Several of you have had questions about the right type of bucket to be using when storing your dough from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. I have many that fit the bill beautifully, these are just a few! It depends on the size and shape of your refrigerator and how much dough you intend to make. There are a few basic guidelines to storing your dough in a bucket:
- Use one that is large enough to hold a full batch (about 6qts), the dough needs plenty of room to grow! Obviously a larger one if you are doubling and smaller for half batch.
- Make sure that it has a lid, to prevent a tough skin from forming on your dough.
- Make sure that lid is not airtight, you want the gases from the yeast to escape or you will get a crazy alcohol smell building up in your bucket. If you have airtight seals on your bucket, just leave them ajar and it will be just fine!
- If you are using a large bowl, which I didn’t take any pictures of, but are just fine to use, either put a lid or plastic wrap over the top.
Now to answer the question about what my rising bread dough looks like after it has risen in the bucket and is storing in the refrigerator. These are pictures of the master recipe after 1 day in the fridge, I will try to update as the dough ages!
Here is the rising bread dough on Day 2:
You can see the bubbles are getting pretty large
It is even feeling slightly looser, just slightly!
and the bread I baked from this batch at 4 days:
So as you know I intended to go for the full 14 days with this dough in a bucket documentation. Well, 7 boys came to my house last night and I had to give them something to eat. I opened the refrigerator and all I had was this bucket of dough and some pizza toppings. Voila, they ate it all! So I have to start this all over again!
129 thoughts to “How Should Rising Bread Dough Look?”
So… next question – how big is your fridge? 🙂 I have my dough in a large tupperware bowl and it takes up nearly all of one shelf. I can’t imagine where I would put other containers with different mixes and the food I normally keep in there.
Good question, if I have more than two buckets going I use a dorm fridge that is in the basement. Those rectangular bins in the background stack perfectly in that little fridge!
Good luck and you may have to sort through all those jars of mustard like I did to find room!
I wondered how you tested all those recipes and still had room for food in your fridge! I will confess that after having made the bread only once, I found myself thinking about buying a mini-fridge. :o)
Hey Miss T,
Yeah, we claim you don’t need any special equipment. But, once you really get hooked you’ll need a bigger fridge. 😉 I suppose we should have put that in the book!
Enjoy and thanks for your wonderful site!
Well, I did break down, while waiting for the delivery of my book, to give the master recipe a try. I mixed a half-batch and let it sit in the fridge for 4 days before baking a small boule (the other half of the dough is still resting in the fridge). Instead of the hot water on hot broiler pan, because of the shape of the bread, I preheated a really large stainless steel mixing bowl with the baking stone and then just inverted the bowl over the boule to trap the moisture. After the first 10 min of baking, I removed the bowl to let the bread brown for the rest of the baking process. I learned this trick off of thefreshloaf.com website and it really works well.
Loved the crust (light and crackly) and the slight tang in the aftertaste of the boule. I do have a couple questions. First, how long do I wait before the dough get larger holes? Or do I need to make the dough even wetter? Also, it was a bit salty for my personal taste, so what brand of kosher salt do you normally use?
I used Morton’s kosher salt which does compact a bit more than other brands (such as Diamond brand). Perhaps, my choice of kosher salt made it a bit too salty? Cook’s Illustrated had previously equated 1 volume of table salt = 1-1/2 volumes of Morton’s kosher salt = 2 volumes Diamond kosher salt.
Anyways, I like the ease of the master recipe and can’t wait for the book to come in the mail.
Thanks for trying it! One word of caution to experienced bakers is not to over work this dough. People who are accomplished at baking bread with a traditional method will often want to knead the dough while forming it. When you shape the loaf it should take no more than 20-30 seconds. If you handle it too much you will knock out all the air that has developed in the dough as it stores in the fridge.
Because you are a follower of thefreshloaf.com I’m wondering if you are weighing your ingredients. If so, the flour for the master recipe should be 2 pounds of unbleached all-purpose flour. This will give you a 75-78% hydration. If you are using a brand of flour that is higher in protein than you will want to increase that to 81%.
I hope this helps! Enjoy the book! Zoë
Yes, I weighed the ingredients and came up with a 75% hydration. I noted the need for gentleness in handling and only shaped the dough within about 30 sec of handling. Perhaps, I need to be even more gentle? I got tremendous oven spring.
What about my question on kosher salt? Thanks for your patient replies.
I just realized I forgot to talk about the salt. I do use Morton’s and find the bread satisfying. Feel free to play with the amount that is right for you. It is not used as much to denature the dough as it is for the flavor.
Since it sounds like you are used to handling wet dough, you may try going to 78-80% hydration and this may produce the air structure you are looking for. It will be VERY sticky, so you might try baking it in a DO.
Is the whole wheat sandwich bread really meant to be shaped into a ball as instructed in step 5? The next step says to drop the loaf into the prepared loaf pan.
What we are trying to do in step 5 is stretch the to form a cloak, so that the dough is smooth on top. If you were to just pull the dough out of the bucket and put it in the pan without doing this it just wouldn’t have a very finished looking crust, it would be uneven and jagged.
Another hint is that this dough doesn’t want to rise as much as traditional kneaded sandwich loaves. I usually fill my pans closer to 3/4 full and let them rise for about an extra 1/2 hour.
Enjoy and thanks for trying the bread! Zoë
I started a topic about the book over on Egullet. It would be great if you could chime in because there has been some confusion.
Thanks for letting me know. I’d love to come and see if I can help answer some questions!
I have signed up for egullet, but it looks like it may be a while before I get a password to join your discussion!
I’ll be there as soon as I can.
Thanks again, Zoë
I’ve been using the basic recipe, adding chopped bottled jalapenos and grated cheddar cheese, and making rolls. About 1/4 to 1/3 of the flour is whole wheat. I also use parchment paper on a cookie sheet (no base of flour/cornmeal).
The dough is really wet. Since I’m making rolls a noticeable amount of additional flour gets added just trying to keep dough from sticking to my fingers. The rolls are delicious but a little dense. Maybe they should be handled even less than the 30-60 seconds stated..? Would using a little more yeast give a bit more airy result? Or do you think it likely I am working in too much flour?
Thanks for any pointers!
