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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: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?pa...
            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!

              1. Beer Bread
                Serves: 6

                A good beer for beer bread is Home Brew, Porter, PA, IPA or Belgian. A stout or dark beer will give darker bread with a heavier flavor. I have used Bass Ale, IPA, Beck’s, Guinness Stout, and Shiner Bock etc.


                • 3 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
                • 3 teaspoons baking powder
                • 1 teaspoon salt
                • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
                • 1 (12-ounce) can of beer
                • 2 Tablespoons melted butter


                1. Preheat oven to 375* F.
                2. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.

                Note: Sift your flour before measuring and mix all ingredients together well before adding beer - the less mixing after leads to a lighter loaf.

                3. Stir in beer, blending well.
                4. Lightly grease or spray a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
                5. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan.
                6. Pour melted butter over mixture.
                7. Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.

                Changes: If you choose to use Self Rising Flour, do not add the Salt or Baking Powder to the recipe.

                1. Soft whole wheat sandwich bread, page 92
                  So far I have made a loaf and hotdog buns with this dough. It makes a bread that is both tasty and appropriately neutral enough for sandwiches, if that makes any sense. It is a little on the dense side. I cut the honey to 1/3 cup, simply because I already had that measure out and oiled from the canola. And I don't actually like a sweet note to my sandwich bread.
                  One note about the hot dog buns - they suggest "stretching" the dough into logs, but I found that broke the gluten cloak. So I re-cloaked and then rolled the dough out with my hands, as if making worms from play-doh ;) My husband found the results a little dense for hotdog buns, but my four year old who normally doesn't even eat the bun loved them.

                  1. Well I have gone over to the dark side and moved on to not- so healthy Artisan Bread in 5!
                    Before the switch - I tried the Il Bollo (?), and Italian Jewish olive oil/anise/lemon zest bread which I turned into...Hot Cross buns! Pretty tasty. I also made the 100% whole wheat olive oil dough into focaccia etc. Not my favourite dough.
                    General notes - I think there's a problem of expectations here. In the first book they are trying to recreate specific familiar tastes, but with the healthy versions, you don't really know what to expect. So I end up wondering, is it my baking or just my tastebuds? That's why I want to try my hand at the original versions.
                    I think they go a little light on spices, zests etc and these could be
                    increased for more flavour.
                    I find the doughs get tired by day 9 - even for flatbreads, there are bits that are gummy and don't rise. Also, with rising and cooling times, I don't find it that easy to make a loaf for weekday dinner - the flatbreads are much more convenient.
                    I think my favourites so far are the master recipe (boule and naan) and the pumpkin pie
                    brioche. I would still like to hear from others who are baking from this book.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: julesrules

                      I have made tons of recipes from the original ABin5, with 100% success. I have been less thrilled with the HBin5 recipes. I find that the Vital Wheat Gluten gives an off taste. Either everyone else I have fed these breads to has dead taste-buds or they are too polite to criticize. I think there is a plastic-y taste and I have specifically asked others if they taste it, but no one does. I don't know if it was a bad batch of VWG or a specific problem of the brand that I used (Hodgson Mill). At this point I don't want to waste any more ingredients on bread that I think tastes like plastic. But I have added a bit of bran (oat or wheat) to some of the ABin5 recipes to add some flavor, texture and nutritional value.

                    2. For those who find the bricohe dough a bit rich I find making the challah is more to my taste for cinnnamon rolls or any other fruit/nut enhanced goodie. It is basically the brioche dough with the eggs and butter halved. You could go even further and knock it down to 1 egg and a couple of T. butter.

                      This makes a great sandwich bread and rool for sandwiches or juicey burgers. With an egg wash to strudy up the crust, it holds upo well while eating; doesn't crumble. It has become my go-to all-purpose bread. Because I'm baking for one, I was making 1/2 recipe for two loaves or roll batches. Now I just make the whole recipe, divide the dry in half between two containers, continue, and flavor the two differently. I'll make one half plain, one half with some herb or spice. I let them do the two hour counter-rise, then divide each in half and freeze in ziplocks. Then I can defrost and make bread or rolls at leisure.

                      I haven't made any of the flat breads just yet. Trying to become more comfortable with loaf bread variations. I want to try making bread in my Weber bbq. It may be tricky to keep the heat balanced, but I think it's worth a try. I have friends who make pizza in theirs using coals from red oak. It imparts an amazing flavor to the dough.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: toodie jane

                        Is this the braided challah dough with whole wheat and wheat germ on page 258? Sounds interesting - I was thinking of making a savoury strudel this week.

                        1. re: julesrules

                          I made the challah dough, omitting the wheat germ (1/4 cup for 4 loaves of bread seemed rather token anyway).
                          With this dough I made savoury strudel braid (with goat cheese, ham and asparagus). It was quite tasty, seemed plenty rich. Also a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. I have yet to make a great loaf bread from this book, this one was ok. I don't find these breads store well at all; so my hope to replace my family's storebought sandwich loaf for daily toast, sandwiches etc has not been realized through this book.

                          1. re: julesrules

                            gee, the challah that I make holds up really well, on the counter OR in the fridge. Our ambiant humidity is around 50%; maybe that makes a difference? No mold at all; of course some loss of "freshness".

                          2. re: julesrules

                            no, this was the basic challah using ap unbleached flour. I tried the challah in HBin5 but it didn't rise well. Now I add wheat germ to regular ABin5 challah to boost it a bit.

                            I made the olive oil bread in teh flatbread section of AB and froze extra. 1/2 recipe gives me 4 portions that roll out to a perfect personal-size pizza. I freeze the parts; the dough defrosts quickly and I can make pizza when I want it. Note that they rec against overloading the dough with wet toppings.

                        2. Hi julesrules - I've been playing with this book and a couple of others recently. For what it's worth, soft ww flour is aka ww pastry flour down here in the states. So it's a low gluten flour, meant for cupcakes & such -- the opposite of high gluten bread flour. I don't know how important the white ww is -- King Arthur sells one, and they somtimes have a free shipping special. not sure if that covers canada tho. Happy baking!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: welred

                            Thanks :) If you have any results to share, I'd love to hear them. I've delved into the AB book a bit and now I'm back to work full time, so my time and motivation to experiment have decreased. HB has stayed on the shelf for quite some time. When I look around the internet I get the feeling it hasn't been quite as popular as the original book, interest in baking from it seemed to decline pretty quickly.

                            1. re: julesrules

                              I found I could not get decent oven spring despite using vital wheat gluten, etc. So I went back to ABin5 recipes, mostly. I do love the brioche and challah recipes in AB.

                          2. After starting with Lahey's version of no knead bread and baking this for over 2 years, I had the ABin5 book, but never gave it a try till this year. At first I wasn't impressed by keeping a particular dough in the fridge for any length of time, but I stuck with it and varied, adapted etc this method for my own and love this. I've made pizza, cinnamon bread, sticky buns, focaccia all with plain, olive and the brioche doughs in the book. I even baked a small foccacia in a 9" pie plate in my toaster oven today using the olive oil dough. I like it because of it's convenience and the bread comes out excellent. I still would probably use Lahey's method with the cast iron pot for the round Italian Pugliese bread as the cast iron pot really works good.