Wednesday, June 27, 2012

200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads by Judith Fertig {cookbook review}


200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads: No Knead, One Bowl

author: Judith Fertig
publisher: Robert Rose
photos: yes
soft cover: 317  pages

chapters/sections: Part 1: Let's Get Started - Part 2: Now You're Baking - Part 3: Master Baking

fun features: In the front of the book, there is a Let's Get Started section.  It lists the Equipment You'll Need to make the recipes in this book..simple but necessary.  It lists the Ingredients You'll Need, also simple, yet crucial to the success of the breads in this book.  It lists the Ten Basic Steps to Artisan Bread, or basically what you're going to do with those essential ingredients and equipment.  The section closes by telling the differences between kneaded and no-knead breads in What Easy Artisan Dough is Like.  The whole section is a fantastic and essential primer for somebody who wants to have success using this book and baking no-knead artisan breads at home.

(a few of the many) recipes destined for my kitchen:  Whole Wheat Cheddar Boule, Three-Seed Batard, Goat Cheese and Dried Fruit Fougasse, Peshawari Naan, Nigella Naan, Brewhouse Dough, Black and Tan Dough, Shaker Buttermilk Dough, Buttermilk Chive Rolls, Rustic Italian Hoagie Rolls, Leaf-Wrapped Slow-Rise Breadsticks, Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Loaf, Apricot Pistachio Swirl Rolls, Harvest Brioche Pull-Aparts, New York Bagels, Polish Poppy Seed Pull-Aparts

my thoughts/review:  Okay.  I am a fairly regular bread baker.  I go in spurts where I'm baking every day to just a few times a month in the extremely hot months.  That said, I'm an advocate for home bread baking.  I think that this book is a WONDERFUL starting point for those who have never worked with yeast breads before.  No-knead doughs are a great way to get comfortable with yeast;  you are able to see how it works without worrying about killing it with water that's too hot or over-rising.

Now, that said, it's equally as handy for those who are already comfortable with yeast and doughs that you have to knead.  I enjoy making no-knead bread in the hot months, because it cuts back on the elbow grease that could easily make me break a sweat in a super-hot kitchen and because I can make a large batch of dough and store it in the fridge, allowing me to make a couple of loaves throughout the week, when the time is right for me to bake (be it during the cooler night-time hours or a mere hour before a meal).

I'm already excited to make my way through each of the diverse Master Artisan Dough recipes (Easy Artisan Dough, Easy Artisan Whole-Grain Dough, Easy Artisan Seeded and Filled Dough, Easy Artisan Flavored Dough, Easy Artisan Slow-Rise Dough, Easy Artisan Gluten-Free Dough, Easy Artisan Sweet Dough, Easy Artisan Brioche Dough, Easy Artisan Naturally Leavened Dough, Easy Artisan Bagel Dough, and Easy Artisan Buttery Yeast Dough) listed in this book...and subsequently trying the variations of bread that follow them.  A useful and welcome edition to any home bread bakers library!

recipe(s) I have already tried:  I wanted to start at the beginning and sort of work my way through this book, so I began with the first and most basic recipe in the book, Master Recipe #1: Easy Artisan Dough.  From this master dough, you can choose from a number of breads to make.  I started with a Baguette, Pizza Blanca, and Caprese-Swirl Rolls.  Each and every one of them was delicious. I love the chewiness of this recipe.  It's substantial and has great crumb.  This is a wonderful basic bread dough.

Easy Artisan Dough (Master Recipe #1) : No-Knead

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 2 hours
Keywords: bread vegan

Ingredients (enough dough to make 12-16 servings of different types of bread)
  • 6½ c. bread or unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into cup & level)
  • 1½ Tbs. instant or bread machine yeast
  • 1½ Tbs. fine or kosher salt
  • 3 c. lukewarm water
Instructions
In a 16-cup mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Stir using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk. Pour in the water and stir until just moistened. Beat 40 strokes, scraping bottom and sides of bowl, until the dough forms a lumpy, sticky mass.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and rise at room temperature for ~2 hours, or until dough has risen nearly to the top of the bowl. It should have a sponge-like appearance.

You can use dough immediately, or refrigerate it (covered with plastic wrap), for up to 9 days before baking.

notes:
I find the dough much easier to work with after it has been refrigerated at least overnight. No-knead dough is sticky compared to kneaded dough, so have some flour ready for your work surface, rolling pin, and hands. It also helps to have a dough scraper (bench scraper). Overall, this is a pretty simple dough to work with once you get the hang of it.

from this dough you can make:
Boules and Baby Boules - Baguettes and Baby Baguettes - Rolls - Pizza Blanca - Naan - Pita Bread - Bread Sticks - Fougasse - Caprese-Swirl Rolls - Focaccia - flatbread - Fig and Gorgonzola Swirl Loaf - Greek-Style Pizza - Soft Pretzels - plus much, much more...

slightly adapted from 200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads
Powered by Recipage
left to right: Easy Artisan Dough - Baguette - Caprese-Swirl Rolls - Pizza Blanca (click names in Master Dough Recipe  above for individual bread recipes)

about the author:  I am convinced that Judith Fertig is a superhero.  She writes SO many cookbooks...and I am fascinated by every one - they are all quality!

Judith is a food and lifestyle writer and an award-winning cookbook author.  A "prairie girl at heart", she loves fresh, seasonal food with a simple, yet sophisticated style, whether it relates to baking, design, or barbecue (of which she is a "tiara-totin' BBQ Queen").

further info:  blog | facebook | twitter

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.


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