I bought this book a couple of years ago but never got into it for one reason or another. However now that I'm on school holidays I have the time to have a go! Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois has, through years of trials and testing, broken down the steps necessary to bake great bread. The idea is that you make one master batch of dough and keep it in the fridge, then take out a grapefruit sized ball of dough, shape it, rest it and bake it. I was skeptical about it really being THAT easy.
The dough is awesome, and contains only yeast, flour, salt and water. Its elastic and I used yeast that was past its use by date, so I added an extra sachet to be sure. That thing rose like a champion, it was coming out of the mixing bowl!
It's recommended that you refrigerate the dough overnight before your first loaf, but I was impatient and baked one last night. It came out well, but didn't rise loads - I also realised I had the oven on too low, so that wouldn't have helped!
I left the dough in the fridge overnight, and then baked a small loaf this morning, this time following the instructions exactly and got a MUCH better looking loaf! It rose a lot in the oven which was great!
The dough is meant to take on sourdough qualities the longer it stays in the fridge, and its said to last 14 days. When you take the dough out of the fridge it is tough yet elastic, it's a bit sticky but managable. I have a metal spoon next to it in the fridge to scoop out the dough, it's quite cool how it stretches, and it feels like great dough. I felt like I knew what I was doing!
The book has a variety of recipes, variations and really helpful advice and explanations on just about anything you can think of, as well as recipes for different flours.
I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into this book, because so far it's been really manageable to have a great loaf of bread, every day! I don't think we'd have time to bake it before work, because of the resting/cooking time, but you'd def have fresh bread at night, ready for the next day. The dough is so easy to make and so low maintenance, and then grabbing the dough from the fridge and shaping it is really easy too.
Given that Saturday is Bastille Day (July 14th), I'm going to make some baguettes! Stay tuned to see how they turn out!