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?

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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?

2,392 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. I tried your recipe for pizza dough from a feature in Mother Earth News, sometime about Feb. It was an absolute disaster. The dough was so sticky I had to add 1/2 cup of flour to each doughball to have any hope of rolling it. After that and even after heavily dusting the pizza peel with flour, it still stuck!!

  2. I’ll look at the video later. I did use scoop and screed with a knife. I used all purpose flour as the recipe called for. I did “cheat” and use one cup of whole wheat in the 7-1/2 cups total flour.

  3. Hello, I want to make bread like I get at Great Harvest Bread Co. I usually buy the honey whole wheat. What makes their bread so good? Which recipe should I try? I have both the Artisan Bread and Heathy Bread books.

    • Hi Sarah,

      I would try a sweetened version of our master recipe from HBin5 p 54, but I would add an additional 3/4 cup of honey, and reduce the water by 1/2 cup. You can also give the soft whole wheat sandwich bread a try on page 92, but increase the honey a touch. I find the breads at Great Harvest are much sweeter than ours.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • I have also been trying to create a bread similar to Great Harvest. I have done what you suggest above with the honey. I put it in a loaf pan, no baking stone, pan of water. But I would prefer a soft crust instead of a chewy one and I have been unable to figure out how to do that. Any suggestions?

      • Hi Jenni,

        The addition of oil and more honey should help to create a softer crust. You can also paint the top crust with butter when it comes out of the oven and that may soften it up, but it is usually best to start with an enriched dough for a softer crust. Maybe the soft whole wheat bread from HBin5 page 92?

        Thanks, Zoë

      • When you say “enriched” does that mean the addition of egg and dairy? I will try both your suggestions. I have been trying to work from the basic recipe and then work up, adding one change at a time, so that I am limiting the number of ingredients (and work and planning ) that must go into a batch.

  4. Absolutely LOVE your recipes! I am very new to making bread and your books are great! I would like to add KAF Harvest Grains Blend into the master recipes for the Whole Grain Artisan bread and 100% Whole Wheat Bread in your Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, pages 53 and 79. Can I add the Harvest Grains Blend to the master recipes? How to and how much?
    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi Patti,

      I have not used the Harvest Grain Blend, so I am not sure what adjustments you would have to do. If you have made these doughs before, you can mix it was as much water as it takes to produce the same consistency. This may require more or less water, depending on what is in the blend and how coarsely it is ground.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. Hi, I’m looking for information on how best to convert your ingredient measures for use in Australia, as our cup/spoon sizes are different. I want to be sure I’m getting the measures right, and people in other places outside the US probably feel the same. Is there any chance you could put a measures conversion page on your website for a few different countries?

    • Hi Marj and Jeff, what if you weighed the ingredients instead of measuring? I do that because it’s so much easier for me.

      • Mary Ann: Weights are fine, we have equivalents in the 2nd and 3rd books. All our future books will have them.

    • Marj: Not sure what book this would be in (Australian conversion tables aren’t in any of our books). Maybe try the web, I’d think you could find it there.

  6. Hi There, We love the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread p.92 of Healthy Bread. However, I have 2 problems that I hope you can help with:
    1. Made dough on Sunday and 2nd dough is getting ready to bake in a few minutes (Thursday). The top of the refrigerated dough got kind of crusty and dry on the top. Should I just fold it in and it will re-moisten, or should I cut it off? Furthermore, how can I avoid this in the future?
    2. I am having trouble during the shaping part of the process. I understand the concept of wrapping and folding under. However, it seems that the top is not smooth and starts to rip apart. What am I doing wrong? Plus the dough is super cold (hand achingly) when I take it out of the fridge.

    Please help – thanks! Denise

    • Hi Denise,

      This “skin” that formed on the top of the loaf is from too much air getting into the bucket. If it is not too hard you can just fold it into the dough, or cut it off if it is crispy dry.

