Years ago when I blogged about a newly discovered recipe that changed the way my family enjoyed homemade bread, I had no idea that it would be a top post here on Gwen’s Nest! I also had no clue that I would one day be using a whole wheat carb friendly version to lose weight on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.
(And I had *no* clue how to take a decent photograph back then. And for that I apologize.)
If you missed the easy bread recipe, just click this link or the bread photo above.
You’ve had lots of great questions, and I wanted to take a few minutes and address the most frequently asked questions about the easy bread recipe.
P.S. Don’t see your question in the bread faq below? Just post in the comments and I’ll answer it or add it.
P.S.S. If you have a great tip please leave that too! I love to learn from my readers!
- Is this like the Artisan Bread in Five recipe?
- Can I make this bread gluten free?
- Is this a true sourdough since you’re using yeast?
- My dough didn’t rise at all…can you tell me why?
- My bread didn’t rise when I baked it. What am I doing wrong?
- Can you tell me the finished carb count of this bread?
- Have you tried this bread with spelt? Or sprouted flour? Or buckwheat flour? Or kamut? Or….?
- My dough has been in the fridge for over a week and the top is dark and has little spots on it. Is this mold or is it still safe to use it?
- I left my lid partly open, and the top of my dough is dry. Is it supposed to dry out like that?
- I don’t have a jar, and don’t have that much space in my fridge. Can I make a smaller batch?
Q. Isn’t this like the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipe?
A. Yes! It’s an artisan bread recipe similar to theirs. But it’s not a ‘knock off’ by any means. Let me explain… The original recipe for no-knead bread dates back to 2006 to Jim Leahy’s No-Knead Bread article in the New York Times. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois’ came out with Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day the following year. Their books are great resources for additional methods and recipes if you really love this style of baking, and they are on my Amazon wish list.
But when I posted this recipe I didn’t know that the Artisan Bread in Five books existed. I first saw this recipe in the summer of 2010 on this gorgeous blog called The Italian Dish. You’ll even find her video in my Easy Bread post, and I gave her credit as my source.
Blogging and cooking are all about creating and sharing…putting your own spin on things, so that is what I share with you here. My own spin, photos, and instructions, shared with you.
Q. Can I make this bread gluten free?
A. Artisan Bread in Five has a gluten free artisan bread recipe here that a friend of mine uses with my method above. Not sure on the Trim & Healthy nature of it though.
Q. Is this a true sourdough, since you’re adding yeast?
A. Yes and no. It’s not a wild caught sourdough, but it is fermented. Commercial yeast is used here as the microbe that fuels the fermentation process, and breaks down the gluten in the bread.
Q. My dough didn’t rise at all…any idea why?
A. Get some fresh yeast, and/or skip heating your water. You have to get a live yeast reaction/rise going to make this recipe work .
Q. My bread didn’t rise when I baked it. What am I doing wrong?
A. If you’re using a majority of whole wheat, I’ve found that the little sharp flecks of bran tends to pop the bubbles. Another reason why this bread doesn’t rise well is that you’re fermenting it for several days, and that breaks down the gluten, which is what gives bread dough its elasticity so that the air bubbles can stretch and rise. My solution is to just use the whole wheat easy bread as flatbread. I still get a nice little rise with it, and I add all kinds of delicious flavors or toppings (and make pizza with it!) But I haven’t figured out how to make a nice sandwich loaf. Yet.
Q. Can you tell me the finished carb count of this bread?
A. The actual carb count doesn’t lower, but the way the carb is processed by the body is changed in the fermentation process, so it goes from being a naughty carb to a nice carb. For most of us. Try it out and see if you can tell a difference! I definitely can. When I eat this bread, I don’t get that hollow stomach hunger cravings thing like when I eat refined carbs. A smaller amount is very satisfying to me, and filling.
For those of you who are “mathy” (I’m not, but I love ‘ya, so I did some math for ‘ya): If you use 6 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for the easy bread recipe, that’s 595 net carbs. If you use 1/3 of the dough to make loaves of bread or flatbreads/pizza crusts, then that’s right around 200 net carbs (198.46 net carbs) per loaf or per crust. I divide my crust into 12 slices, and enjoy 2, which puts my carb intake somewhere around 16 1/2 carbs total for the crust. So there you have it.
Q. Have you tried this bread with spelt? Or sprouted flour? Or buckwheat flour? Or kamut? Or….?
A. Nope. I’m a very boring person, really. I’m not very adventurous with bread, which is why I love a basic, easy recipe. BUT, if you do try it, please comment and let me know how it works! You may talk me into it, and will probably help someone else who is wondering the same thing.
I *have* used the following
- White whole wheat- just like regular whole wheat except the variety of grain is white instead of red. It still has the bran in tact, and doesn’t rise as much as all purpose flour, but it’s a lighter look & taste. I like the King Arthur brand.
- Fresh ground white whole wheat. Because I like to feel just a little bit like Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- All Purpose flour, unbleached- true confession. This is what I used originally when I created the recipe. And it makes an amazing loaf of bread. Alas.
Q. My dough has been in the fridge for over a week and the top is dark and has little spots on it. Is this mold or is it still safe to use it?
A. The dark surface is totally normal, and is simply surface oxidation. It can get much darker than the photo above, but you can see the process is already starting. I have baked it with the oxidized layer and don’t notice any difference in texture or flavor.
The dots are usually just pinpoint air holes from the yeast bubbles popping. It will sometimes get a watery “hooch” on the top as well, which is a byproduct of fermentation and can be poured off.
I go by smell. If your dough is overly fermented, you can definitely smell a very sour smell. I find that mine keeps and bakes up nicely up to 2 weeks, but beyond that it gets a little too twangy for my taste.
Q. I left my lid partly open, and the top of my dough is dry. Is it supposed to dry out like that?
A. You can remove the dried portion and use the underlying dough, but next time just set the lid all the way over the dough to keep it damp. If you have a container that seals closed, just don’t seal it, as the gas produced can create pressure, breakage, etc.
Q. I don’t have a jar, and don’t have that much space in my fridge. Can I make a smaller batch?
A. Definitely! Halve the recipe, and use whatever container you have on hand to hold your dough. A half gallon canning jar works nicely, or I cleaned out a tub that some organic spinach came in and used that when I was first getting started.