The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Artisan Bread in 5 Video - did this make anyone else cringe?

SulaBlue's picture

Artisan Bread in 5 Video - did this make anyone else cringe?

A video by the authors that just made me cringe!

I watched this video this morning and I just couldn't help but cringe!

Volume measurements.

Salt tossed right in on top of yeast.

Flour that was scooped out of the jar instead of at least being spooned into the cup.

Instructions that it doesn't matter what angle you hold your knife when scoring.

Comment to let your bread cool "a little" and not cut into it while it's "too" warm.


My, what a bread-snob I've become!

sephiepoo's picture

You're not a snob at all! Merely educated, and thus have formed an informed opinion :) (this is how I justify my preference for quality ingredients in cooking and baking to DF when he accuses me of being "picky")

That video hurt my brain.  It's quite painful.  I'll stick with my scale and methods many of us use here, tyvm!

SulaBlue, thanks for a good giggle though


drhowarddrfine's picture

Yep. That was pretty awful.

flournwater's picture

Well, SulaBlue, welcome to the "bread-snob" club.  About a year ago I was following this couple and using their recommended techniques.  I admit that, by following their instructions, it is possible to make bread.  The weakness in their videos that the resulting bread can be good, just OK, or terrible.  I've learned to use no more yeast than is necessasry to get the job done.  They use yeast so freely I get nervous watching them.  As I figure it, they're using 2.6% yeast; a bit excessive in my view.  You cold get a bag of concrete to rise with that much yeast.

In all honesty, I haven't read their book and I suppose it is possible that the book goes into greater detail on the science of bread making. 


arzajac's picture

I didn't cringe.  It is what it is.


I don't think there's anything wrong with that video.  Probably a lot of people are finding out they can bake good bread at home without a lot of effort.  Once you get your feet wet, it's easy enough to figure out ways to make this basic recipe better - but that doesn't take away from the fact that this does make a decent loaf.


Volume measurements are fine if you have no expectations as to the result.  I gather that the target hydration they are aiming for is 70 per cent.  Is 65 per cent hydration french bread inedible?  How about 75 per cent?  So what if the results produce slightly different textures from batch to batch?  If you don't mind (or don't even notice) then there's no problem.

They use a long, retarded fermentation (not seen in the video, but that's the point of the recipe) and they don't rely on kneading so mixing the salt and yeast together works fine. 

The scoring is nice.  You probably won't get nicely shaped ears very often, but it get's the job done, nonetheless.  "Not perfect" doesn't mean "not good".

And I don't have a big problem with the comment about cooling, because I think people will gobble up a big chunk of their first loaf straight out of the oven the first time they make bread, no matter what the book says about letting it cool.  I think people have to figure that out by themselves anyway.


Now, if they were trying to say that their method was better in all respects to traditional methods, then that would be awful.  But they're not.   It's for people who don't want to face a steep learning curve.


(Here's a summary of the book:


Floydm's picture

if they were trying to say that their method was better in all respects to traditional methods, then that would be awful.  But they're not.   It's for people who don't want to face a steep learning curve.


They are experienced bakers and know that there is a lot more complexity involved in making traditional artisan breads, but they've figured out an approach that makes it so a total baking noob with no special gear can bake something pretty tasty.  That is great.  I've given their book as a gift to a few people who were interested in baking bread but I didn't think had the dedication to tackle the Bread Baker's Apprentice.  It isn't perfect, but if it gets people started and helps them build confidence, right on.


AnnieT's picture

Well said, Floyd! In the same vein I have heard people disparage the No Knead Bread -  "blob in a pot" was one description. I had baked ho hum breads over the years but reading about and trying the NKB really got me interested in baking again. Which brought me to TFL and a total obsession with bread baking. Some people may never advance from NKB but I'm betting there are many like me who found it to be a good stepping stone. My son in Paso Robles makes the Almost No Knead bread because it works for him every time. I'm sad that he gave up on my sourdough but happy that he enjoys baking bread of any kind. Whatever it takes, A.

proth5's picture

I was going to stay out of this, but I gotta be me.

I will never actually name "my teacher" but I must say that "my teacher" is as well qualified as anyone you will meet.

"My teacher" and I have had many discussions about the great salt/yeast/levain controversy and his/her opinion is that eventually they meet in the bread dough and if the salt was so detrimental to the yeast, the bread would not rise.  So he/she has no qualms about the two meeting at any point in the process.  After baking bread for nearly half a century and handling my yeast every which way (from a babe at my grandmother's elbow to hippie days to more serious work now) I have to agree.

I also ask you to pause and think about the bread that they were mixing.  Although I switched to weight measures awhile ago because they work better with baker's percentages and are just faster and easier, what are they measuring volumetrically?  Instant yeast?  Well, that's an ingredient that doesn't tend to pack down when measured, so, not so bad.  Kosher salt (and they were careful to specify kosher salt)?  Again, no big deal.  Water?  Yes, temperature does affect the volume of a given weight of water and yes a pint is not exactly a pound the whole world around, but volumetric measure of water is still pretty accurate.

