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?

Gluten-Free Frequently Asked Questions (GF FAQs)

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?

2,386 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. I’ve been making the basic boule from your first book with great results. Question: I want to make gluten-free boule/sandwich bread using white spelt flour. (I Can get this in Canada where I live) Is this possible rather than follow the resipe from your second book, p. 236?

    • Hi Sharon,

      Just to be clear, spelt flour is not gluten-free. Is this the flour that you meant to use? It has less of the gluten forming protein, but it is definitely not gluten free.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • When baking more then one loaf at a time do you need increase the water for the steam process?

        Also thank you for the great book. Everyone raves about the bread and now you have new followers as I keep telling people!

  2. I just made my first loaf of the basic boule from ABin5 and I’m thinking something didn’t work. Approximately how big of a loaf does one pound of dough make? Mine came out roughly 7.25″long by 4″wide by 3.25″high. I was expecting a larger loaf. Did I do something wrong? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Lois,

      One pound of dough doesn’t make a huge loaf. You can double the amount of dough if you want a larger loaf. You will have to increase the resting time by about 40 minutes and bake it for an extra 20 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. I know you recommend non-stick loaf pans that are greased well. Can I use a stone loaf pan that has been greased well? Thank you! ~Debra

  4. Anyone have difficulty using a gas oven? I think the venting in my gas oven is taking all the moisture of the water out of the oven, and my crust is hard and dark. I showed my sister this method, and her electric oven was quite full of steam when we opened the door, and the crust was beautiful…light and crispy.

      • Hi Zoe. I got my new dutch oven yesterday evening and will try out this method today. I usually only bake a standard round loaf, so it should work out fine, and I am hoping it will solve my gas oven problem. I’ll write again to let you know if it worked out for me.
        Thanks for your quick reply!

      • Ok, Zoe. I have made my first dutch oven loaf and it came out beautifully! Perfect looking crust, and it was singing away to me…a first. I took a photo to show you, but I don’t know how to post it. You have probably seen hundreds anyway! Thanks again. I think I finally (after dozens of loaves) have my crust problem solved and will now be able to make the bread I dreamed of!

        Rick

      • Hi Rick,

        I am so pleased you got a perfect crust and it sang for you, it is one of the great joys of baking bread at home. It used to be that you could upload photos to our FB page, but for some reason I’m not sure you can??? If so, I would love to see the pictures.

        Thanks for letting me know! Zoë

  5. Zoe,

    Could you please tell what oven temperature to bake your Pullman bread at and when you remove the top during the baking process. Thank you kindly for your help, also if I am making the Master Recipe pg. 26 in the first book how many loaves I should be able to get when using the 9x4x4 pan.
    Thank you for all your kindness and help.
    Dee

    • Hi Dee,

      I would bake the master recipe at about 400°F and you don’t remove the cover until the loaf is completely baked. You will only get about 2 loaves out of the batch if you are baking in a 9x4x4 pan.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoe your help is always so greatly appreicated and I really apppreciate how quickly you answered my question. Have a wonderful day.

        Dee

  6. Love your method!

    It would be helpful in future books if you included a master list/table of contents of all the recipes. It takes a while to page through and select one that sounds like something I’d like to make.

    Do you have another book in the works? :)

  7. I am making the Oat Flour Bread on page 104. The recipe uses a bread pan. I prefer the breads without a bread pan. Can I bake it without a pan. If so, are any adjustments required? Thank you.

    • Sure Joe. If the free-form you do is 1 pound, it’ll need 5 or even 10 minutes less baking, but check your oven temp with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU A large loaf might not need any adjustment at all; go by crust color and firmness.

  8. I am in search of wheat free, but not gluten free recipes. I would like to find a recipe or two that is nutritionally dense. I haven’t done the research, but corn starch I not my first choice for that! I am interested in using spelt, kamut, amaranth, quinoa, etc. I ‘ve not been able to locate an option like this on the website – maybe my search parameter is not correct? Thanks for your help.

  9. Howdy Zoe, I’ve read and reread the forming paragraphs in ABi5 – pg 259 – for braiding Challah bread several times and for the life of me I just can’t figure it out. Braiding is so simple, but those instructions sure aren’t. Did you ever produce a video showing how you do the graiding?

