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on August 15, 2015
My copy is tattered and food-stained from constant use. I love this book! I've been working my way through the recipes and have yet to find one I don't like. Simple process, tasty results, and it's hard to pick a favorite. These are not breads you put together at the last minute, but if you mix the ingredients in the evening and let it work its magic overnight, you can have a loaf of warm and tasty bread for lunch the next day.
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on August 25, 2010
I've had great fun with this book, following my attempts at the NY Times 'no-knead' recipe. This one enables me to make loaf breads in a pan without using teflon (I don't use teflon in case it is proven in the future to have damaging properties, now I have a child) and others in the dutch oven. The crusty seeded boule was a delight and the light wheat bread is very easy and useful.

Be aware that the author, as she confesses during the book, has a dislike for the kind of bread often sold as 'health bread', seeing it as something you're forced to eat on health grounds. She likes her bread really sweet (amazing amounts of sugar are called for in her recipes; that's fine because I just omit it and the bread tastes great to me, but she has a bread that calls for half a cup of honey and it was so sweet I ended up throwing it out) and somewhat fluffy. I don't like chocolate in my bread, thanks. I like 7-grain bread, 'health bread', and eat it for choice because I prefer the flavor and texture. The only sweet bread I like is challah. I also love rye bread that has real flavor.

For me, the recipes require timing that is very inconvenient. In the NY summer heat, I've found the first rise is always done within 5 hours, so I can't do that 18-hour rise she talks about. That means a) an inconvenience in terms of timing - I have to be around 5 hours after mixing the dough. And b) the flavor of a bread like rye doesn't get a chance to develop. Sure you can stick the dough in the 'fridge but she gives a max. of 10 hrs for that and I've found you can't give it as long as that. Well, that's no good if you want real flavor. Her rye bread was a hassle to make and at the end - it had no real flavor.

so I've gone over to 'Artisan breads in 5 minutes a day' for my regular way of making bread. So convenient to be able to store dough in the 'fridge for days or weeks; then pull dough out of an evening and have a loaf within 1.5 hrs or so. I will still use this book when time permits, esp for the seeded boule, but not for everyday bread-baking.
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on September 30, 2009
I've been baking bread for 30 years, and have bought numerous books on the art of bread baking, from the post-hippie Tassajara and Laurel's bread books, to the standard tomes from Beard, Clayton, Hensberger, to the more recent "artisan"-inspired books from bakers such as Reinhart, Bertinet, and Berenbaum. More recently I have explored the no-knead breads of Lahey's NY Times recipe and those of "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes." As my life has become busier and I have less time to bake bread, I've mostly had to leave off creating loaves in the traditional method of kneading and baby-sitting multiple rises. In the past few years, in an attempt to keep homemade bread on my table regularly, I have relied on the bread machine to knead and rise (but not bake) my loaves, and this has been a great solution. But I feel as though it all has been leading to Nancy Baggett's new book on no-knead bread. Now, having homemade bread everyday is no longer a struggle. The ease of her method -- just a few minutes the night before making the bread, and rarely even any shaping of the loaves -- means even my busiest workweek can accommodate making a delicious loaf.

While I enjoyed the idea of "Artisan Breads in Five Minutes" and can recommend that book with some caveats, the method resulted in having a great deal of dough in my fridge and that didn't really work for my small family of two. Also, I found that if I made a "normal" size loaf the results would often be somewhat gummy. And the smallish loaves that book produces were just not enough to last the workweek or to serve at a dinner of friends. Baggett's method suits my needs much better, producing generous loaves with no gumminess or heaviness. Her book also offers an amazing variety of breads, from artisan to old-fashioned white loaves to dessert breads. I have made about a dozen of the recipes, and not a single one has failed or been less than delicious, which is no surprise, as I found Baggett's recipes from her The All-American Dessert Book and The All-American Cookie Book have also yielded consistently delicious results. I love the County Fair White Bread, the Everyday Oatmeal Bread, and the Buttermilk Pot Bread, and my current favorite in the book is the English Muffin Bread, which makes the most amazing crunchy toast and grilled sandwiches. I'm looking forward to trying the sticky buns and the various rye breads next.

An added bonus, and the thing that really clinches the deal and makes this a 5-star book, is the final section in which Baggett offers tips on converting any favorite bread recipe into one using her method. I tried converting my favorite Peter Reinhart pizza dough using her method, and the result was amazing. Now I can more easily bake up any of my favorite bread recipes!

The only slight flaw I've encountered is that one aspect of the author's method requires adding enough flour to make a stiff dough after the initial long rise. Initially, I was unsure of the consistency Baggett was describing; so stiff I couldn't stir it?, or just stiff enough that it isn't batterlike? And the instructions to "pour" the dough into the pan seemed to add to the confusion, as often the dough seemed too stiff to pour out of the bowl by itself. Since enough flour is needed to avoid a heavy, gummy loaf, this step is crucial, therefore this aspect was a cause for concern. But after making a number of loaves I think I've hit upon the right consistency. Anyway, whether I was doing it right or not, the loaves still turned out uniformly excellent. Perhaps the author has made a demonstration video that's out there somewhere that illustrates the right consistency of the dough. That's all it would take.

