New York Times Cooking: 40 Recipes for “Procrastibaking”

Back in 2007, the New York Times Cooking section wrote that the BreadIn5 method produced a “crusty, full-flavored loaf that may be the world’s easiest yeast bread.” Today, the New York Times Cooking app came out with “40 Recipes for Procrastibaking… in other worlds, things you can mix in advance, and bake later. And the BreadIn5 recipe for a simple crusty loaf is one of the 40! You can decrease the yeast from what they reported on in 2007– a tablespoon is enough. If you’re on our site, you probably know about our method, but the other 39 also look terrific. Some other links:

Soon The Bread Will Be Making Itself

The Basic BreadIn5 method, with photos

And finally, our greatest hits book, The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, is on sale at at the moment– 60% off (so it’s just $13.00)–click to view on Amazon.

Jeff will be signing books and answering questions at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis, October 12!

The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day will be released on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, and my favorite independent bookstore, Magers and Quinn Booksellers in Minneapolis (3038 Hennepin Av., Minneapolis MN 55408) asked me to stop by on publication-date to sign books and chat with people (I’ll also be handing out bread samples, but please be fully vaccinated if you’d like to try the bread). It’s October 12, 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Here’s the info and RSVP link from Magers and Quinn:

Jeff Hertzberg signs The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day: Favorite Recipes from Breadin5

From 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Co-author Jeff Hertzberg will be at Magers & Quinn on the publication date of his latest cookbook, The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. Stop by for a signed copy, meet the author, and sample some delicious bread!

For this special signing-only event, we appreciate RSVPs to help us gauge interest and estimate book quantity needs, but anyone is welcome to swing by! RSVP HERE

About the book: With nearly one million copies of their five books in print, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, authors of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day series, have proven that people—and after a year of pandemic lockdown, more people than ever before—want to bake their own bread, and they want to do it easily and quickly.

With THE BEST OF ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY, Jeff and Zoë have chosen their absolute favorite 80 recipes from all five of their books, bringing them together into a single volume that is the only bread book a baker needs, including:
• The best of the European and American artisan traditions
• Whole grain loaves
• Pizza and flatbread
• Brioche, challah, and other sweet or enriched breads
• Gluten-free recipes
• Natural sourdough bread

In addition to old favorites, the book includes new tricks, tips, and techniques that Jeff and Zoë have learned along the way.

With this revolutionary stored-dough technique—along with color and instructional black-and-white photographs, chapters on ingredients, equipment, and a baking products resource list—readers can have stunning, delicious bread on Day One. THE BEST OF ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY will make everyone a baker—with only five minutes a day of active preparation time. And this greatest-hits collection will make the perfect holiday gift.

A note about in person events:

We are very excited to bring authors and readers back together in our space, and we know you are too!

As we all navigate the transition back to congregating in person, we ask that you use honesty, care, and understanding in interacting with fellow event-goers, staff, and authors.

Please note that Magers & Quinn will always comply with current city and state regulations, and reserves the right to change the below policies at any time. These are guidelines only, and if you have questions about the most up to date information, you can always call us at 612-822-4611.

Q: Are masks required?

A: Masks are not currently required in our building, but are highly recommended.

For the health and safety of others, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask, especially if not fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Q: Are in store events free?

A: Yes, Magers & Quinn events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Q: Do I need to RSVP?

A: For this special signing-only event, we appreciate RSVPs to help us gauge interest and estimate book quantity needs, but anyone is welcome to swing by!

Join us Friday, August 13 for an Instagram Live event: Pizza and flatbread on the grill

Zoe and I did a live broadcast on Instagram (Click to view the recording on Instagram), grilling pizzas and flatbreads outdoors on the gas grill, on Friday, August 13. We demo’d the method, from dough-mixing to topping, to finishing beautiful pizza and flatbread right on the gas grill—keeping your house cool this summer. You’ll be able to post questions for us to answer right to Instagram, and answered questions in real time—pizza questions or anything else about our method.

And as always, we answer questions right here…

Challah for a Friday night

Photo by Stephen Scott Gross

It’s Friday night at the end of April, and I’m still baking (this is, after all, Minnesota). I know challah as a traditional Jewish bread but it’s a close relative of a whole family of enriched, sweetened breads. The most famous is brioche (see link below), which is twice as enriched–with butter. Challah’s lighter, and it works well with butter, or any vegetable oil (including coconut oil; melt it first). We’ve done this versatile favorite many times here on the website, and of course, in our books. Here are some of my favorites–the first link includes the dough recipe for a basic white-flour challah. All these recipe-links will open in a new tab:

A round braided challah you can bake in a crock pot

crock pot challah

Shaping the braid or the turban

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The flatbread challah: the fastest ever

Braiding the fancy six-strand challah

How to: Six Strand Braided Challah | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Apples and Honey Challah

Apple and Honey Challah Recipe | Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Whole Grain Challah With Cranberries and Orange Zest

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And challah can be made from our brioche dough formula, here shaped into Mallorca buns…

mallorca 05

Happy Friday!

New cake book: Zoe Bakes Cakes!

My friend, co-author, and business partner– the multi-talented Zoe Francois, has written the only cake cookbook you will ever need. Zoe Bakes Cakes dropped three days ago, and it’s already hugely successful. Someone asked me if I helped out on this cake book: answer is no, except for sampling the cakes!

