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?

2,319 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. I make the oatmeal bread from the first book. I have trouble with it crumbling. And when I cloak it the dough separates into layers. Tastes good when it is done but falls apart when I cut it. Sometimes the top layer separates.

  2. 2 things – when you freeze dough, is it in the container or do you shape it? 2nd thing – when you use the baguette pan, do you oil it 1st?

    • You can do either, but I usually do it in loaf-sized portions, which makes freezing much more useful.

      Depends on the baguette pan. If it’s teflon or silicone, no. The plain metal ones sometimes stick, but often you can get away without it if you’ve dusted well with flour.

      • When using a baguette pan, is it ok to let the resting happen in the pan or should you let it rest on parchment and then move it? Not sure if the holes make a difference when resting.

        Also, when the baguette pan goes in the oven, can it go in alone or should it be on a shallow pan if you don’t have a bakers stone?

        Thank you! love the book!

      • Hi N.Esguerra,

        Here is a post on the baguette. I highly recommend that you rest the loaf on a sheet of parchment and then lay that right into your pan. If you have a pan with the holes, the wet dough may stick if you don’t have parchment. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/06/01/gluten-free-baguettes-egg-free-and-a-king-arthur-gluten-free-flour-giveaway This post is for gluten-free bread, but the use of the pan will be the same.

        You don’t have to put it on a baking sheet, but I find it is easier to handle if it is on one.

        Thanks, Zoë

  3. where to find a 6 qt container? I’m not sure it would fit in my refrigerator.

    Also: if it won’t, can the recipe be halved?

    • I got mine from Amazon. this is a 2-pack but they may sell them singly.
      Cambro RFS6PPSW2190 6-Quart Round Food-Storage Container with Lid, Set of 2

    • TD, Philippa: Yes, the old ice-cream container works, just be careful it doesn’t puff out the top (usually won’t). Otherwise, see our Amazon store at the left here, they carry one. Anything works, including a soup pot with lid, which doesn’t make an airtight seal in the first place.

  4. A friend of mine heard about my diabolical bread experiments. He and his wife are gluten-sensitive. He tossed me a back of gluten free pancake mix (made with brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, baking powder) and said: See if you can make us a loaf of bread out of this. The only thing I know that you can make out of pancake batter is popovers and waffles. Suggestions?

    Second, no matter what I do, I end up with a nice, but dense crumb, no matter how I vary the Master recipe. Is there a way to get a lighter crumb, like with French bread? Thanks.

  5. I noticed that your bagel dough recipe is also good for a free form loaf. Could the olive oil dough be used as a free form?

  6. Hello,
    I was reading about so-called “natural yeast.” Does it truly work the way some suggest, breaking down the phylic acid?

    If so, can I use natural yeast in your recipes?

    I recently bought your New book, love it, and can’t wait to get baking.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  7. Hi Zoe and Jeff
    Just wanted to ask if you
    Know why the Red Star Platinum yeast is so
    Very costly? I don’t have access to it and the costs online are very pricey. U usually purchase by the pound. This isn’t available in that quantity. I’ve only seen packets

  8. Hello,

    I have made your Brioche bread now several times and although it tastes great, the top always splits open in a straight vertical line. Any thoughts as to why this happens?
    Thanks,

    Rieneke

  9. Hello,
    I’m having a problem with the dough from the master recipe for the whole grain artisan bread, pg 53 in the “Health Bread In 5 minutes A Day” book. When I go to shape the loaf after cutting off a piece of dough from my bucket the gluten cloak constantly tears ( this is after refrigeration). It’s like it doesn’t have any “stretch” to it. After kneading it a bit I can finally get it to form a ball without tearing but it takes a little bit of work. I’ve not had this problem with any of the “white flour only” recipes, just this one with the whole wheat flour ingredient.
    Thank you for any advice and\or help you can give.
    Judy

      • I used Prarie Gold White Whole Wheat flour and Simple Truth organic all purpose flour. Yes, I used vital wheat gluten from Hodgson Mills.
        Thank you,
        Judy

      • OK, here’s what I’d do, just increase the hydration a bit– maybe a quarter-cup more water, and see what you think.

  10. Hoping to pretend it is springtime here in Michigan tomorrow with burgers, potato salad and fresh fruit for Sunday lunch. Searched my my copy of “Bread in 5″ hoping to find techniques for making hamburger buns… none of the rolls/buns sounded like what I am looking for….. help greatly appreciated!

