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My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method Hardcover – October 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The founder of New York's Sullivan Street Bakery, Lahey started a revolution in 2006 with his no-knead dough technique, in which flour, yeast, salt and water are mixed together quickly, left alone for 12 hours, then baked in a Dutch oven. The baking-averse found themselves suddenly capable of bread-making with a minimum of skill and fuss, opening a world of possibilities. In this wonderful compilation, Lahey elaborates on that method, explaining not only the science behind his approach but, through liberal use of photos, the technique as well. Once readers have mastered his basic dough (which won't take long), they're on their way to crafting homemade pizza, ciabatta, foccacia and rye as well as more playful variations such as peanut butter and jelly bread. While waiting for dough to rise, readers can pick from suggested sandwiches, such as Lahey's Cuban, made with Citrus Roast Porkand homemade pickles. Lahey's passion for bread-making and feeding people carries the book; his plainspoken advice and patient tutelage provide novices with a sure, steady hand to hold; and his methods will surely be adopted by chefs and bakers of all stripes.
“Mr. Lahey's method is creative and smart.... What makes Mr. Lahey's process revolutionary is the resulting combination of great crumb, lightness, incredible flavor―long fermentation gives you that―and an enviable, crackling crust, the feature of bread that most frequently separates amateurs from the pros.... With just a little patience, you will be rewarded with the best no-work bread you have ever made.”
- Mark Bittman, New York Times
“Jim Lahey's My Bread expands on his no-knead, bread-in-a-pot method, a revolutionary development that allows even once-hopeless bakers like me to produce wonderful loaves of thick-crusted goodness. In the professional arena, Jim is the acknowledged master of bread, dough, and crust. Chefs, foodies, and food nerds flock to his bakery and to his pizza joint. He is to bread what the Dalai Lama is to Buddhism.”
- Anthony Bourdain
“Rustic. Simple. Italian. Divine. I was hooked on Jim's bread from the very first taste of my first Sullivan Street loaf. He is truly the zen-master of bread baking.”
- Mario Batali
“The secret to making a foolproof, nearly labor-free loaf that tastes as delicious as anything from a baker..... [Lahey] is the most intuitive bread baker I have ever met.”
- Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue
“Jim Lahey... opened the Sullivan St Bakery in 1994 selling breads that no one in the city had made before.... Sullivan St became the name to look and ask for, and... became... the place to go for the incredibly airy, oil-brushed, lightly salted pizza Bianca, which is even better than that of the bakery in Rome's Campo de' Fiori.”
- Corby Kummer, The Atlantic
“It's bread above all that [Lahey] knows and loves.... The man can do wonders with flour and water, massaged or not.... He can do fluffy, crunchy, supple, dense. He can do pizza Bianca―man, oh man, can he do pizza Bianca―those salty squares of almost entirely naked crust.”
- Frank Bruni, New York Times
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Top customer reviews
I've baked the basic starter recipe, using a scale to weigh my flour as suggested (I'd bought one years ago and never used it). I bought a 5 qt.
glass Pyrex bowl, the cast iron dutch oven, and that was my investment. I had flour and yeast already. Flour, salt, yeast, cool water. I turn my oven on about 400* for a warm surface (I have my thermostat set on 68*, so is a bit cool for the 12-18 hour first rise) till the preheat buzzer goes off. I put saran wrap over my mixed bowl of ingredients, put it on top of my stovetop, and go off to bed or out for the day. I usually give it the 18 hours to rise because I've got a lot to do. The dough rises, is bubbly. I scrape the bowl onto a floured cookie sheet (makes cleanup a breeze), use my spatula or hands to fold the edges up and make a circle, dust a clean old cotton dish towel with flour, gently lift the dough and plop it onto the towel, dust the top with some cornmeal, fold the towel over the dough and put it back on the warm stove top to rise for about 2 hours. After the given time, a half hour before ready to bake, I heat the over to 425* and put my cast iron pan in the oven to get hot. The cast iron is heavy, but I read some iffy reviews on the Emile Henry baker preferred by Jim, and cast iron lasts forever. When it's time, I carefully put the dough into the hot Dutch oven, put the hot lid on top, and slide this into the oven to bake. So easy! My husband came over for dinner the other night, and raved about the quality of this bread. I'm prepping a loaf of the olive bread today - it rose better than my first loaf due to the learning curve about the needed warmth - and I can tell it's going to taste amazing.
It may sound like hype, but this way of making bread truly is revolutionary, and for the bread-challenged people like me, we finally have a method to make absolutely kudo-worthy Italian art bread, pizza, etc. The pictures are terrific, the book is well-written, and best of all, living in Philly now, I can make the drive to NYC and visit The Seventh Street Bakery in person to say thanks to Jim Lahey for writing such a rich, gentle, fierce book on the art of baking bread.
I bought this book with little belief that the results would be much different. The first loaf finished a couple of days ago. It smelled wonderful. It had a heft to it that no local bread had. When it cooled, I knocked on its solid surface and it indicated that it was like an old world loaf. And then we cut into it--My husband ate half the loaf by dinner. It's still good days later (nothing is ever as good as the first day, though). He couldn't stop complimenting it and said it was even better than the bread that we used to buy from a baker who left a bakery to parts unknown years ago. He kept talking abut the nuances of the taste, smell--and I couldn't understand how that could be. I did nothing but a short mix of some pretty simple ingredients (could it be? just flour, salt, yeast mixed with my hands). When I said I was going to buy a second cast iron dutch oven so I could make two loaves at a time, I got no argument. My husband fairly pushed me out the door to get to a store where we knew they sold dutch ovens.
I have never baked a really good loaf of bread though I have tried. But this book is full of magic, absolute magic. You follow the easy, easy directions, you do a minimal amount of work, and a little genie comes down and changes your stuff into a fabulous loaf of bread. I have never had anything fulfill my expectations so overwhelmingly (I actually had no expectations, just hope). Thank you Jim Lahey!!