Ratio-Based Bread Baking

We bake our bread at home daily.  My friends say “If I had your time…”  I don’t have any more time than any other working mom who does a million extra things.  What I do have is a secret recipe and a process.  I make the bread dough at night, let my KitchenAid Mixer do all the work while I get ready for bed, and pop it in the oven in the morning while I drink coffee.

You can, too!

The “five minutes or less” refers to your active work time.  The bread, naturally, will rise on it’s own. Measure, mix, and let sit.  Easy as pie… or bread!  This is even easier than going to the store and buying the bread, but better yet, baking bread gives you status.

“Wow!” people say.  You rise to a whole new level when people see you doing this.  “If I had your time,” they’ll say.  Secret is, they do… but we’re not going to tell them.  Let’s look like rockstars instead.

But wait–there’s more… this recipe is adapted from Chef Michael Ruhlman’s techniques in his book Ratio.  It’s a fantastic book for you and your class because it outlines the use of mathematics in life.

Although industrial bread can be less expensive in the store, and this site’s all about cheap, the bonus here is you can bake the size loaves you need, slice them and freeze to avoid waste.  And the taste is so much better!


  • A kitchen scale. Baking is a science, not a creative art. You must be precise.
  • Mixer with good dough hook. This is optional.
  • Pizza or baking stone. This is optional, but helps retain heat and give that bakery feel.


  • 20 oz (by weight) King Arthur bread flour
  • 12 oz (by weight) room temperature water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1.5 tsp salt

Note:  This is a ratio.  Play with the math and get the quantity of dough that’s perfect for you!


  • Put all the ingredients into your bowl and mix with the dough hook until it forms a smooth ball.
  • When done, take the dough out spread a bit of olive oil on the bottom of the same bowl so dough won’t stick.
  • Return dough to bowl.
  • Cover with plastic wrap or a flour sack cloth.

Go to sleep: 

  • When you wake up, preheat oven as hot as it will go–450, 500 if you won’t burn the place down.
  • Form into a pseudo-loaf shape.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes.
  • Cool on a rack.

Total work time–about 3-5 minutes.  Total multitasking time: 1/2 hour.

Make a loaf every day! Since this is a ratio, if you need more or less bread, just do the math. You can also double the recipe and put half in the fridge–it’ll just proof longer and taste a bit more like sourdough. Dough can be frozen, too, but needs to be at room temp before baking.