The only concern is the flour.  But if you think the formula through, it is about 100% hydration.  Surely a little variation (and they do use a variant of the "scoop and sweep" method that so many of us used quite successfully for many years) at that hydration will not make or break the bread.

As for scoring, Mr. Hertzberg was doing decorative scoring on a boule.  I would hold my straight blade straight up and down (as he said to do) to do that.  As "my teacher" taught me.  The angled (and curved, I might add) blade is used mostly with more elongated breads when one is trying to produce grigne.

As for cooling the bread somewhat. Yes, I was taught to wait until the bread is cool to cut and evaluate it.  But even I, with my discipline and self control, will tear into a warm loaf from time to time.  It's good.  And that's what baking is all about.

I guess the point of this lecture is that while I would not bake bread the way they do in the video because I have other goals and a different temperment, there is nothing wrong with it.  It is easy.  It is fun.  For someone who just wants to have some fresh bread with dinner - this is a great thing.  Cringing is not required.  When I stand on the podium with the gold miche in my hands, I might start cringing at a video like that, but until that unlikely day comes I will always find it in my heart to appreciate other's efforts.  And no matter how big a bread snob you might be, there is always someone who could find it in their nature to be a bigger snob. I don't like that world view.  A lot of people baked a lot of good bread for a lot of years using methods that you say make you cringe.  That is something you might want to think about.

Lecture over. Happy baking!

davidg618's picture

I bake bread: everyday bread (in a bread machine), artisan bread. I also cook: everyday meals, gourmet meals. I brew beer: everyday beer, complex beer. I make wine: table wine, vintage wine. I visit baking, cooking, and beer making blogs and "community" sites (ala TFL). I visit technical wine sites, but never wine blogs or "community" sites. Why? Wine snobs. I hope bread snobs forever remain in the minority on The Fresh Loaf.

David G.

SulaBlue's picture

Many of the things I mention are 'meh' little things to me.

But the flour - THE FLOUR! Oy, this one was the one that just got me. If I remember from this morning they were using 6 cups of flour? The amount of variance one could get, over the course of 6 cups, between scooping and even simply spooning flour into a cup and then leveling could be a rather considerable amount. I was taught as far back as middle school not to scoop flour because of this. I will grant that we used volume measurements.

I just don't see how folks could get any sort of consistency from one loaf to the next as the flour in the container itself might be compacted from moving it around, or loose due to having been recently shaken or fluffed. This is then compounded when you compact it again by scooping.

proth5's picture

I wouldn't measure that way either.  In fact, when I do volumetric measure of flour, I actually put it through a sifter before I measure it. No one does that much anymore, but I do.  Just as you feel you need to spoon flour into a cup, I feel that sifting is de rigeur.  Don't know how you can feel good about not sifting :>)

(Of course, they totally punted the issue of desired dough temperature.  Can you imagine not taking the temperature of the air and the flour and adjusting the water temperature accordingly?   Again, :>)  )

That being said, with a nominally 100% hydration dough the extra flour is not a make or break issue.  We're not talking production baking here, we're talking casual home baking.   I just did a test and the difference between sifted flour (1 cup = 4 oz) and scooped from the bin (1 cup = 4.6 oz) with my hands is the difference between 100% and 86% hydration.  In a way, maybe the scooping directive was deliberate because a 100% hydration dough - that's pretty wet.  If you read a little more of their book, they are trying to keep the formula simple so that it can be memorized (so you can amaze your friends when you bake without a printed formula in front of you - hey, different strokes...).  Flour = 2xWater by volume is pretty simple. 

I've got a bit of a bee in my bonnet over this because having baked over the amount of time that I have, I have seen home baking techniques come and go.  We did a sponge,then we didn't, then we "proofed" the yeast with water and a pinch of sugar, then we used the "Rapid Mix" method (dry active yeast added directly to the flour - really!) then we turned up our noses at dry active yeast and insisted on instant - which sometimes we still "proofed", then, well, you get the picture.   The bread was still good.  It was.

The video just wasn't cringe worthy.  It was a good, honest technique - much of it exactly in line with some of our more "snobby' practices and much more accessible to the average "just starting out" home baker who was, after all, the target audience.

Apparently I'm not done.  This must be a hot button for me...

Floydm's picture

Right, but who says our goal is consistency?  Most of us are not running bakeries where consistent "product" everyday matters, we're baking for our friends and families.   As Mocha466 rightly points out, home bakers, predominantly women, have been doing this for generations.  More power to them.

