a new section of gluten-free recipes.  My family isn't GF, but I know many who are.
Other sections of the book have recipes for Peasant Loaves; Flatbreads and Pizzas; and Enriched Breads and Pastries.

If you hadn't guessed, if you like bread, I recommend this book!

For more information visit Bread in 5, the authors' website with recipes, videos, links to social media, and more.

1 comment :

  1. This sounds good. Great review too. I used to have a breadmaker and ended up giving it away because I didn't use it as often as I thought I would. Plus it wasn't as easy as I thought it should be. This book sounds like it'll provide just the right information for me to make bread more often... uh, in theory. LOL

    (So happy to see you around!)


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