Q&A Dense or Gummy Crumb

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Q: The crumb of my bread is dense, with small holes, and sometimes there are dense areas in the bottom half of the slices. How do I fix this?

A: First, be aware that our expectations for bread’s texture are shaped by our experience with commercial bread, a product that is made with dough conditioners and other additives that keep the loaves very soft. Homemade bread like ours is denser and more toothsome than commercial white bread. But there are several things that can help you to achieve a crumb with a more open hole structure:

1. For white-flour recipes, are you using something other than U.S. all-purpose flour? If so, check this page for water adjustments.

2.  Make sure that your dough is not too wet or too dry, both extremes will result in a dense crumb. You can check to see if you are using the right amount of water for the type of flour you use (click here to check).  And make sure you are measuring using the scoop-and-sweep method, click here for a video of that.

3.  Be gentle! Once you determine that your dough is the right consistency then make sure you are handling it very gently. We find that people tend to want to knead the dough, even a little. This knocks the gas out of the dough and will give you a dense crumb. When shaping the dough be very careful to leave as much of the air bubbles in tact as possible. These bubbles will create the holes in the bread. We say to shape the dough for about 30-60 seconds, but we’ve come to think that even that is too long. Try getting it down to 2-40 seconds!

4. Try a longer rest after shaping: In our first book (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day), we opted for a very short rest time, usually 40 minutes for one-pound loaves made mostly with white flour.  For most readers, that was enough to prevent dense results.  But others found this to be a little dense, especially if your kitchen is cooler than 68 degrees.  Try 60, or even 90 minutes for white-flour loaves, and see what you think.   Whole grain loaves almost always need a 90 minute rest.

5.  Longer-stored doughs may be best for flatbread: If you are using a dough that is close to 2 weeks old or older, you may want to stick to pizza, pita, naan or another option from the flat bread chapters in the books, or from our third book, due in 2011, which will be all about flatbread and pizza.  The yeast will not have its full power and if baked as a high loaf it may come out denser than you want.

6.  Check your oven temperature:  Use something like this thermometer on Amazon; if your oven’s off, you won’t get proper “oven spring” and the loaf can be dense.

The “refrigerator rise” trick is convenient and results in a nice open crumb:

It’s also super-convenient, allowing you to shape your dough and then have it rise in the refrigerator for 8 to 14 hours before baking. This is what you do:

1. If you want fresh dinnertime bread or rolls, then first thing in the morning cut off a piece of dough and shape it as normal. Place the dough on a sheet of parchment, loosely wrap with plastic and put it back in the refrigerator.   If you want to bake first thing in the morning, shape and refrigerate at bedtime.

2. Eight to fourteen hours later, the loaves or rolls may have spread slightly, and may not seem to have risen at all. Don’t panic, they will still have lovely oven spring! Because you don’t handle the dough at all after the refrigerator rise the bubbles in the dough should still be intact. Preheat your oven with a stone on the middle rack to 475 degrees. When the oven is nice and hot take out your cold dough, slash it as normal and bake per recipe directions. Allow to cool and serve.

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

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688 thoughts on “Q&A Dense or Gummy Crumb

  1. I recently purchased your lastest book and mixed up my first batch yesterday. However, when I took the container out of the refrigerator this morning to retrieve some dough for baking, my dough seems to be too wet. It doesn’t have the pulling action. I have taken some out anyways and I am allowing it to rest for 90 minutes before trying to bake it. I followed the recipe exactly, but should I cut back on the water next time or increase my flour? And, can I add some flour to this current batch in hopes of making it a little drier? Thanks in advance for your help. I am so excited about baking bread!

    1. Hi Tonya,

      You can add more flour or decrease the water to get to the right consistency, it doesn’t matter which. For this batch you can mix in more flour, then you need to allow it to sit while the flour absorbs the water.

      What brand of flour are you using and are you using the scoop and sweep method of measuring?

