Title: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Author: Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. & Zo Francois, 2009
324 pages; Hardcover $27.99 US/$35.99 CDN
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, New York, NY
Reviewed by, Chef John Vyhnanek, December, 2009

The review--- Do you like to bake bread? Are you interested in trying new recipes and experiencing new textures and flavors too? A new bread baking book has just been released by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zo Francois. Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day has, as the subtitle says, over 100 recipes featuring whole grains, fruits, vegetables and gluten-free ingredients. Five chapters are dedicated to the Philosophy, ingredients, Equipment, Tips and Techniques and The Master Recipe. The Master Recipe is just that, basic dough and pictures and descriptions on shaping and forming the dough into various shapes including basic French forms. The book contains many black and white pictures so you can see the results and get some tips for making your loaves. There are even a dozen color photographs in the center of the book that will give you a good idea of what your final product should be like.

I tried three breads: The Master Recipe Boule, Grissini and the Cinnamon Crescent Rolls.The master recipe is different from most dough you might be used to making. ingredients are mixed, proofed and refrigerated for as long as 14 days. When you want to bake some bread, take it from the refrigeration, dust with flour and form it into a Boule, or other shape. Place it on a peel dusted with cornmeal and then let it rest for 90 minutes. Slide it onto a baking stone in an oven above a pan in which to pour hot water to create steam and bake. Beware that the cornmeal could scatter in the oven and floor so be careful when sliding it onto the baking stone. Also be warned that using the hot water in a pan method of creating steam can damage the electronic igniter in your oven over a period of time. The result was a good loaf of bread, it was tasty but the recipe should have called for more salt in the dough instead of saying add more or less to your taste, certainly not less! There was 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt used for 7 1/2 cups of flour.

The Grissini couldn't have been easier to make. Roll out the dough, cut into strips with a pizza cutter, lay the strips on a lined cookie sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. They were tasty, crisp and nicely chewy. I like to eat bread sticks like this wrapped with prosciutto di Parmayum!

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls were another easy preparation! Simply tear off a piece of the same refrigerated dough, roll it out, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Let it rest and bake it. The Crescents were glazed with cream cheese icing. They were tasty but not what most would think of when thinking of Crescents. I'd like them to be a bit flakier and less like cinnamon bread.

This is an interesting method for making doughs and it does have merit. Make the dough, store it away and then used it whenever but before 14 days. I guess it is possible to make bread in 5 minutes, less the proofing and baking time! Good Cooking recommends that you buy this book for yourself, if you like baking, or for a friend who does. You will find the recipes tasty and you will learn about this refrigerated wet dough technique. You will also get some insight into gluten free baking and many ideas for baking healthy breads.

One of the Recipes tested--- Grissini (Olive 0il Bread Sticks)

Grissini are Italian bread sticks infused with olive oil. Since the oil infuses just as nicely when drizzled over the unbaked sticks as when mixed into the dough, you have a variety of choices of which premixed dough to use you don't have to use an olive oil dough (even our olive oil dough benefits from additional oil).

Immediately after being photographed (see photo, color insert), the grissini consented to being wrapped with strips of prosciutto and consumed with Italian white wine.

Makes twenty-four 12-inch grissini

Use any of these pre-mixed doughs: Master Recipe (page 53), 100% Whole Wheat Bread (page 79), 100% Whole Wheat Bread with Olive Oil (page 81), any other non-enriched dough, or any gluten-free dough.

1/2 pound (orange-size portion) of any pre-mixed dough listed above.

Olive oil for brushing on top, preferably extra virgin.

Kosher salt for sprinkling.

Rosemary for sprinkling (fresh or dried
some chopped, some whole leaves).

Prosciutto, cut into 1-inch strips (optional for serving).

1.Preheat the oven to 400 F, with a rack placed in the middle of the oven. A baking stone is optional, but if you
re using one, allow for a 30-minute pre-heat, otherwise 5 minutes is adequate.

2.Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, or simply grease it well with olive oil.

3.Roll the dough into an 8 by 12-inch rectangle, 1/8 inch thick. Then cut-inch-wide strips with a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

4.Lay the strips out on the prepared cookie sheet with 1/2 inch or so between each strip. Generously daub olive oil over each strip with a pastry brush. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary.

5. Bake near the center of the oven for approximately 10 to 16 minutes, depending on thickness and width. The grissini are done when they are nicely browned and beginning to crisp (they will firm up when they cool). Serve plain as an hors d'oeuvre or with one half wrapped in a prosciutto strip.

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

A note from Good Cooking. You'll have to buy the book to get the master dough recipes. Yet you can make the bread sticks about with any commercial wheat or whole whet pizza dough you find in most markets!