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 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?

2,310 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. I have a question about the directions on the basic brioche recipe. It calls for me to shape the loaf and let it rise for 1 hour 20 min in a greased loaf pan. My loaf pans are stoneware and I usually use parchment to line the down one side under and up the other to keep the bread from sticking. My issue is that stoneware calls for being preheated so if I let the bread rise in it I need to lift it out on the parchment and sit it on a counter while the loaf pan heats. Is this the appropriate way to do it with a stoneware loaf pan or should I be baking it in a greased metal pan on a stoneware baking pan? I like my stoneware because it bakes my fruit breads more evenly but I am not sure if there is a reason metal loaf pans would be preferable.

    • Hi CK,

      You can certainly line the pan with parchment to prevent it from sticking, but you don’t want to preheat the pan before dropping in the dough, just use the stoneware in the same way we recommend for the metal pans. No stone in necessary in the oven when using a loaf pan.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • We stopped testing the yeast years ago– fresh yeast never fails unless it’s way beyond expiration date or you use hot water. You can mix with a little sugar and water and see if it foams, though.

  2. Can I use Coconut flour in any of your recipes from the new book “Healthy Breads”? If so how do I adjust the flour and liquid.
    Thank You (your recipes are awesome!)

    • Haven’t used it, but my guess is that a cup or so in a batch won’t change the water much. Beyond that and you’ll have to test.

  3. Can I bake two loaves of bread at the same time (and on the same stone)? If so do any adjustments need to be made?

  4. Hi J & Z,

    Should freshly-risen, non-refrigerated dough be left to rise at all after shaping?

    Using a freshly risen batch of original Master recipe, I:

    1) snipped the shaves for a pan d’epi and left it to rise while my oven preheated, and also sprayed it with water to prevent getting a skin.

    2) also simultaneously shaped a large 2-lb loaf, which I dusted with flour and covered gently/loosely with plastic while the oven preheated.

    They both came out unshapely and had very little oven spring. The 2-lb’er ended up looking like a ciabatta, and the shaves were flat without any definition. Neither were very crispy.

    Any ideas? Was the oven not hot enough? Too much water sprayed on the epi? Were they left on the counter too long and therefor lost their magic yeast-power?

    Thanks!

    • You can shorten the rest if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough. generally about half the time that refrigerated dough would require to give the effect you like.

      It spread sideways, sounds like.

      Check your oven temp with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU

  5. I was able to purchase sprouted whole wheat flour at a fantastic local bulk foods store. Do you have any advice on how to use it in your recipes? I know the sprouting changes the nutrients in the flour. I mostly use HBin5 recipes.

    • I’m guessing it can swap, more or less, for whole grains in the recipes, but we haven’t tried it. Please let us know what your experiments show; especially about how much water they absorb. Do you need more water, less, or the same?

  6. Can I make the 100% Whole Wheat Bread from Healthy Bread in 5 (pg 79) into a sandwich bread by just plopping the dough into a loaf pan? Or should I just use the recipe on pg92 for Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich bread? I’m trying to keep sugar to a minimum, so I’d rather use the first recipe if it will work.

    • Sure, use the instructions on page 62 with pretty much any dough you like. In this case, no changes at all, if it were enriched dough, you have to decrease temp and increase time. Cech your oven temps with big loaves, using something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU

  7. Thanks, I’ll try it in my next batch and report back. I used to use the ground sprouted wheat in the old classic Cornell bread years ago – as I recall it increased both moisture and gluten so I’ll just go from there.

  8. I tried the many seed bread in your Whole
    Grain book. I did added another 1/2 cup
    oats and 1/2 cup less WW flour. I had all
    the seeds but I tested the dry roasted sun
    flower seeds and found they were salty so
    I ommited the salt and used only the flower
    seeds. It turned out fantastic and with a
    touch of peanut butter after toasting-heaven.
    I also let it ripen for 48 hours in the
    frig and it really made a difference and
    finally I found a wavy blade knife and it
    does slice right out of the oven without
    squashing the hot bread and a general good
    knife for slicing bread and not crumbling.
    Again thanks and it will be a nice toast to
    help lower my LDL.

    • Fantastic– here’s to your LDL! I definitely like everything better after at least 24 to 48 hours of cold-ferment– that goes for all our lean-dough recipes.

