Five Minute Bread

Terry asked me about the five-minute no-knead bread in the comments, and I promised to post the recipe.

Before trying this one, I’d seen a bunch of recipes floating around, but I finally decided to try it when reading about the basic recipe and variations at Mother Earth News.

The creators of this recipe have their own website where they offer variations, answer questions, etc. It’s worth checking out, along with their books.

All of that said, the first several times I made this bread, it didn’t really turn out as well. I kept at it and am fairly happy with how it works out for me now. Hopefully these pictures will give you an idea of what you’re looking for.

The basic recipe is:
3 C warm water
1 1/2 T granulated yeast
1 1/2 T kosher or sea salt (not table salt!)
6 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose white flour

You’ll also need a large lidded container.

Put three cups of warm water in the lidded container. Use water a little warmer than body temperature. Add your yeast and salt. I used active dry yeast and like the results.

If you only have table salt, you will need to use quite a bit less. I’d start with 3/4 tablespoon or 1 tablespoon and see how that tastes.

You’ll notice my container had bits of old dough on it. That’s because when you’re done with all the dough from one batch, you can just scrap down the sides and immediately make a new batch of dough. The old bits help get the sourdough taste, and hey, it’s one last dish to clean.

Add 6 1/2 cups of unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour. Measure by scooping and leveling. Yes, this goes against everything my seventh grade home ec teacher taught me. But it works and is what you need to do for this recipe.

Mix together. I use a Danish dough whisk, which I thought was a cluttery kitchen gadget, but it really does work very well and it cleans up easily.

The dough should be “shaggy.” You might need to add more flour or more water to get the right texture. With King Arthur flour, I find I need to add about a quarter cup more water. According to the authors’ website, if you only have access to bleached all-purpose flour, you’ll need a little less water than it calls for. Adjust as needed.

Mix it quickly, just incorporate everything, and leave it. My dough always looks like this.

Put the lid on, but don’t make it airtight! Leave it at room temp for 2-5 hours until it inflates and starts to collapse.

It should look like this.

Now, stick the dough in the fridge! The dough will be much easier to handle if it’s in the fridge for a few hours first. I still leave the lid snapped on only two sides.

The dough will keep in the fridge for about two weeks, but the longer it keeps, the less rise it will have and the better it is for flatbreads and pizzas.

When you want dough, you cut off one pound, which is supposed to be about 1/4 of the whole batch. I personally prefer to cut the dough into thirds.

The dough in this photo is pretty old. I’d baked a batch of a dozen rolls and the stromboli from the other two-thirds of the dough.

Flour your hands and the dough and quickly form it into a ball. I still don’t quite have this step down, but I get better each time. You’re supposed to “cloak” the bread and form a ball by stretching the dough around to meet at the bottom. I find it easier to pull it up into a ball, when the ends on top.

I probably used a smidge too much flour to cover this loaf.

Put chunk of dough on a cornmeal covered pizza peel and let rest for 40 minutes. I have found that longer rise time works, too.

Preheat oven to 450 F. At this point, you’re supposed to have an oven proof dish in the oven along with a pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can bake the bread on a cookie sheet, although the crust won’t be as nice.

When you’re ready to bake the bread, dust a little more flour on it (to prevent the knife from sticking), and slash the top of the bread. Open the oven, slide the bread onto the stone, and immediately add a cup or so of hot water to the baking dish. You quickly close the oven and it makes the crust rustic. However, I didn’t bother with it for this loaf, and it was fine.

Bake at 450 for about 30 minutes, until crust is brown and firm. Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!