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Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat: Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (no. 5)


I haven’t wanted to give a recipe a zero and tear up the paper and throw it in the garbage in front of the whole class since I started this Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat Bread challenge, but this one just about pushed me over the edge.

There I was, heart rate through the roof, steam rising from my head, dangling the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book over the trash, when I remembered that I just don’t throw books away. Darn frugality. Fie on my eco-consciousness!

[Disclaimer: if you do not want to read hilarious, ranting negativity, and perhaps even another use of the word “darn,” you should stop reading now.]

The Problems

Let me just list for you all the things that went wrong with this, the often praised, constantly recommended, simple and fail-proof, perfect no-knead homemade bread:

  1. The dough required nearly 4 extra cups of flour beyond what the recipe called for, which increased the original amount by over 50%!
  2. Adding flour with the paddle on my stand mixer fluffed it all over the counter, making the biggest mess of any recipe yet.
  3. The massive bulk of the recipe caused the dough to climb up the mixer onto the spring mechanism, which means I’ll probably poison my family with the grease that keeps it running smoothly up there. Wanna come over for toast?
  4. That also took extra minutes to clean up, cursing all the time. (I curse pretty cleanly, don’t worry.)
  5. Since I was tossing flour everywhere, I finally decided I needed to use my hands to incorporate the last ½ cup scoop or two, which meant that for a no-knead bread recipe, I was covered in sticky, gooey, highly annoying bread dough up to my wrists. Anyone see the irony there?

I was mad. I wanted to rail at the bread dough, at the authors of the darn book, at everyone who promised me I’d love this recipe and that I simply must try it…I’m over it now, so don’t run away and hide, you poor readers in that category. I won’t yell at you.

What’s the deal with FOUR extra cups of flour for a 2-loaf recipe??

  • Is my water wetter than water?
  • Is my flour defective?
  • Did I commit a cardinal bread baking sin by mixing the wet ingredients in a well in the dry, instead of in a separate bowl? (If so, the retribution was pretty unfair, in my opinion. I was just trying to save the recipe from losing yet another point for an extra dish.)
  • Were my eggs super huge? (Actually, they were really large eggs. I tried to choose the smallest in the carton. I was considering only using 4 for frugality’s sake, but all those voices in my head saying, “You’re supposed to try the recipe as written first!” won me over. However, even if my eggs were humongous, could they really suck up four extra cups of flour? I hardly think so.) The authors could give a liquid measure for the eggs just to make up for variances in size for those of us poor souls who buy from the farm and don’t have uniformly sized eggs.

The recipe was already losing points left and right just sitting on the page, because it:

  • uses white flour
  • requires an extra pot to melt the butter
  • gets pretty doggone pricey with 5 eggs (over $1), ½ cup honey (almost $1), and 2/3 cup butter (75 cents). If I had added the recommended gluten, I think it would have been nearly a $4 recipe!

If you’d like to see how I think about baking bread, and how to adapt a breadmaker recipe for hand-kneading or other machines, see HERE.

The Recipe: Adapted Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day “All American Sandwich Bread”

The original ingredients are crossed out to show the changes I ended up making.

5 c. whole wheat flour 5 1/2 c. hard red spring wheat flour (plus extra, and more extra…)
2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbs granulated yeast 1 Tbs. SAF instant yeast
1/4 c. vital wheat gluten 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 1/2 c. lukewarm water (room temp)
1/2 c. honey
5 large eggs
2/3 c. melted butter


(This is the method I used, adapted from what the authors recommend. I’ll try to note significant changes.)

Mix all dry ingredients together with a whisk or paddle of your stand mixer. Beat eggs together in a measuring cup, then add all liquid ingredients in a well in the flour. Combine them with the paddle of a stand mixer (not a dough hook) and do not knead. You could also simply stir by hand. (The authors said to mix liquid ingredients separately first, but I was trying to save  a bowl and a deduction point.) The liquid doesn’t exactly stay in the well:

sandwich bread (2) (475x356)

At this point the authors say one might need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour incorporated. I would say you should prepare to be shocked by the loose consistency of your “dough” which has become “batter”:

sandwich bread (4) (475x356)

You might try adding an entire cup of flour, half whole wheat and half white:

sandwich bread (5) (475x356)

Still unimpressed by the “dough’s” ability to make a loaf or anything resembling hamburger buns, your ultimate goal for the evening, you might foolishly add another tiny half cup of whole wheat, thinking it will make a difference:

sandwich bread (7) (475x356)

You’re nearly running out of freshly ground whole wheat, so you add your last half cup plus another half cup white flour:

sandwich bread (8) (475x356)

Realizing you’ve still go no chance of making a roll with this mixture, you decide you’ll just have to add white flour until it looks like manageable bread dough. A cup and a half later, you get this:

sandwich bread (9) (475x356)

Although it’s still not pulling away from the bowl or looking truly easy to manage, the thoughts that you’re now practically at half and half white flour to whole wheat, and that you’ve added 50% more flour than the recipe calls for, and that the dough is climbing up your stand mixer’s paddle even though you’re trying to to knead the no-knead bread, well, all those make you just stop.