  9. Zoe

    Do you think you could make the carmel rolls:
    get them all made up and in the pan but put them in the
    refrigerator overnight and bake them in the morning?

    Thanks,

    Ruthie Wolfe
    Assistant at Cooks

    • Ruth– yep, we do that all the time, the refrigerator rise trick, it’s in the books or in the FAQs above under “Dense crumb…”

  10. Hi, I found the recipe for the olive oil pizza dough on a blog on the internet. It makes amazing flatbread and I’m using it to make some naan today. I am interested in purchasing the book but we have severe allergies to dairy and eggs, I wasn’t sure if there were many recipes in the book that we could still use? About how many of the recipes use dairy and eggs? Thanks so much!

    • The enriched chapter has eggs and butter, but you can often swap oil for the butter. Most of the book has neither. Depends which of the three books you’re interested in…

  11. If I have a proofing setting on my oven can I use this when I am rising my loaf of bread and if so will this shorten the amount of time I rise it from the 90 minutes from the refrigerator.

  12. I am making 20 loaves of bread for a party (the original ABin5 recipe). I will not have time to bake all of the loaves on party day but want to have “fresh bread.” I would like to bake the loaves, freeze them, and then put them in the oven to warm the day of the party so they are like fresh-baked that day. Do you have suggestions for this plan? Thanks so much!

  13. Since I don’t have a baking stone would it be work for me to bake on cast iron? I have a cast iron griddle that I can put in the oven.

  14. I’m just one person eating the bread I make at the moment. I have already halved the master recipe, but I was wondering if I should make smaller loaves in order to not have too much left over. My room mate also has cats so I prefer not to store leftovers on the counter though we *do* have a bread box. I suppose I could use it for its original purpose.

    Anyway, do you have experience with making smaller loaves and adjusting times?

    • Hi Ally,

      Yes, you can certainly make a smaller loaf. If you make one half the size (8-ounces) you’ll want to let it rest for about 40 minutes and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, not much of a difference.

      Thanks! Zoë

      • A silly question maybe, but about how big of a ball will 8oz. be? I currently don’t have a scale to weigh things…

      • Hi Ally,

        8 ounces is about the size of an orange.

        I love Kay’s idea too! Let us know if you try it.

        Cheers, Zoë

  15. Hi, Ally, I, too, live alone. One of my favorite ways to make my bread on occasion is to take a golf ball size piece of dough and flatten it on a piece of olive oiled parchment paper, put more oil on top, sprinkle with kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper and garlic powder and a favorite dried herb. Bake at 400 in my toaster over for about 12-15 min. Dip in more evoo herbed and some sliced cheese and olives, a glass of red wine. YUM!

  16. I have a stoneware pan that makes 4 individual loaves 5 1/2″x3″x2″. How would I use this so the dough wouldn’t stick and how large a piece for each loaf, baking time, resting time etc??

    Thanks

    • Hi Maureen,

      You will use this pan just as we suggest for any other loaf pan. Be sure to grease them generously before putting the dough in. You’ll want to use about 8 ounces of dough (an orange sized piece). Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes for white dough or 60 minutes for whole wheat. Bake them for about 30 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thank you for the info. Are there any options other than greasing the pans? I try not to use any oil in my cooking.

      • Hi Maureen,

        You can make a parchment sling for the bottoms and sides of your pan, but any exposed surface may stick to the dough.

        Thanks, Zoë

  17. In your book “5 Minute Bread” the master recipe uses 600 ml/pint. In the US there are 473 ml/pint and in the UK there are 568 ml/pint (from wikipedia).
    Please could you tell us, on your home page, which units you actually used in your trials and let us do the conversion.

    (Also there is an obvious error Page 196 of 5 Minute Bread 980 gms is not 1lb 3 oz)

    • Hi Peter,

      I have posed this question to the British team who converted and tested our recipes for that edition. Hopefully they can tell me exactly which units they went with. I will hopefully have a satisfying answer for you soon!

      Thank you, Zoë

    • Hi Peter,

      What I heard back from the publisher is that all of their testers used the 600ml. As you pointed out, the number doesn’t seem to match the UK pint.

      You are absolutely right about the error on page 196, it should read 980 grams or 2 lb 2 1/2 ounces.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Many thanks Zoë

        If anyone else is following this thread, my advice would be to look at the Artisan Web site and do your own conversion using Wikipedia but more importantly you should know that the amount of water is going to vary with the flour used so you will need to chose a flour and experiment. Even the ASDA (Wallmart) mega cheap flour produces really tasty bread with this process and it doesn’t take many tries to get proportions that suit you.

