Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking


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This is the classic that started it all – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day has now sold hundreds of thousands of copies. With more than half a million copies of their books in print, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François have proven that people want to bake their own bread, so long as they can do it easily and quickly.

Crusty baguettes, mouth-watering pizzas, hearty sandwich loaves, and even buttery pastries can easily become part of your own personal menu, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day will teach you everything you need to know, opening the eyes of any potential baker.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312362911
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/13/2007
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 7.78(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

Jeff Hertzberg is a physician with 20 years of experience in health care as a practitioner, consultant, & faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is also an ardent amateur baker. Hertzberg developed a love of great bread while growing up in New York City's ethnic patchwork of the 1960s and 70s, and he refined this love with extensive travel throughout France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Britain, and Morocco. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and two daughters.

Zoë François is a pastry chef and baker trained at the Culinary Institute of America. With Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., she is the author of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Passionate about food that is real, healthy and always delicious, François teaches baking and pastry courses nationally, is a consultant to the food industry, and creates artful desserts and custom wedding cakes. She also writes the recipe blog Zoë Bakes. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and two sons.

Read an Excerpt



The Secret to Making Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Refrigerating Pre-Mixed Homemade Dough

Like most kids, my brother and I loved sweets, so dessert was our favorite time of day. We’d sit in the kitchen, devouring frosted supermarket doughnuts.

"Those are too sweet," my grandmother would say. "Me, I’d rather have a piece of good rye bread, with cheese on it."

Munch, munch, munch. Our mouths were full; we could not respond.

"It’s better than cake," she’d say.

There’s a certain solidarity among kids gorging on sweets, but secretly, I knew she was right. I could finish half a loaf of very fresh, very crisp rye bread by myself, with or without butter (unlike my grandmother, I considered cheese to be a distraction from perfect rye bread). The right stuff came from a little bakery on Horace Harding Boulevard in Queens. The shop itself was nondescript, but the breads were Eastern European masterpieces. The crust of the rye bread was crisp, thin, and caramelized brown. The interior crumb was moist and dense, chewy but never gummy, and bursting with tangy yeast, rye, and wheat flavors. It made great toast, too—and yes, it was better than cake.

The handmade bread was available all over New York City, and it wasn’t a rarefied delicacy. Everyone knew what it was and took it for granted. It was not a stylish addition to affluent lifestyles; it was a simple comfort food brought here by modest immigrants.

I left New York in the late 1980s, and assumed that the corner bread shops would always be there, waiting for me, whenever I came back to visit. But I was wrong. As people lost interest in making a second stop after the supermarket just for bread, the shops gradually faded away. By 1990, the ubiquitous corner shops turning out great eastern, central, and southern European breads with crackling crusts were no longer so ubiquitous.

Great European breads, handmade by artisans, were still available, but they’d become part of the serious (and seriously expensive) food phenomenon that had swept the country. The bread bakery was no longer on every corner—now it was a destination. And nobody’s grandmother would ever have paid six dollars for a loaf of bread.

I’d fly back to New York and wander the streets, bereft (well, not really). "My shop" on Horace Harding Boulevard had changed hands several times by 1990, and the bread, being made only once a day, was dry and didn’t really have a lot of flavor. I even became convinced that we could get better bagels in Minneapolis—and from a chain store. Things were that grim.

So Zoë and I decided to do something about it. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is our attempt to help people re-create the great ethnic breads of years past, in their own homes, without investing serious time in the process. Using our straightforward, fast, and easy recipes, anyone will be able to create artisan bread and pastry at home with minimal equipment. Our first problem was: Who has time to make bread every day?

After years of experimentation, it turns out that we do, and with a method as fast as ours, you can, too. We solved the time problem and produced top-quality artisan loaves without a bread machine. We worked out the master recipes during busy years of career transition and starting families (our kids now delight in the pleasures of home-baked bread). Our lightning-fast method lets us find the time to bake great bread every day. We developed this method to recapture the daily artisan bread experience without further crunching our limited time—and it works!

Traditional breads need a lot of attention, especially if you want to use a "starter" for that natural, tangy taste. Starters need to be cared for, with water and flour replenished from time to time. Dough needs to be kneaded until resilient, set to rise, punched down, allowed to rise again. There are boards and pans and utensils galore to be washed, some of which can’t go into the dishwasher. Very few busy people can go through this every day, if ever. Even if your friends are all food fanatics, when was the last time you had homemade bread at a dinner party?

