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

    • Hi,
      I want to know if any of your books have a Potato Bread recipe. I always seem to have plenty of potatoes. I’ve eaten commercially baked versions and my own home-baked attempts, but how would that translate to the wet dough process? I don’t want to make vodka bread or anything toxic.
      Another question: Why is it recommended not to eat unhulled pumpkin or seeds? I’ve seen them sold commercially as snacks. Although that is not necessarily an indicator of a healthy food. One of your books is the first time I read about it being a bad idea, and hulling is really time consuming.
      Thanks for your help
      Barb

      • Hi Barbara,

        What style potato bread are you looking for. We have recipes in our Artisan Bread and Healthy Bread book that use potatoes.

        The hulls on seeds do not break down when baked, so they would make for an unpleasant texture in the bread.

        Thanks, Zoë

      • Any bread would do. I saw a recipe for pizza that uses potatoes in the topping on this site. I have saved that one. I haven’t found any that use them in the dough, that is what I want. Most potato breads that I’ve seen are white breads, but would like to add more whole grains. I did borrow a library copy of HB in 5, and since returned it. Did I miss an option in there that would work?

        About unhulled pumpkin seeds, is it okay to eat them unhulled from a health perspective? I usually just dry them and eat them like nuts. In order to make bread, I would hull them or buy pepitas, but that can be pricey.

      • Hi Barbara,

        In our first book Artisan Bread:
        Potato-Rye Bread (page 120)
        Garlic Potato bread (page 118)

        Second book Healthy Bread:
        Whole Grain Herbed Potato Bread (page 103)
        100% Whole Grain Potato rolls (page 125)

        Eating the hulled seeds is fine if you enjoy them, it just doesn’t make for great bread.

        Thanks, Zoë

    • Hi,
      I want to bake the Cracked Wheat Bread on page 109 from Healthy Breads in Five Minutes A Day. I was wondering if white whole wheat flour is the same as whole wheat pastry flour ?

      Thank you,
      Andrea

      • Hi Andrea,

        Whole wheat pastry flour has less protein, which provides the structure in the dough. So you can not replace the white whole wheat with the pastry flour or your dough will not have enough structure and will be much too wet. You can use regular whole wheat though.

        Thanks, Zoë

  1. Hello! I am seeking advice on how to avoid odd shaped loaves based on the basic Boule recipe. It seems to me no matter what I try, I cannot find a consistent method for producing nice looking loaves and as of right now I seem to have a 50% chance of the bread coming out deformed or shaped well. Here are the things I have tried: 1.) Allowing the bread to sit out longer than 40 minutes so that it is not so cold, 2.) Starting the bread rising in the oven with the light on before pre-heating, and 3.) Baking the dough directly after it’s rise at room temperature. As I have indicated, sometimes the bread comes out perfect and other times quite deformed. Of course, all of the bread tastes great, but it would be nice to have confidence in it’s appearance for dinner parties and the like. Please help!

    • Hi Curtis,

      How much longer did you allow the dough to rest. You can go about 60+ minutes and that often helps the shape. One of the most likely causes is the slashing. You need to make sure that you are cutting the dough 1/4-inch deep or it will just break open any way it chooses.

      Let me know if you have already tried these steps, Zoë

      • Thanks for your reply. Sometimes I would let the bread sit out for as long as an hour and a half. I also do not think I am slashing the bread any deeper than a 1/4 inch, but I will consider that the next time I make it (which is right now!).

        Any other suggestions?

      • P.S. – Just took bread out of the oven and I’m afraid it burst out into a deformed shape again. Sigh….

      • Curtis: I’d say “at least” a quarter-inch, which is slightly different than the way you’re understanding it.

        A too-hot oven? Check with something like http://bit.ly/czmco2 . The too-hot situation would mean sudden and uneven oven-spring. Uneven oven heat might do this too. Using a stone consistently might even out oven heat (preheat at least 20 to 30 minutes if using one).

        Wrong flour? Any chance you’re using bleached flour, or a low-protein Southern US brand like White Lily? Stick with plain unbleached all-purpose or it throws off the moisture level (low-protein flours don’t absorb as much water).

      • Hi Jeff – Yes, I did misunderstand the 1/4 inch slash suggestion. I just made bread again today and slashed deeper than I have ever before and the bread came out looking great!

        I already have an oven thermometer and a pizza stone, and I am using unbleached AP flour.

        So, it seems as though I was not slashing deep enough so it may be that my problem has been solved.

        If the bread suddenly decided to deform again, I’ll let you guys know. Thanks for the help guys!

