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?

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: How 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?

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2,772 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Hi! Bought your first book when it first came out and I’m still in love with it! Been baking since college! So… it’s silly to ask now but I have a fairly large rectangular metal baking sheet/stone. It can bake two loaves on it. Should/can I bake two loaves at the same time?Do I need to make adjustments anywhere? (I’ve haven’t baked in bulk like this)

    Thank you again for an amazing book!

  2. I make the oatmeal bread quite often, but lately it falls apart when I cut it. It crumbles as you slice it. It appears to be done, but you can’t get a full slice. Can you give me any tips?

    1. Well, you must have changed something if it used to work well but now doesn’t. Oven? Ingredients? Pan? Changes you’ve made in the recipe?

    1. Hi Katha,

      Once the bread is cooled, the structure is set and it is safe to reheat it in the oven for a few minutes. I know this seems strange, but it is crucial to let it cool the first time around or it will be gummy on the inside.

      Cheers, Zoë

  3. Hello! Re chocolate espresso muffins from Healthy Bread in Five, page 303. I have old muffin tins that tend to stick if I don’t use paper baking cups. Would it be OK to use paper baking cups?

    1. Hi Shawndra,

      The bread will stick to them like a muffin, so as long as you are okay with having to peel the paper off the muffin/rolls it will work. It is more work, but you could also line them with buttered parchment, which will not stick as much to the bread.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. Shawndra, today I happened across some parchment muffin cups while doing a search. Maybe Amazon, but also maybe a company that specializes in different styles of muffin cups. A search might find you something that will help your “sticky” muffin tins.


  5. When baking the master recipe, I often get a large portion of the loaf “exploding” out of the regular round crust while baking, producing an oddly shaped loaf. Usually doesn’t negatively impact the loaf, but it looks bad. I’d post a picture, but don’t know how.
    Any suggestions for me to prevent this?

    1. Hi Corey,

      There are two easy solutions.

      1. let the loaf rest longer before baking. Try an extra 30 minutes. This can happen if your dough is particularly cold or the room is chilly. It just needs a bit more time to rest.
      2. Make sure you are slashing 1/2-inch deep into the dough. If the slashes are too shallow it will rip open and explode as you describe.

      Try both of those tips and see if it helps.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. Hi Guys. I recently moved back to the US from Germany after getting majorly spoiled by the quality of their breads there. Having difficulty finding bread that came anywhere close to German bread for less than $8 a loaf, I decided to try out making bread myself and picked up “The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. LOVE IT! I have had great luck so far, up until this last weekend when I tried baking the Vollkornbrot (p. 122). The issue is that the wheat berries are still very hard after baking. Are they supposed to be? They are edible, but they seem too hard. The middle of the kernels are still white even which seems wrong. I followed the instructions to a T, including the 24 hour aging period, except for the fact that I didn’t use molasses (trying to cut out sugar). Does the molasses have anything to do with the softening of the kernels? Should I have soaked the kernels prior to making the dough? I should say that the bread tastes great otherwise! Thanks very much for any help!

    1. Hi Baird,

      We’re so glad you’re enjoying the bread!

      I’m not sure why they were still so tough, the 24 hour aging typically is enough time, but if your finding that the wheat berries are too hard, then it is a good idea to soak them first. You could soak them during the day or overnight, which ever works best with your schedule.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. Is there a good formula for converting recipes to mini loaf pans? I would like to make Pumpkin Pie Brioche, page 284 in Health Bread in 5, as mini loaves for Christmas gifts. What would the resting/baking times be approximately?

  8. What is “room temperature”?

    Most sources say bread dough resting temps should be in the 75-85F range, depending on the ingredients. The Brod & Taylor site says when in doubt, use 81F, as it works well for most breads. But “room temperature” in our kitchen can vary from 55F to 85F. In fact, in the summer it routinely spans that entire range in a single day.

    As a result I have a proofing box, but I don’t know what temperature to set for “room temperature”. Thanks!

    1. Hi Curtis,

      My kitchen is usually around 70°F, but if you have a proof box you can go higher than that. You just want to keep an eye on the dough and make sure it doesn’t over proof. In that environment the dough may not need quite as long a rest. I’ve used the Brod & Taylor and loved the results.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. I left a comment when I really have a question, sorry if duplicate……when the brioche dough is substituted for the whole wheat dough in the Christmas stolen recipe, should the brioche be baked in a loaf pan?

