Tango gatherings are social in the best way, often involving potlucks. When a dance mate brought a yeast-raised loaf still warm from her home oven and proceeded to describe how easily she’d baked it, I ran to get the book she’d gotten the recipe from.
Truly, “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François lives up to its subtitle, “The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking.”
The authors didn’t inventor no-knead yeast bread. Nevertheless, they provide gourmet quality easy recipes illustrated with much glossy high color food porn. This panettone became a family favorite with my first loaf.
In my Iran-born husband’s family, one is either ‘noon-ee,’ bread loving, or ‘polo-ee.’ rice loving.’ Bread lover that I am, I’ve repeatedly tried to bake yeast bread, always failing at producing anything better than hard bricks.
Not so with these recipes! For the panettone, instead of the fancy paper employed by the authors here, I use parchment paper to line the ceramic pot from my electric crock pot, fill it with dough, and then bake just the pot in my conventional oven. For the first half of the baking, I leave it covered. For the remainder, I take the lid off.
The yeasty fragrance of baking perfumes clear to the outdoor perimeter of my house. What a marvel it is to hear a loaf hum, whistle, and crackle a steamy tune as it cools! And what textures! Crunchy, chewy goodness!
Voila! Jacques Pepín puts it best when he states that nothing can compete with fine artisan bread slathered with pure butter.
Caveat: “…Bread in Five Minutes…” might mislead some, albeit forgivably, given how easy and delicious the recipes are. The dough takes five to ten minutes to mix. Then it must rise for a couple of hours. Baking time varies, i.e., breadsticks are understandably baked quicker than whole loaves. The dough can be frozen, or it can be refrigerated for up to a week. In either case, let it warm to room temperature before baking.