September 22, 2009

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

I have already shared with you about the great money savings of home baked bread. And because of my earth shattering post about the health benefits of grinding your own wheat and baking your bread from scratch, I just know you have all jumped on the fresh bread bandwagon. Undoubtedly, you will never to return again to the stale, tasteless and crumb-less bread of the grocery store shelves.

Now I would like to tell you about a book that has made those gourmet artisan breads that used to take me an entire day to make, a thing of ease that even Samuel and Aedan can help make.

I found this book when my mother gave me a great article she printed from Mother Earth News. I want to put in the disclaimer that I think this is a great magazine for their ideas on healthful living, simplicity of living and ideas for everyday green living. However, they do have many views I don't agree with. So take what you can from it and leave the rest.

Now this article was about a fabulous cook book called "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day." The premise is that you mix up dough for multiple batches, that require no kneading, and then let it sit in your fridge for up to fourteen days. As you need a loaf of bread just cut off a chunk, drop it on a pan and let rise.

No kidding. That's it. This bread is so tasty that I must always bake one more loaf than I need. My family eats one still steaming from the oven almost before I get it on the cooling rack.

The base recipe can be made and then used for different purposes. For example I use mine for artisan loaves to go with dinner, for pizza dough, for pizzelles, and also to make sandwich loaves.

Emma just mixed up 10 loaves worth to put in the fridge for this week. It is so easy I can't tell you until you try it for yourself.

There are lots of different varieties in the book. I am going to give you the light wheat variety here. You can get the all white flour one on the link to Mother Earth News so there is not much point in me wasting my time typing it for you. Plus, I prefer wheat bread to white. I started with the one online to see if we liked it before I bought the book. When got the book I switched to the wheat and my family didn't even notice the difference. So why waste your time on the less healthy variety?

This recipe makes 4 1-pound loaves. You can double or half it as you need for your family. I always do at least two batches at a time. I have the large heavy duty professional kitchen aid and I find this is the maximum flour it can handle at one time. Be sure to check your manual, before doubling, if you do it in the kitchen aid because you don't want to overload your motor. I want to stress that this can just as easily be mixed by hand in a large bowl.

3 cups warm water
1 1/2 T. yeast
1 1/2 T. kosher salt (you can use regular, this is my preference)
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cups unbleached flour
whole wheat flour to sprinkle on peel

Mixing and storing the dough:

1. mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5 quart bowl.
2. Mix in remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, 14 cup food processor or kitchen aid with dough hook.
3. cover, not airtight, and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (about 2 hours) Unlike traditional artisan bread, it will not hurt the dough to sit longer than this.
4. The dough can be used immediately but it will be easier to handle if you refrigerate three hours first. It can now be put in the fridge for up to 14 days.

When you are ready to bake.

5. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (about the size of a grapefruit) piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pan for 40 minutes.
6. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the over to 450 degrees. Place an empty broiler pan on the bottom rack and adjust shelves so that they will not interfere with the dough as it rises during baking.
7. sprinkle loaf liberally with flour ad slash a cross, scallop or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using serrated bread knife. leave the flour in place for baking; tap some of it off before slicing.
8. Put bread in oven. Pour 1 cup HOT tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until deeply brown and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time.
9. Allow to cool before slicing or eating.


  1. I love artisan bread! Thank you for sharing all the great tips and tricks of bread making.

    Have you left for your vacation yet?

    Come and check out my giveaway. I talked about it at the end of my most recent post. There is a link on it to take you to my "Choosing Joy' post. Maybe you've been there already. I can't keep track.

  2. Kat,

    Please stop by my blog today for your blessing from God.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  3. Thanks so much for the recipe. I am going to try and make this over the weekend!