Cornell Bread (and announcing our 3rd book: Artisan Pizza+Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day…)


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(… and a recipe for pitas from so-called “Cornell” dough).  Our third book will be officially released on October 25, 2011, but it’s now available for Pre-Order on Amazon! To view the book’s cover, which is now finalized, click here. It will have pizza and flatbreads from all over the world—plus, the recipes will be complemented with soup, salad, and dip recipes so that these pizzas and flatbreads become the basis of an entire five-minute meal.  As in all our books, the idea is to do all the mixing once, but serve many times from a big batch.  That’s a perfect fit for soups and dips (and you can get a salad ready while your bread’s in the oven).

Turns out that you can make great flatbreads (like the pitas above) using a modification of our Whole Grain Master Recipe (that original appears in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day).  The modification was inspired by “Cornell Bread,” a bread baked from soy-enriched dough originally developed as a vegetarian protein source during World War II.  Many of you have asked us about whether our recipes work with some soy flour— they do…          Return to FAQs page, or scroll down for more on Cornell Pitas…

In the 1940’s, war rationing took hold, and panicky parents began to wonder whether their families were going to be able to meet nutritional needs, especially those with growing children. Back then, most Americans believed that you couldn’t be healthy without eating meat, which was one of the most strictly rationed goods.

Money was also tight; between the ration stamps and dwindling income, Cornell University nutrition professor Clive McKay was motivated to develop a high-protein dough that baked into what became known as “Cornell Bread.” To replace the protein and nutrition people were missing from meat, McKay added non-fat dry milk, wheat germ, and soy flour.  Along with Victory Gardens, “Cornell Bread” was promoted to dutiful families as a way to stretch budgets at a time of national emergency.

Here’s what blows my mind about Cornell Bread: the original is made almost entirely from white flour. McKay understood that Americans still hadn’t embraced the nutritional value (and good taste) of whole grains. White bread was still viewed as the pinnacle of developed bread-cuisine, and he needed something that would be embraced by everyone.

When I saw the original recipe for Cornell Bread, I was struck by how much skim milk powder, wheat germ, and soy flour was needed to make white bread more nutritious. I decided to use McKay’s ideas to create a super-fast, nutritious pita bread, but start with more whole grains so I wouldn’t need as much soy and milk powder.

The Master Recipe in our second book is based mostly on whole wheat flour and other inexpensive ingredients, so I used that as a nutritious and economical basis for Cornell pitas. Because whole wheat is so much more nutritious in the first place, I felt comfortable decreasing the wheat germ, soy flour, and skim milk, letting the grain flavors shine through.

And like all our recipes, stored dough is the key for busy families: if you have the dough mixed and ready to go every day, whenever you need it, you’ll make your own bread as often as you like.

Best news of all: all the ingredients for a four quarter-pound pitas cost less than 70 cents! When you do the math, you’ll see what I mean. Remember that the full batch makes enough dough for over sixteen pita breads. Buy your yeast in bulk or in 3-pound packages to realize the most savings. When you’re done with this quick and inexpensive recipe, you’ll have 4⅓ pounds of dough that will develop lovely sourdough flavors over its 5 days of storage. With our method, you just pull dough out of the storage container as you need it. Because that recipe has no milk, it can be stored for 14 days in the refrigerator. In addition, we go through the steps for forming loaf-shaped breads (Cornell dough can be used similarly).  As you look over this recipe, you’ll also find pictures and instructions from our other pita bread postings (click here).  Or, here, for Turkish-style pita.  And here’s a version done over a hot grill (click here).

5½ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup soy flour
¼ cup non-fat dry skim milk powder
¼ cup wheat germ
1½ tablespoons granulated yeast
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
4¼ cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees F)
1 to 2 tablespoons of whole seed mixture for sprinkling on top crust:  sesame, flaxseed, caraway, raw sunflower, poppy, and or anise
1.  Measure the dry ingredients into a 5-quart bucket or bowl, and whisk them together (you can also use a fork, or if it’s lidded, just shake them well).  Mixing the dry ingredients first prevents the vital wheat gluten from forming clumps once water is added.

2.  Add the water and mix with a spoon to form a wet dough. Cover loosely (leave lid open a crack) and allow to rise for two hours at room temperature.  NEVER PUNCH DOWN or intentionally deflate.  The dough will rise and then begin to collapse.  Refrigerate and use over the next 5 days, tearing off quarter-pound lumps for pitas as you need them, or grapefruit-sized balls if you want to make a loaf bread (see end of recipe for instructions on loaf breads). The dough can be used immediately after the two-hour rise but is easier to handle when cold.

