Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Vegan Monday: Sourdough Flatbreads

Vegan Monday this week has to be totally bread related. I know that bread is my gig right now, and that I am living and breathing dough daily for the past two months. I am reading, simultaneously mind you, no less than 5 separate bread related books and I would be lying if I said that I could remember everything that I've been reading. Every baker has a different approach to bread, every sourdough cultivator a different feeding schedule and method. What I really love about experimenting with sourdough is that there are only three ingredients in my bread: starter, water and flour. That's it, and it can feed almost anyone. And it is amazing how tweaking the proportions even in the smallest degree changes the entire finished product.

I am beyond excited now that I have successfully converted, with success, several regular yeast recipes into sourdough starter recipes. If I run into you and start elaborating at length, please forgive me (and/or stop me). In part, I'm excited because the more I can incorporate the culture into my daily life, the less I have to wash away down the sink, and given my recent focus on waste, that makes me very happy. It would also make me very happy to share my starter, so once again, if you are local(ish), let me know and you can have some to experiment with yourself!

I think the key to my successful conversions is counting my sourdough starter as liquid, and adjusting the water in a recipe ratio accordingly. It also probably helps that I am an obsessive type, and regularly bake by weight and not by measure. I usually feed my starter equal weights of water and flour, keeping it roughly the consistency of pancake batter.

Earlier this summer, I had tried the Msemmen (Algerian Flatbread) recipe from the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book and loved the flavor. I had never seen a flatbread recipe that actually incorporated a spice mixture right into the dough, and being a spice fanatic, I loved it. The day after making the cauliflower pizza, I figured I would try a few of these breads with the leftover dough, and it worked out better than I imagined. The flatbread is called "msemmen", which is a Morrocan or Algerian bread that is almost like a crepe. From what I have read elsewhere, it is less pliable than traditional flatbread, maybe a bit more similar to a cracker.

This could be what I love most about cooking "ethnic" foods: I don't have a frame of reference, so I can infer all of the best things and from reading about food and countries and eat something I find truly delicious, that suits me alone. My apologies to those who have grown up eating this delicious staple, and on whose authorities I would likely change my opinion... But as of this writing, and short of taking a very long trip, it is unlikely that I could gain a frame of authenticity no matter how much I would LOVE to do so.

I made tortilla-sized breads, maybe about 6 or 7 inches across, but rolled them up the same way that Jeff and Zoe suggest in their book. I have scaled the recipe back here, but you can find the original recipe and conventional measures in the HBin5 book. If you are interested in adding more sourdough to your life, I hope my scribblings of a recipe will help!

I add only enough olive oil to the spice mix to make a thick paste. This way, it doesn't run out of the dough as much when it is rolled out. It is inevitable that some escapes, but it stains the bread a gorgeous deep turmeric yellow so I count it as a positive.

This is a lolly-gagging, beat-around-the-bush approach to writing a recipe, and I do apologize in advance. If you have a question, please ask! Since I am making far more work out of a quick and easy recipe, it seems par for the course... but really the work is in the natural yeast taking longer to do what it needs to. If you do give the dough time to rest in the refrigerator overnight, you will have more "sour" flavor in the sourdough.

Coiled doughs, resting.

Sourdough Msemmen (adapted from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
makes about 10 flatbreads
(Begin the dough the day before you'd like to bake the breads...)
  • 180 grams whole wheat flour (6.25 oz.)
  • 67.5 grams AP flour (2.5 oz.)
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 T. vital wheat gluten
  • 80 grams sourdough starter (heaping 1/4 c. or 2.8 oz.)
  • 145 grams water, room temperature (5.11 oz.)
(The total amount of liquid for the recipe should equal roughly 225 grams or 8 oz. ) In a small bowl, I first measure in my starter, and add liquid to come up to the correct weight. Stir the starter well with the water to emulsify, then add to the dry ingredients. Correct with additional water if the dough seems too dry, but remember than the dough will slacken some with the long rising time. You don't really have to knead the dough, but I like to turn it over several times in it's bowl to make a cohesive ball of dough. Let rest until double in size, about 8 hours depending on the strength of your starter. At this point you can refrigerate the dough. (I haven't attempted any longer term storage, but left the dough under refrigeration for a day, and had positive results.)

for the spice paste:
  • olive oil
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. paprika
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t. salt, to taste
Mix all the spices in a small dish, and add oil enough to make a semi-liquid paste.

