Booking It with Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

This year we’re Booking It on LifeasMOM. It’s an online book club designed to get you off the computer, phone, and boob tube and into a book. Reading is an adventure! You learned this long ago. But, in our older years, it is tempting to forget.

On the 10th of each month, we’re discussing an assigned book, one of the Eleven List. On the 11th there’s a link up opportunity to share all your reading of the past month.

For the past few weeks we’ve been baking up a storm with Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes?

I think I first heard about Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day several years ago. My friend Lynn started baking from it when the book was first released. It was during last year’s Booking It that I finally though, “I should try this.” I waited forever to get the book from the library and then only had time to read the first three pages before it was due back.

Sometimes I’m a little slow. This year seemed like a good time to review it, especially since I was tossing around assigned reading. I could make you read it with me! And a little internet accountability never hurt anyone, eh?

After having read the beginning chapters of the book , tested three recipes, and eaten 9 loaves of bread, I have mixed feelings about the book and the 5 Minute Method.


For the unenlightened, the five minutes refers to the time you spend in mixing the dough, storing it in the fridge, and forming the loaves prior to baking. You still need to allot counter-top rising time, refrigerator resting time, pre-baking rising time, as well as baking and cooling. It’s still homebaked bread, not abracadabra.

What I loved

There’s learning to be had. I’m a firm believer in reading the front sections of a cookbook, especially one that emphasizes a certain method, ingredient, or style of cookery. There’s science you need to know in a specialty book like this. And the concepts are explained quickly and simply in this book.

The method is easy to follow. Except for dealing with a hot oven and a boiling water, most of the preparation is easy enough for a child to make this bread. In fact, the method is so easy, it seems too good to be true.

The results are beautiful. I totally wowed my family with the bread I produced. I made the Master Recipe, the Herbed Boule, and the Oatmeal Bread. They all turned out gorgeous.

Some things you should know

You need to get tooled up. If you don’t have a large food container with a lid, a baking stone, a pizza peel, cornmeal, and a serrated knife, you aren’t ready to make this bread. That can be disappointing if you take the book home and expect to have bread in a short while.

I had to hunt high and low in my local stores for a baking stone and go get a large enough container. The metal pizza peel we have is one that my husband found on the side of the road, so I’m skeptical of using it, which is just as well as my family informed me that the medium grind cornmeal I have tastes like what happens when the lava rocks in your barbeque explode when you use the grill after a rain.

So I fudged a little and used parchment paper. Yes, yes, I did. I let the bread boules rest on the parchment and then slid the parchment onto the hot baking stone. The bread was good and beautiful, but it didn’t have the bottom crust that I’m sure develops when you bake it right on the stone.

The bread is good, but not great. Admittedly, I haven’t made every recipe in the book. In fact, I plan on trying out some of the peasant loaves in the next few weeks. But, while it is good bread, it’s not great bread. It seems to lack a depth of flavor. It tastes a little, well, plain. I’m hoping that as I test recipes with whole wheat or rye flour, that I will get better results.

That said, it is super easy, good bread. I admit, I was hoping for super easy, great bread. But, I also have a French bakery just down the road, so I’m a little spoiled.

The time savings is debatable. With the Master Recipe and the Herbed Boule, I really did spend only five minutes of my time, and the waiting on all other points was negligible. The bread rests 40 and then bakes in 30. Very doable while I do other things.

But, I found that my time investment on the oatmeal bread was excessive. Long rising time, long baking time does not equal breakfast on time at my house. In that instance, it would have been easier for me to put the ingredients in my bread machine and walk away. So, I think which recipe you use has a huge impact on how you make best use of the method.

It’s a good book.

Overall, I think Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is a good book — and a brilliant method. For ease of use and instilling baking confidence, I give it all A’s. On flavor, I’m still undecided. I’ll let you know once I explore some of the more complex recipes in the book.

Buying this book and learning the 5 minute method is a worthy investment, especially if you already own the recommended tools. Baking your own bread can save you a lot of money if your family eats a lot of bread. So, following this method could be a great way for you to cut costs.

Have you missed past Booking It days? Check out the others we’ve read this year:

What did YOU think?

Share your thoughts on the book in the comment section. Tomorrow, we’ll have a link up for all your Booking It posts.

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Comments

  1. I had a blast with this book! The method was easy for me. I will admit I do not own all the materials necessary for making the bread according to the recipe but I think it comes out great every time.