I think the culprit is over working the dough so that the gas that has built up during storage is being compressed. Adding more yeast won’t really make a difference.
Try to handle the dough as gently as possible. Notice the bubbles in the dough and try to keep them all in tact. If you are used to traditional bread dough this will seem challenging because you will be tempted to knead the dough.
The shaping should only take about 20 seconds.
Hope this helps, keep me posted!
Someone else mentioned the salt… my personal tastes run to the less salty with these recipes, so I use about 2/3 the amount of kosher salt called for, and they come out beautifully. There shouldn’t be any trouble adjusting to suit your own tastes.
I’m as gentle as possible when shaping the dough and the result is awesome—this is the first time we’ve managed to have bread with those amazing different-sized air bubbles throughout. The texture is fantastic.
As for a container, I sliced the very top off of a one-gallon water jug and taped plastic wrap around the edge. It’s barely large enough, but if you’re having trouble fitting a container of dough in your fridge and don’t mind poking at the dough now and then to ensure that it doesn’t overflow, it works pretty well.
By the way, the oatmeal bread makes incredible French toast, particularly with the use of unrefined coconut oil instead of butter!
I’m so glad to hear from you and am pleased that you are getting a nice crumb to your bread. I think that is the hardest part to relearn if you are a baker, not to over work the dough.
I totally agree about the salt. People’s tastes range so greatly with this subject so just suit yourself!
I love your bucket idea.
I just made the brioche into french toast this weekend and it is amazing!
Well, I got the book and now have three buckets going in my cool pantry (it’s about 33 degrees down there). So far, we’ve tried the Master Recipe, European Peasant, Deli Rye and the 100% Whole Wheat. All were delicious, but I found the whole wheat didn’t rise very much at all, even with additional rising time. Would it help to add a bit more yeast?
Also, I agree with you that the dough should be handled very gently and I’ve found that I need to let it rise a bit longer since we keep our home quite cool (we live in Maine). I’m looking forward to trying every recipe!
Thanks for trying the recipes!
Yes, it is true that the 100% whole wheat doesn’t rise as much as the others. There isn’t that much gluten in Whole Wheat and therefore the dough doesn’t have much structure and won’t rise. One way to improve the rise on the bread is to add vital wheat gluten to the dough. This will add the protein you need to get a better rise.
With that particular bread a longer rise time, especially in a cool kitchen will help!
Hi Zoe, I announced at pottery potluck that you and ABi5M/D deserved the credit for the bread I brought. Several said they had the book too. Occured to me that maybe you would want to give one to the Edina Art Center for the silent auction coming up so it would be there for all to see. Should be there by Feb. 4.
It was so lovely to see you at the book signing! Thanks for coming out on the coldest day of the year!!!
I will be back at pottery soon so we can talk about your auction!
I going to try the light whole wheat bread on page 74 of the book. I want to weigh out the flour since I think it would be easier for me. Can you tell the the weight measures for the all purpose and whole wheat flour?
1cup all-purpose flour = 5oz
1cup whole wheat flour= 4 1/2oz
Hope this helps! Let me know how the bread comes out.
I found that when I was mixing my dough in a 5 quart bowl it was taking up my whole fridge. When I bought a square 6 quart restaurant container I thought there must be a mistake it was so small. It just uses space much more efficiently. I can have food in my fridge and a 12 quart container in there too. I did use my cellar fridge to rise 2 semolina baguettes last night. I baked them cold this morning and had cooled bread in time to make sandwiches to take with us (we left the house at 9:00) Pretty incredible. (heard about that on freshloaf) Do you think I could premake the sticky buns and bake them cold, or is that pushing it?
It is funny you should ask. Another woman I talked to at the Fine Cooking thread just made her caramel rolls that way this morning. She set them up the night before and baked them this morning. I think it is the way I will do it from now on! I love this approach. It seems to save me even more time!
I love the square and rectangular bins, they fit perfectly in my fridge too.
Hi, Zoe. I live at 4500 feet, and wondered if any recipe adjustments are needed for high altitude baking? I have a bucket of the master recipe rising right now – am eager to try the results!
Thanks – Jane
I haven’t personally experienced baking at that altitude. Living in MN we don’t get to such heights! But I’ve had many people ask about high altitude baking and this is what I’ve found out:
It turns out there is a big difference if you live above 4,000 feet in how the yeast behaves. It wants to rise really quickly, but then it collapses because there isn’t enough structure to support it. In other words you might try things that inhibit it from rising so fast and add more structure to the dough.
Here are a couple things to try:
Decrease the yeast to 1 tablespoon, instead of 1 1/2 tablespoons.
Replace the all-purpose flour with bread flour, which has more gluten, which will give it more structure. This may cause your dough to be drier, so you may end up adding a little more water. Whole wheat flour has very little gluten and should be mixed with bread flour or it won’t rise.
Increase the salt to inhibit the yeast from growing too fast. Unless you find the bread too salty to begin with then leave it as is.
The last thing is to let the dough rise slower and longer before baking because you’ve reduced the yeast.
I’ve been having great results with allowing the dough to rise in the refrigerator for several hours. First thing in the morning I shape the loaf, put it on a parchment paper, cover it loosely with plastic and put in the refrigerator. Right before dinner time I preheat the oven to 450 with the stone in the middle rack. I take out the cold dough, slash it as normal and bake it with steam. The crust and crumb are perfect and it has risen really slowly. This may be perfect for high altitude baking???
Try that and let me know what happens! If this doesn’t work we will try something else.
Thanks for the great question.
Hi Zoe! You have some converts in New Zealand and many more to come for sure. 😉
Do pop into this site and read the comments if you have time.
Cant wait for the book to arrive, and thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe with us all. Cheers!!
I’m so excited to hear about your experience with the book!
I’ll come visit your site and read the comments!
Thanks so much for spreading the word down there!
Just recieved the book and can’t wait to try recipes as outlined.
Any chance of using a bread machine for some of the loaf pan recipes?
It would seem that the benefit of an udisturbed dough rising in the machines’s bread pan,in the refrigerator or on the counter, and then programming for bake only, could provide smallest disturbance of the dough mass.
Our bread machine can be programmed to 375 degrees, and can be preheated before inserting the bread pan.
