ZF: I would have to say the bialys. My mother’s family comes from Brooklyn and we would go to Brooklyn to visit them and have bialys and knish. My mother is a lunatic for bialys still. That recipe was developed in particular for her. So now she makes them for herself all the time.

CP: Any humorous disaster stories or major revelations you made through trail and error?

JH: Flaxseed! It makes the bread taste like bad salmon.

ZF: The problem wasn't the flaxseed, the problem was that Jeff added like, 98 percent flaxseed.

JH: Unfortunately, I couldn't find a threshold at which anyone could eat it. At 2 percent, it still tasted like fish to me.

ZF: We're going to have to write another book just so we can master that.

CP: Any particularly success you’re most proud of?

ZF: Most of the sweet recipes went in that direction. They’re not necessarily mistakes, but I would just add sugar and butter to everything.

JH: She just started improving.

ZF: Everything in my mind reverts back to pastry. I made sticky buns out of the original recipe.

CP: Jeff, in the book you mention growing up in New York with so many great bread shops in town, yet they began disappearing during the 80s. Any theories as to why this is? Do you think there will ever be a resurgence in small local bread shops?

JH: There’s a resurgence at the high end of the market. The ordinary places--the people that used to shop at those—they started to buy bread from the supermarket. People like my grandmother’s generation started to disappear. Inexpensive, great, everyday bread is not available in New York--as far as I can tell. I think the same is kind of true here in Minnesota. There’s the par-baked breads. Depending on how that stores handle it, they’re often not that great.

CP: Bread machine: A waste of an appliance?

ZF: Well, we find that our method is much faster. The bread machine does the kneading, but you have to measure out ingredients each time, and you don’t get the crust. You have to work a lot to get a bread I’m not completely satisfied with.

JH: The key thing with our method is that you store the dough, not much else is different. The time-saving comes from not having to do the mixing daily. Also, the crust on machines aren’t that interesting. I have no problems with them, but you don’t quite need one.

Come see the authors talk bread, and sample some of their treats this Sunday. Bought the book and have questions? Check out the Q&A section of their interactive website, www.artisanbreadinfive.com.
Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m., 2007

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