As indicated in my last post, I haven’t had a chance to bake much from Jeffrey Hertzberg’s and Zoë François’ new book, The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day, since I bought it last week but I like what I have seen so far. The two recipes I tried yielded very good bread.
The knot and the two batards shown above were made from one batch of European Peasant Bread: they had a nice flavor (the dough calls for a bit of dark rye flour and a bit of whole wheat flour and the long slow fermentation does add a welcome complexity). As for the loaf below, it was baked this morning from what was left of the Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Bread dough and I already know it will be excellent.
Plus I like the whole idea of mixing dough at my leisure, then letting it cold-ferment for a long while (sometimes up to two weeks) to finally bake from the fridge whenever we need fresh bread. I am sure it helps to have a bit of baking experience, especially when it comes to shaping and such. However experience is what one get by actually doing, observing, experimenting, taking notes, etc. If you don’t like the way a bread turns out, change something (hydration, room temperature, rising time) next time around and see what happens! For instance, I already know I will make my next batch of peasant bread a little bit wetter to try and get a slightly more open crumb.
I bookmarked several breads from the book, including the Wisconsin beer-cheese bread, the sauerkraut rye, the Moroccan anise-and-barley flatbread, to name just a few, and I am looking forward to giving them a try. Kudos to Jeff and Zoë for providing bread-lovers with a “real bread” alternative to industrial bread, especially in areas where artisan bakeries are few and far between, and for empowering all of us home bakers who are looking to make a variety of good breads with minimal fuss!