  2. Ok…. will give that a try and get back to you…. won’t be until late next week though…thanks again for you input…this bread is very tasty and I don’t want to give up on it

  3. OK another emergency: Honey accidentally bought me white whole wheat flour (instead of unbleached white all purpose) and i’m making panettone. Do I even bother trying it, I do have 4.5 cups of the correct unbleached white? I was thinking of just experimenting, but then I remembered there was a wital wheat gluten thing with WW flour baking….so thought I’d better ask. We can always make it for New Years instead of Xmas.
    thanks. marcia in colorado

    • Hi Marcia,

      The loaf will come out well, but will be heavier in texture. You will need to add a bit more water to make up for the portion of white whole wheat. If you have our second book Healthy Bread in Five, I would try the stollen bread, it is wonderful and uses white whole wheat.

      Thanks and enjoy, let us know how it goes! Zoë

      • thank you soooo much for being so responsive; you guys just rock! yes, i have the 2nd book and am anticipating the third in two days fingers crossed.
        think i’ll go with the stollen…fruity bread, horizontal or vertical – still fruity bread! Honey feels sooo bad with his mistaken purchase…this will lift his spirits!

  4. I made the olive oil pizza dough, which made perfect pizza, but the dough itself was so wet that it was almost runny, and difficult to form

    Now I made the brioche dough, and am trying to make cinnamon buns. It’s so runny that it’s more like a thick batter. No way can i roll it out or roll it. Way more liquid than solid. And there are chunks of what seems like flour in it. What might I have done wrong?

    • Naomi: Bleached flour? Soft low-protein flour like White Lily or other Southern U.S. all-purpose flour? Which book are you working from (which recipe/page number)?

      • AP flour…unbleached I think. I added a bunch of extra flour to make it thick enough to roll out. Hopefully I didn’t knead it too much to make it tough at that point. They were still messy looking so I pieced together some sort of cinnamon roll casserole. They rose nicely over night, and going in the oven in a few… Fingers crossed.

      • Hi Naomi,

        How are you measuring the flour? Did you use the scoop and sweep method? If you spoon the flour in to the cup it will result in a too wet dough.

        Thanks, Zoë

  5. Scoop and sweep. But my flour must still be off somehow. Do you have a weight equivalent that you go by that I can use next time to be sure? Btw, even after adding the flour after chilling, and putting the entire mess into a pan and baking for over an hour, I had a delicious cinnamon bun – esque breakfast treat!

  6. I have baked two loaves of the basic recipe and they taste great however each time the bread was deformed by an irregular shape coming out of the bottom of the loaves. It was about the size of a lemon and attached to the main body of the boule.

    • Hi Robert,

      This usually means the dough needs to rest longer before going into the oven. Try letting the loaf rest another 20 to 30 minutes before baking. Also be sure that your slashing the loaf 1/4-inch deep so that it will open up on the top nicely.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. hello from New Zealand. My family are planning to go hiking for a few days, and I am wondering which of your breads have the best keeping properties as we would like to try taking some. We regularly make the European Peasant bread, which we love, but it isn’t a particularly good keeper. I don’t own any of your books, but our library stocks the first two. Thanks in anticipation :)Annemarie

  8. Hi, I have a few questions,
    Firstly, have bought your book ‘healthy bread in five minutes a day’ & have made my first loaf. I live on my own and probaly eat 1 slice of bread daily, so I will always have left overs- am I able to slice the bread & freeze it?
    Another problem I have come to realize is I probaly won’t use all the dough mixture in two weeks, can I adapt the master recipe by halving it? Or even making it using a quarter of all the ingredients?
    I just don’t eat that much bread however am over buying bread full of persertives so thought I’d make my own. Any help on how I can make it work without wasting food would be greatly appreciated.
    Christine

    • Christine: Sure, you can slice and freeze, will make decent toast. Wrap it as airtight as you can.

      Can also half the recipes, even quarter. Consider freezing the dough as described in the book — freeze as small bun-sized pieces given your consumption level…

  9. In your section on dairy, you mention the lactic acid in yogurt. I prefer not to use dairy, generally substituting with coconut milk or soy yogurt, which has no lactic acid. Should I add vinegar or lemon juice to non dairy yogurt in recipes that call for dairy yogurt? Also, in baking I often substitute applesauce for butter or oil. Is this feasible in bread baking?

    • Hi Ellen,

      The recipe will still work, but will have a different flavor with the soy yogurt.

      Which recipe are you hoping to use applesauce in? There are some recipes that just won’t work if you replace all of the butter with applesauce.

