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?

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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?

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?

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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?

2,357 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Hi Jeff and Zoe!
    Hope you are well.
    Two Quick questions:
    1. I do love the taste of the toasted sesame, sunflower, caraway and pumpkins seeds I use to top various breads from your books.
    …But to alleviate mess and keep seeds away from those who are allergic, would it work to add seeds to the dough itself during the mixing stage, as opposed to as a topping before the baking stage?
    2. And is there a difference between slashing perpendicular to the dough as opposed to at an angle?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Eitan,

      You can certainly add seeds to the dough. You just don’t want to add so many that it changes the consistency of the dough.

      The way you slash doesn’t matter as much as how deep the slashes are. You need to make sure they are about 1/2-inch deep. In the first book we said 1/4-inch, but find many people have better results when they are a bit deeper.

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Hi,
    I am having much more success after following your suggestions! Thanks for all the help. I’m wondering if there is a way to Search through other’s FAQ’s? I am sure you get a lot of repeat questions. Thanks again. P

  3. I read today in an Amazon review that brushing a cold coffee wash over your dough creates a darker and more rustic crust. Any idea if this is true? Is this a good idea or a bad idea?

    • Hi Dave,

      If you are a fan of coffee, then I think it is a worth while experiment. Please let me know what you think if you try it. I’ll give it a go too.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • I tried the cold coffee wash last night. It was good, but not great. It didn’t really impart much coffee taste (which was fine with me). It didn’t make the crust much thicker though. I’m still trying to get a thicker crunchier crust for my bread. Maybe I’ll try spraying it too (mid-bake).

      • Hi Dave,

        The steam in the oven only effects the bread as the proteins set, which happens in the first 10 to 15 minutes, so spraying it in the middle of baking won’t really do anything and adds work. Are you using a baking stone? If so, you may want to let it preheat longer, it is the most important factor in a great crust. Also, be sure you are using an oven thermometer. You can also take the loaf off the stone for the last 5 minutes and put the loaf up higher in the oven, to get a darker crust.

        Thanks, Zoë

  4. I finally got your book- Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a day- -I am Celiac- up till now I have used your Crusty Boule recipe from the web using a covered pot (fabulous!)- tomorrow I will try it using a stone- my question: which recipe for baguette will give me the chewy interior I so miss from a gluten french baguette- and if I use a baguette pan instead of putting the dough on a stone, is the baking time the same?

    • Hi Eitan,

      Hamantashen isn’t a yeasted dough, so we’ve not made one for this site. But, one of our readers may have a great recipe to share.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. I’ll give that a try. I’ve turned on the convection a few times, but I’ve never lowered the temp that far. The few times I’ve used convection, I got the butt end of the loaves too dark. I’ll give 400* a try though. Thanks!

  6. I have been using a small cookie sheet as my peel. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Which type of peel works better, metal or wood?

    • Hi Sue,

      The wood peels are thicker, so they don’t absorb the heat of the oven as quickly as the metal. If you are not quick at sliding the dough off the peel the peel can heat up and make the dough sticky. You can always try using parchment paper under the loaf, which makes sliding it into the oven super easy.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. I found out that i have trouble slashing the dough properly with a knife for the basic healthy bread master recipe.

    The knife doesn’t cut clean like it sould, it kinda sticks to the dough so i have to make two or three passes and it deforms the bread. Is my dough too wet?

    Althought when baked, it’s still delicious!

    (BTW, i’m new to ABin5 and i’ve been baking breads every day for the last two weeks!
    I can’t stop! A huge thank you!)

  8. Thanks for the info on the parchment. Then do iI bake it the whole time on parchment? Again, i cannot thank you and jeff enough for your books. So far i’ve made the white, light wheat,buttermilk, brioche, dough,kings cake, and pizza. My family is loving it.

    • Hi Sue,

      Yes, bake the bread on the parchment for the whole time, unless the bottom crust is pale, then remove the paper for the last 5 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. Hi Sue, bake it on the parchment paper (do not use wax!) for the first 1/3rd, (10-15 mins) at which point the paper should slide out from under the bread quite easily. Then bake the rest of the time directly on the stone. Works like a charm!

