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.
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.
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.
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.
From dough to boule!
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!
Inside Five Minute Bread - a must-have book for anyone interested in bread making
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
With thanks to Lora at Ebury Press
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.