COOKBOOKS, FOOD + DRINK | September 28, 2008

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day | Book Review

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe FrancoisThe blogger behind Zoe Bakes, Zoe Francois is a professional baker who wrote a book about Artisan bread making. She wrote this book with Jeff Hertzberg.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day contains nearly 100 no-knead bread recipes including French loaves, ciabbata, pita, and peasant bread. An imposing majority of the 158 reviewers on Amazon really enjoy this book.

Take the time to fully read the first chapters that explain key principles in bread baking. Then, you can start to make your own bread. One of the appeals of homemade bread is how good your house will smell. It is a good idea to bake your bread when you have guests over.

One Weakness

Unfortunately, the book does not indicate the weights for flour in recipes. The two authors decided against writing both weights and cup measures because they think most people do not use scale. Even if it is true, it would have been great to serve the minority who uses a scale.

You will be surprised on the difference you can get if you do not use the proper technique for measuring flour in a cup. Keeping the right proportions between the ingredients is crucial when you make bread and prepare pastry. Having all the facts can help you if a recipe does not turn right.

The Art of Measuring Flour

Sifting influences the weight of a cup of flour. So pay attention to the words used in a recipe. 1 cup of flour, sifted is different than 1 cup of sifted flour.

If you experience problems, know that there are many opinions on the subject. But I found a general consensus around these facts:

  • a cup of all-purpose sifted flour weigh 4 ounces (113 grams)
  • a cup of sifted cake flour = 3.5 ounces (100 gr)
  • a cup of whole wheat flour = 4.25 flour (120 gr)
  • a cup of bread flour = 4.5 flour (128 gr)

In a reader question, Zoe said that she evaluates the weight is about 5 ounces per cup of all-purpose flour. You can watch an instructional video on Star Tribune about how Jeff and Zoe make the bread on the cover of their book.

For more read making advices and recipes, consult the blog of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

SOURCING:
+ For Americans: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois – $18.45 USD
+ For Canadians: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois – $19.50 CAD

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2 Responses to “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day | Book Review”

  1. You question the absence of flour weight, but haven’t otherwise reviewed this book. I got the impression you weren’t so impressed.

  2. Thanks so much for the translation into weights for the recipe – that helps a lot! I like baking with weight rather then volume so it can be a bit frustrating sometimes. That being said, I love the master recipe and have thoroughly enjoyed the resulting loaves. Thanks again!