The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

That 5 minutes a day book....

hutchndi's picture

That 5 minutes a day book....

 That "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" book and accompaning internet videos and such that are so popular right now, I have not read it yet but have some questions to those who have. From the videos by the authors I have watched,  and having  read what few excerpts I have been able to gleen from google, it kind of doesn't seem that this is any kind of "Artisan" bread book at all, more like some kind of introduction to a casual sort of everyday bread baking to people that normally would pick up a loaf at the store.  Not that there is anything at all wrong with that of course,  but am I getting the wrong impression of this book in thinking the word "artisan", which for all I know may not have a good real definition anyway, may not really describe the methods of this book very well? I'm not trying to start a rant or anything here, I was just wondering if it would be worth picking up a copy.

Russ from RI

LindyD's picture

According to,  the word "artisan" means:  

craftsman: a skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft 

Thus, there really isn't any "artisan" bread per se, only artisan bakers.

Of course, that doesn't answer your question about the book.  ABIF is for those who don't have the time (or inclination) to fool around in the kitchen mixing, fermenting, shaping, baking dough.   It takes more than five minutes, BTW.  You essentially mix the ingredients, toss the dough in a container and stick it in the fridge.  When you want bread, you cut off a hunk of dough, do some shaping and rising, and bake.  The book was gifted to me a couple years ago, and I've tried the recipes.  They work and the bread is better than the chemical fluff sold in the markets.

Jim Lahey's "no-knead" bread was the first to introduce the concept.  ABIF followed, then a few more, and most recently, Peter Reinhart published a book using a similar concept.

You can read an interview at TFL that Floyd conducted with Zoe and Jeff.  I think it is found under the "book reviews" tab.  You can also visit their website at :

I believe that some TFL members use this method exclusively and are quite happy with the product - which is all that counts in the end.

BettyR's picture

What exactly do you mean by artisan bread? Does it have to be a special type of bread to be considered artisan? I'm afraid I wouldn't know an "artisan" bread if it snuck up and bit me in the rear but I have used this 5 minute a day recipe on and off for a couple of years and have really enjoyed it. I grew up on a farm eating homemade bread every day and learned to make bread as a child at my Grandmother's knee. What we have been making most of our lives is just a simple white bread baked in round loaves in a cast iron skillet.


I still live on a farm and still make all my own bread, but a few years ago I was introduced to the internet by my children and I learned there is a whole world of bread out there that I never even knew existed and I have enjoyed playing with it while my family has indulged me my fun. I have all kinds of nifty little toys that I've bought off the net and special ingredients that I'm learning to use. So what do you have to do to make artisan bread how is it any different than the 5 minute bread?







hutchndi's picture

I have no idea what it means by definition other than what LindyD found. I kind of think it would be a bread someone put alot of thought and care into, so it wouldn't necessarily depend on a particular method or finished appearance, but it would be of some quality above that of a bread created by means of an everyday chore, even if the special methods of bringing it to the table were not obvious and only known to the baker. Having a large supply of  dough sitting in the fridge and pulling out a chunk for whatever is on the menu tonight just doesn't seem to fit what I would think of as "artisan".

Janknitz's picture

I agree, the term "artisan bread" conjures up hand made, beautiful and special loaves lovingly crafted by a master baker who will bake no bread before its time.  But it's really nothing more than a term of art.  You can walk into any grocery store with a bakery section and buy their "artisan style" loaves mass produced, frozen, and shipped to the retail stores for baking and to be sold as fresh bread. 

The term artisan has come to be associated with a particular type of bread--a tasty, free form loaf with lovely crumb and a crisp, crackly crust--exactly what you can produce with very little effort using AB in 5 methods.  But who would buy a book called "crispy free form loaves in 5 minutes a day"? 

Try the master recipe and judge for yourself--it's posted free on the web all over the place.  If you like it, buy the book.  If it's not to your taste, you're out nothing. 

The books have many recipes for many different kinds of dough, and permutations of what you can make from the dough are endless.  Their method is quick, stores well, so if you are tight on time, you can make things with very little hands on time.  That's all it really is.  It does not reach the pinnacles of lofty baking greatness that some people aspire to, but it's a fun, easy practical method for people who don't have 24/7 to devote to their bread. 

To me, it's wonderful, fits great in my hectic schedule and we get lots of good (MUCH better than store bought!) bread.  I still do the traditional knead and wait type breads on weekends when I can and enjoy that too--sometimes those don't turn out half as well as my five minute breads.   