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. Hi Zoe,
    Thanks for your very prompt reply. Regarding the applesauce, I was really just asking in general terms. It seems to work with cake and muffins, but I wasn’t sure whether to try it with bread.
    Happy New Year.
    –Ellen

    • Ellen: Worth a try, but the consistency of the dough will change. Use our Videos (see tab above) to adjust water content as you experiment. But the result will change when you swap applesauce for fats…

      • Hi Jeff,
        I will take a look at the videos. Thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate having the Healthy Bread option, which assuages my guilt over preferring the bread to the rest of the meal! Happy New Year.
        –Ellen

    • Can introducing steam by pouring the hot water in the pan under the bread cause oven damage. I have a new “high end” fisher/paykel oven, and after only 6 months the controls are toast. It picks it’s own temperature. Just wondering if all that steam could be a problem. Has anyone heard of any steam related issues?

  11. Happy Dance! Sourdough AND future book; does it GET any better?

    two beautiful panettones are rising in their papers as we speak. that bread makes the BEST french toast. and the neighbor is putty in my hands anticipating one of these loaves. we made the batter up last night during our New Year’s celebration (hope the champagne shrub didn’t cause me to leave anything out!).

    Happy New Year everyone!

      • I split the dough between two panettone papers cuz our papers are 6×4 and a 1.5lb ball of dough seems to get lost in them; so i did 2 loaves out of the basic recipe and they were mostly even, but the larger one i baked 1 hr 15 minutes; the smaller about 1 hour 5 minutes–gosh, those are pretty loaves. With much trepidation, I cut into the one we were keeping (the larger one, Jim demanded) and Voila! I was so worried i’d left out the salt cuz I didn’t recall measuring it out (champagne shrub, remember)…it was perfect. Delivered it to the neighbors (family of 5) and half of it was gone by the time i left 15 minutes later.

  12. I have purchased 2 of your books and would like to import the recipes into my web based planner (pepper plate). Is there a link that I can use so I don’t have to manually type everything?

    • Jeff: There is not– our publisher would kill us if we free electronic versions of our recipes available on the web! The only alternative is the electronic versions of our books, which are available in all formats through Amazon, Kindle, iPad, and through Barnes and Noble, the Nook version (click on any of the links above).

  13. How can I freeze the dough? I’m a single senior citizen so I would like to freeze the dough in 1 lb portions.

    Thank you

    • Hi Maureen,

      You can freeze the dough in zip-lock plastic bags. I usually double them up to protect the dough. The recipes will tell you how long they can be frozen for.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • I have the Kindle version of your Healthy Bread book and there is no reference to freezing at all. Sorry.

      • Maureen: It’s buried in the dough recipes– see page 259 for freezing the challah dough. Lean doughs can also be frozen, and in fact they do well for a longer period of time, up to four weeks. Wrap or seal well. Jeff

  14. Thank you. I found the info in the Challah recipe. There wasn’t any in the Rye recipe. Is the rye recipe considered a lean dough? Just trying to figure out how long I can freeze it. I may just have to halve the recipes.

    • Maureen: Yep, rye is a lean dough, and it tolerates freezing longer than enriched. Maybe 4 weeks or longer; a matter of taste, see what you think. Jeff

      • I just finished cutting and tasting my first loaf. OMG!! I haven’t had such good rye bread since I was a kid and since I’m pushing 77 that was a very long time ago. Thank you so much. My parents were European and I wasn’t raised on the spongy, yucky white bread that now passes for bread and costs over $3.00 a loaf. I can’t even eat it unless it’s toasted. I keep looking for the crisp, crunchy crust and now I HAVE FOUND IT!! I froze 2 pounds; but, I have a feeling it’s not going to last long. LOL My next purchase will be the dough bucket from King Arthur. Again, kudos for writing this book. I can’t wait to try more recipes and playing around with making individual loaves for sandwiches from some of the rye dough.

      • Hi Maureen,

        We are thrilled that you tried the rye and enjoyed it. That recipe is really what started this whole 5 minute bread story!

        Enjoy, Zoë

  15. I just can’t stop telling everyone about this great bread book I have! Thank you for bringing my standard of living up several notches. I love that I, of all people, can make great bread–something I could never manage the traditional way.
    Question on the brioche dough (“Artisan Bread”, pg 189): I know the dough needs to sit, after mixing, at least 2 hours before going into the fridge, but what is the max amount of time the dough (with eggs) can rest out of the fridge?

  16. I have the recipe for the master recipe for ABin5 but was curious if this can be made into a loaf bread. If so, what temp should it be cooked and for how long?
    Also, I have the book HBin5 and the sandwich bread I made from there was very chewy. What could be causing this?

