Truthfully, last year when I received my copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day I was sceptical because, although I love to eat bread...I mean REALLY love to eat bread....I'm not a bread maker...no patience for all that kneading and waiting and kneading and waiting. And, I have had some success with making breads started with my hand-me-down (from my daughter) bread machine and baked in the oven, but they never are quite as crispy crusted as I love.
Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois turned my world upside down. I'll let you read about how much I love their first book. It really did make me proud and awed every time I baked a bread from it. The only problem, if you could call it that, was that I was trying to eat healthier and avoid breads...at least my favorite baguettes and challahs, so I haven't been baking as much bread as I used to...especially since "moderation" is not in my vocabulary.
You can imagine how excited I was to get a copy of their latest book - Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
...so happy that I couldn't even wait until it actually arrived to test it out. I baked their Chocolate Espresso Whole Wheat Bread recipe from the press release I received asking me if I wanted a copy of the book....like I'd say no thank you!
The recipe intrigued me...chocolate....coffee...whole wheat sounded ...well ....an unusual combination to say the least. But since dark chocolate, cocoa, whole wheat and even coffee (apparently, according to the authors Americans get their highest dose of antioxidants from coffee) are really good for you (the book actually breaks down each recipe with all the info about nutritional values and health benefits), I gave it a try.
It's not your typical bread...not quite a cake, but not really a bread (at least in my world before this book anyway). Which hasn't stopped me from enjoying it immensely toasted and slathered with cream cheese. And I know I'll be serving little tea sandwiches for morning coffee breaks and afternoon tea parties.
Finally, the book arrived and after whipping through the intro and chapters on best ingredients, equipment and tips and techniques, I turned to the heart of the matter....bread making recipes for everyone! An entire chapter on the master recipe for a whole grain artisan free form loaf, complete with photos to help you create the original as well as Moon & Stars Bread, Hearty Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf, Whole Grain Garlic Knots with Parsley and Olive Oil (already earmarked for sometime very soon)and even Turkish-style Pita with Black Sesame Seeds and, my favorite - Epi!
There are chapters dedicated to hidden fruits and vegetables (Red Beet Buns sound intriguing), flatbreads and pizzas (you know I'll be making those often), even gluten-free breads and pastries and enriched breads and pastries from healthy ingredients like Whole Wheat Brioche and Apple Strudel Bread.
But I had to start with my all time favorite bread ever since I was a kid in Montreal, where rye bread is a given...crispy, crunchy, golden brown crusts and chewy soft interior studded with caraway seeds...I get nostalgic just thinking about it. This one is a very healthy version...
I'm going to love it over and over...toasted with butter for late night snacks (my favorite go to taste when I get the evening munchies), perfect for sandwiches and great to accompany wintery soups and stews.
So I defy you to find an easier, more delicious way to make your own awesome bread. This book is great for beginners and expert bread makers alike.