Ode to Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

It is hard to be in my presence for more than a few moments without me mentioning my new favorite cookbook, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Written by Jeff Hertzberger and Zoe Francois, who met when their children were together in the same music class, this book removes much of the mystery around baking crusty, artisan bread in your own home. She is a professional pastry chef; he is a doctor and consultant with a love of great bread. With all this practical and analytical skill, it is no wonder they have created this well thought out book.

The reason I love this book is that Zoe and Jeff have made it so easy to have fresh, European-style, artisan bread every day. The premise is simple – create a wet dough, without kneading, and allow it to rise slowly at a cool temperature, basically, in your refrigerator. And it is so simple to bake the bread – 1 hour before you are ready to bake, take out a lump of dough, form it into a loaf and allow to rest. Preheat your oven, and after the dough rests, slide it onto the hot pizza stone.

I have made several of the breads and the taste and texture has always been excellent, although they don’t always end up looking exactly like the pictures (see Pain Epi above). Jeff and Zoe provide several key breads, then build new recipes off those – for example, I made the Cinnamon Rolls and the Pletzel from the same Challah master recipe. From their website, I also tried baking bread in my dutch oven, which worked extremely well. This is good to know, if you do not have a pizza stone!

My past experience includes baking bread from scratch, but I don’t think that is a requirement to use this book. The recipes are very simple and the conversational tone of the instructions makes it very easy to follow. I highly recommend this book to other interested home cooks craving easy homemade bread.

P.S. I am not affiliated in any way with Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, I am just a happy customer!

10 comments

  1. I was just talking last night about how crappy I am with the homemade bread. I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this book — your recommendation is definitely swaying me toward checking it out!

  2. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    I would recommend it – if you want to try out a recipe or two before you buy, check out their website, artisanbreadinfive.com. Alternatively, you might see if you can borrow it from the library. If we lived closer, I would certainly let you use mine!

  3. I just baked my first loaf from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and agree with you – it was so easy, delicious but didn’t look as nice as the picture. I guess I’m not a professional pastry chef – but at least we know we can bake decent loaf!

    mariss last blog post..A Tribute to Chicken Salad

  4. I’m totally in love with this book, too. Though I don’t bake bread often, I love how easy this method makes baking fresh bread every day.

  5. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    I was so thrilled the first time I baked a loaf from the book – it actually looked like something I would have bought at a bread shop. As I practice more, my technique seems to be getting better. The best loaf I made was in my dutch oven – it came out round and perfectly crusty!

  6. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    Yep – I love that I can decide mid-day Wednesday that I want fresh bread for dinner, and 2 hours later, that is what I have, all much less expensive than store bought. Makes me feel very productive!

  7. Bread in the dutch oven. I love that. Yet another reason to covet le Creuset. Like I didn’t want one badly enough before.

    When I grow up and have a real kitchen (which will of course have a Kitchenaid stand mixer and several Le Creuset pots) I promise to try Artisan Bread. You had me at hello.

  8. Your post makes this bread technique sound great! I don’t have the best record in making homemade breads… whenever I try the bread doesn’t turn out very well and then I give up for a few months (or longer!). Will have to give this one a try–your post and the other comments make it sound like even I might be successful 🙂 Thanks!

    Lunchbox Obsesseds last blog post..POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice: A Drink to Your Health!

  9. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    I actually used my camping dutch oven – we call her Bessie, and she comes on camping trips to make us cinnamon rolls and brownies. I love her.

  10. Kitchen Gadget Girl

    this is the first time I have made breads that I am proud to serve at dinner parties, thats how easy it is. And that is why I gush over the book, it really makes the home cook feel as though he/she has conquered the mystery of crusty, French bread!

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