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"Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" Zoe Francois (2008–2009)

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Take two: the dough is now 48 hours old, I used scissors to cut it out (works great!!), the oven was set to 500F, and it was baked without steam addition in a Dutch oven:

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This was a clear improvement over my first attempt: the flavor was better due to the increased age, the crust was better due to the higher heat, and the crumb was better due to some combination of that and the gentler handling. Thanks for the advice!

Chris, it looks great! Near perfection I might say. Not only the bread is gorgeous, but your photographs are lovely.

Thanks, Zoë

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Chris, it looks great! Near perfection I might say. Not only the bread is gorgeous, but your photographs are lovely.

Thanks: I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I'm pretty happy with it. I'm looking forward to seeing how the flavor develops over the next few days. Thanks for the book!

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Today I cranked the oven and got it up to 525, but I chickened out and reduced it as soon as I put the bread in. I should have left it alone: the interior was perfect, but the crust was underdone to my liking again. Today, for the first time, I thought the flavor of the bread passed Reinhart's Ancienne, which until now had been my gold standard for homemade artisanal-style non-sourdough bread. This technique is marvelous...

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My contribution to the thread: chocolate babka

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I actually prefer the brioche recipe. I use it for a hazelnut frangipane brioche. I use 1 pound of the dough, rolled out into a rectangle, spread with the frangipane, roll up, fold in half and place in greased loaf pan; egg wash and sprinkle w/hazelnut streusel.

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Today I cranked the oven and got it up to 525, but I chickened out and reduced it as soon as I put the bread in. I should have left it alone: the interior was perfect, but the crust was underdone to my liking again. Today, for the first time, I thought the flavor of the bread passed Reinhart's Ancienne, which until now had been my gold standard for homemade artisanal-style non-sourdough bread. This technique is marvelous...

gallery_56799_5508_48639.jpg

Hi Chris,

Is this still the first batch? If you have any dough left in the bucket, you may want to leave a small amount and mix the fresh batch right on top of it. This will jump start the flavor in your next batch. I never wash out my buckets, unless it was an enriched dough.

So glad you are enjoying it! Zoë

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My contribution to the thread: chocolate babka

I actually prefer the brioche recipe.  I use it for a hazelnut frangipane brioche.  I use 1 pound of the dough, rolled out into a rectangle, spread with the frangipane, roll up, fold in half and place in greased loaf pan; egg wash and sprinkle w/hazelnut streusel.

Hi mpshort,

Your babka looks great! You mentioned liking the brioche dough better and I just wanted to make sure that you have the errata sheet from the website. There were some crazy typos in the babka recipe that would make it quite difficult to work with if you didn't know about them.

www.zoebakes.com or www.artisanbreadinfive.com both have error/errata pages at the top.

Thanks! Zoë

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I've just returned from Phoenix and talked to many people there who travel to the mountains and need to know more about high altitude bread baking.

Considering that I live in the flattest part of this country I have no experience with high altitude baking and was wondering if any of you have baked the bread above 4000 feet?

Thanks, Zoë

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This being my first post, this seemed like a great place to start. I bought my copy a couple of days ago and have yet to get started. I've almost read the book cover to cover though.

I think that this may sound funny to some here, but how would you go about shaping and baking hotdog and hamburger buns. After all, here in the South it's already baseball season!!!

Ron

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I think that this may sound funny to some here, but how would you go about shaping and baking hotdog and hamburger buns. After all, here in the South it's already baseball season!!!

Ron

Realize that the goal of a hotdog/hamburger bun is different than an artisan loaf -- the crumb (or hole structure) is much much tighter in a sandwich bun than what you are shooting for in an artisan loaf.

That being said, the two things I would do to adjust the recipe is to lower the hydration level to somewhere in the 65% hydration range. The second thing is that you want to make buns that are about 30-45 grams. You will end up working the boules much more to shape buns than you do when trying to form a regular loaf. Form boules with the small pieces of dough, place them on a parchment lined half-sheet pan (you'll be able to get maybe 24 to a half-sheet pan), and flatten them down slightly with the palm of your hand. Proof and bake at a lower temperature than you would an artisan loaf (I'd bake them between 350 and 375 deg F). They may take less time to bake than one big loaf does. Sometimes I will also brush the tops of the proofed buns with milk before baking so that they take on a nice golden brown hue.

Realize, too, that if the recipe you are using is a lean dough (no fats or sugars), you need to use the baked buns the same day you make them as they will dry out pretty fast. Using an enriched dough (something with milk, sugar, or butter) recipe will help to alleviate the drying out issue, but then you've lost the flavor profile you were shooting for because additional flavors may cover up or change the slight tang of the original recipe that the book (and this thread) talks about.

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This being my first post, this seemed like a great place to start. I bought my copy a couple of days ago and have yet to get started. I've almost read the book cover to cover though.

I think that this may sound funny to some here, but how would you go about shaping and baking hotdog and hamburger buns. After all, here in the South it's already baseball season!!!