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Your guys rock! Thank you for bringing homemade bread into our home! LOVE your books! I got the master recipe down. Absolutely delicious.
    I tried the 10-grain bread recipe and I got a very hard, dark crust and a dense and not completely cooked middle. My oven temp runs slightly low but I’m afraid to increase the temp because of how dark the crust was already. Suggestions?
    Also, can I use my speed bake setting to speed up the baking time or does that throw the rising off?
    Thanks guys and keep up the great, inspiring work!

    1. Hi Monique,

      You may want to raise the temperature of the oven so it is the proper temp and then put the bread on a lower rack so the top crust doesn’t get too dark.

      I’m not familiar with “speed bake” setting, is it convection heat? If so, you need to turn down the temperature by 20-25 degrees.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. I don’t have a baking stone available and I’ve twice tried using a loaf pan. The dough does not rise very much at all, can I use a loaf pan with this no-knead method? Please advise. Thank you.

  4. I’m getting a pretty good rise to my honey wheat loaf (in a standard pan) but the bread has a bit of a sour dough taste sometimes. The kids love the bread normally but when it gets this sour taste, they want to go back to the supermarket version.

    Any idea what could be causing that sour taste?

    1. Hi Scott,

      This is the natural fermentation of the dough and is normal for dough that is a few days old. You may want to bake it off before it gets to this point or freeze the dough to stop the fermentation from occurring.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. Thanks Zoë, I’ll try baking the loaves after one night in the fridge instead of a few. Do you think it would help to let it rise less than 2 hours on the counter before I put it in the fridge to chill so that it won’t ferment as much or will that have a negative effect somewhere else?

  6. Scott: That will definitely help. Keep in mind that you’re going to lose some of the time leverage our method gives you if you avoid storing the loaves for long.

    Consider baking on day 0 (the mixing day); that will give you one more day of the style your kids like. Jeff

  7. Hi, made my first batch of white flour boule, programmed to make four 1 lbs loaves. I took out a grapefruit sized piece, but that left only enough for one other loaf! So divided it into two loaves, which rested 40 min, baked 30 min and were lovely – ironically, the one on the baking stone was dense and small holed, but the one on the cookie sheet had large holes. Both were about the same size, 5-1/2 inches across, looking rather like the bouley bakery clam chowder bowls. Is this the right size or should they be getting bigger? Peg Bracken said, no matter what you do to it, it will still be bread. She did mention that leaving out a cup of flour resulted in a bread with extra-large pores! like your wet dough.

  8. I have made a couple of batches in which the bread rises well initially on the counter but then when refrigerated sinks right back down to almost its original volume. Is this normal? What am I doing wrong??


    1. Roberta: This is normal– it never comes back to its max volume. All’s well… so long as the bread’s baked result isn’t over-dense. Jeff

  9. I just made my first loaf from HBin5, the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread- let me first say yum!!! It did come out slightly dense, though. The dough was plenty wet without being too soggy. It only took me about 20 seconds to shape, so it wasn’t over-handled. The only variation I did was to put a foil tent over it because the crust was very, very brown at 30 minutes. What else can I try? Thank you for any advice. And thank you for this book- both my parents are diabetic and can only eat whole wheat bread.

  10. Thank you, Zoe! That info did help, especially the extra rising time. And you nailed me on cutting the bread while it was hot. 🙂 I’ll fight the urge next time.

  11. I just purchased your book and love this plan. I have a question about bread storage. We live in an RV – the fridge is about the size of a breadbox! LOL I’m thinking of alternative storage options for my dough. Cooler chest with ice? If not then probably an electric cooler. Any thoughts on dough at about 50 degrees?

  12. Gluten-Free Brioche recipe on p.252 of Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day calls for 3 3/4 C cornstarch. Is that correct?

  13. Enjoyed reading your book. I remember my grandmother spending all day, every week, baking about six loaves of white bread. The aroma is what sticks in my mind.

    I thought I had followed your directions exactly, but the Boule only rose slightly while resting after I formed a ball and basically didn’t rise at all in the oven. Plus it was pretty dense. I found it hard to handle and kept dusting flour on my hands. I used Gold Medal white unbleached flour.

