Master Recipe for White-Flour dough: Great coverage in “The Week” Magazine, but there was one little problem…


Our book had great coverage in “The Week” magazine on April 18th (page 30 in the paper version).  But their version of our recipe has you throwing in 4 cups of water, rather than the correct 3 cups (see the fine print on the right, above).  Please use 3 cups, or you’ll have pancake batter!  The correct version of our basic recipe in the book (page 26) is:

3 cups  lukewarm water

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (can decrease to 1 tablespoon if you prefer the flavor of slower-risen doughs)

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt (adjust to your taste)

6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Cornmeal for the pizza peel

And then, you know the drill.  Mix with a spoon in a food-safe bucket, let it rise at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours, then into the fridge for two weeks.  Tear off chunks, shape, rest, and bake as needed.  And you all know you can decrease the yeast ( and the salt if you like it.  Details in the book.

But there it is, pretty much.

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195 thoughts on “Master Recipe for White-Flour dough: Great coverage in “The Week” Magazine, but there was one little problem…

  1. A newspaper article about your book that contained the master recipe was posted on a food forum that I read quite often. I love making the no knead bread but your concept really intrigued me. To think of having dough ready to bake in the fridge whenever I want bread sounded amazing. So I went shopping for a nice big container and started a batch. Made a loaf last night and it was fantastic. Bought the book after supper. I’m really looking forward to trying your other recipes and ideas. Thank you so much — bread making has never been so much fun!

  2. Hi Bonnie,

    Thanks for writing! I’m so glad you are enjoying the bread and now the book.

    I look forward to hearing about your experience with some of the other breads!


  3. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I love your book. The brioche is next on my list, but after the 5 pounds the challah left with me, I may need to workout for a week, first. I read on another blog, that the brioche is good made into little rolls, served warm, split, with dark chocolate inside.
    Can’t wait!
    Thank you jeff & Zoe for a great book.

  4. Kristy: Was yours the knitting blog where we decided to adopt the slogan “bread is the new knitting”?

    Not to take anything away from knitting!

    Thanks so much for your comments. That brioche dough is very, very versatile, let us know how you make out. Jeff

  5. Hello from Israel.

    I just found your interesting and raved-about technique online and want to try it out myself.

    Only thing is – I’m not sure what type of yeast the recipe calls for (as here when we say “granulated” yeast we refer to a type of fresh yeast).

    Looking at the amount of flour used my guess would be you meant dry yeast (sometimes called instant yeast), i.e. the type not necessarily kept in the fridge. Is this correct?

    Many thanks!

  6. Welcome Shimrit,

    Yes, you are right, we are referring to dry yeast.

    You can use fresh yeast but you have to use much more of it than we call for in the recipe.

    Have fun and let us know how you like the bread!

    Thanks, Zoë

  7. Hi there. I bought am on my second order of books. I love how easy the recipes are. My favorite is pita, which requires no time to rise and is really delicious. I am craving a recipe for walnut bread and was wondering if it would be as easy as adding walnuts to the olive oil bread?

  8. Elise: Thanks for buying all those books, you’re the best!

    As they say in the commercials, “Just Do It!” Either mix in the coarsely chopped (or even halved) nuts with the mixing water, or roll them in as we do with other add-ins in the book. It may take a little more resting time and baking time. Jeff

  9. Hello again.

    This is just to say I have tried the basic recipe and the bread came out very tasty. The only thing I would like to improve is the crust -could you give me a tip as to how to make the crust crustier? It was kind of soft even slightly rubbery – I heated the oven well before putting the bread in and I poured water in it. Any advice on this?(It was still very good, don’t get me wrong)

    By now, I have ordered your book from Amazon but it takes a while to ship all the way over here.

  10. It may be that your oven isn’t well-sealed; in that case you can try alternative methods to create the steam environment:

    1. Bake in a pre-heated, closed cast-iron pan

    2. Cover with an aluminum roasting pan, which also traps the steam.

    3. Spray well with water from a food-grade sprayer, at the start of baking and then every couple of minutes, for a total of three sprayings.

    Have you checked your oven temperature? Jeff

  11. Hi Jeff.
    I’m pretty sure the oven was hot enough, but will certainly pay extra attention next time. It hasn’t occurred to me that the oven could not be sealed well – that’s a good point. Thanks for all of your tips, I appreciate it. Can’t wait to look at your book up close and personal!

  12. Holly: Welcome to our site! Great minds think alike. Our next book, “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” will be released in 12/09 and will have a chapter on gluten-free breads. The material isn’t ready to be excerpted on the website at the moment, so hang in there with us… Jeff

  13. Hi,
    I just came across your book and had to order it right away!I’m german so the hardest part about living in the States is finding good bread.Although I have found good bread by now, there’s nothing like good bread right out of the oven.One thing I haven’t been able to find is “Broetchen” I don’t know if either of you has ever been in Germany to taste one of the many versions,I’d be happy with just the plain basic version, nice& crusty outside and soft inside.Any ideas on how to make it with your dough?Or should I have waited to get the book before posting this?I’m very excited so I hope the book gets here quickly.Thanks for any help,

  14. Greetings! I just ordered your book and am looking forward to it. I have been experimenting w/ baking my own bread for a while now and am intrigued by your method.

    I am having a problem getting my bread to brown in my oven though. Does anyone have any idea why that would be? The loaf will be cooked through just not browned on top.

  15. Are you using a stone? And a water bath? Both make for a the great brown crust. And test your oven temp too… May be too cool.

  16. Thanks Jeff. I’ll be sure to try all those things. Just got my copy of the book today and look forward to trying this.

