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Customer Comments

My first loaf of bread was great. I smeared a slice with some French Camembert and almost killed the first half loaf in one sitting between my wife and myself.

- Bob G.

You've turned me into an artisan bread maker, and I love it!

- Michael S.

Hi Joe, Used the system over the weekend-- made the Rosemary bread.  Very good, nice crust and texture...family loved it.  Could not be simpler.  Plan to use it frequently.   Might even let my wife give it a try...not! Will be passing the info along to my guy friends. Very best to you and your venture.  

- Bob O.

Hi Joe, 

Since you were so kind and helpful, I wanted to follow up. 

I have made, easily... 40+ no-knead breads using Lahey's or or a hybrid of "Artisan in 5 Minutes..." recipes. (I prefer Lahey's, though I'm always wanting the "ease" of "5 Minutes...") I sort of know what I'm doing, a little. But I decided to completely ignore it, and follow your directions completely. 

Your cookbook is what makes all the difference. How you described "folding" the dough and all the photos... worth the price alone. Your explanation and examples were so clear and easy to understand, I kept blinking. And I'm thrilled to have a dedicated bread baking pot!

Wow. The bread was... perfect. Complete torture to wait six hours (though I did let it rise for 24 hours!) I finally caved at five. Delicious. Perfect crumb and crust. And... with slashing and dusting, so pretty! 

I expected to be pleased, I honestly didn't expect to be this impressed. The Lahey and "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes" books will be sitting on the shelf, I'll look at them for flavor ideas. Your cookbook and cheat sheet... they're living on the counter. I'll be getting the refill kit. And, without doubt, recommending this to everyone, and gifting it as well.

Thank you, Joe! 

- Resa V.

Thank you soooooooooo  much for the helpful  tip. I checked out the King Authur web site  and chatted with one of their staff. I told them about your product and  suggested they  check it out on your website. I raved about your products and told then I bought 4 kits and recommended  ten people to your website. He said he was definitely going to check it out.

I am on my 10 loaf of bread and have loved them all,. I tried a new variation, black olive bread and it was delicious. I am really excited to try the sourdough bread.  Your bread just seems to lend itself to a perfect sourdough bread. I will let you know how I make out. 

I have bought all my sons and son in law your breadkit for Christmas. So we are going to have many bake offs in our family.

Thanks again and I hope you continue developing your products and have much success. 

- Brian L.

I just wanted to express my gratitude for making this order happen! Everything was shipped quickly and perfectly. I just presented the gift to my boss today and he was ecstatic! He has always expressed an interest in baking bread and he cannot wait to try your product out! Suffice to say, I scored major points with my boss :).

I look forward to ordering more of your products for myself and as gifts. I have plenty of relatives/friends in the Philippines, Las Vegas and locally who are retired and/or foodies and would LOVE a product like yours! My brother-in-law is a Gunnery Sgt. in the Marine Corp. and just shipped off to Japan for 8 months. He's a HUGE fan of carbs: bread, potatoes etc and I know this would help him not be so homesick:) So thank you again for creating this awesome product!

- Krystle M.

wow, joe.  i think this is the nicest thing that someone in the business world has ever done for me.  i certainly do appreciate this & will spread the word this weekend.  my son-in-law will definitely enjoy this.  thanks again.

- Cindy B.

I will always let people know that you gave me the great support as I started on my bread-baking.  I'm not really a bread-baker, but I'm giving it a good effort.

- Nancy B.

Thank you for following up to my visit at your booth at this year’s Fancy Food Show in New York. I was quite impressed with your breadkit, even more so with the tasting of your bread! It was truly superb and the crust reminded me of my childhood years back in Switzerland where bread was one of our most important staples. And a healthy bread is so important for our health and overall well being.

- Claudine H.

I just wanted to let you know that I received the missing items yesterday via UPS.  Again, I can't thank you enough. Your business and work ethics are more than commendable!  What a pleasure to do business with you!

- Ellen H.

My daughter and daughter-in-law were both delighted with the kit and haven't even baked it yet. They couldn't believe everything was included. I will let you know more once they have a chance to bake a few loaves. The price was extremely fair. I will keep these bread kits in mind for further gift giving. This would be a really good idea for a bridal shower gift too.

