Thursday, June 11, 2009

Five Minute Artisan Bread

I have had this book for quite some time. I have made the challah recipe and the brioche but I had never made the basic white "boule" until this past weekend. For one thing this is an idiot proof recipe. I literally threw the dough together in seconds at almost midnight on Saturday. I did not even bother to let it rise at room temperature but instead put it right into the fridge to do its thing. On Monday night I made my first loaf using the directions from the book...baked on a stone with hot water added to a broiler pan to create some steam. We were very happy with the result, especially my boys. The bread had a lovely crust and was wonderful toasted with brie and French Ham for breakfast the next morning.

I had been reading the Artisan Bread in Five blog and they were talking about baking this recipe in a Le Creuset Dutch Oven so I thought I would try that and compare. I have had great success baking the Jim Lahey, No Knead Bread recipe in that manner. It worked out really well. I let the
Le Creuset heat in my oven set to 475* on a convection bake setting for about 25 minutes. I covered the knob of the pot with aluminum foil. Shaped the dough and let it rest on a piece of parchment paper for 1 hour and 15 minutes and then plopped the whole shebang , paper and all into the Le Creuset. I baked it for 20 minutes with the top on and the I removed the top of the pot and continued to bake for about 20 minutes more. The bread was lovely , crackling and singing when I removed it from the pot. I think the flavor of the bread was even better on the following day. I actually forgot to slash the top of the bread so I took it out of the oven and tried to slash the top without burning myself.
So next time I should have some better looking slashes!
For me it is easier baking this bread in the LC...I do not have to schlep out my baking stone, etc....
I have enough dough for one more loaf which I will bake tonight. This is a great method for a lazy bread baker like me. The only drawback is having enough real estate in my fridge for the dough bucket, but other than that this is such a wonderful way to have home baked bread in very little time at all...loaves like this cost about $5.00 here at the moment. My son looked at me this morning and said , "Mom, this bread is so incredible toasted for tastes just like the really good bread you buy". Well...that was good enough for me. Now if I can just keep away from eating too much of it!
But that is a story for another day!

Baked in a Le Creuset

Sliced from the Le Creuset baked loaf

Five Minute Artisan Bread

From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007). Copyright 2007 by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

Serves 4

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
  • Cornmeal

In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of plastic container. Cover, but not with an airtight lid.

Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.)

When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel. Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes.

Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece (about 1 pound). Working for 30 to 60 seconds (and adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands; most dusting flour will fall off, it's not intended to be incorporated into dough), turn dough in hands, gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.

Place shaped dough on prepared pizza peel and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it in lidded container. (Even one day's storage improves flavor and texture of bread. Dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in airtight containers and defrosted overnight in refrigerator prior to baking day.) Dust dough with flour.

Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, 1/4-inch deep cuts (or in a tic-tac-toe pattern). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely.


  1. Linda..I think your bread is magazine worthy.
    I just made focaccia with it and it was good also.
    I love the LC method..I too use that method many times..
    Your son and my husband said the same thing.Toasted!! Is sublime!

    It really is an amazing thing !

    I loved your line about singing!!:)

  2. OK, you've inspired me. I'm buying fresh yeast today and will give it a try. I miss all the wonderful bread from my trip so will try my hand at it.

  3. (((((HUG)))))Mme.Monique!
    We are loving it toasted with some French Brie and some Madrange French Ham which is from Canada I is fabulous with this bread...
    I gotta try the focaccia!

  4. Cathy...this is really goof proof!
    The only thing is to be patient while the dough bubbles away in the fridge. If you start it tonight and bake on Saturday it should be perfect. I bought a 6 qt. bucket on does take up some space,but works well. I also used a large Rubbermaid container before I got the bucket to store the dough.
    Good Luck...let us know how you do!

  5. Another success with ABin5....a great book with delicious looking and tasting bread!

  6. the bread...
    The cinnamon buns I made with the challah dough are pictured on my sidebar...I need to be very careful not to make those too often...
    Thanks for stopping by Peter!

  7. I can almost SMELL that bread! Thank you for sharing!

  8. You've convinced me - I want to try this recipe. LOVE your bread photos!!