Home Baked Bread in Five Minutes

If you’ve bought our book, followed this blog, or gone to one our workshops you’ll know that we tout a wild yeast bread recipe adapted from Nancy Silverton’s La Brea Bakery method. We contend that our delicious recipe can be worked into all but the most crazed work schedule. But our recipe does rely on equipment and tools, specifically a heavy duty mixer and a wooden bread form. This month’s issue of Mother Earth News has a bread making solution for those of you unwilling to make the investment in the mixer or unable to fit the long rise times of wild yeast bread into your work schedule.

The article, “Five Minutes a Day for Fresh-Baked Bread” by Zöe François and Jeff Hertzberg, explains their simple recipe. Combining just flour, water, salt and yeast, with no kneading, you make up a very wet dough, let it rise for two hours and then either bake it or stick it in the refrigerator. The dough keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks, taking on a sourdough flavor as it ages. When you want a loaf of bread you tear off a softball sized chunk, let it rise for 45 minutes and stick it in the oven. A pan of water in the stove creates steam and gives the bread a nice, hard crust.

We tried the basic white bread recipe in the Mother Earth article and can report that it works quite well. Hertzberg and François have penned a bread cookbook, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, that takes this basic recipe and uses it as the base for variations such as pizza dough, sticky rolls, and whole-wheat bread. While not having as rich a flavor as our wild yeast recipe, Hertzberg and François’ method is an excellent solution for busy households. We look forward to seeing the book.

For more on the five minute a day bread method see:

Hertzberg and François’ website, which has additional recipes and variations.

A youtube demonstration by the authors:

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10 Comments

  1. I too have made several breads following the recipes in this cookbook. True, the basic loaves are decent, certainly better than almost anything out of a bread machine. But for texture and flavor, I don’t think these breads can hold a candle to a standard no-knead bread recipe, which is no more difficult to prepare than the basic recipe in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes.

    Just my opinion. And yes, anything that encourages people to try their hand at making their own bread is to be encouraged.

  2. Hi, I’m Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of Artisan Bread in Five. About flavor complexity…

    I’m guessing that Kate is basing her comparison of our method with the “standard” no-knead recipe on our Day 1 result, that is, without storage in the refrigerator. Once our batches store (for up to 2 weeks), they develop the complexity you are looking for. You can also start with a lower yeast dose, which experienced bakers sometimes prefer (http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=85).

    As for ease of preparation, it’s true, that our initial prep is no easier than the standard no-knead. But since our dough was tested and optimized for 2-week storage, that initial prep effort gets spread over 4 or 8 loaves. In the standard method, one preparation goes for one precious loaf– you use it all up at once. So it’s much less practical for busy people.

    Jeff Hertzberg
    http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com

  3. Actually, Jeff, I’ve taken the later batches made from the longer-fermented dough into account, and I’m comparing your recipe to the no-knead method popularized by Mark Bittman via a NYT piece published in late 2006. (It includes an 18-hour rise at room temperature, and extremely wet dough, and is baked in a cast iron dutch oven. Breadtopia.com has fantastic tutorial on the method.)

    I will admit that there was significant flavor development in your method as the dough fermented for longer periods. But for myself I prefer the texture of no-knead bread, particularly where the crust is concerned.

    H.E., I will forward my preferred no-knead bread recipe to by email.

  4. Jeff – Every time I use your flour/water proportions (3 C water, 6 1/2 C flour), I get a dough that’s actually drier, not wetter, than a standard ready-to-knead dough. Adding 1/2 – 1 C water fixes it.

    Also, is one of the hazards of no-knead that the dough can ‘fall’ like a soufflé if allowed to rise too long? Because that happened to me…

  5. One more thing – I tried the NYT recipe yesterday and ITS FANTASTIC. So easy, large holes, amazing crust.

    You don’t need a large cast-iron pot as in the video/recipe. I used two bread tins, with the second tin used as a lid over the first.

  6. I picked up your book a couple of weeks ago and after reading it cover to cover and trying my hand at a few other projects I surfed over here and found the above bread recipe. I can cook alright but I’ve never tried my hand at baking anything other than Nestle cookies in a bag. I found the bread recipe to be really stupid friendly and had pretty good success from the start. My first batch of dough came out pretty well, so well that when I was letting some rest on the counter top before it went in the oven, my coon hound devoured it while I had my back turned. I’ve already started playing around with the recipe and really trying to make it my own. It’s doubtful I’ll be buying store bought bread again for anything other than some specialty stuff. Thanks so so much.

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