    Other than not handling it too much when forming the loaf, do you have any other suggestions?

    1. Nick: How are you measuring? If you’re using the “spoon and sweep” method (rather than the “scoop and sweep” method we specify), it will be too wet and won’t develop any structure. If you can’t figure out anything else, let’s just increase the flour a bit and see if you can’t get the same kind of dough structure that we do. Jeff

  14. I love your book! I live at 5400 feet in Colorado and I have done some experimenting with the healthy bread recipes for the past month to try to figure out what changes I need to make to get great bread. My initial attempts yielded miserable crumb and super dense bread. I finally found a method that works for our dry climate and elevation. First, I weigh my dry ingredients instead of scooping them–the drier climate can do crazy things to flour volume. Second, for a full batch of the master recipe, I decrease the yeast to 3 teaspoons and increase the VWG to 40 grams. I use around 4 cups of water at 100 degrees. Depending on the day, I may need to slightly increase or decrease the water. Finally, reading the posts in this forum, I stumbled across Susan’s February 8th post about kneading the bread after mixing (before the initial rise). This kneading makes the crumb so much lovelier! I knead by hand with the dough on the countertop (not in a mixer) and kneading also allows me to adjust the dryness or wetness of the flour so that the dough is more tacky than sticky (adding more water or flour as necessary). The dough is always still wet enough to take the shape of the container when I put it back in the rising bucket. I leave the dough out on the countertop for two to three hours until it about doubles in volume and flattens out. Then I put it in the fridge and usually do not bake a loaf until the dough rests in fridge for at least 12 hours. When I make a loaf, ideally, I need to cut the dough with scissors to remove a quantity from the bucket. If the dough breaks on its own and does not need to be cut, it is not quite right. I shape a loaf and let it sit on a silicone mat, covered with plastic wrap, on the counter until it no longer feels cold. Sometimes, this takes as long as three hours (I guess my house and fridge are on the cold side). Then, I brush water on the dough, slash, and bake in a 475 degree oven for about 30 minutes (or until I can really smell the bread – it’s a good way to know that the bread is done). (I use an oven thermometer on the middle rack to verify the temperature.) For steam, I use a cast iron pan for catching the water underneath a pizza stone. I only use 1/3 cup of water (but my oven has a pretty good seal). A few minutes before the loaf is done, I remove the silicone mat and let it finish baking directly on the pizza stone. Once finished baking, I put the loaf on a wire rack to cool completely. Thanks so much for the book! I love always having fresh homemade bread!

    1. Rachel: Have you seen our “High-altitude” FAQ (click on FAQ above and scroll down)? Sounds like you are on the right track though, glad it’s working for you. Jeff

  15. Yes – thanks! I have read through the High Altitude FAQs – I guess I should have posted there instead Thanks for the quick response –

  16. How about the dry top that occurs in refrigerator? I keep my dough in the fridge, in a plastic container and leave the top “ajar” But this definitely creates a very dry top.

    1. Hi Fethiye,

      It sounds like your lid is slightly too “ajar,” it should be completely covered, but not snapped shut.

      Hope that helps! Zoë

  17. I am not certain that I am doing the ‘slashing’ technique correctly. The bread is turning out great, but even after slashing with a serrated knife, I don’t get those nice patterns and defined edges. My dough is pretty wet, and I cloak it as directed and use flour before slashing. Do I slash right before baking? That’s what I have done so far. Can you shed a bit of light on this and help? thank you! P.S. This is the BEST way to make bread, ever!

