When I first saw that yet another cookbook about bread was being released this year, I couldn’t decide if I really needed one more cookbook about bread baking. I have already worked through the The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, and have both of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day books which I love and have used often with great results. Being a little cookbook obsessed however, I decided to go ahead and buy this book and after making a few of the recipes over the past month or so, I am very glad I did. The real “no-knead” phenomena began in 2006 when Mark Bittman wrote an article about the technique Jim Lahey uses in making his no-knead bread in a cast iron pot after a very slow rise. It really is a full proof method that allows any home cook to make artisan style bread at home that is easy to follow and requires very basic equipment. Bread preparation takes mere minutes, and the only downside I find is that the slow rise used in making this bread forces one to wait for the bread to rise for 12 to 18 hours. When I get a craving to make homemade bread, I like to have it completed from start to finish the same day.
After making a few of the breads in this book though, I did find I can prepare the dough the day before, let it rise for about 8 hours, then punch it down, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I take the bread out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature and rise once more before I shape and bake it. Jim Lahey learned bread baking techniques in Italy before opening the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City in 1994. He now owns a pizza restaurant as well although this is his first cookbook. The book gives very clear step by step instructions with clear photos for each and every recipe. Basically making great bread according to Jim Lahey consists of quickly mixing together water, flour, yeast and salt, letting it rise for 12 to 18 hours, and then after one more quick rise the bread is baked in a covered cast-iron pot in a hot oven.
From my experience, all of the breads I’ve made so far from this book have an amazing crisp crust, a tender crumb, and are full of flavor. (See my Olive Studded Stecca Below!) To date, from this book I’ve made the Ciabatta, the Stirato, and our favorite recipe is the olive studded Stecca which I’ve already made a few times already. The book also includes such intriguing breads as Peanut Butter And Jelly Bread, Fresh Corn Bread, and Fennel Raisin Bread. There is also an entire chapter devoted to pizza that includes making the perfect dough as well as as variety of different types of toppings and one that offers numerous tasty options for creating delicious sandwiches. Very helpful also, is the final small chapter for recipes using stale bread. This book is a great one for novice bread bakers as well as experinced cooks and one that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in making great artisan style bread at home!
If you are interested in buying My Bread, you can find it at Amazon.com by clicking the book below.
My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method