      It is very possible that your refrigerator is set very cold. I have two and one of them runs much colder than the other. This will make the dough less elastic and it will tear as you suggest. You can just let the dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes before shaping it and it should be easier. It is also possible that your dough is a touch dry and this will also cause it to tear as you shape it. Here is a video that will give you some indication of the wetness: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/03/08/new-video-shaping-the-ball-from-a-very-wet-dough

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoe! I will definitely cover my container after a few days to avoid the crunchiness. And will try leaving the dough out a little while to warm up. I am trying the challah recipe now and will let you know how it goes.
        Denise

    • Hi Sadie,

      Can you tell me which recipe you are referring to? We have g-f breads in two of our books.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. hi guys! i’ve been playing around with my loaf sizes, both free form and loaf pan, and i’m having trouble getting the baking times correct. can you suggest a correct internal temp for bread, both free form and loaf pan, and even white and whole wheat? i don’t know if these would all have different temps, but-what is a good general internal temp for “done” bread?
    Thank you!

  8. I was wondering if doing the autolyse method of adding the water and flour then waiting 20 min before adding in yeast and salt would have any beneficial flavor/crumb effect in the basic ABin5 bread. I looked and searched for autolyse but didn’t find anything. Thanks.

    • Hi NC Baker,

      We purposely don’t use an autolyse because it adds an extra step, and can seem intimidating to new bakers. Since we store the dough for long periods of time, the flavor is improved after the first couple of days. However, if you are excited to try an autolyse, the flavor will be enhanced by the fermentation and it can often improve the crumb, especially if you are using the method with less yeast.

      Let us know what you think, Zoë

  9. about autolyse : yes I am going to give this a try – adding the yeast diluted in water for 5 min, then add the flour and all the water and let it all sit for 30 min then work in some sea salt – then go for the regular recipe time out before it goes into the fridge. (being retired I have TIME and I cannot wait to see how this works this weekend!) I will post some results after pictures maybe as well.

  10. I am having a party this weekend where I intend to make Pizza. I have done this at many small gatherings, and it is always a great success because we can easily accommodate everybody’s food needs. This particular party will have many more people and I would rather not be rolling pizza dough all night. I was wondering if I could roll out dough earlier in the day, separate a number of pizzas with wax paper, and put them in the fridge to be taken out as needed later in the evening. Thanks for the great book!

    • Hi Stephanie,

      I would actually freeze the rolled out dough. If you put it in the refrigerator it will get too sticky to handle. Rolled out thin and frozen, it can be topped and then baked right away. There are instructions for this in the pizza book. Is that the book you are using?

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks for the response, I am using the Pizza book, but I apparently looked over that part or read it to long ago, but I will find it. Thanks!

  11. Why is it neccesary to slash the top of the Hearty Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf recipe but not the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread just before baking? Both recipes in your Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book.
    Thanks!

    • Patti: Breads baked in a loaf pan have their expansion “contained” by the sides of the loaf pan, so you’re less likely to get weird shapes if the non-slashed loaf splits oddly. We do things differently to make that point in different recipes (though we should have been explicit about it).

  12. I have been making your European Potato Rye bread which if wonderful. But I’m always worried about the mashed potato ingredient. I’ve been baking a potato and mashing with a fork. Should I be using potatoes mashed with milk (like Sunday dinner mashed potatoes) instead?
    Thanks for wonderful recipes!

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      I have gone both ways, depending on what is easier and both ways are great! There isn’t a right way, as long as you are enjoying the bread.

      Cheers, Zoë

  13. Hi again to the both of you!

    I would like to make a bread that is more half white and half whole wheat than the recipes i have found in either of your bread books. the ‘light whole wheat’ is too white, for example. can you suggest a recipe that is like 3 1/2 cups of each kind of flour, and would i then need to throw in some vital wheat gluten? or maybe something like the master recipe in hb in 5, with a cup or two of white substituted in? i like the health component of the 100% whole wheat, but i miss the more fluffy crumb that the whiter breads bring! thank you!

    • Shouldn’t be a problem– this is right around the threshold where you need VWG. Will need a little more water in any case– will take some experimentation. I’d probably use the VWG, but not absolutely neccesary (more water’s needed with VWG than when you do without it).

  14. Hi Zoe,

    I just read your article about making bread in the Crock Pot and am excited to try. What size Crock Pot did you use? I have a 4 quart and a 6 quart oval shape crock pots.

    Thanks for your help and great ideas.
    Dee

      • Jeff,

        I continue to be amazed at the kindness of your quick response to a question. I know how busy you and Zoe must be. Thanks for your help–and have a great day.