    Also here in NY, I can pay $4-5 for a boule of bread that this recipe produces. Now that I cam make it myself, we can eat “fancy” bread more often. I serve this bread on Saturday night soup night as a side.

    I have not tried any of the other recipes yet but I am excited to do so. I did really enjoy this book and would recommend anyone interested at least borrow it from the library for a fun try!!

    • @Kelley, I’m interested to know which tools you were able to do without. I put down the book disappointed because I didn’t feel like I could make any of the recipes.

      • @Rena, I do not have a baking stone, a storage container with a lid or a sharp knife. I use a baking sheet with a corn meal dusting, a large bowl for mixing and storing with plastic wrap right down on top of the dough for protection ( I may rethink this one soon) and any knife I have and most of them are dull.

        I say go for it! Honestly, I do not believe there are many things a person could do to mess this recipe up. I am captain failure when it comes to baking. I think that is why I loved this book. Even I was able to succeed!! Best of luck and have fun!!!

    • @Kelley,
      A plastic shoebox works great, you don’t have to have a stone either.

      • @jackie brown, Thanks! It is the “non airtight container” that is throwing me. What are some examples of non-air tight? I am assuming anything you store leftovers in is airtight.

        • Angela Slate says:

          @Kelley, I use a two gallon bucket with a lid that I just lay on top of it. (It’s big enough for me to do a double batch with for my large family.) You could also use a Rubbermaid or Sterlite shoebox size container, a bowl with just foil or saran wrap on top, or any of your tupperware-like containers–just keep a corner or two up so that it is not airtight. I’m sure that most people have something around the house that would work so that they don’t have to buy anything. Also, I don’t have a pizza peel; I just use a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I wanted to be really convinced that I needed to spend extra money for extra supplies; I’ve found that what I already have works fine for me.

  2. I had that little bit of disappointment you mentioned when I reached the “tools” chapter and realized I was missing several. So I’m stuck at that part of the book until I gather up some tools and am ready to try it out. But I am looking forward to doing just that, especially since I have a 100% failure rate on trying to make bread! Hoping this turns out better!!

  3. I borrowed Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes A Day from the library. I don’t have a large enough container so I hadn’t made any bread yet. At least I can borrow the book whenever I want.

  4. I absolutely cheat everywhere in this recipe and I still get good bread. I use a cookie sheet with parchment paper. :D And like you said, it’s good, not great bread. But still yummy with soups and as an easy side to a lot of meals.

  5. I like the book, and the bread, but don’t love either. I have found that the flavor improves the longer the dough waits in the fridge. I don’t have a big family so I would make a batch of dough and it would last for 4 loaves. Loaf 4 (so day 5 in the fridge) was the most flavorful, especially compared to the first day’s much more bland taste.

    One of my biggest issues with it is the fridge space – it’s a big container and I have trouble making room for it in my fridge typically.

    Generally I find it easier to let my Kitchen Aid do the mixing and kneading for a more traditional loaf the day I want to have bread.

  6. I bake the master recipe (Boule) from this book almost every day! One of my kids refuses to eat any other kind of bread. I would love to make sourdough but I haven’t found a recipe that produces good results and doesn’t take a lot of time.

    I usually use flour instead of cornmeal. An upside-down cookie sheet works great in place of a pizza peel (sometimes I use parchment underneath, sometimes not). If you don’t have a stone, just leave the dough on the cookie sheet to bake. I do have a large container with lid but you could just as easily let your dough rise in a large pot or other bowl, covered loosely with a plate and then divide the dough into smaller portions and put into the fridge (or freeze if you want to keep it longer than a week or two).

  7. I loved this book. I liked the texture of the bread and the mild sourdough flavor. I did sourdough as a kid and it was a lot of work. This gave me a mild sourdough flavor that I love without the all the work. I listed the recipes I used and my results/review on my blog.

    http://lifeaccordingtomaran.blogspot.com/2011/04/booking-it-2011-artisan-bread-in-5.html

  8. How big does the bowl have to be???
    What is a pizza peel???

    I’m still a newbie with the bread baking. I did purchase the bread machine you recommended last year and love it!

    • Pamela J says:

      @Dawn, Not sure about the bowl size but I think a pizza peel is a roller that slices pizza into slices. This is a guess because I’ve never heard it called that either. Shows how sophisticated I am in the kitchen. (ha ha)

    • @Dawn,
      Here’s a picture of an $8 pizza peel I own, http://momonamission.me/?p=1358 , from Bed Bath and Beyond with coupon, but I used a chopping board dusted with cornmeal for a year or so. I also use parchment paper on top to slide easily off the peel right on to the stone.
      I mix my dough right inside a plastic shoebox. It stores easier in the fridge.

