Thursday, December 12, 2013

The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day


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!

4 comments:

  1. A question if I may MC. I note the crumb in your sliced white loaf above and notice it is fairly consistent all around. Sometimes, I find my crumb is slightly denser on the bottom center of the loaf. is this a baking time issue? Thanks kindly.

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    1. Hi Graham Jose, good to see you again! I am not sure the dense bottom crumb issue is related to baking time. Maybe rather to the shaping? I would try a really gentle shaping next time and see what happens. Please keep me posted!

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  2. Interesting. Maybe another book to add to my (already overflowing) baking book shelves.

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    1. Hello again, hanseata! I have no more room on my shelves either. I have started disciplining myself and getting the kindle edition whenever available. It isn't quite as convenient but it takes way less room...

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