    • Emma, sure can. Same temp, but increase baking time based on the pan size. If it takes double the amount of dough, you need to go 45 min. Or even an hour. But check oven temp, if running high need to adjust, use something like http://bit.ly/czmco2 .

      Chewy whole grain bread? That may just be the nature of the beast. Any chance it was overbaked? Could decrease the VWG, which promotes stretch and chewiness, but you’ll need to experiment with less water– and it won’t store in the fridge very well– 2 or 3 days max. Jeff

      • thank you! it very possibly could have been overbaked. I’m going to give it another try!

  17. Dear Jeff/Zoe,

    I was just wondering in your first book for the Master Recipe pg.26, if I substitute some white whole wheat for the all purpose how much white whole wheat should I use and would I just follow the directions as usual. I think I have seen this question before but I could not find it. Thank you for all the you give–

    Have a great New Year and much success to you.

    Dee

  18. I would like to bake the Artisan boule master recipe in a larger loaf for a crowd. Can you provide rising and baking times for a two-poind loaf?

    thanks

  19. How silly is this? I posted a question, but cannot remember when, so I cannot find a response. I checked the box below for an e-mail this time! can my original question be traced somehow?

    Also, I am supposed to be wheat free – but NOT gluten free. Where does this leave flour made from sprouted grains? Are you familiar with with the Food for Life company which makes flourless bread – i.e. with sprouted grains- but they also use wheat gluten! Would xanthan gum be a substitute?
    thanks

  20. I just bought a pan that makes 8 mini-loaves … each one measures 4″L x 2 1/2″W x 1 1/2″H. How do I figure out how much dough I need? Also, is it possible to just spoon the dough in without making it into a ball first.

    Thank you
    Maureen

    Thank you

    • Hi Maureen,

      You want to fill the pans about 3/4 full. Which bread are you baking? None of our doughs are wet enough to spoon in, you will have to shape them first.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thank you for the info. I am going to try some with the rye dough that I have. Hoping to make individual sandwich rolls.

        Thanks, Maureen

  21. hi jeff,i have your artisan bread and healthy artisan bread books. the results are beyond amazing.i have 3 questions being a diabetic:
    1)master receipe on pg. 55 –whole wheat master receipe:the bread is very dense and heavy. is this due to the amount whole wheat flour??is there a way to lighten the bread(more airy) without adding more white flour?
    2)can the bread be made to taste a bit sweeter –say by adding some orange juice?if so how much or other suggestions.
    3)in using the dough to make pizza–i do not get a crisp bottom crust. i do not add the sauce until the pizza is done. should i prebake?? if so how long . or what are your suggestions.
    really appreciate your assistance. bob

    • robert: Hmm– my guess is that you’re just not loving this much WW– the only thing I can think of is to increase the VWG maybe 30%; also add a bit of water. But first, make sure it’s looking about the same consistency as what we have in our videos, see tab above.

      Sugar, honey, orange juice are all fine, see the juice recipe in the book you have. Have to decrease the temp

      Pizza: Make sure you’re getting it thin enough, but sounds like oven’s not hot e nough– check w/something like http://bit.ly/czmco2

  22. Love the HBin5 method…love making and sharing the fresh loaves and my friends love me for doing so, but curious about a possible misprint in the recipe for Cracked Wheat Bread, pg 109 in HBin5 (2009). Recipe calls for 4 1/2 c water to only 6 c of flour. I have been making my own bread for more than 30 years and this water to flour ratio seems way off. (ratio of 1 c liquid to each 3 c flour has always been “standard”). I followed this recipe precisely, thinking maybe you were on to something, but the result was disastrous. The dough was so wet there was no choice but to put it in 2 standard 9 x 5 loaf pans. It was baking day so raising conditions were prime but the dough failed to raise above the top of the pans. The final product had a surprisingly even crumb and was super moist but extremely heavy. My husband congratulated me on making very tasty door stops! As an experienced baker I’m just certain something’s amiss. But…since you wrote it and tested it, please check this ratio and tell me if I’m “all wet”!

    I’m a Whole-grain Grandma,
    Katherine

    • Katherine: Are you saying that the other recipes in the book work well for you (also very high hydration)? In helping you figure this out, there’s another one cup of dry ingredient you didn’t mention, the cracked whole wheat, and it takes up a lot of water. Are you using it? This recipe worked as written for us, with the products available to us.