I’ve never tried baking the bread in a machine. I think it is an excellent experiment. Will you report back and let me know what you find.
Thanks and have fun! Zoë
Just got your book in the mail and am having a blast. So far I’ve used the boule dough for several loaves including an Indian curry bread and pizza crust. I’ve made the challah dough 4 or 5 times and have used it for the braided challah, a traditional brioche loaf, the turban-shaped raisin brioche loaf, sticky buns and a walnut-cinnamon coffee ring. Right now I have a loaf of the Eastern European potato rye bread in the oven with 9 minutes to go and it looks FABULOUS.
I’m one of those obsessive bakers. My great-grandfather was a gingerbread baker from Germany and my great-grandmother was a pastry chef from Budapest. I think it’s in the blood!
I LOVE the technique in your book. It makes it so easy to get wonderful results in my home kitchen. It also makes it easy for me to gain about 15 pounds. Sigh.
Thanks (for the book, not the 15 lbs)!!
It does sound as if you come by this baking business honestly! Do you have lots of their recipes? My great grandmother was a baker in Kiev and unfortunately there are lots of great stories, but NO recipes.
I see you have been very busy baking already!
Thanks so much for trying all of the recipes and I’m so glad you are enjoying the book.
Thanks for the reply Zoe!
I have one recipe from my great-grandmother; it’s for what we call “nutcake”, which is actually very much like your enriched sweet challah dough, rolled up with a sugar, cinnamon and walnut filling. My late grandfather always made it for Thanksgiving, and now the mantle has passed to my dad. I couldn’t eat it for a long time because one year when I was little I ate so much of it I got sick.
Our German relatives still have a bakery in Germany and sometimes they send us gingerbread at Christmas. It’s the real stuff, and I don’t care for it much because it’s pretty dry. Needs lots of coffee to dunk in. I understand you need a special certificate or something to be a gingerbread baker in Germany. I’d rather bake sugar cookies with lots of icing.
My “nutcake” is called “Swedish Cream” and my grandmother made it every year. I can’t even look at it without feeling ill. It is fabulous, but RICH beyond belief!
Some of those old recipes don’t appeal to our palate anymore but it is so cool that you have them. It is like a window into the past!
Hi Zoe, our cup measurements are different in New Zealand (slightly larger), can you please tell me how many grams of flour 61/2 cups is, and how many mls 3 cups of water is?
thanks so much!
3 cups water = approximately 700 ml
6 1/2 cups of flour = 2 pounds = 907 grams
I hope this helps! Enjoy the bread. It is so fun to hear from so many people baking the bread in New Zealand. I think I’ll talk to the publisher about sending us there for a book tour!
Oh that’s great thanks Zoe – yes I agree, you should come to NZ for a book tour – I know that Helen (Foodlovers Forum) would love to interview you……I’m in the process of ordering your book can’t wait to get it!
Zoe, I saw your comment to Jane about using bread flour and would like your input about changing the recipe to use bread flour (I have 20 lbs of it sitting here)? I Love your comments.
I have a batch of bread (do I have to forget EVERY THING I know about bread baking?)going now, for some nice Big Green Egg baked flatbreads later tonight.
Did your book arrive yet? I’ll let you know when we’re on our way to NZ!
Can’t wait, although I’ll have to!
If you go to this post on our bread website it will give you all of the flour and water info for using bread flour:
Please keep me posted on the bread baked in the Big Green Egg.
Help. I let the bread raise on the peel but then it wouldn’t come off. I tried both flour and cornmeal and both metal and wood peels.
You had me at “no-knead”! Just completed my order from Amazon — and picked up some catnip while I was at it since my furkids don’t take kindly to being left out of the fun. Can’t WAIT to have a look at the book while wearing a bib for obvious reasons. Thank you for getting this out there in the world! -Sandi
I purchased your book last week and had a blast with my first batch of making the master recipe. It was so much fun! I love to cook, but have never been much of a baker. I lack the exactitude that most baking seems to require. Finally, I found a bread-baking book for someone like me!
One quick question. I am interested in making and having frozen pizza dough on hand. When I made pizza last week, I rolled out the dough on parchment paper and slide the whole thing onto the pizza stone. This worked great and I’m thinking I could make up pizza dough on parchment paper and stack a couple of these in a freezer bag.
My question is do you recommend freezing the dough as is or parbaking it? I confess I tried parbaking, but I cooked it too long and basically ended up with pita bread.
You can either use more cornmeal or switch to parchment paper. If you use parchment just form the dough on the paper and slide the whole thing in the oven. About 5 minutes before the bread is ready pull the bread off the parchment and let the bottom crust crisp up on the stone.
Have fun with the bread! Zoë
I’ve never tried to roll the dough out and then freeze it. I’m not sure it would keep its shape well? I would par-bake it and freeze it that way. Did you dock the dough before baking? If you don’t put little holes throughout the dough you will end up with a giant pita, as you found out!
Have fun! Zoë
I taught a small neighborhood class today of 14 folks wanting to know you and Jeff’s secret. I had the dough (about 8 days old) in my fridge and proceeded to form and bake two nice loaves of bread for these neighbors. I passed around my copy of your book so I do expect that some of them will be ordering…
The electric oven, and the fact that I didn’t have my oven thermometer with me gave me the willies, but the breads ended up looking okay. The host just called and said they were patiently waiting until the bread cooled a bit to slice them up. Thanks again.
Thanks for spreading the word and sharing the bread with your neighbors!
Thank you! Zoë
I haven’t been able to find information about dough after it is frozen. After it is defrosted, do I cloak and shape it then let it sit for 40 min? I have done that but the dough didn’t rise , it stayed flat. I had frozen the dough after the first rise. Any help appreciated.
You won’t get much rise as it rests on the peel, but you should still get a really nice oven spring. Just treat it as you would the dough that was fresh from the bucket, trying to ignore that it won’t rise before it goes into the oven!
Let me know how it goes.
Well I finally have your book. I had ordered twice before and the sellers never shipped. finally I ordered from Amazon itself and it arrived in 3 days.
Anyhow.. I did have a few batched under my belt before the book arrived and I must say, I love it… I have baked home made bread for over 20 years, and this is the way to go.
I do have a couple of questions.
