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Healthy (homemade) Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Updated on October 20, 2015
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A long-time whole grain baker, Kathryn discovered the thrill and ease of cooking with whole, fresh foods decades ago. Still chopping!

Seeded whole wheat loaf from the Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day cook book
Seeded whole wheat loaf from the Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day cook book | Source

Is it possible to enjoy fresh-baked, healthy, whole grain bread with just five minutes prep time each day?

Yes. YES! Five minutes--or less--is all you need to spend each day to get fresh, hot, healthy bread popping out of your oven. Who doesn't love that aroma?

That's the main reason Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., is one of my favorite cookbooks.

Now, that's five minutes or less prep time, of course. It takes a little more time than that for the yeast and the oven to do their work--operable words here, "do their work"--while you do something else.

Then there's that other word in the title, "healthy." Can fast bread be healthy? Oh yes. Absolutely. Healthy grains high in fiber, not too much fat or too much sugar, tasty, crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, delicious all over, and good for you too--that's what you will find in every recipe.

Since buying this book, I've made hundreds of loaves of sweet and savory breads, as well as homemade croissants, pizzas, bread sticks, all involving no more than a few minutes prep time.

Bonus reason to love it: If you, like me, are working to cut down on the plastic in your life, this little book will help you eliminate all those plastic bread bags.

Braided veggie stolle, easy to make, dramatic to serve
Braided veggie stolle, easy to make, dramatic to serve | Source

Tested and re-tested, with plenty of tips for success

The authors tested their recipes over and over and over, in their own small kitchens, so you know they will work in yours. Plus, they provide loads of tips to help us understand the science of bread making, not too technical, but just enough to make artisan bread makers of us all.

Imagine coming home from work and popping a vibrant, homemade pizza in the oven minutes later. You can do that because the dough is all ready to go.All you need are the toppings. (A jar of organic spaghetti sauce, a bag of shredded cheese, and some pre-cut veggies make for a super-quick homemade pizza.)

Maybe you need a quick gift to take to a shut-in on the weekend, or to the young parents who just brought their first baby home from the hospital. In two hours, start to finish, and with only one or two minutes of your time, you can carry a fresh-baked loaf of bread to your friend.

Need some gluten-free options? They're here.

Interested in experimenting with other grains, such as spelt or rye, or with nut flowers? You'll find recipes with those too, tested ones.

Look inside the book right now

To preview some of the recipes and tips in the book, follow the link above. You can flip through pages much as you would in the bookstore.

With these recipes, I've made homemade rye with caraway seeds--a personal favorite--and lots of other whole grain breads, every last one of them mouthwatering good. You can too.

Take them to work for a staff treat, or to a potluck. Always a hit. For the holidays, I made a gorgeous braided fruit bread, which is a lovely hostess gift.

Below are a few examples, in pictures. I wish I'd taken more, but this will give you an idea.

Paper is so passé

Save trees. Save shipping fuel and costs. Save the environment.Get the e-book version and read it on your tablet.

With a handy stand or mount for your slim iPad or e-reader, you'll never need to wrestle with a bulky cookbook in the kitchen again, so go ahead. Get the e-book version.

It comes with all the photographs and sketches, plus you can make notes!

Illustrations and examples

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Two small 1-1b. rounds rising on the cornmeal-dusted cutting board I use in place of a pizza peel; one will be a gift to a neighborHere's the wet dough, which has been rising nearly two hours after mixing the ingredients; it will keep in the fridge for about seven daysSometimes I make plain bread like this oval; I'm still getting the hang of making the slits just rightThese crescent-shaped buns were a hit at a family brunch, and took only a few minutes to shapeA closer shot at another seeded loaf--Don't you want to pick up one of those toasted seeds and eat it right now?We especially like our loaves sprinkled with healthy, organic seeds; I often use a pumpkin-sesame-flax mixture I stir up myself
Two small 1-1b. rounds rising on the cornmeal-dusted cutting board I use in place of a pizza peel; one will be a gift to a neighbor
Two small 1-1b. rounds rising on the cornmeal-dusted cutting board I use in place of a pizza peel; one will be a gift to a neighbor | Source
Here's the wet dough, which has been rising nearly two hours after mixing the ingredients; it will keep in the fridge for about seven days
Here's the wet dough, which has been rising nearly two hours after mixing the ingredients; it will keep in the fridge for about seven days | Source
Sometimes I make plain bread like this oval; I'm still getting the hang of making the slits just right
Sometimes I make plain bread like this oval; I'm still getting the hang of making the slits just right | Source
These crescent-shaped buns were a hit at a family brunch, and took only a few minutes to shape
These crescent-shaped buns were a hit at a family brunch, and took only a few minutes to shape | Source
A closer shot at another seeded loaf--Don't you want to pick up one of those toasted seeds and eat it right now?
A closer shot at another seeded loaf--Don't you want to pick up one of those toasted seeds and eat it right now? | Source
We especially like our loaves sprinkled with healthy, organic seeds; I often use a pumpkin-sesame-flax mixture I stir up myself
We especially like our loaves sprinkled with healthy, organic seeds; I often use a pumpkin-sesame-flax mixture I stir up myself | Source

How it works

In this video, filmed in co-author Zoe Francois's tiny apartment kitchen, she and fellow author Jeff Hertzberg show us how they make beautiful breads from measuring the ingredients to eating a chunk of fresh-baked loaf--and we get a peek at some of the gorgeous results of their recipes.

