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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698 thoughts on “Q&A Dense or Gummy Crumb

  1. I love your book, Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day! I make alot of bread and have started using an 18 quart tub. I find room temperature dough easier to shape into baquettes and wanted to know if I could allow the refrigerated dough to come to room temperature in the bucket before I shape my loaves? Would this compromise the bread at all? I also have started using your olive oil dough to make stuffed bread. My favorite is goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and rosemary. Thanks so much!!

    1. Kristi: Won’t it be easier to let a small portion come to room temp? The only compromise if you do this with the whole batch will be that the dough may get over-mature too quickly. Jeff

      1. I have tried the Olive Oil & Garlic dough, Toasted Millet & Fruit, and the Herbed Potato dough and ALL of them were not ‘doughy’. Your photos show dough that stretches when a portion is removed for baking (requiring one to cut the portion)….mine just breaks off in clumps. None of them have risen well prior to baking and boy are they heavy. What am I doing wrong? I am using my own milled flours. I love your books and so want to serve my family your wonderful bread recipes! Thanks in advance!

      2. Hi Teresa,

        The issue is the home-milled flour. It tends to be coarser than commercially milled flours, so the gluten strength is not as strong. Many people have found that adding a few more tablespoons of vital wheat gluten solves the issues. This may dry out your dough too much, so add a bit more water as well.

        Thanks, Zoë

  2. Is it possible to cut the master recipe in half?. It’s only me and my wife and she doesn’t eat to much bread.

  3. Hello! I am using Healthy Bread in 5. I am so, so eager for this method to work for me, but so far my loaves have turned out very small, with dense crumb. Here’s what’s happened:

    I first tried the master recipe with generic bleached flour (arrrgh, on accident!), King Arthur Whole Wheat, and active dry yeast.

    Then, I tried it with all King Arthur Flour, and active dry yeast.

    Then, I tried it with King Arthur WW, King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, and instant yeast.

    All yielded the exact same result: dough that rises the first time around, but once I put it on the pizza peel or in a loaf pan, it barely rises at all. When I bake it, it tastes wonderful and the crust is perfect, but the holes are small and dense and there is absolutely no oven spring that I can notice. I have tried baking the each batch of dough using both the refrigerator rise method and the normal method.

    Other factors that may matter:

    +At first I realized that I wasn’t compensating for the King Arthur flours like it says to in the book, by adding more water, but would that cause the dough to not really rise at all? I did work in a little more water to this last batch.

    +My apartment is at around 75 degrees.

    +I store the dough in a mixing bowl covered with plastic wrap.

    +I stir the dough with a wooden spoon as I don’t have a food processor or stand mixer. I do this just until the flour is incorporated. I mix with my hands just barely enough to make sure there aren’t any dry spots, but maybe I still handle it too much?

    +I have tried the rising times listed in the book, as well as rising times that are a little longer to hours longer.

    +Like I said– my oven is the right temperature and the loaves are perfectly baked, with no raw spots, and a wonderful crust.

    Thank you so much in advance for your help! A friend of mine has had so much success baking her own bread every day, and I can’t wait to be able to do the same.


    1. Suzy:
      — First off, stored dough rises less than non-stored dough, and you may prefer your results with shorter storage times, freezing the remainder.
      — Whole grain stored dough rises less than white stored dough; have you tried our other book and its recipes, like https://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1616
      — Definitely re-try making the adjustment– a slacker dough offers less resistance to the expanding gas bubbles and might make all the difference.
      — Temp of your home is fine, but check your oven temp with something like http://bit.ly/czmco2; if your oven temp is low you won’t get any oven spring. I was a little confused by your note, as to whether you’ve checked oven temp as well as room temp.
      — Don’t think your mixing method is the problem.
      — you may be getting sideways spread instead of rise, but the dough still has bubbles and is expanding. Trick is to get it to expand upwards rather than outwards. Once we optimize your dough, could try small loaf pans, which contain sideways spread. Jeff

      1. On other thing, make sure that the KAF white-flour product isn’t their bread flour, that requires an even bigger adjustment. Jeff

  4. I have an oven thermometer just like that, and my oven temperature is pretty dead on, thank goodness!

    I’m not getting sideways spread at all with the Master Recipe, and when I use the Hearty Whole Wheat sandwich recipe I’m not getting any rise in the loaf pan whether the dough has been freshly made or if it’s been in the fridge for a couple of days.

    When I do the master recipe, I am now using the King Arthur bread flour, so I’m very glad you mentioned that. Should I add even more water than the 1/4 cup you suggest in the book? Should I adjust the vital gluten?