1. As I get to the bottom of the container, I noticed that it becomes watery on the bottom. Can this be avoided?
2. Can I freeze the dough in 1lb. clumps after the 2-5 hours after the initial rise and before I put it in the frig.
Again, thanks for an easy way to have fresh bread on hand at any given moment.
I’m sure I’ll have more questions as I devour the book.
I’m sorry you had so much trouble getting the book. I’m glad to hear it finally came.
How old is the dough when you notice that it is watery on the bottom? I’ve had this occur when I’ve left the dough in the bucket for several days without using it. I generally leave it as is and just mix another batch of dough right on top of it. This jump starts the flavor in the next batch.
You can freeze the dough right after the initial rise, but just remember that it will not ferment once it is frozen. The fermentation is what gives it the nice flavor and crumb. I would let it sit the your refrigerator for 2-3 days and then freeze it so that it has more character.
Thanks and enjoy the book!
Thanks for the quick response.
I would say that it’s maybe a week old when I see it.
I only bake about every 2-3 days as it’s just my hubby and myself. We eat half within hours.
So, what you’re saying is that after I notice it, make another batch and mix it with the batch already in there?
Also, on freezing… if I proceed as above[making and blending the two batches] can I take some out after 2-3 days and freeze that. It would be pretty fermented by then, wouldn’t it.
After taking it out of the freezer, getting it to room temp, should I cloak and shape and let sit for an hour before baking? Would I get a good ‘oven spring’?
I’m excited about this book. I’ve be reading as you would a novel. Taking in every word.
One more question.. I noticed that you have several [master recipes] depending on what you are going to bake. Could I do the same thing with each batch[freeze some]?
thanks for all your time and effort.
I think the freezing will be perfect for you if you aren’t going through a batch within a week or so. Just pull the dough out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw in the refrigerator and then proceed as though it is fresh from the bucket.
Keep in mind that it won’t rise much as it rests on the peel, but will have lots of oven spring.
You can freeze any of our doughs!
I have a question and I cannot find anyplace to post it, please bear with me.
I am experimenting with the recipes in “Artisan…” and I am having a problem with the dough. It gets all CRUSTY on top while in the refrigerator. It’s really unpleasant, got any suggestions?
It sounds like your bucket is not covered well enough. You want to have it covered, just not air tight. Some of the gas needs to escape, but you don’t want enough air getting in that it forms a crust on the dough.
Let me know if that helps.
What a GREAT book for non-bakers like myself! I heard you on a podcast of the Food Talk radio program out of New York, even though I live here in the Twin Cities. BTW I am crushed that I only just found out you will be at Byerly’s tomorrow and it’s SOLD OUT! 🙁
So I’ll ask my question here: I am going to convert the drom-sized Beer Fridge downstairs into a Bread Fridge, and I want to buy the right containers for all the dough I plan to store. When I’m shopping for containers, how will I know if the lid is airtight or not? Thanks from Eagan!
Keep an eye on the Events page and it will have a list of all the classes we are teaching.
Most lids that are airtight will have a tight seal on them, They tend to be more difficult to close. In some cases they even have a rubber seal. If you suspect that it is too tight just leave it cracked a tiny bit to allow the gases to escape.
Thank you for trying out the recipes and enjoy all the bread!
I recently got your book after seeing the review (and trying the recipe) on the Steamy Kitchen Blog. I am loving it. Your book isn’t yet in the bookshops here in Darwin. The power of the internet is fantastic.
The pecan sticky bun is amazing. To save myself from increasing several clothes sizes I make the buns, slice them up and put them in individual silicone muffin molds. That way I can bake fresh buns without feeling the need to polish them off while still fresh from the oven…
Could I confirm the salt measurement in tsp (just normal table salt as Kosher salt isn’t sold here)?
Also, did you ever try adding sourdough starter into the dough? Mine is feeling neglected since I stated using your book.
Here is a chart of different types of salt that you can use in the recipes: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=139
You can use your starter in the dough to flavor it, in combination with the commercial yeast. If you want to use it instead of the commercial yeast you need to let the dough rise for several hours more.
If you add 1 cup of starter to a batch of dough to replace yeast than you need to let it rest for about 6-8 hours initially in the bucket and about that long again after shaping and before baking. These times will vary depending on the strength of your starter and the ambient temperature of your kitchen.
We had a chapter devoted to this in the book and it got edited out, because it is a lot of waiting. But the flavor is very nice. If you try it please let me know how it goes!
Thanks for responding. I went the middle path with the sourdough and added 200g of well fed starter to a full batch of the European Peasant Bread and the full amount of yeast. I made one loaf the next day (limited difference in taste as you would expect) and a week later baked the second loaf. This bread has a nicer crumb and gets past a bit of what I think of as yeast lag. What I have noticed is the dough (in my part of the world anyway) starts losing a bit of volume and oomph when it gets past a week in the fridge. The flavour is better but there isn’t as much of rise in the proof or oven spring.
In my trial of one the sourdough ‘spike’ seemed to help it along.
The constant heat where I live means I have to try and retard the proof for flavour development (in traditional bread making) even sourdough proofs in 90 min or less. (It is 91F almost year round).
I will try a pure sourdough soon and let you know how it goes.
Thanks for keeping me posted on your progress. I agree the bread tastes much better after aging for at least a few days.
Have you been doing the overnight retarded rise with this bread? I find it works really well with our dough, but have not tried it using a starter?
Thanks and let me know how things progress.
I have a question about the whole wheat sandwich bread. It is the first time I baked anything from your book (just got it for my birthday) and it tastes a bit sour. Am I confusing bitter with sour or is there something I could have done wrong. I do not have a container as of yet – so I have it in an old 5quart ceramic/stoneware bowl with a towel over it… not a good idea?
How old is the dough that you baked? If you are letting it sit for 24 hours or more it will start to ferment and develop sour dough characteristics. Do you think this is what you are tasting? To many this is a desirable development. To some the flavor is too strong.
How do you like the flavor after the initial 2 hour rise? If it tastes sour from the get go your flour could be rancid?
Let me know if either of these suggestions make sense. We will take it from there.
Thanks for being in touch.
Dear Zoe: I made the basic dough with half AP flour and halp White Whole Wheat. To me, it is VERY salty. I used 1 1/2 Tablespoons. Have you used less salt with good results?