  9. I guess I’m a bit of a cheater since I don’t use the “required tools.” I mix with a wooden spoon, store in the fridge in a bowl loosely covered with cling wrap, and let rise and bake directly on an air bake. I love how this bread turns out every time, and I’ve been making a batch probably every other week (at least!) since November 2010! Just wanted to chime in so that those who may not have the “proper tools” still give this bread a chance. Thanks for posting your review!

  10. I, too, was really disappointed with this book and method….and so glad it came from the library and we didn’t buy it.

    Not a real timesaver, and not great results….and just where would we get the room in the fridge for a permanent, huge container of waiting dough??!!

  11. I love the challah bread recipe to make rolls in muffin pans. My son loves rolls and this is a great way to provide it for him without the added ingredients found in the freezer section of the grocery store. It’s also great to make fancy pigs in a blanket using alfresco chicken sausage. I love the master recipe for pizza and for flat breads. My son loves cheese bread from local pizza places and this recipe is just as good.

  12. Eckert S says:

    I was disappointed. I’ve been grinding my own wheat and baking bread for 2 years.
    This is easy, but mediocre compared to my regular recipes. I have my routine down to a science, so I’d much rather make my regular bread and rolls than the “5 minute” kind. I freeze my bread mixes so that making the real thing is just as easy, and tastes much better.

  13. I absolutely love this cookbook! I am not crazy about using a baking stone since I have had several crack on me over the years, especially when using steam in a very hot oven. I know the authors use a cast iron pizza pan, but that just wasn’t in the budget. So, I inverted a cast iron frying pan that I already had, heated it up in the oven, and then baked my bread on the bottom of the pan. It worked out beautifully! Now I am looking forward to trying other varieties of bread that are in the cookbook.

  14. I started using this method right away with the tools I had on hand. I didn’t have a pizza peel so I did what I could without it. It was good w/o a pizza peel, but even better once I got one (although I’m still learning the tricks of the trade with it!). I think you can start this method even if you don’t have the tools, and collect them as you go. Since I’ve started using this method, I’ve also invested in a cast-iron pizza pan (recommended on the authors’ blog) to use for baking instead of a stone. Sometimes I also bake round loaves in a small cast-iron frying pan – those are some of my best loaves!

    For me, what I like most about this bread is that 5 minutes on baking day gives me dough in the fridge that I can use for the next week or two to make quick meals. I’ve used it for pizza, flat bread, pitas, calzones… you name it, i’ve whipped it up with the basic healthy bread dough recipe. It’s also great to make a quick loaf of bread to give to someone who is sick or just had a baby.

    I would agree it’s not the best bread, either, but I also think it’s a learning curve as far as the method goes. Sometimes my loaves turn out GREAT and sometimes they are just so-so. All in all, I am VERY pleased with this method and intend to use it for a long time.

    I also use my bread machine on occasion.

  15. We use a stock pot instead of a bowl with fitted lid and it works well. I did get a pizza peel and the book for Christmas but haven’t used it much. I grind my own wheat so we use all wheat instead of white flour and the loaves are always delicious. Someone asked what a pizza peel is; it’s the large flat wooden plate-like thing with a handle that you see people use to take a pizza out of a brick oven. Hope that helps.

  16. I have tried a couple recipes and tweaks of them. I found that if I use the recipe on p. 204 in 5 Min A Day called Soft American-Style White Bread and if I use half whole wheat, half unbleached white, lower the salt to 1 Tablespoon and use more dough per loaf than the book calls for then it’s a great sandwhich bread. I use more dough per loaf so that the loaf is larger and more sandwhich appropriate. So instead of it making 3 loaves..I get 2 and 1/2..to which I just add the next batch of dough…there are eight of us and this is working great! I bought my buckets from Sams..they came in a three pack..so I usually do the recipe in the kitchen aid, then dump it into one bucket to rise and while the mixer is dirty go ahead and mix another batch..dump it into the other bucket to rise. Then I go ahead and use most of the dough from one bucket and bake a couple loaves (in the loaf pans), and store the rest in the fridge. Sorry this is such a long post… :)

  17. Jessica I did not read the book but Icame across a foodie blog Food+Heat.com that featured I guess what would be considered the basic recipe. For a family whose idea of fresh baked artisan bread is the canned Pillsbury French bread, this is a great bread for us. I still find the resting time to be a hassle as I usually am near finished cooking when I realize, “Ugh, bread would be perfect w/ this! Too late.” But again it’s nice alternative for our family and we looove it for pizza dough because it really holds a lot of toppings well where as others get mushy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  18. I don’t have a pizza peel either but I cheat by dusting the parchment well so I can slide the bread off of the parchment and on to the stone. :)

    I recently made the brioche and made caramel cinnamon rolls with it. Very good! They were gone in 1 day. Caramel Pecan Brioche Rolls

    The only other bread I’ve made is the Boule which is good. I used that also to make baguette, also “good” and pizza dough which I thought was great.