    Thank you so much for your hasty responses! I will definitely retry everything with the proper adjustments for the King Arthur flour, and in the meantime, the dough I have now that won’t rise makes for a wonderful pizza crust!

    1. Hi Suzy,

      You may need to add a bit more water, KAF bread flour is very high protein. You can also try letting it rest much longer before baking.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. Hello, I’m fourteen and is an extreme rookie in cooking/ baking. But lately i’ve been iterated in those departments along with Health.
    Anyways I tried the brioche recipe today at around 8:00 in SF. Although I halfed it, I mixed everything exactly as printed in the ABin5. And allowed it to sit at 10:00am.
    After 2 hours, I checked the dough- it rose, but didn’t die down. So I thought that a bit more time would do it.
    Now it’s 7:00pm, but it’s still not dropping, it plumped up even higher.
    Just wondering but does the dropping actually matter? Does it have to?
    I’m scared. Eeep!

    1. It often appears not to collapse– this doesn’t matter much. Once it’s risen, you can refrigerate– hope you did that! In general the dough is pretty forgiving, you can get away with a lot…

  6. My breads always spread out when they are resting and they don’t rise up while baking. I have tried all your suggestions: less liquid (they also seem too moist inside when done), fresh flour, more flour dusted on. What can I do? The bread is good other than this real problem-bread comes out too flat.

    1. Hi Dalbir,

      Which recipe are you making, from which book? What kind of flour are you using? Are you using the scoop and sweep method to measure?

      Let us know and we will try to figure out what the issue may be! Thanks, Zoë

  7. I solved my density problem by modifying the Master Recipe on page 53 of Healthy Bread in Five like so: 2 tablespoons of yeast, a very heaping 1/4 cup of vital wheat gluten, and 3/4 extra cup of water because I was using King Arthur Flour. Worked very well! I’m switching between whtie and wheat bread now and just loving every loaf I make.

    Question: I made the soft honey whole wheat bread and it just nearly exploded out of the pan, it was rising so quickly! Do the eggs and honey make it do that?

  8. I am using ABin5, primarily the European Peasant bread recipe. I have a connection toaster oven and see on Amazon that there are little baking stones available for it and wondered if I could use this to bake rolls and small loaves from your recipes. I live by myself and don’t usually need a big loaf.

    1. Hi CatK,

      Yes, we’ve heard from other readers that they work really well. You may have to experiment with baking times, but I think you will be pleased. Some people bake with a small metal cup of water, and others just leave out the steam altogether.

      Thanks and let us know how it works for you, Zoë

  9. I bought both books. I tried the basic recipe and followed your steps. The dough rose nicely in 2 hours. However, after putting the dough in the refrigerater for two days, it collapsed and became mushy in texture. The bread we baked from it turned out no good. What went wrong?

    1. Wendy: Questions:

      1. Which recipe are you working from (which book and page number)?
      2. What do you mean by “no good?” Too dense? Flavor off? Did you work through the suggestions on our “FAQs” tab (click above)?

      It’s normal for our dough to collapse and not rise again in the bucket. I’m guessing you’ll appreciate a longer resting time, which you can read about on the “Dense Crumb” FAQ. Jeff

  10. Hi, I’m working from ABI5, 1st ed. Have made the Challah dough (p.180) more times than I can remember, but every time it turns out more like the texture of the boule (which I love, but I would prefer the tear-apart texture that I’ve seen in so many pictures) – tiny holes, dense and hard. Still flavorful, but not pleasant to eat 😛 In New Zealand the protein %s are not listed on flours so I’m not sure if it’s my flour – I’ve tried adding gluten and also not and that’s done nothing. My theory is that my dough is too moist – in the recipe it says “you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.” Does this mean this dough should be a bit drier than the boule and much stiffer by the end of mixing? Are we mixing to develop the gluten for the challah & brioche doughs, or just mixing to incorporate everything evenly? I’ve made other brioche recipes with the tear-apart texture and they were drier and required lots of kneading/mixing, but just wanted to know if either of these factors would influence this bread. I did mix a lot more than needed but it still came out with tiny holes, so I’m thinking it must be the dough is just too moist.

    1. Hi Zo,

      To achieve the result you are talking about, you may need to work the dough a little to develop the gluten. Just knead it for a minute or so and this will create a bread that has a bit more pull to it. Perhaps not as much as a traditional recipe, but more than you are getting now. The down side of kneading the dough, is that you will then need to let it rest longer before baking. This can be about 30 to 40 minutes longer.