BTW, the texture of the bread is great.
Here is a link to a post I did about salt in the bread. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=139
The short answer is to reduce it as much as you see fit. It should taste great to you and only you can determine how much salt you like!
Have fun, Zoë
Hi Zoe! I think it’s just great that you are answering questions here, being a published author and all!
I made my first batch yesterday, and baked it today. It didn’t come so well off the peel, turning more into a ‘batard’ rather than a ‘boule,’ but I can deal with that next time (more cornmeal, I guess).
I have an electric convection oven, which turned out to be exactly on temp (Yay!). Because it heats up so well, and quickly, when I got to Step 9, it was already at 450. With a convection oven, times are scaled down by 25%, so instead of 30 minutes I put it in for just 20 (instead of 22.5).
It got beautifully brown on the top, but the inside, while not exactly ‘gummy,’ could have been a bit…drier, I guess. It still tastes great, it just could be a bit…drier.
Do you have any thoughts on this? If the oven is not be be ‘fully heated,’ at what temp should I put it in?
One more question: when you say ‘not airtight,’ what exactly does that mean? I made my dough in an old, about 3-gallon ice cream bucket or something similar. I left the lid just cracked a bit. It rose just fine, but it’s not as tight-fitting as a rubbermaid container or something. Should I poke a few holes into it, maybe, and then shut the lid?
Anyway, I LOVE this book! Panini for dinner tonight, with my awesome bread!
Great to hear from you, thanks for trying out the bread. I’m so glad you are enjoying the process.
You have a lot of great questions. Have you visited my other website devoted to the book? http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com. There are lots of discussions and ideas on that site relating to the book.
Here are some ideas about your experience with the dough.
1. You can certainly preheat your oven to the full temperature. We, in an attempt to make the process faster for people with little time, point out that it isn’t necessary to bring the oven to exactly 450° before baking. If you do preheat the oven to 450 it won’t hurt the bread at all.
2. convection ovens are fantastic for this bread, but the heat is more intense and therefore will brown the outside of the bread, perhaps before the inside is fully cooked. You may want to drop your oven temperature by about 25 degrees to insure it is baked through.
3. If dropping the temp is still not producing an internal crumb that is “dry enough” it may mean that you need to let the dough rest longer before baking. This will give your bread a lighter crumb. Try increasing the rest time by about 30 minutes.
4. You may want to try baking the bread on parchment in place of the cornmeal. This is a very neat and easy way to get the bread off of the peel without changing the shape of your loaf. It also saves a bunch of clean up. Just peel the parchment off after the loaf is about 3/4 of the way done and continue baking without it.
5. Your bucket and lid sound perfect. If you leave it just slightly cracked for the first few days it will be perfect and then you can close it up after that.
I hope this is helpful!
Enjoy all of the bread.
I just got your book, and would like to try baking a loaf in my loaf pan. It is a dark non-tick pan. Is there anything different I should do? Do I still need a baking stone to bake in the loaf pan? Also, I have an Advantium oven. Is there a small, round stone available that I could use in this oven?
I would still use some oil on the loaf pan, even though it is non-stick. Our doughs tend to be very wet and therefore want to stick to everything.
You don’t need to use a stone if baking in a loaf pan. But, if you decide to play with the stone later, there are small stones available. I’ve even heard that they are being made for toaster ovens! I’ll look into it and get back to you.
I have read that others are having problems storing so much dough in their regular fridge, so it has been suggested to use a small dorm fridge, but that doesn’t work for my family and me. I also read in the book that one can par bake the bread and then freeze; however, I don’t always have the time or resources to parbake that much bread. I was wondering if you had any experience in shaping and freezing the dough, and then thawing and baking?
I was wondering if you could advise us on using more seeds and specialty flours in your breads. I was thinking about spelt flour in particular and adding flax seeds, and other seeds to make the bread more wholesome. I could experiment but maybe your wise counsel could prevent expensive mistakes. thanks for your help. Amy
I’m so glad you asked! Jeff and I are writing a book dedicated to whole grains and healthy breads. It will be out next year.
So glad to find this post! I seriously just made bread from your book, and have been looking for things to store dough in. Glad I found your blog. 🙂 Thanks for the bucket info, right now our dough is sitting in the bowl.
Zoe – I have your book on order and am very excited to see that you are making a book on even more healthy breads. I was getting ready to ask about that. I grind my own wheat berries in my WhisperMill and make 100% Whole Wheat bread. Will this flour work for your bread recipe? I also love mixed grains and seeds added to the bread and will look forward to the new release. I hope that will be EARLY in 2009 that it hits the shelves!!
This is possibly a very dumb question, but how can you tell if your dough has gone bad?
I made a batch of oatmeal bread and didn’t bake the second loaf until day 8. It does not smell like sourdough. There was a very sharp almost ammonia smell to it, which the finished bread still has to a slight degree. I don’t want to waste ingredients, but frankly I’m afraid that this isn’t safe to eat.
With any of the breads that are enriched with milk, eggs, butter or other dairy products we recommend that you store them for no more than 7 or 8 days.
With the non-enriched doughs you can keep them for 2 weeks or more. With these doughs there is very little that will go bad. They may have a very sour smell, but that is just the natural fermentation.
With the enriched doughs the dairy can go bad and therefore it is best to freeze the dough after the recommended storage time and then you can defrost it and use it.
Thank you so much for trying the bread. I hope this answers your question.
I have tried to make the peasant breads more whole grain so tried using about 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour and 3 cups whole wheat flour and the remaining flour divided into 7 grain flour, rye flour, bulgar, etc. but no matter how long it rests (usually 1 hr) or how long I bake it (usually 40 minutes), it is too damp/gummy inside. It is wonderful toasted but it is just too wet to cut and use for sandwiches or to enjoy with a meal. Any tips? Or do I just have too much whole grain which keeps the bread too damp for some reason?
Whole grains are a trickier business than all-purpose. They don’t have as much gluten in them which is what gives the bread its stretch when rising. When baking with whole grains you may have to let the dough rest for up to 1 1/2-2 hours depending on the size of the loaf.
You may also want to add a couple of tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to the dough to enhance the stretch, which will improve the rising power and the crumb of the baked bread.