      That said, if you are, and it’s still to wet and dense with the cracked wheat product you have, just decrease the water to your liking– start with 1/8 to 1/4 cup less…

  23. Whats wrong? any suggestions?
    I’ve tried the healthy bread in five twice (used i/2 the recipe) and both times I had to throw it away. It was very dense and most of all the sourness made it inedible. Though it smelled sour and looked like foamy bad that way before baking I thought it might be the natural sour dough smell. The crumb was very dense and taste so spoiled it couldn’t be swallowed. Recipe came out of your book.

    • AJ: A few suggestions:

      1. Make sure your hydration level is the same as ours with the products you’re using– see our videos on the tab above. If too wet– would explain all this. Are you using bleached white flour where we call for unbleached white? Could explain part of this. For whatever reason, sounds like your dough is too wet with the ingredients available to you– consider using a little less water (1/4-cup less for starters). Any chance you are using fresh-ground, home-ground flour?

      2. Consider the low-yeast version of our recipes: see http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2007/12/19/low-yeast-version-of-our-master-recipe

  24. Thanks Jeff. Yes, I used the cracked wheat as called for, KAF White Whole Wheat & Unbleased AP flours. Hmmmm…curious. The super hydrated first batch toasts up like a cross between an English muffin and a crumpet-cruncy & moist at the same time. Interesting texture, and proper amounts of butter and jam cover a multitude sins. Thanks! I’ll keep working on it.

  25. Hi, I have your first book and made my first batch of your dough. My first attempt at baking came out pretty good. I used a grapefruit size ball and let it rest 20 min. I baked it and when I cut it the next day the inside of the bread was moist and the crust was a little chewy. It was about the same size when it came out as when it went in. My second try I made a bigger loaf and added 10 min. to the baking. It was really wet when I cut it and I thought it seemed almost raw. I live at almost 7000 ft. I read your adjustment to high altitude baking and will make the changes on the next batch. I guess what I want to know is how can you tell when the bread is completely baked and how wet should it be inside? Would a thermometer help? If so what should it read? Thanks

    • Barbara: You can increase the resting time and I think you’ll be happier. We call for a 40 minute rest for a grapefruit-sized ball in the book you have, but you can increase to 60 or even 90 minutes; the interior would open up and become airier.

      We’re not big fans of the inexpensive “instant” read thermometers (15-20 bucks), because they’re not really particularly “instant.” Nor accurate, and we’ve had inconsistent results with them. But most sources quote 205 or even 210 degrees for lean dough, 185 degrees for enriched.

      Most important to check your oven temp! That’s prob why it’s not done in the center, just use an inexpensive oven thermometer (a different item than what you use to check the bread’s interior temp). Jeff

  26. Burned Crust

    Bought your book.

    I am baking in a 16 quart slow cooker (I don’t own an oven).
    The bread was burned along the sides. They were not touching the insides of the cooker, but I guess close enough to burn.
    I live in a high valley in central New Mexico 5,000 feet.
    Can I decrease the cooker (oven) temperature and still get a good loaf?

    Thanks

    • Tomas: Wow! Never have heard from anyone who tried this. My guess, sadly, is that this will not work. But as I say, it’s just a guess. You have no choice but to turn down the heat and see if you can get the center to bake through before the outside burns. I can’t guess what labeled heat-setting that’s going to take.

      If you can get it to work, please let us know. That altitude shouldn’t be a big deal, but you can look at our high-altitude FAQs (click on tab above). Jeff

      • Okay, here is the skinney.

        First, I lied (twice) I am at 6,200 feet, and I have an 8 quart slow cooker.

        Here are the results.
        Baked the loaf at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
        Minimum singe along the edges nearest the inside walls of the slow cooker.
        Let it rest under a hand-towel for 45 minutes.

        Bread came out great.
        Tom

      • Hi Tom,

        So glad this worked for you. We have been asked about baking in a slow cooker many times, now we can say that you had success.

        Thanks! Zoë

  27. Hi again! Still loving your books and your recipes. We are knee deep into the whole wheat bread recipes to get us through the winter months.

    Question – I was given a Baker’s Couche for Christmas (because people know I love to bake bread). I’ve never used one before. Do have any recommendations? I’d love to press it into service with one of your doughs, but I’m afraid of a big gooey mess! Thanks for the help!

  28. Does the material the storage container is made out of matter? I know there are breads out there that don’t work well with metal? Is this the case for your method?

    • Nicole: We’ve used stainless steel, glass, ceramic, enameled cookware– anything with a lid. Guess I’d avoid cast-iron without enamel, might rust.

  29. Thank you for very much for your books! I am using successfully your master recipe from ABin5.

    But I have substituted all purpose flour for strong white flour as it makes the bread more chewier with bigger holes.