AW's picture

of this book, though many people are. I tried using the first book several times with very limited success (I never got a good oven spring). It is well written but gimmicky. The authors are basically making sourdough and using it daily as is the best practice for sourdough. There are much better authors out there. Jeff Hamelman is my favorite. See other threads on this site.

hutchndi's picture

There has been a well used copy of Jeff Hamelman's BREAD in my kitchen for the last few years getting very dog-eared, so I share your enthusiasm. I also have a personal preference for leavening my bread with nothing but sourdough culture for the last six years , so I found this webpage interesting because it made no sense.....

That link is to what I think is a recipe from this 5 minute book, please correct me if it is not. The recipe uses only commercial yeast that I can see, but then says not to clean the bowl when you run out of dough, because the dough scraps will keep the sourdough going. What sourdough? Does he mean pate fermente or biga?


ericb's picture


Funny you should post this now, because I just pulled my first 5-Minute loaf from the oven tonight. I used the copy of the recipe at, because they have weight measurements.

The loaf turned out OK. It's not my greatest, but for the effort that went into it, I might stick with this method. Artisan? Maybe. I tend to agree with Janknits (above) about what defines artisan bread.

For the last year, I have been baking almost exclusively from Hamelman's book. Prior to that, it was Reinhart, and before that, Dan Leader. I'm big into sourdough, whole wheat, rye, and all the things that make an exceptional loaf of bread that are otherwise only available at bakeries.

Things have gotten busy, though. My wife and I decided to go car-free, so we bike and bus everywhere. We somehow continue to get involved in various committees and community organizations, despite our best intentions. I'm taking up beekeeping this spring, and of course there's the garden, home repairs, and I have to keep up with piano, not to mention work...

In other words, I turned to the 5-minute method because I'm starting to run low on energy and time. I will still bake a more complex loaf occasionally, but perhaps only once every couple of weeks, or for special occasions. As a daily bread, the 5-Minute method seems more than adequate.

More information than you asked for, eh?


hutchndi's picture

Are you sure you can spare 5 minutes a day? Maybe they need to write a 5 seconds a day book for you ;)

That would give me enough time to work out the recipe for my idea for extremely high hydration bread dough. Just water and a little salt, not flour at all. I just need to figure out how to keep my sourdough critters alive.....

now that would take an artisan

MichaelH's picture

Maybe some folks would look at this question differently than I.

Seems to me that if I enjoy making a loaf, and I enjoy eating that loaf, then it matters not how long it took or from what book the recipe came.

It's home made bread.



ericb's picture

5 seconds might be a *little* extreme! :) 

Of course, my definition of "busy" would be considered "leisurely" by most people, especially those with children!

Janknitz's picture

I can bake bread like this and work for a living, too! 

It took me literally five minutes to make up a batch of dough for this.  A few days later, 2 or 3 more minutes to shape the loaf, give it an egg wash and sprinkle some seeds.  Oh, and toss it in the oven.

Baked in my clay baker--the crust was singing when I took it from the oven. 

My nine year old said "this is too good to be healthy". 

Home made bread ;o)

BettyR's picture

Now that is a thing of beauty... yep that's what the 5 mintue bread looks like.


If you can do that in 5 minutes and make something that good why would you not want to?

rockfish42's picture

I'm not really sure what the point is, the amount of active time for making something more complex is maybe a half hour? I just have to schedule around the waiting periods really.

Nim's picture

I too love the 5 min concept and gifted the book to myself this holiday season but I think that their yeast amount is way too high. Is there a way to replicate the method but use sourdough starter instead? If anybody has tried that, I would love some tips.



Janknitz's picture

The authors explain how to use your sourdough starter with the method here.

AND, you can use as little yeast as you care to--sourdough or not, as long as you adjust the counter rising time to compensate.  Remember, the original recipe is using the equivalent of two packets of yeast to make enough dough for FOUR 1 lb. loaves.  So it's not really that outrageous of an amount.  The authors say that they use that much yeast because the whole premise was speed.  If you want to use less yeast, by all means do, just remember to give the newly mixed dough more time on the counter before refrigerating.   

As for Rock, that IS the point.  I don't have to work my schedule around bread.  My bread works around my schedule. 

