FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Our best inspirations come from reader questions, and we’ve enjoyed answering them since starting this blog to support our books in 2007.  Click on any of the questions below– these are the ones that seem to be on a lot of bakers’ minds.  If you’re having a problem with one of our recipes, breeze through these FAQs first.  If you can’t find an answer in the FAQs, click on any “Comments” field adjoining a “post” here on the website (doesn’t have to be related to the content underneath).  Please tell us which book you’re working from, and which recipe and page number:

I posted a comment to this site but it hasn’t appeared. What happened?

Contest and Giveaway Rules

Convection oven: Any adjustment needed?

Dense or gummy crumb: What am I doing wrong?

Flour varieties: Do I need to adjust the liquids when I use different kinds of white flour?

Freezing the dough: Can I do it?

Fresh-ground grains: can I use them with this method?

Gluten-Free Frequently Asked Questions (GF FAQs)

Gray color on my dough: Is there something wrong?

High-altitude baking: How do I adjust the recipes for high-altitude?

Incorporating dried fruit, nuts, or herbs into stored dough: How do I do it?

Larger loaves: What adjustments are needed?

Left the dough on the counter overnight! Can I still use it?

Measuring flour by volume: How we measured when we tested the recipes (scoop-and-sweep)

Missing instructions and missing recipes: Some of the web-based recipes don’t have everything I need to make the bread, and others are missing from the website altogether

Nutrition content: How can I calculate it?

Photographs: Can I post pictures to this website?

Privacy Policy

Refrigerator rise trick: The formed loaves or rolls rise overnight and are ready for the oven the next day

Rising: My shaped loaves don’t seem to rise much before it’s time for the oven.  What am I doing wrong?

Salt: Can I decrease the amount of salt in the recipes?  How do I adjust for different kinds of salt?

Sourdough starter: Can I use it with this method?

Steam alternatives: How do I create a steam environment for a great crust when my oven doesn’t trap steam well?

Stone broke! What did I do wrong?

Storing bread: What’s the best way to do it?

Traditional recipes: How can they be converted to the ABin5 method?

Underbaked! My loaf didn’t bake through to the center.  What am I doing wrong?

Web use: Can I use your recipes on my own website, in my class, or in a publication?

Weighing ingredients instead of using cup measures: How do you do it?

Whole grain flours and vital wheat gluten: How do you use them?

Whole grain flours and doughs without vital wheat gluten: How do those work?

Yeast: Can it be decreased in the recipes?

2,497 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Thanks for your response… I did read the ‘flour varieties’ section of your FAQ before sending my question, but I what I am saying is the opposite to what you are saying. You say on the website under ‘flour varieties’ that Canadian flour varieties need more water, however what I am saying is that the flour I am using needs less water, and therefore a higher flour to water ratio. You suggest using more water, whereas I find I am need of much less water. I need 7.5 cups of flour instead of 6.5 flour. I find it is already too wet, so the solution wouldn’t be to add more water, but rather more flour. I’m sorry if my question doesn’t seem clear.

    • Sorry, I did misunderstand. Unfortunately though, I have no idea why it’s behaving this way, and this flour isn’t available for me to test. I’d just adjust the water as needed so the dough looks like what’s in our videos. But should probably check your measurment style if you’re doing it by cup-measures (volume); see my video on this at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/04/28/how-we-measure-our-flour-using-the-scoop-and-sweep-method

      • Canadian here. I find that reducing the flour by 1/2 cup and staying with the liquid volume works for most Canadian brands, i.e Robin Hood Unbleached All Purpose Flour. Roger’s seems to work the best though. You need a fairly wet dough and for me that does the trick, keeping in mind that humidity is also a variable.

    • I’ve discovered how great your Thanksgiving apple caramel bread is–I’ve made two for my son. It has such a pretty presentation and it tastes amazing I was wondering if I can enter this in our county fair. I also do the main dough and add roasted garlic and calimartri olives–I’d like to enter them as well.

      • Sure! (we always appreciate a recipe credit to our books or website, and please don’t print, distribute, or web-publish our recipes).

  2. Ok, thanks. That might be it. I haven’t been doing the scoop and sweep method. I’ve been a little more casual with my measuring. Any way, love the bread and the blog!

  3. Hi, my bread did not really rise during the proofing or baking. Great taste, great texture, amazing crunchy crust but I drew a line around my loaf on the parchment and it just never got bigger. Do you have any suggestions?

  4. Just amazed at how well this book works for me so far. The whole family just loves the products.

    One question. Any way to be able to make thinner slices than I can. I find the bread I make too hard to slice with my serrated knife. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks for the great revelation this book brought us.

