Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

My mother found this cookbook while browsing in the BYU Bookstore a few months ago. She loves new cookbooks, and this one looked intriguing, so she bought it. She made the bread from the first basic recipe in the book and brought me some to try at the Wasatch Elementary talent show. I was amazed at how fabulous it was. Not because she isn't a wonderful baker, but because it tasted like it came straight from a boulangerie in France. She said it was really easy to make and only took five minutes of work, a pizza stone and a broiler pan. I read the cookbook the next day and decided I needed to buy one for myself. Since then I have been like a walking commercial for the cookbook/bread making method. I bake fabulous bread all the time and we wolf it down and sometimes I am even generous enough to bring it to a neighbor. I always get tons of praise and I love it because it was sooooo easy. It makes me happy to have fabulous bread all the time, it makes my family happy, it makes the people we invite over to dinner happy, it makes the neighbors happy and it is easy to make even on a day when I have three sick children all under the age of five!! Have I convinced you yet!!! You have try it. I found the first basic recipe all over the internet, so I don't feel bad sharing it with you here. You really are going to want to buy the book though, it is a treasure.

The master recipe:Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf)
Makes four 1 lb. loaves

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance.

****To Make Olive Oil Dough (Pizza Crust) just substitute 1/4 olive oil for 1/4 C of the water.

3 C lukewarm water
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
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. (It is supposed to be a wet dough. I thought I was doing it wrong the first time. If it is stiff add more water).

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, or use parchment paper (my prefered method although you miss out on the cornmeal crustiness). Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and heat 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, ¼-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.


T&H&baby said...

I've actually always wanted to know how to make pizza on the grill. It's not as scary as I thought. Plus, you're right -- so much better to keep the kitchen cool. Especially here -- it's going to be 110 degrees today...

Thanks for the recipes!

jhertz10 said...

Hawke: Thanks for the kind words... I'm Jeff Hertzberg, one of the co-authors of the book. Come visit us at, where you can post questions into any "Comments" field, or into the "Bread Questions" gateway on the left side of the home page. Our website turns the book into an interactive one.

Jeff Hertzberg

Ann Dee said...

Heather, does the cookbook say anything about what kind of flour to use (or not use?). I LOVE this bread everyone. So easy and so delicious and pretty.

michelle said...

I've made the basic recipe and love it! Now I want to buy the book...