Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bucket Bread!

So, I'd seen these folks, an M.D. and a professional baker, hawking their wares on daytime T.V.: a "five minute" artisan bread recipe that you mix in a bucket and leave in your fridge for up to two weeks, swiping some every time you want to pop a loaf in the oven.  It marinated in my subconscious for months.  

Then, a chef I adore blogged about making their pizza dough from their newest book (which focuses on pizza), AND she shared that she used an amazing kitchen tool to mix the dough.  

*Subconscious trigger pulled, firing wildly in the conscious* 

OK, it's high time to give this a try.  The early birthday present to myself arrived on Friday.  My son was sick, so he napped all afternoon, and even though I'd been up since 5:00 a.m. with him I couldn't help myself.  

I opened the boxes.

Book, Danish Dough Whisk (this thing is awesome) and Big Buckets with Lids

 Danish Dough Whisk, Made in Poland :-)

I (quietly!) scrubbed the new buckets and the whisk, and readied the ingredients to make the "Master" dough, a Boule (artisan free-form loaf).

It only involves FOUR ingredients: warm water, yeast, salt and flour.  The Master recipe is here on the author's website!  

Put everything in your bucket (warm water and yeast first, followed by flour and salt) and stir with your Danish Dough Whisk (really, this is one of the best kitchen tools I have ever used!) The dough whisk really incorporates the dough so well with minimal effort and minimal sticking (if you used a plain wooden spoon, this very wet dough would have stuck all over it).

Mix dough until dry and wet ingredients are well incorporated.
This gloppy mess is correct! It is how you want it to look.

Now, cover and let it rise for 2-5 hours at room temperature.  The dough will rise high up!  Mine went up to the five quart line, which I think is standard.  It is really fun to watch it rise.  Here it is at about one hour:
It will come back down to this level once it's in the fridge for a while, too.

Once it's done rising, put it in the fridge.  Now you can make bread anytime you want, for up to two weeks!

So, since we got an inch of ice last night instead of snow, we were stuck in the house.  Time for a trial loaf of Bucket Boule!

You must let the loaf "rest" (this is basically your second rise, the first rise being the bucket rise) before baking.  This can be a long time depending on the loaf (min is 20 min, max is somewhere near 2 hours).

Both crumb and crust were excellent.  Tasted exactly like Whole Food's boule which costs $6 (or used to, I haven't shopped there for a long time! I'm engaged to Wegmans and gettin' some on the side with Trader Joe's.).  We ate the whole thing this morning! And, I have dough for three more loaves in the fridge.

The book will pay for itself in three loaves :-)  Or, it will be free from the library if you can find it!

P.S. Baking these breads obviously does NOT take five minutes (and I didn't expect that it would since I am familiar with traditional bread recipes, but other folks would have no idea!).  No part of it takes five minutes.  Mixing it was extremely fast, maybe about 10 minutes, and then you have that initial rise for the 2-5 hours.  But THEN when you want to make your bread, you still need to give that loaf time to rise once you form it.  And you still need to bake it (however long the recipe says).  The time you save with this technique is to remove the first two steps of bread making: mixing the dough and the first rise.  After you make the initial batch, you no longer have to do these steps, you just start with the bucket dough.  It's fantastic, but not five minutes.  At all.  Ever.  Just had to say that.

Oh, and I also made some other stuff today. 



  1. I love love love this book. The bread is even better as it ripens. It gets a little sourdoughish. I can't remember if I read it in the book or online, but when you make your next batch, don't wash all they leftover little bits of dough out. They just enhance your next batch.

    1. What other recipes do you like, Tami? They all look great to me. I just came back from the store and got a bunch of different flours (semolina, rye, more AP and more cornmeal!).

      Thanks for the tip! I thoroughly read the first 30 pages, and am familiar with how to age/ferment dough, so I will definitely not be washing the bucket again, probably ever :-) Also, I found out a bunch more tricks on their website, since they figured out a lot more since the books were published (as it always seems to be with cooking & baking!).

      Now, it's just a question of deciding what to make next...since ALL the recipes at once are not an option!


  2. Note to self: Made my second batch of boule bread today, same ingredients, but left it to rise for 3 hours, so it leveled out at 4L. When I put it in fridge, it stayed at 4L rather than dropping down to 2.5. Maybe I only used 5.5 cups of flour in that first batch! It's possible...

  3. The boule looks awesome. I love making bread. I do not make bread nearly enough.

    1. Now that I am on my second batch (I made my fourth loaf today) I am really getting better at it! It's very easy to use this kind of dough if you are home and can take the time to rise a loaf and then bake it.

      And I use a enameled cast iron pot to bake the loaf in which simplifies it even further (no throwing water into the broiler pan thing, which I did with the first two loaves).

      Try it, and just keep doing it, it's worth it!

  4. Bucket bread, that's so cool! I don't know if I'd ever find room in my fridge for that, but I love the idea. Because bread making is pretty easy if you're home to wait for all the rising - it's more a time commitment than an energy one - but this would shave a couple hours off the process. Does it get more flavorful if it's been sitting in the fridge a while?

    1. Yes, basically once you have the bucket of dough, it's about one hour from the fridge to a baked loaf of bread (then you have to let it cool, of course, but it's there!). So, if you are already home making dinner, you can have bread with it very easily. Each kind is different, though, some of the types of bread need a longer rise and longer baking time.

      Yup, it starts to ferment a bit (like a sourdough) as it ages in the fridge, but I don't think you can use it after 2 weeks because it loses structure and air holes over time.

      I thought I couldn't find room in my fridge for the bucket,either, but it's fine in there. You have more room than you think (or at least I did)!