Jeff and I are writing a second book all about healthy whole grain breads. It will be out some time next year.
Thanks and let me know if this helps!
I have a new stone loaf pan from PamperedChef, that has not yet been used/seasoned – could I use this to bake your bread?
(bottom is 4″x8″, top flares out to 6″x10″, depth is 2-1/2″) Would I have to butter/grease the sides and bottom, the first time only? always? never?
intrigued by the possibilities
It does sound intriguing! Is the inside of the loaf pan glazed? I would imagine that it is, but when you said it needs to be glazed I wondered?
If it is glazed then you do need to grease the pan. If it is not then I wonder if you use it like a baking stone or cloche?
Let me know what it is like and I can better answer your question.
I just read about the recipe in MotherEarth Magazine. I don’t have a baking stone but did have a baking stone casserole bowl. I was so excited to try the recipe that I decided to just throw the dough in my stone bowl and see what happened. It was great, came out nice and round. Waiting now for a copy of the book to come in at Barnes and Noble.
I am new at bread making, I dont really know how to ask this question and hopefully it dosent sound tgo silly.
My Q. is; I have a recipe for yeast rolls, I want it to continuously grow, I have a large family and plan on baking every day. Is it possiable to make a master batch and it countinue to grow and I just bake what I need daily?? Thank you.
I’m so glad the bread came out well in your stone bowl, I’d love to know what kind it was.
I hope you enjoy the book!
I suggest you just double the recipe and possibly have two batches going. You can add the fresh ingredients to the very last bits of an old batch to jump start the flavor.
Happy Baking! Zoë
First I wanted to thank you and Jeff for the book. I am enjoying bread baking at last. (I had a few failed attempts before I found your book).
I am at my second batch of dough and it is going better than the first batch. First time I made the mistake of measuring the flour right out of the bag. Flour is a lot more compacted in the bag than in a bucket or jar. Anyways I like your website too.
I have a question about cakes. Do you have a recipe for Madeleine cookies? When I bake them they taste too much eggy.
Am I not adding enough lemon zest? Or Vanilla extract?
I’m so pleased that you are baking bread!
I will do a post on Madeleine cookies soon. I love them and they are my husbands all time favorite cookies. Here is a batch of chocolate ones that I did earlier, but I will make the classic ones soon!
I bought the book on Wednesday and have made five loaves since then…very happy family! I love the basic recipe, but am trying to do more with whole grains and would like to use King Arthur White Wheat. Do you have any tips? I know their standard all-purpose is 11.7% and the white wheat is 13.2%. Can I just sub them in the basic recipe, deducting a quarter cup or so, as long as I’m happy with a denser crumb?
You are exactly right, if you do those substitutions you will get a great, albeit denser loaf.
I use the white whole wheat a lot in our new book, due out this fall!
Have fun and thanks! Zoë
Zoe, I loved this process and bread so much I gave my sister a copy of your book, a peel and a baking stone for Christmas. She made the first batch and both loaves were wonderful. She used the same, unwashed bowl for three more (individual) batches, intending to have sourdough. The first loaf of each batch was good. For the second one, 10 – 12 days later, the dough was grey and separated. In one instance, she ignored that and baked the bread but parts of the loaf (the grey-est) were not edible. She is using a stainless bowl with a loose plastic cover. Can you tell us what’s up? Thanks jhw
The dough is fermenting and the liquid is just a natural by product of the yeast. It is actually a natural preservative for the dough. Having said this, it may not be the flavor or texture that she is going for. I have heard of this happening when people are storing the dough for long periods of time without using it at all. It seems not to happen when you use the dough once in a while during the storage period. Just the act of moving the dough around and sprinkling some flour over it (usually what you would do when removing dough from the bucket) will add enough new flour to feed the yeast and prevent this from happening.
See if this makes sense to your sister and helps. Let me know!
My question is about storing baked bread overnight. If I bake a loaf of bread in the evening, but don’t use it until the following day, will it be as fresh? How should I store it overnight in order to keep that crackly crust, but not dry it out?
The only way to preserve the crust on a day old bread is not to wrap it. If you do the crust will get soggy and then you will need to crisp it in the oven for about 10 minutes. it will never be as good as the day it is baked, but it is still really tasty!
Cheers Zoe – I heard about your book from a friend – searched the recipe online and made my first batch today – DELISH! I didn’t have a baking stone, but I remembered seeing a show by Alton Brown on Food TV where he recommended baking bread on an unglazed terra cotta planter bottom turned upside down – I tried it and it worked beautifully also it was VERY inexpensive.I’m looking forward to buying the book! Hope this tip helps.
I have some dough that has been in the fridge for about 4 weeks. There is a purplish tinge to the top layer of the dough – is this normal?
Does it look like it is mold, or just discoloration of the dough? If there is mold then toss it! If it is just a discoloration with a slightly alcohol smell to it the dough is just fine. I may not have much rising power any more, but the dough is still fine to use.
I would add this to your next batch of dough to jump start the flavor in a fresh batch.
Let me know how it goes! Zoë
Thanks so much for the quick response – it is not mold; just discoloration and no, it is not rising much. Since it is so easy to make a new batch I’ll do as you suggest. By the way, your book is considerably less expensive than a bread machine and the bread is incredibly easy to make and far more delicious than anything I ever pulled out of the machine. Mine just sits in the basement gathering dust now.
I JUST got rid of my bread machine that was taking up space in the basement for 10+ years. i just never got it to bake anything I loved and it seemed like too much work. 😉
Enjoy your bread! Thanks, Zoë
Help! I wanted to try the master recipe but haven’t had a chance to buy the book yet. I have the dough mixed and rising and just realized that I used bleached all-purpose flour instead of unbleached. How will this affect the outcome when I bake it?
Does your dough seem overly wet? It is a wet dough, but it should keep its shape when you first form it into a ball.
The bleached flour has less protein, which means it won’t absorb as much water and may end up being wetter than we had intended. If you find it is too wet to form a nice shape, then just add more flour. the easiest way to do that is in a stand mixer. once you add more flour you need to let it rest again before using.
If it seems to be the right consistency, then just use it as is!
Enjoy! For more tips visit our bread website: http://www.artisanbreadin5.com
I want to congratulate you and Jeff on this wonderful book. Now I’m baking bread every single day and my 2 yr old girl just loves it. Thank you.
