Above are some pictures of the bread that I’ve been baking from the book that I just bought, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I’m all for easy and quick recipes and this book is just that (not including the time it takes to rise and bake the bread).
I’m loving the book. I’ve made the Pain d’Epi, twice (from one mix of the bread), and the Peasant Loaf, once (served last night with the soup). I’ve got the rest of the dough in the refrigerator.
The bread takes literally 5 minutes to mix, similar to No-Knead Bread. And, it is pretty comparable. This style just makes more per batch, and has more recipes. The premise is that you mix the dough in a relatively large batch, no kneading, let it rise at room temperature for a couple of hours and then throw the whole thing in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. The dough lasts in the fridge for up to two weeks – the flavors continue to develop over time. When you are ready to bake the dough into bread, you cut off the amount you want to use, shape it, let it rest for a short time while your oven is heating, then bake it. That’s it. You do need a baking stone, but that is the only extra equipment. Actually, I tried the Peasant Loaf baked in a covered pan, like No-Knead bread. It seemed to work just fine. I may try bagels or bialys next.
I have found that the book’s proportions aren’t exact in terms of the number of pounds of bread that each recipe makes. A recipe that indicates that it makes 4 pounds of bread really only makes about 3 1/4 to 3 1/2. But, the bread is really good! The Pain d’Epi is pretty impressive looking, like from a Parisian bakery. The texture is somewhat heavier than traditional french bread, big holes but a dense crumb. Nonetheless, a great crust and wonderful flavor.
Here is a link to Zoe Francois’s blog!