Monday, January 20, 2014

REVIEW: The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoë François

Starting at the title, I was VERY skeptical. I mean, really? Yummy, beautiful homemade bread in 5 minutes a day? Who do they think they're kidding? I have always wanted to bake... to BE someone who BAKES. I even own a top of the line bread machine to help this time-crunched mama (ostensibly) make bread more easily. Even as "easy" as that is, it still just didn't happen all that often. And frankly, bread machine crusts are just not the same as bread baked in the oven.

Skeptical or not, I really wanted to believe that I could fit baking into my daily life. The introduction did nothing to make it sound any less "too good to be true". Then they shared their secrets: 1) "Mix enough dough for several loaves and store it in the refrigerator" and 2) "Pre-mixed, pre-risen, high moisture dough keeps well in the refrigerator." (my emphasis). This dough is WET and as a result, requires no kneading, no proofing the yeast, no resting/rising/resting, no punching down (in fact, NEVER punch it down), no stress or fuss whatsoever. With my trusty kitchen scale and my Kitchenaid mixer, I can put a large batch of dough together in under 15 minutes. The only thing I have to do each day for fresh bread is pull off a ball of dough, shape and bake. There is some resting and baking time involved, of course, but the actual active work required takes mere minutes. I have even cooked a few loaves in the slow cooker (!!!) with zero resting time. You do need to put a slow cooker loaf under a broiler for a minute to crisp up the top but this is a super SUPER easy way to make already super easy bread.

I usually get books from the library first before forking out the cash for them. I will definitely be adding this one to my cookbook collection permanently. They also have written "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" and "Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Minutes a Day". This review is for the 2nd edition of their original book and I plan to buy this one as it includes whole grain and flatbread recipes in it, as well as recipes for pretzels, pain d'epi, pumpernickel, rye, beignets, naan and so much more.  There is a sizable gluten-free section as well! If you want to fit baking into your life, do yourself a favor and get this book. I'm not sure your waistline will thank me but your taste buds definitely will. 

1 comment:

  1. Go, HeatherAnne! Inspired by the earlier edition of the book, daughter Joanna baked bread frequently for a year or so, to the detriment of our waistlines. The bread was consistently fabulous. She mastered bread making with it. Since then, she has taken on baking ALL bread for the family (2-4 loaves per week), which takes most of a day, done the old-fashioned way. Sadly, she hasn't baked another artisan loaf. On teh upside, we've become less prone to over-indulge in the home-baked goodness, because it's the norm. Also, we know if we run out before baking day, that's it! Thank you for highlighting the new edition. We need good gluten-free bread recipes, so I'll check it out.