I should also mention that when I don't scale I don't use cups either... I just dump it in the bowl straight from the bag.  It's mostly accurate, plus or minus a half a pound or so.  ;^)

althetrainer's picture

Floyd, you're too funny!

pelosofamily's picture


LindyD's picture

Don’t type in all capital letters
Typing in all capital letters on the Internet is considered rude because it is difficult to read and comes across as very aggressive (LIKE SHOUTING!). If you take away nothing from this ‘how-to’ other than knowing that typing in “caps” is widely despised on the Internet, consider it time well spent.

pelosofamily's picture

didn't realize the post would come out in capitals

Yippee's picture


Could you please tell me how you included text in a box like you did above?  Is this a quotation from another source?  Thanks.


LindyD's picture

I did Googled "typing in all caps," picked the quote from one of the many links that were listed, copied it, pasted it in my reply, then clicked my left mouse button to highlight it in the comment box and used the blockquote mark at the top of the box.

I didn't cite the source, Yippee (but could find it again), because they all say the same thing.

pelosofamily's picture

I thought this was a site for baking enthusiasts...not computer experts! So maybe you should have asked before flapping at the mouth.  I have belonged to this site for years and have never had people corect me with such vengance. I haven't done alot of posting so shoot me!!!!!


Floydm's picture

C'mon now, please stop this thread. 

All caps online is rude and is considered shouting, but it sounds like this was an honest mistake.  End of story, no reason to recriminate further.

LindyD's picture

All I did, Albert, was answer this question:


Could you please tell me how you included text in a box like you did above?  Is this a quotation from another source?  Thanks.


I'm sorry you misconstrued my response to Yippee.

PaddyL's picture

They made bread, and good bread from the looks of it.  I'm sure you would think I break all the 'rules' of bread baking, not using scales, percentages, the 'right' kind of flour, kneading instead of folding, not measuring at all, but I make such good bread, people are more than willing to pay for it.  My father used to approach his bread-baking on a scientific basis, having been a chemist at one time in his life, and he made beautiful bread.  As long as there is bread being made in the home, it doesn't really matter how it's done, as long as it's done.  It is not rocket science!

althetrainer's picture

I started weighing my ingredients a few months ago because I wanted to learn about sourdough.  When I made yeast breads, I just did the dip and scoop thing and my breads always turned out all right.  I have been making breads for 20 years so I know if a dough is right when I get my hands on it.  I don't have any problems watching people just estimate their ingredients as long as they are happy with the results.  But again, if precision is the desire, I don't see any problems weighing everything to the exact gram.  Do whatever that makes you happy.  I am all for it.

bobku's picture

All kinds of Breads have been made for probably thousand of years with I'm sure great results .Now all of a sudden your looked down upon becauce your kitchen has not been converted into a laboratory. I have been making bread with great results kneading by hand measuring with spoons and cups sometimes adding a little more or less ingrediants each time. Probably inconsistant temperatures.I would love to get all the "lab" stuff some of the other bakers here have but cannot afford it and I enjoy the way it comes out now. There is a lot of valuable information on this site but lets not be Bread Snobs.

Janknitz's picture

I don't think anyone should be looking down their nose on this method.  It is a method to produce pretty darn good bread easily and quickly for people who simply are not going to have the time or interest to get as involved as many of us are.  It sure beats store bought wonder bread and in many cases is better than what claims to be "artisan brea-" available to the masses. 

I started out making AB in 5 breads, and loving it so much I started exploring other options.  In the past I had attempted "real" artisan breads that took a lot of work and had little success.  I just spent the entire weekend working hard to make a roasted garlic bread from a formula by Della Fattoria with only fair results--some of my AB in 5 bread has been fantastic in comparison and with very little effort. 

I'm "geeked out" now to make very good breads with my own wild yeast starter, and I'm learning techniques like bulk fermentations, autolysing, stretching and folding, shaping,  etc. but it's not for everyone.  I still use AB in 5 recipes so we can have a quick loaf with dinner during the work week or a  something impressive to take to share with others.  I am not ashamed of these breads at all.  They have lovely crumb, delicious flavor, and beautiful crusts.

AB in 5 is really nothing more the same things we geek about here.  Long, slow rises which develop the flavors and textures beautifully, good shaping and baking.  It's just explained in a way anyone can understand, and simplified so that it is nearly foolproof.  Nothing wrong with that.   

If it's not to your tastes, that's perfectly OK, but that doesn't mean it's a worthless technique. 

ericb's picture


I don't think you're a bread-snob at all (especially if I'm right in detecting a hint of humorous self-deprecation in your original post)!

I'm glad you shared that video. It just goes to show how forgiving bread is: literally everything they were doing was "wrong" by every other book, but they still ended up with bread that is a hundred times better than what most people buy in the stores every day.

When I think of my sister-in-law with her seven kids, baking bread is almost out of the question. However, a recipe like this just might work for them, especially since the older kids could probably play a role.

While I don't often bake them, I'm a big fan of the no-knead recipes. They are such the polar opposites of more-traditional recipes, that I think they force us -- artisan bread enthusiasts -- to think outside the box and develop new techniques. 

