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Customer Review

663 of 669 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making it healthy and easy to bake bread!, October 28, 2009
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This review is from: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients (Hardcover)
I have been a fan of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (ABFM). The main problem with that book is the bread came out so good, I tended to eat too much of it (but loving every minute of it).

One of the great things about the technique in ABFD is that the recipes are very forgiving and flexible, and I usually made variations, including using more whole grains.

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day will not only alleviate some of the guilt, it has some really wonderful recipes and ideas using a wide range of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, gluten-free breads and pastries and even some healthy variations on some of the more delicious but not necessarily the healthiest breads from ABFD (such as the 100% whole grain butterfat and yolk fee Brioche!).

I tried many of the recipes in ABFD and most were very good to excellent, some outstanding.

I will, sadly, be putting ABFD on the shelf at least for a while. I really look forward to exploring the healthy recipes in this book. Let's see, if I make a different bread every 4 days, it will only take me about a year to go through the entire book.

For those of you who have not tried Artisan Bread, the technique is really as easy as the writers claim, it is virtually foolproof, and you can now have fresh homemade bread at any time with almost no fuss whatsoever. Once you get this book, you will never buy bread from a store again. You can freeze the dough and it tastes just as good thawed. I took some frozen dough on a trip and enjoyed homemade bread far from home.

The title "Five Minutes a Day" is based on preparation time. It takes less than 20 minutes to completely prepare most recipes to make about 4 loaves (you can easily half or double the recipes). Of course, you still have to bake the bread, but that is not active cooking time. You can easily freeze the dough and build a store of different breads in your freezer. Over time, depending on how much bread you eat, you will probably less than 5 minutes a day on average.

Though a good number of recipes use only whole grains and "healthy" ingredients, some recipes use smaller amounts of unbleached white flour, small amounts of sugar. However, the writers encourage you to make substitutes if you like, which is what I did with ABFD.

The only improvement to the book I can think of at the present time is listing somewhere in the book which recipes are vegan (my daughter is vegan and I am vegetarian). Though I can figure that out for myself by flipping through the book, it would be nice to have those recipes listed.

As an added bonus to delicious recipes, according to the book, the cost of a loaf of bread made at home is about $.40 per loaf. That cost probably is more for recipes that use less well-known grains, or more expensive ingredients, but then again those bread would be more expensive to buy in the store in any case. No matter which recipes you choose, you will be saving money.

Should you buy this if you already have the first book? I did, and I am glad that I did. I am impressed with the wide range of recipes and their creative approach to making bread not merely delicious, but healthier.

One more thing: the writers have an incredible website (healthybreadinfive), where they have additional recipes, and a great bread making community sharing tips and experiences. Though I have not posted on the web site, they answer questions and even based some of the recipes in their new book on suggestions from readers.

Add healthy bread to your diet and save money. Zoe and Jeff, thanks for bringing fresh, easy to make, bread back into my life!

This is my first ever review on Amazon, but I felt this book merited a strong endorsement.

P.S.

I've begun to try the recipes

I used the rye as a a sandwich bread, and made a pizza crust (and a regular loaf) from the avocado-guacamole bread. These recipes are about 1/3 whole wheat. The recipes seem a little less forgiving in terms of getting the time right (I undercooked one loaf of rye, and overcooked a loaf of the avocado-guacamole bread). It may have something to do with the whole wheat, but I'm not sure.

The Bran Muffin Bread came out wonderfully, great crust, light inside, slightly sweet and delicious. Also used it for French Toast, which was great!

I combined 2 recipes, 100% Whole Wheat with Olive Oil and 100% Whole Wheat with Flaxseed. Great crust and very good whole wheat taste with the extra nutrition of flaxseed. It is particularly good as a bread for sandwiches. I used the dough for the Algerian Flat Bread (a pan fried bread) which was a real treat.

I just made the 100% whole wheat with brown rice breat. This was a great bread and somewhat unusual. The bread crumb looks lighter than regular whole wheat bread, which might make it more acceptable to fussy eaters (read "kids"). The crust is delicious. When it comes out of the oven it is particularly crunchy with a nice combination of wheat and rice flavors intermixed.

