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Anyone Try 5-Minutes a Day Bread

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

Has anyone ever tried the type of Five-Minutes-A-Day bread recipe as described in the December issue of Mother Earth News? It seems like an interesting concept, although I still don't know when the bread will rise. Maybe while baking?

I'm going to give this a try this weekend and see what happens.


Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

I agree it sounds good. I may try it too. On the front page they mention 20 min. and on the second page 30 min. rise time. Farther on, it says it rises some more in the oven.

This is at odds with my experience. I admit to being a novice and use a machine on the dough cycle. I don't use a lot so I put the extra dough in small loaf pans and freeze them. This gets good results for me but my dough won't rise until it is warmed up like every other recipe calls for. I let mine double before baking and it never rises any more in the oven. I use bread flour and extra gluten because I like it chewy. I think I'll try my dough in the fridge next time because the article makes a good case for it.

Clarkson, KY

It looks to me like a french bread whose dough gets refrigerated after the second rising. Let it go just enough to activate the yeastie-beasties then stick it in the fridge to continue the process slowly...I think with the 20 minute rise and then slap into the oven it would probably have enough time overall. Sounds yummy actually, if you've got room to keep that much dough in the fridge...

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I think the basic premise is that for a busy cook, the bread-making can be done in manageable (daily?) steps to still make a good bread. I have the book on order, should be here maybe today. The reviews on Amazon are pretty good.

Glendale/Parks, AZ

The same article that was in MEN appeared in our local newspaper this past summer. I made the bread; it was easy and great.

Clay Center, KS(Zone 5b)

Thinking of trying it. We make cinnamon "sticky" roll from a refrigerated dough. Don't know why this wouldn't be good.

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

Seems like a waste of energy to bake just one loaf at a time. Why not do 4 at a time and freeze the rest?

Litchfield, ME(Zone 5a)

Does anyone have the actual recipe for this?

Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

arejay, if you follow the link above and keep going to the next page you'll find the recipe. I did the same thing at first. I think its on the 3rd page.

Viola, sounds like that would work too. I think the idea is to have fresh baked bread daily...what a happy thought!

I'm anxious to try this recipe!

Litchfield, ME(Zone 5a)

Thank You. I read Mother Earth News all the time and saw the bread story. I guess I was looking for immediate gratification I only got to page two then thught gee where the heck is the recipe!! Patience is a virtue did they say?

Lawrenceville, GA(Zone 7b)

I've been making this bread for several weeks now. VERY easy!

The only problem I've run into is that apparently the recipe calls for the dough to stay moist while it's in the fridge. My experience has been that it does form a slight crust on it. I am going to try misting it to see if that helps



Mother Earth has a good bread as they presented it. Again.....each bake is a new experience and your experience becomes your loaf. I rarely try new processes. It took me at least a half dozen bakes to have a decent loaf as the result. I am into pre-ferment or sour dough baking.

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

I've never made this Try 5-Minutes a Day Bread. My current favorite bread uses a starter:

Country Style French Bread

For the Sponge Starter: (Begin 2 to 16 hours ahead)
1 cup cool-lukewarm water, preferably spring water (90 to 100°F)
1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour)

For the Dough:
All of the sponge starter (above)
1 cup lukewarm water, preferably spring water (l00 to 115°F)
3/4 teaspoon active dry or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 3/4 to 4 cups unbleached Special Bread Flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt

To Make The Sponge:
Stir all of the sponge ingredients together to make a thick, pudding-like mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on a counter overnight or for at least 2 to 4 hours, preferably overnight (anywhere between 2 and 16 hours is fine, the longer the better).

To Make The Dough:
Stir down the sponge with a spoon and add the water, yeast, sugar, most of the flour (hold back about 1/2 cup to use if required), and salt. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, to make a soft dough, 10 to 12 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or plastic container, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and a damp towel, and let it rise until almost doubled (depending on the weather, this could be l to 2 hours). After its first rise, deflate the dough gently, but don't knock out all the air; this will create those "holes" so important to French bread. Form the dough into a round ball. Place two cookie sheets atop one another, and place a semolina- or cornmeal-dusted piece of parchment paper on top. Gently place the ball of dough on the cookie sheets, seam-side down. Cover it lightly with a tea towel, and let it rise the second time until it's puffy and about 40% to 50% larger, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes (depending on the weather, luck, and magic). Slash or cross-hatch the bread with a sharp knife or lame. Dust it with a little flour.

Preheat the oven to 475°F/245°C. Slash the bread, spritz water into the oven with a clean plant mister, and place the bread in the oven. Reduce the heat to 425°F/220°C and spritz with water every few minutes for the first 15 minutes of baking. Bake the bread for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until it tests done.

Makes 1 large round loaf or two medium size loaves, 10 to 12 servings.


I like the above process except that I use an iron pan with a cup of water boiling to introduce the baking moisture and maintain high baking humidity. The spritz is a roller coaster ride with humidity. It may be a specific process to this dough but I doubt that. I've done my dough both ways and like the consistant humidity approach best. Because I use whole wheat mixes I butter top the last ten minutes of the bake for a nicer browning and crusting factor. Presently I am changing from butter to Smart Choice.....back and forth. I see little difference in taste or crust condition while both help the loaf to brown more evenly. I foil cover the loaf for the first twenty minutes. I do like the result of covering. Think it may be the entrapment of the steam that makes a nicer finish to my eyes.

I have baked uncovered. That's overall OK too but the browning is less effective and not as evenly browned all over even when using the butter topping for the last ten minutes more or less.


I am about to move into whole wheat raisin bread for the weekend breakfast treat. This baking with me is fitting the saying.....the shoemakers shoes come last. While having an extensive bakery association and employment I somehow never had a desire to come home and do it again. LOL My mindset is however to produce gormet breads in the high quality arena. Hopefully I will have time now to migrate into some other bread product creations and presentations. As per my MO I will read up first and then see how badly I can flour the kitchen floor in process as we develop something new. LOL

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

Thanks for the suggestion about using an iron pan with boiling water. I'll try that next time. The other change I've made is to use honey instead of sugar. I think the honey helps in keeping the bread fresher, plus I prefer this taste.

And isn't it amazing how much flour gets all over everything. I mean, the flour supposed to go into the bowl or on the board. How did it get on the floor, on the dog, in my hair?



Memory and my experience suggest a warning here..........Note: The pan handle gets just as hot as the pan. :) Mercy please remember this.

Lawrenceville, GA(Zone 7b)


And it doesn't glow or anything....Just sits there tempting you to pick it up...without the potholder!


waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

I just had my second failure with the 5 minutes a day dough. First of all, 40 minutes out of the frig isn't nearly long enough to get the chill off the dough, secondly, it doesn't rise much more if at all in the oven, and thirdly (is that a word?) I've been baking bread for over 50 years and this recipe along with the two miserable doughy loaves I got out of it are going in the trash. He did say he was a scientist, not a chef. The second loaf I let rise outside of the frig for longer until it resembled a boule, as it should look, but when it was finished baking the interior was still a heavy doughy mass. Yuck. I better stick with my tried and true old faithful recipes.

Carson City, NV(Zone 6b)

I'm not sure how that phenomenon works Jo-ann. When I make a loaf of bread there's a little flour on the mixer. When my DH makes bread there is flour on everyting within a five foot radius of the mixer. Sometimes it looks like the mixer was full of flour and just exploded all over the room. At least he cleans up after himself, even if it takes a day or two.

Meezers, did you use a baking stone? We have a large one that we preheat for about 20 minutes before baking on it. I love baking bread in the winter because it warms up the kitchen so well. We've been making baugettes today and those are refrigerated before baking. With the intense heat of the stone they come out just right.

The author recommends using a peel but we have found that parchement paper is much easier to use and doesn't deform the loaf as much when transferring to the oven. You can also rotate the loaf halfway through baking if your oven is uneven like ours. If you buy the right stuff you can use it a couple of times before it's too brittle to hold the dough.

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Yes, I used a baking stone. Didn't think of using parchment, although I use it a lot for other baked goods. Bahh, I'm giving up on this recipe. I have a refrigerator sweet dough that you can take off bits of every day for rolls and such, and I think I'll stick with that one. My DH is crazy about that recipe, so it's definitely a win-win.

Litchfield, ME(Zone 5a)

meezersfive are you sharing the recipe for the sweetdough. Daily sweet rolls now your talking.


This month's magazine just came to my house. Two highly positive responses to this recipe in the magazine. I'm told by others the Blog is mostly positive too. I may whip up a batch tomorrow. The owners of our local franchise...Now We're Cooking... have had two customer reports that are highly favorable.

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

This is a pretty basic sweet dough from,184,145182-248202,00.html
I have another recipe from a friend but it takes way more shortening, and I like using less.