        Dee

    • Hi Pam,

      That is on page 238 of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. You can also use olive oil in the G-F Crusty Boule recipe on page 236.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  15. I have tried the 100% whole wheat bread, plain and simple recipe on pg. 79 of HBin5MD three times. Each time my dough isn’t “stringy” when i pull it out to shape it. I take a grapefruit sized piece and it pulls a bit, but no scissors are necessary, it pulls right off. Makes me think i’m missing something. Thanks

      • The bread was ok but i feel like my 4 loaves out of one batch aren’t huge, one time it was pretty flat (more like a wheat cibatta bread) and the others were decent enough- i just worried i haven’t done something right b/c no scissors necessary, not big strings, just pull (some strings short that cut themselves just by pulling it out of the pot i store it in). It does double when it rises the first time, my four loaves are small- oval about 4×7 inches, seemes smaller than pics i see on line). Thanks for the quick reply!

      • Leigh Our basic recipe makes small loaves, about 0.9 pounds each. Just double the batch. Which of the books do you have (which recipe and page number are you working from)?

  16. I made your crockpot recipe and the bread was almost perfect. It stayed round and rose beautifully with no sideways spread. I weighed out a 1# piece and it took about 1 1/2 hr to cook. Browned great under the broiler. Here are my 2 observations that went wrong. The inside of the bread was more like bread-machine bread, not open the your picture shows and the bottom was not brown at all. Even with the long bake time it was soft and pale…almost wet. How do I fix this

    • Maureen: I’m guessing that it’s just a difference in the crockpot performance. But could try a longer rest time before you go into the pot. That opens the crumb some.

      • I must have missed that. I didn’t rest it at all. My bad. How long should it rest before putting it in the crockpot? Thanks

  17. Sorry, I got cut off. Just wanted to say that the dough was fresh when I used it. The next one will be from the balance that is refrigerated. Thanks for a great recipe.

  18. Thanks very much Mary Anne for suggesting the use of weighed ingredients. I’ve been experimenting with this since may first enquiry about measurements, with a bit of luck and a quite few blunders.

    My book must be an early edition as I’ve noticed in another post Jeff has just recently said that later issues of the book have the weighted measures.

    I can’t find anywhere on the website the recipe that has weight-only measurements – can anyone tell me where to find it? Or must I buy a later version of the same book to get this?

    Thankas in anticipation.
    Marj

    • Marj: Sorry for the confusion– we have three books; the first (Artisan Bread in Five) has no weights. The second two books do, though for Healthy Bread in Five, only for its Master Recipe. In Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 Min/Day, we have weights for all the dough recipes.

      • Thanks Jeff, I think it would be helpful for many people if the weight version was on the website with your standard version.

        Also I just want to say thank you to you and Zoe, this method of making bread seems just wonderful. I certainly appreciate the time & effort you both put in to work out the recipes and publish it all so that people all over the world can enjoy making fresh bread an easier way. Marj

      • Hi Marj,

        Thank you! We are so glad you are baking the bread and enjoying it!

        Cheers, Zoë

  19. Hi, I want to make English Granary Style Bread on page 91 of Artisan Bread in 5.
    Do I use diastatic or non-diastatic malt powder? I have been making European peasant bread for about 2 or 3 years and it is a great hit. Thanks so much.

  20. I live in Phoenix, where the idea of an oven on during the summer is not appealing. So, I use a bread machine. My husbands from before we got married. He used to use the Krusteez box. Not yummy. Because this is in a loaf pan, should I be cooking longer than the directions? I have found the center is not being cooked. Is using my bread machine even possible with your recipes? Should I just stick with the morning grill routine in the summer?
    Thanks for all your help, and very tasty recipes!

  21. I’ve been looking in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day in the Gluten Free section starting on page 235-for a gluten free bread without honey or soy in the recipe. Love the breads in you book but have just been put on a FODMAP diet to aid digestion and honey and soy are not allowed. Can anything be substituted for those ingredients? Even Gluten free purchased breads have honey in them. Am hungry for a good tasting bread!

    • Kathleen: You can always swap sugar (2/3 as much) or agave or corn syrup for honey. For the recipes with soy, I’d slightly increase the other flours to make up for the loss of the 1/2 cup of soy– but it’ll take experimentation. Only some of our GF recipes have soy though, could just stick to the others.

