One of the wonderful things about living, breathing and working in food is all that is new, or at least new to me. New recipes to try, new photos to drool over, new cookbooks to peruse. My desk is piled with those cookbooks, stacks about as stable as a Jenga tower.

It’s almost impossible to resist bringing some home with me. Sometimes that means I pay less attention to my old reliables.

“Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg, was one of the first cookbooks I ever brought home. I baked from it a lot, but at some point my bread output dropped off. And now I’m kicking myself for letting the book collect dust.

I was recently on the hunt for a good, easy focaccia, and after another recipe came up short in both flavor and texture, I decided to try one from François and Hertzberg that came from one of their numerous sequels, “Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day.” (Washington Post Food editor Bonnie S. Benwick just included their “Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day” in her top cookbooks list of 2018).

What a revelation. Not only was this faster and less fussy than the first recipe, but it was far superior. There was a crispy crust with a pronounced yet delicate olive-oil flavor that encased a chewy, somewhat airy interior. Plus, unlike most breads, which need to cool down for the best texture, this one can be eaten warm.

“I only get invited to a Super Bowl party because I bring this,” Hertzberg says. People find it so addictive, “It barely makes it out of the pan, to be honest,” François adds.

And does it really just take five minutes? More or less, depending on how quickly you can find, measure and mix the ingredients. Most of the time on this recipe is inactive, while the dough is rising. Then it’s just a matter of shaping the dough into a ball and into a flat round, resting it a bit more and baking. And all you need is one bowl and a wooden spoon – no mixer. Also: no kneading!

How can something that requires so little work create something so excellent?

The key is moisture. Hertzberg and François are the first to say they did not invent the concept of a wetter dough that does not require kneading, but they have certainly turned the idea into their bread and butter (I had to, sorry). When you knead, you are helping develop the gluten, which occurs when water interacts with the protein in the flour. Kneading helps align the gluten into a network that gives bread structure. But when the dough is wetter, Hertzberg says, the gluten strands are free to roam around and find each other to align themselves.

“If the dough is willing to do the work for you, then why not?” François says.