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?

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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?

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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?

2,668 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Your recipes are great!
    In your book: Artisan Pizza and Flatbread you use on page 94 under variation Knekkebrod 100% whole grain rye dough.
    Where do I find the recipe for the 100% whole grain rye dough?

    Many thanks for your answer. Nattalia

    • There was a typo there, so sorry– see our “Corrections” tab above and go through the book, there are 4 others. The last paragraph, on page 95 should end with “… use 8 cups whole grain rye flour.” Not “dough.”

      Makes sense now?

      • Hi I have a question about a recipe from the original “artisan” book. I want to make Pumpernickel bread but don’t have any caramel coloring.

        Can I substitute something or omit the ingredient?

  2. “Artisan Bread in Five…”
    Buttermilk Bread, pg 207
    I’d like to make this bread without being in loaf pan, just a round loaf, will that work?

    Thanks so much!

    Greenville, SC

  3. I don’t have room in my fridge for a 6-qt container. Can the basic recipe be halved? I’d love to try this method but the space issue is a problem. Thanks!

  4. Hi I generally use WholeWheat Pastry flour for my day to day baking. Can this be used for the Wholewheat flour in basic receipe? Thank you.

    • It has less protein, so all of our hydrations will be thrown off, so you’ll have to adjust the water– but frankly, I think it has too little protein to make good bread. Which “basic recipe” do you mean (from which book, page number)?

      • I’ve used whole wheat pastry flour when out of regular whole wheat, but I threw in extra gluten, more than I would have used for regular whole wheat. Worked just fine and tasted like graham flour. But without the extra gluten I think it would have been a bust.Once I even made bread almost entirely from the whole wheat pastry and extra gluten. Turned out fine. I wanted rid of the pastry flour which I’d bought by mistake.

  5. Bought your new book the week before last. I am very excited about this concept and the recipes for my favorite breads.
    I used the weight method and the weight for the flour reached 910 grams way before I had
    6&1/2 cups measured out (about 4C total). The dough is very wet but I’m going to bake in a few minutes. Anything wrong?
    Still excited

    • Hi Patrick,

      Did you tare the scale before adding the flour? This is the most common cause of what you described. If your dough was way too wet you can add more flour for the next loaf. Let me know how it turned out.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thank you for your reply. I baked two loaves of what I thought were 1# ea. Disaster.
        I will add two more cups of APF and let you know. I thought I tapped the ‘tare’ button, who knows?

  6. Hi: The bottom crust is too hard. I’m doing a 50%/50% whole wheat & white flour baking in a cast iron pan and adding the hot water for steam. At 35 minutes the bread in not totally cooked – internal temp was 200 – so I’m doing 40 minutes- internal temp about 210. Any suggestions so that the crust is not so hard? Thank you! Love baking my own bread about twice a week.

  7. I’m doing a one pound free form at 450. The temperature does drop a bit when I open the oven door. And, I use parchment paper but have not figured out how to remove it after the first 20 minutes. Thanks you for the quick reply! Love the bread!

    • Hi Ben,

      Are you preheating the pan? If the pan is not up to temperature the bread will have to bake longer and the crust can be too thick. How long are you letting the loaf rest before baking? How large is the loaf? Which recipe are you using?

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. Hi: Thanks for the reply. I do preheat the oven for about 15 minutes & use two oven thermometer since my oven is not the best, and I let the bread cool for about 30-35 minutes. I will preheat & cool long. Maybe get a new thermometer. The oven does seem to cool down when I open the door to place the loaf. Will keep you posted as I continue to make bread!

    • Hi Ben,

      Let the pan preheat a bit longer, 15 minutes may not be quite long enough. And let the loaf rest a bit longer too.

      Let me know how it goes. Zoë

    • Hi Zoë: Followed your instructions. Over preheated for about 25 minutes at 450. Bread cooled for 40 minutes – That was the difficult part. The waiting, waiting and waiting. Bread was great! Now I think I need to mix the flours, salt and yeast more throughly before adding the water. I see different color patches in the bread. Tried to add a photo of the bread but not sure if it is attach. You asked with recipe I was using: it’s the one on the website for whole wheat bread without the extra gluten. Thanks! IMG_1978.JPG

      • Hi Ben,

        If you are using a thick baking stone, you may want to let it preheat a bit longer.

        Glad you enjoyed the bread! Cheers, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoë! Wishing you, Jeff and the families the best ever holiday season and a very productive & peaceful 2016! May your bread always be a prefect loaf!