  11. I have a steam-assist setting on my oven. Can I use that instead of a pan of hot water in making artesian bread?

  12. My hamburger buns turned out BEAUTIFULLY! I “greased” them with
    Chef Charley’s Blessing-
    2-3 large clove of roasted garlic
    1 C. olive oil
    2 T dried basil
    2 T dried oregano
    1/8 t salt
    In a blender, emulsify garlic and olive oil.
    Add spices and blend in spurts to mix.
    Brush over hot bread or roles.
    Keeps well in refrigerator

  13. Truthfully have enjoyed varying the” dough… this time I put 1/4 C honey in my meas cup and then added the warm water stirring til the honey dissolved. 1 C Wheat flour w/ 5 1/2 C white. Formed peach size “balls” of dough. The “blessing” was a great added flavor & is delicious on any loaf!

    • Your burger buns sound great! Was this a variation of the Master Recipe? How much yeast and how much kosher salt? About how many buns do you get from one recipe?
      Thanks!

  14. I made the half whole wheat (3 cup) half unbleached white bread flour(3.5 cup)recipe and made a good loaf the first day. the third day I went to make another and the top of the dough was almost black. it was not mold and the dough directly underneath was fine. there wasn’t a bad odor or anything and maybe I could have used it but I was afraid. what do you think?

  15. Yes Sorry somehow I missed “Master Recipe” in my previous reply. I made 10 buns & have enough dough left over for a loaf later this week.

  16. I have enjoyed varying the Master dough recipe … this time I put 1/4 C honey in my meas cup and then added the warm water stirring til the honey dissolved. 1 C Wheat flour w/ 5 1/2 C white. Formed peach size “balls” of dough. The “blessing” was a great added flavor & is delicious on any loaf!

  17. Using the Master Recipe in Healthy Bread… Had a brain fart when mixing the batch and didn’t mix the dry ingredients first — I just dumped all of the ingredients together and mixed. Realized my error after I finished mixing. Should I just dump it or will it be okay (just not great)?

      • I have two updates!

        1) I went ahead and used the dough.

        2) In this batch, I also added 6 oz of spent grain (from my husband’s beer brewing — I asked a question about this above) to the master recipe. I decreased the water by 1/2 cup.

        The bread turned out great!

  18. I really hate using plastic for environmental reasons (too much plastic in our dumps). Can’t I used a towel when the bread is rising the old-fashioned way and not plastic?

    • If the towel ends up resting on the dough, it’s going to stick– this dough is wetter than old-fashioned doughs. But you don’t have to use plastic– an roomy overturned bowl works just as well. Or anything to maintain a humid environment, it doesn’t have to be in contact with the dough.

      • Here is a trick I learned from a YOUTUBE video. Spray the plastic wrap with PAM and then you don’t have to worry about it sticking, plus it makes the dough taste buttery.

  19. If I use 1 1/2 cup of activated sourdough starter, 5 3/4 cup of flour and 2 1/4 cup of water for the Master Recipe. How much yeast and kosher salt do you recommend? I would like to adapt your recipe using a soudough starter.
    I have read through your FAQ’s but not sure about the amount of yeast and salt.

    Thank you!

    • If the total amounts of flour are about the same (and it sounds like it is, assuming your activated starter is half water/half flour by volume), you don’t have to adjust the yeast or salt. That said, using activated starter means you can do well with less yeast, see the FAQ “Yeast: can it be decreased in the recipes?”

      I’ve even used zero yeast, but be forewarned– it doesn’t store well.

      • Thanks Jeff. If I use the normal 1 Tbsp. yeast will I be able to store my dough for up to 14 days?

  20. I was wondering if I could use those silicone covers for the refrigerator storage. It lets air or gases out but would be an air tight seal in.

  21. Cracked wheat bread, p.109 Healthy in 5, 2009
    Every time I bake this,(and I am about to mix it up) I am puzzled. Description reads” all about wheat”: white whole wheat, traditional whole wheat–BUT there is no traditional whole wheat in recipe. I always substitute a cup or two regular whole wheat for part of the 4 cups of white whole wheat. And think I am overlooking something every time. I mean it says whole wheat in the description. But that ingredient is not included.This is a great bread though. I sometimes use bulgar wheat in place of cracked wheat. Hydrates a bit faster, I think.

    • Sorry– that was an editing problem. It shouldn’t have mentioned traditional WW. But, that said, it works fine with all WWW, all traditional WW, or a mixture.

      • Greetingz Zoe & Jeff, Maybe it’s posted somewhere but I haven’t found it… When will the pizza/steel contest close?