What about bread machines? The machines solve the time problem and turn out uniformly decent loaves, but unfortunately, the crust is soft and dull-flavored, and without tangy flavor in the crumb (unless you use and maintain time-consuming sourdough starter).

So we went to work. Over years, we found how to subtract the various steps that make the classic technique so time-consuming, and identified a few that couldn’t be omitted.

And then, Zoë worked some pastry-chef magic: She figured out that we could use stored dough for desserts as well as for bread, applying the same ideas to sweet breads, rolls, and morning breads. It all came down to one fortuitous discovery:

Pre-mixed, pre-risen, high-moisture dough keeps well in the refrigerator.

This is the linchpin of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. By pre-mixing high-moisture dough (without kneading) and then storing it, daily bread baking becomes an easy activity; the only steps you do every day are shaping and baking. Other books have considered refrigerating dough, but only for a few days. Still others have omitted the kneading step, but none has tested the capacity of wet dough to be long-lived in your refrigerator. As our high-moisture dough ages, it takes on sourdough notes, reminiscent of the great European natural starters. When dough is mixed with adequate water (this dough is wetter than most you may have worked with), it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (enriched or heavy doughs can’t go that long but can be frozen instead). And kneading this kind of dough adds little to the overall product; you just don’t have to do it. In fact, overhandling stored dough can limit the volume and rise that you get with our method. That, in a nutshell, is how you make artisan breads with the investment of only five minutes a day of active effort.

A one-or two-week supply of dough is made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Measuring and mixing the dough takes less than 15 minutes. Kneading, as we’ve said, is not necessary. Every day cut off a hunk of dough from the storage container and briefly shape it without kneading. Allow it to rest briefly on the counter and then toss it in the oven. We don’t count the rest time (20 minutes or more depending on the recipe) or baking time (usually about 30 minutes) in our five-minute-a-day calculation since you can be doing something else while that’s happening. If you bake after dinner, the bread will stay fresh for use the next day (higher-moisture breads stay fresh longer), but the method is so convenient that you probably will find you can cut off some dough and bake a loaf every morning, before your day starts. If you want to have one thing you do every day that is simply perfect, this is it!

Wetter is better:The wetter dough, as you’ll see, is fairly slack, and offers less resistance to yeast’s expanding carbon dioxide bubbles. So, despite not being replenished with fresh flour and water like a proper sourdough starter, there is still adequate rise on the counter and in the oven.

Using high-moisture, pre-mixed, pre-risen dough makes most of the difficult, time-consuming, and demanding steps in traditional bread baking completely superfluous:

1. You don’t need to make fresh dough every day to have fresh bread every day: Stored dough makes wonderful fresh loaves. Only the shaping and baking steps are done daily, the rest has been done in advance.

2. You don’t need a "sponge" or "starter": Traditional sourdough recipes require that you keep flour-water mixtures bubbling along in your refrigerator, with careful attention and replenishment. By storing the dough over two weeks, a subtle sourdough character gradually develops in our breads without needing to maintain sponges or starters in the refrigerator. With our dough-storage approach, your first loaf is not exactly the same as the last. It will become more complex in flavor as the dough ages.

3. It doesn’t matter how you mix the dry and wet ingredients together: So long as the mixture is uniform, without any dry lumps of flour, it makes no difference whether you use a spoon, a high-capacity food processor, or a heavy-duty stand mixer. Choose based on your own convenience.

What We Don’t Have to Do: Steps from Traditional Artisan Baking That We Omitted

1. Mix a new batch of dough every time we want to make bread

2. "Proof" yeast

3. Knead dough

4. Cover formed loaves

5. Rest and rise the loaves in a draft-free location—it doesn’t matter!

6. Fuss over doubling or tripling of dough volume

7. Punch down and re-rise

8. Poke rising loaves to be sure they’ve "proofed" by leaving indentations

Now you know why it only takes 5 minutes a day, not including resting and baking time.

4. You don’t need to "proof" yeast: Traditional recipes specify that yeast be dissolved in water (often with a little sugar) and allowed to sit for five minutes to prove that bubbles can form and the yeast is alive. But modern yeast simply doesn’t fail if used before its expiration date and the baker remembers to use lukewarm, not hot water. The high-water content in our doughs further ensures that the yeast will fully hydrate and activate without a proofing step. Further storage gives it plenty of time to fully ferment the dough—our approach doesn’t need the head start.