3.  On baking day, pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees for 30 minutes, with a baking or pizza stone on any shelf in the oven. If you don’t have a stone, a cast-iron pan works well.

4.  Cut off a peach-sized piece of dough (about a quarter-pound), using a serrated knife or kitchen shears. Quickly shape into a ball by pulling the top around to the bottom while rotating quarter-turns as you go.  DON’T KNEAD or otherwise overhandle—you don’t want to knock gas out of the dough. Place the dough on a pizza peel or wood cutting board (preferably with a handle). Using a rolling pin and dusting with flour, roll out in a circle-shape to a thickness of 1/8-inch. Use enough flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the board.

5.  Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top with water and sprinkle with seed mixture.  Slide the bread onto the pre-heated stone or cookie sheet and bake for about 5 to 7 minutes and bread is just beginning to brown. Whole grain pitas don’t puff quite as much as white pitas.

6.  Wrap with a clean cotton towel for the softest, most authentic result.  Allow to cool inside the towel.

7.  Split open with a fork and enjoy as a sandwich bread or with dips.

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187 thoughts on “Cornell Bread (and announcing our 3rd book: Artisan Pizza+Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day…)

  1. I’m really looking forward to this book. A local Italian/pizza restaurant has a Thai chicken flatbread that I’d love to be able to duplicate.

  2. Just a curiosity question…. How long do you expect it to take to sell out of the first edition of your book? When do you expect a 2nd edition (with all errors from the first edition corrected) to be available?

    1. Lynn: We’d expect that the first edition will sell out within the first six months, but check with your local bookstore, and if this is important to you, don’t buy online (you can’t tell which edition you’re getting online). Jeff

  3. Will the excitement never end!!!! This is wonderful. I’m participating in the HBin5 Bread Braid. We should be done baking every bread in HBin5 just in time to start on the new book!! Love my ABin5 and HBin5. Thanks, Jeff and Zoe.

  4. I have to wait until 2011???? I want it NOW!!!! (shades of the blueberry girl in Charlie and the Chocol;ate Factory)

    On Chriustmas morning, I made cinnamon buns from the brioche recipe in the ABin5, and my family almost forgot about opening the presents. Here’s a tip: to make the buns more like traditional “sticky buns”: pour some Karo syrup into the pan along with the butter and brown sugar before you put the raw buns on top.

    1. Hi Pat,

      I will give your Karo syrup a try, sounds like a great idea.

      Sorry to make you wait, we have lots of pizza to eat and test, but it is research we are happy to do! 😉

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. Great! I’d love to see a recipe that either uses Italian 00 flour or makes something that works like it for pizza. I love how it stretches, how it puffs when it bakes on the edges, and how it tastes!

    1. Hi Julie,

      I agree! We will be doing a recipe (or two) with the 00 flour and also providing an alternative to it for those who can not get it easily.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. I love both books!!! And I would love to make this Cornell recipe. I had a Cornell recipe from a very old cookbook and it was great. I found an unopened package of Soy Flour that has always been kept in the Freezer and it says best by 1/09 do you think it would be ok to use it? Also, for your 10 grain bread in the new book, can you substitute the Bob’s Red Mill 5 grain cereal? Can’t find 10 grain anywhere here and Publix did not have luck ordering it but they always have the 5 grain. Thanks so much for making Bread making so much fun.

    1. Hi Marcy,

      If you have been storing the soy flour in the freezer I bet it will be just fine to use as long as it was wrapped tight.

      You can substitute the 5 grain cereal with very little difference, if any, in the recipe.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  7. Jeff-

    The sauce is a sticky somewhat sweet sauce with a bit of heat and Thai spices. There are chunks of chicken, whole peanuts, and julienne carrots under the cheese.

    I just ordered one and took pictures. I’ll send the pictures via email.

    The restaurant is in Fox Chapel (outside of Pittsburgh)

    1. Hi Pam,

      The olive oil dough is wonderful and we will incorporate that into some of hte recipes, but there are many others that we are excited about and some techniques that will improve the results!

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. Congrats on the new book. I bet our baking group will be just about ready for it when it’s done. Until then, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and learn about healthy bread baking.

  9. Zoe,
    Since Epithany/Mardi Gras season is coming up soon, I was wondering if you could give us an AB5 recipe for King Cake? I usually make it the old way, which takes forever…Thanks!

