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The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking Hardcover – October 22, 2013
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“Every step of Zoë and Jeff's adventures in bread has been fascinating and delicious for us, the home bread bakers who follow them, but this book might be their most exciting yet because they've incorporated years of readers' questions, problems, and discoveries into every chapter. This is truly the all-you've-ever-wanted-to-know edition. And there are plenty of photographs … at last!” ―Dorie Greenspan, James Beard Award-winning author of Around My French Table and owner of Beurre & Sel cookies
“A fun, easy-to-follow collection for those who aren't afraid to shun baking traditions.” ―Publishers Weekly
“With this revised edition, Herzberg and François continue to perfect their already easy and immensely popular bread-baking method. Essential.” ―Library Journal
About the Author
Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. has been a physician, university professor, information technology consultant, and ardent amateur baker. He developed a love of great bread growing up in New York City in the 1960s and '70s and began traveling to bread-loving countries like France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Britain, and Morocco, to sample and learn. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two daughters.
Zoë François is a pastry chef and baker trained at the Culinary Institute of America. In addition to writing best-selling cookbooks, she creates tasty desserts on her pastry blog ZoeBakes.com, as well as for the Cooking Channel, General Mills, and many national magazines. Zoë lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two sons.
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This cookbook completely changed my "average" image though. I've been baking bread with the original edition of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day since January 2011 and I have literally become renowned in my neighborhood and at work for baking amazing bread. One by one I've had half the dads in my neighborhood over and taught them how to bake amazing bread.
It couldn't be simpler.
For the basic recipe, you mix yeast, salt, water, and flour in a big tub and put it in the fridge to rise and chill overnight. Then the next day you can start baking. Bake however much you want, and then leave the rest of the dough covered in the tub for up to two weeks. You never have to kneed or punch the dough. And besides the initial rise, you only need to let the formed loaves (I always bake more than one) rest and un-chill for about a half hour before you bake them.
I can whip up a batch of dough in less than ten minutes. I store all my ingredients in plastic storage containers out in the garage, so I just grab what I need and bring it into the kitchen. I always mix the double batch recipe that they describe as the "6-2-2-13 rule" in one of the sidebars. That way I have plenty of dough to make loaves for my family and make enough to take in to share at work.
I rarely make the dough and bake it on the same day, because the dough is stickier and harder to work with at first. Although you CAN form and bake the loaves after the initial three hour rise, it's a lot simpler to let the dough chill overnight before you try to bake with it.
The results are amazingly beautiful and delicious (and cheap) loaves of bread. I wish I could post pictures here, but I don't think I can add images until after the book is released to the public in October.
The book has a great variety of recipes. I love making the deli rye and pumpernickel. Or if you prefer the simplicity of the master recipe, it's easy enough to stick with the master recipe and just slightly modify it by adding other ingredients. You can add fresh rosemary to make herb loaves. My wife's favorite is for me to add a cup of sunflower seeds before mixing. Another favorite of mine is to substitute dark beer for half of the water and add a cup of grated cheese and a cup of chopped fresh jalapenos.
I think what I like most about these recipes is that they have a very wide margin for error. It's pretty hard to botch this up. Plus it's very easy to modify the recipes to suit your taste. If you like the flavor of yeast, then use more yeast. If you're watching your sodium, cut back on the salt. If you find that the dough is coming out too dry, add just a touch more water and cut back a half a cup of flour at a time until you find your perfect blend.
Another simple thing to do is start with the master recipe and just add your favorite seeds to the top before you bake. Sesame seeds are my favorite. Flax seeds are also delicious. It's such a simple way to completely change the flavor of the loaf, all with the same batch of dough.
Once you feel comfortable with the basic "master" recipe, it's very easy to branch out to the other recipes in the book. I've enjoyed all of the recipes that I've tried: whole wheat, semolina, English granary with barley malt and malted wheat flakes, and more. They're all amazing.
What do you need to get started? Not much really, but I found that some extra accessories like a baking stone, pizza peel, and parchment paper really made things go better for me. I've put together a list of items in this collection:
REVISED LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2UN6876ZMFBSA/ref=pdp_new_wl?reveal=all&view=null
Keep it cheap!