- Mary M.

Thanks for creating a kit that will enable a common baking-hack like me to make yummy artisan bread! I can't wait to get started!

- Tanya N.

Well we made the bread and it was so good we ate the loaf in one sitting at dinner last night.

- Steve K.

The bread was incredible. It didn’t make it past the first night. It went over very well as the appetizer.

- David W.

During Spring Break I spent time with one of the recipients of your bread kit. Rave reviews. My friend says everyone loves the bread and she makes at least a loaf a week.

- Laurie C.

I mixed up the first batch last night and will bake it when I get home from school. I kept rereading the directions because I thought I had forgotten something because it was so easy. I really liked how the instant yeast dissolved so quickly and how the flour, water and yeast created gluten as soon as I started to mix. I can see already that the flour will make a huge difference...I baked the bread last night and it was the best I have ever made. I was really surprised to hear it crackle as it cools. The crust was perfect not too brown and very crispy yet just chewy enough. It was perfect. My husband could become addicted to this bread.

- Jane B.

My friends LOVED the bread! I kind of overwhelmed them, though. I had made some jam, so I took that along with the bread and some scones. We almost went into a major carb-induced coma!

- Lib A.

I bought the kit for my sister (who is actually Martha Stewart in disguise). She loved it and thought it was a great idea. The cookbook is great - especially the cheat sheet. The packaging was very creative and helpful.

- Rob F.

I gave one of the bread kits to my daughter and son-in-law for Christmas. He is the chef of the family and was very excited about it. He planned on making it for a dinner party they were going to on New Year's Eve. I talked to my daughter today and asked her how the bread turned out. She said it was great!

- Anita B.

Your rosemary parmesan bread was sooo good. My husband's family came for our annual holiday gathering, and I had made soup, so we had the bread with it. It got rave reviews.

- Jeanne L.

Home run! Absolutely out of the park awesome bread! I mean spectacular. Change nothing. Nothing. Man, so good.

- Kelly G.

This weekend I finally made some bread with my sister! To hear the crust crackling after it came out of the oven was truly satisfying.  I think her kids were impressed with our abilities, which says something (she's got teens, tweens and one in the single digits). Good job.

- Maureen R.

Dear Joe, You are my hero!  One of my favorite things to enjoy in the world are the crusty/chewy breads baked in a neighboring town in the bakeries wood fired oven.  We have been paying $6.50 per loaf for these breads, believing we could never achieve such results in our home oven.  I ordered your breadkit. around the holidays, and finally tried it out about a week ago. Though my first loaf did not come out perfectly- (I only let it rise 12 hours, instead of the recommended 24,) it still had a good crust and was delicious.  Subsequent loaves baked by myself, and also my daughter and son-in-law who are living with us, have been both beautiful And delicious.  In the past week or so, since we started using the kit, I have bought several kits as gifts, and have also shared the find with several excited friends and family members who have ordered.  I think they are the perfect gift for people who appreciate really good bread. Thank you for creating the kits!!!  I can't tell you how happy we are to be able to bake such delicious bread, with so little effort!

- Patty D.

I just received one of your breadkits as a birthday gift.  I recently retired and made the statement I am going to learn to bake bread.  I don't know alot about baking bread or anything else for that matter.  I baked my first loaf of bread using your kit and it was amazing.  I baked it for my daughters birthday and got rave reviews. I am a huge fan for life!

- Chris J.

I have purchased and used your bread kit with wonderful results.

- Irene H.

I give our employees lots of gifts but this one was different. People REALLY liked the idea of making bread with their families. It was a huge hit!

- Kathy C.

It’s a gift for my daughter in law. The kids stopped by for Christmas and cooed about the fresh loaf of Joe Bread that had just come out of the oven. 'I’ve always wanted to make bread like that,' Kristin said. And soon, she will.

- Dennis P.

Joe, Made the bread with my daughter recently.  In a word, wow!  Had to stop from eating the entire loaf at once.  Looking forward to the next round.  You created an outstanding product, with simple ingredients and easy to follow directions (I'm not even at hack status and could do it).  In all seriousness, the directions, packaging, web site are all well thought out and very well done.  Laminated card is a great thought and shows your attention to detail throughout.  Giving the other two kits to a client and friend who like to cook.