  10. Hello!!! I just bought the first book and I’m impressing everyone I know with your recipes: I’ve never baked bread before, and the results have been tremendous!
    I have three questions:
    1. If I want to bake a loaf earlier in the day and then warm it up to serve with dinner, what’s the best way to do that?
    2. Why do some of the additive loaves (i.e., Date & Walnut Pumpernickel) have to rest an hour and 40 minutes?
    3. If I want to alter a recipe to contain additives (i.e., sunflower seeds to the master recipe), do I need to increase resting time?
    Thanks!
    K.

    • Karen: I’m not a big fan of re-warmed bread– it tends to dry out. The idea of our book is to have the dough ready to go, so you can do it closer to meal time (though wet-dough breads tend to seem underbaked if served hot or even warm). That said– you can try wrapping it in aluminum foil, then into an oven pre-heated to the bread’s baking temp.

      All that handling knocks gas out of the dough, many people find the rolled-in method too dense w/o the longer rest. If you don’t find it so, can try shorter. Esp if you make little loaves. Same if you alter a recipe.

  11. I made half a batch of the brioche dough the other day. I subbed about 3/4c whole wheat pastry flour for some of the AP, and added just a little water. I just pulled the container from the fridge. The dough is a hard, solid mass. As it warms up and the butter softens I’m sure it will loosen up, but not nearly to the extent it should. Any thoughts?

  12. Never mind my last question. I just realized I forgot the water! I had it in the kettle to heat up and forgot. I am shocked the dough was as wet as it was! I’m going to work some in now and see what happens.

  13. When using the master AB in 5 mins recipe.. Can I add sugar?.. I like a slightly sweet bread sometimes.. If I do add sugar, how much would you recommend? Should I change anything else in the process? Or just bake it as I normally do? Thanks for your help

    • Brad: Depends how sweet you like it… 2 tablespoons requires no change in oven temp or time; but 1/2 cup requires that you go down to 350 F, and increase time to something like 40 minutes or it burns. Vary along that scale and you’ll be fine.

  14. I have all three of your books and have been baking bread every day. My husband and son love the daily bread and the house smells great.

    TODAY I HAD MY FIRST PROBLEM. I used a new bag of unbleached all purpose King Arthur flour, to fix a new batch of dough.

    Each time I mix it, I leave it on the counter with the lid just setting on top. And the dough rises up to the top of the container.

    Today I left it on the counter to rise while I went to the grocery store. When I got back an hour later, it had not risen at all. I checked the lid which I had left just resting on top of the dough container (6 quart plastic purchased from King Arthur) and it was firmly shut on the container. Who knows how that happened. Everyone said they didn’t do it. I may have done it by accident.

    I have since just set the lid on top and it has been another 2 hours and it still hasn’t risen.

    Should I throw this batch away and start over again?

    Thanks for all your help.
    Dale

    • Hi Dale,

      Is it possible that you used hotter water than normal? Hot water is the only thing that will kill yeast. Or, was your water cold, which means that the dough can take up to 18 hours to rise?

      If you think the water was too hot, and killed the yeast, you can try making a slurry out of more yeast and some water and try mixing that into your batch of dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks, Zoe.

        I really appreciate your fast response. This was the first time I had a problem with any of the recipes.

        I tried making a slurry today and mixing it with the batch of dough. I may have put too much water in it so I added more flour and mixed it all up. Now I am waiting to see if it will rise.

        Later i will try to bake a loaf and if it does not turn out, I will just toss it and start again.

        Again, Thanks so much.
        Dale

      • Hi Dale,

        Please let us know how it goes. I know adding more yeast works, because I have had to do this. I have forgotten the yeast all together and realized my mistake after the dough had been sitting on the counter for the required two hours. Kneading the yeast into the pre-mixed dough is not the ideal method, but it got the job done! Luckily the dough is very forgiving. Hope this also works for you.

        Zoë

      • Hi Zoe,

        Just wanted to let you know that I made the slurry, but did put too much water so just added more flour. The bread turned out great! No problems.

        Thanks for the assistance.

        One question. If this happens again, what is the right amount of water to mix the yeast with for the slurry?

        Thanks a bunch!