The directions say to cover loosely and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses or flattens on top, at least 2 hours. You used only 2/3 the yeast called for, so you give it 4 hours:

sandwich bread (11) (475x356)

At least something is working right!

Now it’s time to move the dough to the fridge for an overnight rest. You pack it into a gallon Ziploc bag, not realizing that it will grow more and start to ooze out by morning.

Let it rise 4 hours at room temperature, which was about 66 degrees F that day, and it crested the bowl like this:

The following day, or any time within the next 5 days, cut off a hunk of the dough about the size of a cantaloupe (large or small cantaloupe? Who knows?).

sandwich bread (13) (475x356)

You can either cut it into chunks for rolls/buns, like this:

sandwich bread (12) (475x356)

Or go with a greased loaf pan, like this:

sandwich bread (14) (475x356)

Both turned out great,  after allowing 3-4 hours for rise time with the chilled dough in loaf pans. (If you use the full amount of yeast, it’s supposed to take 90 minutes.) My mom, who made the last two loaves while I was away, said it seemed to take forever for the rise, even longer than 4 hours. Sorry, Mom! The rolls need about 90 minutes to rise with this amount of yeast.

Bake loaves at 350 for 45-50 minutes and rolls for 20 minutes.

Here are the risen buns:

sandwich bread (15) (475x356)

And the finished loaf:

sandwich bread (17) (475x356)

How Did it Taste?

Let me preface by saying that I was compromising on the 100% whole wheat deal for two reasons: to give the Artisan Bread in 5 method its best chance of success, and to try to really get delicious bread. Unfortunately, the recipe resulted in a big fail on both accounts.

I was pretty surprised that a bread with so much white flour didn’t just melt in our mouths. It was good. It was fine. But it had an awfully heavy crumb for a non-100% whole wheat bread (look at me, throwing around those fancy bread baking terms now!).

Kimball Family Bread Ratings:

  • Whole grains: 3
  • Softness: 3
  • Flavor: 3
  • Workability (dough): 1
  • Good rise: 4
  • Easy recipes: 3
  • Bonus points: –1 for expensive ingredients, +1 for partial soaking

Total Score: 17/30 (view the bread rating system and all recipes HERE)

What I Should have Remembered

A few days later I rediscovered this helpful note from a reader in my email, which I had read but hadn’t retained: “The consistency won’t be dough-like in pulling away from the bowl, but more like stiff muffins. I’d love to see if there was a way to easily soak this? Or is it “good enough”? I know in one of your posts that you mentioned that the yeast helps break down the phytates (though not as much as soaking). I’ll also be curious to see how it does without gluten. I just haven’t been brave enough to try yet … 🙂 I’ve been clinging to this bread recipe because it’s fool proof and I’ve got a long way to go before I can be responsible to keep my sourdough starter alive. Ah, to be the mother of a toddler.”

So I should have expected the wet consistency. My mom, a much more experienced bread baker than me, also thought the refrigerated dough was too stiff and possibly that I had added too much flour. Looking at that last picture, though, I don’t know if I could have stopped any sooner. I didn’t realize the flour would absorb so much of the water as it rose and was stored.

Why Less Yeast?

As the reader mentioned above, I’m always interested in soaking the dough to reduce phytic acid action to a certain extent. I meant to add whey in place of some of the water but forgot. A long, slow rise mimics the fermentation of sourdough a bit, so the longer this dough could sit on the counter, and even in the fridge, the better. By the last loaf 5 or 6 days later, the dough and finished bread really did smell a bit sour, so I could tell fermentation was taking place.

I’m not making this up, by the way. The book itself even has an adaptation for less yeast, and they go all the way to 1/2 tsp. of yeast for the whole recipe!

Should I have Tried Stretch and Fold?

Another reader ever so helpfully emailed me some directions she uses with the Bread in 5 recipes that make a lighter crumb, but I wasn’t on top of that when I first tried the recipe. Check out her advice:

You might want to consider the stretch and fold method using this same recipe. I bake it weekly for local restaurants so I do batches using 12 c of flour for rolls or a little more for bread. I soak half of the ww flour in the water, yeast, salt, honey and butter. I typically need to do it using the larger amount of yeast and let it raise for two hours. After letting the flour soak for up to an hour, add the remaining flour (which in my case is an equal amount of unbleached bread flour).

