FAQs

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?

2,288 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?
    Thanks.

  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?

    Thanks.

  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?

    Thanks

    Natalie

  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?”

  14. Absolutely love your book and your bread! Has come out perfect every time. One question: Why does the flour on top of bread turn orange-brown yet in photos on site and in book it remains a lovely white? I know it is cooking therefore turning brown, but how can I get it to stay white like in your photos? My bread tastes great but doesn’t look as beautiful as yours.

    • Hmm, have you checked your oven temp (with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU)? If it’s running high, the flour will scorch, which is what it sounds like. Other option– bake on a lower shelf in the oven, which makes for less browning of the top of the bread, and more on the bottom crust.

      One other thing– book designers use Photoshop to manipulate contrast in those photos, so it can exaggerate the way a light surface (flour-dust) looks compared against a dark surface (the crust).

  15. I’m making the Master Recipe in Healthy Bread in 5. Since I have organic whole spelt flour available, could I sub it for the whole wheat flour? Do I need to make any adjustments?

    Also, love your bread recipes and the books! I’m a senior citizen and have always baked bread the “old” way. My first artisan loaf is shaped and sitting on the counter, waiting to go into the oven. It was almost too moist to shape well, but who cares! I just dusted with extra flour. Am exited to try this new way. THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU for your great ideas!

    Many Blessings,
    K.S.

    • You can, but see the caveat on our Corrections tab (above), then click on “Healthy Bread…” and read the suggestions regarding the recipe on page 79 of that book. Spelt loaves made outside of a loaf pan tend to spread and flatten, so be aware. Or bake it in a loaf pan. Spelt is a wheat variety with less gluten, so less structure.

      Glad you’re enjoying, thanks for the kind words!

  16. Recently read a recipe for rye bread in a catalog from King Arthur. It substituted
    dill or sour pickle juice for the water. Can I have some feedback on that? I would hate to waste the ingredients with something inedible.
    I have your books and even though a long time bread baker, I have learned how to do it better and much more quickly.

    • Hi Jean,

      I’ve never substituted pickle juice in our rye recipe, but it is often done to add a nice tangy flavor to the bread. I would just replace a small portion of the water with the pickle juice. Maybe a 1/2 cup to start and see if you like the flavor. If it isn’t strong enough you can try more the next time.

      Please let me know what you think of the bread, I think I will give it a try too!

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. Thanks for the prompt reply. I will certainly take your advice about adding the pickle juice and start out with half portions. Will also fill you in on the results. I like tangy but not sour. We shall see. Jean

    • Hi Jean,
      Have you tried the pickle juice yet? And if so – which type of pickle juice? Dill/Sour/Half Sour? Let us know how it came out! ;-)
      -E

  18. Using “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day–2009. I have made several bread recipes so far and haven’t found the consistency we are looking for after baking. Love the Whole Wheat w/Olive Oil–great crust but too dense and heavy for sandwiches. Tried the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread–had to slice it too thick for it to hold together which made too big a sandwich. This time I made Traditional American-Style Honey Whole Wheat Bread made with honey–tasted great but still too dense. Any suggestions for making a lighter, fluffier white whole wheat sandwich bread?

    • Hi Jude,

      Have you tried the whole grain brioche from HBin5? The enriched breads tend to be a bit lighter in texture.

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. Zoe,
    Haven’t tried the pickle juice yet. I only cook for me and am finishing off a loaf of your white. Yum! Since there are no preservatives and I hate throwing away bread, I am slicing it thin and freezing it. This way I can pull one slice out in the morning and toast it. I really believe it tastes even better. When I bake for the grandchildren, there is no need to freeze, it is gone in a day. Will get back to you re the pickle juice. Jean

    • Hi Jean,

      Sounds great. That last note to you was actually from another reader who is eager to know how your experiment with pickle juice goes. :) Keep us posted once you’ve had a chance to try it.

      Cheers, Zoë

  20. The pickle juice idea sounds really interesting/good. I wonder if a bit of pickle juice would work in the gluten free “Almost Rye” that I always make….hmmm, worth a try?

    • Hi Lynnea,

      Although we don’t use acid (vinegar) in our g-f dough, it is pretty standard, so I bet a little pickle juice would do just fine. Let me know if you give it a try.

      Thanks, Zoë

  21. I love this method of making bread, it is so easy. I have your first book, also the one on pizza and flat bread and I have now bought the revised edition of your first book. My question is generic to all the books. I have a plastic bucket like the one you show pictured in all the books. What I would like to know is have you put a hole in the lid or do you just snap it on like it is? I’m not sure if it is considered air-tight or not.

    • Hi Phyllis,

      It is airtight if you snap it shut, but you can leave it open a hair to let the gas escape if you don’t want to put a hole in the top.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Wayne,

      I’ve never worked in one, but I imagine it would mean you can do without the water in the roasting pan. Please let me know how it goes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  22. Hello,

    I’ve tried to make the “Light Whole Wheat Bread” with “more whole wheat”, using, for 2 loafs:
    1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water,
    1/2 tablespoon of yeast,
    1/2 tablespoon of salt,
    1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour,
    1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour.

    My bread, although tasty, was very small, it didn’t rise, it spread to the sides but it didn’t grow.

    Can you help me understand what i did wrong, and give me some tips on how to fix it.

    Thank you.

  23. I have a lot of left over dry yeast since I have been using instant yeast lately. Can I just add the dry yeast without activating it with warm water and sugar, directly to the dough like with instant yeasts or it has to be activated first?
    Also, I like to know if I can add wheat bran or flax seed powder to my bread flour to make it healthy? If so, how much I need to add per 1 cup of flour? Does wheat bran or flax seed powder change the quality of the bread? Finally, some bread recipes ask for milk instead of water. How does milk affect the quality of the bread? Thanks you in advance for answering my long email!

    • Hi Sara,

      You can use instant yeast and active dry yeast interchangeably in our recipes. No need to proof the yeast unless you suspect it has expired.

      You can add about 1/4 cup of wheat bran or flax seed to our recipes without having to make any changes. If you add more than that you may need more water for the ground flax. The bread may get a bit denser with the addition of these ingredients.

      Milk has protein and sugar in it so it will make the bread richer and more tender. Depending on the recipe you may need to adjust the baking temperature.

      Thanks, Zoë

  24. I read your comment about a convection oven working fine for baking bread with some minor adjustments, but I need some clarification. After bringing the bread to several school functions, I have been asked to provide many loaves for a fundraiser that we are hosting. I will be using the convection oven in the school kitchen. I won’t have pizza stones, but will have to use trays. Do you think it will be okay to put as many loaves as will comfortably fit into the oven on the trays to bake? Also, should I still use the water for steaming? Thanks so much for your delicious recipes!!

  25. Using your basic peasant dough options in book #1, I have come up with my favorite combination of 6 oz. white whole wheat, 6 oz. oat flour, and the rest all purpose, adding 1 Tbsp gluten for a full four loaf bucket of dough. Yum Yum!! I would like to know how to incorporate some almond meal. Any suggestions or referrals to previous discussions?

    • Hi Nina,

      You can add up to a 1/2 cup with very little change to the batch of bread. Any more than that and you will need to add more vital wheat gluten and perhaps more water. It will take some experimenting, so start with a small batch.

      Thanks, Zoë

  26. Hi Zoe. I discovered that my Wolf steam oven has a “Gourmet” mode. The gourmet mode has several settings one of which is Bread. All I have to do is select the “doneness” of the crust, and the oven manages the heat starting with convection, them steam, then back to convection and so on till the dough reached the desired doneness. I got a beautiful and tasty result.

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