Making Bread - "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" Book


 Deli rye loaf

One day at Barnes and Noble I found this book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.  I thought the idea was exciting and purchased a copy. 

We have used the recipes from the book several times now, making both the master recipe which is a type of peasant soughdough bread, and the rye deli bread.  The concept is that you make a large quantity of dough by throwing flour, salt, and water into a large container, mix it a little, let it sit in the fridge for several hours or overnight where it rises. Then you pullout a small loaf-sized amount, stretch and shape it into a ballish form, let it sit for a while, then transfer it to a pizza stone in the oven to cook.  The recipe makes enough for three  loaves.

Double recipe of Deli Rye bread - dough has risen in refrigerator 

We love the idea of the very easy and quite yummy peasant-type breads, but were having some problems.  We only got two loaves instead of three from the recipe.  The dough did not rise very much before baking.  Because we were concerned that our container might be airtight, we just laid the lid on top loosely and it kept sliding off, so that the dough inside developed a hardish crust. 

Dough is bubbly and has a sourdough-like texture

Finally I did a Google search and found that the book had a website with a lot of information, a page of errors, and a page of questions and answers.  We found that the amount of yeast and salt stated in the book is not enough, and that the lid should be closed on the container.   Just adjusting these two things gave us a bigger loaf of bread that rises better and has a more dough-like texture when raw, and we don't have the problem of a hard crust forming on the refrigerated dough.  We also realized we were making the loaves a little larger than required which made it harder to get nice loaves.

The book gives you a fun, easy way to make your own artisan-like bread with yummy results.  The next one I want to try is the olive bread.