Last week I splurged and bought Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. This is quite possibly the best book I have ever purchased.
My wife and I are both familiar with making bread. She has a recipe for bread she loves, and I’ve made bread following several different recipes online. It always turns out good, but takes a lot of work and a ton of time to make. A book that claimed to let us make even better bread with just a few minutes of work made us both a little skeptical.
The book includes several different base recipes, and for each recipe there are many additional recipes that take a little more work. For example, you might take a base recipe and cook the dough a little differently and get pita bread or naan. To start, I did the easiest and simplest recipe in the book.
I was surprised at the ingredient list: water, yeast, salt, and flour. I had always been told that you had to add sugar to give the yeast something to eat, but it turns out this isn’t needed.
I was also surprised at the process: put the water, yeast, and salt in a bowl. Dump in all the flour. Mix it up. That is it. No waiting for the yeast to “wake up” and start doing its thing. No kneading the dough. I didn’t even have to pay attention to how wet the dough was. My first batch was very wet and my second batch was much drier, but both turned out awesome with literally no more than 5 minutes of effort.
Once everything is mixed up, you let it sit on the counter for a few hours, and then it is ready to either turn into a loaf of bread or stick in the fridge to use later (or both).
Creating the loaf was easy, too. Grab a ball of dough, let it sit for 40 minutes, slice the top however you want, then put it in the oven for 30. I’ve made 5 loaves so far and each turned out perfect without having to pay careful attention to timing.
You also don’t need much equipment. The bare minimum is a cooking stone (easily obtained at Walmart or Target) and a cutting board. If you want to go all out, you can make your life a little easier by using a pizza peel, a cooling rack, and a kitchen scale.
For our most recent loaf, Becca and I looked up a honey butter recipe (3/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup honey, drop of vanilla) and had the most amazing fresh homemade bread ever!
Anyways, buy the book. It is only $14.81 on Amazon, and definitely worth it.