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Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking Hardcover – November 13, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
While the phrase artisan bread typically evokes images of labor-intensive sessions and top-notch ingredients, for authors Hertzberg and François 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.)
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About the Author
Jeff Hertzberg is a physician with 20 years of experience in health care as a practitioner, consultant, & faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is also an ardent amateur baker. Hertzberg developed a love of great bread while growing up in New York City's ethnic patchwork of the 1960s and 70s, and he refined this love with extensive travel throughout France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Britain, and Morocco. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and two daughters.
Zoë François is a pastry chef and baker trained at the Culinary Institute of America. With Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., she is the author of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Passionate about food that is real, healthy and always delicious, François teaches baking and pastry courses nationally, is a consultant to the food industry, and creates artful desserts and custom wedding cakes. She also writes the recipe blog Zoë Bakes. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and two sons.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book frequently calls for a pizza peel and baking stone. A set of the peel (or a suitable cutting board), stone (or an unglazed ceramic tile from Home Depot) and this book would make a great gift. In fact, I thought that I could cross several people off of my shopping list by buying the set or just the books for all. Unfortunately, it is already out of stock. Looks like I am not the only one who is impressed by it. I can't even give my book away and wait for a new copy because I spilled olive oil on it while making the sun dried tomato and Parmesan bread. By the way, it was delicious!
This is a great book for all cooking experience levels. The recipes are easy and the results impressive.
The secret? A wet dough that ages over time in the refrigerator. One batch makes a handful of loaves, and will last happily for more than a week, so you can just lop some off and make bread whenever you want during that time. All you'll need is a little time for the bread to rest and bake, and you have lovely homemade bread whenever you want it. If that isn't enough, as the dough ages it takes on a sourdough characteristic, giving it additional flavor.
We found the recipes quick and easy. The dough was crusty as advertised. It had a lovely crumb. It had tons of flavor. And most importantly, it really did take only a few minutes of work.
My only disappointment is that the method isn't quite as easy and simple when it comes to making whole grain breads. You definitely have to adjust things a bit, and it'll take a little time to get the hang of making sure the dough is wet enough. Also, whole grains don't lend themselves to those perfect crackling crusts, so you'll have to live without that.
This is a delightful baking method that sets tradition on its ear and produces wonderful bread with little effort. Using Hertzberg and Francois's method, you'll be able to make fresh, homemade bread even around a busy working schedule.
Thus the familiar term "artisan bread," a phrase meant to capture the aesthetic finery of good bread, the skilled labor necessary to create it, and the sale price required to compensate for it. Buying bread then, is more like going to a gallery than to a market. And so even we who do not have ready access to real "artisan bread," who wish to produce the stuff on our own, are at the mercy of our only easy resource: books on how to make this "artisan bread." The problem is that these books are all written by bakers, artists of bread. I have purchased a few of these myself (The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread,Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes,Artisan Baking), but the intense involvement which these methods require is more than I am interested in. I have no desire to bake world-class breads, or even really good ones; I just want something to eat(!) and enjoy and give to lots of other people who also don't get to experience real bread of any quality most of the time.
The first small loaves I baked using the master formula came out of the oven crackling; when they cooled and I invited my family to try them (the same people who have witnessed some very un-enviable bread attempts in the past), I was overjoyed to see that they kept coming back for more! It is without a doubt the best bread I have ever baked (although I haven't baked much), and it certainly meets and surpasses all my requirements for a quick, easy method of making decent "good bread" at home.
If all you want to do is eat inexpensive, decent bread, and do so easily and quickly (from dough to delicious in an hour and a half), then this is the book you should buy. If you have a desire to learn the intricate art of bread, then get the other books--you'll probably be making better bread after a time. But this is not a book for artists, or even hobbyists--it's a book for the rest of us, who just want to eat...bread.