Rats. After all this bread talk, I've gotten the hankerin' to do some baking, but now it's too late! Some days, I wish I had a job that was flexible enough for me spend all day working on a pain au levain, or Poilane-style miche. Sigh!

Danni-loves-2-cook's picture

I just had to chime in on this topic. I'm currently on disability and so I have the time now to teach myself to bake bread, read the blogs every day and educate myself on the art of bread baking. However, before I got sick, I was a single mom with a full time job and a teenage who required my taxi services most nights. I had no time to even consider learning to bake bread. I had heard of the AB in 5 method and it intrigued me. I probably would have tried this to get some homemade bread on the table. It probably would have been so great compared to store bought cardboard. 

I think anyone who starts baking bread of any kind with whatever recipes they use is a great thing and will ultimately take them to more complex and accurate breads. If this book/video helps busy moms put more nutritious bread on the table, more power to it. Most busy moms/dads are lucky to squeeze out five minutes a day for this. Don't discourage them with snobbery, encourage them to get their feet wet in the wonderful world of real bread. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I actually enjoy their video.  This video has helped a lot of home bakers to get the basics and would easily encourage just about anyone to bake their own bread. 


Dragonbones's picture

If kneading is so important, how is it that their bread turned out so nice without any kneading?

(Seriously -- I don't understand that; I'm just starting out on this pastime.)

It's interesting, for me, to watch people use and recommend such radically different techniques and still get good results.

I may change my mind after I try a few batches each way, but I don't think the extra effort to weigh ingredients will be worth it for me. I'm not a bakery insisting on perfect consistency. I'm doing it for FUN!  And kitchens here in Taiwan are TINY -- no extra room for more equipment like scales. Given how much effort I'm going to in the rest of the process, I want *some* convenience, and it's simple enough to adjust the dough for hydration when you see how it's getting along -- heck, you may have to do that anyway even if you weigh stuff. 


proth5's picture

What is important is properly developing gluten.

I won't go into this in minute detail, but wheat flour contains glutenin and gliadin which come together in the presence of liquid to form the gluten structure that we so desire.

This is done many ways.  In a production bakery most likely they will use a spiral mixer to develop the gluten for a large amount of dough in a very short period of time.  Or partially develop the gluten in a sprial and then further develop it through time and folds.

At home we might mix in a stand mixer or knead by hand.  But the mechanical action (either of the mixer or the hand kneading) is just a way to speed up the production of the gluten.  A lot of moisture (as used in the video) and time can also be used to create the gluten structure.  In the method described in the video the dough is usually left to ferment in the refrigerator for many hours.  This long elapsed time will also allow for the formation of gluten.  It is somewhat limiting in the types of breads that can be produced, but it is a very good technique. It is generally not used commercially because of the investment in time and space, but for the home baker it is quite a nice method.  There are many other methods described on these pages that leave out the kneading in the development of gluten. There is no one right way.  There are better ways for different types of bread, but there is no one right way.

Depending on the kind of bread baking you do, someday you may want to invest in a small scale.  Even though my kitchen is tiny (by American standards at least) I consider my scale to be well worth the amount of space that it uses.   That being said, I measured my flour by volume for most of my baking life.  What happens is that you become consistent in how you measure and learn to adjust your formulas accordingly.  But, I do appreciate the ease and speed of scaling ingredients.

Any resident of Taiwan should stand tall about bread baking.  Although I understand the differences in the type of products traditionally baked in Taiwan, Team Taiwan took the bronze in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (World Cup of Bread Baking.) This is no small feat and they were required to bake European style breads.  I tasted some of them and they were quite good. Their decorative piece was amazing!

Hope this helps.  Happy baking!

Dragonbones's picture

"If I want cardboard flavored commercial bread, I will use EXACT measurements."

That's not logical. Precision in measurement leads to predictable results, i.e. repeatability or consistency. Good ingredients and techniques lead to good flavor. Exact measurements can't hurt the flavor.

Proth5, thanks for the info on gluten -- that was very informative!


Floydm's picture

I think the cardboard comment was supposed to suggest that using industrial-style baking techniques in the home leading to industrial-style results.  Which isn't particularly accurate because professional artisan bakers are highly precise and make the greatest bread in the world, but I can relate to the feeling that turning my kitchen into a laboratory would take some of the fun and nearly all of the love out of it for me.

And now let me say out loud what I've been thinking all day: "For the love of God, people, let this thread die."  Sula's original comment was not particularly offensive and definitely had tongue in cheek, but some of the comments (both pro and anti snobbery) are getting awfully snarky.    "Different strokes for different folks" and all that.  Please, move along now.


Dragonbones's picture

Thanks for that info on gluten, proth5! (oops, double post)

xaipete's picture

What is important is properly developing gluten.