    1. Hi Alan,

      You can shape the dough as I did for the traditional stollen or you can bake it in a loaf pan. The brioche dough will rise a bit more, so you’ll want to make sure it’s not too thick or it will puff up in to a ball.

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. Hi,
    I am about to try one of the recipes – soft white bread – from the latest book. Since there are only two of us, I always halve your recipes. However, this is the first time I’ve had a recipe call for an odd number of eggs (5) . Is there a good way to try for 2.5 eggs or can use three without a problem?

    1. Hi Suzan,

      Whenever I run into this, I generally use 2 eggs plus one yolk or the white. If you are using smallish eggs you can get away with using 3 eggs.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. I was wondering what the highest temperature is that I can bake my break? I have a Big green egg and I can fire it to 900 F and make pizza in it that way but now I want to make bread. I know you recommend to use 450 F but is that because most ovens down much higher or is that the max you recommend anyway?

    Thanks, Joe

    1. Hi Joe,

      I often bake at 500°F, because I like the crust I get, but you have to be careful that your crust doesn’t get too dark before the interior is finished baking. Any higher than 500°F and your crust will burn and the interior will be under-baked. You can use those high temperatures for pizza and flatbreads, which thrive in high heat.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. I am making a half batch of chocolate espresso muffins from Healthy Bread in Five, page 303. I think my liquid wasn’t warm enough and now it hasn’t risen after several hours (and one hour in the oven with the light on). Is it salvageable?

    1. Hi Shawndra,

      Yes, it is. I’m assuming it is now in the refrigerator. Just shape it and allow it to rise as directed. It should rise some, but it may need an extra bit of time 15-30 more minutes. Then bake as normal. If the first batch come out a bit dense, then increase that rise time by another 15 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. I purchased your New Artisan Bread book but noticed that the whole wheat bread recipes all call for honey. Is it possible to reduce or eliminate this?

    1. Hi Anniemay,

      You can replace any honey with the same amount of water if you want to eliminate the sweetness. Honey is used both as a sweetener and as a preservative.

      Thanks, Zoë

  14. Hi,
    I just bought some Dakota Maid stone ground whole wheat flour on sale.

    Can you tell me which flour in the new book it’s closest to? It has 4 gr of protein per 1/4 cup.



  15. Hi Jeff & Zöe,
    Can I mix the cranberries and orange zest in a whole container of corn bread dough for the Thanksgiving cranberry bread?

  16. With your “No-Knead Artisan Free-Form Loaf” recipe clipped from a newspaper in November of 2013, I finally got the nerve to try it about a week ago. Baked on a stone, success with all steps, but a bitter, almost-metallic taste, once done. Definitely not that wonderful sourdough bang. The bitterness abated a little when the loaf cooled but was still there. The dough rose beautifully but did not flatten out much and rose a teensy bit more, once refrigerated. Used Red Star Active Dry Yeast (opened for the first time for the recipe with “best used by” date of Nov ’16). New bag of store-brand flour. Thoughts? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jim,

      You can use agave or sugar as a substitute. In some cases you can use maple, but that is a much stronger flavor.

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. The recipe for Pumpkin Pie Brioche (New Healthy Bread in 5, pgs 354-356) doesn’t specify what size brioche pan. Mine is 4″ across the bottom and 8″ across the top (fluted). Will this size accommodate the 2lb ball of dough? Thanks!

  18. Hello! I am new to Artisan Bread in 5 and tried my first loaf here at Christmas. Despite my best measuring efforts (used scoop and sweep for the flour and watched a few of your videos – great by the way!) my dough was far more dry than what has been depicted here online. It somewhat formed to the container, but still kept a shape of its own until I let it sit. Once it had a chance to rest it bubbled up and then flattened out and kept quite airy (seemingly all good..). Any suggestions? The finished product was pretty great but I imagine it could have been a bit fluffier inside. It was a heavier bread. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you in advance.

  19. Oh dear, I forgot to add the melted butter to the Brioche dough (p. 300, New Artisan Bread) until I’d already put in the flour in my dough bucket. I then stirred in the butter with my dough hook. It appears to be doing the first rise okay, but I’m worried the butter won’t incorporate successfully. Should I just toss the whole batch & start again? BTW, your book, a recent gift, along with an enameled ceramic Cloche baker, has changed my world! The fresh boules are far better tasting than the $8 artisan breads at local stores.