When the dough is raised, you can make the breads right away, but since mine was refrigerated, I took out the dough and pinched off golf ball sized pieces. I formed them quickly into balls, taking care not to deflate the dough too much. Just try and be gentle. Then, I let them under a towel for at least a half hour. Roll each ball into a thin round, spread with the spice mix to within an inch of the sides, and then roll up the round tightly like a cigar. Then, coil the cigar tightly onto itself to form a "cinnamon roll looking shape". Let these coils rest on an oiled sheet for about 20 minutes.

When ready to bake, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles when tested. (I did not need to grease my pan at all, since I have a very well seasoned one.) Roll the coil out into a thin round and don't worry if some of the spice mix escapes. Use a bit of flour to keep it from sticking as you roll, but try not to add too much. Transfer to the pan and bake until small bubbles form on the surface of the bread. Flip, and continue cooking on the second side until deep brown speckles form, maybe a minute or two. (I covered the pan with the lid of a larger, non-related pan during the cooking of the first side. I don't know why, but I figured it would make it more tender. You wouldn't have to - it boils down to doing it how you like!)

A good rule of thumb for handling this dough is to treat it gently. It is fragile, or at least I pretended it was and it worked for me. Wheat flour has far less gluten in it that regular old white flour, and there is but a whisper of the white stuff in this dough. You can't hurt by erring on the side of caution.

I think, since I was raised on them, I equate all things baked in a cast iron skillet to tortillas. My Mom's version unmatched still by anything I have ever made or likely will make. She does not measure, but the flour tortillas are so light and tender, fully floppy and studded with brown 'beauty spots'. I tend to compare everything round to them, even things like this that are not really that similar, just to see how they stack up.

These are tender in spots and crisp in others, spicy with cayenne (heavy on that, in my case...) and interesting in general. They separate into layers due to how they are coiled and then rolled, and I am amazed that they are still soft at all after the beating they seem to take with the rolling pin. I ate them for lunch with ample amounts of hummus I made using roasted red peppers I had made in advance and frozen (I do about 10 lbs of them late every summer, and then use them throughout the year), and with garbanzos I had pressure cooked a month ago and frozen. With totally unrelated, but no less delicious, chile marinated olives from Outpost, I was in vegan dining bliss.

Had I had some cucumber and tomato, maybe some lettuces, I could have served it to others as a main course. But for me, bread alone is worthy of a meal. Simple, yes, but wholesome and satisfying - and now successful which makes it even better.

These two that were leftovers were cooled several hours and then cut into wedges and polished off when SS came for dinner later that evening. We had pizza for supper, since I did make the Lahey Cauliflower pizza again using the traditional Lahey crust. I have officially crossed it off my list. I may just have to try more Lahey recipes using the sourdough starter. I can't help it. It's in my blood now.

I tried making a version of these using this leftover sourdough dough that I had in the refrigerator for several days. The dough is from Burp! blog, and it also makes great pizza. I didn't even let it come to room temperature, I just broke off a couple balls of dough, and rolled them out as described above. They puffed up and made a more puffy flatbread, but they were delicious! Creamy inside, with a nice, brittle crunch to the outside - I'll definitely make them again soon. Pictures here.

The Lahey Project (kinda...): Cauliflower Pizza

Being in the throes of sourdough, I have lately abandoned my Lahey Project fervor. I have not forgotten dear Jim, since yesterday I produced my best loaf of sourdough to date using his ratio (in metric) of flour to water, and counting a heaping 1/4 c. of my starter in the liquid part of the equation. When I saw this Habenero Apple Jelly recipe today, I knew I had to rush off to my favorite apple vendor at the farmer's market in West Allis to get some cider - and while I was there I couldn't pass up a yellow cauliflower. One thing always leads to another, doesn't it?

