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?

Privacy Policy

Refrigerator rise trick: the formed loaves or rolls rise overnight and are ready for the oven the next day

Rising:  My shaped loaves don’t seem to rise much before it’s time for the oven.  What am I doing wrong?

Salt:  Can I decrease the amount of salt in the recipes?  How do I adjust for different kinds of salt?

Sourdough starter:  can I use it with this method?

Steam alternatives:  How do I create a steam environment for a great crust when my oven doesn’t trap steam well?

Stone broke!  What did I do wrong?

Storing bread:  What’s the best way to do it?

Traditional recipes:  How can they be converted to the ABin5 method?

Underbaked! My loaf didn’t bake through to the center.  What am I doing wrong?

Web use:  Can I use your recipes on my own website, in my class, or in a publication?

Weighing ingredients instead of using cup measures:  How do you do it?

Whole grain flours and vital wheat gluten:  How do you use them?

Whole grain flours and doughs without vital wheat gluten: How do those work?

Yeast:  can it be decreased in the recipes?

2,348 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Ok…Jeff or Zoe, I have an observation about my “non-stretchy-ness” of my dough that was discussed in my earlier comments.

    Just for fun, I made pizza and master recipe dough and instead of mixing with my dough hook, I used my stand mixer but just barely. I mixed until just “together” (about 2 minutes or so)

    I just pulled a bunch from my bucket and I can immediately tell the difference in stretch…this one stretched just like yours does…about a foot or so and didn’t break off.

    I guess I wasn’t mixing nearly well enough or something before.

    Just thought it was interesting and worth mentioning.

    By the way…I’m a pizza hero in my office :)

    Nothing like bringing in a fresh, crispy Pizza Margherita to my co-workers first thing in the morning…they look at you like you are Einstein.

  2. Hi, I love your cookbooks and just ordered some Turkey Red flour. It’s a heritage flour and originates before the transition to the short stalk wheats that are used in flour nowadays. Have you ever worked with any of the heritage flours? If so, how did they compare? Evidently many people with gluten issues/sensitivites find great success with these flours. Your thoughts?

  3. I LOVE your books… they changed my life! Question: I am trying to stay away from plastics.. can I store the dough in stainless or is ceramic or glass better?

    • They’re all equally good alternatives, but don’t use screw-top lids with the covers screwed down completely, there has to be venting or the container can shatter.

  4. Is it okay to store bulk yeast in the freezer?
    If not, should I throw my yeast out that I have stored in the freezer?

    • That’s where we store ours! It lasts longer in there, and you don’t have to let it warm to room temp before using.

    • Hi Jacky,

      I’m assuming you are making the brioche from HBin5? Yes, that is correct. If you have a stand mixer, I find it is easiest to mix this dough with the paddle attachment. You can also do it by hand, but it takes a bit of mixing to get it nice and smooth.

      Cheers, Zoë

  5. Worked great, but think it needs a bit more flavor. Can I add a little honey and/or herbs without affecting the rise?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Anita,

      Which dough are you making? Most of our doughs will benefit from at least a 24 hour storage in the refrigerator before shaping and baking. You can add a little honey and herbs without changing the nature of the dough.

      Cheers, Zoë

      • Sorry I didn’t say; it was the pizza dough. I’ve heard of this process, but had never tried it. Since there was no sugar or honey in the recipe and most pizza doughs do use some, I was concerned it interfered with the process. Thank you very much.

    • I used this recipe. Can you say how best to modify with sugar?

      3 cups lukewarm water (100F or below)
      3 tablespoons lukewarm water (100F or below)
      1/3 cup olive oil
      1 tablespoon granulated yeast
      1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
      7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flou

  6. When baking Light Whole Wheat Bread in a Pullman loaf pan without the lid (from The New Artisan Bread book on page131)do I bake in a 450 degree oven as stated in the directions and bake for the same amount of time?
    Thanks.

