Thursday, June 24, 2010

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Lately I've been hearing and reading about how good the bread recipes are from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

I'm not sure if I'll ever get into the habit of baking my own bread so I borrowed the book from my local library rather than spend money on yet another cookbook that just sits on the shelves.

I've never had any interest in baking my own bread because I didn't think I'd have the patience. Five minutes seems reasonable to me and reading this book has inspired me to finally try it.

In quickly reading through the recipes I noticed that they look straightforward and manageable so I am excited to try one soon. Page 5 is what really encouraged me because it lists what we DON'T have to do - steps from traditional bread baking that they omitted.

1. Mix a new batch of dough every time we want to make bread

2. Proof yeast

3. Knead dough

4. Cover formed loaves

5. Rest and rise the loaves in a draft-free location

6. Fuss over doubling or tripling the dough volume

7. Punch down and re-rise

8. Poke rising loaves to be sure they've "proofed" by leaving indentations

Huh? So glad that those steps are "don't". I don't even know what most of those steps mean - they sound complicated which is exactly what has prevented me from attempting bread baking. I'll report back as soon as I've tried a recipe or two. If you've tried any of these recipes, please share your experience or recommendations.

The secret to the "five minutes" is to make a big batch of dough and refrigerate it so you can bake a fresh batch daily. It is a great idea for the winter when I don't mind turning on my oven. The recipes really do look much easier than the normal bread making process and the reviews of the book are very positive.

By the way, when I was searching Amazon I noticed that the authors have another book called Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients - I like the "healthy" part of the title and it got great reviews. If I have good luck with the recipes from the first book, I'll most likely end up buying the "healthy" book.

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