    • Hi Randall,

      Are you making the Master recipe from ABin5?

      Is your oven gas or electric?

      Are you using a baking stone? If so, I find that if preheat the stone a bit longer, up to 60 minutes for a really thick stone and also let the dough rest 30 minutes longer, I get a thinner crust. It is still crisp, but not as thick. Because of the longer rise and thorough preheat of the stone, you can often get away with a shorter baking time. Make sure your oven runs true to temperature with an oven thermometer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. Book: New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
    Recipe: Master Recipe

    You guys say for the first 2 days keep lid vented in the fridge, but everytime I do that, my dough forms this disgusting hard crust on top. How can I avoid this? I have to pick off almost half the dough in order to use it…

  6. Can all of the recipes in your book “The New Artisan Bread” be baked in a small cast iron mini round baker such as the Lodge 6 inch? Also can I let them rise in them or do they have to be preheated? Thank you.

  7. I posted earlier and Zoe had asked a follow up question but it seems to have been deleted for some reason.

    Here is a picture of the crumb:

    My question is if that is how you would expect the master recipe boule to look like (from the New Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day book).

    It has a slighty sticky texture to it, and a bit spongy. Very far away from a normal white bread that is soft and fluffy.

    I live in Miami, FL, so it is very humid here, so here are the exact proportions I used in the recipe and method:

    6.5 cups of King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour
    3.5 cups tap water 95F
    2 teaspoons fleischmann’s active dry yeast
    1.5 tablespoons kosher coarse salt

    The dough rises very well when first setup. After a few days in the fridge with the top slightly open, I pull out a 1lb chunk and do the gluten cloak, and then let it rest for an hour. Oven with stone and broiler preheated during that time.

    Dust with flour, slash dough, put in oven and drop in cup of boiling water into broiler. Cook for 30 minutes and remove. It is well browned and bread crackles while on cooling rack for 2 hours.

    So I just want to know if I got the intended result and if not what I need to do to fix. Thanks!

    • Hi David,

      Well, I have to say that people try for years to get an open crumb like that! :) It is what we call a “custard” crumb and it is very desireable in the artisan bread baking circles. But, if the dough feels a touch wet, you may want to let it rest just a bit longer (90 minutes) before baking and let it bake a few minutes longer. It looks just a touch dense along the bottom crust, so you may need to preheat your stone a little longer too. Otherwise it looks really perfect to me.

      Cheers, Zoë

      • Thank you so much for your feedback. I am glad that I am in the right direction. :)

        I use wax paper to get the dough in, and remove it after 20 minutes, but the bottom always is a bit pale because of that. I tried with corn meal but didn’t like the flavor it imparted, and using flour I had to put a lot to get it to slide which was a problem too. One of the areas of my baking game that needs work is the transfer.

        I will try for a quicker removal of the wax paper, maybe in 5 or 10 minutes into baking, once the loaf has risen in the oven.

        I also will do a 90 minute rest and cook it for 5-10 minutes and perhaps take the temperature too.

        Thanks again!

    • Hey, I am no expert, but to reduce the pale bottom, a longer preheat to get a hotter stone along with using parchment paper (instead of wax) may help. Good luck!

  8. Sorry I mispoke. I am using parchment paper, not wax.

    My preheat is an hour long, with stone at bottom of the oven. I have an oven thermometer inside which I use to verify as well.

    • Hi David,

      You’ll want to give the bread at least 15 minutes before opening the oven door, since this is the amount of time the steam needs to do its work. The bottom crust also needs a bit of time to really set before you’ll want to move it around. 15 minutes should do the trick.

      If you have a particularly large oven you may need to turn the heat up to 475° to get the color on the crust that you are looking for. My oven is large and I often have to increase the heat, but Jeff’s oven is smaller and creates a more intense heating environment.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Ok, good to know. Thanks again. Awesome to have advice from the author! Keep up the good work.

      • You’re so welcome David,

        It is great to see you getting so into baking the bread, so we’re happy to help!

        Cheers, Zoë

  9. After the two hour initial rise, my dough looks dry (although feels sticky and wet to the touch), and doesn’t spread and conform to the container. Do I need to add more water, and can I add more at this point or will it ruin the dough since it has already risen some? How wet should it be after I mix all the ingredients?