  7. I used this recipe. Can you say how best to modify?

    3 cups lukewarm water (100F or below)
    3 tablespoons lukewarm water (100F or below)
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 tablespoon granulated yeast
    1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
    7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  8. I have all of your books. I want to make grilled pizza. I was wondering what is the best tasting dough for it? You can just tell me which book and which recipe. I like a thiner crust, with some grill marks but not burnt .

  9. I asked if the baking time and temperature should change if I make the Light Whole Wheat Bread in a Pullman loaf pan without the lid (from The New Artisan Bread book on page 131. I haven’t gotten a reply so am posting again.
    Actually,would the baking time and temperature change with any of the recipes that are free form when put in a loaf pan?

    Thanks.

  10. Have you ever tried baking your bread in a cloche. I have created one up using an unglazed round flower pot with a large nut/washer combo in the hole in the bottom. I let it heat up on my pizza tile. I have used it for standard bread recipes and it seems to work well. Any experience at your end?

    Thanks

    Natalie

  11. I love this method of making bread! It’s been great! I love making slightly smaller loaves using the master recipe – turns out just enough for my husband and I for dinner.
    However, I’d also like to make a sandwich bread. I’ve tried the Whole Wheat Sandwich bread and the American white bread. Both tasted great fresh out of the oven, however, when we went to use the leftovers for sandwiches the next day, the bread still tasted great, but was pretty crumbly and made for a messy sandwhich. Any advice to get a loaf that doesn’t make so many crumbs when sliced?

    • Well, the real problem is… breads made without preservatives or dough conditioners tends to get dry and crumbly the next day. You could try a slightly wetter dough, or bread made from longer-aged dough. Those both should stay fresh for longer and since you’re making it in a loaf pan, the flattening you sometimes get with wetter or longer-aged doughs won’t be an issue (the pan contains it).

  12. In your master gluten-free recipe you call for potato flour. I am allergic to potatoes and I need a substitute for that in the GF recipe! Any ideas? I can’t do potato or corn.

  13. Pouring water into a hot broiler pan is dangerous! It splashed onto my oven door and cracked the glass. I am now putting the water into the broiler pan before heating the oven.

    • In some ovens with non-tempered glass, this can be a problem, which we’ve addressed here on the website and in all our longer books (those published in 2009 or later). In the list of topics above, click on “Steam alternatives: How do I create a steam environment for a great crust when my oven doesn’t trap steam well?”

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

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

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

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

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

    Many Blessings,
    K.S.

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

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

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

    • Hi Jean,

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

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

      Thanks, Zoë

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

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

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

    • Hi Jude,

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

      Thanks, Zoë

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

    • Hi Jean,

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

      Cheers, Zoë

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

    • Hi Lynnea,

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

      Thanks, Zoë

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

    • Hi Phyllis,

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

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Wayne,

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

      Thanks, Zoë

  22. Hello,

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

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

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

    Thank you.

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

    • Hi Sara,

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

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

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

      Thanks, Zoë

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

    • Hi Julie,

      It will work to put many loaves on the tray. You should know that commercial ovens are typically gas and don’t trap steam, so the crust on your bread will likely be dull compared to what you get at home. You can use steam, but you will have to spray it into the oven several times or it will just leak out of the oven and won’t add anything to the process. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/12/27/three-ways-to-get-steam-into-your-oven-for-a-great-crust-new-video You could parbake the loaves at home and just finish them at school?

      Thanks, Zoë

      • So, I tried baking the bread in my home oven without steam just to see how it would turn out if I don’t use steam to bake the 50 loaves at school in the convection oven. The crust was more dull, like you said it would be. It wasn’t quite as crispy either, but both of those things would be okay. The biggest problem I had was that the loaves came out a bit “deformed”. The slashes I made in them did not open up well, so I had bulbs protruding off of the bread in spots. This isn’t a big deal, but I don’t think I will use steam at my school for convenience factor, and wanted to know if I could prevent the deformed loaves. Would it be better not to slash them in that case, or should I just not worry about the deformed loaves because they taste just as delicious? :)

      • I’m surprised that the no-steam condition changed the likelihood of odd shapes projecting. My guess is that the school ovens actually had uneven heat. But your guess is as good as mine.

