A cooking and baking journal

My First Cookbook Review : Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Cookbook Review:
Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you will notice that I like to try out new recipes and I seem to do one (or two) every Sunday afternoon. Trying out new recipes is the essential part of learning how to cook. I mean, if you have several favorite recipes and you repeat them week after week (even if they are some fancy dishes like Bolognese or Coq Au Vin) you will not be moving forward in your culinary skills. New recipes = new skills learned!

As you can well imagine, when a fresh-off-the-press cookbook filled with new recipes fell into my hands I was very excited. It's called: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francios. I tried out a few recipes so far and I've decided to give some information about the book here as well as my honest opinion. Hope you have fun reading!

Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

Details:Author Bios:

Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., is a physician with twenty years of experience in health care as a practitioner, consultant, and faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School. His interest in baking and preventive health sparked a quest to adapt the techniques of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for healthier ingredients.

Zoë François, is passionate about food that is real, healthy, and always delicious. She is a pastry chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America. In addition to teaching baking and pastry courses nationally, she consults to the food industry and is the creator of the recipe blog www.zoebakes.com. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two sons.

Synopsis: Just like their first book, Hertzberg and Francois show their revolutionary way to bake bread. This new method is considerably faster and requires a lot less steps than you would think. Their new method requires no kneading, the dough can last in the refrigerator for up to fourteen days, no yeast proofing, no need to worry about allowing the dough to rest in a draft-free location, no need to monitor the doubling or tripling of dough volume, no need to punch dough down, etc. It is this removal of traditional steps that has given the books its title: five minutes a day.
Baking bread easily and fast is only part of this book's mission. The other goal is to make healthy breads. It contains recipes that include various seeds, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, etc. that are either incorporated into the dough or are sprinkled on top. The consumption of the selected ingredients (such as whole wheat flour) contain more vitamins, fiber, and minerals than your typical refined flour breads. And the book also includes recipes for gluten-free breads and pastries.

The Recipes: I tried three recipes so far. The "Master Recipe"(a recipe you use as the base for many different types of bread found in the book), Roasted Garlic Bread, and Four-Leaf Clover Broccoli and Cheddar Buns. Before I looked at the recipes I thought, "How can I really make bread in five minutes a day like the title says?" It is possible, it only takes a person five minutes of handling the dough to make a loaf. Really. The dough, however, needs resting and baking time and for most of the recipes this means three hours of waiting. But that is just idle time; you could do two loads of laundry, answer some emails, and make lunch in that amount of time. And it doesn't have to be three hours, you can make it the night before or even thirteen days beforehand!
The recipes (100 in all) found in this book are traditional and exotic. There is a very diverse lot of recipes here! And they include all sorts of interesting ingredients such as spelt flour (a type of wheat flour), barley, graham, mesquite, quinoa, emmer, pumpkin seeds, millet, and buckwheat.

Opinion of Recipes: The two most important parts of a cookbook is how the recipe is presented and the finished product. The three recipes I've tested so far have made beautiful, crusty bread that I am very proud of. My family of eight liked each loaf that came from the oven! The recipe directions were done in step-by-step format and were easy to follow. I especially liked that the authors repeated instructions again for each recipe. By instructions, I mean for example how to roll the dough in your hands to form a "boule" or ball. It is a good idea to repeat techniques periodically because I don't like flipping through a book to find this certain step when I'm right in the middle of baking! :)

Photos: There are a few full-paged, colored photos in the middle of the book and a few recipes have black and white photos to show the steps to making the bread. I'm a sucker for recipes with photos and if I had it my way, I would have a photo for each bread in this book! But I have to be realistic here. The photos that are included are of good quality but I do wish the black and white demonstration photos were larger.

What I disliked about this book: Too small of demonstration photos.

What I really loved about this book: The helpful website that comes along with the book series, the sprinkle of humor and great storytelling I found, both volume and weight measurements, and the large amount of information they give on the ingredients being used, easy substitutions that can be made, equipment, and tips for those "what happened?" moments.

Sneak Peek: Guess what, I got a recipe from the book to present to you all, courtesy of the publisher. So try it out and see how you like it! And oh yeah, be looking for another cookbook review in the very near future!

Pumpkin Pie Brioche
by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François,
Authors of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients

"In the autumn I bake pies using freshly roasted sugar pumpkins. My kids love the flavors and I love that pumpkin is full of vitamins. It struck me that the same amazing flavors could be used in a sweet and spiced brioche. The pumpkin makes wonderfully moist dough and the bread is so fragrant and tender. It is great with butter and cinnamon-sugar or cream cheese icing."--Zoë

Makes enough dough for at least two 2-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved. Use any leftover dough to make muffins, crescent rolls, or pinwheels.

3 cups white whole wheat flour
4½ cups unbleached all- purpose flour
1½ tablespoons granulated yeast, or 2 packets
1 tablespoon kosher salt (increase or decrease to taste)
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1¼ cups lukewarm water
4 large eggs
½ cup honey
¾ cup neutral-flavored oil, or unsalted butter, melted, or zero trans fat, zero hydrogenated oil margarine, melted
One large pie (or "sugar") pumpkin to yield 1¾ cups pumpkin puree, or use one 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water) for brushing on the top crust

Raw sugar for sprinkling on top

1. If making your own fresh pumpkin puree:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Split the pumpkin in half, starting at the stem, and place it cut side down on a lightly greased cookie sheet or one lined with a silicone mat. Bake for about 45 minutes. The pumpkin should be very soft all the way through when poked with a knife. Cool slightly before scooping out the seeds.

2. Scoop out the roasted flesh of the pumpkin and puree it in the food processor. Set aside 1¾ cups for the dough and use any leftover in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.

3. Mixing and storing the dough: Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt, vital wheat gluten, and spices in a 5- quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

4. Combine the liquid ingredients with the pumpkin puree and mix them with the dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). You might need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you're not using a machine.

5. The dough will be loose, but it will firm up when chilled. Don't try to use it without chilling for at least 2 hours. You may notice lumps in the dough, but they will disappear in your finished products.

6. Cover (not airtight), and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.

7. Refrigerate the dough in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond that, the dough stores well in the freezer for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Freeze it in 2-pound portions. When using frozen dough, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before use, then allow the usual rest/rise times.

8. On baking day, grease a brioche pan or an 8½× 4½-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound (cantaloupe-size) piece of dough. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball. Place the ball in the prepared pan and allow to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour 45 minutes.

9. Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven. If you're not using a stone in the oven, a 5-minute preheat is adequate.

10. Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the loaf's top with egg wash, and then sprinkle with raw sugar.

11. Bake near the center of the oven for approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Brioche will not form a hard, crackling crust. The loaf is done when it is medium brown and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time.

12. Remove the brioche from the pan (see page 50) and allow it to cool on a rack before slicing or eating.

The above is an excerpt from the book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François, authors of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients


This blog is a personal blog created and edited by me, Rebekah. I was given a free copy of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by FSBAssociates.com, after they asked me if I was interested in posting a review on my blog. I replied with, "Yes, I'm interested," but I vowed to myself that I would not post if I didn't find the book favorable. I was in no way forced to review and the above review contains my honest opinion.

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