Semi-Dried Tomato and Parmesan Bread in 5

Is it just me or is time flying by much too quickly these days? When did the days (and the months and the years) start whizzing past me at hyper-speed? When was it that life suddenly seemed pressed for time, bolting forward alarmingly while I struggle to keep pace?

Work, family, friends, hobbies, passions, dinner, breakfast, life...I scurry and scramble to make sure I clock in as much time needed for each one. Sometimes, I find myself gasping to catch up. Does this happen to you? Or am I just a slow life-runner?

When life moves too fast, I find it more effective to do the exact opposite of what my gut tells me. My instinct tells me, “hurry up!” but I hold my palm up firmly and say with conviction, “life, I am taking 5!

We all need a breather once in a while and there’s no shame, and you’re not hurting anyone, to go ahead and take it. I get to catch my breath, regroup, and then get back into the game with renewed vigour and inspiration. It can be anything from a whole day dedicated only to yourself, to a weekend away with your wingman – the important thing is to get off that ever-speeding treadmill and relaaaaax. We deserve it!

Now, not all of us have a whole weekend, or even a whole day, that we can spare. I know the feeling. But if you’ve got five minutes, have I got a lovely, soul-satisfying activity for you! Why don’t you make bread?

Bread??? Yes, you read right!

Most everyone has already discovered Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg’s fantastic book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. If you haven’t, go check it out now! Or check out their blog, or Zoe’s blog, if you need more prodding. In their book, they so graciously share with us their method of making (wonderful, boulangerie-looking) bread using only 5 minutes prep time (the rest being either proofing time, or daydreaming-about-what-you-are-going–to-do-with-the-dough time).

Not to say I don’t enjoy the long process of bread making, because I love the kneading and the waiting. Making bread helps me clear my head, not to mention the benefits of kneading for anger management! But, in these fast-forward times, it’s not always possible to go about bread making the long way (although I do recommend it when you can’s like a gym and a shrink rolled into one!). This artisan-in-5 dough, which (yes!) you put together in five minutes, will stay snugly in your fridge, ready at a moment’s notice, for when you want to use it.

The bread pictured here is a loaf of Sun-Dried Tomato and Parmesan Bread (from the book), which I put together in no time at all for a couple of friends who came over for drinks. I took some of the Master Boule Recipe dough out of the fridge, flattened it, sprinkled with my oven-roasted tomatoes and grated parmesan cheese, and that was that! A short wait while the oven pre-heated and the bread did a final proofing, and I was on my way to fresh bread that looked like it took hours to prepare! With the same dough (you just tear parts of it off the waiting blob in your fridge) we also made pizza and a regular boule.

There is nothing like pulling a crackly-crusted, miracle-smelling, gorgeous-looking loaf from your oven to make you feel like you have all the time in the world! When in reality, all you did was take 5 ;)