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Monday, 14 March 2011

Five Minute Bread - Yes, Really!

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My crusty baguette


If the thought of making a loaf of bread terrifies you, then I come bearing good news! Five Minute Bread is a book that promises to get us making bread in just five minutes, with no need for a bread machine and no kneading involved!

It's true! I tested it out for myself - and if I can make a fabulous loaf using this method, then you can too! The method is quick and simple. You start by making a high-moisture dough which can be stored in the fridge for 7-10 days. After the rising period, you cut off a piece of dough, shape and rest it before baking in a very hot oven, using water to generate steam.

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Mixing the dough just takes a minute or so

Five Minute Bread (which has sold over 150,000 copies in America) is by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and aims to revolutionise home bread baking. They have devised a basic recipe, which can be adapted to make a variety of different loaves, but they don't stop there. The authors have gone on to create dough recipes for peasant loaves, flatbreads & pizzas, enriched breads and even pastries using the same technique.

It's worth reading the first couple of chapters carefully, as these explain the method, the ingredients in detail and the equipment you need. There is also a very helpful section called 'tips and techniques' that explains how to get the best out of your five minute bread baking experience.

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Take a piece of your dough and shape

So how did my own bread turn out?
I followed the recipe exactly (not something I'm known for doing) mixing enough dough to make four 450g/1lb loaves, I used a mixer with a large glass bowl but you can use a wooden spoon to mix if you prefer. It took just a minute or so until the flour, yeast, salt and water was combined. The bowl was covered and the dough left to rise. After a few hours I cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough and followed the procedure to shape and rest it. The rest of the dough went into the fridge for the next day. The oven needs to be really hot and it's preferable to bake the bread on a pizza stone. I was a little concerned after shaping the dough that it wouldn't rise up into a lovely boule shape. It looked rather flat and wet. Actually it didn't rise that much, and I was even more nervous when I slashed the top as I didn't want to flatten it even more.

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My bread ready for baking

Something magical happened during the baking, because my flat circle of dough had risen into a beautiful boule, with a wonderful brown chewy crust and a soft interior texture. The taste of the loaf was really good, although I would probably cut back on the salt a little next time. I do need to have another go with the basic recipe, as the air holes in the bread could have been better distributed, mine were all at the top of the loaf.

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From dough to boule!

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Friends and family won't believe you made this crusty bread at home!

I can't wait to try some of the other breads. Five Minute Bread has some fabulous recipes, including lavash, fougasse, panettone, chocolate bread, brioche and many more. Apart from interesting and different bread recipes, there are also recipes utilising the bread you make, Tuscan Bread Salad and Portuguese Fish Stew for example.

My only disappointment with the book is that there are no photos to show you what the end results should look like. It would be good to see some pictures of the different shapes of the bread - there are little drawings on some pages but they don't illustrate the recipes, which is a shame. However, the authors have a great website, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, where you will find gorgeous photos and videos of the bread making techniques, which complements the book beautifully!

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Inside Five Minute Bread
- a must-have book for anyone interested in bread making

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The book can be bought directly from Ebury Publishing, Random House or from Amazon.

Five Minute Bread
£14.00 / Hardback, 256 pages
Publisher: Ebury Press
January 2011
ISBN-13: 9780091938949

With thanks to Lora at Ebury Press

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.
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20 comments:

Parsley Sage said...

bread does scare me. alot.

this is encouraging tho! thanks for sharing :)

Choclette said...

Five minutes to make bread sounds like a bit of a winner, especially if it looks as good as yours :)

snippets of thyme said...

Beautiful bread loaves!! That book sounds great. I am working my way through The Artisan Bread Book. I have two baguettes in the fridge right now waiting to bake! I love your photography, it is soooo good. I'm a work in progress!

I was scared to bake bread. Now I so irritated that I wanted until 40 to start. I love it. There is something therapeutic about it. And the smell....

Hazel said...

What an exciting experience! Very interesting indeed. This is definitely an encouragement to bake bread more!

Jan said...

Ooh yum that's a nice loaf! looks like a great book.

Magpie said...

The book is wonderful isn't it? I LOVE the brioche dough especially because you can do so much with it! Made an awesome braided bread stuffed with apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and it was sooo easy but left my family astounded! the same dough can be used to make sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts....

Muffin Mum @muffinmum said...

I have been making this for over a year. I make it in the container I use to rise it and just stir with a spoon. I use it for bread, pizza, scrolls and Indian style flat breads. It is so good and easy to use.

Helene said...

I still love baking this bread. It's a hit every time. Well worth the efforts :)

Amy said...

I love making bread at home. It could be done in 5 minutes? I'm jumping right in! :) Can't wait to get a copy of the book.

Amy
http://utry.it

Tuck said...

5 minutes! A new record, must try this one.

Maggie said...

I am not very good at science and so I don't know exactly how the magic works! I too would have been worried with a flat piece of dough.
The 5 minute bread is very interesting.

Deeba PAB said...

Is that the UK/metric version out Nic. I absolutely love the bread, and have magically made some from the US version of AB in 5. Theres plenty of interesting variations in there. Love your rustic loaf! Fabulous!

nic @ nipitinthebud said...

5 minutes from dough to bread achieved from days of being patient and letting miraculous natural things start happening. We could all learn something from your bread making Nic about taking more time over things while doing less! Bolognese sauce is always better the next day, same kind of thing I think.

Nicisme said...

Parsley Sage - oh you should definitely try it then. Why does it scare you?

Choclette - thanks, and it is a v good book.

snippets of thyme - thank you! I am glad to hear that you now bake your own bread. Isn't the Artisan Bread book by the same authors?

Hazel - when you have made bread the traditional way for so long, it is quite exiting to make it this way! I just hope I don't make too much bread now, lol!

Jan - thanks, it is!

Magpie - oh your breads sounds awesome! I have the brioche dough on my list to make, just need some more flour!

Muffin Mum - the dough seems to be so versatile, so glad to hear you love it too!

Helene - isn't the bread lovely looking? And tastes so good too!

Amy - I do hope you get a copy of the book, it really is that easy!

Tuck - ha ha, well 5 minutes to mix and shape anyway. They don't count the resting time as you could be doing something else while the bread is resting!

Maggie - I don't know either, but it worked like magic!

Deeba - it is the metric version. Glad to hear your bread was magical too, lol!

WizzyTheStick said...

Anything that doesn't involve me kneading by hand and I'm sold:-)

grace said...

so what you're telling me is that it takes less time to make this bread than for me to eat the entire loaf. :)

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

I think your home bread no knead bread looks amazing & lovely too!

MMMMMMMMMMM,...Divine food! A fgreat end result too!

Cooking Rookie said...

I LOVE that book, such easy recipes and the possibilities are endless - you can make a new flavor of bread every week.
Your baguette looks gorgeous, and I bet it tastes great too!
Thanks for the inspiring post :-)

Johanna GGG said...

I have looked at the website and then forgotten it - your loaf looks fantastic so I must revisit and try it again - and maybe even buy the book - I have read jim lahey's book which is similar (the no knead) and reading about the science behind it actually has helped me understand bread baking in general

Su-yin said...

I've heard about this book, but did wonder how it works in five minutes! Everyone gives it fab reviews though, so am definitely going to try this recipe out!