  18. Thank you, Zoe! I just watched it. Hmmm…I guess the dough can be slashed at any time, from the sounds of it!

  19. I bought the book but when I overnight the dough in the morning I do not get the nice long stretchy strands in the video. My dough has to be removed in clumps and is with out any elasticity. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Dana: We don’t recommend overnight resting/rising at room temperature, though that may not have anything to do with your problem. But we need more information— which book are you working from? Did you use vital wheat gluten in the whole wheat breads? Common problems can be found by clicking on our FAQs page above. Typical problems:

      1. Are you using the wrong measuring method? Must use scoop and sweep (not spoon-and-sweep).
      2. You have to use unbleached all-purpose flour where white flour is called for (not bleached)
      3. Consider a longer rest time, first book specifies shorter times than 2nd and many people prefer the longer rest time


  20. I have the second book. I am using the scoop and sweep method. I mix the dough, let it rise for two hours on the counter and get a beautiful rise. I then refrigerate it and the next day is when the problems start. I am not using unbleached flour but will stop tonight to purchase a bag to see if that will make a difference. I did read that section of the book but thought if I cut down the water it would be ok. That has not helped. AFter shaping the loaves I do rest them for 90 minutes. They bake up but the crumb is moist and I am not getting any of the large air holes discussed by others. Thank you so much for the quick response. I am very motivated to get this techinque down as the breads look great!

    1. Hi Dana,

      Keep us posted with your progress once you have tried the bread with the unbleached flour. The unbleached flour will have more protein and may give the dough the extra structure that it now lacks.

      Thanks, Zoë

  21. I am following the Master Recipe in Book 1, and have a simple question. When baking is complete, how big will the loaf be ?

    My resting and rising dough looks much like the pictures on p29, but what are the dimensions of the loaves in the picture on p30 — there is nothing to indicate scale. You know how big they are because you made them, but I can’t tell if they are 6 inches across or 16 inches across.

    I understand that there are many, many variables in this, but an approximate height and width would be very helpful.

    And I don’t have broadband, so I can’t watch the videos.

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Peter,

      I would say my average loaf is about 4-inches high and about 8-inches wide. I will take care to measure next time I bake a boule.

      Thanks, Zoë

  22. Hi Zoe,

    Thank you for the loaf dimensions — you guys are very quick to reply to our questions.

    Can you point me to a photograph on the web site where I can see detail of the inside of a boule you have baked ?


  23. One more question about the Master Recipe. In another thread you said to leave the dough to rest for 60 to 90 minutes. Is 90 minutes the max, or can I leave it to rest for longer without bad things happening. What have you found to be the maximum.



    1. Hi Peter,

      It somewhat depends on your house. If your kitchen is particularly cold then you can leave it out longer, if it is really warm it will over proof quicker. If the dough gets overly proofed it will not have any oven spring and it will be dense and not rise.

      Thanks, Zoë

  24. I have been trying to add walnuts and cranberries to the whole wheat recipe, but it comes out too dry and the crumb is too dense. I also tried adding more water, but it is still not right. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Janice,

      You may want to add a bit more vital wheat gluten to the dough if you are adding lots of things to the dough. The whole more whole wheat in the recipe the denser it tends to be and if you add a lot of heavy ingredients it will tend to be even more so.

      As for the malted barley flour, I’d start by replacing about 1/2 a cup of the whole wheat with it. All flours behave differently and therefore it is hard to give a real rule of thumb. It is mostly a matter of trial and error, and hopefully your efforts will result in some tasty bread.

      Keep us posted on your progress! Zoë

  25. I love a bread at a favorite grocery chain that has whole wheat flour and malted barley flour. Can you give me some idea of the ratio I would use to include thismalted barley flour? Thanks so much

  26. Peter: That’s fairly warm, I’d say 90 minutes, or 100 as the absolute max. Beyond that and it will be as Zoe suggests.

  27. I think I’ve finally figured out the right amount of flour for drizzly Portland in the spring. I need to use a scant 7 cups of flour and 1:00 to 1:20 rest time to avoid a dense crumb.

    Throughout my flour quantity refinement experiments, from slack to just right, I’ve had a problem with the bottoms of the loaves. The bottom crust tends to be quite hard to cut and to bite through. The crust on the rest of the loaf is fine.

