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Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day - Review

I read a review of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois and had to buy myself a copy of the book. I love fresh baked bread, but never seem to make it as often as I would like. This cookbook has master recipes for boule, challah, olive oil dough, bagels, light whole wheat to name just a few plus variations to make lots of different kinds of breads from the recipes.

The "secret" is to make enough dough for several loaves and store it in the refrigerator. You mix up a master batch of dough, let it rise for 2 hours and then you can shape and bake or store in the frig to use over the next couple weeks. When you want to bake the refrigerated dough, you just taake out as much as you need, add ingredients to make different recipes, shape into loaves, let rise for 20 minutes and bake.

I made a batch of olive oil bread yesterday and left it in my refrigerator. Tonight for dinner I made a piece into rosemary focaccia. It was delicious and my prep time was 5 minutes. It took longer for the oven to heat up.

I highly recommend this book for all the bread lovers out there.

my blog http://www.dinnersforayear.blogspot.com

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  1. My husband and I are really enjoying this book. So far I've made the basic recipe, sun dried tomato and the spinach feta (flavor is subtle). Results have been good even with just a regular cookie sheet.

    I was disappointed in the cinnamon rolls however.

    I'm definitely trying the olive dough next. Has anyone tried the oatmeal bread or the challah?

    1 Reply
    1. re: lvhkitty

      This is different than the no-knead bread, isn't it?

    2. There is an additional 'secret': the water content of the dough is much more than kneaded bread, and it has to be, because the liquid helps break down the flour so the yeast can feed on it and produce a rise. Traditional bakers, like my s.i.l., refuse to accept this, but it does work. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/din...
      Thanks for the reviews. I have used the freebie recipe in the Times, but the book offers so much more, and I will get a copy.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jayt90

        What's to refuse to accept -- Harrold McGee responded to the no knead bread by saying that it's true, it will work.

        1. re: brittle peanut

          Right, not to mention that lots of bakers use very high hydration doughs because it lends that big, open crumb that so many people like.

      2. I've made the basic recipe, the peasant loaf, and the bagels (the regular ones, not the Montreal ones). I've found the dough rather hard to work with when pulling it out of the bin. It sticks to my hands before I have the chance to sprinkle more flour on to it. Having a third hand would probably help. Lacking that, I often have one of my kids standing by with the flour shaker. How do you all deal with handling the dough and shaping the loaves?

        Regarding taste, I liked the peasant bread a little more than the basic loaf. It had a better flavor with the little bit of whole wheat and rye flours in it. The bagels tasted good, but they took much longer to bake than the recipe said. I had to turn up the oven another 25 degrees and still had to leave them in an extra 5 or 10 minutes until they would get brown. They weren't very pretty to look at, but they did taste pretty good. They were a lot of work, though, and I'll probably stick to Brueggers.

        lvhkitty, what disappointed you with the cinnamon rolls? I was looking forward to trying them, although I have a feeling they won't look anything like the pictures in the book, based on the texture of the things I've already baked from it.

        13 Replies
        1. re: AmyH

          Amy -- As far as getting the dough out of the bowl in the fridge -- it is very stretchy and elastic. What I did was pull a bunch out (I've been baking a "grapefruit sized" blob for the two of us for dinner) and then take a scissors to cut the dough away from the mass in the bowl. Not sure if that's "proper" technique, but it's worked fine for me.

          1. re: karykat

            I guess I have kinda small hands, so I have a hard time pulling out a grapefruit sized blob with just one hand. But when I get the other hand involved is when I start having sticky problems, since that side of the dough hasn't been floured like the top has. I have a dough scraper that I use to cut the dough against the side of the container. Scissors is a good idea, too.

            1. re: AmyH

              how about using a smallish, thin-lipped bowl to scoop out dough against the inside of the container? Intuition tells me it would work.

              1. re: toodie jane

                That's a good idea. I'm actually getting a lot better at scooping the dough. It gets much better with practice. Still kind of hard to judge the size of the dough ball, though.

                1. re: AmyH

                  I've been judging the size simply by halving or quartering the amount of dough, depending on whether I've made half a batch or a whole one. That seems to be working well so far.

          2. re: AmyH

            I probably made the mistake of using less butter than the recipe required. I was underwhelmed. I'm going to try it with a different filling but same concept.

              1. re: lvhkitty

                I didn't find any recipe for cinnamon rolls in the book, but this weekend I did make the caramel pecan rolls. They were fabulous. I used the challah dough for them, which is what the book recommends, although you can use other doughs as well. I found the challah dough to be very easy to work with. I had been worried about rolling out and messing with such a moist dough, but I didn't have any trouble at all except for a bit of initial sticking to my hands when I first pulled it out of the rising container. But with some flour on the outside it was fine. One problem I will note is that the butter/sugar mixture on the bottom bubbled out and overflowed the pan. I happen to notice this right before it happened and quickly got a baking sheet covered with foil onto the rack underneath the rolls. I was glad I did; it was covered with burnt sugar and melted butter when I pulled it out afterward. The book doesn't say to put anything under the rolls, but I highly recommend that you do. Also, the 9 inch cake pan didn't seem big enough. I may have pulled out too much dough (I have a hard time judging "canteloupe sized"), but I think I'll make them in a 10 inch pie plate next time. I'm sure there will be a next time. The kids really enjoyed them.

                1. re: AmyH

                  I made the caramel cinnamon rolls this weekend (Feb 3) -- the recipe does include a cinnamon, sugar, and pecan spread that's rolled up in the dough. It is then baked in a butter, brown sugar, and pecan glaze that caramelizes as it bakes. Unlike AmyH, my rolls did fine in a 9" cake pan and I had no trouble with too much liquid as they baked. I used the book's brioche dough as the base rather than the challah -- and the result was scrumptious.

              2. re: AmyH

                I use the wet hands method that they use for some of the non-floured doughs, its a lot less sticky and in my case less likely to leave a big puff of flour somewhere to clean up. win-win

                1. re: Sally599

                  An easy method of handling wet dough: latex gloves, rinsed free of residue or talc,
                  and lightly coated with cooking oil. I prefer the wet hands method,but this way is cleaner.

                2. re: AmyH

                  You can pull the dough out with a spray of PAM on one hand, or both hands.

                  A method I use to get cold dough rising again is to put it in the microwave oven for 1 minute at power level 1 (the lowest). This gets a bit of gentle heat into the center right away.

                  1. re: AmyH

                    I have a squared off bucket that I use and I take those dough scrapers that usually have little to no purpose, use it to quarter the dough, and just take a lump at a time (sometimes I have to recut if i leave it too long between uses).

                  2. I've been wondering about this book--I actually gave it as Christmas gifts to a couple of folks I know who love to bake bread. Just curious--how does it compare to Bittman's "no knead" recipes? Is it similar to that or am I completely off-base?


                    6 Replies
                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      The Basic Crusty Bread is very similar in general procedure and water content. Much shorter rising time and way more yeast (which makes sense as a pair). I can't speak for any of the other recipes since I don't actually have the book...I just have that one recipe.

                      1. re: wawajb

                        If you look on the artisan bread website, they have a lower yeast version, too....

                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I was anxious to compare the Bittman bread as well because I have loved it. So far, I've made the basic master bread recipe. The crust on the "5 minutes a day" bread was excellent. Maybe even better than Bittman's in my experience. Very crusty. The texture inside was dense and even, not like the Bittman bread which had a more open texture with holes (at least for me). The flavor was very good. I think I may prefer the Bittman bread -- but just by a hair.