  10. Thanks for the info on the parchment paper. I don’t have a peel, so I have used pp in the past, but never took it away and let the bread bake all the way. I’ll try this!

    • Hi Sue
      I have a 10″ round pizza peel and still use the PP because it makes it so much easier! The peel (and my gloves) keep me from burning my hands during the whole process of moving dough around in a super hot oven and across the stones!

    • Hi Eitan,

      No worries, it is great to hear what is working for folks! :) We do say to remove the paper, but it is one more step, and some folks end up with great results leaving it in place.

      Cheers, Zoë

  11. Does the 100% WW Sandwich Bread dough from Artisans Bread in 5, really only have a 5 day shelf life in the refrigerator and if so, why? I frequently make breads from the Healthy book but decided to try this one. This bread for me didn’t have the same rise as the Healthy version of the similar bread. Thank you for always responding.

    Valerie

    • Hi Valerie,

      The 100% whole grain bread in ABin5 doesn’t have vital wheat gluten, which gives whole grain breads in HBin5 the structure they need to rise well and the ability to store for longer periods of time.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. I have to say how much I love your books and Talent. I worked at a culinary center making bread with a kitchen aid mixer. I sold it! and only use your methods. You both are truly masters. I make bread all the time now at home. All I can say is thank you so much for making my home passion of making bread so easy. I don’t know you , but I truly love both of you…. Thank you again.

  13. I recently purchased both “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” I made the white flour Master recipe from the first book and the dough and resulting loaves came out perfectly. Then I made the Master recipe (white and wheat)from the second book and the dough came out very very wet and sticky and it resulted in not very successful loaves.

    When this happens is there any way to add flour to the dough after it’s been resting in the refrigorator to help the consistency? If so, should I add more white or more wheat to it? If adding flour is not the answer is there something else I can try?

    • Hi Elaine,

      Yes, you can certainly add more flour to the batch. You can add either of the flours or a combination. Keep in mind that whole wheat will absorb more water, so add it slowly. Let the dough rest for a while to absorb the excess water.

      Here is also a video on working with wet dough. You want it to be a little wet so it will rise nicely, but not so wet that it has no structure. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/03/08/new-video-shaping-the-ball-from-a-very-wet-dough

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoe. I will give that a try with my remaining 1/2 batch of white/whole wheat batch of dough that is currently in the frig.

        By the way, I just baked my 2 final white bread loaves from the first book. They came out very nicely and are sitting on my counter cooling as I type this. I’m bringing them to my cousins house for Sunday dinner today – and I can’t wait to tell everyone that I baked them myself.

        I had never baked bread before – and am very excited about this new found hobby. Thanks so much for your books and for personally answering our questions!

        Best Regards,
        Elaine

  14. Zoe,

    Hi, saw the question about English Muffins, I have molds already but do not have a Silpat, can I use Parchment paper instead. I appreciate your help with this. Thanks for all the help you and Jeff give.

    Dee

  15. Hi there! Big fan of the books and have gotten more people hooked by blogging about it.

    Do you have a suggestion for which recipe would have the right crumb for little tea sandwiches? To be traditional it’d have to be a white-ish bread, but I’d love to use one of your Healthy Bread recipes…

    Thanks.

  16. If I understand what you are intending, either of the master recipes could would work (and perhaps many others, but I have not tried them enough to say). The trick might be to simply not wait the full 20+ minutes rest before before baking. I have found that without that rest, the holes remain small and tight. This might be perfect for bread you’d want to cut into shapes and will be able to hold thing spreads and various fillings. The bread is still delicious even when tight. Hope I am not overstepping by giving recommendations before the authors themselves! There might be other recipes which would come out this way naturally, as instructed. Good luck and let us know what works.

    • Hi Tammy,

      If you are using our dough that has been frozen, you will need to defrost it first and then shape it and place it in the crockpot.

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. Hi Zoe,

    Just made and ate the English Muffin recipe using the Master Recipe from book one. They were delicious, we ate one toasted and one straight from the oven.

