Saturday, May 23, 2009

I haven't posted much lately, in fact, I've barely posted at all this year. I don't have much of an excuse except that life has definitely gotten in the way. One bright note in all of this is that we now have pizza night every Friday and, thanks to Breadtopia, I have come a long way towards the pizza crust of my dreams (thin, crisp and chewy a la Saviano's on Long Island). Hopefully we'll be grilling pizza this summer too - a rather different experience but a delicious one nonetheless.

But I digress. Any reader of this blog knows I've had a love affair of long standing with Jim Lahey's no knead bread. It has been my go-to ever since I first learned the technique and is still a standby when I need to produce bread the next day but there's always been the issue of "what if I forget or I don't know I'll need a loaf the next day?"

Enter "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day." I really didn't want to like this book because it seemed to want to horn in on the no knead movement and take it to the masses. Then, I caved. I heard the authors on "The Splendid Table" describing making brioche in just a few minutes and my curiousity got the better of me. I bought the book, made the bread and, well, drank the kool-aid.

The basic premise is that you mix up a big ol' mess of dough, refrigerate it and cut off a hunk whenever you want to bake. The dough lasts for two weeks in the fridge and by the end of the two week period has soured a bit for a slightly more complex flavor. The concept is simple and brilliant and I've ended up talking to about everyone I know about how to do this (after I spent the last three years bending their ears about Lahey's no knead technique).

This morning I went to the next level and used the brioche dough (and yes, it really is that simple - it took more time to melt the butter than it took to mix up the dough) to make sticky buns.


I'm not given to Valley speak or multiple exclamation points under normal circumstances but normal speed and punctuation really don't do these rolls justice. They are just that good. Even my sub-standard photography captures the insane amount of luscious caramel topping. I am still, almost twelve hours later, in awe of the deliciousness.

If you're a baker and you don't already own this book, buy it immediately. I mean it.