                        All that said, the 'five minute a day" bread will be my new standard. It is very little work to put a batch together. Then you can have fresh bread every day for a week by just pulling a bit of dough out, letting it rise and baking. This book is going to save us a fortune in fresh bread. And we have been marveling at the quality of it.

                        I'm not sure the Bittman bread couldn't be stored in the fridge and baked this way over the course of a week as well. Someone should try that.

                        1. re: karykat

                          see my response above....since the recipe can be adapted to a lower yeast version, I would say it should work....

                          1. re: eLizard

                            Not sure what you are saying. Do you think the Bittman dough could be stored in the fridge and baked like the "5-minute" bread? Has anyone tried that?

                            It would seem from looking at the ingredients that it should work.

                            1. re: karykat

                              Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying..... sorry for the confusion.

                      3. I have the book on order but have made two batches with the freebie recipe. Actually, my 5-year-old made the second batch - bread so easy a child can make it. It took her Mom to screw it up. I forgot to put it in the fridge after the 2 hours and it sat out overnight. Refrigerated it the next morning, baked a loaf 3 days later, and - other than a yeasty flavor due to the overproofing - it came out just fine. This is a very forgiving recipe.

                        My only problem has been transferring the loaf onto the stone. I don't have a peel so I've been using the back of a flat cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Every last time the dough sticks to the sheet and my bread comes out tasty but oddly shaped. Any thoughts or suggestions, please?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: rockycat

                          Use parchment or the nonstick aluminum foil. I've used both and it's worked great. Put the dough on a sheet of either when you take it out of the fridge to rise. Then put the dough with the parchment or foil on the stone. Easy to transfer. And it doesn't seem to interfere with the heat from the stone.

                          1. re: karykat

                            Good idea using the parchment! I'm going to try that, too. I've also had problems with some loaves sticking to the peel. It seems to have to do with how much flour I am able to coat the outside of the dough with. If it's the least bit wet or sticky on the bottom it will stick to the peel, even with a lot of flour or cornmeal. I find it really hard to lift out the chunk (grapefruit sized) of dough, cut it away from the rest, and sprinkle it with flour, and shape it with only 2 hands.

                            1. re: AmyH

                              I'm not a baker, but after reading about this in the Chicago Trib, I had to try it. We've had fresh bread for two weeks straight. This is awesome!

                            2. re: karykat

                              I did try parchment on the 3rd loaf and I felt that I didn't get as nice a bottom crust as I did on the previous loaves. I even put cornmeal on the parchment because I like the texture. I decided that I prefered the mutated blobs with great crusts to the nicer boule with a slightly softer crust. Thanks for the thought, though.

                          2. If you haven't seen it, here's an interesting interview with the authors, followed by a question and answer session with home bakers. And for those who like to weigh ingredients, the authors give flour weight and hydration levels in the interview.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bakergal

                              Thanks so much for this link. It had lots of good information, plus this link to the web site for the book. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com On the book's web site they have a list of the errors in the book. Some of them could be important, like baking temps, missing or different ingredients, etc. People using the book might want to take a look and pencil in the changes.

                            2. I've been using the book since Christmas (despite also dieting!) and have made the basic recipe, oatmeal bread, olive oil bread (with King Arthur Italian flour), and peasant (with rye and whole wheat) so far. After a year of No Knead Bread, I have to say I find "5 Minutes" much more versatile and equally if not more delicious. Friends raved about the oatmeal bread, served a sandwiches with turkey, caramelized onion, and a blue cheese spread, and the olive oil bread made a great foccacia (with lardo) and terrific pizza crust. But you do have to have a baking stone and peel, plus a pan in which to place the hot water to steam the loaves, unlike NKB, where a heavy casserole can do all the work.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: TNExplorer

                                Except don't the heavy casseroles cost about $200? I don't happen to have one and wouldn't buy one for bread-making.

                                That being said, I tried using the pan portion of my crockpot and covering it, to make no-knead bread, and it worked fine, by the way, but that was the one and only time I made no-knead bread!

                                1. re: brittle peanut

                                  I was making the NYTimes no-knead bread using a cheap cast iron dutch oven and it was working fine. (I had been using one of the enameled cast iron dutch ovens and the bottoms were burning. So I switched to the cheap cast aluminum (also turned the heat down a bit) and it worked great. A friend was using a covered pyrex casserole dish and was happy with it. So you definitely don't need an expensive pan.

                                  I also don't think you need a peel to make the "five minute bread." Others may disagree, but I was getting good results letting my bread rise on a piece of parchment or nonstick aluminum foil and transfering that to the heated pizza stone. You do need the pizza stone, though.

                                  I too am finding the five minute bread very versatile. Mainly because for very little initial work putting the dough together, you can have fresh bread every night for two weeks. How great is that?

                                  1. re: brittle peanut

                                    America's Test Kitchen says that you can use the Tramontina Brand of enameled cast iron (available at Walmart for 30-ish bucks) to make the no-knead bread. I have the fancy cast iron, and this cheapy one, and for bread, it makes no difference.

                                2. I made the naan tonight and it was excellent. I had some of the European peasant dough in the fridge, about half of the recipe, and it made 6 "loaves" of naan. It's really quick to make because you do it in a frying pan on the stove. It calls for a cast iron skillet but says you can use a heavy non-stick skillet, too. I used a big calphalon skillet that has a lid. You need to use a lid to keep in the steam. It was maybe half an hour from deciding to make it until all the loaves were done. And they were quite tasty!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: AmyH

                                    Zoe made the naan bread as one of the things she made at this class she gave recently, and it was just great. She cooked it in some ghee, which is easy to make and last a good while. One thing she said that was interesting is that the flatbreads are a great use for dough that is 9 days old or more. Because that dough will not tend to rise as much. If you don't want to make flatbreads and have dough that is going to get old, you can freeze it. Then defrost for 24 hours in the fridge before baking.

                                    1. re: AmyH

                                      Amy -- I made this at home and had trouble moving the dough to the pan (because it is so moist). It got kind of gloppy and twisted and then uneven in the pan. Then, because it was uneven, it cooked unevenly (some parts a bit burned, others underdone). Although it did taste fine. Any trick to moving the dough?

                                      1. re: karykat

                                        If I remember correctly (it's been a while), I rolled out each ball of bread while the previous one was cooking. I think it took a good dusting of flour for them to roll well, and then they weren't terribly gloppy. I did have a problem with them folding over on themselves as I put them in the pan. some I was able to quickly rescue with a spatula, but some I wasn't, and those were rather thick. Or if an air bubble got trapped underneath, that part didn't come in good contact with the pan and did't get brown. It made them more "rustic" but, like yours, they tasted good.

                                    2. I am interested to hear about everyone's experiences with this book. However, I am curious about one thing: are any of you baking at a high altitude?
                                      We just finished our first year living above sea level, and I still don't have a feel for how quickly dough rises. Even left in the fridge, the rise seems to happen faster than I expect. So, I am skeptical about leaving dough in the refrigerator for days at a time. Has anyone tried this at 2000 feet or above?

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: jjones21

                                        I live at 4500 feet and tried the master recipe this weekend - delicious,! I'll see how subsequent batches compare. After this first batch I've ordered the book. The authors have an excellent web site and appear to be very responsive to questions and to really want to help make it work:


                                        Some high altitude concerns are answered in a 01/28/08 post from Zoe under the topic of "Zoe's Bucket Collection"

                                        1. re: janeh

                                          Thanks --- look forward to hearing how the dough ages!

