As someone looking for “real” food, i.e. not processed food, but yet someone with a life outside my kitchen, I’m always looking for recipes and techniques I can fit into my life. The No-Knead Bread craze, altered by Cook’s Illustrated in the last post to Knead Only 10 times Bread is one of those techniques that now fit nicely in my life.
While trolling Amazon to decide how to spend a gift certificate, I happened across Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The authors are from Minneapolis, so they’re almost locals. I found a copy at my local library, and checked it out.
It is important to remember that the “5 minutes a day” refers to the active time you are working with the dough, but that the elapsed time of the process is longer. Again, the idea is to make it workable with your life.
The techniques are simple. The basic idea is that mixing a lot of dough in a few minutes and keeping it in the fridge allows you to bake off a loaf when you want it. As someone said (I wish I knew whom), “If you’re going to be lazy, you need to be efficient”. How can you not like a way to have fresh bread for dinner every night for a week that requires very small amounts of work each day?
So far I have only mixed one recipe- a 100% whole wheat bread. The results have been tasty, though I think I need more practice before I will have the technique perfected. One of the things I like about this book is that the authors don’t just make the basic white bread. There are recipes for brioche, for rye breads, for multigrain breads, and recipes for sandwiches, salads, etc. to have with the breads. The book also explains how to partially bake loaves, so you can freeze them. More nifty ways to fit good homemade bread into modern life.
If you click on the link above, Zoe shows how to use the basic doughs in other ways, too. The Bacon and Eggs In Toast from January 6th looks like a real winner. From reading the blog, it looks like they have a second book in the works, so their technique IS taking off.
The fact that we have a second fridge allows me to keep a big dough bucket cold without any problem, so I think this book will be one I’ll try many recipes from. I’ll try and get pictures of some results to post next time, too.