    I have a question: our family does not like thick bread, so we would like to achieve a good balance between the crust, the meat and to have it not more than 2 inches thick.

    At the moment if I make the dough thinner before baking (on stone) it rises and cooks well but the top crust separates from the meat and leaves a big hole.

    Would really welcome your suggestions!

    Thank you,
    M

    • Michael: If you do a good gluten-cloaking procedure, and slash deeper, should eliminate the big holes. Which book are you working from (which recipe/page number)?

  30. I have made lots of your bread from “Healthy Bread in 5 minutes”, but every time I make the Cracked Wheat bread on page 109, I have such a soft dought that I’m swearing by the time I get it into a ball such as it is. I have to add a lot of flour while I’m working with it. Is the recipe OK? I don’t have this trouble with the other ones I’ve tried.

      • I’m using King Arthur Whole Grain Organic Cracked Wheat, so I wouldn’t think that would be the problem. I’ve had so much good luck with the other recipes. The no knead system is such a time saver. And we know we’re eating healthy bread.

      • Beth: Sometimes we just can’t figure out why something’s turning out differently from what we saw in our own testing. In those cases, just decrease the water until it’s the right consistency. Start with 1/8 to 1/4-cup less water and see what you think…

  31. Dear Jeff,
    Thank you for your comment.
    I am using your book ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’
    Ch5 The Master Recipe p.25
    I think I can manage the gluten-cloaking procedure but then we are not sure how to form the dough to be flat (or thick) enough for it to be 2” thick after baking, without the top crust separating from the main body of the bread. If I understand correctly I have to be very gentle with the dough as to not knead it too much and lose air. What is the best way to form the dough so that the crust does not separate?

    Many thanks,

    M

    • Hi Michael,

      You will want to form the dough into a 1 1/2-inch thick round and let it rest. You can try following the instructions for the fococcia in the book, but make it slightly thicker. This technique should produce a loaf that will not have a separate crust.

      Thanks, Zoë

  32. Thank you Zoё,
    So I should not be afraid to roll the dough (lose the air)?
    Does the dough need to be slashed?
    Can it be baked on a stone?

    Thanks again,

    M

    • Michael: If you’re worried, you can try to stretch it without rolling, but we roll with impunity!

      Doesn’t need to be slashed (though slashing will absolutely ensure no pockets)– it’s not traditional for focaccia.

      It can be baked on a stone but if you’re topping with lots of oil that can be a mess. Jeff

  33. Dear Zoё and Jeff,
    I have tried again. Still the top crust separated.
    I took the dough from the fridge, cloaked it into a boll, put on a flour dusted pizza peel, stretched 1/2 inch thick, left to rest for almost two hours,slashed, baked on a stone – 220c for 20min with some steam.
    The result – crust is good and crunchy, the crumb is shiny and springy, but again… the top is detached from the meat. So what was wrong?
    Maybe I should bake it on baking tray instead the stone?
    I have a photo. How can I send it to you?

    Thanks

    M

    • Michael: No need for the photo, I know exactly what it must look like. Have you checked your oven temperature with something like http://bit.ly/czmco2 Sounds like you’re getting too much oven spring from a too-hot oven. Could also just bake at lower temp to deal with this problem.

  34. I apologize if I’m reposting and it’s already been answered elsewhere, but I can’t find a response. Sorry if this is a repeat!

    My question is, with the very slack dough you get with this method, how to tell when your dough is ready for the oven – what are the characteristics of a dough that is underproofed, overproofed, and how to tell when it’s “just right”?

    I’m working with the basic recipe as a baguette. My last attempt looked good right up to the time I was ready to put it in the oven. In trying to slash I got a big FAIL. I squashed it in my attempts to get it slashed. Perhaps I should have let it rest some before going into the oven but I was concerned about the possibility of overproofing. It tasted ok, but it was too flat and had spread out in the oven instead of popping up. The outer crust was shattery, but there was a layer underneath that shattering outer crust that was tougher than I’d like, though not so tough it ruined the loaf. Mostly the problem was I just didn’t get the oven spring I was expecting, having flattened the loaf trying to slash it.