Mix in with your hands (no kneading required.)

Cover the container and let it sit for half an hour. Then with wet hands do the stretch and fold method (I’ll be trying a Peter Reinhart recipe soon and sharing this method in detail) every 10 minutes 4 times. This will give you the equivalent of kneading it but it will develop the gluten nicely.

Cover and let rise the two hours if using the larger amount of yeast or overnight if using the 1/4 tsp per 6 c flour. You can then shape and bake or refrigerate until needed (no pun intended.) I make and bake the equivalent of 3 recipes at a time which gives me 6 doz. large dinner rolls or 4 loaves of bread. It’s soft, nice and slightly sweet. They love it at the restaurants.

The stretch and fold takes away  the requirement to knead yet gives a soft crumb. I have done the 5 min a day system for years but it does produce a heavy crumb. Great for artisan bread especially for grilled sandwiches (which is what I bake for a local restaurant for. They use my bread exclusively for their grilled sandwiches.) But it is a totally different texture than the soft crumb you want in a dinner roll. You have to either have wet hands so the dough does not stick to your hands or flour good around the edges of the dough after you have plopped it out onto a floured counter. I prefer to use the water method because I do not want to be adding too much flour to the dough.

Thanks, Linda!

Glutton for Punishment: I Tried Another

100% whole wheat (13) (475x356)

The one pretty cool benefit of the Bread in 5 methods is the fact that you do have bread dough ready for you in the fridge, which was essential when I left my mother with my kids for 5 days. I was determined to do this thing right, so I gave the 100% whole wheat recipe in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day a try. Last year about this time, my friend Shannon dragged me to her house to make the original Artisan Bread in 5 with her, and I know she’s not the only fervent fan.

Based on a reader recommendation, I added honey for softness and sweetness, and I cut the gluten entirely. This time, I was ready for the liquids…

The Recipe: Adaptation of 100% Whole Wheat Bread from HBin5


7 1/3 c. whole wheat flour (added 1/3 cup to recipe to make up for gluten deduction)
2 tsp. yeast (down from 1 1/2 Tbs.)
1 Tbs. real salt
1/2 c. honey
2 1/4 c. room temperature water (a full cup short
of what is called for!)



I mixed the dry ingredients in my stand mixer and added the honey and the first cup and a half of water, mixing to combine:

100% whole wheat (2) (475x356)

I added another 3/4 c. water and observed the results:

100% whole wheat (3) (475x356)

I know I’m looking for sticky, and I’m still a whole cup of water short, but this was enough for me:

100% whole wheat (4) (475x356)

I allowed the dough to rise overnight and made the first loaf right away, refrigerating the rest of the dough. A reader coached me that the bread turns out pretty differently with fresh vs. cold dough.

Here is the rise after 7 wonderful, phytic acid reducing hours:

100% whole wheat (5) (475x356)

And the sticky, but doable, loaf:

100% whole wheat (7) (475x356)

Two and a half hours at room temperature later, I had a loaf ready to be slashed with my sharpest serrated knife (which isn’t very sharp) and put into a preheated 350F oven for 50-60 minutes:

100% whole wheat (8) (475x356)

I pulled mine after 45 minutes, which was a bit hurried as the center was a tiny bit dense and moist, as if I needed 5 more minutes of bake time:


100% whole wheat (12) (475x356)

Kimball Family Bread Ratings:

  • Whole grains: 5
  • Softness: 3 or 4
  • Flavor: 4
  • Workability (dough): 4
  • Good rise: 4.5
  • Easy recipes: 5
  • Bonus points: +2 for the modified “soak”

Total Score: 27.5 or 28.5/30 (view the bread rating system and all recipes HERE)

This recipe is worth trying – it made amazing grilled cheese last night, and it was pretty easy to put together once I held back on the liquid. If I hadn’t, I surely would have been adding a few cups of extra flour and shaking my fist at the sky!

More on the Artisan Bread in 5 Method

If you like the idea of quick bread dough that is ready for you in the fridge and doesn’t need kneading, you don’t want to learn the method from me. Here are some resources from the author’s very well-maintained website. They also seem to be very attentive to the comments and will answer your questions if you get stuck.

Want to Play Along?

Folks, I can’t even ask you to play along this week. I hate to put you through it! Maybe if you’re interested you could try the second recipe and see what you think. If you do, or if you’re an Artisan Bread in 5 lover, or if you’ve tried the recipes before and had experiences like mine, please share your thoughts in the comments. We can all learn from each other!

Remember that you can find my Bread Baking Techniques (or lack thereof) HERE and also ways to adapt any of these recipes for any machine or by hand. A list of all the recipes and those to come can be found right HERE.