    I preheat my stone at 450 for 0:15 to 0:30 and am pretty liberal with the medium grind cornmeal to prevent sticking on my wooden peel and the stone. Could the cornmeal be drawing off too much moisture? Most of the cornmeal under the loaf stays embedding into the bottom of the loaf; I sometimes find myself scrapping-off excess cornmeal after the loaf has cooled.

    If it matters, I make 2# loaves rather than 1#loaves because a 1# loaf is not enough for my family for pre-meal “samples” and dinner itself..

    1. Hi Rick,

      Wonderful that you got the drizzle-season dough down!

      I think your problem with the bottom crust is that you’re not preheating the stone long enough to get it really piping hot and so it isn’t creating a thin crisp bottom crust. You may need to let the stone preheat for 30-40 minutes to really be up to temperature. Make sure you are using any oven thermometer to determine that the oven is the right temperature.

      You may also want to try using parchment paper if the cornmeal is too much. If you do the paper, just remove it after 90% of the baking time and place the loaf directly onto the stone.

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. Big sigh, here…this way of bread baking is SO much fun, but I continue to have major problems with the simple act of slashing my loaf before baking.

    I have floured the loaf top, oiled the knife and loaf top to avoid sticking, tried sharp serrated knives (good Henckels ones!), but I continue to mangle the loaf instead of slash it. I cut perpendicularly, the the dough just mushes around the blade instead of making a clean cut.

    The bread turns out beautifully, though. Is it because my dough is pretty moist? Please help!

  29. Dear Zoe…yes, I have! Mine still does not slash like in the video. I am puzzled and don’t know what else to try. Thank you!

    1. Betsy: Make sure you stabilize the loaf with the non-knife hand while you slash, otherwise the loaf tries to run away with the moving knife.

      And be sure to dust the surface with flour before you cut. Jeff

  30. What if I got distracted and used 2 TB instead of 1 1/2 in the master recipe. Will it still be work? Maybe just taste extra yeasty?

    1. Joy: will work fine, but yes, you may find the flavor to be slightly off. Bet it’ll still be decent, especially after a few days.

  31. Thank you for the quick response. I used it to make some garlic bubble bread and crusty sandwich bread and both turned out fine! However, next time I’ll be a little more careful! I’ve got brioche in the fridge now, waiting for my first attempt at something with that! 🙂 Thanks for your great book and great website – I anticipate that they will seriously alter my approach to yeast breads!

  32. Help! I LOVE your bread and it always comes out tasting great, but my loaves always seem to blow out on either the side, bottom or top. What am I doing wrong and how can I fix it? Thanks!

    1. Jon: The usual explanation for this is that the slashes aren’t deep enough. Use a serrated bread knife rather than a razor or French-style lame. And maybe let it rest longer. Many people have preferred 60 or even 90-minute rests, instead of the quicker 40-minute rests we specified in the 1st book.

  33. I’m loving your books and mastering bread baking. My family adores the American style white bread for sandwiches. I’ve found the crust too thick and the crumb too damp/dense when baked with a stone but totally perfect when baked without a stone. (Just thought I’d share that :-)).
    My question is this: I read a lot input here about a refrigerator rise. Does this simply mean shaping the loaf and replacing it in the fridge? How is this different from the dough that just sits in the bucket, stored in the fridge, waiting to be baked? Also, at what point do I know it’s time to put freshly-mixed dough in the fridge? The book says “flattened on top” but mine always looks bubbly and voluminous. One batch exploded in the fridge and blew the door open!
    Thanks for this amazing site. It’s like free tech support for the book.

    1. Hi Cora,

      Thanks for the tip about the American Style bread baked without the stone. I will have to try it and see if I have the same results.

      For the refrigerator rise you just form the loaf, cover with plastic, refrigerate and then the next day you can just preheat your oven and bake the bread straight from the refrigerator. The difference between this and what you get out of the bucket is that you have already shaped it and so you are not handling the dough again, which collapses the dough and requires more resting.