    • Hi Pete,

      What type of flour are you using? Different brands have different protein contents and absorb water differently, so this may be the issue with your dough. You can add more water, but I would recommend watching our videos to get a sense of what the dough should look like.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • I used Pillsbury all purpose flour, and even made a new batch and had the same problem, when I tried to take some dough out it just broke off, so I added some water and let it sit like you say to do in the instruction page, but still no luck. So this time I bought Gold Medal flour and a new kitchen scale, and am giving it one more shot with as close to your recipe as possible, weighing the ingredients and hope for the best. I thought maybe my yeast was dead so I bought some fast rise yeast as well. I live in the Chicago area and the weather is pretty stable as well, that is to say my kitchen isn’t particularly humid or dry either. Thanks for the fast response!

      • Hi Pete,

        When dough just breaks off when you pull it up, it is generally because the dough is too dry or the dough is very cold. If your refrigerator runs cold it will make the dough seem brittle. If that is the case you can shape the dough and let it rest an extra 30 minutes before baking and it all seems to work out.

        Let me know how it goes with the new flour, although Pillsbury should work as well.

        Thanks, Zoë

    • Success!! Tried again and it worked perfectly. I actually think my problem was the yeast, and this batch was with new yeast, but regardless, I have a perfect loaf of bread. Thanks for the help Zoe, you guys rock!

  10. Hi Zoe. For us to understand better, do you mind letting us know how large your oven is, and how small Dr J’s is? THanks!

  11. I recently purchased your new bread in 5 book as well as the pizza and flat bread book and I am thrilled. I have been using the Anitmo Caputo red bag flour for a while now with Jim Lahey’s recipes. I have had to tweek them but they work beautifully for the boule, brioche, and herb breads that I make and sell at small grocery stores in my area. Your book is the first that I’ve found that addresses that “00” flour and I thank you. I will let you know how my new creations turn out using your recipes.

  12. I have access to a commercial convection oven for a bake sale. Would the same adjustments apply. Would I need to adjust time for multiple loaves?

    Do they hold steam better or should I still use water or dutch ovens?

    • Commercial ovens usually have a steam-injector function— if not, all bets are off in terms of the crust. You’d have to try water in a pan (but I bet it’ll blow out), or the dutch oven method.

      Otherwise, I’m guessing same adjustments. But watch them carefully…

  13. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    For the awesome Rosemary Crescent rolls…

    1. If I wanted to make them garlicky, how would you recommend I prepare and incorporate fresh garlic (or would powdered spice work? How?)

    2. Do you think sprinkling grated Parmesan would be ok on the inside before rolling? Or some other way?

    Any other adjustments to make these work with garlic?

    Thanks in advance for your continued support!

    PS: I usually use Olive Oil dough when making these 😀

  14. Hi Zoe,
    I have just baked my very first loaf of bread based on your recipe and online classes!
    However, my loaf had the yeast taste and was not very “aired”, with holes.
    How high should the rack be placed from the oven fire?
    Thank you!

    • Have you tried the low-yeast variation (see our FAQs tab above and click on “Yeast: can it be decreased in the recipes?”

      Did you find this flavor to be a problem only after you aged the dough for a longer period?

      And did you try a longer resting time (90 min?) to get better hole structure?

      Finally, which recipe are you talking about (which book, page number?)? Which online class? What brands of flour are you using?

      • Hi!
        Thank you so much for getting back to me!
        My apologies for not giving many details.
        I am referring to the very basic recipe and Zoe’s online class on Crafty website. AS for the brands of flour, my reference will not help since I live in Brazil.
        I will try a longer resting time and see what happens.
        Well, for a first try, it wasn’t so bad! I just wanted my loaf to be like the ones in the pictures…
        I will keep trying!

      • Ah, so you don’t have access to the U.S. flours we tested with. Protein levels vary all over the world with local flours, so you’re going to have to adjust the water level until the dough looks as close to what Zoe gets in the video as possible. But– as I understand it, most South American flours have lower protein– so the hole structure may be difficult to duplicate.

  15. Jeff or Zoe,

    A friend I gave your cookbook to has a question. She said the top of dough in the refrigerator always get very hard and she has had to throw it way. Can you tell what is causing this so I can help her.

    With thanks,

    • Hard to say, but in general, you can bake with the stuff that seems leathery. Not if it’s gone too far.

      Try for less ventilation with the container, or a smaller container. Which recipe are you working from (which book, what page number?)?

      • Hi Jeff,
        First thanks you for your quick response. I cannot begin to express how much I have learned from you and Zoe.

        Master Recipe pg. 53 and Deli Style Rye bread on pg 111 from you new Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day book.

        Thanks again for your kindness,

      • Great– both of those are examples of our typical doughs, and should do well with the suggestions I made the other day.

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