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Do-It-Yourself Experiment: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Hundreds of you have raved about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I bought the book months ago, read it in Spring, and have since been trying out making the bread recipes.

The concept is simple: you take a few minutes to mix up some ingredients. You don’t knead the bread and instead let it rest for at least a few hours and then you can refrigerate it for up to two weeks to have fresh Artisan Bread with less than five minutes’ worth of work at any given time.

Truthfully, I was confused over the directions when I read the book the first time. I read and re-read the first chapter to figure out exactly what I was supposed to do with the dough once I made it.

I finally came across Mandy’s video (above) on how to make artisan bread and it all became much more clear. {Yes, I’m a visual learner if there ever was one!}

The bread was extremely easy to make, just like you all have been telling me. However, the first batch was way, way too salty. I followed the directions carefully and was quite disappointed in how it turned out. {Edit: I did use table salt instead of kosher salt the first time around and I’m guessing that could have been much of the issue.}

It looked beautiful, but it tasted gross. So gross, in fact, that I threw out the baked bread and the rest of the dough. And I was rather discouraged about the whole thing. This bread was supposed to revolutionize my baking. Instead, I threw it out. Um, that’s not exactly what I was envisioning with this recipe.

But then I read online where someone suggested cutting the salt in half. I did that and it was a lot better.

(Note: I didn’t use a baking stone (I don’t have one) or the steam method on these loaves. I think that’s why they look undercooked, even though I baked them the full amount of time. I’m going to keep experimenting and am hoping I can land on the perfect amazing bread you all keep talking about!)

I have yet to dub Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day as the next best thing to sliced bread and I won’t be making it exclusively as I have a number of other bread recipes I really love, but I think the concept is fascinating, the bread is undeniably easy to make, and it’s definitely a recipe I’ll be adding to our regular bread recipes line-up.

Have you tried the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day Recipe? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it! (And feel feel to chime in on suggestions for me on what I’m doing wrong and how I can improve! I really want to make the beautiful loaves that the book pictures!)

Coming up tomorrow: My Homemade Detangler experiment.

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  • Lacey says:

    I believe the recipe calls for kosher salt…if you’re using table salt, you’d use about 1/2 the amount. Kosher is large flakes of salt. The original recipe isn’t too salty at all with Kosher. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      I used table salt the first time and guessed that could have been the issue. However, I used half Kosher salt and that seems like it worked okay. I’ve not been brave enough to use the full amount of Kosher salt after the disastrous first batch. 🙂 Has anyone used the full amount of salt and had it turn out well?

      • Lacey says:

        Me! 🙂

      • Tanya says:

        I make it frequently with the full amount of Kosher salt. Very tasty! Also it looks like you need to bake it a little longer. The crust is usually much darker on the whilst recie.

        • Lacey says:

          The sunken crust also looks like underbaking…it takes a few tries to get the hang of this, for sure! It has definitely been worth it for us, everyone RAVES about this bread once it’s perfected! 🙂

      • Jen says:

        I’ve used the full amount and didn’t find it too salty at all! Good luck!

      • Jodi says:

        I’ve been making bread out of this book for about 2 years now and we always use the full amount of salt, but ALWAYS use the kosher. The picture of your bread does look different from mine–the crust really should be golden/slightly brown and very crispy to the touch. Possibly undercooked or not doing the steam method correctly? I would definitely keep trying because it really is the best thing since sliced bread! (And so easy once you get it down).

        • Michelle says:

          I’ve used less salt and it does not taste as good (in fact I have to had a lot of butter then). I don’t have a bread maker, so the basic recipe has been great for our family- it really has saved us money- my family loves bread with dinner!

        • Crystal says:

          I didn’t use the steam method or a bread stone (don’t have one). I’m guessing that that and the salt issue, is the problem. Will keep trying… 🙂

          • Beulah says:

            Meijer has a really cheap bread stone $10. It works great. I use one for all of my bread and in place of a cookie sheet. I don’t know if you have one near you, but maybe you can find a great shipping deal or use a swagbuck card. They work just as well as a pampered chef stone at a fraction of the price!

          • Jessica says:

            Do you have a cast iron skillet? That works too. The whole pre-heated stone and steam is the key to the awesome artisan crust!

          • Laura says:

            I don’t have a bread stone, either, but I did use the steam method and it came out great! I just baked the bread on a cookie sheet on the top rack and poured the water in a rimmed baking dish on the bottom rack. I think it’s the steam method that gives it the nice crisp crust, so give it a shot with that. I thought it was fine without the breadstone. Good luck!

      • Laura says:

        I use Mark Bittman’s method, which is some different from the book from what I understand, so I can’t speak to the specific recipe. However, salt keeps yeast in check, so when you use less salt than called for, it will definitely affect the bread. As others have mentioned, Kosher salt is a flake and measures much differently from table salt, so it does matter which you use. I also agree that your loaves look underbaked. Don’t give up! 🙂

        • Crystal says:

          I baked them for as long as the recipe said, but didn’t use a baking stone (don’t have one) or the steam method. Would those two things make the difference, or do you think I need to bake it longer, too?

          • Jodi says:

            Crystal, yes, definitely makes a difference. I don’t have a baking stone either–I just put mine on a cookie sheet (but make sure the cookie sheet is pre-heated along with the oven so that it’s steaming hot when you put the dough loaf on). Likewise, I just use a shallow cookie sheet to hold the water for steam, and it works just fine (I believe it’s a cup of water you use for steam). Again, just make sure that you pre-heat both cookie sheets as you’re pre-heating the oven. The steam is what makes the exterior crust crusty and brown. Keep trying, it really is a great bread, and I’ve made several other recipes from the book (namely the pita) that is definitely as good as store-bought if not better!

            • Crystal says:

              THANK YOU! I’m so excited that maybe I can pull this off without buying a bread stone!

              • Heather says:

                Yes, I use a cookie sheet if the dough is coming cold from the frig, and a stone if it’s the first batch BECAUSE:
                (and I can’t believe I’m the first one bringing this up), I have broken TWO stones making this bread. So sad. One was so nice and seasoned, too. I realized that it’s because the dough was still a bit cold on the stone, and then I was putting it right into a 450 oven. I was rising the bread on the stone instead of preheating the stone first – all because I was too lazy to move the dough after it was risen. Don’t follow my bad example!
                So, if you do get a stone, follow the instructions carefully!
                Either way, use steam.

                • K Quinn says:

                  Heather did you put the stone cold with the bread dough on it into the oven? I’m trying to make sure not to break our stone. I’ve broken so many other things so if you could please detail what exactly you did so I don’t repeat?
                  Our stone never leaves the oven. Did you take yours out?

                  • Heather says:

                    Yes, I take it out. And I was letting the cold dough rise right on the stone. After rising I would put it in the oven, but the dough was probably a bit too chilly still, especially underneath. So between that, and the 450 degrees, it was probably too great a temperature contrast. Now I did this quite a few times without breakage, but in the end I guess my luck ran out.

                    However, I still use one of the larger fragments to bake my bread – but only for the first loaf – the dough that has never been in the frig. Haven’t had anymore breakage. And I put biscuits, a different bread recipe, cookies, and pizza on my (3rd) stone all the time without preheating. Have done so for years. But those doughs are at room temp. My biscuits do go in at 450.

                    The recipe says you’re supposed to let it rise on paper or a pizza peel, and then slide it onto the preheated stone. I imagine if you follow those instructions, and the instructions with the stone, you’ll be fine! I thought that that sounded like too much trouble and so I paid the price! Now, for the cold dough I just use a cookie sheet. No worries with that.

                    • K Quinn says:

                      Thanks for the response Heather. That is good to know. I’ve been wanting a pizza peel. But then I haven’t made pizza in about a year.