Even though I have ample things to eat, I know that the winter season will soon be upon us and then that yellow cauliflower will then be the only thing I can think of: so often is that the case when I don't give in to instant gratification. And, while I'm at it, if I'm going to be instantly gratified, it behooves my healthfulness to include a cauliflower. High in vitamin C and fiber, and full of cancer fighting phytochemicals, the yellow version shouldn't actually taste much different than a milky white varietal. I swear that the yellow version is gentler and much more sophisticated. But then again, it's probably just the divine combination of ingredients that comprise a Lahey pizza...

Long before the purchase of said cauliflower, I had started a whole wheat dough this morning using my sourdough starter. I applied the same idea of counting a heaping 1/4 c. of starter as a liquid, and tried a mostly wheat "no knead" dough from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I own this book, and was initially very excited with it (before Laheyitis set in...). The premise of both Artisan Bread in Five books is that you are able to mix up a large batch of no knead dough, and then bake with it for a week or longer. The bread is good, and the time saving is valid for those who may be busy. But after trying my first bite of Lahey bread made with a minuscule amount of yeast, I couldn't go back to stored dough; my new breads developed much more flavor over that longer period of fermentation time.

I also have the luxury of pretty much babysitting any dough project since I work in the home... and there is a very satisfying reward for me personally to be able to bake on demand and set my alarm clock for the middle of the night or supremely early in the morning to attend to such needs of experimentation. It's kind of funny that here I am, trying to take a simple method and make it more laborious, but that is what I do I guess. There are a lot of great recipes in the Artisan Bread books, and now that I know I can make more work for myself, I may set out trying to replicate more of them using a longer, single baking approach.

I scaled back the HBin5 master bread dough recipe to 1/4 of it's intended amount (fairly easy, since the book lists metric weights for the master recipe) using my starter, and compensated for having ALL of my windows open for most of this unseasonably warm November day by leaving the dough in my oven with the light on to raise for about 8 hours. It was ready by dinner time, and by then I had this gorgeous cauliflower. Though I may be stretching to count it in my Lahey Project, I used the recipe for the topping from My Bread.

The dough was super sticky, so I rolled it super thin on a piece of parchment, and baked it on a stone at 500 degrees. When the dough "set", I slid the parchment out from underneath.

Brilliance. The mandolined cauliflower tossed with green olives (I "borrowed" queen sized manzanillas from my in-laws), chile flake, fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese and a trace of olive oil. The dough was nice and crisp - but to be honest, I was so enamored of the topping it was clearly in the backseat. I saved the rest of my dough in the fridge to play with tomorrow - and am figuring that I'll likely make the second half of the cauliflower into another pizza tomorrow night, dutifully complete with Lahey crust.

(Oh, and I forgot to mention that this cauliflower pizza is topped with breadcrumbs. Beautiful, uniformly dusty breadcrumbs now thanks to the VitaMix! But breadcrumbs of any size or shape and added to the top of any pizza just prior to baking are probably only going to enhance your outcome, and that is just one thing I have learned from Jim Lahey.)

The only enhancement that can make a Lahey Pizza better in my eyes is some heat. Even with the ample chile flake my heavy hands added, pizza in my book needs to be consumed with peppers alongside. My candied jalapenos were perfect, and I ate a slice with each bite until my eyes were hot and nearly watering. Not so much watering as "sweating". I've said it before and I'll say it again, you know it's good when your eyes sweat.

The End.

Quinoa Bread: Lahey-ified.

I must admit, that since Lahey obsession has set in, I really haven't felt like making any other bread variations. I was quite happy in making my new standby which is the Pane Integrale with a bit of extra flax meal added. Not only is it delicious and healthy, it lasts a freakishly long time. A long time if it isn't gobbled up, that is.

