The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day... help.

teejtc's picture

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day... help.

I got the book last week and have made two batches of the master recipe. The flavor is good. The 1 pound loaves are nice. Good crust. But I have a couple of problems:

1) I get "bulges." I've tried giving it longer than the 40-minute "rising" (tried a full hour the other day). I've tried different depths and styles of scoring. The only thing I haven't tried is pre-heating the oven longer than recommended in hopes of killing the yeast sooner (does that make sense?) but I'm worried that that would cut down the oven spring so much that the bread wouldn't get fully baked in the middle (which leads to the second problem).

2) I can BARELY claim that the bread is fully baked. I've tried cutting into it warm (I know... "naughty, naughty...") and I've tried letting it cool for several hours. The crumb is OK but seems a little too dense.

I can deal with the 2nd issue (although it's a little annoying) but the first is frustrating. Is it possible that my dough isn't wet enough?


Any help would be well-received.


Grace and Peace,


nbicomputers's picture

A bread that breaks out could becaused by under proof or not enough steam in the oven which will cause the bread to break out on the sides called cripples.

don"t worry about the time the books say rising time is affected by many factors if your kitchen is cold or dry it could take longer of warn and humid much faster.

look at the bread to see if it has enough proof press a finger lightly on the surface if the fingerprint springs back it needs more if the fingerprint stays indented the bread is 3/4 proof if it falls back-- causes the bread to fall where you touched it it is full proff and thats to much

and make sure you are using enough steam using the method you like best i like to place an empty pan in the bottom of the oven and then i put the bread in the oven and emeditly throw a cup of cold water in to the empty pan and shut the door FAST

 Pro Baker for over 25 years-----Ret

bj's picture

i ese the NY times no need have never had a probem...........bill

bakerb's picture

Last week, I also made the master recipe, the bread tasted OK (not great), but the bread was way dense & proof was an hour after shaping, & my dough was room temp...
Thanks! Beth

mrpeabody's picture

My first attempts using this method produced bread with good flavor but a bit dense.  Since then, I learned three things that improved my results.

First, I overhandled the dough in shaping.  The authors have commented in their website that experienced bread bakers tend to handle the bread too much for their method (more so than novices).  Their "cloaking" step requires barely handling it to get the shape and more experienced bakers are used to handling the dough much more strongly (at least that was true of me).  So, very light handling is one key.

Second, I let the bread proof much longer than the recommended 40 min.  It does vary with kitchen temps and size of the bread (more than 1 lb means longer proofing times).  I ended up proofing it closer to 90 min (of course my kitchen is somewhat cool in the winter time, typically around 64=66 F).

Finally, my oven door doesn't seal real well.  Consequently, I was losing too much steam.  So, I found that if I mist the outside of the loaf before I put the bread in the oven AND I increase the amount of hot water into the cast iron pan to 1-1/2 cups, I got better oven spring.

Everybody's kitchen setup is different.  You may need to tweak things that fit your conditions better.  I have found that the essential method does make a very good tasting loaf of bread in my hands now.  Oh, and I do add a bit of rye flour in with the all purpose flour for a little better flavor.

Mr. Peabody

teejtc's picture

UPDATE:  I put up another batch yesterday and baked a loaf last night.  This time the dough turned out quite a bit wetter.  I still let it proof a little longer than the book calls for (30 minutes before preheating the oven for 20) but it turned out better.  I also poured an extra cup of water in the pan half way through baking for more steam.

That seems to have helped!  This loaf turned out perfect!

Now we'll see if I can repeat the results!

Thanks for the suggestions.


Grace and Peace,


wdlolies's picture

Hi Tim,

I've similar problems with my bread and I'm already using 70% liquid.  How are you getting on nowadays?  Are you making wetter dough?  What is your percentage of water to flour?  I would love to hear from you.

Kind Regards from Ireland.


KipperCat's picture

............"I can BARELY claim that the bread is fully baked."

This is a very high hydration dough. I would suggest checking the temperature of the bread before you decide it's fully baked. Try baking it to 212F, then adjust until you find the degree of doneness that you like.

EDITED to add - I see that you had great luck with you 2nd attempt.  Congratulations!