                    • Rebekah says:

                      I have a pampered chef stone and i have always had it in the oven heating up while the oven is preheating. I let my dough rest on a flexible plastic cutting mat then transfer it from there onto the preheated stone. then add the water to the lower pan and then bake. just like they show in there video on youtube. bread comes out great everytime

                • Lisa says:

                  Heather, I’m glad my stone wasn’t the only casualty.

              • Whitney says:

                If you have a silicone baking sheet (like a Silpat mat), let your bread rest and rise on that and then place it and the dough onto a preheated cookie sheet. This also lets you skip the step of putting cornmeal or flour down, since that is only to keep the bread from sticking, and it won’t stick to the mat. I’ve done the bread on a stone as well, but it SO much easier this way and, in my opinion, the results are identical. You also don’t have to mess with a pizza peel.

                And the steam is in no way optional. It’s what gives it the crispy crust. I’d also recommend using kosher salt according the recipe, rather than halfing the table salt. I think the book stresses quite a bit how measurements must be exact with these recipes.

              • Lara says:

                I also use a cookie sheet… but I do steam! I use an old brownie pan that has seen better days… put it in, heat it up the oven, and pour in water as I put the dough in. I have a stone.. but it’s just too much hassle to use, and my big cookie sheet lets me do multiple loaves at the same time. The steam is the important part.

              • Rebekah says:

                I have baked the dough in a loaf pan and it came out great. but i love my pampered chef stone for bread, pizza etc

          • Laura says:

            I would bake it until the crust is a much darker brown. The method I learned from Bittman’s blog has you pre-heat a dutch oven (actually, I use a round glass casserole dish with a lid) and literally plop the dough in that – bake a while, then take the lid off to further brown it. It works great for me. I think the doughs are very similar, he just doesn’t have you saving dough in the fridge for future use (I doubt I have room in the for dough anyway! 🙂 )

            Here’s a link to some bread I made:

          • Laura says:

            Sorry, it timed out while I was looking for the link!

            If you have a dutch oven or a large rond casserole with a lid, definitely try that before you spring for a baking stone. I have both, but I like the way the lidded container does the steaming and crisps it – you can’t get both of those with a baking stone alone! 🙂

          • Megan says:

            Yup, the steam method would make the crust darker and crisper. I agree with others who have used Bitman’s method. I always cook mine in a covered casserole dish as this is a shortcut to the steam method (it traps all the water escaping from the dough in the dish, so the bread steams).

          • Heather says:

            I don’t always use a stone, and it only makes a small difference. But the steam method really does make a difference. You shouldn’t need to bake it longer, but it definitely should be browner than that. Also, I have found that the best (as in most traditional) results are with all white flour. The more whole wheat flour you use, the denser it will be. I still use it, though.

      • Marlene says:

        The kosher salt, the steam and the stone are all crucial elements! Check Goodwill for a stone – the darker and more stained looking, the better! It means it’s seasoned and ready for some good use! Looks like yours could use some longer baking time – just makes sure it sounds hollow when you tap on the top, and then I always give it two more extra minutes to bake. The extra time isn’t long enough to hurt it, and I consider it insurance to make sure it’s not doughy at the very bottom of the loaf. Keep trying; it’s worth it! The sticky rolls you can make with it are awesome too. I make a full batch and get two loaves and sticky buns. Heavens, it’s so delicious!

      • Gretchen says:

        I did the same thing with the salt and halfing it worked well, but you really need to use the steam method or it will not be nearly as good. You do not have to use a baking stone, but use the steam!

      • Aileen says:

        Tried this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and made another batch last week. I used the full amount of salt and all I had was sea salt. It turned out wonderful even though I assumed it was going to be salty like a cracker. On their website, they have a lot of “troubleshooting” suggestions and I read those before beginning (because i am so good at goofing up a recipe). The suggestions were very helpful. They did mention some adjustments you would have to make if you used something other than gold medal brand flour…maybe using fresh ground flour means you might have to adjust the salt or water? I also found a whole wheat version on Good Life Eats that I am going to try next time. I’m sure your next go with it will turn out great!

  • Melissa says:

    Totally get what you’re saying about reading and re-reading. I started a while back because organic bread is SOOOO expensive. My first few tries where a flop. Once I got the hang of it, it became easy as pie (or bread) and was in the habit of making it for quite a while. It makes it so easy when you already have the dough on hand. Oh. I was making the healthy breads version that they also have. Super good 100% whole wheat recipe. BUT, now I follow a soaked grains diet, so I’m trying to figure out how to do this with that…. Should be relatively easy as the dough is usually wet-ish anyway. We shall see.

    • Rachel says:

      I just figured that it counted for being ‘soaked’ after sitting in the fridge overnight.

      Funny that some of you had issues with understanding the book. I still haven’t read any of the books. I just did searches on Google and watched video clips until I got the idea, then I started making it and loved it! 🙂

      • Lisa says:

        For soaked grains that break down the tough to digest stuff of the whole grain (phytates?), the soaking requires an acid base (like whey or lemon juice)…though he does talk about after a while getting a sourdoughy-ness to the dough…so perhaps things break down after a bit…but not overnight.

        • Lisa says:

          Can whey be frozen to use for later? I can get a lot of whey from a friend but won’t be able to use it all at once.

          • Katie says:

            Yes, whey can be frozen! I freeze it in ice cube trays, then store in a jar. That way, I can just throw a whey ice cube into beans that are soaking, or whatever! 🙂

        • Jen says:

          Once freshly ground wheat is wet, the phytates are gone in about 2 hours. See this link for a lot of good information about phytate in different grains. There is a nice chart too. I felt so much better about not officially soaking my wheat after reading this. As long as I let whatever I’m making rest for a while once it’s mixed up, I consider it good enough.

    • Lisa says:

      Oh, Melissa….would love to hear how you switch it up by soaking. That’s been my only “if only” with using it. I tried it for a while (took ME a year or so after getting to book to even try it – LOL!)

  • Lisa says:

    I had the exact same problem, Crystal. The first time I made the bread, I was so excited about how easy it was but it was way too salty. So I cut down on the salt as well and we just LOVE it! I’m glad you tried it and like it now.

  • Keira says:

    For about 2 years now, we have bought bread only in a pinch, and use the 5 minute bread pretty exclusively. I bake mine (whole wheat, no fats or sugars) in a loaf pan. That also means no misting, brushing with water, slashing… even easier.
    Love the no-knead. Just pull a hunk out of the fridge, make a ball, and bake!

  • Diana says:

    Sounds yummy! Does this make good sandwich bread, or is it better for dinner rolls and breads like that? Can’t wait to read everyone else’s comments 🙂

    • Heather says:

      It’s more of a dinner bread – or gourmet-type sandwiches. I’ve made it into mini-sandwich rolls. However, like all homemade, preservative-free bread, it goes stale very quickly.

    • Jess says:

      I’ve made sandwich rolls out of the dough and it’s great! Admittedly the outer crust is a little tough for sandwiches and I”m trying to figure out how to make it turn out softer, but it tastes great. I make sandwiches for my husband to take to work, and the bread holds up really well until lunch. No mushiness.

      When I make smaller rolls I form balls about the size of lemons, and just keep an eye on them in the oven because I haven’t timed them yet to figure out the proper baking time.

    • peever says:

      They do have a recipe in the Healthy Breads book (same authors) for soft whole wheat sandwich bread using a loaf pan and it’s really good.

  • lace says:

    I tried that bread too and i really wanted to like it. who wouldnt want dough all ready to go in the fridge and not have to make it again for 2 weeks. Im not a beginner bread maker and i have made it twice and both times it was gross and dry and extremely dense. i wont be making it again. i hope someone finds a better recipe with the same concept.

    • Mrs. R. says:

      Same results here. Yuck!

    • Julie says:

      Same here… I was SO excited to buy this book (had saved to do so), and I was not impressed with the bread. The loaf was very small, too short, and it just did not thrill me. I was very disappointed and have not made it since!

  • I don’t have the book, but I got the recipe online and I actually really enjoyed it. Honestly the thing that got to me was the pressure of making a new loaf each day, LOL.

    I’m not sure I had an issue with the salt? I am a salt fanatic though so it’s rare I find things too salty!

  • Holly says:

    I LOVE this bread!!! Granted i don’t make it all the time….as you Crystal….we have other favorites. I too found the original recipe too salty….but we don’t use a lot of salt to begin with…so I figured it was just our taste. I cut the salt in half and it works well for our family.

    I actually have a French Bread in 1 Hour recipe that I LOVE!!!! It’s so stinking simple to make and it is done start to finish in 1 hour! You can also use the dough to make bread bowls or pizza crust….so it’s pretty versatile. 🙂

  • Amy Libenow says:

    I love love LOVE this bread!! I have been baking/making it religiously since the book first came out… I usually add a little extra gluten flour so it is not as heavy… you can also change it up by adding wheat flour as well… my favorite is right before baking, just take some mexican cheese blend that you buy in the bag, add some italian herbs and then about a teaspoon+ of minced garlic and knead it all together… sprinkle some extra cheese, garlic and herbs on top, let rise and cook… SUPER YUMMY!!

  • jessica says:

    Just wanted to confirm u guessed right. usually with sea salt or kosher salt u can roughly estimate doubling it in a recipe that calls for regular salt (even though I never do) , so if the original called for Kosher or sea salt and u used table salt that would have been like putting at least 2x’s as much salt as required ….

  • Sydni Bamberg says:

    I tried this one time–was very excited about it. I live in a high altitude area, and although I have no trouble making bread here, I never could get this bread to turn out right. It was like a brick! I read and read about ways to tweak it for high altitude, but no one had a pat answer. I would have had to try numerous things before finding the “right” thing. I wonder if anyone else has had success in a high altitude area?

    • Lacey says:

      Works for me in Denver 🙂 I wonder if the dough was wet enough??

    • Sarah says:

      I learned to cook/bake at sea level and moved to Denver 8 years ago. I have had no issues with the recipes in ABin5min a Day, works like a dream every time. The cinnamon rolls with brioche dough are dreamy! However when making other baked goods (cakes, cookies, etc) I have found that the trick is to increase the flour a bit and half the leavening (baking soda/powder). This keeps dough from rising too quickly and then collapsing on itself before it has time to set.

  • Wendy Jahns says:

    My sister in law makes pizza crust with this bread recipe, and it’s really easy and delicious!

  • Becky says:

    I”m with you.. I prefer the traditional methods. I’ve tried this a few times, and something is just not quite right- mine always come out WAY too wet, and I need to add a ton of flour to even get it workable. Otherwise it sticks to E.v.e.r.y.thing, like napalm.

  • Shannon says:

    If I can add, it looks like you’re baking the bread on a cookie sheet rather than a stone? You will never be satisfied with your results if you do not bake a stone because without it, you can’t reproduce the moisture effect of a hearth oven. Remember, this bread is supposed to be a home cook’s reproduction of European bread.

    Kosher salt is very important to use as it is sweeter than table salt. I use Kosher salt exclusively in all of my cooking and baking and you will find most chefs do the same.

    I use the recipe as written on a regular basis. After having lived in Europe and worked for a Breadsmith bakery, this bread tastes like the real thing to me. I just bought ground anise and cardamom recently so I can try the Swedish Limpa Rye soon. Yum!

    • Dee says:

      @Shannon – that was going to be my comment, too. A pizza stone makes all the difference. My son uses a pre-heated cast iron skillet instead of a stone.

      And water to steam the bread in a pan on a lower rack creates the crispy crust.

      I agree with another commenter… the bread in the photos looks too pale. Maybe baking it longer would help.

      Also, how wet is your dough? Wet dough makes moist bread.

      I’ve made this bread from the recipe out of Mother Earth News for years with great success – both white and whole grain w/ nuts and seeds.

      I even make this in my 6-slice convection toaster oven because I have a mini-stone. I love being able to make a loaf for just the 2 of us.

      Also, Crystal… this is very crusty artisan-style bread. If you prefer soft bread, you won’t be wowed.

  • ksenia says:

    I bought this book randomly when it was first published, before I heard any press on it. There were a few times when the bread turned out absolutely perfectly — it was gorgeous and delicious and perfect texture. My biggest problem was that I was constantly underbaking it (looks like you did too from your photos). I also noticed that after a few days in the fridge it would taste sour and I am not a fan of sour dough. Now, I make it occasionally, especially when I was crusty, impressive looking artisan bread.

  • Catherine says:

    For anyone having trouble at all – check the artisian bread website against your printing of the book. They have a section where they offer corrections to the printed edition. There are a surprising number of significant changes to many of the recipes (temperature, time, amounts of ingredients) I printed out the list of changes and sat down with my book and went through and marked them all.
    If you have been less than pleased, compare the changes to your book and give it another shot if you were using the unamended

  • Andrea says:

    I was given a copy of this book several years ago. Thankfully, my friend included the list of errors with it (there are a lot, including ingredient discrepancies).

    You can visit the authors’ website to make sure the copy you’re working from is correct:

  • Tiffany says:

    I found the book to be a bit confusing as well but their blog has much better information so I used that to bake the bread. Once you’ve done it 2 or 3 times, it’s SO easy. I don’t buy bread for dinner anymore, I only use this recipe and everyone asks for it once they’ve had it. Your crust looks a little undercooked, you might leave it in a little longer next time? Also, I found that 6 cups of flour worked best for me (as opposed to the 6 1/2 in the book) but that could depend on the type of flour used, too.

  • Catherine says:

    For anyone having trouble at all – check the artisian bread website against your printing of the book. They have a section where they offer corrections to the printed edition. There are a surprising number of significant changes to many of the recipes (temperature, time, amounts of ingredients) I printed out the list of changes and sat down with my book and went through and marked them all.
    If you have been less than pleased, compare the changes to your book and give it another shot if you were using the unamended version of the recipes.

  • Kiki says:

    Thank you for sharing your success and failure. I remembered your sharing on forgetting to put on the bread maker’s pedals every time I am about to make bread with bread machine. 😉
    Our family have enjoyed homemade artisan breads many times since we borrowed the book from the library. The way I do it:
    – Use kosher salt – same amount as the recipe,
    – Use bread maker for the kneading. 🙂 I know the recipe said only need 5 min mixing or so but since I have a baby and toddler it’s much easier to just dump the ingredients inside the bread machine. I use a Zojirushi bread maker, turn off the pre-heat option, then set it to dough option. Once it is done kneading, let the dough rise in the bread maker for 2 hours then put the dough inside a lidded (not air tight) container in the fridge. When I am ready to bake:
    – Preheat the oven for 500 with baking stone inside.
    – Shape the dough, let it rise on parchment paper then bake it on the top of baking stone (with the parchment paper. The book suggested using corn meal but I find it much easier using parchment paper – got the tip from American Test Kitchen).
    – Turn down the oven to 400F (because parchment paper only allowed temp up to 425) then bake for 30 min. The book suggested to bake with 1 cup hot water on the broiler tray on the bottom rack but one day I forgot to put this and the bread turned out to be better hmmmm…
    Here is mine turned out:
    Hope it helps

  • Crystal, I’ve had the best luck with the bread by adapting it with some Cooks Ill. techniques- kneading it a bit with a mixer, less yeast and salt and most importantly, baking it in an enameled Dutch oven. It is the Best that way! It’s an old, popular post on my blog, if you’re interested – Easy Artisan Bread.

  • Lee says:

    I’m just glad I’m not the only one who isn’t absolutely in love. I made it a few times, but my husband didn’t love it, and wasn’t going to use it for sandwiches so I have to eat most of the loaf (no good for that healthy eating habits) or through half out. I also hated that I had to make more so soon or that went to waste too. I think I’ll stick to my bread machine :). I’m glad it works for some, but right now it just doesn’t fit my family.

  • Sarah says:

    I use a book called “bread in half the time” which is out of print, but still available on Amazon. You have the bread rise in the microwave, which means it can completely rise in about 15 minutes (plenty of time for most meals I make). I have been doing it for about ten years, and now use it with just about any bread recipe. Great recipes in the book, and for the last decade I have been “known” for making bread! Not so great in these low carb days but still my favorite.

  • I’m a big fan of America’s Test Kitchen and they say that table salt weighs twice as much as kosher salt, so you should always use half as much table salt if you are substituting for kosher. I used to buy kosher all the time, but I couldn’t really tell a difference from regular table salt, plus it was more expensive, so now I just use regular 🙂

  • Tracey says:

    I got this book for Christmas and have probably made 6 doughs since then- they all came out great. Really. I always use Kosher salt, and they are just right. We have tried boule, rye, olive oil doigh (for pizza crust), bran enriched white, 100% whole wheat and I have light whole wheat to try today. I follow the directions exactly as far as the preheat, steam, stone etc- and my whole family was loved them. Maybe this is not for everyone, but my kids saw the first loaf and said ‘When did you go to Panera?’ My bead machine is history- I never really liked the crust. These loaves have a beautiful crusty exterior and they taste great too. Also, be sure to use the unbleached a/p flour if thats what it called for. I found that King Arther brand flour was better than store brand.
    I love that most loaves are about 1lbs size- so I make it every 1-2 days, and thats the bread we use for those meals. If I have a ‘heel’ left over I save it for papppa al pomodoro. I also recently tried a cast iron pizza pan and can get a great crust with that, too.

    • Starla says:

      I have to agree about the King Arthur flour. I have the best success with that flour. I used Gold Medal or Pillsbury before, and occasionally used the Aldi flour. But now I really really love the way my bread turns out with King Arthur unbleached flour.

  • Ellen says:

    We no longer buy store-bought bread of any kind thanks to this book. I make wheat bread with 1/2 white flour and 1/2 wheat flour, plus a little vital wheat gluten, a couple of tablespoons of honey or agave to sweeten it up a bit, then a little extra water. It’s delicious for sandwiches!

    I would also recommend buying a good bread knife. It is absolutely essential in cutting a large loaf of bread into nice, even slices!

  • Rachel Morehouse says:

    I agree with previous commenters, bake on a pizza stone (the stone absorbs excess moisture as the loaf bakes, which is very important since the premise begins with a very wet dough) and bake until the outside is well browned & very hard. It will soften a tad as it cools, and this is necessary to get the interior properly baked. Also, they came out with a second book (Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day) which includes refined baking techniques & tips in addition to new recipes. In addition, I recommend letting the bread rise for a looong time (up to 2 hours) if it’s an older batch of dough. It really seems to help. I agree– it’s still not my favorite bread, but you can’t beat the prep time on busy weeks.

  • Audy says:

    This Mandy girl is tooooo cute. I wish I had that joy.

  • HEATHER says:

    Definitely you kosher salt or half the amount in table salt. Something doesn’t look right with the crust on your bread….maybe it wasn’t baked long enough? Did you use the water pan in the bottom of the oven? Unbleached flour?? I am sad that you didn’t have a great result! My husband and daughter absolutely LOVE this bread. I use it for bread bowls, bread, and pizza dough. It even makes great pitas and lavash!

    • Crystal says:

      I didn’t use a bread stone (don’t have one) or the steam method and I’m guessing that’s the issue? All of my loaves have turned out similar, even though I’ve baked them the full amount. I think the salt issue is also a contributor.

  • I’m also a visual learner so I’m very grateful that you posted the video. The bread looks delicious! I don’t own a bread machine and have been wanted to try making my own bread for some time now. I’ll definitely be trying this out (and using all the tips from the comments).

  • Paula says:

    I had checked out this book from the library a while back. My issue is I use strict Sourdough Starter. I do not use any commercial yeasts. Was wondering if anyone did this concept with a Sourdough bread?

  • BethB says:

    I tried the Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and I wasn’t all that impressed. Part of it is we just don’t eat all that much “artisan” bread. 🙂 And I don’t have a pizza stone. If your family eats crusty bread with soup or other meals often I can see how this method would work out quite well.

    Another big issue I had was the basic recipe wasn’t 100% whole wheat and called for vital wheat gluten as a dough conditioner. Not to mention the sandwich bread had an insane number of ingredients, like tons of eggs, which are going to drive up the price significantly. It is possible to make soft sandwich bread using all whole wheat flour and the dough conditioners simply aren’t necessary.

    I know we’re talking about the regular white bread version so forgive my tangent.

    What I would suggest for anyone interested in different ways of fitting breadmaking into your life is the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. I’ve been using it for almost 8 years now and it’s a great reference. There’s even a section on how to save dough when you make a mistake and one with recipes for your flops.

  • Penny G says:

    I’ve tried it & both my husband & I love the bread! Sorry it didn’t turn out well for you.

  • Melissa says:

    We can’t have dairy or soy, so it became a necessity to learn how to make our own. We followed the healthy artisan bread in 5 minutes. I make it twice a week, but I have found that I do need to knead it even though the book said I didn’t. We love this recipe!

  • Jan says:

    I just started doing the artisan bread about 2 weeks ago, and my guys love this bread. My advice:
    –Use kosher salt (the big-grain stuff like on soft pretzels).
    –Make sure you’re using the right kind of flour, or make adjustments. The protein percentage really does matter! My first batch, with bleached all-purpose flour, was way too wet (Although the bread still baked fine and tasted yummy!). Second batch, I upped the flour content by 1/2 cup and the dough looked too dry, so I added 1 ounce of water and it looked better. So far so good; I’ve been able to shape the loaves much more easily.
    –Also, I must have stumbled on an error in the yeast amount; my book says 1.5 tablespoons or 1.5 packets, but 1.5 packets is barely a tablespoon. I went with 1.5 tablespoons of yeast and was fine. Will check the website for corrections 😉
    –Definitely use a pizza stone and steam. I haven’t bothered buying a pizza peel and am shaping my loaves on parchment paper dusted with cornmeal, then sliding the paper onto the hot pizza stone.

    I work full-time, so this dough is perfect for weeknights when I want to serve a nice crusty bread with dinner. Faster than my bread machine and less counter space!

  • Amanda Brown says:

    I absolutely LOVE this bread recipe! It’s so easy to have on hand in the fridge and since it keeps for two weeks it’s always on hand when needed. I use it to bake bread loaves, buns, pitas, and pizza crusts.

    My recipe is adapted from the original; I’ve added some components from “Healthy Bread in 5 Mintes a Day”, if you use any wheat flour the vital wheat gluton is a must in order to get enough “oven spring”. Also, it looks from the picture like it might be undercooked; I’ve found you must use the baking stone and broiler pan with steam to achieve that wonderful hard crust. If you dont’t have a pizza stone use parchment paper on the cookie sheet and move the loaf to the bare oven rack for the last 5-10 minutes of baking to allow air to circulate the loaf.

    We don’t use this recipe

  • Lor says:

    I’ve had this book for several years and was into making bread about 1 1/2 years ago but stopped because we were eating too much bread!! It also got easier just buying it since I work but life has settled down abit so I think it’s time to dig out the book and try some new recipes. Maybe some whole grain ones. (I used my stone to cook the bread on also).

  • Amanda Brown says:

    Oops… My phone sent my unfinished post.

    We don’t use this recipe for loaf pan bread because the author indicates it only works with non-stick (which we avoid). I also use my Kitchen Aid to mix all the ingredients before transferring to the bucket. And I save a small portion of each batch as a “sourdough starter” for the next one. I’ve found the dough works best if it’s at least 24 hours old. There’s a very helpful video of the authors demonstrating their method for the Healthy Bread edition.

    Good luck!

  • Shelah says:

    You caught the issue… salt is NOT the same as table salt. Too bad you had to find out the hard way….I hate throwing out food.

    We LOVE our homemade artisan bread!

  • Marty says:

    The most important thing I learned from reading the book was that I could refrigerate bread dough to use later or even freeze it. So I just make whatever dough in the bread maker which does pretty much the same thing. Then you can store it in the fridge or freezer for later if you want. I still use my favorite recipes just learned a new way to store it.

  • Jennifer G. says:

    As some have said, the saltiness is definitely from using table salt instead of kosher. The different cut changes the volume. I use the full amount with kosher, and it’s great. A baking stone would definitely improve your crust too.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, I think a baking stone would make a difference…. need to consider adding that to by to-buy list. 🙂

      • Jennifer G. says:

        We really like our Williams Sonoma one especially since it comes with a guarantee.

      • Katie says:

        I have this book, and have been baking bread like this for about 2 years now–keep trying, it’s worth it! I’ve used a glass pie plate with good success, just make sure to preheat it the entire time, and use plenty of cornmeal on the bottom. Also, now I use a terra cotta pot saucer for my bread stone. You can also purchase unglazed tiles from home depot to use as well. The steam is what makes the bread, so make sure and try it next time! 🙂

      • Stephanie says:

        Crystal you will love your homemade pizza on a baking stone too! Makes the crust soooo delicious!

      • Dawn says:

        Crystal –
        A baking stone is not in my budget so I used a cast iron pan at the suggestion of the author. It works very well and I line it with parchment paper
        it is also very important to know your oven temp – it takes me aobut 30 minutes to preheat when I make this bread.

      • Betsy says:

        I personally love the Pampered Chef baking stones. I have a few from parties I hosted in the past, and I use them for everything. I don’t even own a cookie sheet.

  • I have this book on my reading list for this summer. Can anyone tell me if you can use freshly ground whole wheat in the recipes? Or do they all have some portion of white flour? Thanks!

    • Liz says:

      I have been using this 5-minutes a day Recipe for about 2 years now.

      I use 6 cups of freshly ground hard white wheat (not 5.5 cups) and I do not use vital wheat gluten. I use Ultragrain flour for the 2 cups of all-purpose flour. It comes out great.

      I use the steam method, I use a stoneware pan, I have used parchment, but the bottom doesn’t get as nice of a crust. Cornmeal works better. I have baked in bread pans, that works nice too.
      I would say that this dough lasts more like 1.5 weeks in the fridge, and it makes GREAT PIZZA CRUST!! We have also done the caramel sticky buns recipe on this website, OKAY, and I have rolled out small balls of dough and wrapped beef hotdogs, and the kids really liked those.

  • Lori says:

    I only had sea salt in a storebought grinder so I had to grind it to get the amount I needed. The bread turned out great. My husband loved it!

  • Katy C says:

    I add a teaspoon or two of cane sugar – and it seems to work great! I will never buy bread from the store again! This has completely changed my cooking/baking! I also put mine in bread pans as I use mine for sandwiches and french toast as well. Only problem I have these days is keeping bread in the house – it just is that good!

  • Cathy says:

    Thanks for your review, Crystal. I got the book for Christmas, but I haven’t tried it out yet. What did you store the dough in in the refrigerator?

  • Lisette says:

    Ya’ll are making this sound complicated and scary!

    • Heather from Ohio says:

      It really isn’t, I promise! I make this dough about once a week (It doesn’t last long here!) and it is easy easy easy! 🙂

  • Cindy says:

    I make that one quite frequently and tweak it depending on our needs (pizza dough, rolls, cinnamon rolls, whatever). I think the key (especially with yeast doughs) is to try to follow as closely as possible to the original recipe before making changes. So, using table salt, not steaming and not heating your pan before hand will all have an effect.
    For an excellent crusty European style loaf without a bread stone, I’ve had fabulous results with this easy recipe for bread that you bake in a Dutch oven:

  • Laura says:

    I made this bread (the top one) using a cast iron (not enamel even) dutch oven. I’ve also used a round glass (tall) casserole dish with a lid, and both worked great – you pre-heat them in the oven, then dump the dough in.

    This will give you good crust and it also steams the bread – a baking stone won’t do both things for you. 🙂

  • Jen says:

    I have been using the master recipe from the Healthy Artisan Bread book and I love it (it’s half whole wheat, half white flour). If someone don’t like crusty artisan-style bread they wouldn’t like this, but it almost always turns out spot on for me. (Every once in a while it doesn’t rise as much, but I think those times I’ve used just a shade too much water and it was too damp. Even then it still tastes good) I LOVE it toasted in the morning with a little jam or a light spread of cream cheese, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to cheese, soup, spaghetti sauce, etc. I do use an inexpensive pizza stone and it works great–I think it’s the key to getting a really crisp bottom crust. The book gives some directions for using a dutch oven instead. The steam is also key since it really crisps up the top of the crust. I’d suggest you check out the authors’ site too:

    They have TONS of helpful troubleshooting information, and they’ll even directly answer your questions. The first time I made a loaf I had some trouble and I posted a question, and one of the authors personally posted some ideas for me!

  • AnneJisca says:

    I experimented with it last year, and blogged about it:

    While I loved playing around with the dough, trying a few new recipes with it, I haven’t made it since! It’s actually a lot faster for me to make my regular bread recipe, since I make 6 loaves and freeze it. 🙂

    It’s a fun once-in-a-while bread for variety though.

  • Carrie says:

    I have only made 5 min bread once with GREAT sucess. I would strongly suggest buying a cheap pizza stone, you will find lots of uses for it and it does really help. For the steaming I just use a metal baking pan and cover it will foil and cut a few slits in it. The steam is what gives you the crusty exterior and and soft center.
    I have been known to spend to much money buying crusty bread and will never have to do this again.
    I even added some roasted garlic cloves to the bread dough on baking day and it was great.

  • Stephanie says:

    The baking stone and the steam make the difference- I use the metal broiling tray that came with our oven. My three year old refuses to eat store bought bread now and
    the whole what dough makes terrific pizza dough.

  • Lea Stormhammer says:

    Something no one has mentioned but might make a difference too is this: Do you have a thermometer in your oven to check the temperature? Our oven, even when new, runs about 5 degrees cooler than the “programmed” temperature. That means everything took longer to cook – and we were getting frustrated. My mom purchased an in-oven thermomemter for us (it clips onto one of the racks) – ah, ha! – now we just set the temp five degrees higher than suggested and we’re just fine.

    This is particularly important if you have an older oven – the one my parents inherited with their most recent house purchase would heat to 250F and then stay there until you set the temp over 400F. Anything that cooked between 250F and 400F had to be adjusted. And, yes, they did buy a new oven not too long after they found this out. Most ovens aren’t that bad, but many have “hot” and “cold” spots and variations in temperature.

    I’ve loved reading all the comments – I had read the reveiws on this since we make all our own bread and I was looking to streamline. It seems that people either love or hate this method and now inbetween. Now I’m seeing way. Might check the book out of the library and give it a whirl after reading the suggestions here!

    Thanks for sharing Crystal!

  • Do you have a Dutch oven? Because I always cook mine in one (and take the lid off for the last 15-20 minutes), and it gives a swoon-worthy crust and crumb! I tried my bread on baking sheets for the first few times and I was underwhelmed. Also I try to let it cool for at least 20 minutes before I cut into it—hard, I know!

    • Melanie says:

      I second the letting it cool for a while idea. It is so much easier to cut and the crumb is set perfectly when it is cool. Seemed weird to me at first, but it turns out better when it’s cooled.

  • Christine says:

    I don’t have a pizza stone, and the bread turns out just fine for me. I have found that the steam method makes all the difference in producing a crispy, delicious loaf.

  • Oh, I forgot to say that when I add the salt I add equal amounts of sugar and oil—it softens up the crust a little and balances the flavor. That’s our house version!

    Oh, and preheat the Dutch oven and lid along with the oven.

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve checked the book out twice, asked for a received a cast iron Dutch oven for some recipes, but haven’t yet made the bread. I have TASTED several batches others have made and liked it. I usually only bake Spinach Focaccia bread using the old Frugal Gourmet recipe. I’ll keep in mind the salt thing when I do try it.

  • Emily says:

    I have the book too and reviewed it and my first try here:

    The salt is tricky. I’ve been reading two books that discuss salt, so I’m not sure which one I read it in, Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day or Ruhlman’s Twenty, but the courseness of the salt makes a huge difference in the outcome of the recipe. Table salt is very fine in comparison to the kosher salt the recipe calls for, so I’m sure you ended up with way more salt than the writer intended. You will get a more consistent result if you weighed the salt rather than using a volume measure. I know…way more work!

    I also think the stone and steam are key. My loaves look almost as good as the books. 🙂

    I’d recommend trying a different type of salt or just reducing it as you suggested.

    Good luck!

  • Melanie says:

    I make this ALL the time. I just follow the Master Recipe exactly — no kneading or anything like that. I do use a stone and the steam is essential. It is our FAVORITE bread recipe right now. Keep trying! 🙂

  • Kim N. says:

    This bread looks wonderful and I really want to try it BUT I live at 8500 ft! Anyone tried this at a high altitude? Any tips?

  • teresa says:

    crystal, thanks for your post. i’ve read thru all of the comments and look forward to trying this bread myself. your readers have shared a wealth of tips!

  • becky says:

    I’m pretty sure the steam more than the stone is impacting the crust of your bread. I do remember Alton Brown mocking pizza stones–pointing out other ways to make a homemade “stone” you could look into. FYI, because the level of moisture will vary (with the humidity and the size lump you grab, the baking time will vary, so don’t be afraid to let it go longer if you think it needs it.

  • Heather from Ohio says:

    I love love love this book and bread making method. I make mine in the food processor always. No stirring for me! I also only use kosher salt and it is vital that you bake with the steam method. I don’t use a baking stone, just a boring old half sheet pan with the bowl of water on the rack below it. You can do it! It is worth it! 🙂

  • Mary says:

    Love this bread! We just graduated to the second book (the healthy artisan bread) and I just took a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread out of the oven. I ground the wheat berries and the bread is incredible. It’s a bit dense but the flavor is so good.

    I use the full amount of kosher salt in every recipe I tried and it’s not too salty. Someone may have mentioned it but you don’t get as much salt in each spoon when it’s kosher because the crystals are so much larger. It leaves more “air space” between each one.

    I love that the authors have made this such an easy, economical way for me to improve my family’s nutrition. They love that it’s so delicious.

  • Rachael says:

    Has anyone tried this with a pizza stone instead of a bread stone? Crystal, you might really like to invest in a pizza stone since you make homemade pizza so much. Mine is from Pampered Chef and I really like it.

  • Bonnie says:

    . . . I wanted to chime in here & let you know that many Pampered Chef consultant are doing a similar bread, but in our Deep Covered Baker and it comes out WONDERFUL> (going to mix up a batch now!) here is the recipe & comments people have made about variations, we have been using:
    4 hour Artesian Bread
    3 cups ‘Bread’ flour, more for dusting
    (can use 1 cup wheat bread flour and 2 cups white bread flour)
    1 ½ teaspoon instant yeast granules
    1 ½ Tablespoons sugar [I have seen some omit in their recipes]
    1 ½ teaspoons salt (prefer kosher salt, less sodium)
    1 ½ cups warm tap water
    1 ½ Tablespoons of olive oil or any combination of flavor infused oils
    2 tablespoons of any dried seasonings, herbs or rubs (optional)
    1. In large 4 qt Stainless Steel mixing bowl or large Batter Bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar & salt. Add 1 ½ cups warm water & oil mixture, stirring until blended; dough will be shaggy & sticky. Cover bowl with lid/plastic. Let dough rest about 2 hours at most, at room temp. (dough will have almost doubled)
    2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted w/bubbles. Liberally flour a Pastry Mat (or parchment paper) using Flour/Sugar Shaker & place dough on it; sprinkle it w/little more flour & fold dough over itself 3 or4 times/shape loaf. Fold sides of Pastry Mat over bread & let rest 1 ½ – 2 hours to rise.
    3. 1 ½ hrs into 2 hr rising time, preheat oven to 425/450°. (some have been place empty Covered Baker w/lid on in oven for 20 min – but it is not recommended!) Dump floured dough into Covered Baker, put lid on & into oven. Bake 30 min, take lid off & bake another 5-10 min, if need to brown top; cool on Stackable Cooling Rack. *bread only costs about 50 cents to make & 4 minutes of your time! >>>can use floured parchment paper & fold dough over itself a few times, I wrapped in parchment & put back in bowl using to rise. >>>I like this recipe better than 1 I listed; have heard put baker-or any stoneware in oven to preheat voids warranty! I took step further: after the 1st rise, flatten dough, shape into loaf & put in baker for 2nd rise; crust isn’t as crunchy, but man, is it good!
    >>>I love this & made it 3x already; personally think this is 1 of those recipes that you have to feel out. I don’t use parchment paper, but do spray my DCB; also DO NOT preheat stone in oven either! It’s really delicious w/1 of bread dipping oil seasonings in it – I’ve done Sundried Tomato & Herb and Spinach w/Smoky Red Pepper. 🙂
    >>>I have added shredded cheese & seasoning when mixing it – delious!
    >>>buy 50lb bag bread flour & yeast in bulk at Costco or SAM’S Club ( keep most of the yeast frozen or refrigerated until needed), this bread costs about 30cents a loaf & takes about 4 min of your time!
    [covered baker keeps moisture in so texture is awesome!]
    Enjoy, Bonnie >:0)

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I love everything Pampered Chef and will be trying out this artisan bread recipe in my Deep Covered Baker.

  • Jackie says:

    I’ve been making this bread for since the book came out and teach classes how to make bread using this method. I’ve been successful by tweaking a few ingredients using Eagle Mills, or half unbleached all-purpose and half white whole wheat flour like King Arthur or I use 100% white whole wheat w/ a little water tweaking and add vital gluten when I use this. I’ve made the naan for our local news here, which I make once a month as a staple. I also make overnight cinnamon rolls here,, I would keep at it, because it has changed the way I bake and freeze. I always bake four loaves at once and 3 pans of cinnamon rolls at once and freeze The recipe makes 13 naan to freeze. I also use a shoe box instead of the plastic mixing tub they suggest. Here is a 101 post I’ve done,
    I like the recipe with 1/2 cup canola oil the best and I don’t use a stone or steam. We like ours soft. You’ll find it on the links. You’re doing fantastic, keep up the great work!

  • I read this book, both of them actually, last year, and was completely terrified to try it!! It sounded soooo complicated.
    Y’all’s comments have made me think that maybe I can do this. I have NEVER made homemade bread before. I think I might be getting my courage up to check this book out of the library again.

  • Lisa says:

    I have been making this bread for years and the key is the baking stone and the steam. It turns out wonderful every time! I love to add herbs and spices and parmesean cheese to flavor this delicious recipe! I hope you persevere–it is well worth it!

  • Angie says:

    I just came accross this blog today and was surprised to see this post because I’ve been using this book for over a year. I’ve made at least a third of the recipes and nearly everyone has come out great. I always use table salt, not kosher, and the full amount. I follow the directions pretty much right on, using a stone, the steam, and pre-heating. Never had a problem with the bread coming out salty or under-cooked. We make calzones with it a lot.