- Dana G.

Just wanted you to know that I ordered a Basket Bread Kit for my husband, John, for his birthday (or maybe Father’s Day...haven’t decided yet).  I found out about your product from our very good friend and next door neighbor Dave M., who produces SUCH GOOD BREAD!  Dave seems to really enjoy his “Average Joe” bread making kit and our children just DEVOUR the bread that he makes and gives us.  It is so good, and gets such high praise all around.  Great product...can’t wait to see what John produces with it!

- Sarah E.

We all LOVED IT!  Lucy (my daughter-in-law) did the initial mixing and put the bread in a bowl Saturday night.  I did the rest on Sunday early afternoon and we enjoyed it with a light dinner before movies Sunday night!  Joe, it is really good!  The crust was perfect, covered in Sesame Seeds and a little red sea salt.  The middle was moist and chewy, just perfect!

Monday morning  used the remainder for French Toast and that was great, too. We were sad when it was gone... but will look forward to making more soon.  

I know we will make this often and I am really glad we chose this for the wedding gift for Amanda and Chris!

Thank you so much!!!!!  FUN, EASY and DELICIOUS!

- Dee G.

Hi Joe, I met you yesterday at [our store] and you had left some bread samples for us all to taste.  After ringing you up, I went to the break room for employees and the bread samples were there.  The bread is amazing, especially the raisin cinnamon.  It was moist and flavorful and like a dessert.  I wish you all the best in getting your product into [our store].

- David R.

I purchased your bread kit from the Home Show in Fort Wayne.  We absolutely love it.

- Terri T.

Happy Holidays to you, too. And thank you for making bread so fast and easy.

- Chris C.

Thanks again for great customer service. You are on my 'business to promote' list.

- Peggy D.

I am very impressed with your level of customer service and will be sure to keep you in mind for future gift giving as well as ordering the bread kits from you.

- Peggy D.

We made TWO loaves yesterday and gave one away ! WHAT FUN ! THIS IS SO COOL !

- Rick F.

It was delicious and I shared it with two of my co-workers! The next night I finished it off, you are right it won't stick around more than a day or two.  Now that I understand it really is "that simple" - I'll be more comfortable - and watch the Easy Bake for temperature issues.  :)

- Nancy B.

After baking my first loaf of this wonderful bread -- which is soooo good -- I know I will be trying all of the other recipes.  And I must commend you on the recipe booklet.  The directions are so clear and easy to follow, it would be hard to not succeed.  I am a soup lover and this hearty bread is a fabulous addition to a soup meal.

- Phyllis E.

It tastes like it came from Arthur Avenue [the heart of the Bronx's Little Italy]!

- Anthony J.

OMG! I could lie, tell my guy I made this bread all by myself, and get a ring out of it!

- Heather P.

Joe, while the Easy Bake oven and the Kuwait climate have not been kind to my bread attempts, I decided to try baking some cinnamon rolls.  It definitely takes more time, but I rewarded myself today with something I have not had in a long time - homemade rolls, complete from "scratch".

I realize that this doesn't promote your product and I'm not going to give up on hopefully having a beautiful loaf of your bread come out of my oven one day, BUT had I not attempted your bread the thought of making cinnamon rolls would have never entered my mind.

So thank you.  Thank you for writing instructions that makes a person feel like you are right there talking them through it; and motivating from afar that "you can do it".

I wish you continued success with Average Joe!

- Nancy B.

Thanks again for your prompt attention to my problem.  I will happily recommend your company and products to my foodie and not-so-foodie friends.

- Elaine S.

We are loving our bread!  Our favorite is the Rosemary Olive Oil and all of our friends love it also. Thank you!

- Sandy F.

