Eric Bakes Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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click here to watch our second video on the Artisan Bread Method and click here to watch our pizza dough recipe video using the artisan method.

Today we learn how to bake bread the Artisan Bread way. I picked up Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg’s great book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, after reading about it in Alexandra Stafford’s food blog Alexandra Cooks. So we fired up the Gardenfork kitchen to see what would happen. Baking bread is not hard, even I can do it. Watch here and see how we make bread based on Zoe and Jeff’s concept, which is a bit like Jim Leahy’s No Knead Bread, but different. I like what they are doing to spread the word about making your own food.

Plus, you save money when you bake your own bread. Read what Alexandra says, here’s an excerpt from her blog:

So, what does one of these loaves cost to prepare? Using the price of flour given by the American Farm Bureau — a 5-lb. bag of flour costs on average $2.39 — and prices for yeast and salt listed at Henry’s Market — a 3-lb. pound box of kosher salt costs $3.49 and a three-pack of yeast costs $2.39 — a one-pound loaf of homemade artisan bread costs about 60 cents to prepare from scratch. (Flour costs about 3 cents per ounce; yeast, 35 cents per teaspoon; and salt, 1 cent per teaspoon.) Using Henry’s Market prices, too, this estimate of 60 cents is likely on the high side.

The average price of a loaf of La Brea bread is almost nine times more expensive. Even the cheapest loaf of bakery-style bread, priced at $1.29 a pound, costs over twice as much as a loaf of homemade bread. Upon closer analysis it seems the man who called into the radio program actually might be on to something.

Even if saving money is not your goal, however, give this recipe a stab purely to experience how truly simple bread making at home can be. I’m dying to try other recipes in this book such as roasted red pepper fougasse, Italian semolina, and sun-dried tomato parmesan but for now, I’m extremely happy with the results of this master boule: It’s perfectly salty, moist and airy and delectable all around.

What do you think? Can you bake your own bread in this modern crazy world?  Watch us try. Below is the 2nd video we did on Artisan Bread, and the basic recipe.

eric-bakes-artisan-bread-in-five-minutes-a-day

Here is the basic recipe as adapted by me, the Artisan Bread book has a ton more stuff in it, you should go buy it.

3 cups warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt

6 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour

In a large plastic food container with a lid, add together the water, yeast and salt

mix this up, then add in the flour, mix together.

all the flour needs to be wet, but no over-mixed

place this container in a warm area and let it rise for 2 hours,

then you can use some of the dough,

or better yet,

put the container in the refrigerator overnight, the dough will have a better flavor.

pull off a hunk of the dough, shape it into a ball, let it rise on parchment paper in a bowl for 40 minutes,

preheat the oven with the dutch oven and lid in the oven at 450F

when you are ready to put the dough in the dutch oven, use a razor blade to slice a few lines through the top of the ball of dough

take out the dutch oven, place the parchement paper with the dough in the dutch oven.

put in oven for 30 minutes,

then remove lid of dutch oven, and bake for about 20 minutes more.

bread should have a hollow sound when thumped when it is done.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love your video! It makes the bread baking look as easy and FUN as it should be! Thanks for trying the book out and I’m thrilled that you are enjoying the bread.

    I’ve heard from other folks whose baking stones have cracked that the steam being too close to the stone is generally the culprit. You can put the steam above the stone too, doesn’t really seem to matter. It should be at least 4-5 inches away from the stone.

    I think your pizza peel is the coolest thing since, well….sliced bread!

    If you have any questions you can ask us at http://www.artisanbreadin5.com

    Thanks, Zoë François

  2. says

    Yippee! I have been using this book for about a year and I adore it. Sometimes I heat the oven up with my cast-iron dutch oven in it and lower the dough into it on a sling of parchment paper, then put the lid back on after splashing a little water in. This makes a mini-oven and results in a GREAT crust. You are right though, Zoe’s book rocks. It’s one of my all-time favorite cookbooks.

    Oh, and Eric – very cool peel. Did I mention I am building a mud bread oven a la Kiko Denzer in the spring? Time to make my own Eric-style peel….

    Jess.

  3. Bobby says

    I would like to reiterate what Zoe said above regarding the pizza stone. I cracked my wife’s pampered chef stone last night, in an almost identical fashion to what happened to yours. It cracked in the first 5 minutes of baking when the water was still steaming. The bread turned out great though.

  4. Rick T says

    Eric,

    Is it possible that the stone broke because of the addition of water into the stove? I had used my stone on may occasions but the first time I added water to the oven…the stone broke.

  5. Asa F says

    Would it be possible to use a cast iron griddle to bake on instead of a baking stone? I have a cast iron griddle or a large skillet but not a baking stone. From what everyone says a stone dose in the baking process it seems a griddle would serve the same function unless I am missing something. This would eliminate the risk of the steam braking the stone. As long as the griddle is properly seasoned the steam will not be a factor with rust, after all the cooling down should dry it completely anyway. I know from my pottery that if there is water in it and it heats to quickly it will blow up, just like throwing a river stone that has water in it into the fire wile camping. Same thing is happening to all those nice baking stones. Please let me know what everyone thinks about the substitute.

  6. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    I don’t think a cast iron griddle will give you the same bottom crust. From what I understand, the tile or stone absorbs some of the moisture of the dough and makes for the nice hard crust on the bottom. But please let us know how the griddle works out. Eric.

  7. Asa F says

    I get a nice crust of my bread when using just the cast iron Dutch oven that is what gave me the thought. I will hopefully be able to try it this next weak for Thanksgiving. I will let you know how it all turns out. It is hard to beat the results from the Dutch oven for crusty bread. I have been using it for all my rustic breads not just the no-knead bread and the results are stunning. Bread in a Dutch oven is one of the most impressive things I have learned from your sight. Thank you

  8. says

    Hi Eric, We love the fact that you are spreading the good word about home-bread making. No dis-respect to your fine bread making skills, but we really watch the beginning of the video over and over to see your lovely dogs playing ;-)))

    Cheers

    Trevor & Sally Balding

  9. says

    You can forego the peel and stone, and just bake it in a cast iron (or enameled cast iron) dutch oven, with the cover on to retain moisture for a crispy crust. Easy and foolproof. It does limit the size and shape of a loaf to an extent, but I’ve never been bothered by it.

  10. Graham Grover says

    Hey Eric, I am an avid home bread baker and I’ve been through the gamut of bread experimentation. I love to find new and different ways to make breads and the internet, which I generally don’t care for, is a wonderful place to find them. Luckily I stumbled upon this site and you have a great setup here w/ incredibly interesting stuff. I’ve tried this method many times now and it’s turned out magnificent breads for me.

  11. Henry says

    I can’t really see the inside of the bread (crumb) from the video. I’m wondering if it has big / airy holes?

  12. Tom H. says

    Eric – I don’t eat a ton of bread. How long does the starter dough keep in the fridge? Any idea if you can do a half recipe of the dough or do the proportions not work?

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