On Saturday I had a big thrill for my Ever-Baking-Loving heart: I got to meet one of the authors of some of my favorite cookbooks, the “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes” series. I have been a big fan since the first one came out in 2007, so I was thrilled when I heard Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. (yes, a bread-baking doctor) would be signing at a local independent bookstore. I hadn’t even known a new book was coming out, but I instantly wanted it: Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day. (Swoon!)
If you’ve ever drooled over The Great British Bakeoff or wished you could fill your kitchen with the aroma of freshly baked bread, these books could be for you too… or for that baker or wanna-be on your holiday shopping list.
Honestly, I’ve been SO IN LOVE with this unique method of bread-making that I can’t remember the last time I made a regular old-school loaf. I’ve made plenty of those in my 30-plus years of baking: proofing the yeast, kneading, letting it rise twice, baking it. Time-consuming but homey when I had time for it. There were also several years with a bread-machine making boxy vertical loafs… fun and usually delicious, but nothing has yielded great bread in a short amount of time like my Artisan in Five recipes.
The five minute part refers to taking five minutes to mix up a wet dough in a bucket, no kneading required. The dough is then stored in the refrigerator and can be used to make several loaves over a two-week period. The rising + baking time for making a loaf is about two hours, and involves a few simple steps. Few tools are necessary and you may already have everything you need. If you like getting new kitchen toys, these will make it easier (click images to shop):
A dough bucket to mix and store the dough in (though I use a gallon ice cream bucket for mine).
A Danish Dough Whisk isn’t necessary at all, but it is such a cool tool, cheap and makes the job easier. (I love mine.)
A pizza peel makes it easier to get the load in and out of the oven (though you could improvise with a cookie sheet).
A pizza stone will give you great crusty bread, but you can use any loaf pans you already own instead.
It’s so easy to make wonderful bread with not much effort using these recipes. Here’s a loaf of 100% Whole Wheat Bread with Olive Oil that I made this weekend.
I was SO happy to get to meet Jeff, have him sign my many cookbooks (plus the new one). He cheerfully answered all my questions, and reminded me about the Artisan Bread in Five website, where he and Zoë François share recipes from the books and answer reader questions on their blog (so be sure to click the link and check it out). He has also baked a 4 lb loaf of brioche at the bookstore to share with shoppers– the store smelled to-die-for and the bread was warm and cakey. Yum!
Okay, I’ve probably gushed enough about these books. If you’ve read this far, thanks for indulging me. I really do think they are a fabulous, revolutionary way to get your bread-baking on. But enough about me… do YOU like to bake? What is your favorite thing to bake? Do you have a favorite cookbook? Or are you just a fan of baked goods and like to find a good bakery? Share in the comments!
Click the book titles below for more info about each one: