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Artisan Bread Five Minutes makes me look like a genius

A few weeks ago I bough a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Have been experimenting with it and I just love this book. However, last night I had my moment of glory.

Unexpectedly found myself having a dinner party at 8:30 last night. Had just enough chicken breasts to marinate and grill. Had enough green beans to steam, and plenty of greens for salad. But ack! No bread! Dinner guests wouldn't have cared, of course, as they had overstayed our weekly "happy hour" anyway. Local store was closed. But then I remembered that I had some of the bread dough left in the fridge. Preheated the oven, formed a loaf of bread and everything was done around the same time. Friends were shocked and awed. It was one of those great moments.

If anyone hasn't tried this method of baking bread, I very highly recommend it. It makes baking a loaf of bread almost too easy. In fact, I'm going downstairs right now to mix up another batch. Amazing book. There's a recipe from the book on the NY Times website:

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  1. Yea for you, Nyleve. I, too, love this recipe/method. I prefer it over the Jim Lahey method. He has a wetter dough baked in a large pot. That was great bread too, beautiful crumb, but I enjoy the crust and chewy texture that results from the Hertzberg method.

    I've only used the basic recipe that was in the NYT. Are their others in the book that you're particularly fond of?

    1 Reply
    1. re: lynnlato

      I've only tried the basic "boule" so far. I made it both plain and as an olive bread. They were both fantastic but I prefer the floured crust finish of the boule to the cornstarch glaze of the olive bread. In the future I'll skip the glaze when making the olive bread.

      Looking forward to other breads in the near future.

    2. Any substitutions if you don't have a stone?

      11 Replies
      1. re: beggsy

        Sorry, I scrolled down on the recipe and found the alternate to the stone.

        1. re: beggsy

          I have a stack of quarry tiles which I use instead of a proper pizza stone. I like them because they're a) cheap; b) thicker, less fragile; and c) easy to pile up and store when not in use. I'm pretty sure they didn't cost me $10 in total and I've been using them for years.

          1. re: Nyleve

            I use the quarry tiles, too, and they are awesome. I just replaced them for the first time in maybe 10 years. I think it cost about $4. I'm a big fan of the Artisan Bread book, also. I've done so much talking it up among my friends and acquaintances I'm thinking I should be on their payroll.

            1. re: rockycat

              where did you buy quarry tiles?

              1. re: fern

                I'm in Ontario. I picked up my tiles at a re-use store - where they sell reclaimed or excess building material. I've heard people complain that they can't find quarry tile anywhere but I would think you could find them at any decent building supply store. Or at the very least, at a tile specialty shop.

                1. re: fern

                  I brought mine years ago in the tile section of the local home inprovement center. Here, we have Home Depot, or Lowes. They were about 8" square, and cost about 80 cents each.

                    1. re: Jibe

                      what's the finish on the tile? Unpainted? terra cotta?

                  1. re: rockycat

                    I've used quarry tiles, too, though they are slightly more prone to thermal shocking. Unglazed terra cotta saucers (the kind you get to put under flower pots) work very well. In a pinch, just stack a couple of pizza pans or cookie sheets to provide thermal mass.
                    Has anyone used marble tiles? One of the odd lot stores in Milwaukee regularly used to carry rather nice pieces of marble. Marble is known to be more fire resistant than some other building stones. My only question is whether, like soapstone, it would have so much termal mass that it would tend to burn the bottom crust before the loaf baked.

                    1. re: Father Kitchen

                      Would the marble be less porous and would that make a difference?

                      It seems like the porous tiles and stones might kind of absorb water a bit and make a crispier bottom crust?

                      1. re: karykat

                        Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe the only way to find out is to try it. I think I'll look around.

            2. thanks for posting this...I've always wanted an easy starting point for bread, baking is my achilles heel in the kitchen, mainly because I don't like sweets...but I would love to start baking bread


              1 Reply
              1. re: joshlane4

                This method is so beyond easy it's almost embarassing. You ought to follow the directions exactly - it's a pretty unique process, compared to other ways of making bread. But it works and it's fantastic.

              2. I'm grateful for the encouragement, too. I've got everything to start --I'm just lollygagging on getting started. I plan to do just a little loaf at a time in a pyrex covered dish, so that the dish becomes its own little oven. Will let you know.....

                1. Here's a long-running thread about the book and method, including comments from some posters who've experimented extensively with recipes and techniques and also some reports on Q&As/email exchanges with the book's authors: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/483709.

