4 loaves, slightly less than 1 pound each
5 minutes (plus refrigeration and rest time) prep, 30 minutes cooking, At least 6.25 hours total
One of the things we added to this new edition of our first book is the ability to increase the whole grains in the basic loaf, so here's a rustic round loaf that's nearly half whole wheat. Dip it in rustic soup and throw together for a fantastic weeknight meal. 

-Jeff Hertzberg

Prep time and yield: Each loaf will average 5 minutes of active preparation time because you'll store enough dough in the refrigerator to make 4 loaves over the next 10 days, slightly less than 1 pound each.

  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, about 100ºF (25 oz./710g)
  • 1 package granulated yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt (can decrease to 1 tablespoon to taste)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, measured by the "scoop-and-sweep" method (17 oz./490g)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour, measured by the "scoop-and-sweep" method (13 1/2 oz./385g)
  • Cornmeal or parchment paper 
1. Mixing and storing the dough: In a 5-quart container or bowl, mix yeast, water, and salt. Add the flours, then use a wooden spoon, stand mixer, or high-capacity food processor to mix until uniformly moist. This will produce a loose dough.

2. Cover with a lid (not airtight). Allow to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.

3. The dough can be shaped and baked the day it's mixed, or refrigerated in a lidded container (not completely airtight) or a bowl loosely covered with plastic wrap for up to 10 days. The dough will be easier to work with after at least 3 hours refrigeration.

4. On baking day, sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-sized) piece of dough. Cover the remaining dough and refrigerate for up to 10 days -- flavor will develop during storage. 

5. Prepare a pizza peel with cornmeal or parchment paper. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough. Sprinkling with more flour to prevent sticking, shape a smooth ball with your hands by gently stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating as you go. Shaping should take no more than 20 to 40 seconds.

6. Place dough on prepared pizza peel and allow to rest 40 to 90 minutes. The longer rest will give you larger holes and an airier loaf, but it may not rise much during this time. If you rest longer than 40 minutes, cover loosely with plastic wrapped or an overturned bowl. 

7. 30 minutes before baking, preheat a pizza stone near the center of oven to 450º F, with a metal broiler pan on a low rack.  

8. When the dough has rested, dust the top liberally with flour, then use a serrated knife to slash a 1/2-inch-deep cross.

9. Slide the loaf off the peel and onto the baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot water into metal broiler tray and close oven door.

10. Bake about 30 minutes, or until crust is richly browned and firm to touch. Allow to cool completely before eating.

From The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (more recipes and tips at BreadIn5.com). © 2013, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois, adapted from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press). The authors answer questions at BreadIn5.com.