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Oh boy, thanks for reminding me about this special bread. I remember people talking about it last year and I meant to give it a try. I will for sure experiment with a recipe and let you know!

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. I have a batch of 10-grain sitting on the counter tonight and wanted to share a tip with you.

    I find the dough MUCH easier to mix if I measure all the dry ingredients out in a separate bowl and whisk them together, then mix about 1/3 of this dry mixture at a time INTO the liquids. This is much easier than mixing the liquid into all of the dry ingredients at once, and I never have dry pockets of dough to deal with. I use a dough whisk which also helps a lot.

    This method does “dirty” another bowl, but one that’s very easy to clean (and since I weigh rather than use measuring cups it’s a good trade off).

    I’m looking forward to trying this loaf. My “10 grain” is really 7 grain cereal from the bulk bin at the local organic market, but I think it will be fine.

    Love your books and ‘ll definitely be one of the first in line for your new “flat breads in five” book!

  11. Hi Zoe & Jeff,
    Love Pita Sandwiches and have to have my Pizza
    fix at least twice a month. New recipes — sounds

    Plan to make Red Beet Buns, page 181, in your
    HB in 5 book. Have you or anyone out there in
    cyber world used these as Hamburger Buns?

    Appreciate all the work you both do to keep us
    in bread heaven.

    1. Mary: People often want a soft-crusted roll for hamburgers, because you bite through it and a crisp crust can be uncomfortable to the roof of your mouth. The Beet buns aren’t super-crispy, but you may find them a little too firm for this purpose. If so, you can soften the result by either adding oil or butter to the liquid ingredients; I’d guess about a quarter-cup swap for water would do the trick, everything else stays the same. Or you could brush the tops with oil or melted butter just before baking.

      See what you think… Jeff

  12. OOOHHH! Will you have a Pizza Blanca recipe? It is my absolute favorite.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you (I know I have thanked you before, but am still thankful) for writing your books. We love them here and so do my neighbors (because I bake them bread). My favorite neighbors got Panettone, some got Pumpkin Oatmeal, and others got fresh hot donuts made with Challah dough.

    What a great topic!

  13. Jan: We’re in favor of anything that makes it seem easier for you– which translates into more homemade bread being baked! Thanks for the tip. Jeff

  14. Can I make the Vollkornbrot: 100%Whole Grain bread using rye berries instead of rye flakes? I am lucky enough to have gotten some from a local farmer. Thanks!

    1. Diane: About Vollkornbrot, yes, go ahead and use the rye berries, but make sure you let this soak together for 24 hours before using the dough. Jeff

  15. Congratulations on your third book–I’m thrilled for you guys! I’d say 95% of the time, we have dough in the fridge and ready to go at a moment’s notice–and it’s all thanks to you, Jeff and Zoe! You’ve changed the way we look at yeast breads–they’re nothing to be afraid of anymore. And best of all, we don’t need to plan our day around baking bread! Our guests enjoyed fresh baked bread all through the holidays and they thought I’d slaved over it. haha!

    These pita breads look and sound perfect for my family–will be sure to whip up a batch soon!

    1. Hi Elle,

      Thank you so much for all of your support, it is wonderful to hear that you are baking so much. It is particularly wonderful to hear that it is such a joy and not at all intimidating. It really is fun. 🙂

      Thanks and Happy New Year! Zoë

  16. What great news, Jeff and Zoe. Pizza and Flatbread — wish we didn’t have to wait so long. Your recipes are great. I made caramel rolls with the brioche dough on Christmas morning. I used the rest of the dough to make the best butter-horn rolls ever. Happy New Year!

  17. Congratulations! The Chicago Sun Times food section published its “Best of 2009” today, and right at the top of the page is Baguettes adapted from your first book. The comments say “absolutely the easiest yeast bread ever…a terrific bread”
    Praise well deserved!!

    1. Hi Hilary,

      Thank you for letting us know, it is very exciting that they listed our book in the best of! 🙂

      Happy New Year! Zoë

  18. I am new to your method, and just baked my first loaf of HBin5 last night. Can’t wait for the new book I almost jumped for joy at my desk.
    Congratulations on your sucess, and thanks for sharing such a delicious idea, it has changed my world.

  19. PFin5 add to ABin5 & HBin5. LOVE IT!!! Yippee & wahoo. And I like the idea of a scatter of recipes to “go w/” the breads.

    Do you recommend any particular seeds or seed combo for the above recipe? Yes….I know I can put on what I want. And it’s an opportunity to really taste different seeds. See what they bring to the bread.

