Sunday, February 6, 2011

Staff of life

I'm sort of fascinated by the whole concept of bread. Do you know what it takes to make bread? Flour, water, yeast and salt. That's all.

Even if you're using all sorts of schmancy flours, it's still just flour, water, yeast and salt.

Maybe I'm easily amazed, but isn't that kind of incredible? That when you combine those four simple ingredients, let natural forces take over, and apply a little heat, you get something that takes care of such a basic biological need?

Something around which so many thousands of indigenous cuisines have been built?

Maybe it's just me, but I think that is WAY cool.

My go-to bread cookbook is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. This book has forever changed my breadmaking. The recipes and techniques are so easy! There's no kneading or anything! You mix the dough, you let it rise, you stick it in the fridge (if you can find room in there with all the wine bottles, sheesh).

And then you wait. A couple of hours, at least. Maybe a day or two.

Then you shape it and slash it and let it rest for a bit.

Then you bake it.

And then, after taking a moment of silence to acknowledge its rustic magnificence, you eat it for breakfast.

Maybe with a little local honey, a LOT of butter, and a giant mug of coffee. Or whatever you're into. I'm not judging.

The authors of ABin5, as we bread-making hipsters like to call it, have a blog and it is a fantastic resource if you own the book (and/or their followup book, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day). They share all sorts of tips and variations on their basic recipes there, along with new recipes and a list of errata for some of the earlier printings of the book(s).

So go! Make some bread! It's easy!


  1. Oy, tearing out my hair in a fit of gluten-free pique.

  2. OK, so I know this is a post about bread (and YUM), but I HAVE to ask what those cap-things are that you have on what appear to be wine bottles in the fridge. Because, although I love bread, wine is one of my primary food groups and I'm always on the lookout for new and improved! aerodynamic! neat-o! ways to cork my half empty bottles for later. KTHX. :)

  3. I am 99% sure I bought those wine bottle topper thingies at Crate & Barrel. I love them! They are flexible (silicone? rubber? no idea) and have a little strainer in the top. And they're dishwasher safe, which is important in our house!

  4. Have the ABin5 book, love it! Made the pizza dough last week. It's magical!

  5. Wow, I will have to check out that book.

  6. Is that a human heart there in your fridge next to the bread? Tell all!

  7. Those wine caps are the wine version of my champagne cap thingy. Which is my best friend. let's not talk of how many times it just took me to spell champagne (which I just spelt with an s) because it's 6.17pm here on a Saturday night. Hic. Bring it.

    Oh, and that bread - I am loving that idea. I make one where the flavour is sensational but it requires folds and stuff and well, SNORE. Will be trying this one. Most definitely.

    And how lovely that your recipe is bread related and your background is of young wheat. Noice.