Tuesday, April 05, 2011

5 Minute Bread? Is it possible...A Review

Five Minute Bread..is that even possible…I mean I have a solid bread baking experience and have slaved for hours in the kitchen covering myself & the Kitchen counter in layers of flour, sticky hands (= unanswered door/phones) and much more. I have waited looking at the dough for hours to make sure its rising and have had to make space in my tiny kitchen for a draught-free area to let the dough rise happily. I have sat in front of the oven seeing my creation bake and have jumped/screamed in joy when I hear that tapping noise.
So when the publishers sent me this "Five Minute Bread"(The discovery that revolutionises home baking) by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois…I was more than excited to try their No Knead, No Bread Machine approach. “The steps from traditional Baking that We Omitted” page is a must read as they surprise you by saying, that you don’t need to make fresh dough every day to have fresh bread, you don’t need to proof your yeast, and you don’t have to knead your dough. The fortuitous discovery of pre-mixed, pre-risen, high-moisture dough in the fridge made sense to me. I will admit though that I kneaded the dough a bit for the Spinach & Feta Bread and didnt bother refrigerating it as I wanted to bake it straight away. But even when I didn’t knead or proof & refrigerated the Brioche (
I did my version with saffron & Indian Spice mix for a kick) dough for 24 hrs, the resulting bread was very satisfying. I do now agree that high-moisture stored dough cant over rise…I stored the brioche dough in a measuring bowl and could see how it rose in the fridge. 
For novice bread makers the "Ingredients" chapter explains the kind of flour & yeast to use, "Equipment list" & “Tips and Techniques” explain the moisture content and how to modify doughs, are precious. "The troubleshooting" chapter is a must for anyone as it tackles issues associated with under-baking/ over-baking loaves, giving you helpful tips to improve your baking. In general, the chapters in the book include:
The Secret
How to Make Bread in Five Minutes
Tips and Techniques
The Master Recipe
Peasant Loaves
Flatbreads and Pizzas
Enriched Breads and Pastries
Some colour bread photos to show the end results would have been an added advantage for beginners, although I like the free-hand drawings throughout the book. I absolutely loved the inclusion of many “accompaniment” recipes, such as the chilled morrocan-style gazpacho to go with ksara (morrocon anise & barley flatbread) or the Bread Puddings made with stale breads or the Fattoush the Lebanese salad made with Pita. Beginner or Pro in bread making, Five Minute Bread is definitely a great addition to any library. I adore “Spinach Feta Bread” which is staple bread I make with soups & loved the buttery Brioche (biting into one as I type). I have bookmarked the "Italian Semolina Bread", "Panettone", "Lavash" & "Ciabatta" to try soon.
Who knew one could make artisan bread in 5 minutes? This book is a must have for those who despise home-made loaves & buy them from supermarkets as making them seems over daunting.
Jeff Hertzberg has been a physician, university professor, information technology consultant & ardent amateur baker. He developed a love of great bread while growing up in New York City.
Zoë Francois is a pastry chef and baker trained at the Culinary Institute of America. In addition to teaching baking and pastry and consulting to restaurants, Zoe creates desserts and custom wedding cakes.
Five Minute Bread is published by Ebury Press, priced at ₤14.99 hardback.
Spinach Feta Bread
Ingredients (I halved the original recipe)
60g spinach (lightly steamed, boiled or sautéed), chopped
375ml lukewarm water
10g yeast
1tsp salt
20g feta
10g sugar
450g plain flour+extra for dusting
Polenta for dusting
  1. Mixing and storing the dough: Squeeze the cooked spinach through a strainer to get rid of excess liquid. Mix the yeast, salt, spinach, cheese and sugar with the water in a 5-litre bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 3.5 litre capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty mixer (with dough hook). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
  2. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
  3. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days.
  4. On baking day: Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel for 1 hour (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
  5. Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 230°C, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty boiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.
  6. Sprinkle the loaf liberally with flour and slash a cross or criss cross pattern into the top, using a serrated bread knife. Leave the flour in place for baking; tap some of it off before eating.
  7. Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time.
  8. Allow to cool before slicing or eating.
Indian Spice mix-Saffron Brioche
Ingredients (I halved the original recipe)
175 ml lukewarm water
11/2 tsp yeast
1tsp salt
4 eggs
4 tbsp honey
175g butter
500g flour+extra for dusting
few strands of saffron
1tsp my indian spice mix (cardamom, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper)
1. Mix the yeast, salt, saffron, spice mix, eggs, honey, and melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl.
2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon. If you are not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour. The dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled, don't try to work with it before chilling.
3. Cover (not airtight)
4. Refrigerate in a lidded (not air tight) container (or in the same bowl, covered with plastic wrap) and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days freeze the dough in one pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. When using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then allow the usual rest and rise time
5. Defrost the dough overnight in the fridge if frozen. On baking day grease 9 x 4 x 3 inch nonstick loafpan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and and cut off a 1 pound piece (grapefruit size) (Again, I find it easier to dust hands and work surface so you don’t overflour leftover dough). Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.
6. Elongate into an oval shape and place in the prepared pan. Allow to rest for 1 hour and 20 minutes
7. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
8. Using a pastry brush, brush the top crust with egg wash.
9. Place the bread near the center of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a medium golden brown. Due to the fat in the dough, brioche will not form a hard crackling crust.
10. Allow to cool before slicing or eating.


Unknown said...

I have a copy of this to review too - I hope it's as fast as they promise for I'm rather busy at the moment!!

Your photos look super!

Debugcooking said...

Thnx Sarah..cant wait to see yr results!

My Kitchen Antics said...

5 minutes wow tht is great...
Ps: i have the exact same table mat from ikea :)

kellypea said...

I love their books and have had much success with their method. Even my husband enjoys making bread now. Gorgeous photos!

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