Ron

Hi Ron,

I would follow Tino's advice for shaping with either the Soft American-Style White Bread (page 204) or the Buttermilk Bread (page 207), both have a crumb closer to a traditional hot dog/hamburger bun.

I seem to remember seeing hot dog baking pans somewhere???

Good luck and tell us how it goes!

Zoë

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Yesterday I wasn't feeling so well in the head, but I really felt like some fresh bread without all the work. Then I found the recipe for "simple crusty bread" on the NY times website and gave it a try. It came out beautifuly! Super fast and easy, barley any work on my part.

This morning I was in a hurry getting ready for work, but my mom was making marinara sauce and noodles for dinner and I knew we needed some bread to go with it. I made it again and it was even better this time around! I let it rise for about 4 hours, then had my brother place it in the fridge while I was at work. When I got home, I pulled it out, shaped it, and let it rise again for about an hour and a half. Delicious, crusty bread, perfect for when you're in a hurry. (especially when you have no food in the house!)

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The bread was still pretty warm when I cut into it, but we were hungry.

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Yesterday I wasn't feeling so well in the head, but I really felt like some fresh bread without all the work. Then I found the  recipe for "simple crusty bread" on the NY times website and gave it a try. It came out beautifuly! Super fast and easy, barley any work on my part.

This morning I was in a hurry getting ready for work, but my mom was making marinara sauce and noodles for dinner and I knew we needed some bread to go with it. I made it again and it was even better this time around! I let it rise for about 4 hours, then had my brother place it in the fridge while I was at work. When I got home, I pulled it out, shaped it, and let it rise again for about an hour and a half. Delicious, crusty bread, perfect for when you're in a hurry. (especially when you have no food in the house!)

gallery_55196_5615_83063.jpg

gallery_55196_5615_133799.jpg

The bread was still pretty warm when I cut into it, but we were hungry.

Beautiful.

Jmahl

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Hey Zoe,

We are still making and loving your bread by the bucket. So, when is Volume Two coming out? :wink:

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Wow, that is some tremendous oven spring you've got there!

How did you bake it?

I used the Dutch oven technique, at 450F. No additional moisture (I don't generally think it is necessary for this method, but I could be convinced otherwise...).

I'm not familiar with the dutch oven technique. Can you provide some details?

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Wow, that is some tremendous oven spring you've got there!

How did you bake it?

I used the Dutch oven technique, at 450F. No additional moisture (I don't generally think it is necessary for this method, but I could be convinced otherwise...).

I'm not familiar with the dutch oven technique. Can you provide some details?

This is a method where you preheat a dutch oven to 450F or so, then flip your loaf directly into it, slash, close the lid for 25 minutes while it bakes in the oven, then bake with the lid off for 15 minutes. I've just started doing it and it eliminates the need for steaming I think, producing a really excellent crust--it's a great method. You can even put your loaf on parchment, slash, and transfer to the preheated dutch oven on the parchment. I would suggest putting your dutch oven on a stone even still, as it protects the bottom from overheating and burning the bottom of your loaf a bit.

Chris, do you use parchment? Your loaves look like you are handling them very gently.

josh

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Hi:

I have just joined egullet and have just finished reading all the posts re: artisan bread. I have ordered the book and my questions may be addressed there, but I plan on making up a batch before the book arrives. I have two questions:

What is a cloche?

What do you cover your dough with in the fridge? I know that you are not to cover the container with an airtight cover, but do you use loosely drapped plastic wrap? A dish towel? If the latter, will it dehydrate the dough?

Thanks for answering these questions.

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Hi:

I have just joined egullet and have just finished reading all the posts re: artisan bread.  I have ordered the book and my questions may be addressed there, but I plan on making up a batch before the book arrives.  I have two questions:

What is a cloche?

What do you cover your dough with in the fridge?  I know that you are not to cover the container with an airtight cover, but do you use loosely drapped plastic wrap?  A dish towel?  If the latter, will it dehydrate the dough?

Thanks for answering these questions.

Welcome, ElsieD!

A cloche is usually a clay enclosure (think of a terra cota pot) that you pre-heat and bake the bread in. It is designed to mimic a stone oven as it not only holds the heat really well, but holds the heat close to the baking loaf (as opposed to your oven walls). The primary advantage of a cloche is that it is much easier to get that crispy artisan crust that many people like.

Forgot to mention that you can use plastic wrap in the fridge, I do it all the time. If you're worried, you can always buy one of those large plastic containers (like they sell at Sam's Club, etc.) and just leave one corner cracked. But I've never had a problem just using plastic. If you do use a dish towel, I would suggest moistening it first. When I first started making bread, I would only cover my bowl with a dry towel. When I returned to punch down or shape the bread, there would always be a thin crust on top of the dough.