    I definitely want to try more of the recipes though so I can find what I like best.

    Luckily I already had a stone and a large storage container. We got a stainless steel set of nesting bowls as a wedding gift 8 years ago. The larger 2 are so big they’ve been in the garage for a while, but the biggest was just the right size. It came with a tupperware lid that doesn’t create an airtight seal. perfect!

  19. I too found the bread flavor to be ordinary. I now replace the liquid in the recipe with whey either from homemade ricotta or yogurt. The yogurt whey gives it a nice sourdough flavor. The ricotta whey doesn’t have a huge impact but does make it slightly more tangy.

  20. i have been using this book for a bit now, and i agree that the master recipe is good, but needs something. i havent made that one in a bit though…
    the rye bread though, is amazing and so much cheaper than buying good rye at the store. its nice and moist. the last time i bought rye at the store it was so dry i was angry! i make my loaves of that one bigger, like 2 lb loaves instead of the 1 lb ones.
    i also like the vermont cheddar, especially when i add garlic or use asiago in place of the cheddar.
    i use the olive oil dough all the time for pizza, because it is easy to have around and just cut a piece off for pizza. sometimes i use a cast iron pan to bake the pizza in, sometimes just a cookie sheet. i also made rolls out of it one time for pulled pork sandwiches and it worked great, hubby loved them.
    once it rises, you can put into smaller containers if the big one is too big for easy use in your fridge. you can also freeze the dough in smaller portions.
    in the healthy bread in 5 sequel book, i have started making the quinoa bread and my kids love it. we use it toasted, for sandwiches, etc. it takes a little longer because of more ingredients, but more flavor than master recipe and more whole grains.
    in the second book they tell you that if you are going to use parchment or silicone, to pull it out for last 10 min of baking.
    i have also used loaf pans for the bread and it works fine. not as crispy, but my hubby doesn’t like crispy for sandwiches anyway and i am trying not to buy store bread as much.
    as for the pizza peel, you can use a wooden cutting board but the peel is easier. i was lucky because i had one – i had gotten it on clearance years ago and never really knew what to do with it.
    overall, even with the purchase of the 2 books, a pampered chef baking stone (first one broke) and some plastic containers, this book has greatly increased my confidence in yeast baking and will save me me money.

  21. I have to say that I thouroughly agreed with you on most points. I didn’t love the bread enough to do it regularly. I know that it takes less “active” time than using my bread machine, but I think I’ll keep using my machine – I can get the bread started in the morning for lunch or dinner. Since I am mostly at home with my daughter that isn’t a big deal for me. If I was still working full time outside the house and trying to feed my family I might use this method. My husband didn’t love the bread – and he’s the biggest eater at our house, so when he vetos we usually don’t go back to it :)

  22. I got started on this method through an article I read. It was the PERFECT way to get started in the world of baking bread since it is so quick and easy. And I love the versatility of the dough. We still make a regular batch and use it throughout the week to make pizza or breadsticks or other things when I need a quick side. I agree, though, I’m not a big fan of the taste!

  23. I love the Artisan Bread book! I can FINALLY make bread successfully. I was one of those people who couldn’t even make bread machine bread right. I’ve tried 4 of the recipes so far. I got RAVE reviews on rolls I made with the whole wheat sandwich bread recipe. The Vermont cheddar was ok, but I didn’t use a quality sharp cheese.

  24. I love Artisan Bread. I don’t own or use a pizza peel, but I still feel I get a delicious bread. I found the containers on Amazon, but before I found them, I used a large tupperware container I already had. I also grind my own flour and make my own healthy everyday bread, but the Artisan bread is a HUGE hit with my family and with me. It’s a treat at our house as it isn’t a healthy option. It takes me very little time to whip up a batch of this bread in my mixer, but I have been baking bread for a long time and had a good instinct for how the dough should look. When I first got the book I too was intimidated by the precision it suggests and the necessary tools. When I finally just decided to give it a try using what I do know about baking bread, we were hooked. I’ve blogged about it here:
    http://simplifylivelove.blogspot.com/2011/01/artisan-bread-in-5-minutes-day.html

    I also have the Healthy Bread version, and that was the one I was disappointed with. I am still looking for crusty European style 100% whole wheat bread that’s easy to bake.