Keep in mind, that while these recipes are "healthier" than regular bread recipes that just use regular flours, most are not pure whole grains, but a combination of unbleached white with other grains. There are some 100% whole wheat recipes as well. However, all the recipes do have a healthier twist and I am very happy with the book. I'm looking forward to trying many other recipes such as: Pistachio Twist, Gluten Free Cheddar and Sesame Bread, Carrot Bread, Lentil Curry Bread.

P.P.S:

A question of time. Does it really only takes five minutes a day? Although there are some recipes which are more complicated (but delicious) many of the basic recipes do take the equivalent of 5 minutes a day. For a fantastic new illustrated step by step walk through of the basic recipe, go to the author's website [...].

In summary, you get a large container, put in the yeast, salt, warm water, and flour, and mix. Most recipes make enough for four loaves (though usually can be doubled or halved). Timing myself, including the time to get the ingredients from various places in my kitchen, to mixing them, to cleaning up, many of the recipes will take between 10 to 15 minutes for the initial batch ( not including waiting time). Then, each time you want to make a loaf, you take a grapefruit size of the flour (which you have refrigerated), let it get to room temperature, put it in the oven and bake. the total amount of time I usually spend to make four loaves of bread is less than 20 minutes. Of course, there are some extremely delicious recipes that require some extra steps, but even most of these only take a few more minutes. I do not have a container big enough for the eight loaves at a time, but if I was really concerned about time, I could do that. Most of the doughs can be frozen. I usually make 2 or 3 of the loaves, freeze the rest, and then began to build a bank of various breads I can thaw and then freshly bake.
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Showing 1-10 of 28 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 3, 2009 12:45:42 PM PST
This was a great review! Are you sure it was your first ever? :-) Since you are vegetarian with a vegan daughter, we thought you would be able to tell us about what percentage of the recipes in this book are vegan (or easily veganized, say with agave nectar for honey or soy/rice milk for cow's milk). Since we're seeing quite a few "cheesy" recipe titles (we don't buy processed vegan cheeses so substitutions wouldn't work for us in most cases), we're wondering if this book would be worth purchasing. Your guidance would be helpful. Thanks for a very nice review (and for sharing the authors' web site!)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2009 4:07:49 PM PST
Howard A. says:
I don't know the exact percentage, but most of the recipes do not have dairy. some might call for an egg wash, but you could use a water wash, or corn starch wash.

I have never had a problem substituting soy milk or rice milk for my recipes. I don't know anything about agave nectar, but my guess is that most sweetener substitutes would work.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2009 4:41:59 PM PST
Thank you for your prompt and helpful answer. "Most" is close enough, I didn't expect an exact percentage. :-) I never have had any problem with those subs either, I was mainly concerned that the book might contain lots of recipes in which animal-derived ingredients, such as cheese, were intrinsic ingredients difficult or impossible to effectively substitute or omit. Thanks again for your help with this, and happy baking!

Posted on Nov 6, 2009 10:36:15 AM PST
Sunny DM says:
Thanks for the great review! Does the book have color photographs? I was considering getting it from an online book club, but their member edition is black and white. I was wondering if the pub. edition is in color. I know it doesn't make a big difference, but I love seeing beautiful photos in my cookbooks!

Thanks,
Daniél

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2009 4:54:39 PM PST
Agave nectar is from a plant, it's vegan.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2009 11:01:14 AM PST
Howard A. says:
Yes, it has some beautiful photos. The authors' website also has tons of great photos as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2009 4:09:44 AM PST
I also want to say, Thank you for your wonderful and Informative Review.
I always wonder if cookbooks have pictures, as I think we all want to see the finish product before
Baking, Cooking.
Thank you again.

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 9:18:16 AM PST
KM says:
Thank you for taking the time to give such a wonderful and informative review!! This section of Amazon.com is so helpful in making purchases of things that you cannot see first hand. Reviews like yours makes all the difference when making a selection. I hope you find other items that you will choose to do the same thoughtful reviews for. It will certainly help others when making their selections.
Thanks Again!!!

Posted on Dec 15, 2009 7:18:31 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 15, 2009 7:19:09 AM PST]

Posted on Dec 15, 2009 7:22:06 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 15, 2009 7:22:32 AM PST]
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