Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day - Review

In January I posted about this book and put it on hold at the library. It is obviously a popular book because it is now May and I finally got notice from the library. So I have done a quick read and tried the master recipe. I think it is fantastic and I highly recommend it. It makes good bread and the amount of time and effort is minimal.
The idea is to make up a large batch of dough and store it in the refrigerator using a chunk whenever you need it. The author is big on the minimal effort part so there is no kneading or or other fussy instructions.
I have stolen a review from Amazon and post it here.

From Publishers Weekly
While the phrase artisan bread typically evokes images of labor-intensive sessions and top-notch ingredients, for authors Hertzberg and Fran├žois it means five minutes. An intriguing concept—high-quality, fresh bread in less time than it takes to boil water. The authors' promises of no kneading, no starter, no proofing yeast and no need for a bread machine is based on the concept of mixed and risen high-moisture dough stored in the fridge for up to two weeks (dough is cut into pieces and popped in the oven for fresh loaves as desired). Note: for those tracking minutes, the five-minutes doesn't include the 20-minute resting time for dough or 30 minutes for baking. After concise, introductory chapters on ingredients, equipment, and tips and techniques, readers are presented with the master recipe, a free-form loaf of French boule that is the model for all breads in the book. Three main chapters—Peasant Loaves, Flatbreads and Pizzas and Enriched Breads and Pastries—are filled with tempting selections and focus on ethnic breads and pastries including Couronne from France; Limpa from Scandinavia; Ksara from Morocco; Broa from Portugal; and Chocolate-Raisin Babka from the Ukraine, but the basics (Oatmeal Bread, Bagels, White Bread) are all here, too. A smattering of companion recipes such as Tuscan White Bean Dip and Portuguese Fish Stew are peppered throughout. While experienced bakers and true gourmands will skip this one, those looking for an innovative approach to making bread just might find it in these recipes. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I made the French boule and a baguette and they turned out very good and so easy. I do have a pizza stone I use for baking bread and I think that does help the crust quite a bit. One of the other interesting things that the author suggests is to check your oven with a thermometer to see how closely it matches what the dial says. we have 2 ovens one was off by about 5 degrees and the other was about 70 degrees off. No wonder things don't always work in that upper oven. I suppose the other downside to the idea is it takes up refrigerator space. We happen to have a spare in the garage so It really isn't too big of an deal. I am definitely sold on this idea and plan on making bread on the days I am home using this recipe.
My recommendation is to order the book from your library (it may take 6 months) or order from overstock.com or amazon.com (runs about 17-18$)

There is also a website:http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/


jhertz10 said...

Hi Extrem, I'm Jeff Hertzberg, one of the book's co-authors. Thanks for the great review.

Like you, we've been struck by how inaccurate home ovens register the temperature. In our book we tell everyone to buy an inexpensive oven thermometer, even if your oven has a digital readout (which makes it seem so "accurate").

Come visit us at our website and blog at www.artisanbreadinfive.com, and post questions or comments into any "Comments" field.

Jeff Hertzberg

Extrem4 said...

Thanks for the reading the blog and giving your comment. I am impressed that Thyme in the Kitchen hit your radar. I do have a question for you that I will post on your blog. I really am loving the recipes. This weekend a group of four of my friends hosted a "Mother's Day" dinner for our spouses and I was in charge of the bread. I made a couple loafs of pain d'epi, ciabatta, and olive bread. The bread was a smash hit. I am sure I sold at least 4 more books for you. I just bought 3. One for myself and 2 to give away. Thanks again for sharing your experience with he rest of us.

alleykat said...

your blog needs this link...it really does...

Fondea said...

Good words.

chili pepper said...

I love this book. It is my new favorite. I have had it for a few months and always have two typed of dough in the fridge. If you haven't tried the pizza with it...you must...it is the BEST!