  22. I’m using a no knead recipe from KA. Rests for 8 hours or over night on the counter, then shape and rest for two
    Hours before baking. Could it be refrigerated? It has raisins crasons and nuts in it

  23. Hey Jeff

    I love your books.

    I don’t know if I am over thinking it but when many recipes like, for example, the Couronne in step 2 says place the loaf on a pizza peel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Step 3 says to preheat the baking stone for 20 to 30 minutes

    Am I letting the loaf rest for a total of 40 to 50 minutes or can I preheat while letting the loaf rest for 20 minutes?

    Thank you. Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      We meant for you to let the dough rest for 20 minutes total. You can start preheating the oven right when you shape the bread. If the dough ends up resting a bit longer it is fine, but no less than 20.

      Cheers, Zoë

  24. I have the New Artisan Bread in 5 min and love the recipes. I was hoping to find a recipe for Hovis bread that we used to have in England? The bread I remember was a plain brown bread with soft crust. The baker used to carry mini loaves which he handed out to children as he was on his daily delivery rounds.

  25. I see you made nana in the video and covered your cast iron pot with a lid. Where can I get a lid like yours?

  26. Pertaining to the pumpernickel’ caramel color recipe on p. 125, can a double or triple batch be made, stored in the refrigerator and then warmed up when ready to use?

    • Hi Carole,

      Yes, you can make a larger batch and refrigerate or freeze it. Just bring it to room temperature before using, no need to warm it much.

      Thanks, Zoë

  27. Zoe,

    I am considering buying a baking steel, and I was wondering what your thoughts were. I bake your artisan bread several times a week, and read where this steel makes a difference not only with pizza but with artisan bread. We bake all our bread and do not buy any. If you could give me your thoughts with this question, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks to you and Jeff for all the help you give.
    Dunyia

    • Hi Dunyia,

      I have made a few loaves on the steel and I like it very much. It seems to conduct heat very well so the crust is lovely.

      I am so thrilled you are baking all your own bread, that is really fantastic!

      Cheers, Zoë

      • Zoe,

        Thank you for helping with questions about the Baking Steel. My husband asked to ask you if you would still use steam using the Baking Steel. I never thought about that–but its a great question.

        Both of us thank you for your help.

        Have a wonderful day.

        Dunyia

      • Hi Dunyia,

        Yes, I would still use the steam, since that helps create a shiny crust and promotes better rise.

        Thanks, Zoë

  28. I am adding a sourdough starter to your Master Recipe. How long can I safely store the dough in the refrigerator? Thank you!

    • Hi Colleen,

      The dough will lose rising power long before the dough is unsafe to eat. You can typically store dough that is using sourdough starter as the only leavener for about 5 days. If you are adding yeast to the batch as well, then you can store it for the normal 2 weeks.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Hi Colleen,

        That will really depend on the strength of your starter. It will lose some rising power towards the second week, but you can always use it as a mother for the next batch.

        Let me know how it goes! Zoë

  29. BPA free? Also, because the containers are #5 propylene plastic I believe they are “de facto” BPA free. But I am not a chemist.

  30. I use a deep enamel soup pot and place a toothpick between the pot and the lid for venting. Works perfectly and no plastic.

  31. My family has fallen in love with the Master Recipe (Artisan Bread in 5 min. a day, page 26). My daughter has since become allergic to gluten AND EGGS! So, can I still use this same recipe and swap out the all purpose flour with an all purpose gluten free flour? Or, do I need to add more ingredients to get the right texture?

  32. I was wondering if you had a video on how to shap cibatta with your method. I did an online class with Peter Reinhardt and he said not to degas the rolls and roll them up like slippers and square off the edges. Reading your book I am a little confused on how to shape. I am using the master recipe from the new artisan in 5.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      We don’t have a video, but it is a great idea. If you have experience shaping cibatta from Peter’s class, I would just do the same with our dough. We’ll also work on making a video of the technique.

      Cheers, Zoë

  33. your receipe calls for a towel to “Cover the oven windows.” is the towel places on the inside or outside of the oven?

    Sandra Wurster

    • Hi Sandra,

      This is really only neccessary if you have an older model oven, when the glass wasn’t tempered. If that is the case then you want to open the oven door, lay the towel over the glass, pour the water into the pan and remove the towel before closing the door to bake the bread.

      Thanks and enjoy the bread! Zoë

  34. I tried making rye bread in the crock pot and all it did was go flat and didn’t really crispy up. It still looked doughy on top after 1.50 hours. Is there something I can do to the dough. I used the deli rye out is the new artisan in 5.