Nim's picture


Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Hi, I'm not sure how this method could be adapted to sourdough, since the whole idea of slow development and rise is missing.  I agree with the person who said there was way too much yeast involved with the 5 minute a day method.  I sometimes will use this recipe for pizza dough in a pinch (cutting down on the yeast) and I've gotten decent results.  But for my taste, the loaves, though pretty, don't have the depth of flavor that a well-developed sourdough has.

SallyBR's picture

but wanted to say that Barbara said exactly what I feel.

all loaves I made using the 5 min AB did not have depth of flavor - I cannot quite describe it, but I can 'taste" it in a "regular" bread


I think it is a good book to turn non-bakers into bakers - but the moment you get serious about bread baking, you will opt for other sources of info.


(I also have a problem with calling "artisan", but....  maybe I'm too difficult... :-)

verminiusrex's picture

I got the book and tried the recipes, I find that it makes a glutenous, shiny interior that I personally don't favor but my wife likes.  It doesn't fit into my personal style of bread making, but for someone without a mixer this is a good option (much like the no knead bread) since it is more like mixing biscuit dough with a spoon than hand kneading, which I personally don't enjoy (God bless my spiral dough hook).  

So although I think it's an interesting technique, you can try it out for free with the video demos and recipes on the website. The book goes into details and has variations on the recipes, which is worth it if you like the methodology.  

Renee72's picture

I like the five minute a day concept, but I don't use commercial yeast.  I use only my sourdough starter, and it is some of the best bread I've baked!  I admit that I will usually do more than just mix the ingrediants and stick them in the fridge after the two hour bulk rise.  I will usually do a couple of sloppy stretch & folds, and leave it out for about three hours.  After that I pop it in the fridge.  When I go to shape, I let it rise at room temp for about an hour & a half (my kitchen tends to be cold.), then slash & bake.  The longest I've left my batch of dough in the fridge was 9days, and with sourdough, that was probably a bit long.  The flavor was awesome, but the oven spring was so-so.  I usually bake my whole double batch within about 6 days, so I don't normally have trouble with my oven spring. 

I'm a busy lady, so this slightly changed method works well for me.  (Especially since I bake for a couple other familys, also.)  This method gives me bread that is way more healthy, flavorful, and beautiful than a typical grocery store bread.


tikidoc's picture

I use this as my "backup bread".  I like to make more complex breads when I have the time but I have a full time job and a family, so I often don't have the time.  I keep some of this dough in the extra fridge.  When I want a loaf it is there.  It also makes a decent pizza crust for thin crust (you have to use a fair amount of bench flour to be able to work it), so it is any easy dinner when I am short on time.  I basically use this dough in addition to making more involved breads, and as a substitute for store bought bread.

Franchiello's picture

I'm convinced the term "artisan bread" is a clever marketing term to distinguish crusty free form loaves from the mass produced cottony loaves found in the supermarkets - you can charge higher prices for something that connotates hand made and special.  I suppose there are "bread snobs" out there just like there are "wine snobs".  I just like tasty, chewy warm bread!!

BellesAZ's picture

I just downloaded this book on my Kindle app in my iPad (I keep mine in the kitchen and use it as an electronic cookbook) and btw, I've baked breads all my life.. both hand kneading, mixing with a mixer, slap and fold.. etc. 

I'm not quibbling over what is considered artisan, I just want it to taste good.  I bought this book because there are no rules to baking bread and there are a million ways to do it that appeals to everyone.  There are times when I want a quick, delicous bread.. there are times when I need to destress and I feel like kneading or feeling a bit creative. 

I think this book is wonderful in that it demystifies the art of bread baking for so many people who may not ever take a risk and try it.  Once they do, their curiousity may be sparked to try other methods.  A woman in my cooperative began bread baking by starting out buying Rhodes frozen bread dough!  She was so proud that she was "baking homemade bread" and I thought it was wonderful.  For her birthday she received the ABIFMAD book and really loved it.  She has since attempted Richard Bertinet's slap and fold method and made sticky buns after she tasted mine.

All I can say is no one should look down their noses at this book, it's methodology or its lessons.  I think it's wonderful that at least bread baking has reached more people... and most importantly, bread machines are collecting dust because there is a whole new world out there.

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

I read this thread with a interest and I concur with a majority of you that this is not a great bread. (I am late to this discussion having taken the book out of the library last month.)

In its defense I will say that it is good bread to start  if you are new to baking bread.  It is ok but I personally did not like the spent yeast flavor the bread had after a 3 day dough fermentation in the fridge.

I prefer the Jim Lahey method which I use.