Well said. There are many ways to skin a cat!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 ...kitchens here in Taiwan are TINY

And that's why I love large plastic bowls and wok lids.   The point is do what works for you!  If you don't like one method, try another.  Flours can vary and people do to.  I think it's great that there isn't only one way to make good bread.   When you don't have much time and energy but you have to get some bread on the table, some kind of simple fast method can be a godsend.  It is also easy to teach if you're suddenly sick and can't get out of bed.

Using scales is like using a language.  It does help to have some form of language when making comparisons, transferring knowledge, recreating a recipe, or analyzing a problem.  My scales is no bigger than a paperback travel dictionary and it does make baking more convenient than guessing.  I do both, but my scales has taught me to be a good guesser.  Knowing how much flour I put into a loaf, makes it easier to purchase closer to the exact amount of ingredients I need.  Thus, I don't have to use too much space on food storage in a small kitchen.  That also means less waste. 


mrpeabody's picture

    I generally lurk and just drool over pictures by other posters.  However, I felt that I needed to offer some defense of the ABin5 methods.  I've been using this method for a while now because I want to make bread AND fit this into my very hectic life.  I just don't have the time to use more traditional techniques (although I do hope to eventually).  This technique fits me for now.

    I've adapted the technique to my favorite Russian Black Bread.  I love the Challah (though it probably isn't exactly kosher with the butter in it, it is very nice).  The brioche dough is very good in all sorts of applications, from sticky buns to other "pastries."  I've adapted the method to make chocolate babka (helpful for me during Christmas).

    Just my two cents but with respect to techniques on bread baking, I think that it's not either one or the other (no reason to take sides).  The ABin5 method is very convenient, makes perfectly acceptable homemade bread, and therefore encourages more bread baking.  All good features.  With a bit of knowledge as offered on this forum, you can adapt elements of the beginning ABin5 method to make a better product.  So, if you have a scale, weigh the ingredients.  Too yeasty, reduce the amount of yeast (I typically use half the amount recommended).  I take all of 30 seconds to give it a few folds in the bowl before putting the bread into the refrigerator.  All "tweaks" not in the the book.  So, this forum has been very helpful to me.

    I suppose my point is that you can create blended techniques that will work for you.  Once you understand the concepts, just adapt them to suit you.  Now I do acknowledge that there is probably a ceiling level of the ABin5 method for ultimate bready goodness and that going "fully artisanal" will ultimately create a better product (hopefully, someday I'll get to that stage, although that probably won't happen until my kids are much older).  When that day happens, I'll rely on the plethora of information from this website.

    For now, I can still make tasty bread for my family.


Mr. Peabody


arzajac's picture

It's funny that this method is being ridiculed because it isn't too far off from what the bread snobs do.


If you take this basic technique which already includes retardation/prefermentation, add the use weight measurement, add the use of stretch and fold, and a few instructions on shaping/preshaping and scoring, there wouldn't be anything left to laugh at.


There oughta be another book called Artisan Bread in seven minutes.

Floydm's picture

There oughta be another book called Artisan Bread in seven minutes.

I think the book you are looking for is coming out soon and will be called Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day.

Will we pronounce the abbreviation for it "Prabbed?"


SulaBlue's picture

Which is where we'll be while the bread is doing most of it's work!

suave's picture

Well, there still would be quite a bit of yeast wouldn't it?  What do they add in their original recipe, like 5% instant?

suave's picture

I dislike the book on principle because, despite all their statements to the contrary, I still believe they're ripping off Lahey, but let's give credit where it's due - their book got a lot of people baking and it is more than enough for most of them.  But most importantly they do an excellent job communicating with their readers - they correct mistakes, address concerns and go out of their way to make people satisfied with their product.  And that's more than I can say about many other authors.

Floydm's picture

despite all their statements to the contrary, I still believe they're ripping off Lahey

They tried to address this in the Q&A they did here a while back.  I suspect if you took a look at their book you'd be more inclined to believe them.  It is a pretty solid book, with a broad range of recipes, broader than I suspect they could have put together had it been a pure rip off.

There is no question they rode the wave of publicity that Lahey generated.  But, again, Peter Reinhart is about to try to do the same thing.  Should we boycott his new book because of that?  Not a chance that I'm going to miss it.


xaipete's picture

I own AB in 5 and have tried some of the recipes, e.g., the master French boule recipe in the beginning of the book. While that is not my favorite bread, I do feel it produces quite a decent loaf that is far superior to most store bought products. It is a great book for people that don't have a lot of time and/or those just beginning to bake artisan breads and get interested in the subject.

As a tester who has tested *every* recipe in PR's new book multiple times, I can say that Peter's book bears little similarity to AB in 5. Odd as it may seem, authors often don't have as much editorial control over titles as you may think.

But the main point here is that bread baking is not a stagnant science. New ideas/approaches/takes on the subject are always happening so why not ride a 'wave' that comes your way esp. if you have something interesting to add to the subject. That's the beauty of human creativity. Look at how many variations David has made on Hamelman's Vermont SD. I'm not a surfer but I'm sure every wave and the way each surfer rides it is somewhat unique. Thus it is with the science and art of bread making. Every baker who writes a book emphasizes different elements, has his or her own take on the subject. And, each reader of a book may be able to unlock new possibilities that the author didn't imagine and that is a wonderful thing.

