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    Copyright 2008-2015Slow Food Fast. All writing and images on this blog unless otherwise attributed or set in quotes are the sole property of Slow Food Fast. Please contact DebbieN via the comments form for permissions before reprinting or reproducing any of the material on this blog.

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    SlowFoodFast sometimes addresses general public health topics related to nutrition, heart disease, blood pressure, and diabetes. Because this is a blog with a personal point of view, my health and food politics entries often include my opinions on the trends I see, and I try to be as blatant as possible about that. None of these articles should be construed as specific medical advice for an individual case. I do try to keep to findings from well-vetted research sources and large, well-controlled studies, and I try not to sensationalize the science (though if they actually come up with a real cure for Type I diabetes in the next couple of years, I'm gonna be dancing in the streets with a hat that would put Carmen Miranda to shame. Consider yourself warned).

A Bowl of Dough in a Book

For anyone who’s read my previous post, A Bowl of Dough in the Fridge, a quick recommendation:

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, is gaining a big following among people who’ve tried out the recipes. This bread book, developed by an avid home baker and a professional pastry chef, uses the same basic strategy I do, but they’ve worked out quite a number of variations on a couple of master recipes, and they’ve come out with a general formula that works pretty well.

They have a basic white boule with a crunchy crust–something to shape a variety of classic ways, French through Italian, with or without olives or olive oil. They have several whole wheat and pumpernickel and rye versions with a thinner shiny crackled crust. They have challah AND brioche, and they have classic bagels AND Montreal sweet bagels. And they have chocolate babka. And they have demonstration photos and tips at the right points in the recipes to be helpful.

Among the differences between their basic white boule recipe and my typical  dough are much more yeast for the amount of flour and water–they use a packet and a half for 6 cups of flour and 3 of water–and a lot more salt as well–a tablespoon and a half. The initial rise is faster–about 2 hours instead of 5 or so–but I’m not sure what the true effect of the salt is other than taste and reflexive habit–François is CIA-trained, and that school tends to emphasize salt, judging from the chefs who’ve graduated from there and gotten into print.

The other factor that’s different is they don’t call for kneading at all–once you’ve stirred the flour into the liquids and everything’s more or less uniform, that part’s done. Rise and chill.

That’s solid enough for the chewy hard-crusted no-knead bread style of bread, but will it work for challah, which usually calls for extensive kneading to develop the classic long feathery crumb? Inquiring minds want to know.

So I’m going to try their white boule and their challah (though here I’ll cut the salt back for my own taste) and let you know how it goes. I’m looking forward especially to see if the challah crumb can really be achieved without the 10-minute knead and multiple rises.

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