Artisan Bread Round II, Partially Whole Wheat and Cooked in A Pot

So, I thought I’d give a brief update on my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day escapades. This batch is my third, and I experimented with using nearly 50-percent whole-wheat flour. The dough rose just as beautifully as the 100-percent all-purpose flour batches, and held up just the same in the fridge during the week in which it was stored.

And, on a whim, I decided to use the Jim Lahey-Mark Bittman No-Knead Bread method of cooking — in a pre-heated, covered ceramic pot. Success! After 30 minutes in my Emile Henry dutch oven, the bread emerged with a crispy, golden crust. Since I don’t have a pizza stone, cooking in a pot is my best bet if I want to achieve the steam-injected-oven effect, which produces that professional-bakery crust. I have to say, however, that the bread tastes just as delicious when baked in a buttered Pyrex bowl — it doesn’t have the same crust, but the flavor is just the same, and the method is truly no-fuss.

Also, last time I neglected to include the Artisan Bread book’s official blog/Web site, which offers some great tips and additional recipes. Check out this grilled fruit pizza.

For the recipe for this bread, click here. For the baking method, follow the method described in this Mark Bittman NY Times article: The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do The Work

A loaf of 50-percent whole-wheat artisan bread in five minutes a day baked in a pot:

View of the 50-percent whole-wheat dough after rising overnight in the fridge.


  1. jhertz10 says

    Alexandra: It’s Jeff Hertzberg again, one of the co-authors. We’ve known for a while that our dough works well baked in a covered iron or other vessel. The steam is trapped next to the crust and creates the same effect as when you dump water into a broiler tray under the loaf (you don’t need both).

    Jeff Hertzberg

  2. Liza says

    Hi Alexandra–You know I bake bread all the time, and yet I was intimidated by the idea of that hot pot; however, I used my Emile Henri just as you said and “Voila, the bread was perfect!” One thing your readers might be cautioned about. My “grapefruit” size ball of dough looked pretty pitiful and after its second rise of 40 minutes, and it still looked pitiful, unlike “normal” dough that grows before your eyes, but it rounded and puffed beautifully in the oven. I cooked mine at 450 for 25 minutes covered and then for 5 minutes uncovered.I think in my oven next time I’ll cook it a little longer. I used half whole wheat/graham and half unbleached white. It’s a spectacular loaf.Also, I was worried about slipping the uncooked loaf into the hot pot. I used a small peel covered with coarse polenta, and it slipped easily into the pot. I did not turn it seamside up as Mark Bittman suggests. Thank you for the inspiration. Oh, and I used Hertzberg’s proportions and Bittman’s “pot.” –Liza

  3. Liza says

    Alexandra–ALERT! I used my Emile Henry “Fais Tout” dutch oven, and the pot cracked when making the artisan bread. I called Customer Service and was told that the only Emile Henry pots that can withstand being heated without any liquid in the pot are their Flame-Top collection. So I recommend either using the flame-top (obviously) or a Le Creuset (cast-iron, enameled pots)to spare the damage. I think Pyrex might also be at risk.

  4. helen says

    It happens that I was wondering how whole grain flour would behave using the refrigerator method. I can’t wait to try it this weekend. Glad I googled and stumbled on this page for the quick answer. Thanks!

  5. helen says

    My favorite pots for baking are Staub. They give the great crust of cast-iron yet are enameled for easy-care. Clean-up is light. The Le Creuset, OTOH, need scouring now and then bc they get baked-on brown stains from baking bread. They are the last pots I pull out for baking multiple loaves.

  6. alexandra's kitchen says

    Helen, thanks for the tip on the Staub baking pans. I have been meaning to pick up a few of these. I saw an adorable little mini Staub pot that I was tempted to buy but thought the size was a little impractical. A big Staub pot sounds like it could be useful to have around.

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