As an aside, there are many similarities between Suas' and DiMuzios recent books but they are not the same by any means. I am glad I own both.


mrpeabody's picture

I think "ripping off" is a bit harsh.  The Lahey method uses a wee speck of yeast on long fermentation (> 18 hrs?), whereas the ABin5 method uses more yeast (yes, I hear the screams..."too much!"), followed by room temp rest (> 2hrs), then storing the dough in the refrigerators.

The Lahey method bakes in a closed vessel, whereas ABin5 method does so on oven stone with steaming (although I have tried it in a dutch oven like the Lahey method and it works well).

Similarities are certainly the no-kneading, which is only possible because of the high hydration of the doughs.

Regardless, both methods have revived bread baking for many previously intimidated newbie bakers (as well as possibly contributing to their expanding waistlines.  Atkins diet be damned!).  So, kudos to both.


Mr. Peabody

mrpeabody's picture

Can't we all just get along....

janij's picture

I have been following this just for a laugh.  I hear all sides of the opinion but agree.  Can't we just agree to disagree on this!!

Yerffej's picture

ANY homemade bread is light years better than wonder bread and its equivalents.  I looked at the book and it was not something for me but quite obviously it works for many people.  Great!


cake diva's picture
cake diva

Please don't diss Wonder Bread!  While I enjoy freshly-baked sourdough bread, I just cannot give up store-bought white bread.  The whiter, the better for me, because that would mean more pillow-soft goodness.  I can eat many many slices of white bread at a time with nothing on it if it was just bought from the grocery.  There is something to the soft creamy melt-in-your-mouth texture that speaks comfort to me.  White bread with creamy Jif peanut butter is my favorite comfort food at 1am.  Here in Cincy, I buy either Klosterman or Nickels. Yummm.

Proth5, you are so funny!  I can imagine you standing at the podium with the golden miche a la BBA.  I'm sure we all aspire to strike that pose.

jayc32's picture

Wonder bread is just gross

photojess's picture

as far as supporting the AB in 5!  I too work long hours, and it's nice not tying up a whole weekend or at least one whole day, with one recipe.  I'd love to, and during the winter it's usually possible, but not now.

This is an easy, quick and wonderful way of making good tasting bread.  My favs are the oatmeal and the rye.

I have copied many recipes here and saved them to the computer, so I have them for the future, but honestly, when I look at how long some of them take with the hours to rise, how many folds in another how many hours.....I just can't make it work in my schedule.

I'm thankful I have this book, and either Jeff or Zoe answer any questions in their blog comments section on their site.  Great customer service in my opinion!

Pain Partout's picture
Pain Partout

I think arzajac has been saying the right thing all along.  Why does baking bread have to sound sooo 'mystical'.  I wouldn't dump the salt right on top of the yeast,..but heck,..never tried it.  I use the retarded refer'd method anyhoo.  Let's just get more people to see how EASY it is, to eat something better than that crap in the average grocery store.  Make it easy to start, and get at least some sort of improvement over Wonder Bread. Not all of us have the free time to spend all day playing with dough.  I have trained a boatload of horses, and have given mannnnny riding lessons.  You won't get new people "into the sport", by making them jump 5 foot oxers on their first lesson.  Lighten up ...bread makers.

LindyD's picture

You know, if you think about it, the process of making bread is actually a bit magical.

Flour, water, yeast, and salt, are simple, everyday ingredients.  Quite nondescript when standing alone.  But when carefully mixed and manipulated, giving consideration to time and temperature, the result is a beautiful loaf of bread with an open crumb and wonderful layer of flavors.

For me, the magical part comes with the transformation of a heavy mass of freshly mixed ingredients to a dough which has life and lightness.   It’s a pleasure to hold and shape and I'm always a bit amazed at the process.

How we cook and bake is an individual choice and many times our methods are dependent on available time.

We can cook fresh asparagus in a microwave and it would taste good.  Fast, convenient, and minimal work.

We can also brush it with a mix of olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper, fire up the grill, and grill the asparagus.  It takes more time and planning,  but it will taste better and look nicer.

However you achieve it, baking at home with fresh ingredients is better than frozen, boxed, or bagged.  Just enjoy what you're doing and eating.


pelosofamily's picture

You have to admit ....the video got everyone's adrenaline going! We all know it's a personal experience once we discover the path to bread making.

I even learned not to shout anymore.

love this site.


TeaIV's picture

seems to me like a really bad marketing strategy to market something that's so basic, that anyone who knows anything about baking can tell you. i.e. mix flour, water, yeast, salt, let it rise, shape, proof, bake, duh.