  25. My thoughts were about the same as yours (although I cheated and didn’t use all of the suggested tools). For an easy, no knead bread, I much prefer Nancy Bagget’s (sp?) Kneadlessly Simple.

  26. I have been making this type of on and off for the past couple of years because it means we can have fresh bread on weeknights and not just the weekend. I have not ever had all the tools, but use parchment paper, and have even used tin foil when I have been out of parchment paper, which I’m sure is a huge no no but it worked.

    I also sometimes skip the water in the pan step and just wet my hands and gently spread a good amount water over the dough right before it goes in the oven. Like someone else said, the flavor really does improve if it sits in the fridge for a couple of days and I always sub out some of the bread flour for whole wheat.

    I do now use the master recipe from the Healthy Bread in 5 minutes book because I found the taste to be better.

    • @Amanda@Thehomemadekitchen, Were you happy with the results of wetting the dough as opposed to putting hot water in the pan? I’m not a fan of that particular step in the process but find it does have a very hard bottom crust if I don’t do that.

  27. Jasmine P says:

    I haven’t read this cookbook but when I was at dinner with some girlfriends this weekend, one of them was talking about this book. She said another friend of hers made the rye bread and she thought it was the best bread she’s ever had. She also thought the pumpernickel was good too. So maybe one of those recipes will taste better to you. She did mention too, as someone else commented on above, that the taste changed the longer it sat in the fridge.

  28. I am really surprised at everyone’s disappointment with this book. I honestly only ever make the main dough but we love it formed in a round loaf, hot from the oven with butter. It is also good as pizza dough. It is so easy. I just use a silicone baking mat on a jelly roll pan and still use the hot water method, but it couldn’t be easier. I got the big container at a garage sale but you can get them at Sam’s too.
    The Healthy version is easy as well and we like it too. It just doesn’t get any easier.

  29. We love the book, so much that my husband declared he’d never buy bread again AND he bought the second book.

    I have found that keeping your home cooler means longer rise times, though.

  30. Count me with the people who love this book. No, it’s not “authentic” or “the best ever”, but it’s SO attainable that I’m pretty forgiving of some of its shortcomings.

    We like the boule as it is, but I use it for calzone dough as well, and have plans to use it for pizza. I’ve made cinnamon rolls with the buttermilk dough, as well as the cinnamon raisin bread in the book – both delicious.

    The method does get faster the more you do it, though I’ve only ever made the basic dough and the buttermilk dough so I can’t speak to the others.

    I usually try to make the dough ahead of time and let it set in the frig for at least 2 days in order to develop some flavor – I agree the “fresh” dough is somewhat lacking in flavor.

    I feel like a real gourmand: we had all the necessary equipment long before I got the book! ;)

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I think “attainable” is a great word. It’s a confidence builder, for sure. Since I’m feeding so many people, the dough goes really fast. I will try to let it rest a little longer this next time. Going to make a double batch. That should last us 4 meals. LOL

  31. Brooke Kingston says:

    I love this book. We’ve been making the light whole wheat recipe for over a year now. I agree with everyone who has commented that the flavor and texture get better as the dough rests. I always leave bits of the previous batch’s dough in the dough container to sour up a bit. It’s made all the difference in the quality and texture of the bread. I notice that the heat of our oven really does make a difference, too. Getting that custardy middle and crisp crust only comes from a super-hot oven. I’m going to try a suggestion by a previous poster to dampen the loaf before I put it in the oven. The steaming method has cracked two pizza stones in less than a year! ACK! :)

  32. I’ve been making the bread since the cookbook came out and I love it! I make it in a shoebox, which is much cheaper than a special dough containter. I’m hooked on 100% white whole wheat dough made with olive oil or canola oil, from the Healthy Bread in 5 minutes, http://momonamission.me/?p=1025, and I use it for bread, cinnamon rolls, pizza, calzones, naan and more. I’ve had great results every time, unless I don’t allow the dough to fully set the entire 90 minute rest. I like the brioche dough which is like crescent dough for chicken braids. I make two to three loaves at one time, sometimes I use all the dough, bake, cool and freeze. It’s more economical and time-saving.