      Try this and let us know if you are getting more pull from your bread.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Made the challah again, this time using metric measures but not kneading, and it did come out a bit better. Will try kneading for the next batch. Should I knead when mixing or knead when shaping?

    1. Hi Zo,

      You can mix it a little longer when making the dough, but I meant when you are shaping the loaf. Be sure to let it rise a bit longer to counter the kneading.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. I tried kneading it using Richard Bertinet’s sweetdough method after the first rise, then let it proof again to let the gluten relax. It was much softer, although it still didn’t really look like Jaden’s amazing loaf from Steamy Kitchen or the picture in the book. I’m still thinking my dough is a bit too wet, as the braids stick together much more than in the picture and the edges are very square where it meets the tray. Will keep experimenting and post here when I finally get success! Cheers for you help so far Zoë. You’re both really wonderful for answering questions so quickly (and at all)! Your book is literally the best 😀

    1. Hi Zo,

      Yes, it does sound like maybe your dough is too wet. Try it again with a touch less water and see if that helps.

      Thanks for sticking with it! Cheers, Zoë

  13. Hi Zoe & Jeff,

    First, let me thank you for an excellent book (Healthy Bread in 5). A while ago I stumbled upon the Bittman No Knead Bread recipe and was successful until I tried adapting it to incorporate more whole grains. Your book has not only solved that issue, but also given me a whole realm of new breads to try (the book and equipment I ordered from Amazon came just in time and your Challahs were a smash hit for our holiday dinner – did one with raisins and craisins and one with dates and craisins).

    I do have one small problem and a question. I have been baking the sandwich loaf using the instructions in your Sept 12th “article”. I use the master recipe (KAF White Whole Wheat, KAF All Purpose, Red Star Yeast, Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten), weighing all the dry ingredients. Rise in the container is perfect, and the loaf does rise somewhat in the loaf pan (I use the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 USA Pan). Oven temp is “spot on” as measured with an oven thermometer (I preheat for at least 20 minutes). Center of the loaf comes out pretty dense and slightly gummy. Last time I used an instant read thermometer and found the temp to be about 195 F when I took the bread out). I read in another post a reference to liquid adjustment for KAF flour in the book, but I have looked everywhere and can only see reference to that for bleached or bread flours. Any ideas on how to get a better loaf?

    Changing the topic slightly, I leave my pizza stone (Old Stone Oven 14 x 16) on the floor of my oven (it is a gas oven, 4.65 cu ft). Do I have to move the stone to the middle of the oven when baking bread or can I get good results where it is?

    Sorry this post is so long, but as an old scientist I wanted to give you all the info possible.


    1. Stuart: Try going to 205 degrees and see what you think, I bet that will do it.

      I usually move the stone to the middle for loaves but I’m not certain it’s absolutely necessary.

      1. Jeff,

        Thanks for the quick reply. I’ll try 205 F and see it that works.

        Is there any liquid adjustment needed using the KAF White Whole Wheat and All Purpose unbleached flours?


      2. Stuart: In general, every 6.5 cups of KAF AP needs an extra quarter-cup of water, but I was hesitant because you said things were too wet. Match the dough to what you see in our videos…

  14. My first raise looks good after two hours. My second raise doesn’t seem to work as well. In the picture, you can see the result after 1 hour. When I go to bake, I don’t get the nice sandwich size slice that I want for sandwiches. I use 2 lbs of dough per your one post on here about sandwich size bread. I am using King Author Unbleached Flour and Red Star yeast that is about a month or so old. https://plus.google.com/photos/117089480611804634888/albums/5675819959187556961 What is confusing to me is that I used to have decent success and now I am not.

    1. Mike: Are you increasing the water for King Arthur as on our post on that? See FAQs, the one about adjusting for different flours. Jeff

      1. I did that tonight… it flopped on me. I didn’t realize that I needed to add another 1/3 cup of water. Think I’ll switch back to Gold Medal Organic flour. I had good results with that and I need flour without malt in it.

  15. I fell asleep and had my bread rising for seven hours. Do you think it’ll be ok? What is the maximum rise time?

  16. Thanks for an amazing book, i just got it for my birthday and have been using it ever since. unhappily the results have not been great…I get a dense crumb with very little rise.
    I am working with the healthy breads book, trying to make the whole wheat sandwhich bread. I followed the instructions to the letter, including the troubleshooting tips such as having it rise in the fridge during the day already shaped etc.
    I am using local, organic whole wheat flour, not king arthur, and regular, granulated yeast, following the recipe as laid out in the book.
    I live in Canada, and since I have started trying to make this bread we have had a cold snap…down to minus 30 or so…our house is heated but I wonder if the overall chill in the air could effect the rise. According to my oven thermometer i have the correct temperature there…but perhaps my kitchen is too cold?
    The other thing i wonder about is whether it is either the flour…it is very dense and coarse…or the yeast…it is new, but perhaps different from American granulated yeast?

