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

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I haven't followed this topic in a while but does anyone have the Master Recipe with weight measurements (tested, please)? I would greatly appreciate it.

P.S. I realize that different flours have different gluten so let's just say King Arthur AP.

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I haven't followed this topic in a while but does anyone have the Master Recipe with weight measurements (tested, please)? I would greatly appreciate it.

P.S. I realize that different flours have different gluten so let's just say King Arthur AP.

It's back there somewhere. Around page 10 maybe? A quick look did not turn up my post-it where I had it written down.

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basic recipe

750 gms water

12 gms salt

20 gms yeast

1000gms flour

for additional flavor, i add

20 gms malt powder

20 gms semolina flour

2-4 hour room temp rise

into the fridge, use for up to 2 weeks.

i allow 2 hour rise time when using refrigerated dough

bake at 450 degrees

add 1 cup of water to a broiler pan in the bottom of the pre-heated oven just when you place the bread in the oven

see my pictoral tutorial on page 17? or therabouts.

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Not specifically on this topic, but since these are the recipes I'm using right now I'll ask it here ...

The instructions (in this book and elsewhere) always say something along the lines of 'put a dish in the bottom of the oven. Just before you put the bread dough in, pour a cupful of hot water into the dish.'

Why? Why not put water (any temperature, even cold) into the dish before you put it in the oven? As the oven heats so does the water, and is nicely steaming by the time the oven is ready for the bread.

Being inherently lazy, that's how I do mine and it seems to work perfectly well. I think I may have tried the 'approved' method once and couldn't see any difference. Is there any particular reason all the recipes specify the 'hot water just before dough' technique?

For clarification: I'm not asking the reason we add the water/steam, just the timing of adding the water.

I welcome theories from other eGulleters.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Good question. I always add it right away. In any case it has to come up to temp. It is not like it is going to all steam away before you get the dough in.?

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Good question. I always add it right away. In any case it has to come up to temp. It is not like it is going to all steam away before you get the dough in.?

First -- Heartsurgeon's weight based recipe has worked for me for over a year. My only change is I add about 2 Tbs. of honey to the 100 degree water and then I mix in the yeast. I alo heat the oven to 550 and drop it to 450 when the loaves go in.

On the hot water issue. I keep an aluminum pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. When I put the loaves into the stove I add one cup of tap water. It hits the hot pan and steams. I think I get great crust.

Hope this helps.


The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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Not specifically on this topic, but since these are the recipes I'm using right now I'll ask it here ...

The instructions (in this book and elsewhere) always say something along the lines of 'put a dish in the bottom of the oven. Just before you put the bread dough in, pour a cupful of hot water into the dish.'

Why? Why not put water (any temperature, even cold) into the dish before you put it in the oven? As the oven heats so does the water, and is nicely steaming by the time the oven is ready for the bread.

Being inherently lazy, that's how I do mine and it seems to work perfectly well. I think I may have tried the 'approved' method once and couldn't see any difference. Is there any particular reason all the recipes specify the 'hot water just before dough' technique?

For clarification: I'm not asking the reason we add the water/steam, just the timing of adding the water.

I welcome theories from other eGulleters.

If I were to guess the reason for the timing, it would be to ensure an instant burst of steam that comes into contact with a larger surface area of the loaf in a shorter span of time, thus promoting a more efficient gelatinization of the crust?

Also, if you place the water in during the preheat, won't it also take longer for the water in the pan (during the preheat) to come up to temperature?

I'm also curious to know whether the drop in oven temperature when one opens the door is greater where steam rushes out instead of just hot air.

It's all moot for my purposes anyway :raz: . I spray the loaf and invert a pot over the loaf and let it bake for 15 minutes before removing it.

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I learned how important "minor" details are in the final outcome of your bread.

I baked bread at my Dad's house (different oven than mine).

I baked the bread on a silpat (not the usual pizza stone).

My Dad's oven is non-convection, and i had 2 trays of bread separated vertically by 3-4 inches, in the middle of his oven.

The upper tray cooked significantly faster.

The tops of the buns cooked (browned) significantly faster than the bases of the buns.

The buns came out with a thinner crust overall, and the entire bun was less crunchy and softer.

Exact same recipe, exact same technique (other than differences noted above),

ENTIRELY DIFFERENT bun came out texturally. I was amazed how different the final product was.

I guess i learned that you can't assume that any one recipe/technique will work the identically in a different kitchen.

For those who are having a hard time getting fabulous bread, keep experimenting and figure out what works best with your setup.

Making great bread can be remarkably gratifying, is generally appreciated by all, and can be a profound pleasure to eat.

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This is a sample of our whole wheat bread (47%) made with fresh ground whole wheat flour. The taste is nutty, wheaty and very flavorful. Great crust. What do you think?

Bread Whole Wheat 001.JPG


The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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This is a 20% whole wheat loaf we baked today. I use Heartsurgeon's formula except I add about a tablespoon or two of honey and heat the oven to 550 and drop to 450 when the bread goes in onto the baking stone. This was almost half of the batch so the oven time was about 50 minutes.


Bread 001.JPG

[Moderator note: This topic continues in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" Zoe Francois (2010–)]


The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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