                                        2. re: jjones21

                                          Ok, so I'm late to the party, but I am DEFINITELY dancing! This bread is aMAZing! I made it today (at about 7200 feet). deeeeeeelicious and oh so easy! Went through it all at one pop so I don't know about the aging, but I'm about to mix a new batch for next week, so will report back if I run into any hitches. (no news is definitely good news)

                                          There are not enough superlatives to properly gush about this bread. (I did a mutant whole wheat/white because I wanted to use loaf pans and I didn't have time for the full whole wheat rise. Even though I messed with the recipe and mistakenly had the oven much too hot for most of the baking, my loaves were ... well ... cracklin' crusted, nicely crumbed, delicious, amazing, incredible and good for the heart.) Try it. Lots of variations in the Mother Earth article: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-F...

                                        3. I have a question for those who have the book. The OP mentions that there's a recipe for "light whole wheat," but I'd like to know if there are any recipes for breads that are substantially made up of whole grains. I understand that, like the Lahey no-knead bread, none will be 100% whole grain, but as I haven't had a chance to see the book in person, I'm curious if it includes any doughs that have more than a smattering of whole grain flour(s).

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                            One of the authors talks about whole grain doughs in an interview on this site:

                                            And they have also included a rye recipe from the book on the site. The link to that is here:

                                            Another chowhound pointed me to these links and they have been very helpful and partly discuss your question.

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              Actually, there is a recipe for 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread that calls for only whole wheat flour (page 76). The recipe calls for making it in a loaf pan but the description says you can also use it to make "lovely free-form loaves using the baking stone." The next recipe on page 78 is Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Inspired by Chris Kimball (the guy from Cook's Illustrated Magazine). It has 1/4 cup rye flour, 1/2 cup wheat germ, 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour and 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour (that's to make three 1 1/2 pound loaves). The English Granary-Style Bread (page 91) calls for 1 cup malted wheat flakes and 1 cup whole wheat flour to 5 cups all-purpose. The Oatmeal Bread (page 94) calls for 1/2 cup oat bran, 1/3 cup wheat bran, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour to 4 1/4 cups all purpose. So yes, there are a variety of breads that have substantial amounts of whole grains. There are also some that have cornmeal and a few more with oatmeal or rye.

                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                Thanks much for your detailed reply, Amy.

                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                  We loved the oatmeal bread -- great for sandwiches, and you can also add dried fruits and nuts for an excellent breakfast bread.

                                                  1. re: TNExplorer

                                                    I made the oatmeal bread this weekend. I did the raisin/walnut variation of it and also make a loaf with just chopped apricots. It didn't rise very much during the hour and 40 minute resting, so the result was very dense. But very tasty. I wasn't sure my kids would like it, but they did, and polished off most of both loaves. I still have one loaf-worth in the fridge. I may do it plain to see if it rises better without all the fruit and nuts. It's a fairly significant of amount of fruits and nuts to add (1 cup raisins or apricots and 3/4 cup walnuts) and that might have weighed down the loaves.

                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                      No for some reason the oatmeal bread doesn't rise much at all, it still tastes good though.

                                              2. question.....when refridgerating the dough, do i punch it down? It doesn't say on the nyt recipe.

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: eLizard

                                                  I just checked the book. It does not say to punch down the dough.

                                                  1. re: karykat

                                                    thanks so much. i made my first 2 loaves this a.m. i took out a grapefruit sized hunk of dough, divided, and formed into baguettes. i let it rise on floured towels on a couche and baked. unbelievable. i may actually buy the book. is it worth it for the other dough recipes? how many are there?

                                                    1. re: eLizard

                                                      The book is about 240 pages. There is a chapter with the master recipe and then chapters on peasant loaves, flatbreads and pizzas and enriched breads and pastries. So there are a lot of recipes. Some have whole grains like the pumpernickel and whole wheat breads, and oatmeal breads. Some others are the vermont cheddar bread (which I have seen has received rave reviews), garlic potato bread, pecan caramel rolls, and many more.

                                                      I have stuck with the master recipe so far. I have a new batch in the fridge right now. The almond brioche bread is high on my list of things to try soon.

                                                        1. re: karykat

                                                          I made the vermont cheddar bread with last night's dinner of split pea soup. It was excellent. The texture and the taste were great. The only problem I had with it was sticking to the peel (a problem which I've had with other loaves) and sticking to the baking stone. I think it was the cheese that made it stick. I had to pry it off with a metal spatula. I think this bread would be an excellent candidate for the use of parchment paper.

                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                            do you make a whole bucket full of VT. cheddar? or can you just add it to a loaf of the master boule?

                                                            1. re: eLizard

                                                              I made a half recipe because I didn't have any need for 4 loaves of the bread. Although the dough can be frozen, so I could have done that. It is essentially the same recipe as the master boule except that it also has 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar and then the 1 cup of shredded cheddar. If you add these to a loaf of the master boule you would probably be tempted to mix them in, but that would deflate the air bubbles that the initial rise created. When the authors add things to these doughs, they do it by rolling out the ball of dough, sprinkling the additions on top, and rolling them up. So you could add the cheese that way, and have a spiral of cheese running through the bread.

                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                Thanks for these tips. Very helpful.

                                                                The Vermont cheddar bread is high on my list of doughs to make next. Have a pretty full batch of the master recipe in the fridge now for the next few days.

                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                  I have to try the cheese. I bet other cheese would taste good too.

                                                                2. re: eLizard


                                                                  I made a kalmata/fontina/garlic loaf today by taking a 1# blob, pressing it out to a circle, spinkling with the olives, cheese, and garlic, rolled and pinched to seal, raised for 45 min on a floured, dishtowel couche then baked.

                                                                  It is awesome, and only my 2nd loaf of bread. Tomorrow, pizza! Sunday, caramel rolls. woo hoo! new hobby!

                                                                3. re: AmyH

                                                                  One thing Zoe said at the class she gave is that you can use the parchment paper when you transfer the dough to the stone, and then pull it out from underneath. That might not be good to do with a dough that has a tendency to stick though. Maybe pull out partly through the baking process?

                                                                  She said that parchment is great but the bottom will be lighter and not as crispy. One thing you can do is turn the almost-done bread upside-down on the stone to finish it, and to give the bottom surface the chance to darken and crisp better.

                                                                  She said you can also do a similar thing with breads baked in loaf pans: pull them out of the pans to finish baking and to give the sides and bottoms a chance to finish.

                                                              2. re: eLizard

                                                                The book is fantastic. There are additional tips and troubleshooting. I made the semolina and oatmeal breads this weekend. It's pretty reasonable at Amazon.

                                                                1. re: lvhkitty

                                                                  I'm a real amateur but I remember reading somewhere that wheat flour makes dough stick whereas rice flour doesn't. I think it was referring to flouring a banneton but perhaps it might work on a peel ??

                                                          2. I made the challah and onion board this past week. I thought the challah was only just okay. I've had much better bakery versions and much worse home-made versions. My daughter was enchanted, though, and it was nice to be able to make just enough for the weekend. Bakery challahs last us a whole week and then go stale.

                                                            The onion board engendered a little controversy at home. Both the Spouse and I thought the dough needed to be spread out much more thinly, maybe 1/4" instead of the recommended 1/2". I would also not pre-cook the onions again. I'd mince them very finely, mix with the poppy seeds and salt, and let the oven do the cooking. That much we agreed on. I thought that otherwise the onion board was fine. Spouse didn't care for the extra sweetness the challah dough imparted. Oh, and by the way, it only stays fresh for one day. Which is fine with me. I actually like it better the next day, just slightly stale.

                                                            1. I guess my only complaint is that the bread is very yeasty. I think I'd reduce the yeast by at least half for my next batch.

