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on May 19, 2008
I am a confident cook, I love cooking for friends and family. However my baking skills were much to be desired. Desserts were easier for me to handle but baking bread I wouldn't attempt without a bread machine.
Well this book arrived on a Wed. Thurs I was reading through it. Friday I made the master recipe (1st recipe in book), the boule. Saturday shaped my first dough ball into baguettes. They turned out great! I made two baguettes to fit my baking stone and both were eaten quickly. Sunday I pulled out some dough and made a basic round loaf per their instructions. That was finished as well. Monday will use the last of the dough to split it in two. One will be used for cinnamon buns and the other for rolls. Then I will mix another batch.
Nothing like fresh baked bread smell to fill your home. To be honest it turned out better than bread machine bread! My hubby would make bread in the machine and it didn't interest me. That bread machine is going to collect dust ..thanks to this book.
Instructions were easy enough. If you want to get this book, make sure you have some of the essential cooking equipment.

1. Baking stone (pizza stone), it is what will really make or break your bread. Without this stone you wont get a really great crust.
2. Pizza peel (paddle). We have a wooden one. After shaping your dough it rests on this paddle and then you can slide it from the paddle onto the stone.
3. Broiler pan.
4. If using the baking stone and cornmeal as the product you scatter onto the pizza peel, there will be smoke. An exhaust fan would come in handy. If you wish for less smoke they recommend baking the bread on a cookie sheet.

We had all of the above in our stocked kitchen, before purchasing the book so we were able to start right away. Even though we had no idea of the equipment needed.

**Make sure and use organic flour. You wont regret it. They advise it in the book as well.

I am a fan of sourdough bread. In my earlier attempts to learn about baking bread, I really wanted
sourdough flavour. But who has time to plan that far ahead to make sourdough starter? This book gives you recipes to allow for you to have sourdough anytime! The concept is that the longer that recipe sits in your fridge, it will get better (that sourdough flavour) with each day.
Fresh bread planning ahead. As long as you have a recipe sitting around in the are good to go. You have 14 days to use the recipes. Trust me it wont last that least it didnt in our house.
Other recipes follow the same method. Mix, no kneading, sit out for 2hrs, then refrigerate.
There are other dough recipes and you can make olive bread, foccacia,pizza, pitas, pretzels and bagels, just to name a few. Rye, pumperknickel and whole wheat are covered as well.
I cannot believe how great my bread came out. I now have the confidence to try the ones I just listed. They are all favourites in this house. All these artisian breads and whats even better, I know what went into it.
This concept beats buying frozen dough from your grocer and you finishing it at home.
The recipes of finished dough can be frozen as well, but we didnt get a chance to freeze any. :)

This book will never leave this bread lovers cookbook library. I even plan on purchasing it for family and friends. I rarely do that in terms of cookbooks.
I highly recommend this book and thanks to the authors for making this baking-challenged woman a hero in her home. I am confident enough to tackle the other breads as well.
There is a website as well to go with the book,people get their questions answered by the authors.
Now its time to break bread. :P
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on February 21, 2008
I've been trying to bake bread at home with pretty poor results until now. I have tried recipes from several books and websites, but I couldn't quite get the technique right. The instructions in this book make baking bread as easy as baking muffins. There is no kneading or punching-down, just mix the ingredients, let it sit for a few hours, then refrigerate until you are ready to bake. When it's time for a fresh loaf of bread, pull out a hunk of dough, shape it (takes less than a minute), let it sit for a short period of time and then bake.

I made the first recipe in the book, the boule, and it was wonderful: excellent flavour, good texture and a perfect crust. One batch of dough makes four 1-pound loaves ... it was so yummy we baked and ate them all!
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on November 7, 2008
I just tried the basic recipe for Boule in the book and it is DELICIOUS! It came out with a perfect crust and texture. It is such a no brainer to make and can be made in no time. If you haven't got the book yet, run to the store, it is a well-worth investment.

It will cost you almost next to nothing to make really good bread. Make sure however you use organic flour as it makes a big difference in the quality of bread you will get. Also, I strongly recommend you get a pizza stone and a pizza peel before starting to make your first bread. The cost of the book and the equipment will be paid off in no time if you start making your own bread on a regular basis. Happy baking!
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on April 30, 2009
Took up baking bread almost two years ago, and have done it LOTS the regular way (mix, autolyse, knead, rest, proof, form, proof, bake). I read this book and was a bit leery, but both the white bread and whole wheat recipes work really, really well. In fact, one of the best baguettes I've ever made was with the white dough formula from this book (I've uploaded a photo into the photo gallery here). Still love the classics (Reinhart, Bertinet, even Clavel, etc.), but this technique leads to good bread very easily. I'd highly recommended it for first-timers who are intimidated about making bread.
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on December 24, 2008
I've entered bread baking world year ago. I've searched internet to find the best book for money. And I found it (however, it is not this book). Then I had help from relative who had been home baker for 20 years. Her help was also invaluable. Then I come upon this book and decided to try it.