Well, because I was out of town for the weekend, Monday morning came with no 24 hour Lahey dough to work with. I decided to give another bread a try - since I bought this book at the same time as the Lahey book and confess to never having cracked it open until this morning. I was almost out of AP flour, which was alright since most of the bread recipes in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day are predominately whole grain. When I came across one for Quinoa Bread, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to have a loaf of bread ready for my dinner deadline. And, I'm kind of a sucker for anything with quinoa in it.

The main differences in the two approaches to "no-knead" bread as I see them are these: 5 Minute a Day bread uses much more liquid and yeast, rises faster and can be stored in most cases for up to 2 weeks, and Lahey bread uses a fair amount of liquid, but only produces one loaf at a time that takes around 24 hours to complete. I

think the Lahey bread is my new favorite method as well, since it is baked in an "oven within an oven". (My new Lodge pre-seasoned 5 quart dutch oven is working out splendidly, by the way.) No messing about with pouring in water for steam, and considerably less mess, which is something of note for someone who by nature tends not to be the neatest when working with doughs. I also find that the flavor is a bit more to my liking.

Quinoa bread dough.

Rather than lament the omission of my bread baking in a pot, I decided to mix up the Artisan Bread in 5 Quinoa bread, and then treat it like I would a Lahey bread, sans waiting for 24 hours. My resulting loaf was still ABin5ish, but had enough Lahey characteristics to satisfy my obsessions. And it tasted great too, with the slight nuttiness of quinoa adding a millet-like texture to the bread. I know on the ABin5 website, they give tips for baking in pots, and I remember perusing it some time back, but I just used Lahey's methods and temperatures outlined in his book. I'll recount my recipe and procedure below, but the ingredient list isn't changed much from the original except that I did use half the recipe. You can easily double the dough and store it under refrigeration for up to 10 days.

1st raising.

2nd Raising.

Quinoa Bread (Layhey-ified, but still Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day's recipe.)

  • 1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 c. ap flour
  • 1/4 c. bread flour (you can use all ap flour, but I was out after 1 1/2 c...)
  • 1/2 c. quinoa
  • 1 t. active dry yeast
  • 3/4 t. kosher salt (could actually use a bit more, to my taste)
  • 2 T. vital wheat gluten
  • 1 1/2 c. plus 6 T. lukewarm water
Mix dry ingredients together, then add water and mix well with wooden spoon, spatula, or stand mixer with paddle attachment. Cover the dough, and let it raise at room temperature until it rises and collapses slightly, at least 2 hours. (Actual time will depend on how much yeast, how warm or cool your room temperature is, and how lukewarm your water was.)

Dust a clean linen (or non-pilling) kitchen towel with ample amounts of wheat bran and/or oat bran.

(I could have used the whole half batch of dough here for a single loaf, but I used about 2/3 of it.) Using a bit of extra flour, shape it into a round as quickly as possible, aiming for forming a tight "skin" on the outside of the dough by pulling the top around to the bottom. It's a sticky dough, so use some extra flour if you need it. When you have a nice neat boule shape, rest it on the wheat bran dusted towel, and cover loosely with the sides of the towel. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with a bit of extra bran if it seems too sticky. Let it raise for another 2 hours or so, until the loaf looks pleasantly plump, and an indentation made by your index finger lingers in the loaf after you press it in gently.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees about a half an hour before baking, and put lidded dutch oven in the oven before doing so. When the oven is to temperature and the pot is heated, carefully remove the pot from the oven, and take off the lid. Quickly and carefully, invert the loaf into the pot, trying not to "plop" it too much if possible. Put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes have elapsed, remove the lid, and bake another 15 minutes until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Be patient, and try not to cut into the loaf until it has cooled completely.