  15. I am having trouble getting the dark brown crust that you show in all the pictures. I had my oven checked by a repair man and he had two separate thermometers in it and the temperature is right on. So that is not the problem. I follow your instructions to the letter but still not dark brown…the last batch turned out a light honey color which is much improved from the first ones which were a fiasco. I want to perfect the master recipe before I go on to the different recipes so any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Jackie

    • Hi Jackie,

      Are you using a stone? If so, how long are you preheating? Where in the oven is the stone? In some larger ovens it is helpful to have the stone higher to get a nice dark crust. You may also need to let the bread bake for another 5 minutes to get the same color.

      Is your oven a professional style Wolf or Viking? Is it gas?

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Hi Zoe,

        Yes, I am using a stone. I preheat it for at least 30 minutes, sometimes for 40 minutes. The stone is on the middle rack with the pan of water on the bottom rack. I have let the bread bake for up to 10 minutes more and it does get a bit browner but still not the correct color.

        My oven is an electric Jenn-Air.

        Thanks, Jackie

  16. Jackie: Have you tried any of our alternatives for creating the steam environment that promotes the crisp brown crust (see below). For reasons we can’t explain, some ovens don’t do a great crust with the water-pan method. Maybe they make a poor seal, maybe it’s the larger ovens. Certainly gas seems to do worse, but that’s not the issue here.

    Steam Alternatives:
    Baking in a Dutch Oven: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=552 or outdoors http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=627
    Aluminum Roasting Pan for Crust: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=510
    Cloche baking clay baker: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=566

    • Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll give them a try. I might also try baking the bread on the next higher rack. If it does not work I will have to live with paler bread… but it still tastes yummy.

      Thanks again, Jackie

      • Hi Jackie,

        How old is the dough when you bake it? I find the bread colors better after the dough ages for at least a few days. This may not be the main issue, but it may be interesting to see if it makes a difference at all.

        Thanks, Zoë

  17. Hi Zoe,

    The dough was only one day old. I am making another loaf tomorrow so I will let you know how it goes. I am going to use the water in pan technique AND the spritz of water technique. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Thanks, Jackie

    • I made another loaf of bread a couple of days ago using both the water in pan and spritzing methods and it still turned out pale. Yesterday I made another loaf and I put the stone on the top shelf of the oven and only used the water spritzing method and the loaf was browner…not as brown as yours but much improved from my earlier attempts. One more thing, I find that my dough seems a bit wetter than the pictures you show of when you cloak it. Yours looks so smooth and mine is too wet to get that smooth appearance. Should I put more flour in after it has risen and if so how long should I let it sit before attempting to bake with it?

  18. A friend of mine mentioned to me that she is starting to bake with coconut flour as an alternative to wheat flour. I’ve done a few web searches on baking with coconut flour and most information I found is in relation to baking quick breads/muffins and cakes. It seems coconut flour needs more liquid because it has a higher protein than wheat flour and what also sounds appealing to me is it is suppose to be lower in carbs. I’ve only looked at a couple of websites so don’t quote me on the lower carbs.

    Have you experimented with your bread recipes using coconut flour instead of wheat flours? Any suggestions or is this not a possible substitution?

    • Kara: We have not used it… I’m guessing that you can swap in a small proportion of the total flour here, there won’t be any gluten in this so you may need to use vital wheat gluten as we do in Healthy Bread in Five…

  19. If using the boule or any other recipe could you make small sandwich rolls? How long would you rest? How long should you bake?

  20. Just put the last of my first ‘bucket’ into the oven. Everything in the process appears to be working very well. Crusts are spectacular. But I am disappointed over the that the bread itself has very little if any real flavor. Help?!

    • Mary: Are you finding the flavor improves over the storage life of the dough (2 weeks for lean doughs)? Which recipes have you tried (which book(s), which page numbers)?

      • Have ‘Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day’.
        Used Master Recipe: “Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf) page 26 with King Arthur unbleached all purpose white flour & SAF yeast.

      • Mary: So, back to my question– do you find the flavor becomes richer for you as the batch ages through it’s storage life? Have you tried jump-starting the flavor for a cup of “old” dough from a previous batch?

  21. Hi Zoe,

    I just purchased your books ABin5 and HBin5. I am now beginning to accumulate the necessary tools. I was watching Jeff on YouTube talking about the different methods for maintaining steam in the oven while baking. He said he had gotten some of the best results using “La Cloche. I just ordered it and would like to know exactly how to use it. Do I bake at the same temperature indicated in the book? Do I uncover the Cloche at some point and continue to bake the bread uncovered? I have never baked bread before and am eager to do it correctly. Thank you so much for writing these lovely books.

