Experiment: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

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“Baking bread at home saves hundreds of dollars on groceries every year. With this easy method, each deliciously crusty-on-the-outside, moist-and-chewy-on-the-inside loaf will only cost you about 50 cents and 5 minutes a day. We’re not kidding!” — from Five Minutes a Day for Fresh-Baked Bread by  Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.

I’m going to try this. This recipe/technique was included in the recent Mother Earth News (December 2008/January 2009). I think it will work well with my sprouted emmer wheat flour, which is lower in gluten. This technique is not dependent on gluten development for the great bread it promises.

Anyone else up for the experiment? Use any whole grain flour you’d like. Report back here and we can all learn from each other! I am going to start my experiment momentarily.

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Comments

  1. Mary says

    I saw the same article too. I want to try it. But, only after I’ve enjoyed my not very low-key Christmas. I have also ordered a copy of the same Sue Gregg book you purchased. It should be coming any day now.

  2. says

    I saw this bread in MEN and I want to try it after Christmas. If I remember correctly the article called for baking the bread on a baking stone and I do not have one of those yet. I think I might wait until the shopping frenzy is over to try to find one!

    • says

      Awesome, Sue Ellen! Your bread looks much better than mine did. I’m about to grind some more sprouted emmer in just moment to try again.

      Yours looks so beautiful. Let me ask you, did you use just the amount of flour called for or add more? I added more, about 2 cups, maybe more. This was because I was looking for it to retain its shape, yet still be wet. How was your dough? Wet and globby?

      I just can’t believe how beautiful yours turned out. Just like the article! :D Good job! I think I am going to resist adding more flour this time.

  3. Christina says

    Hi Wardee!
    I made this recipe the eve of the 25th. Okay, first of all, I used Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour which is not my preference but I bought it at the grocery store as the best alternative untill my usual bulk Hard White Flour arrives. When I made the dough I was impressed at how quickly it mixed up, how easily it cleaned up (my kitchen was clean, the children in bed and Rand was at work) , I made sure to soak the mixing bowl in COLD water- it really makes a big difference :) However actually mixing it seemed WAY too dry- perhaps the flour was really compact coming out of the bag or something, so I added extra water untill it was too wet! I should of focused more and been in less of a flurry, I am experienced with dough enough to know better! But the next afternoon I kneaded more flour into some dough and baked it with the rising times all messed up due to a trip to Winston to pick up Rand from the firestation before dinner, and it still came out the best of any attempt I have ever made at artisian bread!
    So later I mixed in more flour to the main lump, and not thoroughly at that! Flour everywhere! But this afternoon when I took out a second blob for dinner tonight, it smelled wonderfully of sourdough. I set it rising in the morning out in my cold laundry room with a bowl over it because I wouldn’t be home to bring it inside this afternoon, so slow rise in cool temperature, and I popped it in the oven when we got home and I was heating dinner.
    The results? FANTASTIC! Hot, chewy, delicious, crusty bread to accompany our green salad tossed with shredded carrot, chopped red pepper and pine nuts dressed with pesto inspired dressing and Mediterranean Lamb Ragout! A dinner I could happily eat every night for a month! Thank you for passing the word about this great baking method, so far it seems fairly fail proof, fortunatly for me :)
    -Christina

  4. says

    Hello!

    Thank you so much for mentioning us on your website. We’re glad you enjoy Mother Earth News.

    Great post on Artisan Bread. We’re glad our article was helpful.

    Laura Evers
    Mother Earth News

    Note: If you would please remove the photo you posted from our website. That is protected under copyright to only be used on our site. Thank you for understanding. Just removed, thank you for letting me know! – Wardee

  5. says

    Wardee, I used the amount the recipe called for……..at least if I counted properly! I so often lose my place as I am counting. LOL.

    I was not sure whether I should use the exact amount because I used the unbleached flour recipe and was not sure if the whole grain would change the amounts needed. It was a very wet dough.

    I cannot even believe how easy it was. I normally go ahead and knead the dough in my mixer. This way was so much better. It was not hard to mix at all and not having to clean a gooey mixing bowl was a great plus!

    I weighed out 1 pound of dough. I was pretty surprised at how small the finished loaf was. More than enough for the two of us but I was just surprised.

    One of the things I want to try in the future is sprouting grains. I have never done it before. It is on my “to-learn-how-to-do-list”.