My first loaf was delicious, it had a finer crumb than I had intended but I skimped a little on the sponge rising so today at noon my second loaf will be ready to try. And I should be writing just to thank you because this is so cool. I used to bake bread regularly and got out of the habit. I'm living in temporary housing while I wait to buy a house and almost everything I own, like my Kitchenaid, is in a storage locker in North Carolina while I languish in Florida waiting to move to West Virginia. I can't even drop by to visit my goodies, let alone decide that something should have been brought along for the interim (which keeps getting longer) sojourn. So, when I saw your gift set I got excited. I'm in a house that had no mixing bowls, no measuring cups or spoons... I brought a tub of baking utensils but I really had no idea how barren this kitchen was. Everytime I've visited before we've just eaten out. When I got here all that was in the refrigerator was iced tea, eggs and cheese. I thought I'd go ahead and use the eggs if they weren't too far out of date. This was last week, in June... the use by date was in September. Must have been last September. So, here I am with nothing to do but wait and an empty kitchen and someone offers to send me everything I need to make bread. EVERYTHING! (there was no flour, no sugar, the only spices were salt and pepper) I came to your website and researched, watched interviews, read reviews and sent away for my gift box. Anyway, my second loaf is ready to turn out in just half an hour now, and I really love your product.

- Kate M.

I already made my second loaf and both were so yummy! It tastes like “real bread” as my husband kept saying. :)

- Colene J.

An easy way to get back into baking bread. I haven't made bread in about twenty years and when I saw this I jumped at it. This set includes about 3 lbs of bread flour, a single packet of dried yeast, sea salt for cooking and red and black salts for "finishing", sprinkling on the loaf before baking. There's a step by step cookbook for absolute beginners and a laminated cheat sheet for after you get comfortable with the process. For tools this includes a plastic scraper which doesn't fit my bowl well, I use a stiff silicon spatula/scraper to remove the dough from the bowl and a metal scraper to clean the countertop after I've anointed it with flour and dough. The second tool is a double edged razor blade mounted on a metal bar which is used to put the traditional "x" in the bread.

Joe points out that although he sells a refill kit, everything you need to make bread according to his method can be purchased at the grocery, or in the case of the specialty salts, on-line or at a specialty spice store. The secret ingredient that you can't buy elsewhere is the "bread dust" which you use to cover the bottom of the stock pot before putting the loaf in to bake. He says that you can use plain cornmeal, (this is a combination of corn meal, flour and wheat germ), but I think his dust is way better than loaves I've had that had a cornmeal layer on the bottom.

I actually got the gift edition which includes everything in this set plus the pot, a bowl, a wooden spoon, measuring cups and spoons and a small spray bottle to spray the bread before baking. I did that because I'm staying with someone who's kitchen doesn't even have measuring spoons and I wanted to make bread. There's also a steel scrapper to clean out the pot but I don't use it, my regular sponge has been sufficient to clean up.

My first loaf looked and tasted great. For my second loaf I used more finishing salt and sprayed more water and it was even better. One caution, if you tend to "bake by smell" expect this to smell like it's done way before it is. That's the dust in the bottom of the pan that isn't in contact with the bottom of the loaf of bread baking and it's browned way before your bread is ready. So in this one instance I have to ignore my nose and trust my timer.

Would I recommend this? Absolutely, as long as you realize that there are no truly magic ingredients in the package. The magic is in following the instructions and beginning a life with fresh bread without spending all day watching dough rise.

- Kate M.

I made some bread for an engagement celebration dinner for my sister. It was a hit, everyone loved it! They were more excited about the bread than the crab cakes! Lol great product! Thank you.

- Joyce K.

I stumbled on your kit on [web site], and since I had been toying with bread making with my dusty old bread maker, figured, what the heck.

Wow.  Can I say that again?  Wow.  I am not known for my culinary techniques, and I have been banned from the kitchen many times.  Not only were your directions fantastic, the pictures were great! ("yes, honey, it is supposed to look like that! look at me, I did it right!"), and my first loaf was demolished within 10 minutes out of the oven...my three teenagers did not care about a lesson in crumb.

I took a picture and sent it to my family members who were also quite amazed at what I did, and how I did it, and how easy it was....

So, encouraged by my success, I went on to attempt 2.  And, voila, it was just as amazing!  My family has asked me to look at my calendar to be able to plan and time my baking of a loaf a week!

I appreciate your ability to take a non baker like my self and to give me courage, hope and the ability to make bread that doesn't cause gastric distress.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I would [like to] send kits to my mother (who has my same lack of abilities in the kitchen, must be genetics?) and my daughter (who just doesn't think she can do it).

I love your product, and I am telling others of it, and thank you!

