Friday, January 15, 2010

Healthy Bread in Five Master Dough

Here is my first post for the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day Bakealong:

This is my second try at the master recipe in HB in 5. I made a bucketful immediately upon receiving the book, and set about playing with some of the more visually appealing breads in the book.

First up was an epi. It came out pretty enough, but the “ears” were dry and chewy. Not very good.

Then I tried some baguettes. Dry and chewy again. I made skinnier baguettes and tried placing big garlic cloves along their lengths. The garlics popped out and the bread was again dry and chewy.

Blech. Maybe I don’t like this healthy dough.

There was still enough left for a . . . something. I decided to try the “Moon and Stars” bread because it was kind of cute. I made it and left it on the counter, not having much hope that it would be the tasty bread our family enjoys.

My husband decided to serve it with dinner. He warmed the bread and cut it into oval shaped slices served with butter along with our winter soup. The teenager (my biggest critic) said “Where did you get this bread? This is really good bread!” Usually she complains that my “Five Minute” breads are too yeasty, and moans that I force homemade bread on her when everyone else has storebought.

So, lesson learned was that the HB master recipe is best in “fat” breads that have a lower ratio of crust to bread.

Here’s my “Moon and Stars” bread for the first official round of the bakealong. I didn’t do such a great job with shaping. Instead of a curved crescent, it’s more like a half circle. And the decorative side cuts close themselves up during the oven spring. This bread was given an egg wash and sprinkled with poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

Oh my! What oven spring!!!! I made this bread in my clay baker. I preheat the lid in the oven, but let the cold dough sit in the bottom on the counter to “rest” before baking. In this case the dough sat on the counter about 1 hour and 45 minutes before baking. When it’s time to bake, I cover the dough with the hot clay baker lid and bake for 17 minutes. Then I remove the lid and bake 17 more minutes. The crust was crisp and crackly. It was literally singing—loudly—when I took it from the oven. I’ve never experienced a “singing” crust using an egg wash before.

 Here’s the crumb shot I manage to take before the bread was devoured. My little one said “this bread tastes too good to be healthy.” The teenager liked it UNTIL she learned that it was that five minute bread again, and then she back pedaled and said that it tasted good only with butter, but she wouldn’t let butter past her ballerina lips. She must have hated it, she left two whole bites of crust from a generous piece on her plate. ;o)

This was good bread, folks!

Now, a couple of other confessions:

1) It’s made with bleached flour. Other HB bakers know why, but I’m not going to embarrass myself to the whole world here on my very own blog. The bleached flour did not seem to hurt this bread—if anything it has a more tender crumb than my first batch.

2)I made up the dough and forgot about it. Went to bed, and it never got in the fridge until the next morning. Didn’t seem to hurt anything—in fact the dough tripled in volume—and maybe that longer rise helped the texture as well.

Here’s the dough when I first mixed it up:

Here’s the dough after about 1 hour:

Here’s the dough the next morning after sitting out all night

Still, you won’t see me making epis or baguettes with this dough. I’ll save that for the white breads from now on. But I do like it for “fat” (in shape, not ingredients) breads.


  1. WOW...the Moon and Stars has such gorgeous color...just perfect!

    My experience with Bleached v. Unbleached is that the bleached flour has finer crumb. I've left my bread out overnight and it never seemed to hurt the baking process at all.

    I bake my bread in a clay pot too! I'm going to try the 17 min with hot lid and 17 min with lid off technique. I want to hear the singing!

  2. What a GREAT JOB.........much better than my first your bread so pretty!!! Thanks for sharing.

  3. It's big and beautiful. Love the clay baker idea. Funny about the flour comment. I know why! LOL

  4. Thanks for the compliments! ;o)

    Michelle--the interesting thing is that the crumb was quite open in this bread but nicely tender, especially considering the fact that there was some WWW in the mix. I was pleasantly surprised.

    Your mileage may vary regarding time in the oven--35 minutes total seems about right for baking this size loaf in the clay baker, and I just divide the estimated baking time in half to determine when to remove the lid.

  5. haha...don't you just love "tricking" the picky eater? Your bread looks fantastic

  6. I love, love, love your moon and stars bread. I have really wanted to try that one and now I will. I'm so happy to hear you liked it. I agree that some of the other breads have been dry and hard. I'm crossing my fingers that they get softer and chewier.

  7. Thanks for all the nice comments! This is fun ;o)