  33. one last pointer, the author’s website, http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com has great vlogs, tips, comments and suggestions if you don’t own this cookbook or you want to troubleshoot your bread, or try something new like grilling your dough or making doughnuts! I’m experimenting with baguettes for the first time and the site was very helpful as well as King Arthur’s no knead bread recipes too (they are very similar to the artisan bread in five recipes). I gleaned great tips from their blog too.

  34. Angela Slate says:

    I checked out Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I never did buy a pizza stone but adapted one of the recipes in Healthy Bread to make wheat dinner rolls. I can make homemade rolls very quickly and everybody that has tried them has loved them! They also freeze very well. We are a family of seven (soon to be eight), so rolls just work for us better right now. I have the Healthy Bread book on my amazon wish list, and am so glad that I found it! You might want to check it out!

  35. I bought this book a few years back while traveling. I read it cover to cover before ever having a chance to try anything. Once I was home, I was happy with the results.
    I didn’t have all of the right tools either. I did have a large bowl to put it in and a pizza stone, but not pizza slide. I found that parchment paper worked well enough.
    I have baked various types of bread from scratch for years, so I just alternated with other recipies.
    I didn’t try all of the recipes in the book, but my family was happy with the ones I made. I like to leave it in the fridge for a few extra days to get the slightly sourdough flavor. My one regret was only being able to mix up one batch at a time. If I would have had a bigger fridge and bigger container, I would have made more at a time. My family of 5 can go through bread pretty quickly.
    When I moved to Africa, I left the book with my sister and she has used it quite a bit, too.

  36. I just picked up this book at the library last night, and I appreciated people’s thoughts here about the tools, as I just read that section and was quite intimidated!

  37. I discovered the basic recipe online a few months ago and immediately got the book. Is it as good as the local “artisan” bakery — no. But is it really good compared to most other more expensive bakery bread you could buy in my town and most bread served in restaurants? YES!

    I have been using my KitchenAid stand mixer with a dough hook, an insulated cookie sheet, and corn meal. I don’t yet have a pizza peel or stone and am very happy with my results. I just invested in a perforated French bread pan with two troughs and had GREAT results with that.

    I have given away a lot of what I have made (I’m single and have lots of friends who are terrified of baking) and have received rave reviews.

    I’ve experimented with substituting part whole wheat flour, with using bread flour and using unbleached flour (I know the book calls for that, but I normally just have all purpose). I haven’t used the oatmeal or rye yet but will soon. I also have tried the Olive Oil dough and didn’t like it quite as much as the basic recipe for loaf bread (I found it softer and chewier), but is was GREAT as pizza dough.

    I LOVE this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes to cook and bake and try new things and experiment with flours and doughs and flavors. I have had great success and have enjoyed it and enjoyed sharing the results and experiments with friends (and they have enjoyed it, too!)

    Just tonight I served French bread from the basic recipe to my book club and they were stunned that it was homemade! And, if you want to really play with this I would highly recommend buying your flour and/or yeast in bulk in a place like Sam’s or Costco. 25 lbs of bread flour in my local Sam’s is currently $8.29 and 2 lbs of yeast (which equals about 128 packets of yeast) is $4.68.

    So, don’t be scared of the equipment list or the recipes. It’s fun!

    Janice

  38. Great book review. I really appreciate your thorough critique. I’ve been waiting for weeks to get a library copy and was wondering if I should buy it. I think I’ll keep waiting for the library.

  39. I was really surprised at how many people didn’t like the flavor, but I finally realized that from day one, and 98% of the time, I have only used King Arthur’s Bread Flour. A few times I made the mistake of using a generic brand of all purpose and vowed NEVER to do that again. Utterly tasteless! King Arthur’s all purpose is still not as good as their bread flour. I have been using the master recipe for 2 1/2 years and have always been pleased except when I have messed up. It is an exact science. Just now I took a loaf out of the oven and noticed how light it felt. I discovered last night when I mixed the dough that I have been heating the water too much. A lot of user error on my part. I can’t fault the recipe for that! But my family has loved the bread. We hardly buy loaves unless I want a very brief break.

  40. I haven’t read the book but I have made artisan bread using a cookie sheet, parchment paper and corn meal. The boule rests on the corn meal. I’ve found that I had to increase the salt (kosher) to 1 tbsp. for 6 1/2 cups flour.
    The easiest way to make slits in the bread is with a razor blade.
    After cooking & cooling, cut with an electric knife & freeze unused, sliced bread

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

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