    • Hi Kim,

      You can order them online from King Arthur Flour or you can find them in a local co-op or your grocery store’s bulk food area.

      Thank you, Zoë

  9. Hi, I’ve been using your techniques for years with great success. I have an old family recipe for sweet bread that I want to try to adapt to “no-knead” methods. It’s a lot like your Stollen recipe from HBin5, but a little different.


    4 C AP flour
    1 C warm milk
    1/4 C melted butter
    1 egg
    1/3 C sugar
    plus salt, spices, and dried fruit.

    If I adjust the amounts so that the liquid and the flour are roughly in the same proportion as in your Master Recipe (adding just under a cup of liquid, if my math is right), will I get a dough I can work with?

    I’m probably going to give it a shot, as an experiment, but curious as to what you think.

    • Hi Nathan,

      Reserve some of the liquid you plan to use, just in case it is too loose, you can always add it if it seems dry. With the milk in the dough you will want to use this within 5 days.

      Let me know how it goes. Happy Holiday! Zoë

      • Thanks — It rose nicely, just as expected. I ended up with a very thick, dense, and slightly sticky dough after chilling, pulling away from the sides of the container a bit. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  10. We live an oil free plant based lifestyle, do you have any recommendation for eliminating the oil in any of the recipes in your Health Bread book?


    • Hi Jim,

      The oil in our recipes is plant based, but it sounds like that is not the issue. If you don’t eat oil at all, then you can try apple sauce, which I’ve never tested, but works in some other recipes. I’d make a small batch and make sure you like the results.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. I have been thrilled with all the breads I have made from your recipes. I am of Italian parents and grew up on light crusty Italian breads from local bakeries in Brooklyn. I just love these breeds but the recipes I’ve seen on the net are killers compared to any in your miraculous book. Any chance you can produce this airy type light bread using you wonderful style? Thanks.

    • Well, those loaves, which I also had in NYC growing up, are strictly white breads. So that’s the first thing–make one of our Italian variations from one of the books. Which one are you working from?

  12. I’m new to GF baking and just got GF Artisan Bread in 5 mins a day. Don’t know if I missed reading this somewhere but how do you recommend the flour mixture (Not dough) be stored? And for how long is the flour mixture good for? Thank you.

    • Hmm, that didn’t come up when we were testing because we were going through so much flour. The mixtures will store as long as the manufacturer says an open bag of the solo-flours store. Best to check with them.

      • Thank you, I will check the packages. It’s just that I read in another book that they needed to be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Most likely due to perishable nut and whole grain flour in their recipes. Thanks again.

      • Just an FYI, I bought the flours needed for the 2 blends. Bob’s Red Mill. A few of them say best stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Also the Oat flour is processed in a facility that processes wheat so if someone is OK with oats but not wheat, they may want to avoid this flour. As I said, I am new to this GF baking in part for my own health but also because my daughters boyfriend has Celiac’s. I caused him a lot of harm by giving him something accidentally that was Gluten Free but later discovered it was processed in a facility that processes wheat so I just wanted to bring this to other’s attention who may be new to this as well. Thanks for an awesome book I can’t wait to start baking.

  13. Hi – I am an avid follower of your books, so far with fantastic results.

    I have a question regarding Wheat Bran – If I add some Wheat Bran to your recipes (for instance, adding 10g Wheat Bran to the Light Whole Wheat Bread), do I need to change any of the other ingredients (perhaps reduce the flour content from 780 gr to 770 gr)? Will the overall taste of the bread stay the same?


    • Slightly changes the flavor, but not much at the amount you suggest. You can slightly decrease the flour, or increase the water. Very slightly. But at this level of bran? You may get away with no changes. This is 1/3-ounce out of a recipe calling for 32 ounces of flour; really not significant.

      • OK, Thanks.
        I just wanted to add some more fiber to my bread. Would you recommend adding more (like 20 or 30 grams Wheat Bran) to that bread, and reduce flour accordingly? I noticed that’s what you did in the Bran-Enriched White bread (and wanted to achieve something similar, but with a White-Wheat type bread).

        Thanks again.

      • Yes, that should work. It’ll change the character of course, and you may have to adjust the water after all as you increase bran.

  14. Hi Jeff, Zoe,

    I have just started baking with your method and it has given me a lot of confidence because of the consistent results I’ve obtained. I have a question regarding the storage/mixing of the dough.

