Questions and Answers

As people write me with questions, I am including them and my responses below.

  1. The recipe I have from “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day” is different than yours. Do you use the 2nd book?

I have both the original Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and The New Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. They are both great! The second has a lot more recipes made with alternative sources of wheat and gluten-free as well. In my recipes, I am writing them the way I really make them after 3+ years of using their recipes a few times a week. So some things might be a bit different from my experiences.

2. My recipe from the book only mixes the dough for less than a minute to a shaggy blob then rests like yours and refrigerated overnight.

I tend to mix mine until it all of the yeast and salt and flour are incorporated. In my experience you can’t really mix it too long, but you can mix it not enough and then you have either dry patches or clumpy yeast. Just scrape it down on the sides and mix it another minute. When I’ve made a batch and a half at the same time (enough for 3 loaves), I have sometimes seen unmixed yeast in the bottom of the dough after I drop it in the rising tub. I just stir it with a spoon in the tub until it’s all mixed in.

This first rise after mixing it can last anywhere from 2-5 hours. I tend to let it rise until it fills up my 5.2 liter rectangular tub and then refrigerate it. You can leave the dough in the frig for up to 14 days before baking it. While you could put it into a loaf pan right after the first rise, it’s a lot easier to handle when it’s chilled. I usually make the dough the first day, refrigerate it overnight, and make a loaf 2 hours before we eat breakfast (I get up really early!).

3. The recipe in the book is made in 1# boules. I like yours better. I will try it.

I find the recipe is really only enough for two regular size loaves (1 1/2 lb.), not four. If you just want a dinner size boule (round loaf you make on a pizza stone or a cookie sheet), you can make four, but we prefer larger loaves or boules.

4. How long does it rise in the pan? 

For the second rise after the dough has been refrigerated and it’s ready to go into the loaf pan, I typically use a 1 1/2 lb. loaf pan and let it rise, uncovered, until it fills the pan at least 2/3 of the way, sometimes almost to the top. We like our bread fluffier and, the more it rises, the airier it is. You want to bake it before it flattens out on top and before the top gets dried out. It will still taste good, but it doesn’t look as nice on top.