Experiments with another No-Knead Bread: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

My misshapen first loaf, in the process of being devoured There’s always a new one, isn’t there? No sooner have you mastered Bittman’s No-Knead Bread and played around with jars of starter for your own Sourdough than another intriguing bread recipe comes along. I discovered this one through the NZ FoodLovers Forum, found the recipe, and discovered the book that it comes from – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois – here.

Last Monday I mixed up the dough, cooked my first loaf on Tuesday evening and ate nearly half of the misshapen bread warm out of the oven. There was another, slightly larger, loaf cooked on Saturday and I made some little bread rolls to be filled with one-egg French Omelettes for supper today. Over time the flavour develops more of a sour tang – once I make more space in my fridge (there’s still a very useful jar of sourdough starter in there!) I’m looking forward to keeping some dough for a longer time and seeing how it progresses.

As usual, I’ve played around with the recipe. I had some of Shipton Mill‘s textured, seed-speckled Organic Three Malt and Sunflower Flour in the house so used it in combination with some strong flour and it worked well. Next time I’ll try to restrain myself and actually follow their instructions. I don’t have a pizza stone, though, so I just bake the bread on the tray it has been relaxing on for the last 40 minutes. Still haven’t gotten around to slashing it before baking either! I’ve written up the recipe with my own adaptations below but I I think there just might be a book purchase coming up…

Watch Zoë and Jeff demonstrate their Five Minute Bread technique here and read more on on Zoë’s own blog at Zoë Bakes.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Plain flour – 6½ cups (I used 3 cups of the Organic Three Malt and Sunflower Flour and 3½ cups strong flour. Why? Because it was the only other flour I had in the house!)
Dried yeast – 1½ tablespoons
Salt – 1½ tablespoons
Water – 3 cups, at room temperature

In a large bowl that will fit into your fridge, combine the flour, yeast and salt. Pour in the room temperature water then, with a clean hand, mix thoroughly.

Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise at room temperature until it starts collapsing back on itself. This should take between 2 and 5 hours but, with a cold house in wintertime, it may take up to 7 hours.

The dough is now ready to use. You can refrigerate it for up to 14 days, covering the bowl loosely with clingfilm, or bake it straightaway.

To bake: sprinkle the dough with flour and use a serrated knife to carve off enough for a loaf. The original recipe says to take a 1lb or grapefruit-sized piece each of four times. I used my dough in three bakings. However much you use, re-cover the remainder of the dough and put back into the fridge.

Sprinkle flour on your worktop and either more flour or cornmeal on the baking tray that you are going to use. Quickly shape the piece of dough into a smooth ball. If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. It won’t actually make a difference to the taste.

Place the dough on the prepared baking tray and allow to rest, without covering, for 40 minutes.

Twenty minutes before you want to bake it, preheat your oven. The original recipe that I saw specified 450˚F – I use a fan oven which I set to 210˚C.

Dust the dough with flour, sprinkle gently with a little water and put into the oven. Check after 30 minutes. The loaf may need to be turned over and cooked for another 10 minutes. Cool on a wire baking tray, if you can resist!



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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9 Responses

  1. Gerry says:

    Caroline,Just wondering if you have a preference, Sourdough, original no Knead recipe or this new one? I’ve started to combine the sourdough with original no knead recipe (basically just using the pot from no knead to support my sourdough as its always pretty loose)

  2. At the moment I’m really liking this one but I think I’ll have to live with it for a while and see how we get on!I think my favourite bread-making system depends on what I’m doing in the rest of my life. For a while, the original No Knead Bread suited my timetable, starting it on Friday nights when we arrived at the cottage and baking it in time for Saturday supper, with left-overs for Sunday breakfast.At that stage – having tried it in Dublin during 2004 – I also thought actual Sourdough was beyond me. Then I got hooked in Ballymaloe! Now, if we want fresh bread for the weekend, we take the starter out of the fridge on Wednesday night and bake it Saturday morning.I’ve only made a couple of batches of this Five-Minute Bread and so far, as with many new things, I’m loving it. We’ll have to see how much of a keeper it is. In terms of taste and texture, all three breads are a major step up from what’s available in the shops, but I have to say that I do like the volume that you get from both the Sourdough method (mine turns out a pair of decent sized loaves) and the Five-Minute Bread.

  3. Helen says:

    Hi Caroline,Firstly, let me introduce myself: I’m an Irish girl living in Munich and adore (am obsessed with/think about nothing else – insert as necessary) cooking and baking!It was really interesting to listen to your interview with Mooney. Home baking is very popular in Germany but it’s nice to hear that there’s a revival happening in Ireland as well. That was clear enough from the many Irish baking blogs appearing, but great to hear on the radio – not as specialist a medium if you know what I mean. Anyway, congrats on a great interview!Now to the actual point….you mentioned baking the 5 Minute artisan bread. That’s on my to-bake list for next week and I’ve read various tips on baking it so far. I was wondering if you use a baking stone (I don’t have one yet – my husband has forbidden me from buying any more baking equipment!) and how you got on transferring the bread using a floured towel? I’m nervous about the consistency here… Have you baked with a “more mature” mixture yet?Keep up the good work!Helen

  4. Great to hear from another cooking and baking fan, Helen! How is the food scene in Munich? I was very impressed with the Kollwitzplatz market in Berlin on my one (so far) German trip and arrived back to Ireland with my suitcase stuffed full of foodie things, particularly in the chocolate and cherry end of things, for some strange reason.With regard to your queries about the Five Minute Artisan Bread, I don’t have a baking stone either – at the moment it is also a piece of kitchen gadgetry too far. I used an ordinary baking tray that I heated in the oven, instead of the stone, for the first couple of breads but found that I was giving my dough a bit of a battering as I tried to slide it on to the hot tray. Instead I have been cooking it on the baking tray that it spends 40 minutes resting on after the shaping. I’ve not yet made a loaf that is older than 7 days – if I can hold on to a bit of dough this time round I’ll let you know!

  5. Helen says:

    The food scene here is good. There are some great restaurants in Munich, which don’t all revolve around roast pork and potato dumplings! They’re very into seasonal ingredients (at the moment it’s all kohlrabi, celeriac and fennel) which makes cooking so much more interesting. The white asparagus season is coming up soon!I think I’ll mix up the dough for the bread on Sunday to bake on Friday. I’ll let you know how I get on. Thanks for the tips!

  6. It sounds like there’s a good concentration on seasonal food in Germany. I currently have a celeriac sitting in the bottom of my fridge – must start thinking about using it soon!Best of luck with the bread and let me know how you get on with it.

  7. Helen says:

    Well, I mixed up a bucket of dough on Sunday and baked batards (well, slightly misshapen batards!) on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I let the dough rest onparchment paper and preheated the baking sheet. My husband and I were both very impressed! The crust was wonderfully crispy, and the bread full of holes -just the way he likes it!I’m going to do another loaf tomorrow and then some rolls with it early next week – I’m interested to see how the flavour develops with time. I also want to addin some dried fruits for the rolls – hopefully I can achieve this without squashing out too much of the air.

  8. Sounds like you’re really enjoying the bread! How did your dried fruit experiments turn out? Baked some bread last week that was about 20 days in the fridge – it was noticeably more sour than earlier batches but not badly so and still tasted great.

  9. Well, I didn’t exactly intend on keeping the dough that long, Zoe! I often get bread at work so there’s not much need for extra bread-making at home, much to my disappointment. When I looked at and smelled the dough it seemed fine, so I decided to bake it and it turned out well. Must try some experiments with dried fruit, now!

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