  35. Broke my beloved old white slow cooker liner I’d used to store dough. Can’t seem to locate your suggestions for where to buy dough storage containers. I loved my old white liner and an still mourning its slip from my hands. It looked like a giant soufflé dish. Ah well.

    • Hi Janet,

      If you look on the left side of the website you will find an amazon store and our recommended containers on listed there. Let me know if you still can’t locate them.

      Thanks, Zoë

  36. I own the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes and the Pizza Book and was wondering if the other two books have different recipes or the same. I am really debating on whether or not to buy these. I love the two I have and always have pizza dough and some other dough in the fridge. Thank you.

  37. You said in your HB5 that vital wheat gluten can be stored in the frig , but I store my flours in the freezer. Can I also store the VWG in the freezer, and if so, how long does it keep it’s potency? Do I need to bring the VWG and flours to room temp before mixing my dough?

    • Hi Chris,

      You can store the VWG in the freezer for months. You can just use it straight from the freezer, no need to warm it first.

      Thanks, Zoë

  38. Bought Gold Medal flour and found your 5 min bread recipe printed on the bag. Way to go! But why the direction to “cover the oven window with a towel” before you pour the water into the broiler pan? I have three of your books and have never seen that direction.

    • Hi Judy,

      It was meant as a precaution for those who may have older ovens, without tempered glass. It has since been removed from the directions, since so few people have such ovens.

      Thank you! Zoë

  39. Hi! I have the NEW ARTISAN BREAD in FIVE MIUTES a DAY and have had great success with all in the new and original books. My sister-in-law was lamenting that her sticky buns (from the original book) did not cook through. She used challah, and all else with the dough was fine. I made the same today, and after about 30 mins I covered with foil because the top was browning. I let them bake 45 mins, but they probably could’ve gone 50. Do you have other suggestions so that the top doesn’t over bake while the bottom is under baked ?

  40. Hey Jeff and Zoe. I am trying to figure out why my pizza has come out gummy in the center (twice!) One time using the Orig Olive Oil dough and the second time using the Whole Wheat Master Recipe….Both times I spread it using the dough using only my hands and gravity (no roller), and it seemed pretty thin although unevenly so, and even had some weak see-through spots. Then I topped it with sauce and cheese and onions and a drizzle of oil, but had to leave it on the counter while I got distracted changing a diaper or something for approx 10-15 mins. When I put it into the oven (on a stone), it puffed up nicely (the orig olive much more than the WW) but was not done in the center by the time the bottom was crusty and the toppings were good. Is this because I 1) didn’t use a rolled to beat out the bubbles or 2) left it on the counter too long after spreading the dough 3) left it too long with sauce on it? 4) all of the above? ;-D Should I use a docker to fix this? Thanks very much for your continued support and availability! -E

    • Hi Eitan,

      How long are you preheating your stone? How high does your oven go? Feel free to use a rolling pin to get the dough nice and thin, it does the job beautifully.

      Cheers, Zoë

      • Hi Zoe!

        I will go back to the roller. Had hoped the tossing would add some “extra Italian something”, but I guess it just looks cool! ;-D

        Preheated to 550 for quite a while. Is that hot enough??

  41. Hi Zoe!

    I will go back to the roller. Had hoped the tossing would add some “extra Italian something”, but I guess it just looks cool! ;-D

    Preheated to 550 for quite a while. Is that hot enough??

  42. I just wanted to say that I made the bagel dough with a modification and let the dough sit over night. Next day I rolled the dough into a log to make pretzels and I wrapped them around hot dogs . Everyone thought they were the best pretzel dogs ever. I use to make them all the time with my old recipe but had let the dough rise two hours then punch down the wrap and rest 30 mins. So I modified my recipe to be similar to the bagel dough and followed your method. What a time savor ! Thank you!

    • Hi Stephanie,
      Liked your pretzel dog idea! So did you “snake” the dough around the hotdog and then how long did you bake them?

      • Yes . I just snaked it around the hot dog and boiled till they floated in the pot prob .30 sec each side. Baked with steam prob 15 to 20 mins. I wanted them brown but not to dark.

  43. I like to use sour salt (citric acid) to make sourdough extra tangy. Would this be problematic with your method?

  44. Dear Jeff or Zoe,

    If you are using a Baking Steel to make Artisan bread do you still set the oven temp. at 450 and do you still use steam?

    I appreciate your help with this question.
    Have a great day.
    Dunyia

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