Bread is one of those things that can seem super intimidating if you’ve never made it before. It does seem like there has to be some magic involved to turn flour, water, yeast, and salt into a dough capable of growing on its own, and we’ve all heard stories of tragic failures to rise and ruined bread loaves. It just seems like there are so many ways to go wrong with bread. But I recently received a review copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day, and I was pleasantly surprised with how easy (and simple) baking your own bread can be. Here’s my first loaf:
I was really pleased with it, especially since it didn’t involve any kneading or very much hands-on time at all. Essentially all you do is mix together your flour, water, salt, and yeast, let it rise for 2 hours (or even overnight), then refrigerate it. When you’re ready to bake a loaf, grab a bunch of dough, form it into a loaf, let it rest, and bake it. There are much more detailed (but easy to follow!) instructions in the book, but that’s the bare-bones version. Since it was my first attempt, I followed the “master recipe” and made a simple boule, but the book includes a ton of variations. To go with my holiday hummus flight, I made the flatbread, and it was nice and chewy and perfect for dipping.
I currently have a batch of the master dough recipe sitting in my fridge, and I can’t wait to try more of the variations soon. With tons of recipes for other yeasted breads, like pizza, pretzels, naan, brioche, challah, and even gluten-free bread, I definitely will have enough to keep me busy for awhile.
This book would make a really wonderful gift for the baker (or aspiring baker) in your life. I included it in my list of gift ideas for foodies yesterday, and I really do highly recommend it.
The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, is published by Thomas Dunne Books. I was provided a review copy, but all opinions are my own.