The Fresh Loaf

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New 5 minute a day method vs traditonal baking

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caryn's picture
caryn

New 5 minute a day method vs traditonal baking

I have been reading with great interest the Q & A about the method from the book by Jeff Herzberg and Zoe Francois- Artisan Baking In 5 Minutes a Day. I will be trying it myself this week, since I have mixed up a batch of the European rustic loaf, and it is now in my refrigerator.

I hope this is the appropriate place for this; I did not think it necessarily belonged in the Q & A thread, since I am not questioning the technique, itself, here.

I want to know the impressions from other bakers on this website how they think this method compares with the more traditional recipes many of us have been making . I have been enjoying many formulas from the too many (!!) bread books that I own, often using sourdough starters and usually using whole grains. I am not convinced that the new method will replace the other formulas that I have been using, since I guess I enjoy the process of making bread in a more traditional way and am still skeptical that the result will be quite as good. I also do not need to buy another bread book!!!! (Though I probably could be convinced :) )!!

I know I will be able to come to my own conclusions after trying some of the formulas in the book, but I am wondering what some of you think. Is this a technique for those who would not otherwise bake bread, or do you think it has merit for even the most serious bread bakers among you?

swtgran's picture
swtgran

I bake a lot of bread, sour doughs, whole grain (I grind a lot of my own), no knead, quick, all kinds. I purchased the book and I think this method has merit.  It will not replace other methods I use, but I think it is great to know I have a batch of bread all ready to go in the fridge for the times when I am pressed. 

I like knowing I can mix this up, days ahead, and make up several loaves at a time when I need more than one loaf.  I like knowing I can pinch off a hunk and have pizza in little more time than picking one up and at a fraction of the price.  I can have it in the fridge for those hectic times, yet still bake up the other loaves we love.

manuela's picture
manuela

I have had the book for a little while and I have really liked all the breads I have tried so far. I enjoy baking with traditional recipes that take longer time (including maintaining sourdough starters), and even if I will continue with those recipes I find the five minutes a day method an excellent one in itself-- I love the book and I am glad I have learned this alternative approach.

The breads that i have tried so far were appealing not just because they did not take a long time to make but because they were also really very good, such as the deli rye and the polenta and pine nuts flat bread. That is ultimately the reason why I think this method is great, because it produces very good results, which usually is not the outcome with fast methods.This is one happy exception!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to teach and if I left out the sugar in my favorite basic white bread recipe, I'd come perdy darn close to the master recipe.  So what does that tell me?  By eliminating the sugar, I could slow the yeast budding down and improve the flavor and maybe bend the baking times in my favor.  Not a bad Idea.  Many of us search for just such a recipe.  In winter, I can set the dough bin in the garage, ready for unexpected quests or just for lunch.  I think I could motivate my husband with this method, a no-nonsense kind of guy, into baking.

But what to do with my hands that love to just play in the dough?  What will replace the absent minded kneading and dreamy visions that dance through my head during such times?   I'm not always in a hurry, I'm a day dreamer!  I think the more I play in my dough, the more I enjoy it, smelling it, shaping it, and eventually eating it.  It's sort of like curtains, your window may not need curtains, but isn't it nice when the wind blows through an open window and dances gently with them?  Hope that's not too abstract.  I like to feel I'm part of the loaf, this method is so quick, I feel it's de-breading me.

Mini O

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I agree Mini, it is an easy concept and sort of like the lazy factor. I'm not sure I would want to get wound up with the concept and stop baking Artisan bread as I know it but I know this will lead me to try some things that I have avoided. Sweetbreads for one thing. I would like to do some pastry's that Zoe has included in the book that I would probably never fool with if it wasn't easy.

Eric

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I am not convinced that the new method will replace the other formulas that I have been using, since I guess I enjoy the process of making bread in a more traditional way and am still skeptical that the result will be quite as good.

I don't think it is intended to replace existing formulas, but it is yet another arrow in the baker's quiver. Some times "close" is good enough, other times you want the real deal. It is up to you as a baker to determine which is appropriate when.

As far as taste goes, I found Zoe's quick brioche to taste just as good (if not better) than any of my previous attempts at baking brioche. Maybe that is because I didn't put enough effort in to make traditional brioche, but as far as I am concerned the quick one is good enough.

Is this a technique for those who would not otherwise bake bread, or do you think it has merit for even the most serious bread bakers among you?

Yes. :)

caryn's picture
caryn

I want to thank all of you for responding so quickly! I highly respect the opinions of the contributors to this site, as I have read and enjoyed the pictures of the fabulous results many of you have displayed.  So after my own experiments, there is a good chance that I may succumb to yet another bread book!! 

I was lucky to have found the book at my local library. Unfortunately, when I first mixed up the peasant boule recipe, I did not know that there was an error in the recipe where the recipe called for table salt instead of the intended Kosher or coarse salt.  (Since table salt is about twice as dense, I did not want to try baking it that way.) So, I started over and made the dough as intended.  I will bake it some time this week or this weekend.  For anyone who has the book, it is important that they check out the errata on the website for the book.