Artisan Pizza & Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day Book Review

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I was eager to read and test recipes from Artisan Pizza & Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day the newest book from Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois.   I was familiar with their previous bestselling book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.   While fresh bread everyday is a nice idea, I was intrigued by the more practical and exciting idea of pizza everyday.  Who doesn’t love that?

If you’re not familiar with the book series let me explain its simple premise.  By making a large batch of bread dough and storing it in your refrigerator you can easily pull off a portion to make into bread in an easy five minutes a day.  Rather than using prepackaged bread and pizza doughs simply make your own fresh everyday.  Let me quickly inform you this idea is sound.  I was able to prepare a large batch of dough (Cornmeal Olive Oil) and make a variety of meals.  It took me longer than five minutes to prepare the meal, of course, but prepping the dough did indeed take about five minutes.

So what did I make?  As I mentioned I made Cornmeal Olive Oil Dough, however there are a variety of other doughs that can be prepared.  I used this one batch of dough to make four different dishes.  That was four different suppers using one prepared large recipe of dough.  I think that within itself is very impressive.  I made Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza, Italian Torta, Spicy Garlic Beef, and a sausage/pepper pizza of my own creation.

First I made Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza.  Doesn’t that sound delicious.  I have actually never had pizza in Chicago, something I will have to remedy soon.  This recipe was my first choice and the results were fabulous. Check it out!

This recipe requires a spring-form pan.  After rolling out the dough (a section ripped from my large batch) I easily spread it over the pan and merely added the ingredients in the manner suggested in the book.  Not only was the dough homemade, but I also used the tomato sauce recipe provided.  I had never made tomato sauce myself before and it was truly easy.  After making this first dish I was left wondering why I ever purchased pre-made tomato sauce and pizza dough.  Homemade dishes can be easy and delicious.

Next I prepared an Italian Torta.  I had never made a torta before, but this dish sounded wonderful.  This recipe requires roasting a bunch of red and yellow bell peppers which gives this vegetarian dish some extra depth.  My family is not vegetarians, but I was hopeful that I could pull off this dish without them even noticing it was meatless.  It worked!  It was great!

I started with some sauteed mushrooms.

Then I added a variety of other vegetables and cheese.

I added some decorative leaves on top, but I made them too thick.  Sometimes when you’re in a rush beauty is sacrificed!

Just like the Chicago Deep Dish recipe I used my spring form pan.  It is so easy to use and it also cleans nicely.

No meat?  No problem!

You could easily add chicken to this dish.

Next?  Spicy Garlic Beef.  The ingredient list to this recipe was too good to pass up.  Sesame oil, garlic, fresh ginger, green onions, Sriracha sauce, ….I bet your mouth is watering.  Here it all is cooking together.

It looked so wonderful in the pan, it seemed strange to put it on pizza, but of course that’s what I did.  I was missing fresh cilantro for the top.  That would have made this dish even better.

It was recommended to use a different dough for this recipe, but the cornmeal olive oil worked nicely.  While my family did enjoy this dish, ultimately we felt it deserved to be served with rice instead.  It is certainly a unique pizza idea, but the spicy garlic beef would be a great stir-fry.  Next time we will just add some rice instead.

My final recipe was not actually a recipe at all.  I went rogue.  I came up with my own creation.  I had some nice mozzarella and sausage in the house.  They looked like the beginnings of an excellent pizza.  I used the last of my Cornmeal & Olive Oil dough and some of my homemade tomato sauce.  Ultimately I had some sauce leftover which I simply popped into the freezer to keep for another time.

I added onions and green peppers, our personal favs.

The results look pretty good, if I do say so myself.

This pizza was easy to prepare and was entirely homemade.

Why did I make my own kind of pizza?  While I loved the dough recipes and the entire concept, I did find many of the recipes in the book to be unrealistic.  I guess this is the part where the title comes into play.  It is ARTISAN Pizza.  And with recipes like Rainbow Beet Pizza, White Clam Pizza, Provencal Onion Tart with Cracked Egg and Anchovy, and Brussels Sprouts, Smoked Pancetta, and Pecorino Pizza you can bet I won’t be making them anytime soon.

I would have loved to have seen more realistic and useful recipes.  Maybe I am off base, but how many people are really going to make a pizza with brussels sprouts?  I would love the authors to make another Pizza in Five Minutes a Day book, but have recipes are geared towards families with children.  Give me some kid friendly recipes!  No anchovies, brussels sprouts or beets please.

I plan on using the dough recipes in the book to create my own pizzas and breads.  If your family likes to eat pizza (don’t most?) then I would recommend this book merely on the dough recipes alone.  The authors make it easy to make pizza that is fresh and homemade.

Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day is available from Amazon for $15.98

Check out all the variations on bread in five minutes a day here.

 

I received the following book for review purposes, all opinions are my own.

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