The Book that Keeps On Giving

by Stefani on 11-November-2008

I gave myself a little birthday present. 

When I last posted about our family's daily bread recipe triumph, many of you wrote to say that I simply had to check out "Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day," and well, who am I to argue? 

I was pretty skeptical, I'll admit. I mean really, after all that I've done, what with all the mixing, and the rising and the ingredient shopping, to at last arrive at a bread recipe that I'm happy to call our own, how could it be possible to get artisan bread in 5 minutes? 


Still, it's bread, and I do love me some carbs. So, I gave it a shot. 

Friends, if you don't know it already, let me be the one to tell you that this book will change your life. Seriously.  

Now you and I both know that I'm a good southern girl and hence a little given to hyperbole, but in this case, it's sure shootin' folks, no exaggeration. You must have this book. 

I don't know the authors. I'm not getting a thing from them. In fact they'd probably take issue with the fact that I bought my book used, but still, I owe them a debt of gratitude, and do hereby sing their praises from the rooftops. 

Their bread is genius, delicious, easy, fast, just the very dang thing that our dinner table was looking for. 

Don't get me wrong, our bread is perfect for toast, sandwiches and the like but I was wanting in the dinner bread department, and that's where this book comes in. 

The basic premise is that you make enough dough for four small loaves. You mix it right in a lidded storage container. Or, if, like me, you don't have a container big enough, you mix it up in a big bowl and then separate it into two Tupperware containers.

Dough Boy 

It really only takes about 3 minutes by my count. Then, you let it rise for a couple of hours and pop it in the fridge. 

When you want bread, you get a fourth of the dough out, form it into a ball and let it rest for 30-40 minutes, then bake it for 30. 

That's it!

They key here is that the pan is preheated with the oven (they suggest a baking stone, but just a plain old cookie sheet with parchment paper works pretty great too), and you have to pour a cup of water into a pan on the shelf under your dough when you put it in. This creates steam that makes for a crispy outer crust and a perfectly soft interior. 

Rye or Boule?

We've tried the basic Boule (kind of like a slightly sour dough-ish version of french bread) and the Deli Rye so far, and let me just say that if I didn't have a couple of scrappy little contenders here, I'd snatch those loaves and hide in the closet with a tub of butter at my side. 

We have even used some of the basic dough to make some truly scrumptious cinnamon rolls. 

Good thing there's more dough in the fridge!
Sarah Jackson November 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm

yum!! I checked that one out at the library and I’m trying it tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Christie November 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm

I love that book.

Michaela November 11, 2008 at 8:22 pm

I bought the book about 2 months ago and stopped buying bread. My oven broke recently, so I am stuck for a while, but agree on everything you said. We love it.

gonzomama November 11, 2008 at 8:37 pm

i just bought this book for myself for my birthday last month (i did check it out at the library prior to buying). i am not much of a baker, but i have been crazy about this book too. i took a cue from diane at mackville road and my goal is to bake all of our bread this winter.
and like you, i am telling everyone i know about this book. who knew bread was so simple!?!?!

oh and i am loving the new header : )

heather jane November 11, 2008 at 8:43 pm

SOLD! I’m starting to think you could sell me a piece of swamp land in Texas, my friend.

Cassandra November 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm

If I bring the tub of butter, can I hide with you and have a chunk? Yum! Sounds awesome. I’m off to add it to my wishlist…

kate November 11, 2008 at 9:04 pm

that book is great and I can’t wait to try more of the breads.

Anne November 11, 2008 at 9:04 pm

I’ve been eyeing that book, but now that I see pictures of your bread, I must have it for Christmas.

kirsten November 11, 2008 at 9:27 pm

yup, i knew you’d like it!

Kelsey November 11, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Oh I do have to agree with you, you have to try the tapenade recipe, it’s super yummy, and I throw in some sundried tomatoes too 🙂

melody November 12, 2008 at 5:27 am

Didn’t I tell you so? I’ve been laying off the dough making for a couple weeks as I was on carb overload there for awhile but my apple butter is lonely.

elissa Finger November 12, 2008 at 5:37 am

i am so glad to have you review this book! it is on my wish-list and one never feels quite certain looking at a book online, if it is really all it’s cracked up to be. yippee! now, if santa doesn’t bring it, i can purchase with confidence. if i can wait that long… my that bread looks yummy!

Toni November 12, 2008 at 5:51 am

wow! thanks for the tip! I’ll be on the lookout for the book!

Ella November 12, 2008 at 5:55 am

Have you checked out their website…more recipes!

Barbara November 12, 2008 at 5:59 am

That book has been on my “check it out” list for awhile, but I hadn’t thought of it recently. My dh is skeptical mainly because he is a baker and makes “real” artisan bread–plus honestly he keeps us well supplied! But we do loooove making bread around here anyway, so I wanted to give it a try. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration.

