Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day Book Review

I’ve been wanting to share cookbook reviews for quite a while and thought I’d start off with the book that sparked the whole reason why I enjoy baking so much. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think and I’ll share more reviews!

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François
Thomas Dunne Books, 2007

At the start of 2010 I made it my new year’s resolution to learn how to bake bread. Not knowing where to start, I looked online for cook book reviews and immediately found so much praise for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (ABin5). While I was slightly put off with the lack of color photos on every page, I took the plunge and my first loaf turned out 100% better than I thought it would.

ABin5 is neatly organized by bread type, from the master recipe, peasant loaves, flat breads, then enriched breads. At the beginning of the book are many tips and tricks that lay out the basic guidelines for bread making. If you’re unsure of making your first loaf, definitely read this! It demystifies all the tales you might have heard about how difficult making artisan bread can be at home. Jeff and Zoe’s tone is comfortable and encouraging, giving you that extra bit of confidence you might need.

While there are only a handful of color photos, the master recipe chapter starts off with black and white photos illustrating each step so don’t worry if you’re unsure what to do. The “secret” to 5 minute bread is practically fool proof. I’ve never gotten bad results from anything I’ve made from this book, and if you look in my archives there’s a lot! In addition to bread, there are sweet and savory recipes that incorporate your latest creation, such as Raisin Walnut Oatmeal Bread and Spinach and Cheese Calzone, and one of my favorites, the Sunny Side Up Apricot Pastry.

With almost 100 recipes ranging from challah to pizza, ABin5 is a great introductory to making bread. They even have a website with additional recipes and videos to help you out. Like I stated earlier, this book is what really propelled me into baking. Before this I’d never made bread and can’t even recall baking cookies and cakes from scratch! Here are some links to older posts where I used the book: Challah French Toast, My First Challah, The Master Recipe/Boule, and Brioche Donuts.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie (Fashion Intel) April 26, 2012 at 1:08 am

Hooray for book reviews, I look forward to reading more on here. Today I ate a bit of bread and I quickly had a gluten rash. Ugh, why me?

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen May 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Next goal: gluten free bread?

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la domestique April 26, 2012 at 8:44 am

I’ve passed by this book on the shelf at the library many times, but never tried baking from it. My favorite bread baking book is Richard Bertinet’s Dough: Simple, Contemporary Bread. Maybe I’ll have to check out Artisan Bread in 5.

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen May 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I’ve thumbed through that one and really like it as well. There are just too many great books out there ;)

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Chelsea April 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I’ve had this book for ages but never baked from it! You’ve inspired me though–I’m making a resolution and am going to start!! I was put off by the fact that I needed to buy a breadstone–do you have one, and if so is it worth it? I’ve done the cookie sheet filled with boiling water trick for focaccia, but not sure if I want to commit to that every week or so when I bake bread. I love the book review idea, keep them coming!

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Sara/Matchbox Kitchen May 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I had one and yes, it’s well worth it! Have you tried the Jim Leahy no knead/NY times bread recipe? You don’t need a stone for that, just a dutch oven. They both use the same hands off, slow ferment technique.

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joanna May 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm

i have been longing to read this book. hope i get a copy soon.

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lark October 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm

So far, it’s disappointing. Small loaves with a crust that gets a limp after a day. This is really a quick bread for dinner. The other no-knead approaches are better in taste, crust, crumb.

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