  22. I have a request from a family member to make a bread with a soft crust – french bread.

    Has anyone tried that?

    thanks

    Angela

    • Angela: You can always make a soft-crusted version by adding milk, sweetener, or fat to the dough, or just by painting melted butter or oil onto the crust before or after baking. Which book do you have, we can direct you…

      • Jeff,

        Thanks so much for caring enough to answer questions.

        I have all 3 books. Any suggestions would be great. The request was for french bread.

        Angela

      • Hi Angela,

        When I think of “French bread” I usually think of baguettes, but they don’t have a soft crust. Are you thinking of brioche, which is soft and has a bit of butter and eggs?

        Thanks, Zoë

  23. Zoe,

    I agree with you. However the request was made by an elderly family member who’s exposure to bread is limited to what’s at the local non gourmet grocery store. It is labeled French Bread and has a soft crust. Not sweet like brioche or rolls and usually no egg.

    I was considering basic dough form AB5 shaped as a baguette. Brushing with butter before and after baking and using no steam. How do you think that will be?

    I know this goes against your pastry chef and bread baking norms big time. : ) But it’s hard to say no to my 88 year old grandmother and of course I don’t correct her!

    Thanks

    Angela

    PS I have a batch of HB5-pumpernickel in rising too which I can’t wait to bake as recommended in the book.

    • Hi Angela,

      Yes, your grandmother should have exactly the bread she desires! :) You could try making the master recipe but brush the top with butter and even wrap it in a clean kitchen towel to keep the crust from staying too crispy.

      Thanks! Zoë

      • Zoe,

        I did just as you suggested. My grandmother was very happy. The rest of the family praised your bread very much.

        I tried to convince them that they could all do it. They said that was ok – they would just let me keep doing it : )

        Thanks for your help,

        Angela

      • Hi Angela,

        So glad that they were all happy with the loaf! :)

        Enjoy and I hope someday one of them will bake for you! Zoë

  24. I have ONE 27″ wall oven. I have a round pizza stone on the top shelf and a rectangle on the bottom. Under the bottom is room for a water tray. I tried to bake 4 loaves of whole wheat at the same time. I used an instant read thermometer and they registered 190 degrees + inside and they looked done enough (though not hard). I took them out and they were not done when I sliced one. And I always use parchment and take them off the parchment 1/2 way thru the cooking process. What adjustments for making a bunch of loaves at one time?

    • NC: 190 isn’t high enough for lean bread (without eggs or much fat)– need 205 to 210. Often need 15 to 20% more time in the oven when you’re overtaxing capacity.

  25. Wondering if you’ve done any work with sprouted wheat (instead of flour). I watched various other utube processes and see possibilities

  26. More than 5 minutes would be required if one considers time to sprout the wheat/grain, of course. But I was intrigued by a version (on UTube) in which the blended sprouted wheat berries were used in place of flour (well, a little flour added) that seemed like it might work. I’ll try it one day soon.

  27. can I make the basic dough recipe with 00 flour ? should I treat this flour differently? I’m cooking pizza in a wood fired brick oven.

  28. I made the Quinoa bread Wednesday. Baked it this AM. The Quinoa is still like it was uncooked…little pearls all over. Tastes good though. Would it be OK to add cooked Quinoa next time? Thoughts….

  29. My dough is very wet and sticky 6 cups flour, 3 cups water, 1 1/2 yeast , 1 1/2 kosher salt and very wet.. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Steve,

      What dough are you making, from which of the books? We can help once we know the recipe you are trying to make.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. Jeff or Zoe

    I think I lost this question so here goes again in the short form;

    What is your take on while you are making a new batch of dough you ago ahead and premix a few more batches of the dry ingredients, place them in some kind of storage containers or vacuum bags and store in them in the proper place.

    If so where would you recommend storing the premix dry parts – pantry, refrigerator or freezer and how long of shelf life would be reasonable?

    Just saying it would sure speed things up. Next time you need the complete batch open the premix and add water, or course in the proper procedure.

    Wow with this type of process you could call Healthy Breads in 3 Minutes per day – lol

    Just asking

  31. I want to make a breakfast bread with cranberry and walnuts to toast and put creme cheese on. I was thinking the oatmeal bread might be best and add some honey to the mix. What’d think?

    • NC: I like it. Or, try the Pumpernickel Date and Walnut bread, on page 70 of ABin5, varying it as you like. Will work with rye dough, others.