  17. found your website through DPL and have never, ever baked bread, mainly because I thought I would need a lot of time, which I don’t have. I am going out to get the pail and your book and will try this over the weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  18. Hi!

    I found your recipe this weekend and had to try it right away. I’ve never baked before though, and I think my inexperience may have gotten the better of me.

    When I combined the warm water and flour, the resulting mixture was so dry and flaky that quite a bit of dry, unabsorbed flour was left. (I think I may have added the flour too slowly? Or possibly the water temp was wrong?)

    I went ahead with the process anyway, and it seemed that after refrigerating, the mixture became more dough-like and much of the excess flour was absorbed (everywhere but the exposed surface).

    After baking, the result was promising, but not quite perfect. I’m going to try again later this week, and I plan to buy the book soon to try my luck with other variations, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to what I may have done wrong? I’m determined to get it right!

    Thank you!

  19. Hi Beth,

    It sounds like your dough may have been too dry, and therefore you can just add a couple tablespoons more water. What kind of flour did you use? Some brands have more protein and absorb more water than others.

    it may also be that you just didn’t mix it all together well enough. If mixing with a spoon seems like too much work you can certainly do it in a stand mixer.

    You should just dump all of the flour in at once and stir it up. If you add it a little at a time that last addition of flour will be very hard to mix in.

    Thank you for trying the bread. Happy baking! Zoë

  20. Okay, I did exactly what you said – measured all the flour first and dumped it in at once – and it worked perfectly!

    Thanks so much for the advice, I can’t wait to start trying out other recipes in the book!

  21. Tasted your fabulous bread this past weekend by a friend in Philly. As a weekend bread maker, your recipe will free up my weekends and give my family fresh hot bread during the week! I can’t wait until my own book arrive.

  22. I made my first boule loaf and it is divine but too small for my family of two. WIll it take twice as long to bake if I double it? thanks so much!

  23. Am ordering your book but don’t want to wait to try the recipe. What temperature do I bake at and how long? This sounds like it could be my budget saver.

  24. Hi Joan,

    The sugar does feed the yeast and may make the initial rise go faster, but it isn’t essential to the process. The yeast will get plenty of food from the flour itself.

    Thank you, Zoë

  25. I have heard that instead of spending $15 of $20 on a baking stone, you can use an unglazed Saltillo quarry tile at about $1 for a square foot tile. Do you agree?

  26. Ann: James Beard advocated it in Beard on Bread, now a very old book. Many people do it; my problem is that I can’t vouch for the food safety of an industrial product.

    The other problem is that it’s small… tends to be messy because cornmeal or flour goes off the ends and onto the oven floor, where it burns.

  27. I saw this on “Everyday Cheapskate and I’m dying to try it. New to baking bread, so I do have a nice pizza stone, but what is a “Pizza Peel” also, I have Sea Salt, is this OK, or do you recommend the Kosher? thanks. I’ll let you know how it goes,
    Denise – Massachusetts

  28. as a mother of 6 kids and a writer on all things thrifty – I appreciate any recipe that can save both time and money, this recipe looks like it does both. Look forward to trying it and will report results.

  29. Denise: Pizza peel, see the picture at Sea salt’s fine, but is sometimes less coarse than Moreton Kosher (which we tested with). You may need a lower volume. See what you think of the saltiness and see our post on salt:

    Linda: Major changes if you go with whole wheat. See our 100% whole wheat recipe in the book, and the posts on this at Our 2nd book is really going to focus on whole grains, to be published on 10/27/09.

    Connie: Gluten-free is a completely different ball game, and you can’t just substitute. We’re working on it; there’ll be a dozen or so GF recipes in the new book (stay tuned for 10/27/09 release date).

    Wendy: Let us know! 40 cents per loaf for the ingredients…

  30. Jeff and Zoe, I want to tell you how happy you made about 100 people today. I’m running a free soup and bread lunch program on Mondays and we feed about 100 people a week. We’ve had great bread bakers but they’re unpredictable.

    Today I tried your bread (the wwheat) and it was FABulous. Even though I just mixed up the dough yesterday. I’m about to mix another batch so it has some time to get good and sassy before next Monday’s lunch. (And this time I’ll make a double batch!)

    I thought you were probably stretching the truth with the 5 minute claim, but it took me about 5 minutes to make ALL 4 loaves!!! It generally takes me more time than that to find my keys.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  31. Hi Louella,

    Thank you for the wonderful note and all of the great work you are doing. I’m so pleased that the bread can play a part and ease some of your time!

    Thank you! Zoë

  32. Ezekiel 4:9 mentions wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and emmer. From that list, only wheat and emmer have gluten, which is neccesary for bread to rise. You can certainly use these kinds of ingredients in our method. Check our post on whole grains and the use of vital wheat gluten (; Ezekiel-type ingredients can weigh down a loaf. We’ll be making bread like this in our next book— “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” scheduled for release 10/27/09.

    When you say “allergic,” if you mean wheat allergy, be careful with blends labeled “Ezekiel” because my guess is that most of them have some wheat. And obviously don’t use vital wheat gluten if you’re gluten allergic. Jeff

  33. Jeff,
    Mary Hunt’s e-mail about your bread could not have been more timely. Sunday night, I tryed for the third time making bread from a recipe I found. Needless to say, it came out awful. Early monday morning, I recieved her e-mail on yor book; I ordered it right away. I can’t wait for it to come in…

  34. i just made my first batch of the basic recipe, and i did not put the lid on right away. is that going to make a big difference in how it bakes up later?

    i am so excited, because this was so extremely easy!

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