It was just a few years ago when home bakers discovered the technique of baking artisan breads at home with almost no kneading and less than five minutes of work. There were many cookbooks put out on the topic, including a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg MD and Zoe Francois. That same pair has now expanded on that first book in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, a cookbook that offers readers 100 new yeast bread recipes that include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and even a variety of gluten free options.
The technique for the basic five minute artisan bread involves making a very wet dough and allowing it to rise very slowly with minimal handling, to develop enough gluten to give the bread a beautiful texture and to develop the flavor of the finished loaf. The basic technique for the breads in this new volume is the same, with some tweaks here and there to accommodate some of the new ingredients in the breads. There is one master recipe presented towards the beginning of the book and most of the recipes are built around that, but the actual time needed for each variation will vary and the flavor of the finished products will definitely give you a lot of variety. The recipes are well written and easy to follow along with, with notes about ingredients that you might not be familiar with and how to use them. Many of the recipes make a big batch of dough, but they can be baked off over the course of a couple of days, leaving you with a steady supply of freshly baked bread with no extra effort.
The book opens with a discussion of both the health benefits of adding whole grains to your diet (as one of the authors is also a doctor who specializes in preventative medicine), then jumps into a discussion of the types of ingredients used in the book and techniques that will make the bread making process go smoothly. The recipes range from baguettes to pizza dough, with both sweet and savory breads to choose from. The gluten free chapter is the smallest (whole grain breads is the longest), but covers a nice range of recipes and presents plenty of options, whether you regularly eat gluten free or just want to experiment with new types of bread.
The book isn’t intended for health food fanatics (although they could certainly use the book, too) because there are plenty of recipes that use butter, sugar and some white flour. The book is intended to present some healthier options simply by adding healthy ingredients to already great breads – not compromising on flavor, texture or anything else that makes a homemade bread so delicious. Eating healthy is, in large part, about moderation, variety and using high quality ingredients and you’ll find breads that can meet those criteria, fitting perfectly into both your busy schedule and your diet, in this book.