Overall, I can highly recommend "Kneadlessly Simple" for bread bakers of all kinds -- from the novice to the expert -- and for bread lovers like me who love to bake and have a great loaf always on hand but who have little time to spare.
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on June 30, 2011
The breads turn out wonderful. If you need a hostess gift in a couple of days, these breads are just the ticket. The technique should be one in a cook's arsenal of simple bread baking, along with bread machines and quick breads. I have found that these loaves are "country style", not fine textured. But "home made" for sure. The only problem is that you need to serve the bread WITH dinner, not before because everyone inhales the bread before dinner. The old-fashioned flavors are a novelty for most folks that can't believe bread can taste this good.
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on February 24, 2009
Fuss-free is right! The bread I've made so far from this cookbook has all been wonderful and dead simple to make. However, as an offset to the simplicity you do have to plan well in advance. There's no deciding to make some bread for dinner tonight; you've got to be thinking about bread for tomorrow or beyond! The author spells out multiple options for rising. None of them are quick, but they are very helpful for working around your schedule.

In the end, the results are worth it! Even the basic white peasant loaf is wonderfully complex, with a chewy crisp crust that is leagues ahead of any supermarket loaf. The green chili cheddar bread was my last attempt, and it was awesome as well.
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on June 25, 2009
I cook and bake from scratch a lot but bread baking was never really my forte. Whatever I've tried, it was never as good as the one from a good bakery. So, I ended up buying a bread machine which still fills your house with the wonderful "fresh-baked-bread" aroma and produces bread 10x better than the supermarket stuff.
After reading reviews, I borrowed this book from a library and gave a few recipes a try. I heard about this technique before but never got around to trying it.
Some recipes were awesome (Apple-Cream Cheese Pinwheel Pastries), and few not so much (Yeasted Banana Bundt-Style Coffee Ring - too dense & heavy).
And bread recipes??? The All-Purpose Light Wheat Bread just brought back memories of growing up in Slovakia and eating the bread over there, one with dark chewy crust and a wonderful hardy texture (I was never much of a "fluffy-soft-white-bread" kind of girl). I think finding this recipe alone was well worth buying this book... though like a few previous reviewers mentioned you definitely have some pre-planning to do... but it's one of those "fix-it-and-forget-about-it" kind of deals that is so easy.
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on December 8, 2010
With the availability of recipes on the internet, I never thought I'd buy a recipe book. But I tried several readily available bread recipes, specifically for French Bread, and none were ever nearly as good you get at a bakery or restaurant. Frustrated with what I'd found so far, I bought Kneadlessly Simple on an impulse, and I'm extremely happy I did.

First off, the French Bread recipe is incredible. Better-than-a-bakery good. I tried the pizza dough recipe next, and it was amazing. Since then, I've always kept a batch frozen in my freezer, and I make more a couple times a month. The white bread was great, the cinnamon buns delicious, and the wheat bread was perfect for sandwiches. I haven't gotten to try all of them yet, but I plan on it.

What makes it even better? I wanted to make bread bowls (for chili), but there wasn't a recipe in the book. I emailed Nancy Baggett, the author, asking how to adapt her recipes and got an answer back in about an hour. She gave me several good suggestions that I plan on trying over the weekend.

So Nancy, thank you, and to anyone considering buying this book, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do. The recipes are simple, delicious, and better than anything I've found out there.
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on January 10, 2010
I've had this book for five months now and it has never disappointed me. I thought long and hard before purchasing this book because having lived five minutes away from the best bakery in Brussels for six blissful months, I am a very picky bread eater. I was perpetually disappointed with the bread I could find in local supermarkets and was disgusted by the thought of paying six dollars for a good loaf (I live in NYC ), but never had the talent, the physical strength nor the patience to make my own bread.
As other reviewers have said, the recipes in this book are effortless and yes, they taste fantastic! Better even than most six dollar loaves because they are so fresh. I've tried the pot breads (which require a dutch oven - my personal favorite for the cost and quality is a lodge logic cast iron dutch oven), some loaf breads, some of the European breads and some whole wheat hearty loaves from this book with great results. The only difficulty with this book is the timing of it all, but once you get the hang of it and figure out how best to work it into your routine, you'll never want to go back to store-bought bread.
Happy baking!
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on February 22, 2010
I saw this book at my library and checked it out. What an amazing book! The very first recipe was so simple to make and tasted soooo good. It honestly doesn't take very long to throw all the ingredients together. Yes, it takes a while (about a day or so depending on delayed rising or not) but with planning you can have fresh bread every day. I now just throw my dough together in the afternoon and pop it in the fridge. Before going to bed I pull out the bowl and let it rise all night and into the next day. As long as I keep up with having fresh dough in the fridge, I don't need to buy bread anymore. It makes wonderful toast and sandwiches. I am definitely buying this book now. Glad that I borrowed it from the library to give it a test run :)
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on March 12, 2009
I initially heard about the baking artisan bread in 5 minutes while reading Mother Earth News. The article was about another Artisan Bread book with a similar technique in baking bread. I checked it out from my library to give it a try. The loaves were good bread but not the artisan style that I was hoping for. Everyone truly thought the bread was really, really good.

While all that was going on, I was looking at the reviews on Amazon and noticed Kneadlessly Simple and read it's reviews. I was intrigued and bought the book. I just finished my first loaf called, Crusty White Peasant Style Pot Bread. I followed it as closely as possible but I know that I made some mistakes along the way. Perhaps the dough was more moist than what she would suggest? In fridge longer than 10 hours? The room temp wasn't always at optimum heat? But, I did my best. (I am in WA state and we've had the coldest winter on record I'm sure.) Anyway, my first load just came out of oven and it's as beautiful as a Parisan Artisan Bread that you will ever see. I bought the perfect little cast iron pot with lid to bake it in. You know you scored when you hear the bread "popping" while it is cooling. I'm telling you, this bread is a work of art.

Buy the book. Enjoy the process. Make lots of mistakes and have fun with it. The smell is heavenly! I'm creating dinner tonight to go with the bread. ;D Bon apetit!
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