It’s REALLY true! I’m not even joking – Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day is not fictional, nor is it an unattainable dream. It’s real and it’s sensational! When I read about the release of this title, I started doing a little research on the book and the authors, Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë Francois. It didn’t take much time to find their names splashed around the Internet and linked with another cookbook called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The more I read and found out about them, the more I knew I had to try this “forget everything I think I thought I knew about baking bread” technique!
I immediately went to Amazon.com and ordered Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and then made inquiries about hosting a review and giveaway of the new title, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. Once the title was released, I received a copy and began testing recipes. These two cookbooks have rocked my bread-baking world! And that’s saying something. I bake bread — lots of it — and fairly regularly. The ground-breaking method, taught in both books, will open up the world of bread-baking to even the most fearful novice and give them confidence to bake bread on a regular basis, which saves money and increases nutritional value — both of which are major factors in my household. But, the best reason to try the five-minutes-a-day bread-baking method, is that you will never want to put another crust of store-bought bread into you or your family. The flavor is remarkable! The applications and variety are staggering. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can be serving piping hot, fresh, artisan bread without investing the time we have traditionally believed was necessary. The work has not only been reduced, the bulk of it has been eliminated and the results are something you will want to eat every day!
Since I had Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, first, I started there. It, as well as Artisan Pizza…, begins with a complete explanation of the five-minutes-a-day method. The main points of this method are that you will mix a large batch of super-moist dough, never have to knead it (not even a little), store it in a container in your refrigerator for up to two to three weeks, depending on the type of bread you’re making and each time you want fresh bread, during that period, you will simply remove the amount of dough needed for a loaf, shape it, let it rise and then bake it. Shaping a loaf honestly takes nowhere near five minutes a day. The rising and baking time will happen while you play with the kids, do a load of laundry, curl up with a good book or get in a quick workout. You will only need to pull out ingredients and mix up a batch of bread about once a week (depending on the size of batch you decide to make), but you will be able to eat fresh-baked bread every single day! Your hands-on investment of time is almost nil and the payoff is delish!
The other great perk? Friends and family will think you are some sort of bread genius! They will be inviting themselves for dinner…and snacks…and any other event where your fabulous homemade bread might be served. Yours is going to be a very popular kitchen. 🙂
What have I made since acquiring these two cookbooks? Well, lets see: Crusty White Sandwich Loaves, fabulous Deli-Style Rye that my husband cannot get enough of, Pizza Dough with flavor that is better than any restaurant and reminiscent of my trip to King Arthur Flour, this summer, where we made pizzas and baked them in a brick-fire oven! (I used, and the authors often recommend, King Arthur flours in these recipes.) I will never make a different recipe for pizza crust and when you see these pictures, you’ll understand why. I wish you could taste it, right through the screen! That basic pizza crust dough also makes killer pita bread and the rye loaves I’ve baked have made the most delectable Reuben Sandwiches.
I’m allowed to share one recipe from the book with you and to be honest, it’s incredibly difficult to decide which one, but since the giveaway is for Artisan Pizza and Flatbread…, I decided to show you the basic Pizza Crust recipe. You’ll never buy another frozen pizza after you taste this crust. You absolutely MUST make it!
- 3½ cups warm water
- 1 Tablespoon granulated yeast
- 1 - 1½ Tablespoons Kosher salt
- 7½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Add yeast and salt to the water.
- Measure the flour with the "scoop and sweep" method. (Dip cup into flour and scoop it up. Level the cup with the back of a knife or a bench knife.)
- Add all the flour and mix with a wooden spoon or in your stand mixer. You only need to mix it until all ingredients are combined. No kneading is necessary. (The dough will be very moist and will actually conform to the shape of the container you put it in.)
- Select a 5 qt or larger container with a lid, to place your dough in. This is the container you will store the dough in, while it's in your fridge.
- Put the dough into the container - no need to grease it.
- Cover, but don't seal the lid tightly, and let the dough rise at room temperature until it begins to flatten on the top (about 2 hours).
- DO NOT PUNCH DOWN THE DOUGH! This method is designed to retain as much gas in the dough as possible, and punching it down knocks out gas and will make your pizzas and flatbread dense.
- After rising, refrigerate and use over the next 14 days, The dough will develop sourdough characteristics over that time. Once it's refrigerated the dough will collapse and it will never rise again in the container -- that's normal.
- Prepare and measure your desired toppings in advance.
- 30 minutes before you're ready to bake, preheat a baking stone in your oven at your oven's highest temperature (mine is 550 degrees). The stone should be place on your oven rack which should be placed in the bottom ⅓ of your oven. Lowering the rack helps prevent toppings from burning before the crust is completely baked.
- Prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal. (I don't have a peel, so I have used my sideless cookie sheet with great results.)
- Pull up and cut off a ½ pound (orange-sized) piece of dough from your container of refrigerated pizza dough.
- Hold the dough in your hands and dust your hands with a little flour, as needed, to keep it from sticking to your fingers. Form a ball, by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the dough a quarter-turn as you go. The bottom of the dough may appear to be a collected bunch of ends, but it will flatten out and adhere when you roll it into a pizza or flatbread. Forming the ball should take no more than 20 or 30 seconds.
- Either roll out your pizza dough or stretch it by hand, which ever you prefer.
- Place the rolled out dough on the peel that has been liberally dusted with cornmeal.
- Add your desired pizza sauce, spreading it out to within ½ inch of the edge of your crust.
- Place your favorite toppings over the sauce. I had some already browned hamburger, a little diced onion and a few slices of pastrami that I shredded for the topping, too. I also sprinkled on a little King Arthur Flour Pizza Seasoning.
- Finish everything off with some cheese. I used shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. (Slices of fresh mozzarella would be so much better and you'll see why in a moment.)
- Carefully shake and jiggle the pizza off the peel onto your preheated stone. (Start with the front edge of the peel, even with the back edge of your stone and wiggle the crust loose, so it slides right off onto the stone.)
- Your pizza will take anywhere from 8 - 15 minutes, so start checking at 8 and watch it carefully. If it looks like one side is cooking faster than the other, rotate your stone.
- Remove your pizza from the oven, by returning it to the peel or removing the stone to a cooling rack.
- Slice and enjoy!
This is one of our finished pizzas. I actually made it for lunch, today, and having made several of them previously, felt confident to pop right through the process without consulting the cookbook. There are two things I would do differently, next time:
- I forgot to move my oven rack to the bottom 1/3 of the oven, so the cheese got pretty dark and charred in places, before the crust was done. Keeping the rack low is important and I will definitely be more cautious next time.
- It’s not the end of the universe, but after making the pizzas, this summer, at King Arthur Flour, I think I will use slices of fresh mozzarella, instead of grated, next time we make pizzas. This will help prevent burning, too, as the cheese will melt more slowly if it isn’t in shreds. Plus, fresh mozzarella tastes AMAZING! lol
This pizza was devoured in a matter of minutes. Even with the overdone cheese, it was absolutely delicious. I wish I had gotten a better closeup of the crust for you. It was crisp on the bottom, thick and chewy around the edges and tender inside. Perfection!
Register, below, to win a copy of Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day! You definitely want this in your kitchen!
I received a copy of Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day in order to test the recipes and write this review. no monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As always, at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.