November 22, 2008

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Every day, my Portuguese grandmother would part her long grey hair down the middle. She'd make two braids then wind each braid up like a pinwheel. Using bobby pins, she'd fasten a pinwheel above each ear. Then she put on her bib-apron and went to the kitchen. When she wasn't in the kitchen she might be sitting in front of the television set watching The Guiding Light or As the World Turns. She didn't speak English, but she understood what was going on in those soaps!

I remember her making Portuguese Sweet Bread. She would be leaning over the table kneading (and kneading and kneading!) an enormous ball of dough. When the dough had been kneaded, she would put it in a big bowl and cover it with a clean towel. After the dough had risen, she'd lift a corner of the towel and poke two fingers into the dough. If the indentations stayed, it was ready to be baked. Into the oven! At Easter she put an egg on top of the dough before baking. That was the best bread ever! This is my grandmother and grandfather on their wedding day in 1916.

I like to make bread. My hair isn't long enough to braid, I don't wear an apron (hence my food-stained t-shirts), and I let my Kitchen Aid to do the kneading. Couldn't be much easier.

Oh, wait... it could be easier!
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Five minutes? Artisan bread? The bread with the slashes in the crisp and crusty, floury, perfect-looking bread? The kind of bread that I would love to be able to bake and bring to the table?
In their book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois tell us how to mix up a batch of wet dough and store it in the refrigerator - for up to two weeks! On baking day, cut off a piece of dough, form it, let it rise for 20 minutes and bake! If you're having company, cut off a big piece of dough... if it's just you in the mood for some delicious bread, cut off a small piece!
No, this isn't a picture from the book. No, I didn't run down to the bakery and take this picture to impress you. I baked it last night! The crust on this bread was so crunchy, so crackly, so perfect!

If you want to have fun and bake bread that looks like this without going here or here, all you have to do is order the book from here!


  1. Sometimes I think that bread and anything suitable to put on/in/under/beside it should be the only food group. This looks amazing, I am so all over checking out that book, thanks!

    OH and a couple of my other favorite foody bloggers have inspired me to do a bit more advanced (for me anyway) cooking so I just went out & bought a rolling pin, pastry brush & potato masher today :)

  2. I'm Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I'm so glad our recipes are working well for you. You said something about a Portuguese grandmother? Try the broa on page 82, which we used as the basis for a Thanksgiving bread on the website this week.

    Come visit us anytime at, where you can post questions into any "Comments" field, or click on "Bread Questions" on the left side of the homepage and choose among the options.

    Jeff Hertzberg

    Chicago tribune video:

  3. I really need this book! I love to make bread and I've heard so many nice things about this book! Thanks for teasing us with that bread, now I want the book even more!!

  4. I have seen quite a few blogs praising this bread book.
    Your bread really does look fantastic. And not toomuch time to make it either.
    Maybe I should get this book.:)
    Thanks for letting me discover your blog.

  5. I love posts like this. It's what blogging is all about :)

  6. Nice memories, The bread looks absolutely delicious

  7. Have I thanked you lately for following my blog? It may seem like I've got a funny way of showing it, changing my blog address the day before my first giveaway and screwing up everybody's links. What an idiot I can be...Anyway, if you haven't had a chance to enter the giveaway because you can't find it, try the old address, , and be sure to enter. Blogger assures me the pointers will be going in the right direction soon.

  8. Now I really want that book! Your bread looks fantastic, I love crusty bread!

  9. i have heard so much about this book.........i really must get on and order it today.
    I adore great bread :)


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