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Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

51 thoughts on “Seeking the Perfect Homemade Whole Wheat: Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (no. 5)”

  1. I realize this is many months old, but I just saw it today. I have the healthy version of the ABin5. I had a problem the first time I used the basic whole wheat bread recipe, then I decided to try weighing everything out. HUGE difference! My measured cup of flour was very different from the weight they said it should be. I mill my own flour, but even shaken down I couldn’t get it right! So, I just weigh everything now and it turns out.

    1. I wondered if that was the case in the problems she had and the problems I had. Just had to laugh because I had the exact opposite problem in making this recipe. I used the entire amount of water and then needed some more and its still not nearly as sticky as she showed. We’ll find out later I guess. :]

  2. My apologies. The “dang” was in mistaken reference to the “darn” at the top of the page. The point is, you didn’t attempt to make the actual recipe, but criticized it, nonetheless. Made according to the recipe, it’s a wonderful bread.

  3. I’m so confused as to why you’re trying so hard to change the instructions and the call the bread a failure. I’ve been using both books for a few weeks with no problems at all. Just follow the dang instructions and stick to the basics. The Master Recipe”s, when allowed to go sour, are to die for and stay soft and chewy for at least a couple of days. Back off the mixer and extra flour, too.

    1. Sophia, I wouldn’t appreciate anyone coming into my house and saying “dang” at me, and I don’t appreciate it here. So I struggled with a recipe – it just wasn’t for me.

  4. I just found your website a couple days ago and thought I’d throw in my two cents on AB5M. I agree with other commenters on giving the recipe a shot as written first – the dough is more of a batter. I make mine (the master recipe or the light whole wheat) with my KitchenAid and the dough hook, let it rise until it falls in the middle, then cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge. No separate bowls, no tub. I don’t use my KA for much, so it’s not an inconvenience to be without the bowl for a couple of days. Also, I find that while the dough is certainly unmanageable right away, the longer it sits in the fridge, the stiffer it gets – the first couple days, I can’t do more than free-form loaves, but if I leave it for a week or so, I can make standard loaves, pita/naan, etc. without adding extra flour.

    That being said, I think the recipes were developed with free-form loaves in mind. The crust and crumb do not, in my opinion, lend themselves to sandwich bread (I haven’t tried the Sandwich Bread recipe; I like the simplicity of water, yeast, salt and flour). If I want homemade sandwich bread, I like the More With Less recipe for Oatmeal Bread. The Artisan Bread is great to serve with soup or as a side, but not for everyday sandwich bread.

    I enjoy your site – can’t wait to make my own Wheat Thins!

    1. Heidi, Thank you for the endorsement! I’ll have to try it again someday; I clearly outworked the recipe! 😉 Katie

  5. I don’t have the Healthy Artisan Breads book, and I admit I haven’t tried this recipe, however, I do use and love the first book. You’re one of my favorite bloggers, and your blog is one of the first places I come to when searching for advice, so please take this in the kind manner in which it was intended. I don’t think you gave these recipes a fair chance. Please try again, but follow the recipe this time. Pretend you know nothing about bread, but that you’re good at following directions. Until you do this, you can’t say for sure whether the recipe is any good. This is a great time to leave your mixer put away too. (Yay! You won’t have to wash it!) Like many of your readers, I make mine in a big bowl (A massive Tupperware bowl to be precise) and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon. Toss the ingredients in (in whatever order the recipe says – since you’re following directions..), mix, and leave it alone. The best thing about these recipes is that they’re written for people who don’t know if the dough is at the right consistency, which is great for some of us, but master cooks may have to work on faith.
    Thanks again for such a great blog!

    1. Laura,
      You are not the first reader to gently (or not so gently) encourage me to lose the mixer and give it another go being a “good girl” and following directions! I’m not offended at all; in fact, I’m cracking up about my failure, as usual. 🙂 Also cracking up about you using the phrase “master cook” anywhere in the vicinity of my name!

      I will give it another go, I promise. To my credit, the recipe does give an option for the mixer, so I took it. ??? I think I’ll try the one without eggs since it seemed closer to possible and was less expensive…
      🙂 Katie

  6. have not tried the bread but have to share how excited I was to read the recipe (trying to build up nerve to try it). And then saw the Madeon hard lotion DIY kit and had to buy one! Thank you for sharing this info (and love the 5.oo discount!)

