Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Healthy Bread In Five Minutes A Day -A Review

I bought Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day just before the holidays, and I love it! It is a wonderful book full of recipes for a "wet" bread dough that is made in large batches and stored in the fridge. It takes a bit of pre-planning for resting and rising time, but that is expected with all bread making. Where this method really stands out is in the ease of making a large batch of dough and pulling from it through the week.
The book is laid out well. The recipe pages are black and white, but there is a section of the colored photos in the center of the book (and really if you are familiar with bread it's not too hard to figure out what it's suppose to look like in the end).
Honey Wheat bread dough
 All of the recipes I have tried made enough dough for five loaves. The dough is mixed in it's storage container (less dishes!), left to rest for two hours, and then kept in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks.
Pumpkin Pie Brioche dough
When it's time to make bread you just cut off a piece in the size you want and form it. This takes maybe five minutes.
Cover it and let it rise, about 90 minutes. 
I also have to mention that when I made my first batch it was rising like crazy. I had a question about the resting time, so I left a question on the website . The author answered my question the next morning -Thanksgiving Day! I felt bad that I may have pulled them away from family on Thanksgiving, but was still really impressed by their obvious passion for bread, and thankful they took the time to answer my question!
 The loaves can be free formed and cooked on a stone, or cooked in a pan. I cooked this one in a stonewear pie dish because I didn't have a loaf pan.
Braided Challah bread
I made up 10 loaves of the Braided Challah to give out at Christmas. The most challenging part of this was trying to wrap and bake them the day they were to be delivered. Since they are not full of preservatives the Challah goes stale after one day. I felt a little strange giving bread that was not wrapped at all, so I tried wrapping half of it in wax paper. This trapped the moisture too much on the covered side and the sugar topping melted, while the other side went stale. Yeah, yummy. They were so pretty I hated to wrap them completely, but I ended up wrapping the loaves in large sheets of tissue paper, and they seemed to fare better. I may have to work out a better wrapping system next time.
 King Cakes
I also made five King Cakes for Epiphany using the Apple Strudel dough recipe from the book. 
So far I've made about 27 loaves, in various shapes (rolls, rings, etc.). The dough is pretty easy to work with, once you get used to it being a little "softer" than a typical kneaded dough.
Over all the bread is really easy and enjoyable to make, easy to gift, make my house smell amazing, and best of all, taste so good. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in making bread at home.