Thanks so much to Sylvia Carter for the great review of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which came out today!
Zoe and I were heard today on National Public Radio’s The Splendid Table, where we were interviewed by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. We got a chance to tell a national audience how our method works, and why stored dough is so extraordinarily different from traditional methods. There were terrific radio sound effects, like the pain d’epi (wheat-stalk bread) we’d brought, crackling obediently for Lynne’s microphone (Mark Luinenburg’s gorgeous picture of an epi is above). It was great fun to make contact with the show and the radio personality who helped launch our book. Seven years ago, I’d called in to the same show to ask how amateurs can get a cookbook published. An editor was listening, asked for a proposal, and voila! Zoe and I did the proposal (eventually), wrote the book (eventually), and now it’s in its third printing (eventually!) Click here to listen to the show… we’re about 13 minutes into the broadcast.
Zoe and I were interviewed last month by Rick Nelson, food writer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the article came out on December 6, 2007. Rick was more than kind to us: “…If holiday gift-givers are aiming to buy one new cookbook title for the bakers in their lives, they should look no further than the remarkable Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day… Hertzberg and Francois should have called their burst of genius Breadmaking for Dummies — that’s how user-friendly it is… their master recipe is wildly flexible, generously adapting to a wide range of breads, pizzas, flatbreads and pastries.” Read the entire review.
We’re just as excited about Jenni Pinkley’s fantastic video that she shot for the paper’s website. Astute and attentive viewers will note Zoe’s incisive comment as the video closes. Click here to see the video. Speaking of video, I think Martha Stewart was talking about us when she interviewed legendary cookbook editor Judith Jones on The Martha Stewart Show that aired last week. Martha asked Judith (who edited Julia Child and James Beard) “what do you think of this wet bread that you hardly let rise, you hardly do anything to it, you just sort of put it in the oven?” Judith wasn’t buying; she told Martha that “kneading is the fun of making bread.” Martha asked her “I know, but what if you don’t have to?”
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. See the video (click on the “video” tab once you get there; Martha brings up bread at 2:15 into the video).
Many of you saw the November 21st New York Times article that Zoë mentioned below, which put our bread method and our book in front of a broad national audience. Zoë and I are good business people, we love the exposure, and we’re grateful for the exceptional writing and the positive review. But as often happens, the writer just couldn’t fit everything into the short format. So there’s something that the article missed:
It missed Zoë.
Years ago, I had a cool idea about storing plain yeast dough long-term in the refrigerator. But there wasn’t a prayer of turning that idea into a book until Zoë and I met by chance. Zoë’s a pastry chef and baker trained at the Culinary Institute of America, so she was actually qualified to make this thing happen. I’d been leaving out teeny tiny little steps, like, oh, maybe measuring the flour, and writing down the results. Things a scientist might do. But for me, baking was an escape from science. I was no cookbook author (until Zoë taught me how it’s done).
So together, Zoë and I turned the basic idea into a book, one that would actually be useful to very busy people juggling a million responsibilities. And she added in all the dessert breads and brioches, recipes that I had pretty much no role in at all (what is it with women and sugar?). That’s half the book! The article in the Times did a great job capturing how our basic method works, and why it works so well for busy people who don’t have the time for traditionally made yeast bread. It’s also true that the article seems to have parked our book as the #1 bread book on Amazon.com. But it missed the book’s heart and soul: the partnership between Zoë and me, and in particular, the spark that Zoë brings to cooking and to life. A few people have told us that the fun we had writing the book comes across on the pages. It can be hard to capture that in a short newspaper article, so it’s a good thing there’s blog space to make it crystal clear: Zoë was not a ghost writer or a pastry advisor– she was the reason this whole book ever happened.
“Soon the bread will be making itself….The crusty, full-flavored loaf that results may be the world’s easiest yeast bread.”
Nick Fox from the New York Times
A couple of days ago I had the great honor of hosting Tricia Cornell and Robb Long from the Southwest Journal for lunch. They were here to do an interview for an article they are putting together about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Jeff and I baked them rye bread, peasant bread, pizza, pan d’epi, panettone and sticky pecan caramel rolls. While those breads were baking we made naan and beignets on the stove top and tossed together a cold Indian cucumber soup and a Middle Eastern bread salad called Fattoush, made with home made pita. All of these recipes are from the book. Suffice it to say we were all stuffed and happy by the time they left! We look forward to reading the upcoming article and seeing the wonderful pictures Robb took between bites of his chocolate filled beignet.
Wow, Beth Dooley wrote a fantastic article about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day in the November issue of MSP magazine. There is a fun photo of my co-author Jeff Hertzberg tossing pizza dough over his head, taken by the talented Mark Luinenburg (who is also responsible for the beautiful pictures in our book). MSP magazine is available at stores all around MN and will no doubt appear on their website soon. Check it out http://www.mspmag.com/ in the Food+Dining section or on page 111 in the printed version.