  • Whitney says:

    I don’t use a stone – I use a silpat mat and toss that with the dough onto a preheated cookie sheet. That also saves me the step of putting down cornmeal or flour and does not affect the final product (except there’s no layer of crunchy cornmeal on the bottom, of course). I’ve used a stone but have never seen a difference.

    The steam is NOT NOT NOT optional!!! I can’t stress this enough. In fact, I’m pretty sure that nowhere in the book does it say you can skip that step. It’s like deciding to leave a key ingredient out of cake and then complaining about the results.

    I thought the book was also very clear that the salt measurements were for kosher, not table salt.

  • I have the books….and have been looking to try this. I love the shoebox idea, should take less rome in the fridge!

  • Lacey Wilcox says:

    Ok…I’ll confess that I haven’t read through every single comment, but I’m super inspired to try this once I finish the book.

    This question might have been answered above, but has anyone had any luck subbing whole wheat flour with the all-purpose? We LOVE whole-wheat, and I love the idea of it not being quite as processed if possible… 🙂

    • Rhoda says:

      I use half whole wheat, half unbleached white. Makes a wonderful bread. I’ve also mixed in some rye flour I had on hand–heavenly!

  • Lily says:

    Not sure what you did wrong. This makes incredible bread, and I love the authors explanations. Kosher salt is totally different than table salt though, and really my family prefers it. Also, you should think about buying a a stone to bake on as it really is superior to baking it in a regular pan. It aslo is not expensive to buy

  • Leanne says:

    Thanks Crystal! I have been patiently waiting this post. I’m excited to try this.

  • Sandy says:

    If you follow the directions and utilize the equipment suggested and you will get far better results. You can’t expect to make all sorts of changes (table salt vs. kosher, no stone or steam method) and expect to get the results as intended by the author. It would be like someone reading your book and making changes to your suggestions and expecting to get the results you describe.

  • Rhoda says:

    After seeing Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day mentioned in several blogs, I googled and found the website. Very helpful. I still don’t have the book, as we LOVE the basic recipe and I LOVE how easy it is. I do have a baking stone (Pampered Chef), and use cornmeal. One time I forgot the steam, and we actually preferred it. Still beautifully brown, still great crunchy crust–just one step easier. One of the keys I remember from the video is that you do want a wet dough–not so sticky that it makes a gooey mess, but definitely wetter than a traditional bread. Also, the size of the loaf makes a difference–too large and it takes longer to bake; too small and you’re eating toasted crunch. As to the salt issue, I use sea salt, and use the whole amount. Never had a problem there. Crystal, I hope you can get it figured out as the basic recipe is a wonderful, healthy bread.

  • Lara says:

    I LOVE this bread recipe. Yes, it’s a huge difference between table salt, and kosher. Kosher salt has bigger grains, so there is more ’empty’ space in the measuring spoon…

    I used this bread as my ‘gift’ to the whole neighborhood.. still getting raves about it!

  • lindsey says:

    There are lots of recipes for 5 minute a day bread that work better and you can keep any dough in the fridge for a day or two before baking. I find it easier to do all my baking at once and freeze loaves for later in the week. This also saves electricity since you are not heating a cold oven many times over and washing the pans so many times.

  • K Quinn says:

    Well I’ve been baking bread for almost as long as I’ve been alive but I haven’t tried this book yet. Thanks Crystal I placed it on my hold list at the library. You probably don’t need the stone. The steam is easy to come by. I’ve also baked french bread where I sprayed the crust as it was cooking (open the oven door every 15 minutes or so and spray the bread). That gave it a good crispy crust too.
    Also get some kosher salt. It’s also good for brining.

  • Melissa says:

    I bought this book over the summer after reading rave reviews. I tried the basic recipe several times and never really liked the results as the bread always tasted very bland. The buttermilk recipe toward the middle of the book is pretty good though. I make it in bread pans in my convection toaster oven and it usually turns out well. I’ve found that the dough only lasts 3-6 days in my fridge before it develops an overwhelming sourdough-like taste so I usually half the recipe since the two of us don’t eat enough bread in a given week to use up the full recipe.
    For the commentor who said she won’t try this in bread pans since it would stick – try lining your non non-stick pan with aluminum foil. I do this for all of my breads and it works wonderfully.

  • Erin says:

    I’ve been doing ABin5 for 4+ years now. I don’t use table salt at home, always kosher. That would definitely be your issue. Also check out their blog. Based on a post there, I do my loaves in my Dutch Oven, instead with the water, etc. It simplifies the process even further. I also use their pizza dough recipe/technique for Friday night pizza at our house. Also, don’t be afraid to make it in half batches as well.

  • Franicia says:

    I highly recommend good quality stoneware like Pampered Chef. I believe they have stoneware sales in December and I’ve seen them sold on ebay.

    Many years ago, I prayed for an extra Pampered Chef pizza stone (because we bake so much bread and other whole grain food because of food intolerances) and that week my next door neighbor had a hardly-used Pampered Chef pizza stone and rack at her garage sale for $1!

    I tossed my other two stones that were of inferior quality: they didn’t bake well at all. I bake breads on many different types of stoneware shapes and just adjust accordingly.

    I am a big fan of sea salt and we buy that in bulk online. Regular salt doesn’t have trace minerals like sea salt does and that is one reason why you feel good when you eat things with good sea salt in it. When possible avoid buying sea salt with preservatives in it. We once placed a bulk order of sea salt at a health food store and it contained an anti-caking agent (we asked for plain sea salt). I noticed this after cooking with the salt and my food seemed to have somewhat of a metallic taste to it.

  • erin says:

    I have only used Kosher Salt…and definitely use a stone! I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and we use the bread dough for artisan bread, baguettes, and pizza dough mainly.

    One tip, if it hasn’t been mentioned, is to throw ice cubes in the oven instead of steam bath. I think it helps, maybe not as perfect, but I think it works well enough and still gives a crisper crust.

  • amberley says:

    I use this recipe almost exclusively for pizza crust, it’s the the best I’ve made and the whole batch of dough will do 2-3 pizza nights for our family, it is soooo good!

  • Rebecca says:

    I’ve been making this bread recipe for several months now. Following the directions EXACTLY is the first key to success with this bread. Then let the improvising begin. I usually make mine with 4 cups all purpose white flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 1/2 cup ground flax seed. The results are delicious. The bread didn’t turn out how I liked when I first started making it, but with practice it is much better. I’d encourage you to keep trying as it might just revolutionalize your life by how easy it is to make. Such a huge time saver. You may want to know, last week I mixed in raisins and cinnamon before baking and the results were great!

  • Kara Dekker says:

    I’ve made the “Boule” recipe from the book with moderate success. The downside is the texture/lack of elasticity of the dough. That can only be had through sufficient mixing and kneading. That said, it is still my basic recipe at this stage in the life of this mother- of- a- 3-month-old. 🙂

    As for the salt, over the past year, I’ve found that in order to get the right texture, I have to use more than I was used to. My taste buds have mostly adjusted. But I still skimp a bit.

    The pizza stone is a must if you want really crusty bread. Even with a fan forced oven, I was unable to get that effect without it.