        I always prefer steam, and yes, the shape is really secondary.

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

    • Hi Nina,

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

      Thanks, Zoë

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

  27. Have you considered putting together a reverse index? i.e. Based on the dough I already have mixed and waiting in the fridge, what are my options for using that dough? The list for the master recipe would be extremely long, but I would certainly make use of such a list if one existed. I currently bake out of “the new artisan bread in five minutes a day” and am loving it.

    • Hi Candice,

      We’ve considered putting together such a list, but the options were nearly endless and it seemed to take up pages and pages to list every possibility. If there is a dough you have and need some inspiration we, or other readers may be able to help find a recipe for you!

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. Hi – I have tried the master recipe a couple of times now and get a good initial rise. However, when I put it in the fridge it really collapses and becomes dense…any ideas as to what I am doing wrong? Thanks!

    • Not exactly, but our European Peasant Bread develops those aged-dough characteristics. Do you have the 2007 book, or the 2013 book?

      • Great. The European Peasant Bread is basically the same in both editions. Another thing you can try, which will approximate the effect of biga, is to use the pate fermentee method that we describe on p. 62 of the 2013 edition.

  29. I keep having a problem where when I go to form loaves out of the master recipe it is very watery, and I can’t actually form a loaf. It sticks to my hands REALLY badly, and when I do put it down in a roll or loaf form, it flattens out instead of rises up. The first few times I made the recipe, it worked great, now what am I doing wrong?

    • Did you change flours? One that’s lower-protein and doesn’t absorb as much water? See our FAQs tab and click on Flour varieties: “Do I need to adjust the liquids when I use different kinds of white flour?” Which recipe are you using (which book/page number)?

  30. Good Evening Zoe & Jeff
    My son teaches 13 young adult with special needs. They do a lot of fund raisers and he asked me if I would help them make “my” delicious breads which are from your books! I am wondering if your master recipe can be doubled or should we stick to mixing one batch at a time?

    • For the Master Recipe in our first book, Artisan Bread in 5 Min/Day (2007), or its revised edition, The New Artisan Bread in 5 Min/Day (2013), instructions for adding cheese are found in the recipe on page 106 of the first book, or on page 176 of the revised edition.

  31. VITAL GLUTEN. I saw you recommending using Vital Gluten as a very important thing to do in a video BUT is see no mention of it in the book I just bough (last edition).
    How much to use in the 3-1-1-6 1/2?
    THANKS

    • It’s important if you want to make stored dough with a lot of whole grain, like we have in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (2009). The most recent book, The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is mostly made with white flours, though in many recipes there’s a modest amount of whole grain. Those don’t need vital wheat gluten.

  32. I made my first loaf of gluten-free bread using your Gluten-Free Master Recipe in The New Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes. The cooked loaf looks beautiful but is wet and spongy inside. How can I correct it?

  33. Jeff, I have the Kindle version of The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes. The corrections page you mention had page numbers, but my Kindle version does not have page numbers, only location numbers. So I have no way to find where the corrections go. Can you add location numbers to the corrections page?
    Thanks,
    Wayne.

    • The only way to do it is to use the search function in your Kindle– type in the recipe name, and you’ll go to it. We’ve just updated the Corrections page so all the corrections include a recipe name, not just a page number. Sorry about that!

  34. Both the Naples style, and Classic Pizza Margherita dough seem to be very sticky and difficult to work with. Is there some way to make them less so?

  35. I have been making your ten-grain bread according to the recipe. It comes out tasty, but very dense, with very little rise. The only other factor I can think of is that I am using King Arthur Flours (both the regular and the white wheat). Do I need to add additional water or vital Gluten when using these flours? Any other ideas what may be going on?
    Thanks!