Litchfield, ME(Zone 5a)

This is the one you use? Thank You. I use all the time.

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Easy and rises beautifully. Makes a great loaf for french toast.

Poquoson, VA(Zone 8a)

I have been using the 5 minutes a day recipe for several months. It works pretty well for me, even with spelt flour. (I did have to make a few adjustments for the spelt flour). I use it mostly for fresh pita, which we love. The best part about it is that the longer it's in the fridge, the more "sourdough-y" it becomes. I come home from work, get dinner going, preheat the oven to "hotter than blue hades", pull out a little piece of the dough, flatten it, and pop it in the oven. Five minutes later, I have a puffy loaf of pita that's just big enough for the two of us. I bought the book, and have tried the boule, the baguette, and a pizza. The pizza was delicious, and I think I'll try that again. I used fresh tomatoes, spinach, fresh mozzarella, sliced garlic and sweet Italian turkey sausage. I also tried an asiago cheese swirl bread. That didn't turn out so well, but I think it was because the dough was near the end of its useful life. I will try again with newly made dough.

Tallahassee, FL

A Mother Earth News article of several years ago helped me improve my bread baking. This is what I do now. I start with a sponge made by whisking together about 2 cups of bread flour, one Tbl. of instant yeast, and 2 cups of water at 110 degrees. Cover bowl with a towel until sponge is puffy with lots of bubbles. Mix in 2 tsp. salt, half cup of whole wheat flour and half cup of rye flour. Add regular bread flour a little at a time. I use a nylon pan scrapper to work the "shaggy mass" into a ball. I don't measure the flour. The object is to add only enough flour to form the dough into a smooth ball of even consistency. When you have just enough flour added, you should be able to pick up the dough and knead it without too much stickiness. Use some vegetable oil to help with this. You are done kneading when you have a nice smooth supple ball with the same consistency throughout. Oil lightly and put it in a two gallon ziplock bag. Leave it on the counter for two hours, then if you are not ready to bake, put it in the fridge. When you are ready to bake, dump it out on the counter and gingerly shape it to a round or oblong loaf. Place it on a piece of parchment paper and cover with a mixing bowl, or oiled plastic wrap. Let it rise near the oven which is preheating to 450, with stone on bottom rack. (If the dough was in the fridge it may need an hour or more to double, so consider that time to avoid having oven on too long.) When dough has doubled: brush with a beaten egg white, slash with a sharp knife and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Use a piel to slide parchment and dough on to the hot stone. As soon as the bread is in, dump a cup of hot water on the floor of the oven and quickly close the door. Be careful not to be burned by the resulting cloud of steam, and be careful not to throw the water on the oven light bulb. Once I did that and had the lightbulb explode all over a large pizza. It takes about 25-30 minutes to bake. The crust on this type of bread is delicious.

This message was edited Feb 13, 2009 9:52 AM

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I have been using the Five Minutes a Day Artisan Bread recipes since I saw them in MEN. I got the book from Amazon and haven't bought store bread since then. We've made the basic recipe, whole wheat sandwich bread, 100% whole wheat bread, and semolina. We love it all. For the whole grain breads I do add some vital wheat gluten to lighten the dough, but I've also found that for a decent-sized bread slice I need to use more like 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. of the dough per loaf.

The technique takes some practice, but there are videos that show the process:

Here's a video that shows the process:

There are also some corrections for those recipes on the authors' website - here are a few:

1/28 - Throughout the book we tell you to let the 1 pound loaf of non-enriched doughs rest on the peel for 40 minutes. We have found that this needs to be a range closer to 40 minutes- 1 1/2 hours. The reasons are some kitchens are cooler than others and some people have a firmer hand while working and may compress the air out of the dough, both resulting in a denser crumb. If you allow the dough to rise until it is slightly wobbly it will bake up with a very nice crumb. You can bake it at 40 minutes but the crumb may be denser.
Throughout the book we call for “1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast (1 1/2 packets).” It should read “1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast (2 packets).”
Page 8 (Bread Flour): Last sentence should read “…has a protein content of 11.7%…” not 12 to 13 % as currently written.
Page 10 (Sidebar, “Modern Yeast”): The third sentence should read: “But it’s probably a good idea to add the yeast to the water as the very first added ingredient.”
Page 19 (”Increase resting and baking time if any of the following apply”): Remove “wetter dough” from the list; wetter dough requires less resting time.
Page 26 (Master Recipe): “Cornmeal for the pizza peel” is left off ingredients list
Page 29 (Master Recipe): In step Step 7, it should read: “Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450ºF, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack” (not the lowest rack).
Page 46 (European Peasant Bread): Ingredients list should specify 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
Page 67 (Pumpernickel bread): Sidebar, last sentence: Adjust flours to end up with dough of your usual consistency

And depending on what brand of flour you use, here's some information about protein and adjustments to the recipes:

We wrote the recipes with average all-purpose flour in mind (such as, Gold Medal and Pillsbury) which has a protein content of about 9.8-10.5%.