I live in Singapore and the humidity here is 84% and our temp here is avg 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Somehow when I store the baked bread outside it tends to dry up really fast. Should I cover it with a damp cloth? or should I put it in the fridge immediately after it has been cooled?
I have another question. I have an air-tight 4qt container (Lock & Lock brand)
I took out the rubber linning of the lid and just covered it without locking it. It is ok?
when I use the full recipe the dough rises up high and just touches the lid then it stopped rising. Do I need to get a bigger container or is my 4qt just fine? my fridge is a bit small and the 4qt box fits nicely for me.
I started baking yesterday and my loaves are turning out beautifully. My question to you is this, in your blog response dated 2/18/08, you stated that 6 1/2 cups of flour contains 907 grams. However, there are approximatley 30 grams per quarter cup of flour according to all of the packages of flour that I have been using. 30g x 4 = 120 grams per cup. 120g x 4 cups is 720 grams. Add 60 more grams for a half of a cup and you get 780 grams. I am totally confused. Should I be using 907g of flour or the 780g? Please clarify and thank you so much!
correction: 120g x 6 cups is 720g
The way we weigh our flour is with the scoop and sweep method, which means that each of our cups will weigh more. Each cup is closer to 140g.
1 cup= 5oz = 140g
6 1/2 cups = 2 pounds = 907g
If you go by what is on the package you will end up will a dough that is far too wet.
I hope that helps! Thanks, Zoë
Hi Zoe from Canada. We just love your book and have made several batches from it, to the delight of our neighbours. My problem seems to be with the Canadian flour protein content, most Cdn. all purpose flours seem to be between 13 & 14 % protein. Although we love the bread it doesn’t seem to be rising to the best crumb. My question is: If I use a 1/3 to a 1/2 cup more water with the white bread does this also follow with all the whole wheat breads too? I read a post you wrote recommending someone add vital wheat gluten to Whole wheat bread to help the rise. Isn’t that just what we Canadians don’t want? I’m confused as I thought more gluten meant higher protein and less rise. Maybe I’m just getting a bit “thick” in the head. Can’t wait for your new book. I may need about a half dozen or so for all the family, otherwise I’m afraid I’ll lose mine to them. Thanks, Bonnie
If you are adjusting the amount of water for the higher protein in the Master recipe and you are still getting a dense crumb, then I would suggest that you increase the resting time before baking. Often times the dense crumb is caused when the dough is still too tight and cold when it goes in the oven. Just let the dough sit on the counter for 40-90 minutes or until it no longer feels dense nor cold to the touch.
In our new book we do introduce vital wheat gluten to the recipes because we are using so much whole grain flour. Although the whole grain flour is also high in protein and absorbs more water, it doesn’t form much gluten and therefore we find that it is essential to add it to the recipe. It is the only way to get the whole grain breads to rise well. You will need to add a bit more water to compensate for the additional gluten.
I hope this answers your question. We will take all of the guess work out of whole grain recipes for you in the new book. 🙂
Thank you for writing, Zoë
Zoe, I got it now, I wondered about the cold dough. Thanks so much for your prompt reply. It’s so nice to be able to ask a question of the author of any type of cookbook and actually get an answer. You are an “all star”. I recommend your book to any and all who listen. Good Luck with the new book. Bonnie
Thank you Bonnie,
I hope this is helpful!
Hi Zoe, just found this page from the artisanbread site – maybe Bonnie’s comment about the higher protein in Canadian flour is part of my ‘bread not rising/dense crumb’ problem (I’m in Vancouver). Will try adding 1/2 cup water to my next batch 🙂
Wondering if you have a picture of what the consistency of the dough should look like after the initial mix (before rising)? Thanks! Jay
Here is a video that may be of use to you in seeing what the dough is supposed to look like after it is mixed up. http://www.startribune.com/video/11967361.html
I would start by adding an additional 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup may be too wet.
I hope this is helpful! Zoë
Zoe – I found out about your Artisan bread book in a rather serendipitous path of one mention leading to another link leading to You Tube leading to purchasing the book. Last night I mixed up my first batch, this afternoon I baked my first loaf and am now debating – should I eat the whole loaf and then bake another so my husband will not wonder what happened to the one I was baking when he came for lunch? But I will refrain. I loved the slightly sour taste without the bother of a starter. I have work to do on the texture, as yet I do not have a baking stone, am thinking of purchasing unglazed tiles so that I can bake more than one loaf at a time, but none are available in my small southern Arizona town. I loved how quickly it all went. I first learned to bake bread 50 years ago this summer when my mom taught my 4-H class. She was a baker, and I soon discovered that I was as well. I imagine that I learned how a painter feels when he realizes he can paint. That’s how I felt at 12 years old with my hands in the dough, kneading and working it. It became a form of therapy for me. Before long, Mom was no longer baking for the family. I would bake several loaves on Saturday to last us the week. One of my favorite memories is of my aunt bringing my mother a loaf of bread she had baked, when my aunt learned I was home from college she commented she wouldn’t have brought bread, if she had known I was home. Probably the only time I ever felt I intimidated anyone.
Thank you for your book I was so pleased to have things go so well without the mess ( I tend to scatter flour when I knead)and the time involvement. Now maybe I will get out the wheat mill I just had to have last spring (and have not yet used) and try the whole wheat recipes.
During 2006-2008 my husband and I lived in the Republic of Cape Verde West Africa. Each time we stopped in the small, fly-invested bakery near our house to buy Carcasas (salt bread rolls) or Pao Rustica (rustic bread) I just itched to go home and bake. Your book has certainly begun to scratch that itch.
Louise L. Tolman
Hi Zoe, I just started making my own bread, and my husband and I are loving it. Thank you for the inspiration. I don’t have enough time in the morning to bake fresh rolls, and I would love to have them with lunch. If I bake them the night before, how can I keep them fresh? Thanks, Renah
Some people say to keep them in a paper bag, but I think this has mixed results.
Another option is to form the buns, rest them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, cover loosely with plastic and refrigerate them over night. In the morning preheat your oven and let the tray of buns rest on the counter while the oven heats up. Once the oven is hot bake the buns. They need much less resting if they have had a chance to rise slowly in the refrigerator over night!