    It was suggested that the dough had overproofed but I have no idea with this sort of dough how to tell when or if that’s the case, and couldn’t find any info on the site. I think I just squished the life out of it, manhandling it when I was trying to get it slashed, but since I don’t know the signs of overproofing in such a slack dough, maybe it WAS overproofed. How would I tell for sure? Thanks for any help with this.

    re the slashing, apparently none of my frighteningly sharp knives are up to this task. (I have successfully slashed conventional baguettes with the same knives). Honestly if it’s just for looks, as some people have told me, then I’d be just as happy to skip slashing. But then others insist if the dough isn’t slashed you won’t get proper oven spring. *sigh*

    As far as getting something sharper to do the slashing, I put razor blades on the grocery list and my son came home with disposable razors! When I finally got him to understand what a razor blade is, he looked at me like I’d just stepped out of the 17th century, and informed me they don’t carry such a thing at grocery stores anymore, LOL! Guess I’ll have to buy some online. But in the meantime, I’ve got dough in the fridge waiting to go into the oven, if not under the knife (as it were)

    Thanks for any help!

    • Kitchen: Which book are you working from (which recipe and page number)? Need to know exactly which dough you’re talking about. Jeff

      • Ah, now I see which recipe you were using– many more tips on slashing and on proofing times in the books. Look for a “jiggliness” and then you know it’s ready to be slashed. Serrated knife works best with this kind of dough.

      • K, the thing is, my book is in storage 600 miles from here, I’m living with my son because my health is bad, and I can’t get at my recipes or your book to try to figure out what’s going on with this.

        I don’t mean to be a bother but I had hoped for a few hints with this. It’s more or less worked for me in the past but right now I have half a bucket of dough in the fridge that’s not working for me. You can’t get helpful advice on most open forums for this because there’s a certain snobbery about the NK doughs. Plus it’s a little embarassing, given I’ve posted in the past about how great NK bread is.

        So is there anything you can tell me that might help me figure this out? I’ve got dough that’s been out of the fridge for an hour and it’s still cold – is that (cold dough) part of the problem? Any clues from anyone would really be appreciated …

      • Hi Kitchen Barbarian,

        When you first form the loaf it is tight and cold, but the dough will jiggle a little once it is at the right temperature to bake. This will take anywhere from 40 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen and how cold your dough is to begin with.

        Over proofing can happen if you leave the dough out in a warm room for too long. It means that it has no more spring left in it by the time it hits the oven and it will collapse, instead of rising.

        if your dough is much too difficult to slash, I wonder if it is a touch too wet? Have you watched any of our videos to make sure your dough is the right consistency?

        Thanks, Zoë

  35. I made pizza dough for the first time yesterday using your book Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5. I weighed all my ingredients, but here is the thing. I used 00 flour. My dough was vastly too wet. You say there are 130 grams of 00 flour to one cup. So how much do I use? 7.5 cups is called for, which is 9750 grams of 00 flour. Or do I use the 1080 grams called for in all-purpose flour, but use 00 instead? Thanks!

    • Yarbhill: We have a “00” recipe in that book, see page 73 and follow that exactly. The water’s adjusted in that recipe– sounds like you tried “00” in the basic Chapter 5 master recipe, which would be too much water for that flour.

      Note, if you try the version on page 72 with bleached flour, there’s an error in the first printing: the water amount should be 3 3/4 cups, not 4 3/4 cups.

  36. I have been making your Master Recipe (Atrisan Free-Form Loaf) for a few months now. (Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, page 26)It has come out perfectly every time until recently. The loaf is sometimes “gummy” in the center and yesterday, it was completely uncooked and doughy. I have a thermometer that is inside of my oven and it reads 450, so I’m not sure what i could be doing wrong.

  37. can you tell me about your bread topping. where can you purchase it? or do you have a recipe for it. I have ordered my book and have not started making bread as of yet just getting everything waiting for the book. I can not wait. I’m so excited. also can I substitute any dairy in any of the recipes for soy milk if needed my daughter is allergic to dairy proteins.

    • Hi Lorie Ann,

      We have many recipes with toppings on the bread, so you will have to let me know which one you are referring to. We have found that the recipes do just as well with soy milk.

      Thanks, Zoë

  38. your basic recipe. we ordered the healthy Artisan Bread in 5. we have not received it yet. but it mentions seeds we live in michigan and our local grocery does not carry them. i have tried to find something online and have had no luck. i just wanted to get what i could before we shart. we just can not wait. my daughter and I will be doing this together. thanks so much for sharing. can not wait for more books to follow and like i said we do not even have book one. then plan on sharing our knowledge with our friends.

  39. I tried your basic recipe twice, once for a round loaf and for baguettes. The result was a heavy,chewey uncooked center and a generally heavy loaf of bread. I am about to give up. I am an experienced baker and bake all my bread, all kinds, without failure.