5. It isn’t kneaded: The dough can be mixed and stored in the same resealable plastic container. No wooden board is required. There should be only one vessel to wash, plus a spoon (or a mixer). You’ll never tell the difference between breads made with kneaded and unkneaded high-moisture dough, so long as you mix to a basically uniform consistency. In our method, a very quick "cloaking and shaping" step substitutes for kneading (see Chapter 5, Step 5, page 28).

Start a morning batch before work, bake the first loaf before dinner: Here’s a convenient way to get fresh bread on the table for dinner. Mix up a full batch of dough before breakfast and store it in the refrigerator. The lukewarm water you used to mix the dough will provide enough heat to allow the yeast to do its thing over the eight hours till you’re home. When you walk in the door, cloak and shape the loaf and give it a quick rest, then bake as usual. Small loaves, and especially flatbreads, can be on the table in 40 minutes or less.

6. High-moisture stored dough can’t over-rise accidentally:Remember that you’re storing it long-term anyway. You’ll see a brisk initial rise at room temperature over two hours; then the risen dough is refrigerated for use over the next week or two. But rising longer won’t be harmful; there’s lots of leeway in the initial rise time.

Given these simple principles, anyone can make artisan bread at home. We’ll talk about what you’ll need in Chapters 2 (Ingredients) and 3 (Equipment). You don’t need a professional baker’s kitchen. In Chapter 4, you’ll learn the tips and techniques that we’ve taken years to accumulate. Then, in Chapter 5, we’ll lay out the basics of our method, applying them to ordinary white dough and several delicious bread variations. Chapter 5’s master recipe is the model for the rest of our recipes. We suggest you read it first and bake some of its breads before trying anything else. You won’t regret it.

Excerpted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.

Copyright 2007 by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.

Published in November 2007 by St. Martin’s Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Table of Contents


The Secret,
1 Introduction,
2 Ingredients,
3 Equipment,
4 Tips and Techniques,
5 The Master Recipe,
6 Peasant Loaves,
7 Flatbreads and Pizzas,
8 Enriched Breads and Pastries,
Sources for Bread-Baking Products,