  7. Katie,
    I had to laugh when I read this post! My back door neighbor had just called to ask my advice for making bread for her husband who appears to have a wheat allergy. She referred to the same cookbook that you used and when she read me the ingredients for one of the gluten free recipes, I told her that it might be OK to use for now, but that for health reasons all of the tapioca starch that the recipe called for would NOT be good for his health situation.
    Imagine my surprise when I opened your email link and found that you had posted on the same cookbook and felt the same way.
    I need to get working on some good gluten free hearty and healthy breads. I have a few good options, but it’s been awhile since I’ve worked at it.

    Keep baking and I promise I’ll get you my recipe for whole wheat soon. My kids have been really sick and everything is piling up!

  8. I’ve been cooking ABin5 for almost 2 years. I use the basic recipe – flour, salt, yeast, water. The recipe is easy to memorize and adapt – I’ve found that one loaf is best with 2/3rds of the recipe. I mix it all in a tupperware, stir it with a plastic chop stick (the less surface area, the less sticky), and let it rise. I alway bake in a pampered chef stone – my favorite.

    I’ve had the best success with wwh flour, but just got a grain mill and will be experimenting to get the gluten/yeast/liquid proportions correct.

    My feeling – a recipe with 4 ingredients (all of which can be bought in bulk) is simple, easy, and delicious.

    All the best!

  9. Melissa at Dyno-mom

    I have been meaning to comment on this since yesterday but with a sick baby my time is at a premium right now. But here’s the thing: do you know what autolyse is? It is a fancy French word for the rest with liquid that bakers give bread. The longer the rest the more of the work can be done with liquid alone and there is less kneading necessary. The amount of liquid has a big role to play, too. When you use a heavily hydrolyzed dough, which here means a higher percentage of water to flour by weight, you have greater gluten activation and crust development.

    These breads are as much as 70% hydrolized while traditional kneaded doughs are around 2%0-30%. You can’t expect the same texture to the dough when there is that much liquid. If you want to use a machine, use a food processor but I think you will find that using your hands gives great results. A six year old can do this, it doesn’t require real muscle.

    You also cannot expect the same bench rise. This means when you shape and rise the dough it won’t double but just increase slightly and come to room temperature. This is simply the nature of highly hydrolized dough and it does have it’s benefits. You don’t have to muscle the dough, you let the water do it.

    Another benefit is crust developement. The practice of using a catch pan and water is to trap the steam in the oven for the purpose of crust development which enhances the steam inside the dough. It’s an interesting chemical reaction. the steam causes run-off in the outer crust of the dough and when the steam is no longer present the outside dries and the sugars enjoy the Maillard reaction and crisp like crazy, hence shatteringly crispy crust.

    I make it a little easier by dumping the doigh and barely shaping it (you don’t want to deal with over wet dough) on a Silpat. I leave it out for 90 minutes. Then I put the enamled Dutch ovens in the oven and set the temp to 500. Then I dump the bread, Silpat down, in the Dutch, put the lid on and turn down the heat to 425. After 20 min I remove the lid to allow the steam to dissapate and bake for 15-20 min more. No catch pan, no shaping, no kneading. If I feel like making epi shaped breads, then I need to pull out the stone. The stone is heated instead of the pots, I do need a catch pan, and I remove the Silpat instead of the lid. Since it takes more work, I seldom do this.

    The final product is not sandwhich bread. It is glossy and gorgeous with a chewy crumb and a crispy crust that shatters when sliced. Rock on. It always impresses people. But sandwhich bread is different. I make that, too, but it is different.

    I have details on flours and my Dutch technique on my blog. I use 100% whole wheat with honey and gluten for my bread but this is an easy intro. Just remember that the 5 min a Day bread is a very different technique and you have to be ready for the different sorts of resting and final product between it and traditional breads.

    1. lindamarcella

      If you want a bread that is softer for sandwiches, please try the stretch and fold method during the first hour or so of rise. I mix my dough also (double batch which produces 4 large loaves) in a large tupperware container. After mixing let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Then, with wet hands pick up one end of it pulling up and then down across the blob of dough. Turn your dish a quarter turn and do the next side. Pull and stretch all four sides. Repeat this again every 10 minutes or so for the next hour. You need to do it at least 4 times. Let rest the remaining 12 -18 hours .This develops the gluten and gives you a much softer crumb such as is expected in sandwich bread. HUGE difference. Totally different bread with the addition of that one technique. If I have not been clear just Google “stretch and fold dough.” Also, by increasing the liquid to flour ratio of any recipe you can convert any bread recipe to the “5 min a day technique.” I seldom do it by retarding in the refrigerator anymore because I 1) don’t have the space in the refrigerator, 2) sell my breads to local restaurants and regular customers, and 3) can always find a home for the odd loaf or two left over from my 4-loaf batches. Happy bread baking! If you can make bread you and your family will never go hungry.

  10. I was wondering if you had read this article:
    and if you haven’t, I’d love for you to do so, and give me your thoughts.

