I love baking bread. I don’t do it all the time, but I really enjoy going back to basics and doing something old-fashioned like baking bread. I love knowing exactly what’s in this staple, from choosing the right flour to adding other ingredients – and even hiding fruit and veg in it.
However, I don’t have the time or energy for traditional bread making which involves strenuous kneading and multiple rises. I also don’t have the kitchen space for a breadmaker, nor do I like the constraints on loaf shape these machines have.
I grew up in Germany with an incredible variety of crusty, rustic looking loaves, beautiful, slightly chewy pretzels, delicious buns, made from all kinds of different grains, some made with sourdough, others with baker’s yeast. Unfortunately I didn’t really appreciate it while I lived there. These days I crave it.
The first 2 books in the 5 Minutes a Day series.
A few years back I stumbled across a post on a novel way of making bread that did not involve kneading and multiple rises. I HAD to get that book. It’s called “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” and is simply brilliant. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois have adapted a no-knead method of bread making and added the concept of dough storage. To put it simply, they have you mixing up a large batch of a fairly moist yeast dough without kneading it, let it rest for a couple of hours and then refrigerate it. Over the next 2 weeks you can take portions from that cold dough, let it rest for half an hour or so and bake it. Their recipes make 4 loaves but can easily be doubled or halved.
The bread comes out with a thin crisp crust and delicious moist interior.
Better yet, their basic dough can be used as a delicious crispy pizza dough which requires no second rise at all. Just think of always having home made pizza dough in the fridge! All you need to do is take some out, roll it out and top it with your favourite toppings, bake it and ENJOY!
There are many different savoury and sweet recipes in that book. Rye breads, soft sandwich breads, pastries and more.
My kids never ate bread. But when I make it fresh, they devour it!
They have since published 2 more books: “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” and “Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Minutes a Day”. I don’t have that last one yet, but I love the healthy one. It includes lots of wholegrain, alternative grains and gluten-free recipes.
They are also extremely helpful and answer questions on their website all the time. Can you tell, I just love them 😉
Seriously, check out their website and try out their master recipe.