                                                              1. Well, I've finally made the 5 minute bread and now I've got another problem. It seems my wife and son both like the 5 minute bread much better than the Bittman/Sullivan St. bread. I'm heartbroken because the B/S bread seems more artisinal with what I feels is a better crust and crumb along with a more complex (sourish) flavor, while the 5 minute version is like a bakery white bread. Not bad, but not as interesting. It's definitely more convenient being able to open the fridge, take out a chunk, and 40 minutes later baking it off. If only I didn't have a conscience.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: jnk

                                                                  You need to tune the recipe a little bit, in order to get the crust and crumb exactly the way you want, but with a little twiddling, it is quite trivial to dial it in.

                                                                  Example: I have experimented with using a sponge, adding 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar, resting the shaped loaf for 2 hours, baking covered at 500 degrees, baking uncovered at 450... I bought a stoneware baker from some guy on eBay for $10 and have found that to give me the most open crumb and the crackliest crust. Using 1/3 KA White Whole Wheat flour in place of the all purpose flour, and/or using starter, will also help improve the flavor. I find that a hydration level of about 83-85% works best as a balance between big holes and difficult handling, and I use a scale for everything because I don't like thinking too much.

                                                                  Good luck... there's really no need to be a slave to either recipe.

                                                                  1. re: jnk

                                                                    So far I've made two batches of the master recipe and loved (LOVED) the convenenience of it. We found it to be very good bread. I too like the NYTimes bread marginally better. But having bread every night for only a bit of initial work is pretty great.

                                                                    Here's my solution. My boyfriend wants to learn to make bread and doesn't have a baking stone. So I'm going to get him started on the NYTimes bread. Meanwhile, I am going to keep going with the 5 minute bread, trying some of the other types in the book. That way I figure I'll have the best of both worlds! NYTimes bread when he makes it and the 5 minute bread available every night when he doesn't.

                                                                    1. re: jnk

                                                                      Have you considered keeping some of the old dough aside, and adding that to a new batch? (Also, don't bake it right after mixing it; let it sit.)

                                                                    2. I've made a bunch of bread from the basic master recipe and the challah dough: Caramel pecan rolls, chocolate-almond challah, basic bread, parmesan bread and red-pepper gruyere dinner rolls. The only one I had any quibbles with was the caramel pecan rolls, which required too much prep time and had too much butter. I have a recipe for monkey bread that's much easier, so I'm sticking to that.

                                                                      But I love the ease of this, and the convenience of keeping the dough ready in the fridge until you want to make a small batch of this or that. It's very easy to experiment with!

                                                                      Also, I've been baking the regular bread in a dutch oven or terrine with great results. I don't have a pizza peel or stone, and don't miss them with these recipes.

                                                                      Photos and recipes here (mixed in with batches using Jim Lahey's method):

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Kitt

                                                                        Kitt -- I have suspected that the Lahey dough may work if held in the refrigerator as in the 5-minute bread. Someone with more knowledge of moisture levels etc. may have an opinion on that. (Father Kitchen -- are you out there?) Or someone should just try it.

                                                                        It had not occurred to me to make use the Lahey dutch oven baking method with the 5-minute dough. Brilliant. And glad to hear it works. I am going to suggest this to my BF who lives under a separate roof and who said he wants to learn to make bread but doesn't have the baking stone.

                                                                        Also glad to see your monkey bread recipe in your blog.

                                                                        My next experiment will be the 5-minute dough with the almond paste. Looking forward to that.

                                                                        1. re: karykat

                                                                          Karykat, I've tuned into this late and haven't even read all the thread. I have the Hertzberg & Francois book. In fact, I just sent another copy to the cook in my last monastery. She cooks bread every day. These no knead breads are an interesting area in which I don't pretend to be an expert. But about two years ago I read somethng that stated almost any kneaded bread recipe can be made into an unkneaded bread recipe if ascorbic acid is added to the flour and the amount of yeast decreased to allow for a long rise. I'm not one to add improvers to dough, but ascorbic acid as an enzyme would have stepped up molecular bonding. I also recalled that Elizabeth David had some no knead recipes in her great bread book. So just before Bittman popularized the Lahey recipe, I made a number of no knead loaves with more standard hydration as I tried to develop a recipe for friends in Canada with a tiny kitchen. And even at 67% hydration, I got decent results. But wetter doughs do perform better. I don't understand the chemistry here, but I suspect that a very wet dough steps up the protease activity and allows faster bonding by giving molecules more room to move around in. Also, I think a very wet dough is more extensible, which is why we get such nice big holes in that moist crumb. The Hertzberg & Francois approach corresponds to what happened to me by accident in '75 when I was trying to learn to bake bread with the Tassajara bread book in hand. I got called away for a sick call, put a whole wheat yeasted dough in the fridge and forgot about it. Two weeks later we found this thing crawling out of the pot. We punched it down, shaped it into loaves and got extraordinarily good wholewheat sourdough loaves. That doesn't fit in with any ordinary approach, and I still don't know what to make of it. But that success tells me that we shouldn't treat dough as a sacred cow. Bread dough is a living culture, and unless we really screw up we'll get something edible and maybe even very good. Hertzberg and Francois aren't really all that far from what happened in our fridge.
                                                                          I think it helps to keep in mind that straight yeasted doughs don't develop quite so much acid. Clearly, if any dough is left to ferment a long time, some lactic acid fermentation will take place. Sourdoughs by definition ferment with rather a lot of lactic acid bacteria fermentation--which also produce acetic acid and acetate and other things that modify flavor.(But acidified doughs are more "tender" than straight yeasted doughs.) And that explains why a sourdough does not respond well to retardation in the fridge. Lactic acid bacteria simply don't reproduce well at refrigerator temperatures. And most of the the yeast found on wheat berries need the bacteria to get the sugars they require, since they cannot digest maltose. (See Maggie Glezer's excellent discussion based on Calvel in Artisan Breads.) Beyond that, hydration is a matter of preference. I tend to bake with rather slack doughs. I've done the Lahey loaf at 87% hydration with excellent results, though it is messy to handle a dough that is that wet.
                                                                          Last week, I noticed another Lahey recipe in the Glezer book. I had baked some sourdough potato pizza out of my head, remembering tastes from Italy. I was looking for information on onion pizzas. Do you merely sweat the onions in oil or actually let them take on color? I started looking through the bread books for a clue. I didn't quite find an answer but found Lahey's recipe for potato pizza which is hydrated at a whopping 109%, but it is also mechanically worked to develop the gluten. I have to try it. And I suspect a refrigerator version of it, Hertzberg and Francois style, might work quite well. I must try it.

                                                                          1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                                            FK can you explain the "hydration" percentages. What are they, how do you measure, etc?

                                                                      2. I made the Ksra Moroccan Anise and Barley Flatbread with our Moroccan dinner tonight. It was delicious and the crumb was perfect. It didn't really stay flat, though. But it made nice loaves that we cut in wedges (as per the recipe). A couple of my kids weren't crazy about the anise flavor, but the rest of us loved it.

                                                                        1. I made the buttermilk bread recipe this weekend. Actually, it was a variation of it because I ran out of all purpose flour and had to use a little bit of bread flour and a little bit of whole wheat. It was still excellent with a nice texture. Instead of a loaf of bread, I made it into rolls. The kids loved them so much that I made more of it into rolls the next night (lovely with a bowl of lentil soup) and then made the final third of the dough into the "Judy's Board of Directors Cinnamon Raisin Bread". Yum! I would have liked it to rise more, though. Even after an hour and 50 minutes (the recipe says an hour and 40) it wasn't quite to the top of the pan. I seem to have that problem with the loaves baked in pans. I'm not sure why. I sprinkled more cinnamon and sugar onto the top of the loaf before baking. I would definitely make that one again.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: AmyH

                                                                            Thanks for mentioning your use of the buttermilk bread dough for rolls- just got the book and I was looking for a recipe to use for "southern style" rolls for Thanksgiving. I guessed that this recipe or the white bread recipe would do the trick- glad to hear that it works well. Thanks again!