The best way to keep the price down is to buy the staple items at a big store like Smart & Final. Individual yeast packets at the grocery store are probably the most expensive ingredient (about a buck per packet). It's a lot cheaper to buy a pound of yeast for under $4 at Smart & Final. Same goes for the flour: buy big bags of flour at Smart & Final to save money.
For any of the difficult ingredients like rye flour (which is nearly impossible to find in my neighborhood) I just buy it here on Amazon. Anything I can't find here at Amazon I can find pretty easily (but not as cheaply) at King Arthur.
What's new in this edition?
I've been using the original edition of this book for years. The "New" edition has some nice new changes.
* Weights & Measures: All of the measures for the ingredients are now listed in tables. Instead of just listing the measurements in cups, they are listed in U.S. units (cups, tablespoons, etc.), metric units, and also by weight. The most exact measurement is the weight, because regardless of how firmly or lightly you pack your scoops (resulting in different quantities), the weight is what it is. If you pack your cups densely, then 13 cups of flour will be more than is intended. But if you measure by weight, it doesn't matter how many cups you scoop.
* More photos: A picture is worth a thousand words. The original edition had good photos, but this one has even more. They really help.
* More recipes: The authors have a very active website with a thriving base of fans. They've done a nice job in this edition of adding some extra recipes suggested by or inspired by these fans.
* FAQ: This edition includes a great list of Frequently Asked Questions that have come up on their website.
* Gluten free: They've added an entire chapter of gluten free recipes.
* Tips & Techniques: They've expanded the contents of the Tips & Techniques chapter to provide even more helpful items.
* Improved index: The authors' description mentions an enhanced index. The advanced reviewer copy that I have doesn't include the index yet, so I'll just have to take their word for it. I thought the index in the original version was pretty strong, so I'm eager to see what they've done to improve it. Sadly the table of contents is still really bad. It just lists the chapters without any details. (Was pumpernickel listed under The Master Recipe or Peasant Loaves? Gaaah!)
I am obviously a huge fan of this technique and these recipes. I've personally coaxed dozens of my friends to buy the first edition and try baking for themselves. I've also given many copies of the first edition as gifts to friends. It's been a blast to see regular guys like me learn to bake amazing breads for our families. A bunch of us even got together and had a huge "Dad's Bake Sale" to raise money for one of our kids' sports teams. It was a huge success.
I'll see if I can post some photos in the comments below (you can't link to them in the body of a review like this).
Give it a try and have fun with it!
EDIT: I've updated the link to the collection of tools. Hopefully Amazon preserves the link.
The updates are welcome improvements over the original. There are some obvious improvements:
* A couple dozen new recipes
* A chapter of gluten-free recipes
* More color photographs
Less obvious changes, but more important to me:
* Recipes now include weight measurements for flour! This is important to me. In the first edition of this book, when measurements were only given by volume, I wasn't always sure I was getting the right amount of flour, and would sit down and work out weight calculations by hand. Now, the authors have done the calculations for me.
* The authors have learned a LOT from their readers! They have a regularly updated website where readers post questions and comments and recipe variations. The authors have incorporated much of this information into the new edition. For example, the "tips and techniques" chapter has been significantly expanded to address a variety of issues that have come up over the last several years (such as "What do I do about changes in the dough toward the end of its storage life?").
If you already have the first edition, should you invest in this new one? It depends. Here's how I look at it:
* If you are an avid follower of the authors' website, then you are probably "up-to-date" on subtle tips, new recipes, and so on. So, this book might offer little beyond your original purchase. However, it does nicely integrate all the old material along with new information gathered over the last several years.
* If you have the old book, but do not follow the discussions on their websites, then you are likely to appreciate all the new information packed into this new edition. Buy the new version, and pass along the old version to introduce a friend to the "5 minutes a day" approach to baking bread.
Oh I have also made pizza with the dough and it was so wonderful, mmmmm makes me hungry just saying so.
I want to try some of the other recipes when the weather cools, but do have the bread dough going continuously even in the summer heat.