  • Ashley says:

    I finally purchased this cookbook after checking out from the library 5 gazillion times. This may sound a little harsh, but if you want your bread to come out like the book shows you have to use the baking stone & steam method. This is what makes it different than regular old sandwich bread. You can’t expect the same results when you aren’t using the same tools & baking methods. If you have access to a Williams-Sonoma outlet store they inexpensive baking stones. I paid $18 for mine & it’s 14″x16″, big enough to make a large pizza let alone 1 loaf of bread. Seriously, don’t give up on it until you’ve done it exactly how the book says. Oh and be sure to use the “sweep & scoop” method when measuring your ingredients (hello, before this book I wasn’t even aware that the “dig in with your measuring cup” method was incorrect:D). I decided to experiment & see if it really made a difference, so I weighed the flour after scooping it w/the measuring cup & after “sweeping & scooping”. There was a huge difference! Like, 1/4-1/2 c. difference. Keep trying! 🙂

  • Kristi says:

    I didn’t get thru all the comments but I have both the original book and the healthier bread in 5 min/day version. I LOVE it. It is a very scientific method (authored by a chef and a scientist). My guess is that the stone makes a difference (with the steaming process). I use my pizza stone but you could use a cookie sheet [with sides] stone (I have pampered chef) as it would be a great investment…for better cookies and unbelievable bacon.
    I’ve made cinnamon rolls, sandwich bread, baquettes, pizza dough, and want to do flat bread next. (recipes are in the book) All of them delicious and I think you could even use it to make communion bread. Keep working at it and you will fall in love! The book also list a website and you can comment on the site and they will help you.

  • Amby says:

    Try King Arthur Flour and use Kosher Salt ONLY

    The long it stays in the fridge the more it gets a sourdugh taste.

    Don’t give up!!

  • Sharon says:

    A long time ago I did a post on my blog about 5-minute bread. This may help.

  • Jenna says:

    We use an un-glazed Travatine (sp) tile for baking. I heard that tip on Good Eats–his pizza episode. We bought 2 for about 5 bucks. Had them for years.

  • Polly says:

    You can use a porcilin tile from Lowes for less than 1.00. make sure you put your bread and tile in at the same time….dont warm up the tile…cake pan and water worked for steaming

  • Tara says:

    I love baking from this book! It takes a few tries to get the master recipe worked out. If you have some kind of clay/ceramic/stoneware dish with a lid you can bake the bread in that. Bake with the cover on for about 20 min and then for 10 with the cover off. The enclosed vessel helps to produce steam. You can also fill a clean spray bottle with water and mist the oven a few times the first few minutes. Try some of the other recipes. My favorite is the buttermilk bread!

  • soury says:

    I tried this out when you first mentioned it Crystal, months ago! I have to say, I’ve only tried the original recipe but my family LOVES it! Here is a link to my blog post with a photo of my 1st loaf(maybe 2nd??), which also has a link to the video and recipe I used.

    I do agree with others though, it was way too salty as originally written, so I dialed down to 1 TBLS and that’s perfect for us. I’m not sure what tips and tricks I can lend, but here is my process.

    I use 6 1/2 cups of white flour, active dry yeast (the kind that comes in a packet), and regular table salt. I stick everything in an ice cream bucket (with a hole poked in the lid), mix until it’s all moistened, and then refrigerate it until I’m ready to bake.

    When I’m ready to bake: I use roughly 1/2 the dough to make a large, longish loaf. Make sure to flour your hands well, lift up/dig out half the dough and cut off the portion. I then tuck and shape it (just as the video shows) , place it on a sheet of parchment paper, and allow it to rest on the counter for 45 minutes or so.
    About 15 minutes before baking I pre-heat the oven and my pizza stone. Then just before sliding it in the oven I slash the top and get a cup of ice ready, as I do the steam method. Just as seen in the video 🙂
    I bake it for 35 minutes, until the crust is really golden and hard, almost seems over baked, but it’s not!

    It needs to rest and cool for an hour or so before slicing, in my opinion, otherwise the dough inside still seems a bit too moist. But’s it’s still good, either way.

    I’m not sure if it matters, but we have an electric (coiled bottom) oven.

  • Lisa says:

    We tried the online recipe. We didn’t like it. Used the rest of the dough for grilled flatbread. I’ve gone back to my BH&G cookbook for bread baking.

  • Kelli says:

    I am going to try this recipe. My husband makes artisan bread for a living for the past thirteen years. I asked him about the salt issue, you should use the full amount. He uses sea salt, but said that table salt will also work. And that the steam is important. I usually do not try to make bread, when I do it usually does not come out right. I will have to have him bring some of his bread home to let our kids compare. : )

  • Julie in IN says:


    PLEASE, buy yourself a pizza stone!!! You will thank me. :oP

    You will wonder why you waited so long and love your homemade bread and pizza more.than.ever!

  • Julie in IN says:

    By the way, I am a super tightwad and am still glad I spent the money on a stone.

  • Julie in IN says:

    Buy a pizza peel, too. It makes the job so much easier and your family will think you are a pro. :oP

  • paula says:

    I just bought this book also and haven’t tried it yet. I am going to try the recipe for Brioche dough, though because I have a recipe for artisan bread that is great. It is called No-Knead Bread by Jim Lahey. I don’t know how to set up a link to this site, but you can google it. It is not exactly a 5 minute recipe, but with some preplanning it is super easy and delicious.

  • Tara says:

    We LOVE this bread. We use freshly ground grains in place of the white too. We use the dough for just about everything. Including pizza crust! Here’s the crazy part: I have never been good at making yeast bread. It just never turned out. But, for some reason, this bread works wonderfully!

    Although, I do want to add that all bread stones are not the same. If you get an unseasoned/ inexpensive one, it may cause much frustration in the beginning until it is well seasoned. In our house, once it is well seasoned, NO ONE is to touch my stone, lol! Its like a “precious” stone to me at that point and I don’t want anyone to break it! 😀

    Hope you figure it out Crystal, because it is SOO convenient to be able to grab dough from the fridge and have fresh bread so quickly.

  • Rebekah says:

    I have been making the bread for over a year. I love it! I found there website and started making the bread from there recipe and video on youtube and never had a problem with it. You might want to follow the instructions to the tee. Kosher salt is a must it might seem like alot but the bread is delicious and I for one hate salt. Using a stone is a must too 🙂 I recently bought the cookbook and have been making donuts, sandwich bread, cinnamon rolls etc. Here is there website, you can look up recipes and also they have a page that lists mistakes that were printed in the cookbook. here is there youtube video. maybe it will help your next try better.

  • Kelly Welch says:

    Okay, after reading your comments, I’ll try it again. My bread turned out like yours, Crystal, wayyyyyyyyy too salty. I’ve tried it a few more times with less salt, but I haven’t been thrilled. Time to try again!

  • Gabi says:


    you could try another method, it worked great for me. All you need is a 5 qt. cast iron dutch oven (I use Lodge).

    The book is: My Bread by Jim Lahey.

    The bread is nice and crusty and tastes just like Italian rustic bread. There are also other recipes in the book if you want to experiment. It truly only takes 5 minutes to mix it up, then let it stand for about 12 hours and bake. No kneading necessary.

  • Sarah says:

    Crystal, I understand your disappointment after the first try. But, seriously if doing the recipe as suggested, this bread is the bomb! I even had a “class” where I had my friends over and taught them the method from the book. Everyone loves this bread and when I bring it to someone’s house, they all think I bought it at a bakery and absolutely rave about it!!! If you have a food mill, grind your own wheat and make the whole wheat recipe and it is also fabulous! And have you tried the caramel pecan rolls? yummy
    Please, use the kosher salt, get a stone : ), and bake with STEAM! Your bread will look & taste so much better!

  • Katie says:

    It took me a bit of getting used to, but now I use this method to bake the majority of our family’s bread (sandwich bread, pizza crust, etc.). I use regular table salt and cut the amount in half. I also found that I had superior results when I used King Arthur Flour instead of a cheaper brand.

  • ksldr says:

    I am an experienced bread maker and loved the idea of ease and convenience. I was really dissappointed in this bread. I thought it was bland and tasteless and a bit dry. The instructions say not to have it in an air tight container but after a few days the dough became a grey mess in the refrigerator. I’ve beaked with the steam and stone method with my own sourdough so that wasn’t a problem. I did manage to crack my Pampered Chef stone (rep said don’t preheat the stone in the oven with nothing on it). On a positive note, I did like the olive oil bread made into thin crust pizza dough but I’d half the recipe and make it within a day or two.

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