    Have a wonderful day and thank you again for all the great recipes, instructions and help with question.

    Dee

  18. I made the hearty wheat bread from healthy bread in 5 but I left out the salt. Can I add it to the remaining dough mix in the bucket? Thank you

    • Lucy: It’s challenging to get it to distribute. I’ve done it– make a slurry of salt with water, add it, then mix thoroughly, adding a little flour at the end to bring it back to original consistency.

  19. Hi there,

    Really enjoying your bread recipe – I found the site through Pinterest and tried to make my first batch in the crockpot to great success. Is it possible to make this bread in a bread maker? If so, what adjustments need to be made?

    In the oven, can I use a traditional loaf pan to form into a rectangular loaf, if I place the container with water on the shelf below?

    • you can… but why? I’ve never tried it because I’m not crazy about the crust you get in a bread machine. Yes, you can use a loaf pan.

  20. Can I bake the Quinoa bread recipe (Healthy Bread in 5 page 132) in a loaf pan? If so, what size pan do you recommend and what temp should I bake it for and for how long?
    Thanks!

  21. I’m sure you’ve answered this question a few times before, but it may be lost in the flood. How do I get a smoother bottom on my bread?

  22. I love your book and have been making bread like a maniac. In general, can you say once the dough has risen the first time and “fallen,” if you shape it into a loaf without refrigeration, how long before you can bake it. Some of the recipes have the info but others talk about “refrigerated dough.” I generally make 1/2 a recipe and bake it right away.

    • it’ll tolerate half as much resting time as the refrigerated stuff. but keep in mind, some people like to extend the rest times we spec’d in the first book. So, for refrigerated dough, where we say 40 min, some people prefer 60 or even 90.

      In general, you can half that for non-refrigerated dough.

  23. I find that after many containers of dough risings, seperating the salt from the yeast gives better rising in the container and in the oven. I disolve the yeast in the water and mix the salt with the dry. Have you noticed this happening?

  24. My husband really likes the Crusty White Sandwich Loaf from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Is there a way to get the same result using one of the recipes from Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a day?

  25. Love your books! I have recently purchased ABin5 and HBin5–love them. Have had good success, thought one that I replaced the WWF with spelt just didn’t work out. I made the WW bread with olive oil. The dough seemed a little dry after mixing but I thought that it might loosen a bit after resting. however, the dough remained pretty dry. I pulled some off last night, let it rise, and baked it but the loaf came out dense and flatish. I’m sure you’ve posted on this, I just can’t find where—how do I add moisture to a dry dough (both before and after it’s been in the fridge). Thanks so much for your help! I’m so excited to be able to make bread any day I want :0)

    • you can work in extra water with your fingers, a little more than your target so you can also use a little flour. That way you get another rise (giving the yeast a little food to eat and creat a little gas).

      And about the spelt bread? Just decrease the water– most of the spelt available to our readers doesn’t absorb as much as ours did when we tested– that dough turns out too wet for most people.

      • Thank you for such a quick response! I hate to ask again, but after I add water, do I then put it back in the fridge for a bit or can I make a loaf right away?
        Thanks for the advice on the spelt–I really like using it so will try again with less water.
        Have a great day :0)

      • Hi Lisa,

        You need to allow the dough to rest for a while to allow the dough to absorb the water. This can be done in or out of the refrigerator, but let it sit an hour or more.

        Thanks, Zoë

  26. Hi, folks,

    This may be an odd question, but if you made a batch of olive oil dough and forgot the yeast, is there any way to save it? Make it into pie crust? Can you mix in yeast post hoc?

    • Hi Weiwen,

      Do you have a stand mixer? If so, you can throw the dough in and add the yeast. It will take a few minutes to get it distributed, and may require a tablespoon of water to break up the dough. Let it rest again after, but it may take longer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  27. Merci Mille fois. You guys are great.
    A couple of questions.
    1.How can I make bread a day or two ahead of time and heat and serve later?
    2.Since I use a real couche (fantastic) I hesitate to do the refrigerator rise
    3. Can I partially bake my bread in a cloche or cast iron pot then refrigerate or freeze the bread to bake at a later date?

