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 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?

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: the way 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?

Yeast:  can it be decreased in the recipes?

2,258 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Ok…Jeff or Zoe, I have an observation about my “non-stretchy-ness” of my dough that was discussed in my earlier comments.

    Just for fun, I made pizza and master recipe dough and instead of mixing with my dough hook, I used my stand mixer but just barely. I mixed until just “together” (about 2 minutes or so)

    I just pulled a bunch from my bucket and I can immediately tell the difference in stretch…this one stretched just like yours does…about a foot or so and didn’t break off.

    I guess I wasn’t mixing nearly well enough or something before.

    Just thought it was interesting and worth mentioning.

    By the way…I’m a pizza hero in my office :)

    Nothing like bringing in a fresh, crispy Pizza Margherita to my co-workers first thing in the morning…they look at you like you are Einstein.

  2. Hi, I love your cookbooks and just ordered some Turkey Red flour. It’s a heritage flour and originates before the transition to the short stalk wheats that are used in flour nowadays. Have you ever worked with any of the heritage flours? If so, how did they compare? Evidently many people with gluten issues/sensitivites find great success with these flours. Your thoughts?

  3. I LOVE your books… they changed my life! Question: I am trying to stay away from plastics.. can I store the dough in stainless or is ceramic or glass better?

    • They’re all equally good alternatives, but don’t use screw-top lids with the covers screwed down completely, there has to be venting or the container can shatter.

  4. Is it okay to store bulk yeast in the freezer?
    If not, should I throw my yeast out that I have stored in the freezer?

    • That’s where we store ours! It lasts longer in there, and you don’t have to let it warm to room temp before using.

    • Hi Jacky,

      I’m assuming you are making the brioche from HBin5? Yes, that is correct. If you have a stand mixer, I find it is easiest to mix this dough with the paddle attachment. You can also do it by hand, but it takes a bit of mixing to get it nice and smooth.

      Cheers, Zoë

  5. Worked great, but think it needs a bit more flavor. Can I add a little honey and/or herbs without affecting the rise?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Anita,

      Which dough are you making? Most of our doughs will benefit from at least a 24 hour storage in the refrigerator before shaping and baking. You can add a little honey and herbs without changing the nature of the dough.

      Cheers, Zoë

      • Sorry I didn’t say; it was the pizza dough. I’ve heard of this process, but had never tried it. Since there was no sugar or honey in the recipe and most pizza doughs do use some, I was concerned it interfered with the process. Thank you very much.

    • I used this recipe. Can you say how best to modify with sugar?

      3 cups lukewarm water (100F or below)
      3 tablespoons lukewarm water (100F or below)
      1/3 cup olive oil
      1 tablespoon granulated yeast
      1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
      7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flou

  6. When baking Light Whole Wheat Bread in a Pullman loaf pan without the lid (from The New Artisan Bread book on page131)do I bake in a 450 degree oven as stated in the directions and bake for the same amount of time?

  7. I used this recipe. Can you say how best to modify?

    3 cups lukewarm water (100F or below)
    3 tablespoons lukewarm water (100F or below)
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 tablespoon granulated yeast
    1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
    7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  8. I have all of your books. I want to make grilled pizza. I was wondering what is the best tasting dough for it? You can just tell me which book and which recipe. I like a thiner crust, with some grill marks but not burnt .

  9. I asked if the baking time and temperature should change if I make the Light Whole Wheat Bread in a Pullman loaf pan without the lid (from The New Artisan Bread book on page 131. I haven’t gotten a reply so am posting again.
    Actually,would the baking time and temperature change with any of the recipes that are free form when put in a loaf pan?


  10. Have you ever tried baking your bread in a cloche. I have created one up using an unglazed round flower pot with a large nut/washer combo in the hole in the bottom. I let it heat up on my pizza tile. I have used it for standard bread recipes and it seems to work well. Any experience at your end?



  11. I love this method of making bread! It’s been great! I love making slightly smaller loaves using the master recipe – turns out just enough for my husband and I for dinner.
    However, I’d also like to make a sandwich bread. I’ve tried the Whole Wheat Sandwich bread and the American white bread. Both tasted great fresh out of the oven, however, when we went to use the leftovers for sandwiches the next day, the bread still tasted great, but was pretty crumbly and made for a messy sandwhich. Any advice to get a loaf that doesn’t make so many crumbs when sliced?

    • Well, the real problem is… breads made without preservatives or dough conditioners tends to get dry and crumbly the next day. You could try a slightly wetter dough, or bread made from longer-aged dough. Those both should stay fresh for longer and since you’re making it in a loaf pan, the flattening you sometimes get with wetter or longer-aged doughs won’t be an issue (the pan contains it).

  12. In your master gluten-free recipe you call for potato flour. I am allergic to potatoes and I need a substitute for that in the GF recipe! Any ideas? I can’t do potato or corn.

  13. Pouring water into a hot broiler pan is dangerous! It splashed onto my oven door and cracked the glass. I am now putting the water into the broiler pan before heating the oven.

    • In some ovens with non-tempered glass, this can be a problem, which we’ve addressed here on the website and in all our longer books (those published in 2009 or later). In the list of topics above, click on “Steam alternatives: How do I create a steam environment for a great crust when my oven doesn’t trap steam well?”

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