Customer Reviews

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Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 176 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was always afraid to bake bread. I thought you needed to be a magician to bake a fabulous loaf of bread. This book teaches you that ANYONE can make fabulous bread and the recipes are easy to follow. Thank you for writing a book in every day language to empower non-bakers to become empowered bakers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful and the directions are easy to follow. I love homemade bread, but have never had much luck in baking it. With this book, my first loaf was a success. I love the variations in recipes. The recipes are fool proof and the breads are delicious. I plan on making loaves for gifts over the holidays.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't resist ordering this book. Bread baking was one of the few cooking techniques that TOTALLY intimidated me. It works! If you love to bake and cook you can do this!
BlueWillowCR More than 1 year ago
I love this book, and highly recommend it for anyone wanting to bake bread that tastes great and is easy to make! The authors have graciously posted the errors that are included in the printed books...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am tired of paying $4/ for small loaves of bread that look like large rolls and are too small to make sandwiches with. This book has come in very handy - the recipes are easy to follow and it is just as simple as the title says it is.
Veggiechiliqueen More than 1 year ago
I've been baking just about every *other* kind of baked good for the last two years (quick bread, cake, pie, brownies, cookies), but avoided yeast breads like the plague since my several prior attempts turned out like bricks, particularly when using refrigerated dough. Enter "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day;" using the master dough recipe (and its variations), you can whip together nearly endless combinations of sweet and savory yeast doughs including brioche, challah, buttermilk, oatmeal, rye, and several ethnic breads (limpa, ciabatta, baguette, pumpernickel) in a few minutes with the stir of a spoon: no kneading required. Sounds too easy to be true? I tried making the master dough recipe and several variants (brioche and challah-based enriched pastries including chocolate brioche, caramel pecan rolls and almond bostock), and all turned out beautifully. Remember: my first breads turned out like bricks, so having fluffy, flavorful loaves on my first try was nothing short of a miracle. I combined several tips from "Artisan Bread" with some of Carole Walter's advice from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More: 200 Anytime Treats and Special Sweets for Morning to Midnight: use lukewarm, 100-degree water (too hot and you'll kill the yeast), and let dough rise in a slightly warm oven at about 100 degrees), and this seemed to fix my prior problems. The book includes crusty peasant loaves baked on pizza stones (to achieve maximum crunch, mist the crust with water when you slide the dough in) as well as egg-and-butter enriched challah and brioche that serve as vehicles to sweet endings such as bostock (almond-and-orange-scented sweet rolls), sticky pecan rolls, chocolate brioche, panettone, and babka. There are also some non-bread recipes included that make the perfect pairing with the book's included breads, such as Door County cherry preserves, salads, granola, Tuscan bean dip, gazpacho, and Portuguese fish stew. The book's website includes several updates on errors in the book, so be sure to check first if you're in doubt about the amount of a certain ingredient. If you're a home baker tired of paying artisan bakery prices, but long for truly great bread at home, this is an easy, gentle introduction to yeast breads that require minimal effort (doughwise; rolling and filling is still messy!!) and it makes a wonderful gift. Comment | Permalink
weezielo More than 1 year ago
I found his technique extremely easy to follow. However, the results left something to be desired. The bread failed to develop sufficient gluton and therefore the crumb suffered. I'll comtinue to stick with my go to bread books such as - Baking Artisan Bread and Peter Reinhart books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't have time to cook or bake much, but this book, by just reading the first section with the standard recipe, has allowed me to make delicious bread in very little time. I love fresh bread and I love this book. My wife does most of the cooking, so my family finds it amazing (and somewhat peculiar, as I don't spend much time in the kitchen) that I am able to make consistently fabulous bread with very little effort. You will have fun with this recipe. Your bread will taste fantastic and your house will smell like a french bakery. The only change I have made, is that the recipe works better for me with unbleached bread flour rather than unbleached all purpose flour, which is their suggestion for the first recipe (I live at 4000 ft altitude in a dry climate and I don't know if that makes a difference). Enjoy!
4squirrel More than 1 year ago
Awesome book if you enjoy fresh baked bread without all the work this is one for you! Bread has come out yummy every time. I even use my convection oven faster and doesn't heat up the house in summer.
Roeboat More than 1 year ago
This book is a must for anyone who likes homemade bread, but can't stand the hassle. This book teaches you to make bread dough without kneading and rising all day. We now make all our own bread.
redheadinthekitchen More than 1 year ago
The recipes in this book are straight forward and the resulting products have been beautiful and successful. I would have liked to have had the ingredients listed in weights also. Zoe's website, is fabulous; that alone was worth the price of the book.
NH-tee More than 1 year ago
I've had this book for a couple of months and haven't had a chance to try it until yesterday - I made my first loaf last night, and am working on my second right now. I have never baked "real" bread before, and was a bit skeptical how well this method would work - all I can say is, I wish I had started sooner. It is very simple to follow the instructions, and even someone who has never done this before can produce a loaf that is simply amazing. I read the first part of the book before starting, and purchased all the recommended supplies (an investment, but well worth it) - baking stone, pizza peel, container, a good bread knife, the right kind of flour and yeast, etc... It's so amazing to watch your first batch rise, and after a small amount of work that first time, it's great that all you have to do for subsequent loaves (like I did tonight), is grab a hunk of dough, shape it, let it rest a bit, and toss it on the stone in the oven. In a half hour I'll have another yummy loaf - first loaf revealed a perfect crust, and great interior, soft and springy and just the right amount of "holes". Much much better than store bought. In time, I'll try the other recipes in the book, for now, I'm happy to enjoy my first few loaves of the basic boule, and gladly avoid the over-priced bread aisle at the store!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is easy and makes great bread, bagles, pizza dough. Make sure you make the cinn. rolls I have purchased 3 copies and sent them to friends