      The dough exploded out of the bucket and blew the door open? That is a new one on me! 😉 Wow! This is one reason we suggest that you not cover the bucket with an airtight lid, so that the gases can escape. What size bucket are you using and with what dough?

      Thanks, Zoë

  34. is there a refrigerator temperature that is too cold for the master recipe in Healthy…..? My dough “fell” significantly with the 3rd batch after 3-4 days in the fridge; the first 2 batches did not fall this way. I keep my fridge COLD (well below 41F) given my profession (health inspector). 🙂 Thanks

    1. Cindy: A really cold fridge will make for firmer dough that takes longer to loosen up at room temp and probably will be a denser final result. That said, this “falling” once refrigerated happens in all our recipes and is to be expected. You don’t have a problem unless your final result is denser than you’d like. To deal with it, could experiment with longer rest times.

  35. Hi guys,

    I love your master recipe, but my wife prefers sandwich bread. I have the Health Bread in Five book, and the sandwich bread is great, but in shaping the dough, it tends to just tear open, no matter how gently I pull it to make the ball shape. The bread turns out fine, but the crust is very bumpy and a little too crumbly for sandwiches. Any clues as to what I’m doing wrong?

    1. Try just a little more water– with whatever flour you’re using, sounds like you’re getting a too-dry result. I assume you’re using vital wheat gluten, and using a commercial brand of whole wheat flour. Home-ground wheat just behaves unpredictably, depending on the grind, moisture content, etc.

  36. Jeff and Zoe:
    Thank you SO MUCH for HBin5! For years I have tried to make bread and although my mother made awesome bread, all my attempts were failures. Then I found your book. First attempt was perfect! At last I can really bake bread like my mother! And a whole lot less work! I can have a life and still bake bread!!!

    1. Hi Joan,

      Thanks YOU for trying the bread. We are thrilled that you are baking so much and loving the breads.

      Happy baking! Zoë

  37. Dear Jeff & Zoe- I added 1/4 cup more flour to the basic boule recipe and it made all the difference in the shaping, cloaking, and slashing. Now I have a loaf that looks as amazing as it tastes! Thank you for the help.

  38. I don’t care for hard crust. Is there a way to bake the basic bread recipe and do something to make the crust softer?

    1. Hi Patsy,

      You may prefer the breads made with enriched doughs. They have eggs, butter or milk in them and don’t get a hard crust. We have recipes for them in both books.



  39. Hi jeff and zoe,

    i just got your second book in the post. Absolutely worth every cent.i was initially using posted recipes on other sites and they just don’t compare. Jeff we have spoken before about yeast rising and i’m still having the same trouble. the first rise is at least 5 times the initial mix, and when i take some out to shape, the mix collapses completely. so i basically get a minimal oven spring. at least the bread tastes fresh and awesome. the color is perfect crust great, even the crumb is good. initially you thought it may be altitude but i’m at sea level. just really scratching my head to figure out whats wrong. i used the scales this time and a thermometer. i’m really precise. i mix all the dry ingredient then add the water and leave on the bench and boom its growing as you watch it. the only thing i can think is their may be too much water. so i’ll start with decreasing that next time. any other suggestions?

    1. Dave: Yes, you may be on the wetter side here, the Aussie flours may be different and that changes the water absorption. What I’m not clear on is when you say “the crumb is good,” which usually means not over-dense. If so, you’re getting proper rise in the oven after all?

  40. Hi Jeff,

    i would say there is no oven spring at all, its like the yeast has done its work on the first rise.even though the loaf is about 10 cm high the crumb is good not too heavy. i watched your whole wheat video and you describe your dough as wet and slack, i’d say mine is drier and stringy. i thought i may need to add more water 1/4 cup at a time. its just that because the first rise is so high , it just collapses and you lose the air bubbles, so very little 2nd rise and no oven spring. i’m also going to change yeast brand as well.But….that said it tastes awesome with vegemite and well all love it. it just would be great to get a top notch loaf.