I was happy with the final product, when it cooled and I finally cut into it and ate the heel plain for my initial discriminations. It made good sandwiches for dinner tonight, and I'm looking forward to having it toasted for breakfast tomorrow. I am also happy at the additional complete protein it contains, and that my Husband thought it "wasn't bad"! I'll call it a win, and keep it around in my bread-making repertoire. Next time, I may try starting it a day earlier and reducing the yeast down to the 1/2 teaspoon that is the hallmark of Lahey bread. Now I'm kind of curious...

Good in Everything

It's been a strange the past week here at Casa RCakewalk. My Husband has been sick for almost 2 weeks with an awful mutating cold, (rendering him only fond of eating frozen pizza and tortellini), and I finally succumbed to sickness last Friday. I kept it well hidden until Saturday, when I really started feeling poorly.

Sunday began fine, and after our church-going, Boy-O and I relaxed most of the afternoon on the couch - a rarity especially for me. Then, the poor kid got sick. I think God matches up the perfect child to the parent, since I felt so bad for my little creature, and yet he just was sick and fine with it. He couldn't keep even water down, and yet he just cuddled up to me and looked up at me with his big eyes and said, "I missed you when you were in New York".

Needless to say, I haven't been cooking a whole lot. I haven't been eating a whole lot either since for the past two days I have no sense of taste, which I'm sure has resulted in a loss of a couple of pounds. I'm never usually hung up on weight, and don't feel like I'm an unhealthy weight, but sometimes I feel a little on the "heavy" side this time of year. Daily walking has diminished, and food consumption is higher due to the holidays and warming, comfort foods. But it does frighten me how easily I can lose weight when I'm not trying, and makes me even more thankful that good health usually bestows upon me a couple of extra just for this purpose.

I thought I'd reflect on some of the foods I made just prior to our foodless state, starting with this wheat bread I made just after I got back from the NYC trip:

I still procrastinate ordering my Amazon cart which currently contains: Ration (Ruhlman) after reading so much praise for it, The Breakfast Book (Cunningham) - one of my favorite cookbooks as novels, The Flavor Bible (Page and Dorneburg) - which I first saw in the Spice House and then heard an interview on Public Radio in the same day, then I rented it from the library which confirmed my need for it. And finally, Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day. Zoe Francios and Jeff Hertzberg often share base recipes on their website, and this recipe was the base for most of their whole grain versions in the new book (that has been on my order list since October when it was released...).

I've newly found that I like to let stored dough rise on parchment sprinkled with cornmeal. It's infinitely easier to slide around from counter resting place to peel and right into the oven, since it tends to be so sticky. Strangely, the parchment doesn't burn at 450 degrees either.

I'm remembering that I will likely add Jim Lahey's My Bread book to the cart sometime soon as well. I think he kind of pioneered the "artisan bread at home" methods that everyone is writing about now. His method requires baking inside a dutch oven - so I need to get a high temp safe replacement handle for my Le Crueset, hopefully before I finally get my library hold copy to sample.

Last week I made some chili using the leftover frozen tamale filling and some of the mystery "red" beans that I got from my Mom in a half gallon canning jar. They are old, but some of the best beans I've had. On my last cooking attempt, it took forever to cook them - even after soaking, so I resulted to pressure cooking. I just pressure cooked them from the get go this time, and it's a perfect way to get a soup going fast. I ate this for lunch and dinner most of last week - with the exception of one meal of roasted broccoli:

Yes, I ate almost a whole bunch of roasted broccoli myself. The oven was on for the aforementioned frozen pizza, and I took advantage of the 425 heat for this. I usually steam broccoli, and kind of forgot how delicious it is roasted. Obviously, since I ate this all myself. Just a drizzle of olive oil and sliced garlic, and then after the heat a grating of lemon zest, squeeze of lemon juice and a grating of Parmesan cheese.

Since my cold was increasing, I didn't think I was hungry at all on Saturday, but after the zoo cake competition we all seemed famished. We were close enough to the Alterra on North Ave., so we got some lunch. I never know what to order at Alterra, since everything always exceeds my expectation...