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's simple, literally just takes a few minutes a day, and produced a loaf of bread my picky son said, "It tastes like the bread we get from the steak house!" And then he reached for a second helping. This took all the fear of bread baking away.
debs84 More than 1 year ago
A friend loaned me the master recipe for the bread. I made it once and was convinced that I needed to buy the book. The master recipe is very simple to make and only takes a few minutes to mix. Having fresh bread for a nice dinner is such a treat and the recipes in this book have made that become a common occurrence at our house. My favorite bread so far has been the sundried tomato. So easy and yet it tastes like it is from the local bakery. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the taste and aroma of fresh bread.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have this book. Making bread daily is so simple. This is a must have for the foody who wants a freshly made loaf of bread at thier evening table and wow the guest, after working all day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have made several of these recipes and they're all really easy and yummy. I recommend this to anyone who loves bread!
movieloverNJ More than 1 year ago
I bought this book on a lark. I love to bake and I am always looking for new ways to make tasty breads. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is undeniably the best book out there if you like a crusty round of bread. The directions are clear and concise and so very easy to do. I have made at least 16 loaves of breads using this book including rye and European Peasant bread. My husband who loves a good crusty artisan loaf of bread is delighted with the results. It is so easy you can make a batch of dough each week and reward yourself with four 1 pound loaves. Super easy and so very simple, I would recommend this book for anyone interested in making bread but doesn't have the time or desire to knead, rise, shape, rise, etc. I am giving a copy of this book to my Mom for Mother's Day and I will buy one for my newly married son who loves to cook.
jackman More than 1 year ago
"Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" is a great introduction to bread baking for either veteran or novice cook. The recipe for the basic bread dough is simple and easy-to-follow; it produced a great loaf of bread the first time I tried it (and every time since). The writing is simple, direct, and highly readable; directions are clear, complete, and unmistakable (As a retired book editor, I was impressed with the quality of both authorship and production.) The authors are to be commended for their development of this revolutionary and user-friendly baking system. This book would be an excellent gift to anyone who enjoys a good, fresh loaf of bread.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes bread making an easy, weekly or bi-weekly event. The recipes are easy to follow and the explanations of why they work are very helpful. I highly recommend this as your number one bread making book (there are some sweets in here too!)
lisa10 More than 1 year ago
The recipes in this book have enabled me to make the best bread ever at home. I had never been able to produce a crust like this before...truly an artisan bread. Also, the techniques are very simple. After purchasing it I went back to buy it's sister book, Healthy Breads in Five Minutes, & am eager to try it. We have many bread books in our collection, but this is the best yet. There's no reason to buy breads with preservatives when you can bake them so easily.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book shows a different approach to bread making, which is much less work than traditional methods. The process has allowed me to bake a small amount of bread each day, which is fresh and hot for our meals. I like the way the authors include information on how to vary the instructions for a particular desired outcome (crusty finish, chewy, soft, lots of texture, light & airy, etc.) Mixing the batter in the stand mixer and using it over a period of days is a huge time-saver. I have tried the light wheat, buttermilk and olive breads so far and they are excellent. My next efforts will be variations on the basic breads (cinnamon bread, pizza, etc.). I would strongly recommend this book to those of you who enjoy baking bread and are looking for an efficient method, which allows you to bake as little or as much at a time as you wish.
lazymomma More than 1 year ago
The bread in this book is truly as easy to make as the title implies. I've been making the starter recipe for about a month. The directions were extremely easy to understand. Everyone in my family, including the one year old, love this bread. My husband suggested I sell it (though I won't). My son who is extremely picky, said it's the best bread he's ever had. It certainly is cheaper than buying bread from the grocery or bakery. Can't wait to try all the other recipes. I have been recommending this book to everyone I know.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First, I was exceedingly disappointed that the first thing I had to do when I got this book was go to the website and download the 2 pages of edits of things that missed the supposed "editing" step. Missing ingredients, wrong amounts, missing steps, you name it, they missed catching the mistake in the editing! That was very poorly done. Other than that- the book outlines a nice technique for making no-knead bread, but I never was able to get it to work very well. I just couldn't get the breads to rise much. They did explain the technique a little bit, but did not give very good instructions on the theory behind the technique, thereby making it difficult to modify the recipes, or figure out what you did wrong when a loaf doesn't quite turn out right. I think with a bit more detailed instructions, I would have had much better success with this method and troubleshooting the failed loaves. That said, one great strength of this book is the wide variety of recipes. It is unfortunate that they all are very large batches, designed to make 3 or 4 loaves. I live by msyelf, so it was rather annoying to always be cutting the recipe in half... or thirds... or quarters. But other than that minor annoyance, there is a great variety of recipes, for many different styles of bread, and using different ingredients. I particularly like adding various whole grains to my breads, and the recipes in this book introduced me to a variety of ingredients I previously hadn't used, and now I've got some new favorite combinations. Overall, I like the recipes, but have taken to using them with a different method (Kneadlessly Simple), which just produces better and more consistent results for me.
labwriter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm going to bake bread this way for the rest of my life. That's my review of this book, and don't you dare flag this as "Not a Review." I bake bread from this book about 5 times a week. I have two bread dough tubs that live in my refrigerator so that I can always have dough available for two different kinds of breads. One of the author's tips is, "Don't wash the bread dough tub," because from the little bit of dough that's left in the tub you get a good sourdough starter for the next batch of bread. I love this book, and my family is so happy to have fresh-baked bread. My husband walks in the door and says, "It sure smells good in here," and I tell him, "That's the point, darling."