  18. I just bought your original “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes” book, not realizing you had a revised version. I would like to weigh the ingredients rather than measuring–apparently the new book has this info–is it possible just to get the weights to use for the master recipes?

    • Hi Ann,

      There are so many dough recipes in that book, when it comes out we will certainly put some of them up on the site, but not all of them. Please let us know which you’re most interested in having in weights!

      Thanks and enjoy the bread! Zoë

  19. I am making the master recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day for the first time and am using stone-ground whole wheat flour. I halved the recipe which calls for 2 3/4 cups or 12 1/2 ounces of whole wheat flour. I measured out the flour and then weighed it. 2 3/4 cups of the stone-ground whole wheat flour weights 13 7/8 ounces. Do you recommend using the 2 3/4 cups or 12 1/2 ounces?

    Thanks,
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      Weights are always more accurate, but you may still need to add more flour to your dough. fresh stone ground flour tends to be coarser and doesn’t create the same kind of gluten structure. You can try adding more flour, if the dough feels too wet. Many folks who use freshly ground flour also find that adding a bit more vital wheat gluten gives them better rise.

      Thanks, Zoë

  20. Any advice for gluten free bread? Ive been pretty successful making your basic recipes, but Id like to branch out and my brother in law is gluten free. Thanks in advance, and thanks for the great book!

  21. So excited to have discovered your method! I was wondering if you could tell me what brand(s) of organic whole wheat flour you would recommend for your recipes. Do some brands require adjustments (as with the white flour recipes made with KA all purpose)? Similarly, is there a brand of organic all purpose you could recommend that doesn’t require adjustments due to protein content? Many thanks in advance for your response!

    • Hi Lesley,

      Many commercially ground flours (KAF, Gold Medal, Bob’s Red Mill and others) offer organics and they all work well, without adjustments. The only time you need to make adjustments for whole wheat is if you are using a non-commercially ground flour.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Great, thank you! Would you recommend the same organic brands for white flour also, except for KA who has a different protein content and therefore requires adjustments?

      • Hi Lesley,

        Yes, all of the brands I mentioned can be used with no adjustments to the recipe.

        Thanks, Zoë

  22. I had prepared dough for Artisan Bread in Five Mins accordingly. It was rising well when it was resting for 2 hrs on counter bef I place it overnight in the fridge. Following day, i took it out and the dough feels rather wet. I practically had to scoop it out with my hands as dough is gooey, it does not stretch like in your video where you had to cut off a portion. Please advise what could have gone wrong? How can I correct the current dough situation ? Thanks.

    • Which recipe in the book are you talking about (page number)? Did you make any substitutions? What brand of flour?

      You can always just work in more flour till it looks like our videos.

      • Thanks Jeff for your response. I am using a local brand of bread flour as it has higher protein than the plain flour. I got your master recipe for the basic bread from your YouTube.
        I shall try again taking note to work in more flour.

  23. I am in a humid area of Asia. I find the dough is still very sticky and wet when I pull it out of the fridge. Even when I flour the dough before pulling it out and flour the outsides as I try to pull the edges around to shape, the dough sticks miserably and looks wetter and less smooth than what I see in your videos. Any suggestions?

    • It’s the flour, Asian flours tend to have less protein (which is what absorbs the water). Try more flour, it’ll have to be an experiment though. Use more, until it looks like what you see in our videos. Can even work in flour to an existing batch. But which recipe are you using? (which book and page number?).

  24. Hi, I’ve only heard about your breads/book about 2 months ago, and since my first try baking it, I’ve been hooked! I’ve had no trouble making the basic healthy bread recipe up until the last two batches. For some reason my dough isn’t getting stretchy anymore. It still bakes pretty tasty (maybe somewhat denser) but I’m just wondering what the problem is. I recently bought yeast in bulk, instead of the little packets, but other than that I haven’t changed anything. Any advice would be most appreciated!