    Now that I’ve got the bunch from the combo from HBin5 Master Recipe, I will try the individuals.

    All that said……what do Y’All like?

    1. Thanks Helen!

      I love the pita with sesame and black sesame seeds. They have a deeper, smoky flavor. Another favorite is a za’atar mixture.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  20. Wow! I love the first 2 books, and have used the Olive Oil bread for pizza dough with great success, too. We love flat breads, make pizza every Friday, and are really looking forward to next year’s book!

  21. Speaking of flatbreads, I tried Msemmen today. The flavor was amazing, but I had a little problem while making it. I rolled out the dough and poured the whole oil-spice mixture on it. When I tried to roll it into a log, I noticed that there was way too much oil, which ended up spilling out. It seemed like there was 2 or 3 times too much oil. Is the mixture supposed to be split among two or three flatbreads, or am I doing something wrong?

  22. The Cornell-style recipe requires three ingredients that I don’t currently stock in my kitchen (soy flour, milk powder, and wheat germ), so I’m naturally a little skeptical. How will the results improve if I use this recipe? Thanks!

  23. Thanks, Jeff, for telling me when to expect the 2nd printing of the book.

    I can’t wait to get the 2nd book, and I’m already look forward to the 3rd. I typically use the boule recipe from the 1st book for pizza dough. It work just fine. I like to grind my own grain, too, so I expect that I’ll soon begin making more breads from book 2.

    On Christmas Day, I used the Challah recipe from book 1 to make monkey bread. I had leftover dough that I’d planned to use later, but an accident necessitated the leftover dough being thrown away! Boo-Hoo! I was really looking forward to using that. Not to worry, too much. I’ll just quickly mix up another batch! Thanks for making it so easy to try lots of different kinds of bread. I was used to making one kind, and your books have given me lots of different options!

    Thanks so much!

    Shout out to John Davies who must live in the Pittsburgh area (I live in Westmoreland County). GO STEELERS!!

  24. I received HBin5 for Christmas and have my first batch of the master dough bubbling away on my counter. I’ll bake tomorrow. It’s New Year’s Eve after all.

    Question… I was a little confused. You wrote above ” When you’re done with this quick and inexpensive recipe, you’ll have 4⅓ pounds of dough that will develop lovely sourdough flavors over its 5 days of storage. With our method, you just pull dough out of the storage container as you need it. Because that recipe has no milk, it can be stored for 14 days in the refrigerator.”…. did I miss something? Is the 14 days for the master recipe and the 5 days for the Cornell mix flatbread? Logic tells me so, but clarification needed. thanks.

  25. I just got the first book and am looking forward to trying all the recipes, but I have a question about the non-stick loaf pans. I try to avoid non-stick products, is there any alternative? Has anyone tried lining the pans with parchment paper? Thanks for the book. I have my first batch in the fridge right now and I look forward to never buying bread again.

  26. Happy New Year Everyone!
    Congratulations Jeff & Zoe on your new book. I just got the 2nd one and it will most likely take me all year to get through it. I’m particularly intrigued with the go-togethers in book 3 as well as breaking into a different type of bread.
    Earlier this week I made the Whoe Wheat and Brown Rice bread. I didn’t have any gournd flax seed but I did have about a cup of rye flour left in the bin and used it instead. I had baked brown rice in the fridge and used it. Sometime I make it with chicken broth but I could not remember if I did this time or not but the bread came out wonderful. I made a loaf as well as 2 free-formed and they are so crispy and crunchy and the flavor is great. It also toasts up super. The rye flavor actually came through! I’m looking forward to making some of the fruit and veggie breads. I have a grandson that is really a picky eater…if these breads work out I will pass along to my daughter who is a wonderful cook. We’ll see if we can get more veggies into him.
    Thanks for all that you do for us and I’m sure you will enjoy trying out all the new recipes for the new book.

    1. Rosalie: Love that rice-based bread, I agree- very crunchy in all the right ways. Thanks for all the kind words too, really means a lot. Jeff

  27. Hi it’s me again…I just looked up za’atar and it’s not just a seed mixture but a type of spread and it sounds wonderful. Zoe, would you please elabarate on how you make your version. Wikipedia indicated that in the distant past many of the women in the Middle East didn’t even share their recipes with their daughters so this must be a very special item or at least very individual in nature. Thanks for sharing.