  28. Thanks for your quick response. I floured the couche liberally and it worked like a charm The flipper was apiece of 1/4 inch plywood cut to size by my hubby.
    My cloche was a low bowl flowerpot outfitted with an eye screw and washers. This specific type of flower pot can only be obtained from an actual nursery. And,yes it is lead free. All of these ideas I got off the internet

  29. Hi! Loved the question and answer re parbaking a loaf to 80% and then refreezing until you wish to reheat it. I seem to have good luck testing bread for doneness with an instant thermometer to internal temp of 200-203F rather than guessing about how many minutes to bake. So for 80% done, would I bake to approx 160-175F and then cool and freeze? Then tale out, thaw to room temp and bake to internal temp of 200F in same temp oven as originally baked (without the steam method on the second time)? I am baking your gluten free breads from Healthy Breads in 5 min/day. Do these work this way as well? (specifically thinking of your Almost Rye and Olive Oil breads…they are awesome GF breads!) Thank you so much for your blog!
    Lynnea

    • Hi Lynnea,

      That is an interesting question. I think if you are going by temperature you’ll need to go a bit higher than 160. I’d say the interior will be set closer to 190. If you take the loaf out before the interior is set, it will not set up when you put it in to crisp up the crust. You need the loaf to be fully cooked, but the crust lacking its full color.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. Is the chapter on GF bread the same in the UK copy of your book and how many GFrecipes are there? Thank you.

  31. Hello Zoe – greetings from the UK. Another question please – what kind of yeast do you use? Fresh yeast is difficult to find around here and is often stale. I can buy ordinary dried yeast or fast action yeast – which one please?
    Thanks – Barbara

    • Hi Barbara, I am a UK breadmaker. You can get fresh yeast from Tesco if they have an in-store bakery — they charge £0.01p for a notional but fairly generous chunk. Ask the baker. Otherwise, Dove’s Farm and Allinson’s fast action yeast are good brands (off the shelf). (Sainsbury’s will do fresh yeast from bakery but they charge more for it).

    • Hi Barbara,

      We’ve found that it doesn’t matter much with our method, since the dough is storing for long periods of time. You can use whatever is easiest to find.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • just got your books, how to bake bread in 5 min and the healthy bread in 5 min. i am making the basic recipe and it has not oil in it. is that right? years ago i used to bake 20 2# loaves every 5 to 7 days for my family so this is truly a new experience. i wanted to get healthier now but questioning the no oil or shortening at all called for in the master recipe. your books are great!

      • Hi Mumsy,

        You are right, there is no oil in the master recipe, but there are others in the books that do use oil. You can try both ways and see which recipes you like best. The oil adds flavor and a tenderness to the bread, but the Master is crustier and has a lovely, chewy interior.

        Thanks, Zoë

  32. Thanks so much for answering my previous question about the Neapolitan pizza dough.

    I have another question. I made a few of your recipes for a party last night (11 total loaves and 7 different recipes). They all turned out fantastic, but I had a question about a couple of the doughs from the Healthy Bread book. I made the Roasted Garlic and Pine Nut & Pesto breads from that book. They both rose significantly after coming out of the refrigerator (I made the doughs the previous day), however there was absolutely no vertical rise with either one. They ended up sticking to the peel and it was extremely challenging getting them in the oven. I ended up doing the second loaf of each on a silicon sheet and putting that directly on the stone. I bought a scale, so I am almost positive that the measurements were correct. What could I be doing wrong?

      • Thanks Zoe!

        I am using the Kroger brand unbleached all-purpose flour and Arrowhead Mills Organic Spelt flour. Can you recommend a brand that might work better for these breads?

      • Hi Sara,

        I’ve found that some brands of spelt absorb more water than others. Some are marked lite, and they tend to absorb less water. You can add more spelt to get the dough to the consistency you are used to. It is easiest to do in a stand mixer, and add 1 tablespoon at a time of flour, until it looks like the right consistency. Let the dough sit for about an hour or more to allow the flour to absorb the excess water.

