Early in 2009, I became enamored with making my own artisan breads. At the time, I would frequently walk to the local store and pick up a nice loaf of Pugliese. The cost was $5.00. That’s right. A bit of flour, water, salt and yeast with a few olives thrown in for five bucks. There had to be a better way.
As it turned out, I happened upon a YouTube video demonstrating how to make artisan bread using a no knead method for as little as fifty cents a loaf. Fifty cents! I was hooked. And so began my love affair with Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois and their book, Artisan Bread in Five. You may recognize the title because I wrote about it a few years back in the article Baking Bread and Why You Should Do It.
Hundreds of loaves later, I was thrilled to learn that the original book had been updated and newly published as The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Today I share the final book in the Backdoor Survival Book Festival 4.0 and present you with an opportunity to win a copy of this book for free. More about the giveaway in a moment, but first, a bit about the book and the Artisan Bread In Five method of baking bread.
Making Bread the Easy Way
In my own words, the Artisan Bread In Five method of bread-baking involves combining four basic ingredients in a tub. The tub of dough sits on the counter for a couple of hours to rise and is then refrigerated for up to two weeks.
The five minute part begins when your are ready to bake some bread. What you do is cut off a grapefruit sized ball, do a quick, 30 second shaping, then place the dough on a board or piece of parchment and let it rest for about 40 minutes. It then gets popped into a very hot oven where it springs to life as a lovely loaf of delicious artisan bread. Yes, it is truly that simple and the only real labor involved takes five minutes, if that.
The Artisan Bread In Five secret is that the pre-mixed, pre-risen, high moisture dough requires no kneading plus it keeps well in the refrigerator. This eliminates the need to measure out the ingredients, mix them up and knead the dough when you wish to put a fresh loaf of crusty, wholesome bread on the table. No special equipment is needed and there is no messy kneading – ever.
What Is New in the Updated Book?
Good question. The newly revised Artisan Bread In Five (or Artisan BIN5) has over 30 new recipes as well as numerous other refinements. There are lots of tips this time around plus 40 color and 100 black and white photos. In addition, the ingredients are listed by volume and also by weight plus there is a greatly expanded index.
One of the more significant additions is an entire section on baking gluten-free breads using the Artisan in Five method. I know for many of you, that is huge since reliable gluten-free bread recipes are difficult to find.
That’s All Good, But What About the Bread?
Because using fresh ground wheat is important to me, I tested the Artisan BIN5 “Master Recipe” using a combination of unbleached white flour and freshly milled white wheat flour. I then baked two loaves, one in my electric oven (free form) and one in my HERC Tea Light Oven (in a loaf pan).
Here are a couple of photos along with the Master Recipe.
The Master Recipe: Artisan Bread In Five
Makes four 1 pound loaves.
- 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (can use less)
- 6-1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached flour, measured with the scoop & sweep method
- Cornmeal for pizza peel or parchment paper (I used parchment)
Note: I used 5 cups unbleached flour and 1 1/2 cups freshly ground/milled flour
1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. I use a dough whisk to mix things up but you can use a spoon or even a stand mixer or food processor. But why do that? The hand mixing is the fun part.
It really does not matter how you mix the wet and dry ingredients as long as the mixture is uniform. The dough will be quite loose so don’t panic. Cover, loosely and let the dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes or up to 90 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough or refrigerate it. (Or skip the peel and use parchment paper on a baking sheet.)
3. Place a broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat a baking stone at that temperature for 20 minutes. Or, if you don’t have a baking stone, use a cast iron skillet or even a greased baking sheet.
Bonus: You can also shape the dough and bake it in a traditional loaf pan! See the book for details.
4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.
The Book Giveaway
A copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day has been reserved for one lucky reader. Here is today’s question – it is a fun one!
What three items will you miss the most in a post-SHTF kitchen?
To enter the giveaway, you need to answer this question by responding in the comments area at the end of this article. The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Wednesday with the winner notified by email and announced in the Sunday Survival Buzz. He or she will have 48 hours to claim the winning books.
Note: If you are reading this article in your email client, you must go to the Backdoor Survival website to enter this giveaway in the comments area at the bottom of the article.
The Final Word
Baking bread from scratch is a no-brainer. Not only will you save a lot of money, but your bread will be healthier and will taste better. Plus, in a SHTF situation, having the skill to bake delicious breads from simple ingredients will make you a valuable community asset and will give you something to barter should the need arise. Trust me. If I can make artisan bread, so can you.
I encourage you to enter the giveaway; you are absolutely going to fall in love with the book and this easy peasy method for baking bread with a minimal of fuss and very little mess.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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A fully revised and updated edition of the bestselling, ground-breaking Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day—the revolutionary approach to bread-making. Responding to their thousands of ardent fans, Jeff and Zoë returned to their test kitchens to whip up more delicious recipes.
They’ve also included a gluten-free chapter, forty all-new gorgeous color photos, and one hundred informative black-and-white how-to photos. They’ve made the “Tips and Techniques” and “Ingredients” chapters bigger and better than ever before, and included readers’ Frequently Asked Questions
Bargain Bin: Are you ready to begin baking? Here are some tools to get you started.
Danish Dough Whisk: Besides the book, this is the one must-have that I recommend to all bread bakers. This gizmo makes mixing up the dough a lot – and I mean a lot – easier.
Lodge Cast Iron Loaf Pan: This is next on my “cast iron that I covet list”. As you know, cast iron heats up evenly and retains heat for super cooking results. Mmmm . . . think of the quick breads, meat loaves and more from a cast iron loaf pan!
Cambro 6-Quart Round Food-Storage Container with Lid, Set of 2: I started out using Rubbermaid storage containers (and I think that is what you will see in the photos). A finally bought some of these and am glad I did, For bread and pizza making, be sure to get the 6 quart size.
Norpro Pizza Peel and Paddle: This is not the most expensive peel out there but it will do the job. This is the one that I own: Sassafras / Bamboo Pizza Peel. I think a peel is a good thing to have – especially for rolling out pizza dough and transferring your artisan loafs to an from the oven. It also doubles as a serving platter. Kind of like being in Italy, no?
Unbleached Parchment Paper: I use parchment paper when baking cookies and other baked items. When first learning the pizza/baking peel dance, I found the parchment pager a big help (and it mitigated the mess of having the dough slide off the peel into a crumbled mess onto the stone. Not a pretty picture.)
Old Stone Oven Baking Stone: Nice to have, but perhaps not essential. You be the judge. You could use a cast iron skillet instead.
Lodge Logic 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet: Check the out the “value pack” for best pricing with free shipping. You can use this instead of a stone.
Ove’ Glove Hot Surface Handler, Pack of 2: These oven gloves withstand extreme heat up to 540 degrees F. If you could see the scars that I have from my pre-Ove Glove days, you would know why I endorse them. They can be used by both left and right handers and are washable in the washing machine. A Survival Woman must have if you do any cooking at all.
Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day: Another book by Jeff and Zoe. Note however that a variety of pizza and flatbread recipes are included in Artisan Bread In Five. See The Secret Art of Making Pizza At Home.
Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients: Ditto. Another wonderful book on bread baking.
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