    Can I use the same container to mix/store enriched dough after non-enriched dough and viceversa without cleaning it in between?

    • Technically speaking, and according to the US Department of Agriculture, eggs shouldn’t be handled without washing the container between uses. Vice-versa–that wouldn’t matter.

  15. The recipe for Pumpernickel Bread on pg 123 of The New Artisan Bread in 5 book: it call for instant espresso – is that the same as instant espresso coffee? Do I just blend the 2 teaspoons in or is it better to brew it and add it as a brewed liquid?

  16. Hello, I’m using your Master Recipe Boule. I’m making free form loaves. My loaves bake well for one exception, they’re not as flat and rounded as I would like. They look like they are baking up and not out. Am I shaping them incorrectly? Love your book and recipes. I use them all the time.

  17. Book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
    Master Recipe: Boule (Artisan free-form loaf) page 26
    Book: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
    Master Recipe: Whole grain (artisan free-form loaf) page 53

    I have been using King Arthur Special “spring wheat” flour using your method. It has worked famously. Recently, I purchased King Arthur Special “Patent” flour which is “hard wheat”.

    I contacted King Arthur to ask about this flour and was told it was in the “whole wheat” family. King Arthur suggested I add several extra tablespoons of water to the dough, stating it should work similar to the “spring wheat”. Since this flour is like “whole wheat”, I asked if I should add vital wheat gluten–as noted in your book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (Master Recipe), to which they stated no.

    What is your opinion?
    Thank you.

    • You only need to add extra water if the dough isn’t storing well, which is the result of a too-dry dough. And if you want the extra rise and “chew” that VWG provides, by all means use it, but use the water ratio’s from the Healthy Bread book…

  18. Hey Jeff and Zoe!
    I have been using both your Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and your New Revised Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day books and love them! I have been very happy especially with being able to make our own sandwich loaves. I was wondering if all of the free form loaves could be adapted for sandwich loaves by reducing the temp to 350 and baking for 50-60 minutes. I know that only some are listed with this variation to be baked in a loaf pan so wasn’t sure what all distinguished those from the recipes strictly shown as being free form loaves. Thank you so much for your books! I am learning a lot from them and making free form loaves, sandwich loaves, and pizza dough, too!

    • Why not start with the methods on p.62 of HBin5, or on p.78 of NewABin5?

      It’s really just a matter of the baking time. Check oven temp with something like the thermometer in our Amazon kiosk at left and you should be fine w/o reducing the temp.

  19. I prefer to form/bake all the loaves at one time. Sometimes, my dough seems too wet (even when i weigh it out) and I add more until it’s starting to window pane just a little bit. It seems right when I put it in the container, but when I go to bake it, it’s too loose and spreads too much on the board. Can I mix in more flour to the whole batch and do I let it re-raise? I was worried about knocking too much air out if I did this.

      • I have the same question, and I want to get a little clarification. I’ve made one loaf from the master recipe. It is clearly too wet. Can I just add flour to the existing sourdough to “save” it and improve the next loaf? Should it get a little time at room temperature after adding flour?

      • Sure, go ahead and work in a little flour, and some time at room temp’s a good idea. Which of our recipes are you using (which book/page number)?

  20. Hi Zoe/Jeff,

    I had not made the Buttermilk bread pg. 327 (New Aritsan Bread B00k) in a while. My rising time after mixing the dough has taken almost 3 hrs. Is that ok, I tested my yeast and it seems fine.

    Your bread continues to bring joy to all those I give it to. You have become a mainstay in our kitchen.


    • Hi Dunyia,

      Yes, that is just fine. If the dough has risen quite a bit, but just not fully, you can probably go ahead and put it in the refrigerator. The buttermilk or water may not have been as warm as normal or the kitchen is a bit cooler. Either will cause the dough to take longer to rise.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoe, you are the best, I have learned so much from you and Jeff and got your class from Craftsy and enjoyed it.

        Have a great day!

    • Well, that’s not our thing, so we don’t own those and we haven’t tested what you propose. The problem might be dissipating the high-moisture level in our doughs in that closed system. If I had to guess though, I think it might work. Experiment?

  21. Jeff or Zoe,

    Just a quick question if a recipe calls for Platinum yeast can I use instant yeast. Would there be any difference?

    Thanks again for all your help.

    • They both work beautifully…

      Platinum is a form of instant yeast, with some dough conditioners thrown in. I’ve been using it lately, but you can get a nice result with either.