5 minutes a day? yeah, right. that was more then 5 mintes.


the funniest thing is that he said you don't need to cut it in a magical, mystical way. wow.... so what's a diagnal score? voodoo-scoring?


I really hope their book isn't like this...

xaipete's picture

On throwing salt directly on top of the yeast: I used to cringe at doing that but no longer! I do it all the time now. I read an interesting comment about that somewhere but can't recall where now. It explained why that is kind of an old wives tale.


ein's picture

I'm not sure if this is the comment you are refering to xaipete but on page 60 of Michel Suas,  Advanced Bread and Pastry is written: " Despite the common belief that salt will kill the yeast, no change will happen in the dough or bread characteristics. The salt and the yeast are in contact in the dough for 4-6 hours after mixing, so if something negative were to happen, there would be plenty 0f time. "

I believe there is much of value in Mr. Suas book. I hope the inclusion of this quote may interest some folks to read it.

xaipete's picture

That was exactly what and where I read it! Thanks for the quote. I've gotten so many books lately and read so much I'm having trouble finding the "wheres" these days.


TeaIV's picture

I realize it doesn't matter, but I still don't like having the yeast and salt in contact until right before I mix everything. if it were bad for the yeast, you'd see bubbling or somet sign of them dying.

EvaB's picture

the sour dough bread you are so wild about, was a staple of the "sourdough" gold miner who roamed the west looking for gold in the 1800's he wasn't interested in hydration other than getting enough in the flour and starter, he didn't weigh things, since he was probably packing everything he owned on the back of a mule or donkey, He probably didn't have scales that would weigh more than a pound or so, and he just glopped the starter into the top of the flour sack and mixed until it felt right, let it raise in ambient temp and baked it in his gold pan over an open fire or in a dutch oven buried in coals.

My mother went out in the back yard, and brought in a twig of poplar (aspen) stirred her starter with it, and that was the best sour dough starter you ever tasted. we had pancakes, waffles and bread, and she didn't fuss with it, and feed it daily etc, she simply used it daily and when she did she put back what she had taken out. Simple fast and easy to do.

I can't see the snob appeal in slashing in such a way, yes it might get you points in a judged exhibition, but since my goal is to be able to bake a loaf of bread who cares if its fancy or not, its good food and that is the end goal of bread baking.

I will be the first to praise you for your lovely loaves, but am annoyed at the lack of good will towards people who have allowed many to become more interested in baking bread, and with a method that allows a busy mother or father to bake a fresh loaf or two after a long day at work, and not have to buy that cardboard stuff from the stores.

ronhol's picture

Let me first say thanks to all who post her and share their experience, strength and hope.

I would not even be here, or baking my own bread weekly, sometimes daily, were it not for ABI5.

It gave me the encouragement to start baking bread, and the varied results brought me here to refine and hone my skills, hopefully!

The first thing I am going to begin doing is to weigh my flour, and I have already reduced my yeast by 1/2 in a batch I mixed up last night, and it rose wonderfully.

I have also been experimenting with utilizing my left over dough as a kind of sourdough starter, but I don't have the time to begin a real sourdough process, yet. But I am looking forward to trying the Aspen (Poplar) twig technique!

I have found that with this method, I can consistently produce a better bread than I was buying from the store, even the in-store bakery breads, which have been my favorites.

My family and friends rave over my loaves, and it's so inexpensive, I can afford to be generous with my loaves, and eagerly give them away, to make room for the next experiment.

In short, I'm addicted to baking bread, and may even some day try some of the more traditional methods described in these blogs. But for now, I really don't have the time, patience or dedication to commit to those methods.

I'm excited to see Peter Rhineharts new book, and hopefully hone my skills further.

The biggest drawbacks I have seen so far are the dampness and denseness of the crumb.

Often, I find myself toasting my bread for this reason, so I am digging deeper and trying new techniques for this reason.

This morning I am munching on a piece of toasted Boule I let rise in the pan last night, then baked after the initial 90 minute counter rise. (my own innovation, and the results are quite good)

As I type, I have a loaf of cracked wheat in a loaf pan in the frig, slow rising, I will bake it either tonight, or tomorrow, and another loaf of boules in the oven, after slow rising in the loaf pan over night.

Below is a pic of that loaf, my adaptation of a HBI5 recipe, where I substituted a Thesco unbleached white (bought from local Amish) for the whole wheat and vwg, added some sugar, reduced the yeast by 1/2, and added some left over 'starter' from my last batch.

It's delicious, moist, but not damp, with a wonderful open crumb. I'm thrilled, it's everything I hoped for.


In short, I'm having a ball, experimenting, and enjoying wonderful tasting product daily.

A note about the authors, even if they did follow someones lead, aren't we all doing that to some degree or other?

What is really new? As some have pointed out, in the bigger picture, the knead methods were the 'new' way of speeding up the process of gluten forming back in the day, so this is actually a step back in time to the 'old' methods.