                  1. Wow! Made the dough 2 days ago and the bread today. Amazing. Much easier than no-knead bread and I prefer the results and the ease of adjusting the loaf size. Love the idea of having the dough on hand. So simple. I even went out and bought the pizza stone to do it properly. Thanks so much. (Ordered a copy of the book too!)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: beggsy

                      The other day I pulled off 4 little lumps of dough, formed into roll shapes and let the rest for about an hour. Baked and had fresh rolls for lunch. This is just a miracle! I'll have to try some of the other dough variations in the book, but I am absolutely hooked on the simple boule dough.

                      1. re: Nyleve

                        Great idea! Funny how such simple things make us so excited. (I proudly took my baked loaf outside to show my neighbour over the fence! Ha ha!)

                    2. I'd like to try this but I have a question. How big is an American grapefruit? Because a grapefruit in Britain isn't really that big and I'm having a hard time seeing how a grapefruit sized piece of dough would make a proper-sized loaf of bread. So my question is - are American grapefruits super-sized, like most things on your side of the pond (no offence)!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: greedygirl

                        We have some really big ones - maybe six inches in diameter (sorry no metric!).

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          I think that I made my loaves with a lump of dough about 4 or 5 inches across. It was, admittedly, a smallish loaf of bread. But I think you're better off with two small loaves than one large one. The weight of the dough would weigh itself down otherwise, and the loaf would turn out flatter.

                          Also, the recipe calls for a 40-minute resting period before baking. I suspect that an hour would yield a nicer loaf.

                          1. re: Nyleve

                            Yes, there was some feedback from the authors that a bit longer rise made a better loaf.

                          2. re: greedygirl

                            An American grapefruit is about 4.5 inches in diameter. That's 11.43 centimeters, I think.......?

                            1. re: Gio

                              Contrary to popular belief, we're a bit schizoid about metric here, so inches is just fine. Thanks everyone (imagines Chowhounds across America measuring grapefruits so they can answer a stupid question from an English girl).

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Ah but GG - we don't want you to miss Anything!!
                                BTW: There's no such thing as a "Stupid Question." If you want to know...
                                then you ask the question.

                            2. re: greedygirl

                              I was worried mine was a bit small -- it didn't rise much during the 40 minute rest but did yield a nice, oval shaped loaf that fed 4 -- 2 adults and 2 kids -- easily However, I would make 2 next time. 1 batch of dough looks like it would make 6 loafs if you start with a grapefruit-sized ball.

                              1. re: beggsy

                                I actually found that with my first batch of dough, I ended up with 3 loaves. I know that the last loaf I made was bigger than the other two - but who really cares? They were all superb.

                            3. I've been using this method for the past few months. I also haven't strayed beyond the boule, but I plan to play with the herb and olive breads soon, as well as the brioche and pizza doughs. It truly is foolproof - I've passed the recipe onto several other people who also had success. I took the advice in the book a couple times and didn't wash my storage container out between batches of dough. It did make for an amazing loaf of bread with a wonderful sour dough taste. The only downside is the amount of space the container takes up in the fridge, but that's a small price to pay for having fresh baked bread everyday of the week.

                              1. Hi there! I'd love to try this--could someone post the NYT recipe? I'm not a member. I love to bake bread and I am just curious as heck about this "new method." Thanks in advance!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: IndyGirl

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4837... - has the link.

                                  You don't have to pay to access the site I believe, and I don't know if any one has paraphrased the recipe elsewhere, since they can't copy it.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    MMR: I don't know what you meant by "can't copy it". If you go onto the NYT site, you can always print out a recipe. They even have an icon. Is it no longer on their site?

                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                      Oh - I meant that I thought that IndyGirl was asking someone to post it - and I assumed she meant the text of the recipe b/c she mentioned that she wasn't a member of the NYT. It is there. And I guess I need to try this!

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        And, I just realized my "link to a link" is the same one posted by the OP, which is not v. helpful of me!

                                  2. re: IndyGirl

                                    As others have said, you don't need to pay to access the site, just register. And I don't think they require a lot of information to do that. The site is great with lots of recipes and a great food section every Wednesday.