                                                                            1. re: jamfan38

                                                                              I just got back into using this cookbook after hardly using it at all during the summer. I hated firing up the oven to 450. I guess I could have made some of the 350 recipes. Next summer...
                                                                              Anyway, this past weekend I made the wheat bran bread. It was excellent and not very "whole wheaty" tasting. I used half of the dough to form into 5 small loaves to use as bread bowls for clam chowder. It worked very well. I just baked them a few minutes less than for a big loaf.
                                                                              Also, I've pretty much given up trying to slide bread right off the peel onto the stone. Either my cloaking isn't sufficient, my dough is too wet, or I'm not using the right amount of cornmeal. So now I use a piece of parchment paper with some cornmeal sprinkled onto it. Works great every time and no misshapen loaves from clinging to the peel.

                                                                          2. I don't have the book but I have made the bread. I froze the rest of the dough (grapefruit sized) in individual freezer bags in the freezer because I know I would not use the whole thing in a week or so.

                                                                            1. I hope to get the book soon!

                                                                              1. I'm taking a class with the authors on Wednesday night at a cooking school. Lucky me! Does anyone have any burning questions for them? I'll ask a few questions if there's time.

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: karykat

                                                                                  Oooh! Lucky you! Let us know which breads they make. I'd kind of like to know about baking in loaf pans. When the recipe says to let the dough rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes before putting it into the oven, should we be looking for the dough to double in size like a typical bread recipe? Or more or less than double? My loaves don't seem to start out very big in the bottom of the loaf pan, and they never make it above the top edge. They're a bit dense, too. But I'm scared to let them keep rising and have them collapse. If you could ask them about that I'd really appreciate it. If you can't, I'll write in to their web page and ask. Thanks!

                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                    AmyH and lupaglupa -- Last night's class was great. I'll let you know what we made when I get a minute tomorrow. Zoe said she would weigh in tomorrow, so look for answers from her.

                                                                                    Happy baking.

                                                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                                                      At the class, Zoe made a naan (which was great), a couple pizzas, European peasant bread (which she said keeps a little longer than white), za'atar flatbread, and chocolate cherry bread pudding, and brioche and whole wheat sandwich bread.

                                                                                      I think she may yet weigh in in response to your questions, but as for the loaf pan baking, I think from what I read that a little longer rise is better. Also, some of the breads rise more in the oven than during the rise. (I think she said that.) She also said that if you are using loaf pans, that you should use a nonstick pan AND grease it well, because the wetter doughs tend to stick more.

                                                                                      She also said that she does mix a new batch of dough in the bucket she used for the prior batch to give a bit of extra fermentation or sourdough flavor. She also said that she sometimes mixes a new batch in a bucket that still has a fair amount of dough left in it, for that reason.

                                                                                      I learned a few other tips from her. Here are some:

                                                                                      1. The dough changes in character during the time it stores. After about 9 days, it won't rise as much. That dough is really good for the flatbreads. You can also freeze "younger" dough. For example, you can freeze 5-day old dough, well wrapped. Defrost for 24 hours in the fridge, then bake as usual.

                                                                                      2. Whole wheat flatbreads are less springy and therefore easier to roll out.

                                                                                      3. White doughs are springier. If rolling out a white flour flatbread and it is springing back, don't fight with it -- that only makes the gluten "stronger." Give it a few minutes rest and it will then be easier to work with.

                                                                                      4. You can put a little flour on the top of the surface of the dough or on your hands when pulling a blob of dough out of the bucket. It will be less likely to stick to your hands then.

                                                                                      5. I think it is important to have the hot water in the oven as the book discusses. Important to creating the best crust. My crusts have been crunchy without doing this, but I think they would be even better if I did do it.

                                                                                      6. You are more likely to get good air holes if the dough is not overhandled or kneaded.

                                                                                      7. Stir the flour before sweeping to measure it. Or weigh it. 6.5 cups flour is 2 lbs.

                                                                                      8. The breads with whole grains (like the European peasant bread) keep a little longer than the white.

                                                                                      I have a batch of brioche made and ready to bake and am excited about that. I love the idea of being able to freeze doughs when they are at peak timing. The naan bread was great and can be ready very quickly after pulling out of the fridge (no rising time needed).

                                                                                      She also made a few side dishes from the book. I loved a soup she made that was so so simple and really good -- Suvir Saran's Chilled Yogurt Soup with Cucumber and Mint. Will definitely be making that in the summer with naan bread.

                                                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                                                        Thanks for all the pointers from the class, karykat. How many hours long was it? That was a lot of baking and cooking. I would have loved to have been there. This weekend was the first one since I bought the book that I didn't make something from it. Now you have me wanting to mix up a batch of dough and get baking again!

                                                                                        1. re: AmyH

                                                                                          It was three hours. Zoe had the dough mixed. She had helpers. And she talked fast!

                                                                                        2. re: karykat

                                                                                          Thanks for sharing what you learned. So far everything I have made has been good - some have been great. I think like with anything it will take some time to have a good feel for the dough and as I bake more I will get more consistent results. But tips and hints certainly shorten the learning curve!!

                                                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                                                            Just caught up on this discussion. Thanks for the update from the class! Great to know you can freeze the dough, too.

                                                                                      2. re: karykat

                                                                                        Hey karykat, I was at the class last night too - I was one of the class assistants. I'm hooked. Except for a relatively brief affair with a bread machine, I've generally stayed away from yeast breads. Too futzy. But I am totally going to give this a shot. My husband was upset to see another cookbook come in the house, but I promised to make him some caramel rolls.

                                                                                      3. Anybody have an idea as to how to make the five minute artisan bread with a sourdough? I'm looking at my container with the dregs of my first batch clinging to the sides and wondering what would happen if I just added the ingredients for the next batch to them.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                          I think somewhere in the book or on one of the websites, the authors suggest you can do that -- make the new dough in the container with dregs from the old dough. I have a container that would be ready for that approach right now! Not sure if that would be enough to give the dough a sourdough quality or not. I can ask at tonight's class if that works.

                                                                                          1. re: karykat

                                                                                            Karykat and Lupaglupa, if you want sourdough quality and five minutes a day work, then the way to go about it is to make a no knead sourdough loaf. But that does mean refreshing a sourdough starter. There are two difficulties with trying to maintain a sourdough in a vat like a yeasted retarded dough. The first is that the bacterial fermentation works best at warm room temperatures. Refrigeration impedes the bacterial growth. Secondly, the acids in sourdough, which make it so flavorful, also degrade the gluten, so if you store it soured, the gluten breaks down--typically into a mud like strata with hooch floating on the top. With baker's yeast, the chief byproduct is alcohol, so you don't have that problem. A sourdough no knead loaf is easy. Just substitute a couple of tablespoons of fresh firm starter or up to 1/4 cup of fresh batter starter for the yeast in the Lahey recipe. It works quite well. And if you bake only a no-knead version, the amount of starter you need to keep and refresh is quite small: say 1/4 cup of flour mixed with a scant 2 tablespoons of water and a bit of old starter, which I think is more convenient that trying to store a vat of dough. I don't really know how long a sourdough can be left in the refrigerator before it collapses. Judging from how a stiff storage leaven or starter behaves, I'd guess you might get away with two days, but the salt in the dough might give you a bit more leeway. You can always try it. It's no great loss of it doesn't work--only a bit of flour and water.