  36. I have been attempting to make your gluten free bread and I can’t get it to come out right. Its still wet inside after baking it. I looked it up on your website and noticed that there is a correction. So I made a fresh recipe of dough with the sorghum flour and it still came out gummy. Any suggestions?

  37. I have tried the pizza for the last two nights, and my crust turns out very chewy. I’m using King Arthur unbleached multipurpose flower. Am I doing something wrong, or is there another way to get a more crispy (cracker-like) crust?

  38. I used a pizza stone pre-heated to 450 (for 35-40 minutes) and the master recipe (stored in fridge for 24 then 48 hours). The pizzas made from the dough were both pretty chewy, but the later one was more so.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Do you have any of our books? If so, you can check out all of our recommendations for baking pizza. One of the things we suggest is that you bake the pizza at the hottest temperature your oven will go to and preheat your stone for at least 30 minutes, longer for thick stones. 500° to 550°F is the best for a crisp crust. Anything lower and the bottom crust will be chewy as you describe.

      Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi Toni,

      It works wonderfully, I just had a party and got to bake in a woodfired pizza oven. The results are great and the baking time is about 3 minutes if you get the oven really hot! I suggest you form the balls at least 30 minutes before baking to make it easier to roll them out.

      Enjoy, Zoë

    • Hi Mary,

      It is only necessary for old ovens, before they used tempered glass. If you have an older oven, just lay the towel over the glass and then remove it when you close the door.

      Thanks, Zoë

  39. Hello,

    I bought your New Artisan Bread book a few months ago, and have been really enjoying making various breads, and pizza’s on the grill.

    On Sunday afternoon I made a batch of the olive oil bread since we really enjoy this recipe for pizza. There was one portion of dough left, and I told my husband to save it in the refrigerator so I could make a loaf of bread from it.

    Today is Wednesday,(3 days after mixing the initial batch of dough) and when I pulled the bucket out of the refrigerator, the top of the dough had all kind of hard darker tan color spots on it. I floured what was in the bucket, and attempted to develop a gluten cloak however, all kind of little hard crusty parts of the dough kept falling off. As I tried to turn the ends under, the hard crusty parts were coming through the top of the bread and destroying the gluten cloak. Every other time I have been able to shape loafs easily, and consistently, so I know I wasn’t doing anything wrong since I have been successful on every other occasion.

    This has never happened to me before. Do you think those dry crusty areas were mold? Can you offer any suggestions as to what happened?

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your efforts and the wonderful book. (Loved the Judy’s cinnamon raisin bread!)

    Deb

    • Hi Deb,

      It sounds like there was just too much air in the bucket, so the top dried out a bit. The spots were probably from when you sprinkled flour over the top when you made your pizzas. The sprinkled flour spread out a bit and then formed a crust that was a slightly different color. Totally safe, but a hard textrue as you described. Try closing the container a bit more. You can also drill a tiny hole in the lid so you can snap it shut.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thank you so much for the reply.

        I did notice that the lid was not fully on the bucket when I took it out of the refrigerator. My husband said that he just threw it in the fridge, and intended to snap it on later but forgot.

        Unfortunately, I threw the dough away because I was worried about how it would cook, and if it was safe to consume. Thanks to your reply, I will know better for next time.

        My family and friends can’t get enough of all the wonderful breads and pizza’s I am making from the recipes in your book. A few of my neighbors daughters wanted to learn how to make fresh bread, so I had them over and taught them how. They were so excited to each bring home a loaf of fresh bread, and my neighbors were so happy that I took the time to teach them. It has spread good will, and brought folks together.

        Thanks again for a great book! (BTW, I was born and raised in Minneapolis on 38th Avenue & 40th street. Moved to New York, then Northern California for a job when I was 23, that was back in 1987. Every time I go back to Mpls, I realize how much I miss it, and miss all the nice folks that live there.)

      • Hi Deb,

        It is so wonderful that you are teaching your neighbors to bake, what a fun experience. Thanks for spreading the word!

        Minneapolis is a wonderful place and people here love to bake because it is soooo cold! :)

        Cheers, Zoë

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