  6. Tiffany says

    Wardee,
    HI, I also made the bread although I didn’t think to take pictures, Sorry! Mine looked like Sue Ellens, so if you want to know what it looked like she was smart enough to take pictures. I liked the bread but thought it a little small for a family of 5. I made 2 loaves, so that solved the problem. I also found it a little salty. I do like the rustic feel to it though. I would like to try some variations on the recipe, and see how the bread is later in the week. I made the bread the day after I mixed it. Next time I will take pictures.
    Thank you for the recipe!
    Tiffany

    P.S. I only used 6 cups of fresh ground whole wheat instead of 6 1/2 like the recipe called for.

  7. says

    Very interesting comments, everyone! Thank you for sharing your results, which are thrilling to me because you have been having great success and the ease of the method is helping you!

    I am about to share some of my pictures with you. I have not had the great results you have had, but then again, I am using alternative sprouted flours. Still, we have enjoyed the bread. I will continue to experiment.

  8. says

    Tondalynn,

    Thank you for sharing the video link. Man, that was helpful! Now I know what the dough should look like/feel like, and I see I’ve been making mine way too dense with flour.

    The video had several differences from the article, though, and now I’m not sure which to follow. ;)

    1) The article said to let the just-mixed dough rest for up to 5 hours, to let the dough expand and then collapse, then refrigerate. The video said the just mixed dough should go right into the refrigerator.

    2) The article said to let the dough (shaped into a loaf, about to be baked) rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes. The video said to let it rest for 20 to 40 minutes.

    All in all though, I’m excited to try this again, for real this time.

  9. says

    Christina,

    It was wonderful to read how the bread making fit into your busy, full days. I am very, very happy for you that the results were fantastic in spite of what you thought were errors on your part! It encourages me to hear of the forgiving nature of the technique. Hopefully, you’ll get your real flour soon. ;) I just replenished my yeast supply and hope it helps my 4th attempt at this technique today.

  10. gabrielle says

    hi Wardee!

    thanks for posting this challenge. my parents used to subscribe to m.e.n. 30 years ago and my mom would make fantastic recipes gleaned from its pages.

    ok. i made the basic boule ‘master recipe’ and followed the directions exactly. i even used organic WHITE flour… though im embarrassed to say so! instead of giving my various excuses, suffice to say that i had some of this flour leftover from thanksgiving and i wanted to make the exact recipe for my first attempt.

    my dough was actually a bit stiff seeming and i wasnt sure if i miscounted, so i added an extra 1/2 cup of water until it resembled the descriptions and photos id seen. after letting it rest and then refridgerate a few hours i took out about 1/5 or 1/4 of the dough to make the naan bread described further in the recipe. but i made smaller, traditional tear shaped pieces that fit 4-6 in my largest frying pan.

    we are having some of my husbands colleauges over for an indian food feast on sunday and i am never happy with store-bought naan. this recipe and method are not very authentic, but the resulting taste is! wow. this made fantastic, easy naan bread. i used ghee to cook it in and sprinkled it with zahtar seasoning. i highly recommend this recipe!

    next day i made a boule loaf, following the recipe precisely except that instead of a pizza peel i placed the dough on parchment paper that i later slipped onto the hot baking stone.

    the loaf was beautiful and fragrant. it was a little high and i think i shouldve let it cook the full 30 minutes instead of pulling it out when it looked done at 25 minutes, because it was slightly doughy in the middle. but my family likes it that way! however, i think next time i will shape long thin baguettes since the crust is the best part.

    the day old dough definitely had more soughdough-like ‘tang’ and im curious to see how much that flavor will develope over the next week or so. unfortunately, i doubt my dough will last that long as my family devoured the naan and boule and are clamouring for more already!

    i did take pictures of the beautiful loaf, but i dont have a blog on which to share them with you.

    i will next try the recipe mentioned for the whole wheat sandwhich bread because i agree that honey and milk will help temper the whole grain and i dont think the basic boule recipe is very well suited to alternative grains/flours. but i will definitely be experimenting with healthier variations very soon!

    thanks again for sharing! and sorry my post is so long winded…

    • says

      Gabrielle, can you email me your picture and I’ll share it here? I’m really excited you tried the naan bread. There’s someone I know (who you know too) and her family loves naan bread. I’m going to mention your success to her! Thanks for sharing your experiences here. I have enjoyed this experiment so much, and mostly because of everyone who has joined in and shared.