It appears to me that the strict weigh and measure technique is one way to insure consistent results for those of us who cannot recognize the proper hydration by the look and feel of the dough, and I intend to incorporate that discipline into my baking regimen.

In closing, I want to thank Floyd for hosting this site, and all who post here.

In regards to the original poster of this topic, I too sensed their self deprecating humor, and took no offense.

I especially appreciated the comments from the many who expressed a voice of reason, acceptance and support for a system that opened the doors for many of us new bakers.

alldogz's picture

I used to bake from the joy of cooking..and a menonite book...bread came out fine and it was in cups..not metric. But i stopped for about 20 years...and then i bought the Healthy bread in 5 and it got me started again...and then the book referenced this site and i got all excited i will not pooh pooh the book that got me back into baking and enjoying the forums...sure the bread is quick and uses a bit of yeast...i happen to like the multigrain bread (love it actually)..but i have enjoyed doing the sourdough (although i have to devote more time).  I am sure everyone has their favorites...but if that book just got me to look at baking again then kudo's to didn't terrify me like bakers percentages did when i first logged on here.  No "knead" for anyones knickers to twist here...baking is matter how you get back into it...and i kinda thought this forum was for positive re-enforcement...

i love this site and plan on staying here..however, i am here only because of the book i bought on a whim that got me started all over again

highmtnpam's picture

Pamela, Thanks so much for the heads up about his NKB book.  I'm not a fan of No Knead breads so assumed his book was the same. Now I will purchase as I am a fan.  Thanks again.  Pam

PS Cool Name  :)  PPS Sorry but I will join the bread-snob group.  Why would you publish a book like this when so many books now weight ingredients??

foodslut's picture

Had to jump in, even though the thread's a bit old.

While I enjoy the intricacies of baking bread using pre-ferments and a range of different flours, I was HUGELY intimidated before I started.  I was lucky to find a communty college night class that hit the right note for me and set me off exploring.  I've recommended ABin5 to a number of people who say, "oh, it's so complicated to bake bread, especially when you're busy".

Is a "fridge bread" baguette as good as a poolish baguette?  Not to me.

Is a "fridge bread" baguette better than most you'll get in big box stores?  Probably.

Is "fridge bread" better than "wonder-style" bread?  Many people who've tried both think so.

It's like using a bread-making machine - even if it's not everyone's "gold standard" of bread making, it's a step forward because you know exactly what goes into your bread.

Some people stop at this level of bread making, which still puts them ahead of those who rely on store-bought with the list o' ingredients you need a chemistry degree to read.  Others explore more and get more into it.  Either way, you're doing better than settling for whatever the big boxes sell.

BellesAZ's picture

I loved that video - it's not my favorite way of baking bread because for me, baking bread is more than just the end result - it's the journey.  But not everyone is like me, some people just want quick and easy - delicious bread.  They want to know what's going into their loaf, they want to say, "I made this for my family".

I toss salt in with my yeast all the time, big deal.  It works.  His slashing may not have been your style, but it certainly worked beautifully for that bread.  Nice job I'd say!  Angle-schmangle.. who cares, it works. 

And finally, obviously the scoop method isn't as big a failure as some might want to suggest here.  It obviously worked too.

I like that it has the so called "bread snobs" in an uproar.  Since when have our methods been the only methods and perfect breads?  Please, if I made the perfect bread, I'd stop baking. 

Enjoy bread making in any way you choose.. I'm going to buy a copy of this book for all my friends who have said, "Bread baking looks too hard!"  Well, it's not.  I might even buy a copy for myself too!

foodslut's picture

Forgot to mention above.....

I tried ABin5, and got OK bread from the method, but now, I've been saving the ABin5 "fridge dough" and using it as a pre-ferment (a 70 % hydration pate fermentee) for other breads I make (which are also, generally, 70% hydration as well).

Best o' both worlds!

freebread's picture

The biggest issue I have with this Book/Video is the use of the term "artisan".  This word gets thrown around so much with little thought about what it actually means.  We have all seen/tried the mass produced sub-par loaves packaged in bags that proclaim the breads "Artisaness".  But really what is it that makes some bread Artisan?  It seems the man in the video believes that docking the loaves imparts some "artiness" to the bread.  In France, I believe there are specific regulations that you have to adhere to to call your bread artisan.  Certainly I could paint a watercolor picture in 5 min but no self respecting painter would call it art.  Having baked bread for other commercial bakeries, and now my own I take some offense to what I consider the watering down or minimization of another true craft.  Maybe when these folks are pushing there wheelbarrows full of money to the bank they can stop by my place and pick up some real artisan bread.  I will not begrudge them for wanting to teach folks how to make there own food,  there is definite value in that,  but i'm not sure this is the main motivation$$$$$$$$$$$

And to the original question: Yes I cringed like someone was scraping silverware on a plate, especially when she called him brilliant. I wonder what Professor Calvel, or Lionel Poilane would have to say about it.