                                                                                        2. I am not sure if it has been mentioned but..... An easy way to transfer from a peel or cookie sheet is to form loaf and place on parchment, it will slide right off the peel. After about 3 minutes the parchment will slide right out from under the loaf so you will get the great crispy crust on the bottom, leaving it there will not allow the stone to do its job of getting a good bottom crust. Works well for pizza too.


                                                                                          1. I am going to try the 5 minute bread recipe even tho I don't have the book yet. I have read the threads and wondered if you can use bread flour for this recipe or does it have to be A/P flour? I have both but want to make sure I use the correct flour. Also, instead of a pan of water in the oven for steam can you spray the baking bread with a mist of water?

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Smileelisa

                                                                                              either flour will work. use slightly less if using bread flour. i don't do the steam thing at all, and it comes out fine.

                                                                                              1. re: eLizard

                                                                                                the crust crackles a little better (pulls back with a shiny gloss) if the surface temperature is kept high during the initial expansion. Personally I feel that putting a steel mixing bowl over the stone, or using something like the $10 La Cloche I bought on eBay, is easier and works as well as their broiler-pan method. Trapping the steam close to the loaf and thereby speeding the conduction of heat to the surface starches, while keeping the surface moist enough to expand, is all that one is trying to accomplish during this phase of the baking. So anything that keeps it steamy and hot around the loaf produces results in keeping with their broiler pan method (often better). I've tried pretty much all of them and I end up using the Cloche most of the time, or else my improvised SuperPeel on a previously-moistened stone (evaporated since) in our little Cuisinart oven. The broiler pan method is not the only way to accomplish a crackling crust.

                                                                                                Which is a good thing since I don't have a broiler pan (self-clean FTW!).

                                                                                              2. re: Smileelisa

                                                                                                Its chewier with bread flour, the recipe is really designed for AP (well except for the bagels and a few others)

                                                                                              3. First batch was ok, but too yeasty and I wasn't thrilled with the texture. Second batch (a week later from the original dough) was disasterously heavy and took forever to cook.

                                                                                                I have had excellent results with Bittman's no-knead recipe and the texture and flavor of the "5 Min a Day" bread didn't even remotely compare.

                                                                                                A better and simpler rcipe is, IMO, the "Other" No Knead bread recipe from the NYT

                                                                                                It's easy and tastes much better than the "5 min a day" version.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                  I agree with Hamster about other breads I've tried since BittLahey bread and the "other" no-knead. Nothing comes close and now I don't even try other recipes...except today I'm making the Sullivan Street Bakery pizza crust. I figure that since it's from the "Lahey" of "BittLey", how could it be bad?

                                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                    C. Hamster, I'm a little confused. The "other" No Knead recipe from the New York Times you linked to IS the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

                                                                                                  2. lupaqlupa, You're right, it 5 minute Artisan Bread was the second bread recipe from the NYTimes. I had saved that section of the paper and it has been by my computer for months. I finally decided to make it last night. It's in the oven as I type. I'm curious how it comes out.

                                                                                                    From the the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes website, they list a number of errors in their book. The NYTimes listed 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast. I don't have their book but from the corrections, that would be equivilant to 2 packets. I used Red Star brand. Wonder if brand of yeast makes a difference?

                                                                                                    From watching a YouTube of Jeff and Zoe, they put water in the pan at the same time they put the dough in the oven. They said you have to do this quickly so you get the steam. I'm wondering if it would have been better to just put the water in the pan as you pre-heat the oven. Trying to rush this, I was afraid of burning my hand on the rack.

                                                                                                    It smells great. I'll report back how it comes out.

                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: bearzie

                                                                                                      Yes, you're correct, they've noted that correction to 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast which is two packets. I sometimes make a half recipe and just use one packet then. I doubt if the brand of yeast matters.

                                                                                                      I think I agree. I like the flavor of the Lahey bread more. A little more, anyway. But I like the crust on this bread a bit more and really love the ability to pre-make the dough and bake it as I need it. For a 1.5 person household, that makes sense. I can bake it as I need it and don't waste anything and have good bread. I've stopped buying expensive bakery bread since I started doing this.

                                                                                                      Let us know how your bread comes out, bearzie.

                                                                                                      I'm also interested in knowing how that Lahey pizza crust is. That sounds really good too.

                                                                                                      1. re: bearzie

                                                                                                        I think if you put the water in during the preheat it will evaporate before the baking is done - when I pour it in at the beginning of the bake it is usually gone at the end.

                                                                                                        I liked this bread pretty well but have since gone to 'regular' kneaded bread and find I like the loaves better. I will do the no knead again when I want a loaf fopr a dinner but it didn't work as well for me for everyday toast and sandwich bread.

                                                                                                        1. re: lupaglupa

                                                                                                          Results from my first try at 5 minute bread.

                                                                                                          The bread rose into an ackward shape. Not the most appealing look. The top third of the bread was pretty good but the bottom 2/3rds was a little doughy in both texture and taste. Also, the flavor seemed a little bland.

                                                                                                          These results might have been my own fault. I forgot to add the salt to the yeast so I added it after I had mixed the flour. Perhaps the salt didn't get distributed evenly.

                                                                                                          I didn't preheat the stone for the full 20 minutes. Maybe that's why the bottom part of the dough wasn't cooked enough.

                                                                                                          And maybe I wasn't fast enough putting the hot water in the pan. I ended up adding more water because I was afraid the pan would burn if the water didn't cover the bottom on the pan. Would the pan burn? Does anyone know?

                                                                                                          I'll try this again. I only used 1/4th of the dough.

                                                                                                          1. re: bearzie

                                                                                                            I think preheating the stone enough is probably important.

                                                                                                            Not sure that the water part is that critical I sometimes skip that (don't tell anyone!)

                                                                                                            I think the dough develops more flavor as it sits.

                                                                                                            1. re: bearzie

                                                                                                              The water does evaporate from the pan while baking. But if you use the bottom of a broiler pan, as they suggest in the book, you won't have any problem with the pan burning.

                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                ...sort of like adding water to the stones in a sauna; the oven temp spikes immediately.

                                                                                                        2. I used the brioche dough to make beignets for my son's birthday party sleep-over breakfast. I couldn't keep up with the demand. They were fantastic. I used the rest of the dough to make brioche loaves, which I sliced and froze, and the kept quite well. They make great French toast. Talk about gilding the lily!

                                                                                                          1. I made the roasted garlic potato bread this weekend. Wow! It was absolutely delicious. I made a half recipe, thinking the kids wouldn't care for it. But they loved it and said I should have made a whole recipe. For the half recipe, I roasted 4 big cloves of garlic. It made almost exactly 1 Tbsp of the roasted garlic. Also, even though the recipe didn't say to, I used the water that the potatoes had been boiled in, cooled down to lukewarm. Most potato bread recipes use the potato water, so I figured it would work for this. The dough was very easy to handle, better than the basic dough recipes. I will definitely be making this one again.

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                              You are inspiring me. I am going to give this a try in the next couple days. Maybe with some good soup.

                                                                                                              1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                I served it with the herbed barley buttermilk soup from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" and it was a delicious combination.

                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                  That sounds like a good soup too! An interesting combination -- barley and buttermilk.

                                                                                                                  1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                    It was good. Light and different than the usual crockpot soup. If I recall correctly (I made 1 1/2 x the recipe because there are 6 of us), you chop up two onions and 1/2 cup of celery. Sautee in 2 Tbsp butter until soft. Put in crockpot with 4 cups water and 3/4 cup barley (rinsed and drained). Cook on low 5 to 6 hours. Turn to high, add 2 cups buttermilk, cook for 30 minutes to heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. THen right before serving stir in 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs. I used parsley, dill, oregano, sage, rosemary since that's what I had growing. Then sprinkle each bowl with more of the chopped herbs. It's really a very unique soup. I had some of the leftover last night and thought it was even better than the first day.