Edited by tino27 (log)

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Hi:

I have just joined egullet and have just finished reading all the posts re: artisan bread.  I have ordered the book and my questions may be addressed there, but I plan on making up a batch before the book arrives.  I have two questions:

What is a cloche?

What do you cover your dough with in the fridge?  I know that you are not to cover the container with an airtight cover, but do you use loosely drapped plastic wrap?  A dish towel?  If the latter, will it dehydrate the dough?

Thanks for answering these questions.

Welcome, ElsieD!

A cloche is usually a clay enclosure (think of a terra cota pot) that you pre-heat and bake the bread in. It is designed to mimic a stone oven as it not only holds the heat really well, but holds the heat close to the baking loaf (as opposed to your oven walls). The primary advantage of a cloche is that it is much easier to get that crispy artisan crust that many people like.

Forgot to mention that you can use plastic wrap in the fridge, I do it all the time. If you're worried, you can always buy one of those large plastic containers (like they sell at Sam's Club, etc.) and just leave one corner cracked. But I've never had a problem just using plastic. If you do use a dish towel, I would suggest moistening it first. When I first started making bread, I would only cover my bowl with a dry towel. When I returned to punch down or shape the bread, there would always be a thin crust on top of the dough.

Tino, thanks for your response. I should have thought to look cloche up on the internet but didn't think of it. Do you think a kitchenaid cast iton enameld pan would work?

Elsie

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Really the point of the cloche is that it's something nice and heavy which retains heat well. So, anything nice and heavy will help out.

Realize, too, that you can make perfectly fine artisan loaves without a cloche. I generally only use a nice thick pizza stone in my oven and I've gotten very good quality breads.

If you are going to use your KitchenAid, just make sure that the knob on the lid is oven proof to at least 450 deg F.

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Okay folks, I've just made up a batch of dough and am giving it the appx. 2 hour rise. Once it has collapsed and I'm ready to put it in the fridge, can someone tell me how necessary it is to put it in a 5 quart container? Looking at it in it's current bowl (the one from my kitchenaid) it seems like overkill to put it in a 5 quart container. Or does it rise that much in the fridge that it needs the room to expand? I realize I may be just having a case of beginner's jitters, but I really would like to know.

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Okay folks, I've just made up a batch of dough and am giving it the appx. 2 hour rise.  Once it has collapsed and I'm ready to put it in the fridge, can someone tell me how necessary it is to put it in a 5 quart container?  Looking at it in it's current bowl (the one from my kitchenaid) it seems like overkill to put it in a 5 quart container.  Or does it rise that much in the fridge that it needs the room to expand?  I realize I may be just having a case of beginner's jitters, but I really would like to know.

Hi Elsie,

As you've probably noticed by now the dough will rise quite a bit, often touching the lid on a 5 quart container during its initial rise. After that it will collapse and will never reach those heights in the bucket again, but will have great oven spring. So, you do need a 5 quarts for the initial rise and then you can transfer to a smaller container. If you have the room in your refrigerator then just leave it, less to clean up!

I look forward to hearing about your first loaf!

Zoë

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Hey Zoe,

We are still making and loving your bread by the bucket.  So, when is Volume Two coming out?  :wink:

Hi Momcook,

We are working on #2 right now! Thanks for the encouragement.

Zoë

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Wow, that is some tremendous oven spring you've got there!

How did you bake it?

I used the Dutch oven technique, at 450F. No additional moisture (I don't generally think it is necessary for this method, but I could be convinced otherwise...).

I'm not familiar with the dutch oven technique. Can you provide some details?

This is a method where you preheat a dutch oven to 450F or so, then flip your loaf directly into it, slash, close the lid for 25 minutes while it bakes in the oven, then bake with the lid off for 15 minutes. I've just started doing it and it eliminates the need for steaming I think, producing a really excellent crust--it's a great method. You can even put your loaf on parchment, slash, and transfer to the preheated dutch oven on the parchment. I would suggest putting your dutch oven on a stone even still, as it protects the bottom from overheating and burning the bottom of your loaf a bit.

Chris, do you use parchment? Your loaves look like you are handling them very gently.

josh

Today I tried this method to bake a loaf using the recipe for the peasant bread. I took your hint and used parchment and baked in a 500 degree oven on a stone. In the past, I got a good crust and crumb, but today it turned out beyond great -- the crust was as crispy as could be and the inside a wonderful chewy texture. In a word, perfection. WOW! Thanks to you and Chris Hennes for the tips! Would have posted pics, but my husband and I polished off the loaf before the thought entered my mind.

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Chris, do you use parchment? Your loaves look like you are handling them very gently.

Yeah, I am using the technique from the Cook's Illustrated article: I put a sheet of parchment in a saute pan, raise the loaf in that while the Dutch oven is preheating in the oven, then transfer the loaf, parchment and all, into the Dutch oven. I'm glad the technique worked out for you, sadie432. I've had a new batch of dough in the fridge for a few days now: I'm going to try for pizza later this week.

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