    1. Tracy, I have, and my thoughts are woven within this series on soaking grains:
      🙂 Katie

  11. Have you seen this whole wheat no-knead recipe? I’ve always wanted to try it, but I keep putting it off because my wife is gluten free, and the kids can be picky. I’m inspired to give it another look.

    1. Jason,
      That does look like an interesting one. Peter Reinhart has some breads that you “knead” sort of like that. I’ll have to compare them. The worst thing that can happen when you try a recipe is losing an hour or so, right? I bet it’s great bread. 🙂 Katie

  12. That’s too bad – what a mess! Maybe you could try this again without the mixer? Just an extra thing to wash anyway, and wet method dough (whichever recipe source you use) isn’t meant to be kneaded. I just dump all the ingredients in a bucket and stir the mix with a big restaurant-style prep spoon, then I store it in the same container. I broke my stone making pizza once (and, if it makes you feel any better, after googling it sounds like all stones eventually break) so I just bake my ABin5 or Healthy versions on a cornmeal covered baking sheet. I have to agree with some of the other commenters; I love the simplicity of the wet dough method and have probably bought bread at the store less than 10 times in the past two years. And I started that when my third was a newborn, no less! I would recommend another try. Don’t give up! FYI the brioche recipes from these books are delicious. For other wet dough method recipes, I would also recommend the two or three in the “Love Soup” cookbook. Happy bread baking, Katie 🙂

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Kelly! I guess I fell back on the machine b/c I’m so used to it and thought it would be easier, even with the simple mixing and not kneading. Who knew? On the second batch, I just stored it in this bowl with a plate on top, so at least I didn’t have extra dishes! 🙂 Katie

  13. I made a half batch of the sandwich bread, but had the advantage of the pictures from www. Tips and Techniques. I knew how wet the dough/batter really should be. I did not use my mixer, only a wooden spoon and that was sufficient. I replaced the vital gluten with flour (probably white because the whole wheat was back in the freezer) to keep dry ingredients the same.

    I increased the initial length of time on the counter because it’s not warm in my house and also increased the rise time after at least 24 hours of refrigeration. I am not sure if it was actually flat on top during the initial rest, but the increased volume looked right so into the fridge it went. I started the loaf process in the morning (just like when with my grands) so I wouldn’t worry about running out of time for dinner. It’s recommended to cool completely before slicing anyway. My loaf was small, so the baking time was less ~ 35? minutes.

    I like the flavor and am interested in trying the process to reduce the size of the holes. Because it’s such a wet dough, it tended to stick to the pan and required running a knife along the sides to get the loaf out. (Not the best for the pan’s surface) The next time I baked a loaf, I had pieces of parchment paper lining the pan and removal was much easier.

    The small loaf size is actually to my advantage. There are only two of us to eat the bread, and hubby usually reaches for store bread unless I specifically mention the homemade.

  14. I’m sorry this recipe frustrated you so! I had very little experience (probably fewer than ten times) making bread before I tried their Soft Whole Wheat Bread recipe from the Healthy Breads in Five… book. Maybe that’s why it worked for me. It was so easy! Just measure and dump. I used all white whole wheat flour rather than dividing it up between whole wheat and all-purpose. The batter is supposed to be looser than normal. It was delicious. Check out the 10 min. video on the book’s Amazon page — someone mentioned it earlier.

    I really think this technique makes bread-making approachable for many who, like me, were better at making “bricks”. 🙂

    1. I think the fact that I didn’t know what bread is “supposed” to look like helped me too! Thanks for sharing about using all white whole wheat and your success. I’ve been wanting to try it but didn’t have the nerve, I may just give it a go next time (=

  15. That is just so strange you had such a negative experince with the first recipe-it’s the one recipe from them that turns out perfect for me. I always seem to get dense or gummy loaves with their other recipes. I am going to try the modified 100% wh wheat recipe you listed as I am not satisfied with my attempts w that recipe in the past and am determined to make a good sandwich bread that doesn’t require eggs! Thanks for sharing the experiences!

  16. Oh, Katie…there is nothing worse than flour all over the kitchen! Sorry you had to go through that…but I have to admit, I did not have that experience…at aaaaaall….with the Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book! On Amazon, there is even a short video that shows EXACTLY how to make it (no mixer or mess involved!). I’ve recently had to avoid flour =(, but if I could be baking bread, I would definitely use this recipe again. It was super simple. I highly recommend giving the video a look. I’m a visual person, and it’s actually what finally sold me on the book…

  17. i really like the book and the method. i also don’t use the stand mixer. i haven’t tired this one, but i did try the brown rice one and one of the other whole wheat ones and we loved them both!