      • OK. I am a fan of white artisan bread but trying to get more whole grains in my diet so I’m going for oatmeal bread with white whole wheat, add honey and ground flax and craisins and walnuts and maybe some wheat flakes, too!. It will be breakfast bread after all..more is better! :) I use my KA mixer and dough hook to mix my dough. Question: I read the Pump recip.. but does rolling is out make it denser like kneading would do ?

      • NC: I know it seems to violate what we say, but it works. Give it a long rest– 100 minutes, at least an hour and a half. It relaxes in that time– you may prefer this with relatively “young” dough (not near the end of its storage life).

  32. I would like to use a rapid read thermonitor to check if my no-knead bread is done. I cannot find the information in your book AB5….

  33. I would like to use a rapid read thermonitor to check if my no-knead bread is done. I cannot find the information in your book AB5….

  34. Cannot find this info in my AB5. At what temperature is the noknead bread done using a rapid read thermomiter? Thank you in advance.

  35. Hello,

    I was wondering, how long can the dry ingredients be mixed together for before adding the wet ingredients from the master recipe for the first book (sorry I don’t have the book with me) or even the master recipe for the “heathly bread” book. Would there be any harm in mixing up flour, salt, and yeast together for a couple of days ahead of time?

    I was thinking that for Christmas this year (planning early) to give the book as gifts, but also give a bucket with the dry ingredients mixed together. If I shouldn’t, I will just pre-measure the ingredients and have them in seperate containers inside the bucket.

    Thank you!
    Christina

  36. Jeff or Zoe

    Do you have or is there a way to calculate the “Nutrition Value” of any of the recipes in your three book?

    I am willing to do the calculation myself if there is a standard formular for each of the ingredients, it’s not like I am going to make everyone of the recipes – just the ones that I have an interest in.

    With high blood pressure (under control) and border line Type II Diabetes (also under control) was my main reason for becoming an avid follower of this site. My other reason is buying grocery store shelf bread is a waste of money and time – in two days to me it is not worth eating.

    Thanks Again to both

  37. I love the principle of your bread making! I am having a problem with a really crispy crust but doughy centre. I am using an Emile Henry pizza stone, which evidently has a glazed surface. Could that be the problem, because of the ‘wetter’ dough? I am having a hard time finding a thick enough pizza stone locally, all of them seem to be 1/4″ thick instead of 1/2″
    Thank you for your help.

    • Jen: No, the glazed surface is fine, we’ve tested them and that’s not it. Quarter inch is OK; some have been less durable than the 1/2-inch, that’s the only problem (avoid Pampered Chef brand). Or try cast-iron, it never cracks.

  38. Sorry, I just found your article on the Pizza Stones. I will adjust my flour/water ratio as you say the Emile Henry stone works well. I am from Canada and I just now saw another article on Canadian flour from you!! I guess it would help if I would just learn to read!
    Thank you soooo much for the wonderful Artisan Bread in five. I think you two are brilliant! I will be trying your other books after I have mastered this one!

  39. Love your books, I own all 3. I have had great luck with all breads I have baked from AB in 5. But the breads I have tried from HB in 5 fall flat. I have I believe followed the recipes correctly. I get a good initial rise so I think my yeast is good. When I let the dough rest after shaping it grows sideways more pancake like. This shape continues in the oven. I have had this experience with both the pesto pine nut bread & the 10 grain bread.

    Second question. I have really liked the country loaf at Panera Bread. I was hoping the 10 grain bread would be similar to this. Do you have a bread recipe similar to it?

    Thank you, Joe

    • Joe: How about with the basic Master Recipe in HBin5. Try that one first. For the others, probably can just dry them out a bit and you’ll get less spreading. Assume you are using VWG.

      Not familiar with the country loaf at Panera…

  40. I’m trying to make the simple baguette from the Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day book. No matter how hard I try to elongate the dough, it flattens out and turns into a Batard. It turns out nicely, but not the way I want it to. How can I make it cooperate?

    Thanks for your time!

  41. Hi I tried making the Gluten Free Brioche in Healthy Bread In Five Minutes A Day. My dough came out very wet. Is there anything I can do?

    • Lori: Our doughs are supposed to be wet, but if you can’t handle it, work in a little more of the flours and then let it sit in the fridge overnight, try again the next day.

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