I bought Artisinal Bread in Five Minutes a Day the other day on the recommendation of my Mom. Where cooking’s concerned, if she recommends it, I know it’ll be pretty good. So far, I’ve had pizza dough from it, and I’ve made a big batch of the buttermilk bread dough on page 207. When I saw it say “mix the [active dry] yeast and the salt and the sugar together in the water” for proofing, I was dubious, but I didn’t divert from the recipe. I’ve made two loaves of bread and Tracey made a batch of naan in our cast iron skillet. This is fabulous bread dough.

I’m not sure what the secret of their method really is, but it works. I’m using Fleischmann’s Yeast, White Lilly flour, and some Celtic sea salt I found at Southern Season the other day, and it rose, fell, and rose again perfectly. The crumb was light and airy, with a strong hint of that ripe sourness of well-risen bread, even on the first day. The second loaf I made after going on a weekend trip, with leftover dough that I kept in the fridge (the recipe advises that it can be kept for up to 12 days without a refresher). That bread was absolutely magnificent.

I’ve done a lot of things to make better bread over the years. I’ve made sourdough starters that lasted for a couple of years, and I had a batch of champagne yeast I grew from organic grapes that turned out beautiful, consistent bread. I have to say that my best bread with those was better than the bread I made from this recipe, at least from the batch I made on the same day as I made the dough. But for the amount of work i had to put in, it was excellent bread.

I can’t speak yet for the other recipes in the book, but if they’re anything like the pizza dough and the buttermilk dough, this is going to be my go-to book for bread when I’m short on time from now on.