When the low-carb diet came into fad, I shouted for joy because there would be so much more bread for me (since I am such a breadivore). I was raised with the best homemade bread that could be found, so I’d always considered store-bought bread to be, well, useless. However, as I cut the apron strings and moved-on to fend for myself, the $.59 loaf of bread became a staple at my meager dinner table, with flavor sacrificed for time and budget.I would try now and again to make a lovely loaf of bread, but it was surely always devoured in the first 24 hours, not lasting me the full week, as intended. Ironically, I always ended up throwing away parts of the uneaten preservative-filled loaves, weeks after being opened. Go figure.
Over the past few years, I’ve fluctuated on and off making weekly bread. I don’t buy store-bread at all, which means I [sadly] just go without sometimes, depending on my weekly schedule. Until I found this book by Jeff Herzberg and Zoë François.
When the NY Times No Knead Bread premiered, I honestly think I’m the only walking person who didn’t make the recipe. Not that it didn’t seem fantastic, just too easy. I enjoy a bit of a challenge, something to make me work for my daily bread. However, when I heard that Zoë had collaborated with Jeff to put out a book, I had to get it! I had met Zoë at a cooking class which she taught a few years earlier, and was very impressed with her patience and passion. In fact, she is so well-liked, it’s near impossible to find an opening in her classes! Well, true to most seemingly-growing trends, the book is hard to find too. But, I soon realized, not because it is the next trend, but because it is an absolutely fabulous book. No hype, just honest-to-goodness fantastically, easy bread!
Due to my OCD, I scanned the book and read each page faithfully, searched for a video and any other tips I could find to help me, since I was so skeptical… really, only five minutes of hands-on labor? Oh, I ate my words, each and every last delicious word. Of course, my first task at hand was to contact Zoë to find out her weight for a cup of flour (5 oz per cup, all-purpose flour) before I could proceed. She was very kind and sweet, eager to help in any way, and even gave me the formula that the basic recipe (with which I began the Boule), is about 2 lb of flour (6.5 cups). So, knowing that I now had all the information I could have, I began with the Boule.
The main gist of the book is bread that can be made in large quantities (most recipes average around four pounds), stored in the fridge up to 14 days, with the kicker being that most loaves can go from fridge to table in under 90 minutes, with only about five minutes of hands-on time. I think the very best part of the book is that you don’t even need a large mixer. As far as basic needs, nothing more than a large-capacity (6 qt.) container, fresh yeast, kosher salt, pizza stone are all you need for the best bread ever!
Since I invested in the book (about two weeks ago), I’ve managed to make six different loaves, each better than the next. The idea of storing the bread in the fridge and only cutting off the amount you need is fantastic — it really does work, beautifully. Though the baked bread does last a few days, I wanted to give a few of the recipes a run in my Krups Toaster Oven. I bought a Toaster Oven Pizza Stone … it worked great! I give this book five stars, knowing that it solves the issues of time, loaf-size, creativity, and flavor! I love it.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day on Amazon.com.