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Topic: Jeff Hertzberg
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November 1, 2013 at 2:46 PM
In a world full of celebrity cookbooks, a physician tinkering with a homemade bread recipe and a pastry chef with no national recognition were unlikely candidates as breakthrough authors. But fate and skill were both in Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois’s favor when a book agent heard Jeff call The Splendid Table radio show asking about prospects for the intriguing bread-making process they’d developed. The resulting 2007 book, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” became a hit with more than a half-million copies in print. The beginner-friendly setup is something like the next step after no-knead bread, quickly assembling large batches of a high-moisture dough that can be baked in individual loaves as needed. The authors figured out how to make the convenient process work not just for crusty boules, but for sandwich loaves and rich brioches as well. (Here’s a story I wrote about it when the book first came out, with the basic recipe.)
The pair (who met in their children’s preschool music class) went on to publish two other books in the series (a fourth is in the works), and the publisher just issued their completely revised and expanded version of the original book. It’s got lots of photos (an advantage you get as a proven success rather than an unknown,) a better index, new recipes, and some fundamental changes. Here’s what I found talking with Hertzberg and Francois about what they’ve learned about bread baking and home bakers over the past 6 busy years:
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