So much wonderful information here and on the web about your wonderful recipes.
You have, indeed, done something wonderful for many dinner tables.
A few nitty-gritty questions/comments that I haven’t see addressed on various blogs/forums:
1. I’ve used a large Tupperware bowl for the basic recipe (ie, 3 cups water, 6-1/2 cups flour), and am ordering some bucket-style containers to give as gifts with your book. If I understand correctly, the 6qt bucket works with the basic recipe. Is it big enough if I am working with a double recipe (ie, 6-3-3-13)? Or, what size bucket do you recommend for a 6-3-3-13 batch?
2. Love the look of your clear buckets with blue-rimmed lids – do you know the brand or source?
3. Have you heard any feedback from folks who split the basic recipe, as they make it? I’m thinking that folks who are pressed for fridge-space may have an easier time storing 2, 3 or even 4 smaller containers in their fridge.
4. As easy as the basic recipe is to make and store in the fridge, or to freeze fully-baked loaves, I can see advantages to having a lump of prepared dough in the freezer. For my first batch, I stored about 1/4 in the freezer (after an initial 3-hour rise), but I didn’t know about the recommendation of letting it first mature in the fridge for a few days. Tomorrow I’ll transfer another clump of dough from the fridge to the freezer. Do you have any suggestions/recommendations about how to freeze it? ie, in a plastic container, vs in a freezer ziplock bag?
I also plan to follow someone’s instructions from another site for making 24 mini-boules. But I plan to flash-freeze them (not sure if that should be after shaping, or after a 2nd rise; I’ll try both methods) and then transfer the frozen balls to a ziplock, so I can just take out as many as needed at a time.
I think that’s about all –
Have a wonderful holiday season –
Sorry – I meant to also add….
for our first loaf from our first batch of your basic master recipe, I roasted a whole head of garlic in the oven, while baking the bread.
The aroma of garlic and bread was wonderful –
We smashed up the garlic, added a bit of olive oil, and spread it thickly on the fresh bread.
Truly wonderful – and so simple.
I’m sad to say I have a bread machine and I have no idea how to use the thing! I should probably get on it though because this looks so delicious. My mother in law keeps bugging me to make some bread but I don’t have the heart to tell her I lost the instructions for the bread machine she gave me! I know that this takes a while (and we have a spare fridge), so with all the positive reviews, I think I’m going to try this recipe!
I made the basic recipe for the first time. It never fell into itself. I waited 8 hours, when it said it would do it in 2. What do you think I did wrong?
Best place for Bread questions are at http://www.breadin5.com. The fall of the dough is very subtle, just a flattening on top.
Hope that helps! Zoë
My highest regards and thanks to you and Jeff for both of these books! I have had a blast even though I am consistantly having the same issue no matter which dough I have made, Master Artisan, Master Whole Grain, Ten Grain Light Whole Wheat, Whole Wheat with Flaxseed, or 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich. The dough NEVER EVER looks stretchy like the beautiful photos that brought me to your site. It usually breaks, not stretches when I am cloaking/forming the loaf. After baking it (with steam)frequently the inside is damp but cooked. I made sure I am using very fresh RedStar yeast and flour, correct temperature water and the vital wheat gluten when it is called for in the recipe. This is happening even though I am leaving the loaf to rise for either 2 hours or 90 minutes. It is happening if I leave the dough rise on the counter over night or put it in the fridge after 2 hours. I checked the oven temp (gas convection) and it was 50 degrees low so I preheat to 475. I am still always having fun and it is edible 95% of the time:) but I am still looking for the perfect insides! Can you help me to get the nice stretchy dough?
I used bleached flour when I first did this recipe and it didn’t seem to affect it wet or drier.. I’m happy to report that mine turned out well, although I have had problems with the bleached flour in the past.
Hi there Zoe!
I ordered the book last night (discovering your site at midnight, I spent some time in awe of the process you use before going to bed 🙂 I have been making a traditional sandwich bread for years, and really like the bread I buy from the bakery at the farmers market and so hope this will do the trick. I’m going to give it a try today from the posted recipes but have a question first. I have whole wheat bread flours from Great River Organic Milling Company that are a combination of unbleached white and whole wheat (some with lots of grains) and am wondering if I will need to ad the gluten recommended for the wheat recipe. According to the four company, the flours are perfectly blended so as to have enough gluten to rise, and I use a sponge first before adding the rest of the flour and kneading. I think I can figure out how much water to add by feel (having worked with bread a lot), but would like to be sure of a good rise (since I don’t really like a super-dense bread).
Thanks so much and can’t wait to give it a try! We have cut out all processed foods from our diet and bread making is an important part of our life these days. I have friends that would like to experience the health benefits of a diet free of processed foods, but they are afraid of bread-making. I’m hoping your recipes will help them out.
Thank you so much for trying out the bread! You will want to check out my other website that is dedicated to the books http://www.breadin5.com. There we answer questions about the recipes 24/7 and look forward to hearing about your experience.
Here is a good place to start if you have any questions: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?page_id=1479
I just made your dough for the first time. I have it in a large Tupperware container but I am not sure if Tupperware is airtight? It seems to be to me but it also looks like you use Tupperware. Do you just not put the lid on fully or is it ok to snap the lid shut as normal?
Thanks for your help! I’m excited to try making bread for the first time.
You will want to put the lid on, but don’t snap it shut. Have fun and enjoy all the bread!
I just started reading your book and am excited to begin. Regarding the storage container, does the batch of dough need to be in one large container or can the batch be divided into smaller containers?
You can mix the dough and divide it into smaller portions to keep. We generally do it in one bucket to reduce the number of things to be cleaned.
There is much more information about the bread books on http://www.breadin5.com
I prefer using glass over plastic and I already own large glass bowls (2.5 qt and 4 qt) that, when combined, could store the 5 or 6 quarts of dough for your master recipe in ABin5 book. I was thinking of using large plates to cover the bowls. Could I just use both of these bowls with “plate lids” instead of using a single large plastic food storage container? Would this affect the bread in any way? Thanks.
Yes, that is just fine! Please visit us at http://www.breadin5.com for more information and it is the best place to get your questions answered about the bread books.