  11. gabrielle says

    hello again. im having camera trouble, but i hope my husband can fix it this weekend and i might email you a couple of pictures…

    i have since made a batch of the whole wheat sandwich bread and it came out good. it is a smallish loaf (i picture ‘sandwich bread’ as being a taller loaf) and more work than the basic boule recipe, but definitely easier than other whole wheat bread recipes ive tried! it has good texture and flavor. i ground hard red wheat for the flour but had to use about 2/3 cup of pastry (whole) wheat flour as i ran out of the hard.

    i had also played around a little with the boule recipe making 1/3 batches using various whole grains and we didnt care for them as much as the sandwich bread recipe that is designed specifically for whole grains.

    this was a lot of fun. thanks again!

  12. gabrielle says

    ok, this is my last comment on this topic, i promise! ive just had so much fun experimenting with these techniques! i think i might buy the book…

    anyway, im not sure how helpful these comments are for your family, Wardee, or your gluten-free readers, but i made a new batch of the basic boule recipe and it is our favorite yet!

    we used freshly ground whole rye flour for about 2/3 of the flour and then the rest of my leftover white (wheat) flour for the rest. i added a tablespoon of caraway seeds (couldve used a bit more) and let it fridge for several days. everyone loves this batch the best and i will definitely try 100% rye next. the taste and texture are perfect and the flavor is not too strong or heavy.

    i had read that these methods were ideal for rye flours and i fully agree now! ive never been much of a breadmaker before but this is fun, easy, and so very flexible that we are enjoying new breads each week. thanks again!

    • says

      Gabrielle, I find your comments wonderful to read and very helpful! If you keep coming back for a year to share, that would be more than fine! The bread you just made sounds wonderful! I would like to try sprouting some rye and doing the bread. I will have to get some rye first. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Julie says

    I love this book and make lots of the bread recipes! Can’t believe how easy they are. Beware using more than a cup of water for the steam bath though as I cracked my oven door:-(
    I use either organic sprouted spelt or sprouted wheat flour from Shiloh Farms. It can be substituted one for one in most recipes and the outcome is amazing. There is a recipe and beautiful picture in Essential Eating Sprouted Baking for Crusty Artisan Sprouted Bread. I learned that the first certified organic sprouted flour mill has opened in Pennsylvania and that Shiloh is distributing their flours. Thought you’d like to know. Bake on!

    • says

      Julie, how awesome that there is a sprouted flour mill! (Organic, too!) Do you live nearby and are able to use their grain products as a local consumer? If so, what a blessing.

      With my many attempts at the 5-minute artisan bread, I would agree with you — that substituting one for one works. I got ahead of myself at the beginning with adding more. Wish I hadn’t done that! ;) However, kamut and emmer don’t make that great of breads (IMO). They’re okay, but the spelt makes delectable bread. I’m a little dismayed though that spelt (especially organic) is soooo expensive. This doesn’t make it a good option for many people. Would you mind if I asked what price you are paying for the sprouted spelt flour at Shiloh Farms?

      You mentioned: “Essential Eating Sprouted Baking for Crusty Artisan Sprouted Bread” Is this another book, or a recipe in the book we’ve been discussing?

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

      • amy says

        This is an old thread but a new topic for me. I’ve tried sourdough but was not successful:( So now, I think this is going to be my next attempt . . . this looks to me more to my speed. I have committed to the sprouted flours (use To Your Health Sprouted Flours) and already have sprouted wheat, spelt, and rye. We seem to like the spelt better for our waffles, pancakes, muffins, etc so that is probably what I’ll use to attempt this bread. The video shows them measuring their flour by scooping it out of the container and leveling it off . . . I have always measured flour by spooning it into the measuring cup then leveling it off. In your successful attempts to make the 5-minute/day artisan bread with sprouted flour did you scoop and level or spoon and level? Also, can I use this boule to make sandwich bread too? I sure would love to get away from store bought bread and will if I can ever be successful with making a good loaf . . . I’ll keep trying

        • says

          Amy — I measure with a measuring cup. :) If it is fresh ground, it is less dense so I’ll use about 1 T less per cup of another’s recipe.

  14. Jenn Neddo says

    After reading the article in Mother Earth News awhile back, and then reading more about your adaptations I got the book and made a few hand formed loaves, the only problem I see with this method and recipe is that I’ll end up eating a ton more bread :-)

    http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s320x320/401025_2922383252932_1061350877_33024956_1110186011_n.jpg

    http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/394135_2915335236736_1061350877_33021037_1400279875_n.jpg

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