And, the best compliment I got was from my husband, who told the kids to stop wolfing it down, and tried it and said, "Hey, not bad....really, it is really good!".

- Beth M.

Average Joe Bread is over the top fantastic. As good or better than anything on the market in [Big City] and that includes [popular bakery]. I love this man because he has made me a rock star bread maker the first time out. That's a really good thing for consumers!!

- Jan D.

I made this Average Joe bread. Love this packaging and the concept. I followed directions on the laminated label, however there is a more detailed interesting book inside that one should really read before making the bread. Look at my bread!!!!  I thought all along this was not going to work. it has airholes in it and tasted good..

I only made one loaf, and my room temperature is much cooler probably than most places, so it didn't rise like I thought it would, but it still looked beautiful and tasted scrumptious and had a very crispy crust.

No adjustments for altitude at all!  (about 5 or 6,000 feet here)  I thought the dryness would get it here - I covered my bowl with a CV lid as I think a towel would have let in too much air to dry it more overnight.

It was fun and took little of my time. No punching down or kneading needed. Make it one morning and bake it the next morning.

- Rose P.

Thank you so much for all the work that you have done to put together the kits and instructions. It's very worth it to me!

- Cathy A.

This one is for some good friends. We were at their house for a large, multi-family Easter potluck. We brought one thing – a loaf of Parmesan Pepper bread (warm from the oven). In the midst of a buffet table of spectacular dishes prepared by genuine foodies, all anyone could talk about was the bread. This included Bob, who loves bread so much that he took a bread making class that cost hundreds and still couldn’t come close to what my wife popped out of a Joe pan. The legend grows.

- Dennis P.

I cannot tell you how this kit has changed my confidence in the kitchen! I know it may sound silly, but I am so grateful to you!

- Lib A.

I love the bread kit! This will now be my go to for wedding gifts! I have made 4 loaves now. They were all perfect and wonderful!! Thank you!

- Leslea M.

Hi Joe - I bought your bread kit and baking pot, love this. My family thinks its the best bread ever....

- Jeanne L.

Joe, First try, and the results on the Golden Standard came out perfect. Of course, all the instructions and pictures were so helpful and easy to follow. This is the very first time we ever tried to make bread. "Not by bread alone---no, but it's a close second.

- John B.

Hi Joe, I received a bread kit a year ago. Just wanted to tell you that I love the kit and the bread I've made with it.

- Aaron G.

Recently Briljent gave its employees your Cook's Edition kit. Oh my goodness it was amazing and so easy! My husband is from Germany and loved your bread. I did too. I was skeptical about the process but it worked just as the instructions said. Thank you so much! I cook really well. But I am not a good baker. You made it easy. :) 

- Nicole K.

I received a AJAB Bread Kit as a Thanksgiving Kit and I loved it !!! I would have taken a picture of the bread, but.... well, we ate the whole thing while it was warm just out of the oven. I grew up with grandma's who baked bread so I have experienced ALL the kneading and your process was SO SIMPLE !!

- Nancy S.

Hi Joe, I am still enjoying your Bread Kit and cranking out consistently great loaves.

- Deb C.

I had a wonderful piece of (or pieces) of bread today! I was at my grandma's for Sunday lunch and my cousin shared that he had brought some bread he had made. The minute he unwrapped the bread I was like, "Hey, that's Joe's bread!" ha! Apparently he received a bread kit for Christmas. I think in the near future I will have to order a kit, because I forgot, until today, just how delicious it was and how much I missed it! :) Glad to see it is going well for you!!!

- Brooke O.

Well Joe, I FINALLY got up the nerve to try out your product after staring at it for a month. I've never had any success with ANY dough recipes. I let my bread machine mix the dough and it rose in there also, 24 hrs. Baked it yesterday and it was wonderful! I found the dough easy and fun to shape (not too sticky). It was only 6" tall and dense, but we like it that way. I'll keep experimenting with oven time and temp now that I know it really is as easy as you said it would be! GREAT IDEA, GREAT PRODUCT! I wish you much success.

- Colleen B.

Our son just called to say he made that first loaf of bread this weekend. He served it for dinner tonight. He and his family absolutely loved the bread. He made the plain loaf. He said it took about 20 minutes total prep. time. His wife said it reminds her of the bread she used to eat while growing up in Simi Valley, California. He said it was dense, moist, and wonderful! Thanks for creating the kit. My son's job is frequently very stressful; he likes to unwind by cooking. He loves bread. This present has given him another reason to smile.