  22. “So, back to my question– do you find the flavor becomes richer for you as the batch ages through it’s storage life?”
    MV: Did refrig overnight as called for,then shaped & baked next day. All of it. =:-}

    “Have you tried jump-starting the flavor for a cup of “old” dough from a previous batch?”
    MV: This was 1st batch. Decide to move on to whole grain recipes. Maybe that’s the flavor issue for us.
    Thanks for replies.

  23. I am looking to make the English Granary bread on page 91 or ABin5. I have gone to purcase the malt powder and there is a diastatic malt powder and a non-diastatic malt powder that is availble. Which of these is intended for this dough recipe? Also, how do malted wheat flakes differ from wheat flakes that I can purchase in my local natural foods store?

    Thanks

  24. I would like to make the honey caramel sticky buns and apple strudel bread. Can I roll them out the night before, refrigerate and then bake the next day? If so, how long do they have to sit out at room temp before I bake them? is it possible to roll them out and then freeze them for a week or two as another option? I am using the whole wheat brioche dough. Thanks!

    • Mary: You sure can, or else freeze them as you suggest. You can often get away with a shorter-than-usual rest after you take them out of the fridge, but lightest results are obtained when you stick the original rest after shaping. That said, I usually put them into the oven after a 20 to 30 min rest.

      • To clarify: I roll them out, let them rest for 1 hr (as the recipe says) and then refrigerate. The next morning I take them out of the frig and let them rest 20-30 minutes before baking. Is the correct? Thanks so much!

      • Hi Mary,

        You typically do not need to let them rest before refrigerating them, as long as they will have at least 8 hours to rise slowly in the refrigerator. In the morning, just take them out and set them on the counter while your oven preheats. They can sit out for up to an hour to warm, but this isn’t entirely necessary.

        If you freeze them, the dough needs to defrost and then rest as is suggested in the book.

        Thanks, Zoë

  25. Yesterday I made my first batch of Boule dough. I forgot to leave the dough out to rise before putting it in the refrigerator for the night. Will this be a problem when baking it? Will it rise in the oven?

    • Hi Pat,

      Did the dough rise at all? If not, you may need to give the dough an extra 30 minutes or so when you form the loaf and let it rest.

      Thanks, Zoë

  26. Thank you for your quick reply.
    The first loaf didn’t rise much ,I did let the second one rise longer. The loaves weren’t as large as I expected but they tasted great. I am thinking they don’t get so big that they can’t be eaten in a day.

  27. Hi guys!

    Regarding the Montreal bagels: I cannot find malt powder. Can I sub for barley malt, which is a syrup? (ingredients are organic sprouted barley, water. It’s “eden” brand.)
    Kerry

  28. Hi there,

    I recently made a batch of Light Whole Wheat Bread. The first loaf I baked turned out fine. A few days later I made a second loaf and noticed the texture was a little moist and gummy. I just thought I didn’t leave it in the oven long enough, even though the crust was deeply browned.

    I just baked another loaf today and the crust was fine, but the entire inside of the load was gummy. I also noticed that this last loaf was a lot wetter than the first loaf I baked.

    I stirred by dough using the paddle of my stand mixer and stored it in a big stainless steel pot covered with plastic wrap. Am I doing something wrong to make the dough grow wetter over time?

    Thanks,
    Susan

  29. Hi Zoe,

    Thanks for the quick reply. The first loaf was 24 hrs later, the second one 5 days later, and the 3rd one 7 days later.

    I noticed that the last dough was very sticky and wouldn’t rise. It flattened out a bit because it was so wet.

  30. Hi Zoe,

    My dough looked a little wetter than the one in the video.

    When I formed the first loaf, the dough was perfect and the crumb was good. The second loaf formed without problems, but I noticed a little gummy portion in the middle of the loaf. The third dough was very wet and didn’t turn out well. The entire interior was gummy.

    I remember now that I had to transfer the dough into a bigger container during the initial rise because I was rising more than I had expected. Would this have caused the problem? I tried to be as gentle as possible.