Sasa and I each got a cup of the White Bean Chili (that was mildly spicy and thickened with potato), and a then split this sandwich special which was hot brie, tomato, and basil on a soft roll. This seemed out of season and ordinary, but it was not. It was out-of-this-world good, and we were so full that I really didn't have dinner that night.

In fact, I didn't eat again until Sunday afternoon when I felt strangely hungry again. I could still taste, and I wanted to use up some salad, so I made poached eggs. Secretly, I was wondering if I could poach an egg to rival the ones I ate a week ago at CraftBar. And, *rubbing nails on collarbone*, I did. It may have seemed a strange combination served on a honey-Dijon vinaigrette dressed salad, but it worked for me. I re-fried a couple of potatoes leftover from a Friday night dinner, and was set for the rest of that day.

Sunday night, I poached some chicken Steve Sando style in onion, cumin, a pinch of thyme some salt and pepper. I started soaking some Rancho Gordo Flageolets, intending to mimic a bit of that Alterra chili I had Saturday.

Monday, I didn't think I'd get around to the actual soup making due to sickness, but managed to by the end of the day. I can't taste to season, so I suspect I may freeze it all for healthier days in the near future. I emailed my new food guru, Lo from Burp!, and asked her how long she thought I could get away with soaking the beans. I'm glad I asked her, since she said this:

So, the beans are soaking away?

If you change the water, you can actually soak the beans until they start to sprout (this is actually recommended by a couple of foodie camps, as the nutrient composition improves upon sprouting). From a food safety standpoint, it's of no concern to leave the beans, as long as you change the water -- but the beans may taste slightly different after soaking for longer than a typical overnight. They will also cook more quickly, so be cognizant of that when you ultimately make your soup.

I was was so glad I decided to ask her, and very intrigued to hear this. I've sprouted mung beans at home, why not Rancho Gordo Flageolets? Since I did end up making the soup, I saved out a small bowl to continue soaking and changing the water daily until I see some sprouting action. I love a good experiment.

Which brings us to this morning: Boy-O taking a nap an hour after waking up, and thankfully keeping his little bits of nourishment down...

And me, finally committing to finish this Alien Illusions scarf for R1. Embarrassingly, I began this back in September and still have not finished it. To my credit, I usually go for a bit more "mindless" projects that I can complete without much effort and thought included, at least for the time being when I don't have committed time to knit with abandon.

I ripped out almost a whole Alien head about a month ago, and then left it to collect dust when I finished up my Christmas Knitting. I'm back, Aliens, and I'm not giving up this time until you are DONE! If it's one thing about being a little bit under the weather, it's that I don't feel so bad about sitting idle and knitting in the middle of the morning. See? Everything can have a silver lining...

Easy Bread Making (or in Which a Passion is Renewed for Fall)

It was last December when I discovered the wonders of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day... And by the first of January (2009) I was full out Obsessed.

Before that, I made bread, but not exclusively. I would try out different recipes, and did have a favorite that took me exactly 2 hours from start to finish - but still it was not as low-maintenance as the Five Minute type, which relies on a very wet dough that stores well for up to two weeks. I had tried labor intensive approaches, and even thoroughly poured over Nancy Silverton's mothering methods (feeding your starter 3 times a day, though I couldn't quite commit to that regimen) and had some 24 hour recipes tucked in my repertoire for happy occasions.

The Five Minutes a Day approach made me a committed bread maker. I doubt I've bought 3 loaves of bread since January, and as both my picky eater housemates would attest, I don't think I'll ever go back to purchasing store bread on a regular basis. While I still tinker with other recipes, I usually tinker with Five Minutes now, since it is generally foolproof for those of us unlucky enough not to attend Patisserie Schools...

Last week I ordered a yogurt maker from King Arthur Flour. After visiting with GOP, I decided that I'd give in and buy a new maker. I'm really happy I did. Not only did I have terrific yogurt, and less plastic waste from overly sweet supermarket brands, but I decided to order a packet of this mix:

For a week, I was so itchy to try this stuff! And finally, today, my chance came. We were out of town for the weekend, and there was not a stitch of bread to be had when we returned. At 8 this morning, I mixed up a batch of altered Five Minutes a Day dough, and by late lunchtime, I had a loaf of bread worth being excited about.