  18. I am gluten intolerant therefore make the gluten free bread in “the book”. Never fails, absolutely delicious as a sandwich loaf or free form. Have NEVER had a gluten free bread compare the the flavor of this one. Give it a try!

  19. I have both books and I like the Whole Wheat Sandwich bread in the first book. Ironic that in the first book it contains a 100% whole wheat bread when the second book written for whole grains does not… strange. But if you want to try it you can find the recipe online. Look for Mother Earth News and 100 Percent Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread. Here are the ingredients:

    1 1⁄2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1⁄2 packets)
    1 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt
    1/2 cup honey
    5 tbsp neutral-flavored oil, plus more for greasing the pan
    1 1⁄2 cups lukewarm milk
    1 1⁄2 cups lukewarm water
    6 2⁄3 cups whole wheat flour

    Read more:

    1. Jennifer,
      Thanks! That looks like the one I tried last year with my friend Shannon here:
      She still swears by it! 🙂 Katie

  20. Betsy (Eco-novice)

    I like Artisan Bread with white flour or with mostly white flour and a little white whole wheat. I have never made their recipes work for 100% whole wheat or even mostly whole wheat or for loaf breads. I like it a lot of free-form or baguettes. When will this series be over? I’ll be making my bread again (trying with no added gluten) in about a week, and then I’ll post my results and send you the link if still applicable.

    1. Betsy, Feel free to send it my way! I think we’ve got a least 4 weeks more for the series. Hard to say – I have a lot of recipes and need to figure out when to stop and call it good. Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  21. Yes, it IS supposed to be very wet. It is harder to work with. And, it is important not to overmix the dough, so there should be no need for your mixer bowl. Try making it right in the refrigerator container. I add all the liquids, then all the dry, and then mix with a wooden spoon — just until it is mainly mixed and there aren’t pockets of flour. You can use your hands to do this quicker, but it is much easier than kneading. Still, I do the wooden spoon.
    Katie, I love your work, but I think you are making this too complicated. Using the Master recipe, I just use 100% WW bread flour and follow the rest as written, except I leave it on the counter overnight before refrigerating. I use a Tupperware Square 4 Modular Mates container for all steps (as mentioned above). I don’t do bread pans, just free form, but you certainly can. You need to rise and bake a wee bit longer with the 100%WW on that recipe, but it turns out just great. I have had two cheap baking stones explode since I started using this method (steam and high temps…), so I have a better quality one on my birthday list…
    Good luck, and give it another try or two, and tell yourself to keep it TOTALLY SIMPLE! 🙂 THanks for all you do!

    1. I broke my Pampered Chef stone by using this method even though I KNEW that I wasn’t supposed to pre-heat a PC stone. So, I got a $20 Oneida stone from Bed Bath and Beyond; the box says that you can pre-heat it. It broke BUT it has a lifetime guarantee so hubby took it back and they exchanged it no problem.

    2. Betsy (Eco-novice)

      I want to know more about your success. What kind of flour do you use exactly — brand, type? Is it white whole wheat or red whole wheat? I grind my own hard red and hard white wheat. I have not liked the ABin5 made with the hard red (even non-100% whole wheat), but I liked the white whole wheat OK.

  22. WashingtonPharmGirl

    Its crazy how making bread can make me either jump for joy, or cry hot angry tears.

  23. My mother did the same thing when I recommended this method to her (added way too much flour because she thought it looked wrong), and then she refused to try the recipe again. I’m impressed that you were willing to give it another try!
    I love this bread because I can keep it in the fridge and make just a small whole wheat pizza or roll when the rest of the family eats white. And my kids can make bread on their own (a big plus with a new baby in the house!).

  24. I haven’t actually made the recipes out of that particular book yet, but the one time I did try a “no-knead” method, yes, the dough is super wet (like pancake batter), it’s supposed to be, but that’s why you leave it out to rise for so long, and it develops large air pockets that way. Even when I went to bake it, I pretty much just plopped it into the oven (I baked in a crockpot insert which is supposed to help provide steam to get that chewy crust). I can’t speak on using this method for a soft “sandwich” sort of bread, but I have really come to love that texture/flavor more like a good boule anyways, so I loved the result. It might be worth just trying it using all the water and resisting your instincts to add the extra flour. I also did read somewhere that if you want to get away without using yeast, you can actually use a portion of your sourghdough starter instead.

  25. Well fooey on that. Good on you for sticking with it to the loaf stage, it’s difficult when you have much higher expectations for a recipe! But just think of all you’ve learned… 😉 (Shields self from thwack probably coming at computer screen.) This is a great series, keep up the good work!