To use this book, you will need at least one essential tool

When I bought the book, I did not have the one item I needed most for these recipes--a 5-quart container with a lid, and I did not want plastic!

After a good deal of searching, I found a set of high-grade stainless steel mixing bowls with air-tight lids that included a 5-quart bowl.

What a difference they make! You know how it is. You pre-mix a sauce or measure all the dry ingredients for a cake you plan to bake when you get home from work. Then you transfer the mixture to a container with an air-tight lid so it will keep nicely.

In these bowls, I can whip up almost anything ahead of time, pop the lid on, and no muss no fuss till I'm ready to pull it out of the fridge or pantry and take the next step.

MIU France Set of 3 Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, Silver/Red
MIU France Set of 3 Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls with Lids, Silver/Red

I don't care to store my food in plastic; this food-grade stainless steel set had the highest stainless rating I could find; I love how deep the bowls are and that they have non-slip silicone on the bottom so I can whisk and beat without the bowl slipping.

 

A pizza stone makes bread baking so much more rewarding

Another essential tool is the pizza stone, which helps make your breads crispy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside. This is the one I have used for years.

We do, indeed, use the stone to make pizza. What wonderful crusts we get! I've had some pizza filling spill over onto the stone. One mess was so bad that we couldn't use the stone until we cleaned it, and that goo was baked on hard.

Thankfully, the oven needed cleaning, and we are fortunate to have a self-cleaning oven. I laid the stone on the bottom rack, set the cycle, locked the oven door, and four hours later, I brushed some ash off the stone, and it was good as new.

Thank you for visiting this page. I hope it has been useful to you. Please sign my guestbook and share some of your bread making stories, or tell me what you think of the book.

© 2013 Kathryn Grace

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    • ecogranny profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Grace 18 months ago from San Francisco

      Totally with you. People's eyes always light up when they see a loaf of fresh homemade bread.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 18 months ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      What beautiful breads! I made note of the various ideas for using breads as gifts, because what could be more thoughtful than fresh homemade bread.

    • ecogranny profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks Barbara!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      A terrific page, a keeper for sure - I'll put this one where I can refer to it when needed (my food board)

    • ecogranny profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      @AliciaC, you're welcome. Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the idea of having fresh and healthy bread after only five minutes of prep time! Thank you for sharing this very useful information.

    • Cesky profile image

      Cecilia Karanja 2 years ago from Nairobi

      It made me want to make my own bread. I've never done that

    • ecogranny profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      @Merrci: Oh my goodness, thank you for your kind words. The authors have tested and re-tested all their recipes, and it's pretty hard to fail if you follow their directions. The breads are SO easy to make!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 2 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      What an excellent--and mouthwatering--review! It sounds like THE book to own. The breads you've made look wonderful. They look bakery professional. YUM!

    • ecogranny profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      @Margaret Schindel: Wonderful news! It's a lot of fun. Do you have a five quart stainless or glass container with a lid? You will need that to store your sponge. I use the largest bowl in my stainless steel set. It has a fitted lid.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      @ecogranny: Woo hoo! My cookbook just arrived (thank you, Amazon Prime!) and I'm looking forward to squeezing in some time this weekend to pore over the recipes and start making a shopping list for ingredients I don't have yet. :)

    • ecogranny profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      @Margaret Schindel: I hope you enjoy it as much as I have mine. I've made quite a few of the recipes, and familiar enough with some to play with them a bit.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      OK, I'm sold! Ordering the book from this lens right now. :)

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Watching the video really shows you how easy it is to make.

    • ecogranny profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @David Stone1: Given baking is a science, I agree. : )

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      This information convinces me there should be a Nobel-type prized for baking.

    • ecogranny profile image
      Author

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      @Diana Wenzel: I did the same thing. Too many good lenses all over the site! Thank you for visiting. I don't know how you find these new lenses so fast.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      This is one of the cookbooks I have been checking out. I want to start making my own bread. Your photos make me want to start tonight! I'll have to come back to leave a like. Reached my limit for the day. Excellent review.

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