                                                                                                                    1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                      Thanks much. It does sound really different, light and fresh with all those herbs in it.

                                                                                                            2. I made a batch of the basic dough from the NY Times recipe last night. I used King Arthur AP flour, and the dough was drier than I thought it would be, but I stuck it in the refrigerator anyway. Today I looked on the authors' website and saw that they recommend an extra 1/4 cup of water with KA AP flour. Is there a way I can fix my dough at this point? Would it work to stir in the extra water today and then put the dough back in the refrigerator for another night?

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Lucycat9

                                                                                                                I'm not sure that that would work, since it's already risen. You might want to ask the question directly to the authors of the book. They take questions on the misc. bread questions part of their blog: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=145
                                                                                                                although you probably won't get the answer quick enough for your dough. You may just want to try baking one loaf of it, see how it turns out, then experiment with adding water to the remaining dough if necessary. It's only flour and yeast, so not much is lost if it doesn't turn out.

                                                                                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                  I posted the question for them. You've confirmed what I was worried about -- that it's too late because it's already risen. But you're right -- not much lost and next time I'll know better. Thanks!

                                                                                                                2. re: Lucycat9

                                                                                                                  I've been making the recipes with KA products, including bread flour and Italian style, and like the results even without the added water. (I only learned about that from your post.) I made the master recipe this weekend with KA french style flour, and really like the baguettes we've made. The left overs have made a good french toast the next day.

                                                                                                                  1. re: TNExplorer

                                                                                                                    I ended up using the dough without trying to add any extra water. I liked the results. I just finished the end of the batch of dough, and I found that by the last loaf I had a few dense spots in the bread even though the outside was at the point of looking too dark. But it could be due to a wonky oven and not the dough. It certainly is a forgiving recipe -- if I hadn't read on the authors' website about increasing the water with the KA flour, I would never have thought anything was off about the recipe in the first place. I'm planning to make a batch tonight and this time I'll adjust the water to see how it turns out with the recommended amount.

                                                                                                                3. I made the Portuguese Broa cornbread this weekend. It was great and very nice on the side of some black beans and rice.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                    I made the basic boule recipe this past weekend and baked two boules from it. while the bread tasted great (i may use a bit more salt next time), the boules did not rise much in the oven! i ended up with two grapefruit/small melon sized bread boules. is this correct? i followed the recipe exactly! i had assumed they would rise even more.

                                                                                                                  2. Bought the book yesterday, made the foccacia today. It was quite good, although I didn't let the dough ferment for very long, and I think the taste might improve if I did an overnight rise. I want to try the chocolate bread and the broa. Anyone made those? I've never had chocolate bread before.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: lissar

                                                                                                                      One thing the author has said is that the dough doesn't rise quite as much at the end of a week. The flatbreads are a good use for dough towards the end of the cycle.

                                                                                                                      And if you don't want to make the foccacia, you can freeze the dough before it gets too old (like after 5 days, I believe) and then thaw in the fridge and bake as usual.

                                                                                                                    2. I made a pizza yesterday using dough from the master recipe that I'd frozen - thanks, Greedygirl, for the tip. I used half the amount one would usually use for a loaf, made it into a ball, let it rest for an hour and a half or so, then shaped into a round disk that I put on a piece of parchment paper, brushed with olive oil, added v. thinly sliced red onions, slice mozzarella and slices of plum tomatoes, from which I'd removed the seeds. I baked on the pizza stone at 550 (preheated) for about 10 minutes. After I removed it from the oven, I grated parmesan on top, added chopped basil, slices of prosciutto, then more parmesan and basil. It was truly wonderful.

                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                        This is such an informative thread and I would love for it to keep going. I just ordered the book from Amazon and I have a few questions before I receive it. I posted asking about preference of peels. I can't decide between the Super Peel or the Epicurean peel. What about the King Arthur peel?

                                                                                                                        Also has anyone made the pumpernickel bread - how was it? That is one recipe that I am very anxious to try, as it it almost impossible to find a good commercial loaf.

                                                                                                                        I think I gained 5 pounds just reading this thread :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                          This is the one I have, which I guess is the Epicurean one:


                                                                                                                          I picked it up b/c I had a gift certificate to W-S and didn't do any comparison shopping. However, I do like it, it is nice and light, and things seem to slide off easily. Which reminds me, I need to bake a loaf today - I may try the baguette shape for the first time.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                            Thanks. I am so anxious to get the book, which should be delivered in the next two weeks or so. I really want to try the pumpernickel (sp). Have any of you made it?
                                                                                                                            Good luck with your baguette.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, mine looks more like ciabatta than a baguette. BTW - you can find the main recipe on the NYT website, if you want to give it a try before getting the book.

                                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                I'm going to save up my calories and carbs as long as can before I make my first loaf. :-)

                                                                                                                          2. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                            from checking out the reviews on the peels offered on Amazon, the recurring theme is DON'T get wet! OIL with mineral oil! Orrrrrr the peels will split and break.

                                                                                                                            just a work to the wise, don't avoid oiling.

                                                                                                                        2. I bought the book yesterday...made a batch of the master and the brioche.

                                                                                                                          Today I pulled out the brioche, put it in a muffin tin, jammed a teaspoon of raspberry preservers into each center and baked.

                                                                                                                          Wow...these were great...Today I also made rolls and onion bread.

                                                                                                                          I love this book

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: ecpc

                                                                                                                            You're on a roll! I really was impressed with the brioche. My baguette though, not so much - looked more like a ciabatta, and didn't taste like a baguette.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                              When you freeze the dough for individual loaves - do you shape and flour first, or wait until they are defrosted prior to baking?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                                Hi - just saw this. I don't remember what I did the first time. The second time, I enough left for just one loaf, so I shaped it into the loaf and then froze it - haven't baked that one yet.

                                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                  According to the authors on their site, you freeze enough for one loaf, as you did MMRuth. Freeze, unshaped and unfloured, in an air tight container ( I used my Foodsaver, sealing only, not vacuuming). Dough that is not enriched, dairy, eggs, etc.., can be frozen for several months and enriched dough up to two weeks.

                                                                                                                                  Remove from freezer and defrost in the refrigerator all day or night, flour and shape, let it rise for 1 hour and 40 minutes, and bake.

                                                                                                                                  I put several packages in the freezer the other day, but I have yet to bake any.

                                                                                                                          2. I've been making this bread for a couple of months, and I like it a lot. I find that sometimes, especially when the dough has been in the refrigerator for a while, the loaves are a bit small, but I just pull out a third of the recipe at a time instead of a quarter, and that works fine.

                                                                                                                            Last night I made the spinach and cheese calzone because I happened to have all the ingredients, and it turned out great even though the basic boule dough was a little wet and loose and I had to ignore the recipe directions about not using too much flour and letting the dough stick to the rolling board (also, the recipe was odd about calling for 1/2 cup of spinach but not distinquishing between raw and cooked - I used about a cup of cooked and it was just right). Good stuff.

                                                                                                                            18 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Marsha

                                                                                                                              Marsha, I just read the calzone recipe on pg. 142, and in my copy it reads "1/2 cup fresh or thawed and drained frozen spinach leaves". When I went through the 'errors' page on their site, I found that some, but not all, of the errors had been corrected in my edition, so maybe the spinach was also changed or corrected. I will try the recipe after your recommendation.

