Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Knead, No Work, Artisan Bread

As I sit here typing this I am enjoying a nice cup of tea and a slice of homemade sour dough bread with some rich French butter and strawberry jam I made this past weekend.  The butter and jam are nice, but the bread... the bread is sublime.  People are constantly amazed at my "ability" to produce bakery-perfect bread at a moments notice with little to no effort.  I would have thought the secret it out by now, but it seems that is not the case.  So in case you aren't aware how you too can make amazing artisan bread in five minutes a day, let me share with you the book that changed the way we eat!

I can count on one hand the amount of times I have bought bread since buying this book over a year ago.  It has saved us so much money as now I can bake fresh bread any time I want. 

The premise is simple.  There is a master recipe which is a simple mixture of flour, salt, yeast and water that you make up and keep in your fridge.  When I say make up, I do not mean knead!  I literally stir it together in a large container (see left) and let it rise and flop for about two hours on my counter, then toss it in the fridge.  The sour dough bit comes from remaking the mixture without washing the container, the bread truly gets better with each batch.  
Challah made with brioche dough
Boule dough stored in fridge
I use the master recipe for boule dough for a variety of breads including but not limited to pizza dough, sandwich bread, pita bread, naan bread, cinnamon rolls, baguettes, sticky buns and strombolis.  The book also includes many other master recipes that work in the same way such as rye bread, brioche (another staple here on weekends) wholemeal bread and so on.  As someone who grew up in continental Europe, I can tell you honestly that this is authentic tasting bread that truly impresses everyone.

Caramel Pecan Rolls proving
If you want to give it a try, the master recipe is available here with a significant bit of background and suggestions on tools.  The only thing I use that they recommend is a bread stone, but that's something I had already. I somehow manage just fine without all the other "essentials" and just a wooden spoon to mix my dough! 

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  It's perfect for someone adept at making bread as they will be able to use this new technique with their standard recipes with some practice.  For people terrified of yeast breads, it's an even better investment as the time and cost involved is negligible... let me repeat... NO KNEADING!!! :)

I'd love to hear from people who've used the book successfully and am also happy to answer any questions you may have!

24/1/12 Note: There is now a UK version of this book which uses both Imperial and Metric measurements as opposed to the "cup" system of the original US book. I prefer cups to be honest, it's just easier to scoop what I need instead of weighing, but I know a lot of European cooks don't feel comfortable with this method, so hopefully this new edition will be better! :)


  1. Your bread looks amazing! I have the healthy bread in 5 minutes a day book but the dough always gets nasty black liquid on top after a few days in the fridge. I might have to try it again though.

  2. What a great post! Thanks for sharing!


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