Amy November 12, 2008 at 6:32 am

GET. OUT. You made that? Seriously, dude. This is definitely one of those see it to believe type moments because I just don’t believe it is possible!

Marina (from Denmark) November 12, 2008 at 7:05 am

I am completely choked. I bake almost every day and I thought I knew what I was doing. Obviously not!! Is this bread made with yeast? Just because every reference I ever read claims that you cannot freeze live yeast. If you can I am of to try.

jessica November 12, 2008 at 7:16 am

My kids are loving that book too! It’s so easy and seems almost fool proof. They’ve made naan and braided challah and just plain boule. I even posted about the revolution it’s created at our today too!!! Can I add enough exclamation marks?!! I think not!!!!!!!!

Bridget November 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

My husband is checking it out of the library for me this afternoon! I love homemade bread but have never found one (even with bread machine) that was healthy, fast, and tasty enough to do for everyday. Substantial breads are my favorite. Thanks for the tip!

claudia November 12, 2008 at 2:08 pm

I love crusty, bread with lots of holes in it (and butter of course)!! I just watched the tube video, produced right here in little ol’ Minnesota!! The recipe is in my hand, can’t wait to try it, yours look lovely! Thank you so much for sharing the love! Looks so easy I have to try it, even though I’m usually a yeast-o-phobe (I always worry it won’t work, so I avoid it 🙂

Meg Evans November 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I asked for this book for my birthday after hijacking the library’s copy for most of the summer. I’ve been doing just fine with my cookie sheet and parchment paper, too! My favorite part is when I make the boule, I make everyone be quiet so they can hear the crust crackle as I tear off a piece for myself–they can get their own! 🙂

kathy November 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm

I’m looking for a used copy! Since your posts on bread a few weeks back, we’ve been baking in bread in our kitchen–so far a boule like this and an oatmeal that was easy and delicious. thanks for this tip. Mixing and kneading is all so lovely in slowing down and of course resting just like we let the bread do…thank you as always!

Lisa Clarke November 12, 2008 at 2:35 pm

I’ve had this book on my wish list for the last few months. Happy to have your ringing endorsement, and hoping that Santa brings me a copy 🙂

jjillinois November 12, 2008 at 2:39 pm

There are a few misprints in the measurements. Be sure to check out their website for the corrections. We love making the whole wheat boule dough into pizza crust.

Jennifer November 12, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Good to know! I wondered if it really worked.

Amy November 13, 2008 at 3:33 am

I’m convinced. Amazon, here I come.

Leslie November 13, 2008 at 10:21 am

Wow, that looks awesome. That book is on my Christmas list…and if someone doesn’t give it to me, I’ll buy it for myself 🙂

Relyn November 13, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Oh, goodie!! YUM! YUM!!

allena November 13, 2008 at 7:36 pm

i’ve put that book in my wishlist. i love baking bread it’s just mornings are not my fave time of the day!

Bridget November 15, 2008 at 7:23 am

Commenting again to tell you I got the book from the library (and will be purchasing soon!) and tried the basic recipe. Wow! I made two loaves to take to a friend’s for supper – she made beef vegetable stew and it was heavenly with the bread. I left the other loaf with her – what a great hostess gift! I’m a convert! Thanks for the recommendation.

Jess November 15, 2008 at 7:29 am

That book looks terrific!

Kristi November 15, 2008 at 6:14 pm

hey Stef- My mom wants this book, where did you get it? Her b-day is at the end of the month and thought I would try to surprise her. Although she has become more a devoted reader than me lately, she will probably see this post!! Did I tell you I leave for Africa in 2 1/2 weeks?

leslie November 15, 2008 at 7:01 pm

thank you!! i needed another book (ha ha!!)

Laura November 19, 2008 at 9:57 am

I have a question – the basic recipe is based on unbleached, all-purpose white flour. Have you tried options without using white flour? I know your own bread recipe uses whole-wheat and bread flour and you even mentioned trying all whole wheat flour.

I have checked the book out from the library and I am looking forward to trying my hand a some bread.

Valarie Budayr November 20, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Isn’t it the best book ever? Now we can have fresh bread everyday and be the total envie of our neighbors. :)I’m so glad you discovered this. Bake On!

Christina November 22, 2008 at 9:49 pm

I love this book. I’ve bought one loaf of bread since. It’s so mindless once you do it a few times.

hanna November 23, 2008 at 6:17 pm

I’ve had that book sitting on my coffee table since my birthday in June and still haven’t baked anything from it – how terrible! But now you’ve reminded me to go and pick it up and put my apron on.

Carolina November 29, 2008 at 9:49 pm

We have tried your daily bread..It’s great. As I am finishing my 3rd panetone in the last 3 weeks, does anybody have any recipes for this yummy italian christmas bread? I get mine boxed from World market or italian restaurants.

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