                                                                                                                              The book and the site do say that dough left in the fridge for I think 8 days or more, does not rise as much and is good for naan, flatbreads, etc..

                                                                                                                              1. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                                I've not checked which edition my copy is, but I have printed out the errata page from their website and tucked it into the book, just to check before I make anything.

                                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                  I have come to the conclusion that rolls are the best way to go for Artisan Bread In, etc. My loaves have all come out just okay, nothing great. I have used only the master recipe that was in the NYT and don't have the book.

                                                                                                                                  The rolls I've made, however, are fabulous. I sprinkle kosher salt on top before baking. The crust is good and the texture of the rolls themselves is dense and chewy, yet not gummy. It may be my electric oven ($@&##@&!!!), but nothing ever seems to get hot enough even though the little beep goes off to assure me that the correct temp has been achieved. My instant-read begs to differ.

                                                                                                                                  The rolls are great just out of the oven as well as for toast the next day.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure if you know this, but I believe that the resting time in the NYT recipe is wrong ... that could make the difference in a larger loaf of bread.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                      I printed out the 'errors' from their site and wrote the corrections into each recipe. I rarely write in books (good training as a child), but when I make a recipe, I do like to make little notes. In the case of Artisan Breads... I have printed out some of their site info, ie: making the caramel coloring for the pumpernickel, and taped it to the bottom of the recipe page ... speaking of pumpernickel..... it was fabulous the second time I made it.

                                                                                                                                      It spread too much the first time, so I asked Jeff the approx. dimensions of the initial dough before it rests. He said 3" wide by 7" long. Perfect.. the slices came out bigger - not like the first loaf where they looked like biscotti. I used his recipe for making the crystalized sugar for the coloring and added flavor.

                                                                                                                                      I'm going to shape the rye bread the same 3" x 7" too.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                        There must be several printings of the book, as some of the 'errors' were already corrected in my copy. I still had quite a few that did need correcting too.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                        how long and on what temp do you bake you rolls? I like the bread i'm getting, but rolls sond like a nice change....

                                                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                          Just got the book but I'm afraid to use the steam method in my electric oven. Do you bake with a pan of water?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: serenarobin

                                                                                                                                            I too have an electric oven. I have tried the water in the broiler pan method and truthfully found it to be a pain - trying to get the water in the pan, and then closing the door fast enough to keep the steam in. Jeff and Zoe recently recommended on their site, covering the bread with a stainless bowl or a foil lasagna pan, for about 9-10 minutes and then removing it. I 'think' that that works, because the top crust does come out crispy and it is very simple to do.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Canthespam

                                                                                                                                              I tried the inverted foil lasagna pan over a boule loaf. I left it covered for the first 10 minutes of baking, then removed the pan and baked for another 20 minutes at 450 (electric oven). It worked very well- nice brown crust, soft and chewy inside. My loaves still tend to "spread" a bit while rising--seem a little flat. They taste great though!

                                                                                                                                            2. re: serenarobin

                                                                                                                                              I have a gas oven - and it is easier if my husband is around to hold the oven door open while I pour in the water.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                2 alternative approaches:

                                                                                                                                                1) Ruth Levy Berenbaum's approach for steam is to place a cast iron fry pan on the floor of the oven when you turn it on, then toss 1/2 of ice cubes in it just after you put the bread in. This slows down the steam release and gives you time to close the door. The thermal mass of the pan prevents temperature drop. This is what I do and it works well.

                                                                                                                                                2) You could bake in the heated dutch oven with the cover on for the first 2/3 of the baking (à la no-knead bread). Also works well in my experience, for boules at least.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: zamorski

                                                                                                                                                  Do you mean 1/2 tray of ice cubes? Sounds so much easier than throwing in a cup of water and trying to close the oven door fast enough.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zamorski

                                                                                                                                                    doesn't sound like that would be good for your skillet!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: janetms383

                                                                                                                                                      Just 1/2 cup of cubes--about 5 or 6 from the icemaker in my fridge (probably a bit more than 1/2 cups). I have not had any problem with the pan--Berenbaum suggests that it may rust, but I have not had that problem. Cast iron is very resistant to warping, which is why you can use it for making blackened chicken, fish, etc. Throwing some ice cubes into the pan is not that much more of a thermal shock than, say, tossing a bit mass of room temperature dough into a 500 degree cast iron Dutch oven used for the NYT's or Cooks Illustrated's "no-knead" bread.

                                                                                                                                                      If you wish, you could use the broiler pan, a crappy old baking pan that you really should have gotten rid of years ago, a cast iron pan from a garage sale, etc.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: zamorski

                                                                                                                                                        I've baked this bread in a loaf pan and use the broiler pan on the bottom of the oven into which I pour about 2 cups of boiling water. Doesn't splatter as much as cold water and seems to last a good 10 mins for crust development. However, overall (as I've posted) I've been a bit disappointed in the end results.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: janetms383

                                                                                                                                                          anyone else had a loss of elasticity after a few days? Does that hurt the bread?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Guenevere

                                                                                                                                                            Sorry I just saw your comment now. Yes, the dough changes in character over the time it is stored. Roundabout the second week it is less elastic. At the class I took last year from Zoe (see my summary way up above), she said that in the second week the dough is particularly suited for naan and other flatbreads. She also said you can freeze the younger dough and that keeps its character, if you don't want it to get to that stage. I have not had that problem, though, with the dough lasting that long!

                                                                                                                                                            Hope that helps.

                                                                                                                                      3. I've been making this great bread for over a year now, I bought the Cuisinart Clay Oven/Toaster and because of the small size and the fact that there is clay on two sides and the bottom, it totally eliminates the need for adding steam. Makes this easy bread, even easier.

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: dianedono

                                                                                                                                          Do you have to store the dough in a plastic container or is glass okay?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mendogurl

                                                                                                                                            The big problem with glass would be if you put a lid on it. The gasses created by the dough rising could potentially cause the glass container to explode.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mendogurl

                                                                                                                                              Also, you can put the lid on your plastic container pretty well. I read something in the recipe about not tightening the lid and so left it ajar. When I did that, air got in and made the top of the dough crusty. It turns out you don't need to worry all that much about not tightening it. (Zoe may have told me that at a class or I read it somewhere. Anyway, I learned that from her and that is borne out by my subsequent experience.)

                                                                                                                                          2. I just purchased both books, but have yet to bake anything. I am quite worried about my hot stone cracking when I put the dough on. What kind of stones are you using that they don't crack?

                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: kellybg3

                                                                                                                                              Are you talking about a pizza stone? Never had a problem using one.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                Yes, I was speaking of a pizza stone. Sorry for not being clear! My pizza stones all came with instructions to never preheat them, so I'm quite leary...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: kellybg3

                                                                                                                                                  That's very strange. The main purpose of a baking stone is to preheat it so the bottom of the bread or pizza gets hot very quickly. I preheat mine every time I make this bread and have never had a problem with it. And the dough isn't cold enough to make it crack. When you make these recipes you shape the dough and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes (depends on which recipe) before baking.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kellybg3

                                                                                                                                                    That is odd, because I would think the stone would add very little value if not preheated.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                      If anything it might do the opposite of what baking stones are normally used for. It might really slow down the baking of the bread if put in cold. And I would think that it would be much more at risk of breaking if it suddenly went from room temperature into a hot oven.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: kellybg3

                                                                                                                                                  I use a cast iron skillet. Does your pizza stone really have a warning not to preheat it?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Altarbo

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it does. But now I'm kind of wondering why!
                                                                                                                                                    I made the Crusty Sandwich bread & the Caramel rolls. Delicious! I guess next I'll try out the stone anyway. :)