        Thanks, Zoë

  33. Two separate issues:

    (1) Whenever I store dough (even if it’s just overnight), I get an icky crust over the top, even if I lid the container. It doesn’t affect the taste, but the bits are hard. How can I prevent this, and why does it happen?

    (2) No matter what I do, I can never achieve four one pound loaves from a whole recipe. I use unbleached flour, and I’ve even tried weighing out the flour rather than measuring it (5 ounces per cup, right?). I get like 3 pounds and a leftover amount that isn’t enough for a whole pound fourth loaf. Why does this happen, and what can I do to correct it? Thank you–I’ve got some baguettes cooling now and my house smells wonderful! :)

    • Hi Yvonne,

      Which dough are you making? When you put the lid on the bucket, are you shutting it all the way? Sounds like some air is still getting into the bucket and creating a hard crust on the dough. This can also be caused by a dough that is too dry. What kind of flour are you using?

      The recipe does make a scant 4 pounds of dough, so if you are weighing it to exactly 1-pound loaves, your 4th loaf will be a bit short. If you weigh them to 15 ounces you’ll get 4 equal loaves.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoë! I was not shutting the lid all the way in the fridge–I was afraid that the gasses might build up in there–thank you! I’ll try shutting the lid all the way.

        I’ve made the boule using 16 ounce portions of dough; others too (can’t think of specfics now) where I came up short for that fourth loaf, so I will try doing the 15 ounches. Thank you!

      • Hi Yvonne,

        Place the lid on the bucket all the way, but don’t snap it shut. If this doesn’t work, you may consider poking a tiny hole in the top of the bucket.

        Thanks, Zoë

      • For what it’s worth, I tend to increase the recipe slightly to 1000g flour and keep the other percentages the same (I prefer to use less yeast and let the first rise take place overnight out of the fridge). That gives four reasonable size loaves (or equivalent).
        I use the standard European-type rectangular 5 or 6 litre plastic containers with clip lids. Just leaving one corner unclipped lets gas escape without the contents drying out.

  34. Hey Jeff & Zoë,

    Thought you might appreciate this…

    I had all of the nieces and nephews to entertain one Saturday morning, and we used the master recipe from ABin5 to create an oven full of bread animals – crabs, turtles, a starfish…they had a blast, and the finished bread was almost too cute to eat. Almost. It was actually delicious as well ;o) BTW, each child built their animal on their own piece of parchment paper, making it easy to pop them in the oven when ready. Wish there was a way to post a pic.

    Anyway, thanks again for all you do!

    – Roger

      • Hey Eltan,

        The dough was prepared the day before. Kids are fairly slow, so the dough had time to warm up as they made the animals, but really, we kind of counted on oven spring for most of the rise.

        Individual pieces, like legs, were, “glued” together by the child dipping their finger in a little bowl of water and wetting the dough where the pieces connected. We did put some cuts in the surface before baking, to avoid the surface splitting. (I did that part for them). We used scissors to cut little snips in the surface of the starfish and alligator to make texture.

        If you google, “Bread Animals” and click the images tab, you’ll get lots of great ideas.

        Enjoy!

        Roger

      • Pics added! Keep in mind, the kids did these. You can really do some cool, more detailed loaves if you have a bit more patience.

        Enjoy,

        Roger

  35. On page 118 in artisan bread in 5 min ,the roasted garlic potato bread. May I omit the garlic and can I substitute mashed potato flakes for the mashed potato? If so, how much flakes should I use?

    • sure, worth a try. no idea how much of the flake product, maybe work back from how much water it takes to make how much of a quantity. Check the box…

  36. Hi,
    I have tried to bake using several types of flour many times since I found your method in YouTube. I love the texture and taste very much. And I bought Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day for my sister who lives in Japan, I am going to give it to her soon:)

    I love the bread very much, but I wonder my bread is correct thing that you teach us? Because the texture of breads are about the same all the time. Crispy outside, having enough moisture and chewy inside, even I use bread flour, rye flour, or whole wheat flour. Is it correct?
    Most of the case, I refrigerate them for a week or more.

    Thank you for the great books and teach us wonderful method!
    Taeko

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