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Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë François
The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking
Thomas Dunne Books / Saint Martin's Press
US Hardcover First Edition
ISBN 978-1-250-01828-1
Publication Date: 10-22-2013
382 Pages; $29.99
Date Reviewed: 02-06-2014
Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel © 2014

Index:  Non-Fiction  

It's been almost seven years since I received 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,' the first book by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë François. I recall my reaction quite precisely; "It can't possibly work, and I'm going to prove it." At that time, my experiences attempting to make bread were pitiful. The two or three hand-made loaves I'd made were more like plaster of Paris sculptures than food. In desperation, I tried a bread machine, and for my trouble I had to scrape out a material that was a cross between rubber and cardboard.

Suffice it to say that I approached that first book with a good deal of skepticism, and for my trouble was rewarded with a series of books that now make it possible, and extremely easy to have delicious home-baked any day of the week, with as advertised, about five minute of work on any given day.

The latest spin, 'The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day' is a revamp of the first that massively expands it, adds a lot of new recipes, a lot of great photos and is perfect for re-energizing one's bread-making. If you don't have any of the books by these authors, here's a great place to start. If you do, then this book will buff up your interest in baking bread, and give you some great new recipes.

The major difference here is that Hertzberg and Fracçois have added an entire section of gluten-free recipes. As one who flirted with this diet a while back, I can speak from experience in saying that what you can get at the grocery store is both tragically expensive and marginally edible. Not so with what you find here which gains the great virtue of freshness. I usually bake in a small tray, a sort of "mini-loaf," and this is definitely the way to go if you want or need a gluten-free loaf of bread. As with the regular breads, once you have your ingredients in place (more are required), you can whip a big batch of dough that keep well and will provide you with four or five loaves on demand. The master dough goes together quickly, and then on bake day, you grab a slab, let it rise and toss it in a preheated oven, exactly as you would with the "normal" bread.

As for new normal recipes, the highlight for me was the Wisconsin Cheese-Beer bread. It tastes great out of the oven and when you use it for a panini, the cheese caramelizes and gives the bread a crispy "Cheezit" flavor. There' also a recipe for cooking bread in the crock pot, which is perfect if you want a softer loaf, for example, if you're cooking a brioche. You can brown it a bit in the oven, but the crock-pot cooking convenience is really nice.

'The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day' is a great gift, and a perfect one-stop shop if you want to start making bread. It's as easy as advertised. You'll find recipes for everything you need in here, from soft-white American style bread to crusty wheat bread to flatbreads and pizza. To the degree that the bread you might eat moves directly to your waist, buy it at your own peril. But if you are buying bread at the store, here's the book that will have you buying flour and yeast (and cheese and beer) instead. How can you go wrong with that? For a flavor, you can check out their extensive website at

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