                                  3. I has great success with the brioche. I made some as beignets and the rest as brioche loves. They were fantastic.

                                    1. I have copied the recipe, put flour on my shopping list and my husband is salivating. It sounds as if I should hold the dough in the fridge for a few days before baking, after reading the authors' interview. Could I knead fresh herbs into the basic dough or am I not suppose to knead it at all? Can't wait to try.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mgebs

                                        You could easily incorporate fresh or dried herbs (or seeds or whatever) into the dough when you mix it up. You can also add them to the dough when you form the loaves by sort of gently rolling it out, adding stuff and then folding it back up again. I did one loaf with olives which was delicious.

                                        I made two loaves tonight for dinner and totally freaked out my guests. I'm afraid I'm becoming obsessed.

                                      2. Another question. Could I bake this bread in my narrow baguette pans, placing it on the pizza stone? I guess I can experiment when I get back to the wilds of MI where all my 'stuff' is.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mgebs

                                          Apparently you can put it in a baguette pan, if you roll the bread out properly. There are step by step directions on the website http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/

                                          I haven't tried anything but a regular oval loaf or small dinner rolls yet but I will.

                                        2. After reading all these enthusiastic comments, I want to give this bread a try. I'm wondering if I can sub some whole-wheat flour for part of the white?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: ochound

                                            There's a variation in the book that calls for whole wheat flour. If I get a minute I'll try to paraphrase the recipe for you.

                                            1. re: Nyleve

                                              that would be great, thanks! (but no one else has brought that up- better to just stick with the original?)

                                              1. re: ochound

                                                I just looked up the recipe for a part-whole-wheat bread. Basically exactly the same as the original, but subbing 1 cup whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all purpose. Otherwise everything the same. They sprinkled baking peel with w.w. flour instead of cornmeal - but I doubt it would matter all that much. Seems to me you can just mess around with the basic dough and see what works.

                                          2. Made the dough last night before turning out the lights and baked it this AM for breakfast.
                                            Good bread! We thoroughly enjoyed it both fresh, as is and toasted. A definite "Do-Again", DH thanks you, Nyleve.
                                            A couple of questions, however.
                                            1. Did anyone else have a bit of difficulty moving the bread from the peel to oven? Even with cornmeal, mine was a bit sticky.
                                            2. Doing three things at once, i.e. adding boiling water, slashing bread and moving it simultaneously didn't work as well as I'd wished.
                                            3. The texture was a bit dense, had no holes like No-Knead Bread. Suggestions?

                                            I will absolutely keep this dough in the fridge and wonder about making griddle breads with it????? Stay tuned.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: Sherri

                                              As I experiment, my results have improved. Here's what I've learned:

                                              1. Yes, a bit of trouble with the transfer at first. You need much more cornmeal than you might be inclined to use. And make sure that the loaf is loosened around the edges (shove some of that cornmeal underneath with a knife or spatula) just before you slide it off. A good jerk of the peel will do it.

                                              2. I don't think you need to be so frantic about these 3 things. The bread can be slashed at your leisure - this happens before it goes in the oven. It can then sit for a few minutes without any problem. Next, get that puppy into the oven and close the door so you don't lose heat. And finally, fill a cup with water, open the oven door and quickly pour water into the pan (which should already be in the oven). Slam door shut and it's done. Doesn't have to be simultaneous - just relatively speedy.

                                              3. I've found 1 to 1-1/2 hrs. rise at room temp. gives a much better result. Also, be very very gentle when you form your loaf. Those holes are already in the dough - you don't want to deflate them with rough handling. As the website describes, you're just basically pulling the outer "skin" around the loaf to form a smooth ball - nothing more.

                                              Good luck. I stunned my friends again last night. So much fun!

                                              1. re: Nyleve

                                                I violated all three tenants; insufficient cornmeal, worrying (needlessly) about doing too many things at once and insufficient rise time + too rough handling.

                                                Thank you so much for the hints. Will post new results and look forward to a great experience. We like the taste very much, I was just hoping for a different texture.

                                                EDIT: "And finally, fill a cup with water, open the oven door and quickly pour water into the pan (which should already be in the oven)." Boiling water, right? I used my tea kettle and it worked perfectly.

                                                1. re: Nyleve

                                                  Lost my first reply, so I'll try again.
                                                  Thanks so much for the answer. Seems that I sweated stuff that didn't need sweating.

                                                  1. I used insufficient cornmeal. Next time I'll just pour it on.

                                                  2. Insetad of needing three hands, I'll slash ahead of time and pour the boiling water in after the bread is in the oven. Trying to do all three at once was not very successful.