The following flours have a greater protein content and will require you to add more water to your dough:

King Arthur all-purpose 11.7% protein (add approximately 1/4 cup extra water to the full recipe)

King Arthur bread flour 12.7% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe)

King Arthur white whole wheat flour 13.2% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe)

King Arthur 100% whole wheat flour 14.0% protein (add approximately 1/2 cup extra water to the full recipe)

Gold Medal Better for Bread 12.5% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe)

Most bread flours are 12-13% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe)

Most high-gluten flours 14-15% protein (add approximately 1/2 cup extra water to the full recipe)

Hope this helps get people started; I have shared this with many people and except for the ones in France who struggled at first with the lower protein flours there, everyone has had a lot of fun with it.


Wow..........that is a lot of good advise and pointed facts all in one place! Ya all read and save them because in my opinion they are right on target. Final and last comment should say that after you are into any new bread baking method expect to be more successful after several trys.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Maybe this will re-inspire some people, since apparently a few had problems with it at first. I love how easy it really is! And you're right, it might take a couple of tries but the results are worth it.



It is true that one baby in a hundred begins crying at the taste of mother's milk and never ceases at the sight of anything new throughout life. Apparently they simply can not be taught to enjoy new experiences.

Yet the vast majority will love new experiences and the process of success. Aren't they just a pleasure to be around? I call 'em winnas.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

Yep, bread baking gets easier and better with experience. That said, even though I usually bake every other weekend with great success, and have for years, sometimes I still manage to make a "worm-loaf" (so bad it's fed to the worms in the compost pile) or doorstop.


Worm Loaf...........ROFLMAO I just ran out of oatmeal. I always tinker anyway so this time I tried half a cup of the hot cereal Wheatena. I have now destroyed the cereal I don't like so I idiot proffed by coffers and won't make that mistake again. That was my best worm loaf. Mr YUK would give a Wheatena Loaf a score of 9 and their 'aint no 10s. In other words Lordy Lordy don't do that...........ever.

My second making of the five minute bread was great. I reduced the water about half a cup. I also made Monkey Bread using the same dough. I over proofed that one a bit but the grandchildren killed that one in a hurry.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

I've been able to salvage an occasional doorstop by slicing it thinly and turning it into a bread pudding. The worm loaves are hopeless though. My worms are grateful and they gleefully turn them into compost for the garden, so it's all good.

I'm using a variation of I.N. Cognito's Slow Ripened Bread recipe. I make the dough on Friday or Saturday night before bed. Since it's a slow ripening dough, it doesn't take a lot of kneading. I leave the bowl in the oven with the light turned on for warmth. The dough finishes the first rise in 12 hours, the second rise in ~2 hours and bakes for 1 hour. It's a large hearth style loaf the equivalent of 2 standard loaves. The original recipe makes 4 - 6 standard loaves, so I've halved it.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

My bread baking was interrrupted last weekend and I had to put the newly shaped dough into the 'fridge to keep in cold retard until the next evening. I took the pan out of the 'fridge and placed it on the counter to warm up and then rise (Ha!). After an hour I touched the dough and it was still quite chilled. I place it in the oven with the light on from warmth and a pan of boiling water below for humidity. It took two full hours to remove the chill of the fridge before the dough even began to rise. I was finally able to bake the loaf at midnight.

For those of you who are successfully using the 5 minute a day bread, how long do you have to let your dough warm up before you can bake it?

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Mermaid, there's a page with error notes on the web, and they say that the 40 minutes resting time noted in the book isn't correct; it takes more like an hour to an hour and a half. Of course that depends on the temperature your kitchen. Often I set mine on top of my closed griddle on my stovetop; it has a small LP gas pilot flame which keeps that surface just slightly warm. But letting it rest for an hour and a half usually does it for me, although I've never checked the temperature of the dough to see what it felt like.

I also use vital wheat gluten as an additive to enhance rising when I'm using whole grain flours.


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