Zoe and I met 18 years ago in our kids’ music class, and found we had some common interests–music, art, photography and FOOD. Once we figured out the food part and decided to write about bread together, Zoe broadened the repertoire beyond the country loaves and rye breads that were my obsession. That meant sweeter, richer treats like brioche and yeasted pastries. It temporarily satisfied the sweet tooth, but I knew that sooner or later, Zoe would write a cake book. The book is incredible, with scrumptious cakes, crystal-clear directions, and absolutely gorgeous photography–all shot by Zoe herself (she’s also a photographer–did I mention multi-talented?). Have a look…

and then have a bite…

… because if you can bake bread, you can bake cake too! The cake book is on Amazon and booksellers everywhere. Happy baking…

Incredible crust: bread-baking in a cloche

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So many people asked us about baking our dough inside a closed cast-iron pan that Zoe did a beautiful post on the subject a few weeks ago.  The cast-iron pan method is based on a much older method, where bread is baked inside a closed clay pot (or “cloche,” meaning bell, in French).  Both methods depend on trapped steam from the dough to create a perfect crust, but the clay pot has the added benefit of being porous, so moisture is trapped, but also conducted away from the surface as the bread bakes.  I tested the Sassafras brand “La Cloche” product, and I’m very impressed with the crust I’m getting –take a look at the picture above; this crust is thin and shatters when broken (the burned bits are perfect in artisan loaves; that’s how you know you’ve baked long enough).  Keep in mind that these crust results are hard to re-create with loaves very high in whole wheat (because of oils in the wheat’s germ).  The bread above is about 15% whole grains– it’s a light version of the Peasant Loaf in the book, and of course our basic recipe works great in this situation.  Whole grain breads perform beautifully in “La Cloche,” but the crust tends to be softer and thicker. One other thing to note–any clay product is somewhat fragile, and after some years of owning the Sassafras product, the base did crack (still quite usable with a stone underneath).

For crust aficionados, I think the “La Cloche” results are a little better than what I get inside closed cast-iron. 

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Broa (Portuguese corn bread) with Caldeirada de Peixe (Portuguese fish stew)

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I may have made a resolution about not complaining about the weather this year, but too bad!  Greetings from Minnesota, where I’m freezing at my desk, so today’s a soup and bread day.  In the book, we included a Portuguese Corn Bread (Broa) and an accompanying Portuguese Fish Stew (Caldeirada de Peixe) to go with it–it’s a perfect combination.

The Broa dough is simply our Master Recipe, substituting 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal (yellow or white, stone-ground or regular) for 1 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour.  Bake as usual as a round loaf.  In the picture above I used a lightly greased and stove-top pre-heated black cast-iron skillet (my skillet doesn’t come with a cover or I’d have tried that, see Zoe’s post about baking in covered cast-iron).  Amazon carries the Lodge brand (click here to view).   Here’s the Caldierada de Peixe recipe: (more…)

Mini-Wreath Loaves with Bread Flour

People often ask us why we only used all-purpose flour (where we called for white flour) in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Why not “bread” flour, which is higher in protein and is often considered traditional in bread?  Well, not in all traditions. French baguettes, for example, are typically made with lower-protein flour for a more tender, and less chewy crumb.  And we knew most of our potential book users already had all-purpose flour in the house.  But sometimes, a stiffer dough is desirable, like when something really needs to hold its shape, like these wreath-shaped, well… bagels.  You can always swap bread flour into our recipes that call for all-purpose, just by adding a little extra water (details below).  

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Pan-banging Sugar Cookies from 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen!

These sugar cookies are courtesy of our friend and colleague, Sarah Kieffer, who’s been part of our BreadIn5 family since 2012. You can grab the recipe for these on The Vanilla Bean Blog by clicking here, or you can buy the whole book that it comes from, click here! The year our pizza book came out, Sarah photographed an event where Zoe was doing a demo. We saw the shots on her website, and they were terrific. I’d been looking to scale back my own blogging, so I had coffee with Sarah. We hit it off right away, and I decided to turn over my part of the bread-blogging to Sarah, so this post is part of my way of saying THANK YOU for that. Eventually Sarah started doing Zoe’s too.

Here’s what impressed me: I’ve been tinkering with photography since I was 12, in my own darkrooms and then using color labs, but I struggled to create great shots for our website, because this isn’t the easiest craft to master. Well, Sarah mastered it. Juggling hobbies and avocations with the demands of caring for young children (sound familiar?), she bought a good camera and taught herself digital photography and food blogging, with phenomenal results. In addition to blogging on BreadIn5, Sarah shot and styled some of the photos in our later books. Through all this, she was perfecting a very fun and delicious cookie-baking technique. Her pan-banging chocolate chip cookies became an internet sensation, and were covered in the New York Times. She has two books of her own now; this week releasing 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen. It’s available on Amazon and everywhere else.

More beautiful cookies from Sarah’s book (and of course, all photos are by Sarah Kieffer):

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brownie Cookies

Video: secrets of baguettes on the gas grill for summer!

OK, first the disclaimer, I did not bake the breads above, this is from an old post I did after a trip to France, where these loaves were bought and eaten.  I also need to admit that it looks like I bit the perfect tip off the baguette on the right (I did, on my walk back from the boulangerie–bakery).  Truth moment, even though you can bake baguettes in your gas grill (and I’ll prove it in a video below), they won’t look quite like these. No matter, they’re still delicious. Read on–click “more” below…

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