                                                  3. I only let it rise for the stated 40 minutes. I'll bet with a combination of gentler handling and longer rise we'll get the holes I was seeking.

                                                  Thanks so much for taking the time to answer. Am looking forward to more great bread. We loved the flavor for our breakfast toast and after I get some success under my belt, I'll start playing with variations.

                                                  1. re: Sherri

                                                    On their website (www.artisanbreadinfive.com), under 'errors' they do say the rise should be anywhere from 40 minutes to 1 1/2 hrs.

                                                    1. re: beggsy

                                                      With all the corrections, I made great bread today. Thanks so much.

                                                      The longer rise time and gentler handling made a huge, hole-y, difference.

                                                      I stopped worrying about my lack of three arms and produced plenty of steam by following your directions, Nyleve. Second time around, I didn't even slash the loaf ..... life is good.

                                                      Thanks for the help, my family thanks you as will our welcome and never-ending stream of houseguests who will have fresh bread ever-ready.

                                                      1. re: Sherri

                                                        Fantastic! Glad to help. Welcome to the wonderful world of the bread-obsessed. May our friends never tire of our creations.

                                                2. re: Sherri

                                                  As far as moving the dough to the oven: That is inherently challenging because this is a very wet dough. I let mine rise on a piece of parchment. Then just transfer it on the parchment to the pizza stone. Easy.

                                                3. I made my first loaf yesterday and it tasted great, had a good crust and an open texture (with holes!).

                                                  BUT - it was more like ciabatta than a boule. It didn't rise much, just spread. I noticed it was doing that when I left it to rise prior to baking, but hoped it would get "oven spring".

                                                  Anyone know what I'm doing wrong? I'm guessing too much water? My dough was very loose and sticky. Oh, and I used bread flour not AP flour.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    Too much water will give you a ciabatta-like consistency. Sometimes you measure accurately and still get a dough that spreads because in humid weather the flour absorbs a lot of moisture and that does affect the dough consistency. Also the quality of the flour can make a difference, since high protein flour usually absorbs more water than softer flours. Since your dough was very loose and sticky, I presume you used too much water. Try weighing your ingredients for better control.
                                                    The way you shape a loaf also contributes to rise and oven spring. The idea in shaping is to impart a bit of tension to the outer skin. The method given in "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes" should work well. But if the dough is very soft, it will still tend to spread.
                                                    Fortunately, mistakes seldom produce a loaf that is bad or uninteresting--just one that is different than what we had in mind. They usually all taste good.

                                                    1. re: Father Kitchen

                                                      I'm definitely weighing the flour next time, as that's what I'm used to. And I should use AP flour rather than strong bread flour (or just add a bit more water maybe to bread flour?).

                                                      Is it too late to rescue this dough by adding a bit more flour?

                                                  2. anyone have the recipe for the oatmeal bread? i'd love to take a look & see if i can try my hand at a gluten-free version...

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      The oatmeal bread is definitely not gluten-free. And frankly, I can't see how that would even be possible with a method like this. The whole structure of this bread depends on the very stretchy gluten framework of the loaf.

                                                      1. re: Nyleve

                                                        Ok--well then, can someone post the oatmeal bread anyway? :) I've been DYING to try it. I can't wait to get my hands on the book.

                                                        1. re: Nyleve

                                                          "And frankly, I can't see how that would even be possible with a method like this. "
                                                          that's why i asked for the recipe - i wanted to take a look for myself to see if i could figure out a way to modify it. i was specifically interested in the oatmeal bread because oat flour behaves differently [i.e. more like regular gluten-based flours] than GF flours. you never know unless you try.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            If you try it and it works, will you post about it? A friend who loves to bake eats gluten-free and would surely enjoy a good bread recipe!

                                                            Thanks, ghg. By the way, last week I saw a friend who attended the 4th of July party I took your spicy black bean dip to. She told me her husband loved the dip and asked for the recipe. Nice! Thanks again.

                                                            1. re: fern

                                                              i'm so happy they enjoyed the dip!

                                                              no one has posted the recipe for the oatmeal bread yet, and i can't - in all my gluten-intolerant glory - justify buying the book myself...but i might swing by a bookstore & look it up. if i ever get my hands on the recipe i'll play around with it & let you know how it turns out.

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                I'm on the waiting list at the library. I'll post the recipe when I get the book if you haven't already gotten it.