King Arthur Flours are single handedly responsible for breaking me of my food snobbery addiction to organic flour. They are so consistently wonderful, that I can't really think of co-op organic the same. I'm all for USDA Organic, but KAF: You have stolen my heart! They also have terrific recipes and help online, too. Win, Win!

Raising in the 6 qt. bowl...

I really do love carbohydrates, but in summer, my passion seems to wane a bit, since the heat and humidity of the Midwest tend not to make me very hungry. But in these first few cooler days of pre-Autumn, my appetites seem to be increasing. What excitement! I feel almost as excited as the first time a loaf of the "stored dough method" bread came dancing off the stone, perfect and crusty and begging to be cut into.

I will share my recipe: but please note that without the base recipe and indeed the book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, my baking self would not ever have been able to come up with it.

Cracked Honey Wheat Bread (by "stored dough method")

3 C. tepid water

1 1/2 T. Yeast (I use the active dry yeast from the bulk refrigerator section of the co-op)

1 1/2 T. Kosher Salt

1 C. whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur 100 percent Whole Wheat)

1/2 c. King Arthur Flour Cracked Whole Wheat Bread Base

5 C. AP flour (I used King Arthur)

Even though the Five Minutes approach is not to use machines, I insist upon using my stand mixer since

it really integrates the ingredients well. First, add the water. Then, float the yeast along the top of the water. Add the salt off to the side (and really I'm being so specific since I am a bit nutty, doing things the same each time. Really, you could probably just mix up everything in no specific order, and it will turn out wonderfully.) Add the flours and bread base and mix with the dough hook until well combined. I usually then scrape down the sides of the mixer and let it knead another 2 minutes or so - but that, too, would be totally unnecessary. Let it rise (I can use the same mixer bowl since mine is 6 quarts - you may need to transfer to a larger bowl) for 2 hours or until the dough looks like it has risen and fallen just slightly.

At this point, you can stash the whole bowl into the fridge for up to 14 days. But should you choose, you can hack off a portion and make a loaf right away. Normally, you can get 2 standard loaf pans out of one batch of dough, or about 3 pound size loaves, of a free formed shape. I opted for the boule today instead of a pan. I took about a 1/3 of the dough and quickly formed it into a ball. Let it rise on the peel dusted with cornmeal (or if you are without peel, try the back of a sheet pan lined with parchment - and slide the loaf with the parchment under it into the oven when you get to that part) for 40 minutes. If the dough has just come out of the refrigerator, really let it sit out for a couple of hours, until most of the chill of the fridge is out of it, and it has risen slightly.

(Note: if you want to make a loaf pan, usually the temp in the oven will need to be decreased. I haven't tried this one in a loaf pan yet, but I'd probably try it at 400 or even 350 degrees. Also, a baking stone and water for steam is unnecessary.)

About a half hour before you bake, heat the oven to 450 degrees, with the baking stone in the center of the oven. On the bottom oven shelf, place an empty pan to hold water. I like to let the oven really preheat well, so the baking stone is properly warm and the oven (mine is electric) doesn't cycle on and off so frequently due to the retained heat.

Dust the top of the loaf with flour, and slash in a tic-tac-toe shape with a razor blade. Slide onto the stone, and immediately pour 1 c. hot water into the empty pan.

Bake until deep golden brown, about 40 minutes, more or less.

There really is a wealth of information on the Artisan Bread website, even video links of them shaping loaves of dough. And should you have questions, like I did early on, email them. They got back to me frighteningly fast, and only served to encourage me more in my baking endeavors. They do have a second book coming out this October: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients .

Meanwhile, you can check out the original book, and plenty of recipes on the website...and be ready to be transformed into a bread baking maniac. The beginning of fall is the perfect time for such an obsession!