A Wife Loved Like The Church

Artisan Bread for the Lazy Baker

Posted on: February 1, 2013

I love bread. Like, eat-a-loaf-by-myself love. And I love baking {or rather the results of baking}. But, I don’t have the time or energy to make bread very often.

Until now.

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A couple of years ago I first heard about the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The idea of having fresh baked bread in just five minutes was really appealing. Yet, I never tried it. Then, after the new year, I thought, “why not?”.

I checked the book out from the library and read through their recipes and list of items you need to get started. I figured it was worth the $20 to give it a try.

The main recipe is a simple Boule bread, and makes 4 one pound loaves of bread ::

3 cups of lukewarm water

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

6 1/2 cups unsifted flour

In a large 5 quart container, you pour in the water. Then add the yeast and salt, mix {but don’t worry about it dissolving}. Pour in all 6.5 cups of flour. Mix until the the dough is wet. Cover with a lid, but not airtight. Let stand 2 hours. Then transfer to the refrigerator overnight. The next day you are ready to make the bread. What dough you don’t use, you continue to store in the fridge. It’s suppose to be good for up to 2 weeks.

Up front, I invested in a 6 quart lidded food container and a Danish dough whisk. Buying the whisk was a complete whim, but I LOVE it. It really does make hand mixing a breeze.

Once you’re ready to bake your bread ::

Generously sprinkle a pizza peel with cornmeal. I’ve been using a thin plastic cutting board {not ideal, but it works}. You’ll use this to transfer your bread into the oven.

Take your dough out of the fridge, sprinkle the top with a light coat of flour, grab a grapefruit size of dough and cut it off.

Lightly coat your hands in flour, then stretch and shape the dough into a large circle. Put it on a pizza peel {or in my case, the thin cutting board}. Let it set for 40 minutes. The dough will rise some, but don’t worry if it doesn’t rise much, it will once it’s in the oven. Once it’s ready to bake, sprinkle it with flour and make a slice across the top {a cross shape, lattice cut, or whatever you fancy}.

While you’re waiting for your dough to rise, put a pizza stone on the middle shelf of your oven. Underneath that, put a broiling pan. Preheat your oven to 450*. Again – I don’t own any stoneware {or a broiling pan for that matter}, so I used a cookie sheet flipped upside down {flat side up} in place of the stoneware and a metal 8″ round cake pan in place of the broiling pan.

Once your oven is preheated {and your 40 minutes of rise time has passed}, carefully slide the bread off your pizza peel onto your stoneware. Then pour 1 cup of HOT water into your broiling pan. Close oven door and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Once your bread is cooked, allow it to cool on a wire rack until completed cooled down. Slice and enjoy.

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A TIP FROM MY FAIL ::

Be sure to have your pizza peel {or whatever you use} coated with plenty of cornmeal. This will really help the bread not stick and make the transition to the oven much smoother.  Otherwise, you’re dealing with a really hot oven, sticky bread and a bad situation.

THOUGHTS ON MAKING ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY ::

So easy. Like, really, really, easy. And delicious. You get that perfectly crunchy outside and soft inside. I’ve only made their Boule recipe twice, so I haven’t tried out other recipes they share, but I can’t imagine it being much more difficult.

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6 Responses to "Artisan Bread for the Lazy Baker"

HI Sarah –
I’m going to try this, like tomorrow, but I’m confused – where did you pour the hot water? Did you bake the bread on top of the upside down cake pan or on top of the flat side of the cookie sheet? Thank you for sharing this – seriously going to try it as soon as I can find a spot for a 6 qt food container in my fridge. 🙂 Also, have you played around with whole wheat flour at all?

Julie – you will LOVE the bread. I promise. 🙂

So, I baked the bread on the upside down COOKIE SHEET. Then I poured the hot water into the cookie pan {which I had on the rack just below the cookie sheet}. The hot water is necessary to make the oven steamy, which gives the bread that crunchy but soft taste.

Also, I’ve done a few recipes with whole wheat flour, but they all seem to turn out really dense. I don’t mind them, but my family seems to not like them as much. However, Artisan Bread in 5 has a whole wheat flour recipe, and I imagine it’s going to be good {thought I haven’t tried it yet}.

That looked beautiful! Great job- if i weren’t trying to wean myself off bread, I’d give it a try. 😉

This is the recipe I use… and mine turns out great every time. I like to use a dutch oven (purchased at Walmart for under $30) instead of the stone and the water. I also like the recipe for the artisan rye bread – you can find it on my site… it’s only a portion of the flour (one cup) changed to rye flour and I like to add caraway seeds. It gets eaten almost before it cools!
Feel free to delete this link – but check it out. http://www.its-annoying.com/homemade-rye-bread/
I received the long stonewear bakers for Christmas, and am still “working on perfecting” my use of them. I am allergic to corn, so I use rice crumbs — and with the regular artisan bread I sprinkle sesame seeds – they add a bit to the bread and help eliminate any corn.

That looks so yummy! I would be tempted to start making it except we are trying to eliminate most wheat in our house because we think my oldest is allergic to it. Bummer! Who doesn’t love a loaf of fresh baked bread?

I love this bread too. I have taught my older son to make it. I’m a big fan of parchment paper instead of the corn meal.

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