  28. I’ve been enjoying ABin5 for several months, and just got HBin5 for Xmas. Your recipes have changed my world, and my family & friends are terribly impressed! None of my friends bake bread, so I made mini-loaves as part of my holiday gift baskets for them, and they were THRILLED. Thank you so much for making it easy for me to share delicious bread! I am looking for to the next book.

  29. Andrew: The msemmen filling is intended for the one dough round. Maybe you’re not ending up with a large-enough rolled-out dough round? Try just rolling it a little thinner, then the filling will be distributed over a larger surface. If that doesn’t work, just halve the filling ingredients. About the Cornell Bread, those ingredients are just designed to boost nutrition, drop them if you don’t care so much about that and make our regular whole grain Master at

    Annie: Thanks for the kind words!


  30. I had fun on NY eve day making a mushroom “strudel” and then an apple “strudel” from ABin5 brioche dough.

    It was wonderful and easy. I just rolled chilled brioche dough around the fillings and baked. I love the ease and convenience of the AB in 5 doughs!

    One trick was that I reduced the recipe–I only made 1/3 of a batch. Since the original amount calls for 8 eggs, I used only two for a 1/3 batch, on the theory that the dough would be a little less wet and easier to handle, and it worked out fine. The dough was still rich and delicious–it didn’t suffer from the small decrease in egg–and it was very easy to roll out with very little additional flour. And 1/3 of a batch was just right for a good sized mushroom strudel and a small apple strudel (which was more of an afterthought, anyway).

    Gotta love the versatility of this dough. Thanks again, Jeff and Zoe!

    1. Hi Jan,

      That sounds wonderful. We have a whole grain apple strudel in HBin5, and it is wonderful. I am loving the idea of the mushroom strudel and may have to make that for my extended family who is coming for dinner this weekend!

      Thanks, Zoë

  31. Jeff, I rarely watch TV, so I didn’t see you on tv, but I did see the video footage online just after. I’ve been telling all my friends about your book, so I sent the link to the video to all of them.

    Tomorrow’s the big day when we find out if the Steelers will make it to the play-offs. I’m not holding my breath, but I’ve got my fingers crossed REALLY hard.


  32. I would like to make several different doughs to send back with my daughter to college so she can bake them as needed. You reference once that the dough can be frozen. Is there any helpful hints on thawing and care? What shelf life will it have? I love your new book. Louis

    1. Hi Louis,

      I’ve had the best luck freezing dough that is not too old. Allow the dough to have its initial rise and then refrigerate immediately for a few hours, then wrap in one pound packets and freeze. When she is ready to use the dough let it sit in the refrigerator over night and use as if it came from the bucket. You can freeze the dough for about 3 weeks.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  33. Thanks for giving us a preview of the new book. I’m curious, have you calculated the nutritional info on the Cornell dough?

    I just got HBin5 for Christmas and can’t wait to try it out. I love this site as it always inspires me to be more creative. Thanks for the books and for supporting this site as well – these are the best and most useful cookbooks I’ve ever owned (and my family has a large collection so that’s saying something).

    Happy New Year,

  34. Made a whole wheat and wheat germ challah today from dough I mixed up yesterday – it was delicious – planning to use the dough to make some challah rolls tomorrow. Have you tried baking this dough in a loaf pan – it had a great texture and seems as though it would make a good toasting loaf. FYI, the double egg wash tip did help with the shine.

  35. The new book sounds like it will be my favorite (I have both your books) My son just finished leftover ham on the whole wheat brioche and says it was the best ham sandwich he ever ate! Gave several loaves of the master recipe to friends for Christmas and they were shocked that it was homemade.

    1. CC: running joke at our house is that we serve the best tuna sandwich in Mpls!

      Assume you know we have a Zaatar flatbread recipe in 1st book?

  36. Jeff, (and Lynn)
    I’m also from Westmoreland County and I saw you on KDKA while my son was getting his wisdom teeth out, fortunately you came on while I was still in the waiting room, of course I had to tell everyone else in the room how wonderful and simple your recipe is. I think I made about 40 loaves the first few weeks I had the book!
    Zoe and Rosalie, my Jordanian friends introduced me to Zataar, break off pieces of the flatbread dip in olive oil and then in the spice mix and eat, it’s wonderful!

  37. looking forward to your new book!

    I’ve been putting non-instant powdered milk into baked goods to boost nutrition since reading Adele Davis’ “Let’s Cook It Right” back in the 60’s. Unfortunately it’s gotten very expensive–over $5/# last time I checked. So it’s good to hear that you have been able to adapt the Cornell recipe to whole grain flour using less of the milk.

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