    I was also wondering if it would be ok if I left the dough out for a few of hours during the second rise. I’m not sure what the time limits are.

    Thanks,
    Susan

    • Susan: I’m doubting that the handling caused the problem. First, check oven temp with something like http://bit.ly/czmco2 The outside may be over-browning before the inside’s done (in a too-hot oven).

      And you can try a longer resting time, I usually do that after forming the loaf. 90 minutes should do it if that’s the problem.

      Make sure you’re only using unbleached flour, too.

  31. I’m using fresh unbleached flour. I’m planning on investing in an oven thermometer, digital scale, and pizza stone this week. I’ll give it another try.

    We made the American-Style pizza dough today. It tasted great! I’m just wondering if it’s ok to mix in some whole wheat flour (and how much) to make it a little healthier.

  32. Susan: Your problem is probably the fresh flour (I assume you mean fresh-ground). They absorb water unpredictably. Switch to commercial flour till you become experienced with the method.

    You can vary the whole wheat content as we do in the other pizza Master recipes; may have to increase the water. We haven’t tested WW in the American-style so you’ll have to experiment.

  33. Sorry, I meant newly purchased from the store. It’s Rogers flour from Canada. They don’t have the additives that some of the other flours have. I’m going to try again and see if it behaves differently. I’m still in the learning phase.

    Thanks for your help. Please come visit us in Canada soon!

    • Hi Susan,

      Let us know how it goes. Just to confirm, you are using the scoop and sweep method of measuring? If you spoon the flour into the cup the result will be a wet dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

  34. Yes, that’s the method I’m using. I think it will be safer to weigh my flour once I get my scale. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  35. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    I have all 3 of your books and they’re amazing! I never thought I could make such awesome bread or that I’d have the time to do it, but now I do it all the time!

    One thing I wondered is whether you’ve ever baked any of your breads or pizzas in an earth/cob oven (or any wood fired oven). I think I’m going to build one in my back yard this year and I would love to be able to use your recipes!

  36. Hi,
    I am wondering if one of the recipes can be used to make “Monkey Bread”? Can you point me in the right direction?

    Thanks,

    Vanessa

  37. I am working from the ABin5 book and am having a hard time getting the master recipe just right. I just yesterday figured out I had been using bleached flour so I rectified that and made a new batch. The loaf I made today, however, is still pretty dense and smells very yeasty. I think I’m probably not adding enough water to get a decent crumb, but I’m not sure about the yeast smell. Any suggestions? Btw, I am using saf-instant yeast from King Arthur Flour as well as their measuring spoon (one spoon equals one packet of yeast). Thanks!

    • Hi Pamela,

      You can bake the bread after it is baked, just be sure to let it cool completely first and wrap it very well. Let it thaw still wrapped and then you may need to crisp it in the oven if the crust becomes soft.

      Thanks, Zoë

  38. I have your book, Artisan bread in 5 minutes, and I also watched the video from the Amazon web site. I didn’t start with making bread, because it is not clear to me should I put the dough first in mixer, or not. In book you are talking to do that, on that video is not clear what to do first.
    Thanks,
    Mirjana

  39. I have been asked about baking gluten-free artisan type breads. I would be interested if there are easy methods similar to the recipes in your books. The few recipes I have found seem to use a multitude of ingredients.

  40. Hi I am looking at “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”, can you please tell me if sugar is not necessary in this bread recipe? Thanks

  41. Do you have any options for both gluten free and egg free bread? All the recipes in your GF section contain eggs.

    Thanks

  42. Zoe,

    Can I use the Master Recipe from book 1 pg.26 or the Master Recipe from book 2pg.54 to make hard rolls, if so could you please tell me how to do it.

    I have thanked you before but thanks again for all the give.

    Dee

  43. Have you tried using Kamut in any of your recipes? I am assuming it could be substituted for regular whole wheat in equal quantity?

    Thanks!

      • Not so good!
        First loaf was ok, but not as much rise as usual. Remaining dough in fridge is very dry and I don’t think I can form a loaf out of it. I added an extra 1/2 cup water when I mixed the dough, because it is a very high protein wheat. But I guess it wasn’t enough!

  44. Your bread recipes came HIGHLY recommended by someone I met at work. However, I was wondering if your recipes work with Sprouted Whole Grain flours?

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