- Shirley D.

My husband and I have been enjoying fresh bread for about a month. The kit is wonderful.

- Carrie H.

Joe, just wanted you to know I have had your bread kit for a month now and absolutely LOVE it. Everyone else loves it too because they have been eating the delicious loaves coming out of it. Thanks for making such an easy to use method with everything needed to make such awesome bread. You're a genius! Everyone should have a kit that loves bread.

- Lisa B.

I am an experienced bread baker, using the no-knead method. I have to say that your method and products yielded my best loaf of truly great bread ever!

- Deb C.

I got your bread kit yesterday and we had our first loaf tonight. I have to compliment you on the clarity of your instructions. As one who has read and tried to understand more computer manuals than I care to remember your directions are outstanding! The bread was outstanding as well. We couldn't wait for it to cool! How easy - All the years I have kneaded and kneaded and had a mess to clean up.

- Linn B.

I just wanted to let you know that I received my bread kit yesterday. This is one of the highest-quality kits that I have seen in a long time! It is well-worth the money and I am glad I purchased it. The bread pot and the bowl are of excellent quality as are all the ingredients.

- Mary T.

My dad is making a lot of bread and says its perfect every time. He bought some new salts and was going to try changing it up. He's really having fun w/ it!

- Val P.

I have positive affirmation on the bread kits. 100% success rate so far!

- Mike P. [who gave kits as holiday gifts to clients]

Received my Bread kit and it was a success first try.

- Frank S.

Hello Joe! You are a genius!...I made a fantastic loaf of bread on the first try! I'm a French-Canadian married to a Wonder-Bread American...Imagine the difference in tastes. Your bread is so easy to make and so utterly delicious! Thanks for doing all the research for this labor of love and I wish you success!

- Marie T.

I found the process easy & enjoyable. I love the way you‘ve packaged the concept; it was a big plus to have EVERYTHING I needed to get going right way. Your conversational & personal approach screams through the materials. It’s as if you were right there with me, sharing ‘the experience.’ Much as I love bread, that’s what you’ve created–an experience to be shared with friends & family.

- Sheila R.

I made the rosemary bread on Christmas eve morning, so baked it on Christmas day. Honestly, my family was amazed I had baked it! The directions were very good. The bread tasted so great and wasn't too terribly lopsided. :)

- Anne W.

What I thought of the gift

I thought it was a great and unique idea for a cook at any skill level. Anyone can get a pot or pan, but it's very unique to get the pot, the ingredients, and the directions to make something. I'm generalizing here, but I feel that most people concentrate on cooking the meal or the dessert, and the bread is often an afterthought purchased at a grocery store or bakery. However, everyone usually takes a piece of bread at a meal, so it's actually pretty important. Also, I've never even thought to cook bread on my own, because I never had the "proper equipment" and it seemed too difficult. However, this got me to actually tackle the feat.

The quality

The quality of all the items is great. Since I received it as a gift, I'm not sure how much it cost, but it definitely has a high perceived value/cost. 
The instructions: The instructions were so clear that it would be pretty difficult not to be able to follow them and bake the bread correctly. The pictures were very helpful as well.

The results

The bread turned out great on the first try. I stuck with the basic "Golden Standard" recipe, but it got great reviews at our New Year's Eve party. People couldn't believe that a) I actually made the bread, and b) I didn't use a high-tech bread maker. The loaf probably could have come out of the oven a couple minutes sooner, but that can't be anticipated on the first attempt. Since I was really impressed with the way it looked, I actually took pictures to prove that it came out of my oven.

- Rich L.

Joe, this kit is so awesome, I can't deliver them fast enough. I was at a friend's house for dinner and of course I baked a loaf of the golden standard and everyone loved it. I told them how easy it was and in fact they were eating a loaf my ten year old made, that's how easy this is.

I just happened to have a kit in my car, which my sister-in-law ordered. I gave my friends her kit and now I need to get another kit before my sister-in-law comes by for hers! My friends couldn't believe all the stuff that came with this kit, not to mention the details of the book.

