My first loaf of Artisan Bread

by Michelle on February 23, 2008

Recently I became aware of a new book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

My friend Linda sent me the Basic Dough recipe and my friend Lucy sent me the Basic Challah Dough recipe, but finally I had to buy the book. Amazon.com is so easy and it’s dangerous at times!

I received my book a week or so ago and have been reading it ever since. It’s a fabulous book and so full of ideas and inspiration! I can’t seem to put it down!

I made my first batch of The Master Dough or Boule a week or so ago. I am still recovering from surgery and unfortunately I tripped and fell and ended up with a hand full of stitches so my dough sat in the refrigerator for a bit. The dough is fine refrigerated for up to 2 weeks so I was well within the time limit by the time my hand healed enough for me to bake bread again.

It was fun to make the bread dough and it was such a relief to just cut off a chunk of dough and make my bread. There’s no last minute measuring and mixing or waiting for the bread to rise.

The Artisan Dough is different then the No-knead Bread Dough that I love so much. But both recipes are useful in their own way. And both will be used over and over, again and again to create delicious and interesting breads.

Master Bread Recipe
Recipe adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”

3 c. lukewarm water
1 1/2 T. yeast (1 1/2 packet)
1 1/2 T. kosher salt
6 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
Cornmeal for pizza peel (I use semolina flour)

1. Warm water slightly to a little warmer then body temp.

2. Add yeast and salt to water in a 5 qt bowl or plastic tub with a resealable, not air tight, lid.

3. Mix in flour. Add all the flour at once, measuring by dipping the 1 c. measure into your flour and just leveling it off with a knife. Mix with a wooden spoon or stand alone mixer fitted with a dough hook. I just mixed it by hand with my trusty wooden spoon! If the dough becomes to stiff to work with the spoon, just mix with your hands but don’t knead the dough.

The dough should be very wet and sticky.

4. Cover your bowl or tub, not air tight. I just placed the lid on the top and did not seal it. The book warns against screw top containers or glass as the gases released during the fermenting process can cause enough pressure to fracture your container or pop the lid, so be careful!!!

Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours. You may use the dough at any time after the first room temperature rise. Now, place tub-o-dough in the refrigerator.

***Fully refrigerated dough is less sticky and easier to work with. And the flavor is better the longer the dough is allowed to ferment.

5. Prepare a cookie sheet, pizza pan, or any flat rimless baking pan by sprinkling it with cornmeal. I generally use Semolina Flour and find that it works just as well. The cornmeal/semolina act like little ball bearings and allow you to easily slide your bread onto the hot baking stone.

The refrigerated dough is great to work with and I only need to flour my hands to prevent the dough from sticking. I just grabbed a chunk of dough and formed my loaf. No kneading is necessary. The top of the bread should be smooth.

6. Allow the dough to rest on the prepared pan for about 40 minutes. Don’t worry if the bread rises or not as it will rise during the baking process.

I baked mine in my raw clay chicken baker lined with parchment paper. However I did not use the lid as I do for the No-knead bread.

The Artisan Bread does not rise very much, but it still makes a wonderful bread and is very versatile.

7. Twenty minutes before bake time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. I have a convection oven and always decrease the recommended temperature by 25 degrees.

Place your baking stone on the middle shelf of your oven. And place a rimmed baking pan, I used my 9 by 11 cake pan, on the bottom oven shelf. The pan will hold water during the baking process and keep the crust soft.

8. You can slash the top if you want too or you can let the bread decide how it’s want to pop!

I know it is recommended to take a knife at an angle to slash bread dough, but I just use my kitchen shears and open the scissors to their full extent and then just cut the dough by closing the shears. The kitchen shears work great and you have more control and I’ve done it this way for years.

9. If you oven is pre-heated or even if it’s close to the recommended baking temp, now it’s time to bake your bread! If your using a baking stone, pull out the oven shelf with the stone and gently slide the bread onto the stone. If the bread sticks a bit just give it a gentle poke and it should slide off. If your baking in a clay pot like I did, just place the pot into the oven.

Also pour 1 c. of warm tap water into the steaming pan on the lower oven shelf. It will hiss and steam so be careful your hand is not too close. I use my a long spouted tea kettle to pour the water into the steaming pan.

10. Store the rest of the dough in the refrigerator for use later on. It will be fine up to 2 weeks (14 days). But I doubt you will have any problems using up the dough.

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Comments

  • OhioMom February 24, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    The 5 minute is denser than the no-knead IMO, the food critic doesn’t care for the hard crust of no-knead, however the 5 minute is good for a quick pizza or rustic bread.

  • Michelle February 24, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Linda. Have you seen the 5-Minute bagels, they look fabulous and I can’t wait to try making them. But of course I’ve my now Jewish Food Critic and I’m pretty sure the bagels will be scrutinized thoroughly. LOL!!

  • Judy's Bakery & Test Kitchen February 4, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I just saw your tip for using kitchen shears instead of slashing the bread. Gotta try that tip! I use the shears to cut off my piece of dough from the bucket anyways.

    Thanks for the tip.

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