A cookbook that was one of the surprise hits of the 2007 holiday season is back in a new iteration this fall… but this time, it will have to contend with some competition.
When St. Martin’s/Dunne published Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François in late 2007, it didn’t anticipate how popular the book would be. A New York Times story on the book—which demystifies bread-making, explaining how to make crusty, full-flavored loaves of yeast bread—ran in November ‘07. By the week before Christmas, a number of independent booksellers across the country were reporting the book out of stock. As of early January 2008, there were 20,000 copies in print; since then, that figure has risen to 100,000. St. Martin’s has been shipping an average of 10,000 copies a month so far in 2009.
It’s unsurprising, then, that a sequel would follow, and early into Artisan Bread’s runaway success, St. Martin’s signed the authors to another book. In November, the house will publish Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients. St. Martin’s is expecting another hit; associate publisher of Thomas Dunne Books Pete Wolverton says, “Zoë and Jeff have proven to be amazing promoters in the print, radio, TV and online worlds. I expect their fans will support the new book much in the same way as the first.” The first printing is 150,000, and St. Martin’s is doing a promotion with King Arthur Flour. Wolverton says what sets Healthy Bread apart from the other tomes out there is that “none of the other books address what’s really revolutionary: [Healthy Bread’s recipes make it so that] dough can be stored in the refrigerator and chunks can be torn off and fashioned into loaves every day. That’s what’s revolutionary, making it possible for busy people to bake bread every day.”
Revolutionary thought it may be, Healthy Bread will nonetheless be sharing shelf space this fall with at least six other new bread-making titles. Some of them take after Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’s “quick” angle, including Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday Day, which Ten Speed Press will publish in November. Reinhart is a leading bread authority and author of six books on the subject. This book is his “answer to the artisan bread-in-no-time revolution,” says the Ten Speed catalog. Also in the “quick” vein is My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method by Jim Lahey with Rick Flaste (Norton, Oct.). Lahey is the baker and owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York, and was the subject of a 2006 story by Mark Bittman in the New York Times about his no-knead, “bread-in-a-pot” technique. Then there’s 200 Fast and Easy Artisan Breads: No-Knead, One Bowl by Judith Fertig, which Robert Rose will publish in September. Fertig is a recipe developer and the author of 300 Big & Bold Barbecue & Grilling Recipes.
Other forthcoming bread books play up Artisan Bread’s “artisan” angle, such as the November title Baking Artisan Breakfast Pastries and Breads: Sweet and Savory Baking for Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond by Ciril Hitz (Quarry). Hitz is also the author of Baking Artisan Bread. The Culinary Institute of America is also joining the game, with Artisan Breads at Home, which Wiley will publish in January 2010.