Got Five Minutes? Bake Bread!

 

It’s been seven years since I became a bread maker. I read a book, gave it a try and found immediate success. A year later, I wrote this follow-up I can’t really take much credit for this thing I love so much–turning out amazing loaves of bread on a whim. I owe any success I have achieved to Jeff and Zoe–creators and authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Here’s the routine: Once every other week I dump basic ingredients into a big square plastic container that has a lid, and fits nicely into my refrigerator. I stir it up, set the lid in place and walk away. That takes 15 minutes at the most. Two hours later (or when I remember), I set the container in the refrigerator. Done.

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Whenever I want a loaf of bread (like every morning), I reach into the container, pull off a wad of dough, shape it, let it rest while I take a shower, then pop it into a hot oven. In about 25 minutes, there it is: a beautiful, rustic, amazing loaf of bread–the kind I would expect to see in the finest French bakery. Truly, I spend no more than five minutes per day, overall, doing this. And the cost? Less than 50 cents a loaf. Have you priced good bread in the supermarket lately? I’m seeing $4 and more per loaf!

Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François are quite a team. Jeff is a physician, scientist and aspiring baker. Zoe is a pastry chef and baker who trained at the Culinary Institute of America. They met at their kids’ music class. Together they have created and developed a fabulous no-knead way to make awesome bread, and now run the Bread in 5 empire, boasting of what I’m guessing to be millions of followers.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my mail to find the NEW Edition of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Huh? How could they improve on perfection? Now I’m not saying I wasn’t thrilled to get a new and expanded edition of this amazing book. My old one is getting overly tattered, splattered and worn. Still, it prompted a few questions:

Me: Why a new edition of Bread in 5?

J&Z: When we released our first book in 2007, we didn’t have our website and blog in place (BreadIn5.com). So we wrote that book without the benefit for input from our readers (OK, they didn’t exist yet…). Over the years, readers have asked us for new material, and told us about all the ways that things could be even easier.

Me: What have you learned since the original in edition (2007?) that those of us who’ve used that book all these years should know? Are these changes now reflected in the new edition?

J&Z: One of the most important things we learned was that most home bakers love the visual cues you get from cookbooks that have lots of color photos. Our website is loaded with photos and video (click here for a sample recipe). So we lobbied our publisher for more of those–and they came through, with 40 gorgeous new color photos, and over 100 black-and-white. Our first book had just eight color shots, and 20 black-and-white. There are about thirty brand-new recipes, including beer-cheese bread, crock-pot bread, panini, pretzel buns, and more.

Our readers expressed preferences, like lower salt versions, more whole grain options, and even some gluten-free recipes. And they wanted all of it to fit into their budgets–so the ingredients for our recipes cost about forty or fifty cents for a one-pound loaf (seventy cents for gluten-free).

Me: There’s a big move toward gluten-free in this country. In fact, my husband is convinced and hardly will touch regular bread these days. Is it really possible to make gluten-free Bread in 5?

J&Z: Absolutely. The recipe to try first is on our website (click to view). There are a few more ingredients, but the method is exactly the same–mix once, bake many, storing the extra dough in the fridge.

Me: How readily available are the unique ingredients for making the gluten-free master recipe? (specialty stores, online, regular supermarkets … ?)

J&Z: We only used ingredients that we could find in our local supermarket, though you can also get these flours online.

Me: When will you reveal the topic of your next book? We are We are quite curious!

J&Z: Our next book is Gluten-Free Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it’s available for pre-order here. We are very, very excited about this book.

Me: So am I.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • janebice

    Bought this book on your recommendation years ago. Another life-changing book. So easy to get warm fresh bread every day without going to the bakery. So easy to impress guests. They think I slaved all day to make these beautiful loaves.

  • tgraa

    Great book! I bought it years ago because of your column. I just bought this one too! I’m so excited! The bread is excellent!

  • Pamela Nielsen

    Thank you so much! Just what I’ve been looking for. I am gluten free & this is wonderful! Can’t wait for the new gf book, October? Really? Lol

  • Jane

    Mary

    I am somewhat shocked that you, indirectly, are recommending a gluten free diet without a MEDICAL diagnosis of Celiac Disease or PROVEN sensitivity to wheat

    The Truth About Gluten

    WebMD Feature

    By Peter Jaret

    Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

    More and more groceries and health food stores stock gluten-free products. That’s good news for people with celiac disease, who for health reasons should not eat wheat with gluten.

    Yet paradoxically, most of the people who reach for gluten-free products don’t have celiac disease and or even a sensitivity to wheat, Peter H.R. Green, MD, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, told WebMD. “The market for gluten-free products is exploding. Why exactly we don’t know. Many people may just perceive that a gluten-free diet is healthier.”

    The full article: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/truth-about-gluten

    I have a cousin who does have Celiac Disease and by following a strict diet does very well and I have a friend who self diagnosed and went over 6 months without treatment for Kidney disease on this diet and the added stress of the Gluten Free Diet has made her fight to be well heart wrenching …..I was a regular reader although not a paid subscriber (can justify the expense in my budget)…I am unsubscribing because of this irresponsible support of just another health fad the food industry has jumped on to make money. If I can make you look at this and it changes just your mind it will be a relief.

    • Ravinia

      Thanks to you, Mary, for introducing “artisan bread making.” I like to make 6 small round breads out of one batch(master), sprinkle oats on top. These are perfect size bread bowls for clam chowder! And a day old ones are great for French toast. But, I always try to find a friend or neighbors to share whenever I bake. With little effort and cost, it can bring joy to other people. It makes nice gift also: a couple of bread w/ jam or honey butter. Sometimes, I put one in the car for homeless.

  • Suzanne Boyce

    What’s the recipe for the basic mix that you dump into a plastic container, then place in the ‘fridge?

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