  20. Thanks so much for encouraging me to keep the dough–I just baked my second loaf from this batch, and it’s far beyond what I expected. Gorgeous caramel color, heavenly fragrance and taste. Perfect crust outside, slightly moist inside. Wonderful sliced & toasted with a generous sweep of butter. I was skeptical about the loaf pan size, but this baked great in my French glazed ceramic loaf pan, 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Not sure how this will bake in a metal , fluted brioche pan but I’ll try this next. Thanks!

  21. I’m making the “Ten-Grain Bread” , page 164, “New Healthy…Day”. I’m wanting to add honey to this. How much can I add; do I simply displace the water with the addition, and do I need to reduce the baking temp and time? Thanks!

    1. Honey in small amounts doesn’t require a baking adjustment. If you go to a half-cup (pretty sweet), you need to bake at 350 for 25 to 35% longer, or the crust tends to scorch. And decrease the water by a tablespoon or so.

      At 1/8 cup (2T), you hardly have to change anything at all, neither temp nor water. Scale it along between those extremes and you’ll be good to go. It’s pretty forgiving of a rough estimate.

  22. Jeff, thanks, I’m starting out with 2TBSP to see how it affects the taste of the 10 grain mix.
    Also, I’ve been baking the Maser Recipe from the New Healthy Bread book, p. 79, and can’t believe how great it tastes and looks. Was afraid it would be bitter and heavy, as some homemade loaves I’ve tasted, but this was entirely the opposite. The addition of golden flaxseed, poppy, and sesame seeds to the dough seems to have sweetened it. Overall a complex, hearty, yet mellow flavor. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of specific information about baking these recipes in the enamel (glazed) Cloche bakers, but it’s working great for me so far. I prepare the loaves on a half-sheet parchment paper, lift it onto the preheated Cloche, cover and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the cover for another 7-10 minutes. I haven’t found it necessary to remove the parchment before the bread’s done–just lift it off the base when complete. Again, thanks so much!

    1. Fantastic, thanks for the kind words. Sounds like you’ve found the part in the book about the cloches, on page 41. and are getting a great result. Curious–are you using the version with vital wheat gluten, or are you doing the variation where it’s omitted?

  23. You should have a special category for dumb questions. I’ve recently been baking from your book, purchased this last month! Everybody is happy. Since it’s just 2 of us most times, one loaf can last a few days. What is the best way to store baked bread?

    1. Assuming you mean the latest book, I know it’s in the index, under “Storage Recommendations.” If not, check our FAQs page.

      1. Yes the most recent book, thank you. Not sure where I was looking in the index, but it was certainly the wrong place. I guess I’ll have to try baking even smaller loaves for just the 2 of us. Thanks for your response.

  24. Hi! I love your book (I’ve gifted two copies since getting mine!). I’m also adoring your blog for new and inventive ways to use the master recipes.

    Is there a list of all the things on your blog that can be made with each type of dough? E.g. Brioche can be used to make: Thing one, thing two, thing three…

    It’d be great when I have some leftover dough and need some creativity!

  25. Hi! In the equipment section of New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (kindle version location 482) you mention using a baguette pan instead of cooking the baguettes right on the stone. If I were to do that, would I set the pan on top of the stone, put the stone on the bottom rack or not use the stone at all? Do I still use the steam method with the broiler tray? I looked at the Baguette recipe (location 980 in the Kindle version) but didn’t see any different info there. Thank you SO much, your book has revolutionized my bread baking! 🙂

    1. With the baguette pan, you don’t necessarily need a stone at all. Of course I have one, and it evens out the oven-heat, so I always use it anyway, but the pan makes it optional. When using both, I put the stone on the bottom shelf, and the pan near the middle of the oven, but having it right on the stone is probably also fine. Should also use steam as well.

  26. No matter what type of bread I make from the Hew Artisan Bread in Five minutes, the crust is nice, but about one-half inch along the bottom of the bread is dampm and not well baked. What should i do to correct this?

    1. Have you checked oven temp with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU? If this is off, nothing works right. Or…

      1. Your dough may be too wet. How are you measuring the flour?
      2. What flour-brands are you using? Which recipes have you tried that are behaving this way (page numbers so I know exactly which)?
      3. Are you using a baking stone?

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