    1. Hi Dave,

      Is your kitchen very warm? It sounds like your dough may be over-proofing before it is baked. If your kitchen is very warm you can reduce the resting time by 15-30 minutes. Over-proofing results in exactly what you have described, the yeast doing all its rise before it hits the oven and therefore no oven spring.

      This also happens at high altitudes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  41. Hello. Thank you SO much for these books. I have always wanted to successfully bake bread and have never been able to master it. Thanks to your books, my very first loaf was perfect!
    My husband has requested “farmer’s bread”. What he is wanting is a white bread with a thick crust and sizable holes in the bread. The inside of the bread is rather soft. Since I am not extremely knowledgeable about bread yet, I didn’t know if any of your recipes would produce what he is looking for. Thank you for your time!
    Anna Kate Donovan

    1. Hi Anna,

      Thank you for trying the bread, we are thrilled that you are baking! Because our dough is quite wet the interior crumb tends to be a bit denser than the loaf he is describing. You can get pretty close to it by allowing the dough to rest a bit longer before baking. If you do not make a tall loaf, but a flatter one it will have more holes.

      Here is a post on baking the boule and you can see that I have more hole structure to it, but it may not be quite as much as he is referring to? http://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1616

      Thanks, Zoë

  42. Thanks so much. I realized that I made the recipe from the healthy bread in five book and didn’t notice that the recipe in the artisan book calls for white flour only – not wheat. I’ll try that and let you know. Again thank you for these books!!!!!

  43. I made up a 1.5 lb loaf of the whole wheat master recipe from book #2 and put it in a 425 degree convection oven. It browned too quickly and had a runny/raw center. I did turn the oven down in the middle. Is it the convection over-browning or something else that lead to underbaking? I’m especially curious considering your recommendation to put the oven at 475 degrees. I’ve had so much more success with flatbreads- pizzas and cinnamon rolls. I can’t seem to master a loaf!
    Thanks Much!!!

    1. Angela: Please check with an oven thermometer like http://bit.ly/czmco2 — I’m guessing your oven runs too hot. In any case, turn down the temp 25 degrees F for convection (once you know how things are running. If that’s not it… check back and we’ll figure it out with you.

  44. Hello Zoe and Jeff! Thank you for your help last week. You guys are awesome – you have inspired me! I made bread 3 times last week – my neighbors think I’m awesome! 🙂 I have another question for you…I have often made cinnamon rolls with lackluster results. The problem is that I want them for breakfast without getting up at 4:30 on a Saturday morning. Is that asking too much? I truly believe that the rolls are better if baked just before eating rather than reheated. Any suggestions – can I assemble the night before and then refrigerate without compromising the rise? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    1. Hi Anna Kate,

      Yes, you can set them up the night before, cover them with plastic wrap, refrigerate and then bake them in the morning. In the morning just take them out of the refrigerator and allow them to sit on the counter as you preheat the oven. Once the oven is preheated bake them as directed in the book.

      Enjoy the fresh sticky buns and a little extra sleep! 😉


  45. Baking time – I am using a Wolf oven with the baking stone. The stove instructions say to place the stone on the lowest rack. Your instructions indicate the middle rack should be used. Also, the stove instructions say the bread should cook at 400, not 450, for 15 to 20 minutes. I cooked my last loaf at 400 for over 30 minutes and it didn’t cook through. I am cooking at 5400 feet. Do you have any posts from others using the Wolf or having problems with the loaf cooking through?

    1. Anne: Please click above on our FAQs tab and then click again on the the “Underbaked,” and also the “High-altitude…” questions. We find that larger ovens have a tougher time doing bread, in part because they don’t trap steam well and therefore don’t produce a great crust. But that’s not the problem you’re describing. If you check the oven temp and that’s not the problem, try baking in a closed/covered vessel as in these posts:

      Baking in a Dutch Oven: http://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=552
      Aluminum Roasting Pan for Crust: http://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=510
      Cloche baking: http://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=566

      Also– doubt the shelf is crucial but could consider doing it the way the manufacturer wants.

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