I have probably made a dozen of these loafs. They are so easy, it's a perfect way for a person with a busy schedule to have homemade bread for dinner. It's a good thing.

- Tami H.

Made a loaf last night -- fabulous. Almost perfect (only reason I say "almost" is because I forgot to sprinkle w/flour, so it was just a visual thing). Just took lid off the speed bread version I mixed at 7a today when Luke got up for Christmas, it looks PERFECT so far. Absolutely perfect. Superior ears. So simple now that I know it by heart.

- Kelly G.

Ever since my trip to Paris as a student, I have always loved crusty, European breads. When I lived in the East Coast, I could find French bakeries that made that quality of bread, which would be called a "boule" in French. When we moved to the Midwest eight years ago, it was no longer possible to buy a proper boule within 80 miles. I had tried to make it myself many, many times, and always failed, even though I followed the recipes with surgical precision. I always blamed the temperature of the dough, or the poor quality of yeast or flour, because the outcome, while it looked like a boule, was always flat tasting, with a hard, tough crust and a spongy middle.

The proper boule should have both a light, crusty, crunchy crust, that sounds crunchy and feels compliant even as you give the bread a little squeeze, and a chewy, flavorful, developed center, which engages the mouth by its slightly elastic texture. Most breads that are labeled "French" or "Italian" bread in the market look like the real thing, but as soon as you cut into it, is immediately revealed to be a poor imitation.

So I had more or less given up on having good bread until Joe encouraged me to try making it his way. Though I read Julia Child religiously and have a few baking cookbooks, I do not consider myself a baker. I work 10-12 hours per day. The only way I could knead bread, allow it to rise a few times, and knead again is if I eat dinner at midnight, and all for the sake of... bread. I needed something foolproof.

I have to admit I was a little incredulous about this method at first. How could something so authentic involve so little work, and so little equipment? Doesn't it involve a traditional French brick oven heated to 1100 degrees? Ordinary American all-purpose white flour could do this? No babysitting the dough or waiting hours between kneadings?

I have made this bread many, many times since then. All of the above is true. All that good bread requires is patience, time, and moisture. I'm happy to say that it is completely foolproof. I start the dough the night before, which takes about five minutes, let it rise while I go to work, and when I get home, there is wonderful, aromatic, golden bread in an hour. My personal opinion is that bread, like baby vegetables, is only at its peak for about two hours. Bread that was baked six hours ago in a bakery does not compare. Fresh bread appeals on every level. It looks and smells wonderful. The crust has a lightness of sound and texture. The inside of the bread has a chewy, elastic texture that brings out the nutty, toasted flavors of the wheat flour which has been developed by yeast, and is never gummy or dry. Dipped in olive oil or dressed with a pat of fresh butter, it is the ultimate comfort food. I have used whole wheat flour, and experimented with various herbs and spices. I have also used the recipe to make flat breads that bake in the oven, similar to pita, but much fresher. It is also a great recipe for making scallion pies which are pan-fried. All are wonderful.

- Amy L.

What a great excuse not to bother with meat for dinner. We had the loaf warmed with brie, cranberry white cheddar, and Colby (for Wyatt!) at the table. Salad, cucumbers, avocado, black grapes, a little wine...is it Friday? The rosemary flavor was well balanced and I did not miss the salt a bit. The crust was super crusty by the time I warmed it with additional steam. We like it this way but it does require a good serrated knife, and we encouraged the boys to break it into pieces to spare a trip to the orthodontist. The inside crumb was the consistency of a peasant loaf (neither hearty nor delicate) only more moist. Bravo. The boys really liked it. Someone said “best bread ever,” and Wyatt didn't question or complain about the rosemary, which is miraculous. Thanks so much. If this really is a lazy recipe and foolproof, you've got a winner.

- Jennifer W.

One of my friends gave the perfect compliment. He said, "the crust is so crunchy, but the inside is so nice and moist - it's delicious." Goal accomplished!

- Libby A.

Snarfed up your bread tonight. I love the rosemary; Caroline did too. The hint of salt was really good. It added some body to the herb. The crust was nice, and the texture of the bread was just right, chewy, not glutinous, not cakelike, and nutty in flavor. Bravissimo!

- Amy T.
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