This post could also be titled, “The Easiest and Best Bread Ever.” I’ve been making bread from this cookbook a few times a week for about three months now… and I can safely say the results are: 1) foolproof, as yes, I am not so very great at regular bread-making; 2) easy, as it really only takes minutes a day; and 3) delicious, as I haven’t actually *wanted* to buy any other bread, as this fulfills all cravings! I could go on, but really, you should just try it for yourself! The NY Times reviewed the book, and even provided the “master recipe” for you to try. So you can even test-drive the book, without having to buy anything. Which, actually, is how I stumbled across it. Afterwards, of course, I ran out to buy the book, and even bought a copy for my Mother. Who has also started baking a loaf or so every other day. What’s so fantastic about this book, besides how easy it makes it to bake bread at home every day, is that the authors, Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg are actively involved in promoting their book. They are on Twitter and Facebook, frequently answering any and all questions, and their website is the same, but it also has periodic articles on improvements, fixes, and new techniques. If something doesn’t work right for you, they are right there to help. They really back their method, and want it to work for you! I haven’t had an ounce of trouble, myself, but I have found a few of their articles super-helpful on helping me to perfect my technique!
Above is a picture of a batch of the Bran Enriched White Bread, during its initial rise. With Francois and Hertzberg’s method, you make a batch of this dough, let it rise initially for 2 or so hours, and then place it in the refrigerator. From the refrigerated dough, you can make 2-4 loaves of bread anytime over two weeks. Just remove the amount of dough you want, and let it rise for about 20 minutes while you preheat the oven, placing a pizza stone and broiler pan inside while pre-heating. Once risen, and the oven is preheated, place the dough on the stone and pour about a cup of water over the broiler pan, quickly closing the oven door to trap the steam inside. The steam is what makes the true, crispy, artisan crust on your bread. After about 30-40 minutes of baking, depending on the size of the loaf, your bread should look something like this!