  22. Help! My parchment paper sticks to the bead while baking so I end up with only the top half of the loaf that’s edible. It’s delicious but I’d like to use the entire loaf. I’ve floured it plenty, both dough and paper. I am using the rectangular clay baker from Sassafras. Should I bake the dough directly in the stone baker without parchment, oil the baker or flour the baker? Please, someone help!

  23. I have 2 questions about your Master recipe in HBI5MD, on pg 54. I saw that I can increase the salt up to 50% which would make for a total of 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt for one full recipe. My family still thinks that the bread is too bland . I know that you had stated to someone else that if you increase the salt by more than half, it can muck with the yeast. If I try to up the salt content in this again, how by how much should I increase the yeast? Also, in this particular recipe, or with any recipe that does not have milk, eggs, or butter in it, is the dough still good if it has been in the fridge longer than two weeks?

    • Hi. You may want to try up to 1 3/4 tablespoons salt and see if that is to your liking. I think that little bit more salt will make a rather large difference.

      You can store the doughs that have no dairy or other perishable ingredients longer than 2 weeks, but it will have lost some of its rising power, so you may want to stick to flatbreads.

      Thanks, Zoë

  24. Hi just ordered New Artisan in 5
    My Husband is on a struck low carb diet which limits the breads etc Is coconut or Almond flour an option as in the flat breads or Glutinous free
    Thank you in advance hoping there is a solution

    • Hi Lisa,

      None of the recipes in that book are really geared for a low carb diet. There is a coconut/almond flour recipe in our Gluten-Free Bread Book. The best bet from the New ABin5 is to go with the 100% whole grain breads. If he is trying not to eat any carbs, there is a great book by Peter Reinhart, The Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking. He uses lots of nut flours.

      Good luck! Zoë

  25. Working basic recipe from Healthy Bread in Five and having a common problem. Not much rise, crumb is dense with few decent bubbles. 2nd batch, added 1/4 more water, dough rose very tall in the container and 3 days later, dough felt different, but the loaves came out about the same as 1st batch. Not much oven spring. Yeast should be OK also. Checked with oven therm and right at 450.

    • Can you tell me what brands of flour you’re using? Are you using vital wheat gluten? Are you making any changes in the recipe at all?

      • I am using your recipe exactly but added 1/4 cup more water. Using King Arthur WW and Unbleached. Yes I am using the Vital Wheat Gluten. I am also using the baking cloche. The dough felt more moist this time, but just did not have the bubbles and oven spring I thought I would have.

      • Hate to say this, because KAF products are nice, but this recipe simply comes out better with Gold Medal Whole Wheat flour (Disclaimer: in the past, both of these companies have been sponsors of ours, but neither has been for some years now, despite that fact that our white-flour recipe continues to appear on the Gold Medal All-Purpose flour bag).

        Try it one time with Gold Medal Whole Wheat and see what you think. Also should have asked how you’re measuring the flour. If weights, no problem. If volume, make sure you’re measuring the same way we are Scoop-And-Sweep, see my video: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/04/28/how-we-measure-our-flour-using-the-scoop-and-sweep-method

        … and make sure that cloche is fully pre-heated, or you won’t get good oven-spring.

      • Thank you. I will give GM a try. I am also using the Scoop and Sweep method of measuring the flour. Do you still spray the shaped dough right before you put it into the cloche?

  26. I’ve just started baking after someone recommended this book to me a few months back.

    Any ideas why I keep getting these eruptions of dough either out the top or sides of my loaves. I’ve been using the basic Boule recipe and the European Peasant Bread. Its like a crust is forming before the interior is set and it just blows out the weakest point.

    Here’s an image of a recent loaf.


  27. OK thanks for your replies. With your background, I am type 2 and enjoy making bread, just looking for a better alternative than white bread. Thanks again

  28. After making the master pizza dough recipe (page 61 in artisan pizza) into a loaf and baking it, the crust was crispy and golden brown, but now has softened upon cooling. Is this usual for this dough, or can you think of another factor which had an impact, and is there any way to remedy it? For more detail: The bread was cooled on a rack in an airy kitchen with open windows, room temp was about 73 degrees. Best regards, -Eitan

    • Factors are:

      oven temp accuracy (check with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU)
      baked long enough?
      Browned enough?
      Used steam in the oven (do you have our bread-baking books?)
      Baked on a stone?

      Again, more on loaf breads in our other books…

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