First, I have to mention that I'm Peter Reinhart's follower. I like his breads, their taste, crumbs and crust. They remind me of childhood and how home baked fresh bread with ripen tomato and feta cheese, can be the lifelong memory. On other side, to make such bread following Peter's recipe takes minimum two days and plenty of space. That is why I purchased and tried ...five minutes... And I was disappointed by result. I've tried few different type of breads and they all tasted the same. They are too salty and crust is very tick and hard. And five 'minutes a day...' well, that is very stretched five minutes. In order to make exceptional bread you'll definitely need more than five minutes.

Don't get me wrong, breads from 'five minutes' were better than my Zojirushi bread machine can make. However, when I long for excellent bread, I'm back using Peter's book (Crust and Crumb). When I'm in hurry, I'm using Zojirushi bread maker when and that really requires five minutes.
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on May 22, 2009
While this book is great for those who maybe have never made bread in their lives, or those who are very short on time but would still like hot oven fresh bread, those of us who enjoying making bread the old way may not find this quite enough.

The recipes are very clear, and the bread itself is decent, but you get what you put into it. The crust is very hard and quite thick and just not exactly what I am looking for in bread that I would chose to make on a regular basis. However, I do use the recipe when making bread with my 4 year old as it allows him to play around and we don't have to worry too much.

In the end, this is 'fast food' bread. Better than store bought, but not quite as good as if you'd taken your time and made a traditional loaf. I do recommend the book to new bread bakers though, just for the sake of learning to handle dough and shape it!

All this aside, my son LOVES the bread we make with this recipe, whether I make it alone or he helps, so clearly it is still pretty good and perhaps I am just too much of a traditionalist! ;)
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on June 5, 2010
I've tried two recipes so far - for the Boule bread and the olive oil pizza dough (I reduced the oil quantity a smidgeon) and they were nothing short of fabulous. My family completely enjoys these doughs, and it is WONDERFUL to have bread dough waiting in the fridge. One batch stayed for a week and a half and tasted so very good when baked.... :-) One remark - from the time I take it out of the fridge to the time it can be eaten (meaning cooled) is a little over an hour, depending on the size you make your loaf, so you do have to think of that. Personally, I don't mind at all, it is worth it, but just saying for those who prefer things more instantaneous. Oh, and I'd been using a type of "Nutri" flour in my baking, and that flour is not the best to use in these recipes. What seems to work perfectly (for my taste anyway) is unbleached all-purpose flour with a LITTLE whole wheat flour mixed in. (like, maybe a half cup per 3 - 4 cups regular flour, something like that) But I'm playing with that to see what happens.

I'm off to try more recipes in this book! LOVE the method!
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on August 6, 2012
A friend lent me his copy of this book after I tasted some of this bread at his home. As a long-time traditional bread baker, I was amazed that this was bread created without kneading and proofing.

I've been working with the recipes for the past three weeks, and I can say that this method and these recipes work like a charm. The bread is delicious: moist inside (even the day after it's baked), the crust is thick and crusty. It is remarkable.

While you can make very good-tasting bread with basic equipment, using a pizza stone and pizza peel as the authors recommend does help. The dough is good baked right away, but it is incredibly delicious after it's aged a few days.

I have to give the book back to my friend, so I've just ordered my own copy, because I can't imagine being without this.
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on September 17, 2011
This is a great book, describing how to make easy delicious bread, with no kneading! It has turned me into a regular bread maker (and naan maker, and pizza dough maker etc.), having never been one before! Love the Master recipe. It is so easy my friend couldn't believe it! I have given this book to at least four people, and told many more about it, because the bread is so good, and the process so easy. The bread gets more flavourful as time goes on (that is, when made from the dough that has been in the fridge for at least a few days), and is healthier and more digestible I believe because of the process which probably is a mild sourdough type process. (Someone said to me "the bread tastes buttery! How much butter did you put in it?" None! there is no fat at all added to the master recipe!) I highly recommend this book!
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on February 3, 2011
This is a great book that I highly recommend for anyone who makes bread or pizza dough etc. I have not bought bread at the store since Christmas. Its true. 5 minutes a day. Thanks Jeff and Zoe
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