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Mar 1, 2010 09:27 AM

Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Hoping to find some hounds who are also baking their way through this book. I never had the original Artisan bread book, in fact I had never made bread before buying this book. I am about halfway through my first batch of the master recipe and I am in love! I have made two boules in my dutch oven and one pizza in my cast iron skillet. I do not have the pizza peel or stone that they call for, and I decided to try using what I had on hand before buying new equipment. So far I am very happy - my silpat seems to work great for rolling and resting - no sticking at all, no need for parchment paper. And using the dutch oven for boules means I don't need to worry about adding steam to the oven. My pizza crust was too thick but that was my fault for using too much dough not rolled out enough (even though it rolled out very easily - much easier than pie crust or cookie dough in my experience).
I will say that to my taste the master recipe lacks salt - I understand why they developed the recipe that way but it's not a health concern in our household, so I will increase to 1.5 tablespoons next time. I'm using Windsor, a Canadian brand of Kosher salt so not sure how the coarseness compares with the American brands they talk about. Canadian flour also may have more gluten than American flour. Once I realized the dough was a little undersalted I added fleur de sel to the seed mixture that tops the bread.
Next I hope to try the pumpkin pie brioche dough. From the many online experimenters I gather it does not taste like pumpkin, and the spices may need to be doubled. But I know that these flavours tend to develop over a few days so not sure what I'll do yet. Has anyone made this dough yet?

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  1. Haven't made the pumpkin pie brioche yet, but it's bookmarked! I got this book for Christmas and am totally in love with it. Have only tried a couple of recipes, but love them - the soft whole wheat and quinoa bread (and of course the master). The only thing is I don't find the doughs last as long as they say they will in the fridge. But maybe it's something I'm doing wrong. Anyhow, keep me posted about how your experiments with other recipes go.

    5 Replies
    1. re: chuang

      I met one of the authors at a cooking class here. She said that after about a week, the breads won't rise as much. She suggested using them for flatbreads after that time. She also said that if she has extra dough at the 1-week mark, she just freezes it in balls. That stops the process. Then you can thaw in the fridge and use as if it were 1-week or less dough.

      I love the recipes too and need to get a batch mixed up.

      1. re: chuang

        Pumpkin pie brioche is really, really yummy. Great as rolls, even better as cinnamon roll/sticky bun base. OMG. Delicious.

        I love this cookbook. Truly, so far, not a bad one I've encountered in this book!

        1. re: jayaymeye

          Yes cinnamon rolls are what I really want to make with the brioche :) I'm also very tempted by the donuts, even though I have never deep fried at home before (and my mother had this total paranoia about it when I was growing up). So much for healthy!
          I feel like this book has opened all these possibilities for me by conquering my fear of yeast. It's so exciting!

          1. re: julesrules

            Well I am not in love with the pumpkin pie brioche. I made cinnamon buns and right out of the oven they were great, but it's hard to go wrong with all that butter, sugar, raisins and spice. I find the loaf I made next to be dense and just okay tasting. It didn't make a great quick french toast either - didn't soak up the egg mixture very well. I threw together some individual bread puddings with the french toast leftovers and left those to soak overnight, and this morning the bread has totally soaked up the custard. So if you make french toast with this bread, allow for a long soak.
            Now, I did make some changes. We don't have white whole wheat flour here that I know of. I used "soft" whole wheat flour instead and added an extra teaspoon of gluten. My crumb looks very similar to the multitude of blog posts on this dough so I think my results were typical. Maybe my expectations for a whole grain brioche are off, but it's probably best that I stay out of the sweets chapter for a while anyway ;)

            1. re: julesrules

              I made the tarte tatin with the rest of this dough that I had frozen. The dough still handled beautifully and rose well. I had only one pear, used mostly apples, and had the heat too high under the fruit and caramel - the result was a very thin, dark caramel that is a little bitter, but not burnt. I was expecting something stickier, but this is nice too. Not a substitute for a decadent dessert, but a good lighter dessert or coffee/breakfast cake. In fact I am eating it for breakfast right now, it held up well overnight despite the middle being soaked through from the caramel. And I don't feel guilty giving it to my kid for breakfast either :)

      2. I made the pizza lollipops from their website today. Cute idea, and my 4 year old loved waching the video, "instructing" me as we made them, and ate them right up. I'm not convinced however that I love the master recipe as pizza dough. I definitely rolled it thin enough this time, but still found the result a little tough & chewy. The written recipe has more details than the video and I think some slight differences.
        I have a bit of dough left and hope to do stove-top naan, curious to see if the results are better than with pizza, because so far the boule far outshines the flatbreads.

        3 Replies
        1. re: julesrules

          I used the master recipe to make a deep dish pizza in my cast iron skillet, and absolutely loved it. As a flatbread, I'm unconvinced, but for the deep-dish, it's a winner.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            Which flatbreads have you tried?
            My first attempt at pizza was actually in my cast iron skillet as well, but it came out too thick. I did get a layer of great crispy crust on the bottom so I do think it had potential, I just needed to roll it out thinner.

            1. re: julesrules

              I did an herb foccacia that was nice, but not AMAZING.

              I used this method for the deep-dish pizza, but with the HBin5 crust:


        2. I made the Whole Wheat Banana Bread, and I like it a lot. Definitely not "banana-y" tasting, but it is fragrant and has a nice crunch with the crust and a bit of turbinado sprinkled on top. BTW, you don't need to chop the walnuts for this one, I wasn't sure but it worked out fine. I know it would defeat the purpose of making it healthier, but I suspect some raisins or dare I say some chocolate chunks in this bread would take it to another level!

          1. With the whole-grain four recipes in HBin5, don't forget to use the vital wheat gluten. It helps the heavy grain flours rise by enhancing gluten developement. Otherwise, loaves can be very dense.

            As much as I wanted to love the HBin5 recipes, I find I like the ABin5 results better. Following a note from Jeff in one of the recipes in ABin5, adding wheat germ to a regular recipe will add extra nutrients and fiber. So I do this rather than struggling with some of the very heavy breads in HBin5.

            I found checking their blog weekly and ALL the COMMENTS helps keep up with tips and tricks for better success. They also have printable page of errata for the books:
            I love this aspect of their books. They want the readers to have success, rather than just being concerned with book sales. Thanks Jeff and Zoe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: toodie jane

              It is great that they are in such regular contact with their readers. The videos are very helpful too. I wish their website had a forum though - I agree there's a lot of great info in the comments, but it can be quite random and disorganized.

              1. re: julesrules

                'random and disorganized'--yes! I'll post aquestion and then have to try to remmebr which thread it was from. But I've gleaned a lot of info by trolling the posts.

            2. I made stovetop "naan" from their website using the last of my master dough that I had frozen. It was a total hit with my family and made our simple shrimp curry dinner special, much nicer & quicker than brown rice. It actually didn't turn out quite perfect, some of the dough didn't rise and was gummy. And the recipe as written needed some tweaking (longer cooking time and hotter stove). Overall it was less naan-like than their picture, looked more like a pita bread. But I'll definitely keep trying this one!