  26. Bummer Katie!
    Ok, so I have been watching this series and I have been thinking of the recipe I use all the time. I wasn’t going to share it, it seems you have enough. But it is really so easy, and makes 3 loaves at a time. I use all whole wheat flour, instead of white and wheat listed. The only issue I have ever had is with old yeast not rising. You do have to knead it, but seriously for a few minutes. It says “till dough is not real sticky, just pulling away from the counter”. Which for me takes almost no time. Here it is if you want it.

    1. Katie…this is the bread recipe that I posted awhile ago, so now there’s TWO of us who recommend it. I promise, I was on a quest..and this one was the one that worked. Like Nicole said, the knead is so minimal. It’s also pretty forgiving. Just add flour a little at a time until it’s smooth. I do 2loaves instead of 3 for a true sandwich loaf. I just made it last night and left out the vital wheat gluten from one of the comments out entirely, and it was still really good. Remove from pan immediately. Don’t resent me for saying this, because I never thought I would..but I could practically do it in my sleep at this point. Still lovin’ the site 🙂

    2. Thanks, Nicole! It will be interesting comparing that one to those that I have – only a couple have seemed similar enough to be cousins or siblings to one another. Kind of amazing there are so many ways to get a really good loaf of bread! Seems like it should be impossible to mess up…unless you’re me! 😉 Katie

  27. I think your scoring is a bit hard given that the problems you had were actually user error. Sorry, but true. Like your earlier (and apparently current) under baking issues, whole grain breads require a really wet and slack dough. The water is really key for all the variations of overnight bread dough. The extra flour you added really was the huge source of your problems and many of your dislikes with the recipes. If it’s not you thing, then fine. But really, it wasn’t a recipe problem. You’ve commented that you are not a huge bread baker, then why question how a dough is working? Why not just fly with it and use a little faith and just follow the recipe a bit more exactly? You might find you are happily surprised.

    1. Marcella,
      I suppose if I’m hard on the ABin5 authors, you can be hard on me. 😉 Believe me, the first “loose banana bread batter” version would never have turned into bread dough that could be shaped in any way, but I probably overdid the flour additions. At least I tried to learn more and gave it another go! 🙂 Katie

  28. Angie (Frugal Treehugger)

    I’ve done the bread in 5 before and reading your first few paragraphs made me cringe. It really is a very, very wet dough. So wet in fact that after the first time I made it, I completely abandoned the mixer.

    I just mix it up in a large lidded bucket with a wooden spoon, much less of a mess with the stickiness. That being said, I don’t like this kind of bread much. My Hubby loves it because he prefers bread with a larger, denser crumb, almost like a good Italian versus my favorite soft, yummy moist bread. I usually just make my regular wheat bread on the weekend when I have the time and I’m done with it. I also never have the room in my fridge for the huge bowl of dough!

    I’m glad that you tried again and got a little better results 🙂

    1. Angie,
      Thanks for your empathy! I was just shooting for the hamburg buns, and I couldn’t imagine it working with such sticky dough… 🙂 Katie

  29. I love the ABin5 method, it’s the only one I use for the most part. I use the Master recipe in the healthy bread in 5 book, except I don’t use gluten and I’ve adjusted the wheat/white flour ratio a little. It does make a very wet dough, but it’s supposed to. The trick is not to use it the same day you mix it up, but wait until it’s been in the fridge for a while. (You may have found that even without adding the extra flour, it would have been workable the next day.) Also, it doesn’t really rise much after that, except a little in the oven. I’m still learning to form my bread with the amount of dough the size I want it to be, instead of assuming it will get bigger, b/c it doesn’t usually get much bigger than what it is.

    One other thing… I’ve found it absolutely essential to bake it in the exact method they describe, with a stone pre-heated in the oven and the steam bath. That produces an exceptional loaf of bread; any other method of baking produces a mediocre loaf that’s edible but not great.

    And… I LOVE using it for flatbreads – pitas, pizza dough, foccaccia, etc. It’s so convenient to grab a lump of dough from the fridge, roll it out, bake it, done. That’s probably what I use it for even more than actual sandwich loaves.

  30. Oh No! Sorry for your frustration! I’ve been making bread out of the “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” book for months now and I love it (not the “Healthy Bread” version on the book). It works well for me – throw the ingredients in a huge lidded container, stir with a spoon and stick it in fridge for a few hours. One batch makes our bread for the week, about 3 loaves. It literally takes me about 2 minutes to get the bread ready for the oven, and about 10 minutes total hands on time for 3 loaves of bread… which is a winner for me when I’ve got screaming kids attached to my leg.

    I wish this would have worked for you 🙁 Total bummer. SO annoying when you work so hard and the end product fails. Wishing you the best of luck on your quest for the perfect bread!

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