                                                                1. re: fern

                                                                  right on! thanks, fern :) i'm going to try to get to the bookstore some time in the next couple of days - i'll let you know...

                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  I've been run around in circles the last couple of days. Everytime I come upstairs, the book is downstairs - and when I go downstairs I forget to bring the book up. I'll post asap. Sorry.

                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            1 3/4 C lukewarm water
                                                            1 C whole milk
                                                            1/2 C maple syrup
                                                            1 1/2 T yeast
                                                            1 T salt
                                                            1/4 C neutral-tasting oil
                                                            1/2 C oat bran
                                                            1/3 C wheat bran
                                                            1 1/2 C rolled oats
                                                            1/2 C whole wheat flour
                                                            4 1/4 C AP flour

                                                            1. Mix yeast, salt, water, milk, maple syrup and oil in 5 quart bowl.
                                                            2. Mix in dry ingredients without kneading.
                                                            3. Cover and rest at room temp until dough rises and collapses (approx. 2 hrs)
                                                            4. Use dough immediately or store in fridge up to 8 days.
                                                            5. Grease 9x4x3 loaf pan. Cut off 1 1/2 lb. piece (cantalope size). Shape ball and elongate into oval. Put in pan and rest for 1 hr. and 20 min. (or 40 min. if using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
                                                            6. Bake @ 350F for 45-50 min. with loaf on centre rack and broiler tray filled with 1 C hot water on another rack.
                                                            7. Cool before slicing and eating.

                                                            1. re: baby_tran

                                                              This is my new favorite recipe from the book. I sub out by doing 2 1/2 cups whole wheat and 2 1/4 cups ap flour and it turns out great. Sooo tasty. I also make this one outside of a loaf pan as I don't have one - just shape it and let it rise on a floured cutting board and then transfer to the baking stone. Works out great!

                                                              1. re: baby_tran

                                                                baby_tran, THANK YOU! it may be a while before i have time to get into the kitchen & play around with it, but i'm so glad i at least have the recipe now. i really appreciate you taking the time to post it.

                                                            2. I've found that parchment paper is the answer to the transfer/stickiness problem -- plus no flour/cornmeal on the peel or burning on the stone.

                                                              I just shape the dough and put it on a piece of parchment paper (on the peel) for the resting. When ready just slide the loaf and parchment onto the stone. If you leave it baking on the paper it doesn't get as browned on the bottom -- if that bothers you, after about 10 minutes you can lift the loaf and pull out the paper to get more browning on the bottom.

                                                              1. I looked at the recipe and it looks good and easy. It calls for yeast, but doesn't say what kind, quick rising?

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: paprkutr

                                                                  I used regular yeast, not quick rising. I think a recipe will specify quick rise when needed.

                                                                2. This sounds great. I'm a very occasional baker (and not of yeast breads) and I missed the whole "no-knead" craze but looked at this and think even I could bake this.

                                                                  I have a question though. In reading the recipe it says to put the brolier pan at the botton of the oven and the pizza stone on the middle rack. I have a gas oven-- the broiler has nothing to do with the oven. Are these directions pertinent only to electric ovens (with which, not being a baker per se and not having an electric oven, I'm very unfamiliar)? Maybe it's a stupid question, but with such a sensitive thing as bread baking, I want to get it right.

                                                                  Oh--and can I substitute Whole Wheat or some other whole grain flour?

                                                                  Many thanks, all of you 5-minute-artisan-bread-bakers!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: SeaSide Tomato

                                                                    The reference to the broiler pan is only to use the broiler pan as a vessel to pour water into, nothing to do with the broiler at all.. just to create steam. Also, I believe an earlier post said you can sub 1/2 of the flour with whole wheat. Enjoy!

                                                                    1. re: beggsy

                                                                      Thanks Beggsy-If only I had kept reading the recipe to the end! Must be that it's late and I was tired. I looked for substitutiuons too but missed.

                                                                      I too, can indeed bake this bread!

                                                                  2. I've been having trouble getting the boule to cook all the way through...It seems to be a little doughy on the bottom and i'm wondering if anyone else has had this problem?

                                                                    I've been using a roasting pan for the steam bath since I couldn't find the broiler pan...Should I take the roasting pan out after the steam evaporates?

                                                                    1. A lot of questions/comments are echos from info posted on the Errors Tab of Artisan Bread. The grapefruit/canteloupe size factor is in here too.