    • It’s not the yeast, and you haven’t said you’ve changed anything else, so can’t figure this one out over the web. Any other changes? Flour? Assume you’re using VWG…

  25. I made the ’100% whole wheat bread with olive oil’ for the first time, using your recipe in the book. I made the dough as per the instructions yesterday, and in the morning I took it out.The dough is very dry and crusty on top and impossible to create that soft stretch when I form it into a ball. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Too much air space in the container? Too much air being allowed in the container? Not covered? You can salvage, brush it with water and let it sit for an hour. Won’t be perfect, but you can use it. Bake it off and see what happens.

  26. I was making all varieties of your bread in the ab5md when I lived in KY. I moved to VT in July and into a home that has hard water. I am not doing anything different in preparing my dough. I was successful in getting it to rise for the 2 hours and then put it in the fridge and it looked like it lost all of it’s risen powers when I went into pull out a chunk to shape. Once I put it on the peel it basically flatten out during the waiting for the oven time and ended up making a pizza crust. The only difference I can see is that my water is hard now. Should I buy bottled water to make my bread?
    Thank you for your assistance.

    • Before you go to bottled water, how about the flour– it is possible you’re using different flour? One with lower protein? See our FAQs tab and click on Flour varieties: Do I need to adjust the liquids when I use different kinds of white flour?
      Another possibility (doubtful though) is highly chlorinated water, which you can fix by letting the water sit in an open container overnight (it diffuses into the atmosphere.

    • Karen: Agave syrup works. And maple syrup works, but it’s a strong flavor. A flavor-neutral version would be some white or brown sugar. A little less than what we call for by volume, maybe a tablespoon of water if we’re being sticklers. You’re trying to approximate the water content of honey, but the recipes aren’t all that finicky.

  27. I’m new to bread baking and learned about using instant yeast which I’ve found more successful than other yeast options. How do adjust the quantities of granulated yeast that you call for when I use instant? (SAF bulk yeast) I’m using your Healthy Bread book — about to try the recipe on p. 54.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Laurel,

      You can use the same amount, it doesn’t matter what kind of yeast you are using, since you are storing the dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Charles,

      I’m sorry, but I am not finding a question from you that day. Please ask again and I will be sure to get back to you.

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. Hi there… Terrific book (the original)!
    I am making break for 2 months now and my family loves it!
    When i got my container out of the fridge this morning to get so dough for lunch, i notice that there was a big film of water in the bottom of the container.. I am using the light whole weat recipe, but modified it by doing half whole weat, half white flour.. Never had this problem before.
    Can you help me?
    Tia
    Marc

    • Hi Marc,

      This can happen if the bucket has been sitting unused for several days. You can just add a bit more flour to it and allow it to sit for about an hour (or more) to allow the flour to absorb the excess moisture.

      Thanks, Zoë

  29. My question: When I bake sour dough bread and the recipe calls for 100 degreed water, should I heat the sour dough starter as it comes straight out of the fridge. If not, would it not be detrimental to the heated water?

  30. For the pizza dough recipe on page 74 of the PFI5, can I use unbleached cake flour? Also the expiration date on my box is 9/26/13 is it still okay to use?

    • Hi Jane,

      The pizza peel is just for getting the loaf easily in and out of the oven. You can also use a rimless baking sheet.

      Thanks, Zoë

  31. I just bought your book – Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a day. I am wondering if I can substitute sifted spelt flour for your recipes calling for whole wheat flour?

    • Hi Brenda,

      It may require a bit more flour, since spelt is lower in gluten and makes a dough with less structure. Have you ever made the bread with wheat, so you know the consistency you are going for? If not, you may want to watch some of our videos.

      Thanks, Zoë

  32. reading the recipe on the Gold Medal flour bag, step #9 reads to “cover oven windows w/a towel”. The outside of the window I assume but why?

    • Hi Pam,

      It is just a precautionary measure for people with older ovens, when the glass wasn’t tempered and water drips could crack it. This is unlikely to happen in an oven from the 90s of newer. If you happen to have an older oven, you would simply lay a towel over the window, when the door is open, then pour the water in and remove the towel before closing the door again.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • No, its for the inside of the window…as its open before you, perpindicular to the floor. The hot side. And as Zoe said…

  33. Hi. I am planning to buy The New Artisan Bread in 5 minutes and wanted to know few things before I buy.

    1) hubby wants at least one 100% Whole Wheat bread every week. Does ABin5 has 1 such recipe or I should look at buying HBin5?

    2) I don’t eat eggs, so are there few recipes egg-free or other recipes easily substituted for egg?