    • Vince: We find that experienced bakers have the most trouble with our recipes– difficult to break old habits. Which book are you working from (which recipe/page number)? We have several “basic” recipes from our three books. Assume you’ve read through the FAQs on this page. Don’t knead, don’t over-handle, and never punch down the dough.

      You’ll be able to get this to work– see Peter Reinhart’s comment on our method at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2009/11/15/thanks-peter Try a longer resting time after shaping (like 60 or 90 min), check your oven temp with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU , and don’t cut the loaf till it’s completely cool.

  40. Re: Whole Grain Brown Rice Bread from Healthy Bread Book p140

    Problem: Dough too wet

    Needed to add about one half cup more rice (which was fine with me) and at least one more cup flour as the dough was very wet. I’ve made the various recipes enough to know that this was way too wet. The only thing I changed in the recipe was to use one cup of oat bran instead of ww flour. Did that make the difference? Are there any typos in the recipe?
    What are your ideas?
    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Hi Sue,

      Oat bran has no gluten in it at all. In fact, it will cut the gluten up and make it weaker. Gluten is what you need to create the stretch and structure of the dough, so if you reduce the amount of flour by one cup, it will be way too wet. Adding bran doesn’t count as a flour.

      Sounds like you made adjustments to make the dough work for you? Hope it was tasty!

      Enjoy, Zoë

  41. Which book is the recipe:
    Sandwitch Loaf
    From: Family Fun Magazine-November 2010
    Page 91.

    Make a great loaf so easy! Have “Artisan Bread
    in Five Minutes a Day” but have not found this recipe.

    Thank you for your kind help and time.

    • Hi Dorothy,

      When we write for publications like this we have to come up with brand new content. That recipe was developed for Family Fun magazine, based on our books methods.

      Thanks, Zoë

  42. Hi! I have a pretty dumb question, and it doesn’t so much belong on this post but I wasn’t sure if you would see it if I posted it elsewhere.
    Last night I made the master recipe from ABin5 (which I’ve done many times with lots of success…thanks!)but I guess I was sleepy because instead of putting on the counter to rise for a couple of hours, I put it in the fridge and there it stayed overnight until I saw it this morning (insert mental head slap). So I ask you…is it ruined? If not, what shall I do?

      • Hi Jeff, Zoe and Cynthia. Thanks for the replies!
        I knew it was okay to leave it out overnight…just didn’t know what would happen if I spazzed out and forgot to have it do it’s first rise altogether.

    • Hey Linda,
      I don’t use these recipes yet, however, when I make bread at night, and I don’t feel like waiting for it to rise, I stick it in the fridge. The only difference in my view is its a bit more stiff to work with (let it warm up a bit if it is stiff). I’d say, give it a shot, you’ll know either way! ^_^

      • Hi Cynthia,

        All of our dough is stored in the refrigerator, so your instinct is right on!

        Thanks, Zoë

  43. Update on slow-cooker baked bread.

    Hi,
    I have been baking your recipe in the slow cooker for a few weeks now. Here is the update on that.

    1. Make the loaves a bit smaller (I make two smaller, narrower loaves from one grapefruit sized ball) so they don’t sit too close to the inside walls of the cooker.

    2. Don’t add water to the cooker (for the crust) until halfway through the baking time (ten minutes). It only takes about a quarter cup of water trickled down the side to avoid touching the baking stone). That allows the bread to rise some before it is sealed inside the crusty-crust.

    3. Turn the slow cooker off five minutes before baking time is done. (this reduces the possibility of the crust burning) But you have to promise not to take the lid off until the entire baking cycle is finished.

    4. For a baking stone, I used a piece of glazed ceramic floor tile. Trimmed it to fit on top of the wire rack with a tile saw, and it works just fine.

    Great bread. My wife and I love it.

  44. I will be baking at home on my stone 8 or 9 loaves for a Valentine’s dinner at my church. I only own one stone – can I reheat in the church’s oven without the stone so that the bread will be warm without dring out? Also can I throw a jar of garlic into the dough for garlic bread without a problem with too much moisture.
    Thanks!!!

    • Doreen: Correct, the re-heat does not need the stone. Don’t overdo the warming and you should be OK (I’m not a big fan of doing this for exactly the reason you mention).

      As far as the garlic, what do you mean by a jar? And is there lots of oil in this product? If so, you’ll need more flour. Test this before you do it for guests!

  45. Can I use water instead of milk in the whole grain bread recipes? Or is there another option for lactose-intolerant bread lovers?

    • Julie: Most of our whole-grain recipes don’t have milk– yes, you can omit in favor of water in those that have it. Some people have used soy milk; might change the consistency, flavor, and baking time (we haven’t tested that).

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