    3) In India we don’t get variety of Wheat flour or All-purpose flour. Definitely no gluten information is available on them. If there is Bread Flour available then it is an expensive commodity bought only at International or Gourmet Stores. So is it possible to get good bread using basic All-purpose flour & Wheat flour?

    Thanks for your patience.

    • Hi Deepali,

      Thank you for the note, here are my answers:

      1. Yes, there is a 100% whole wheat bread.

      2. Most of the recipes are egg free, there is only one chapter with eggs, the rest is without.

      3. Almost all of the recipes call for just all-purpose flour or whole wheat.

      Thank you and enjoy! Zoë

  34. I have been unable to find Wheat Germ and have been to several stores with no success. I made your Carrot Bread (from the Healthy Breads book) and just used extra wheat flour to substitute for the lack of Wheat Germ. The bread did not rise very well. Is there any substitute for the Wheat Germ used in your recipes? I was able to find Vital Wheat Gluten, just could not find Wheat Germn.

    • Hi Terri,

      Oh, that is very interesting. I have often had to look both in the baking section or the “health food” sections of the grocery store, but I wonder if its not available in certain markets. It also used to be sold near the cereals. The germ is added for some nutritional value, along with flavor. It doesn’t absorb any water to speak of, so you are probably better off not replacing it with anything. The dough may have ended up too dry as a result of the extra flour. If you have any dough left, you can try adding a couple tablespoons of water to the remaining dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

  35. Hi,
    I have ordered the new Artisan Bread in…, I live in Saudi Arabia but my problem is unbleached all purpose flour is not available.

    Is it ok to use any bleached all purpose white flour with the Basic Recipes

    What is your advice on this?

    Please advice.

    Thanks

  36. Can I add molasses to the master whole wheat recipe. Love whole wheat and molasses. Or do you have another recipe with molasses. Could not find one anywhere
    Thanks

    • Hi Carolyn,

      Yes, the molasses will be tasty. Depending on how much you’d like to add, you will want to reduce the water by the same amount.

      Cheers, Zoë

  37. I purchased some of (Allison)Wholemeal Seed & Grain Bread flour from the UK and I was wondering how I could incorporate that into the recipe. It seems a shame not to be able to use it, but I am not sure of the measurements. Thank you.

    • Hi Linda,

      Which of our recipes are you trying to substitute this flour in? It will make a difference in how I’d answer.

      Thanks, Zoe

  38. Dear Zoe & Jeff,
    First, let me say thanks for sharing your vision with others. Something that people could only dream about making has become a reality because of your no nonsense approach!
    Now to my dilemma. I’ve been making artisan breads for nearly two decades. I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in March so the breadmaking pretty much came to a halt since wheat flour really gets my blood glucose soaring!
    Easy solution (so I thought) was to eat whole grains. All grains are carbs which will raise blood sugar. However, some whole grains contain enough soluble fiber to slow digestion, therefore no big blood sugar spikes. Oats and barley contain lots of soluble fiber. Wheat does not.
    Whole wheat bread will raise blood sugar levels just as much as white bread because it contains only non-soluble fiber.
    Non-soluble fiber is good because it makes you feel full.
    I was lying in bed this morning wondering if adding psyllium fiber to a bread recipe would increase the fiber content therefore making it more “diabetic friendly” and not effect the taste or texture.
    Your thoughts on this dilemma?

    • Bobby: First off, I can’t necessarily vouch for suppositions about exactly what raises blood glucose, and by how much. That said, I can’t blame anyone for trying to figure out what boosts their sugar the least. And, I know that psyllium has been used in bread– it’ll work in our recipes. What I don’t know is just how much you can add without really changing the pleasant character of bread. And how much extra water you’ll need (you will need some). So, start small– maybe a quarter cup of psyllium. And maybe two to four tablespoons extra water, but may need to adjust that. Let us know how you make out!

      • Thank you Jeff for getting back to me. Diabetes is a strange disease as it is different with everyone. If I eat a piece of cake for instance my BG will shoot up. Give me a piece of cheesecake or french fries and it doesn’t go up all that much. Go figure!
        I was hoping the doctor in you would have been tinkering with this is the back of your mind!
        I love your New Bread in 5. So much so that I just received my Healthy Bread in 5 about two hours ago from the UPS driver. Can’t wait to jump into it.
        I’ll be experimenting and will get back to you with results. Thanks again.

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