    I am so keen to replace our supermarket bread with yours…and i love the system you have developed. Any advice at all would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Angela,

      I suspect that it is the flour. If it is a local product, it is probably a coarser grind, which doesn’t develop the same gluten strength in the dough. Is your dough coming out wetter than we show in our videos? If so, you can add a bit more vital wheat gluten, which will create more structure in your dough, allowing it to rise better. If your dough is not wetter, than you can add more vital wheat gluten and a touch more water to the dough. In either case you need to adjust for the coarse flour. Start by adding an additional 2 or 3 tablespoons to the batch of dough.

      Thanks and let us know if this fixes the issues.


      1. Thanks so much Zoe, what a great source of help and information you and Jeff are. My dough is actually a bit on the dry side compared to the dough in your video, so I will try adding more vital wheat gluten and water. A few tablespoons of each? Happy New Year. Angela

      2. Angela: If your dough’s dry, you need more water– not necessarily more VWG, which absorbs a lot of water and will counter the extra water you add. JEff

  17. I have been playing with more and more water..now up to little less than half a cup extra per batch of master recipe….each batch has been better than the last. My family devours it…and the perfectionist in me is just waiting for the perfect water measurement to produce the picture perfect loaf. Thanks so much for your time. Angela

  18. Angela: Just remembered, you are in Canada, where the flour has a little more protein– that means it takes up a little more water, so suddenly this story really makes sense… Jeff

  19. I forgot to add the melted butter and did it 30 minutes into the rise. Brioche bread, artisan bread in 5 minutes , page 189. Will it still work? I could not get the butter to incorporate fully. I halved the original recipe since it was the first time I was trying the recipe.

    1. Hi Maggie,

      It is often easier to incorporate ingredients into the dough with a mixer once it has developed some stretch to it. I have often had to add forgotten ingredients, so I know it will work! 😉


  20. I’m using the master receipe from Healthy in 5 and my crumb keeps coming out ‘gummy.’ I’ve tried to make sure I’m using the correct scoop and sweep method. I’m using KA whole wheat floor – but not adding more water because I thought it was gummy because it’s too wet? The last time I tried, I took the temperature of the bread to make sure I wasn’t taking it out of the oven too soon. Do you think it’s still just too wet? Is that what causes it to be gummy?

  21. In your book ‘Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day’ you say twenty minutes before baking preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Then, after a twenty minute preheat you’re ready to bake even though your oven thermometer won’t yet be up to full temperature.

    Obviously then, the bread goes into the oven before it reaches 450 degrees. As some ovens preheat faster (or slower) than others isn’t there a preferred temperature you would recommend rather than the more vague ‘twenty minutes before baking’

    1. Mike: It’s as you say– if you’re finding that you don’t get the browning or crisping you want, let the preheat go longer: 30, 45, or even 60 min in some ovens (prob won’t need 60 min). The ideal would be full-temp, but most of our readers don’t want to wait and will sacrifice a little crust result for the time.

  22. I just pulled my 1st loaf from the oven made from my 2nd batch of ABI5 ‘master recipe’ dough.

    My ongoing problem is, I’m not getting very little initial (resting) rise, if any, and hardly any oven spring at all. I’m pretty sure I’m not over-handling it, never taking over maybe a minute when forming the cloak.

    The consistency of my dough compares favorably to the dough in your videos. So the dough doesn’t spread much on my sheet pan (after a rise of 40-60 minutes) but my boules turn out only slightly ‘tan’ and maybe a maximum of 3 inches high after baking. More like a round Ciabatta than a true ‘boule’.

    Here is the puzzle: this last ‘boule’ I just now pulled from the oven has a nice crispy crust, the crumb has lots of nice airy holes and is incredibly tender. Only it’s about 3″ high and only very slightly browned after 35-40 minutes in the oven.

    In other words, it is *perfect* aside from having very little oven spring.

    I’m using Fermipan instant yeast (red bag), Gold Metal AP flour, Diamond Brand Kosher salt and bottled water. I get a nice initial rise (at least double) in the bucket.

    I know what you are probably thinking but I measure my oven temp to 450 with a thermometer. That would have been my first thought too.

    I’ve read everything on your site that might relate to not getting a nice rise.

    Any ideas?

    1. Hi Mike,

      Are you using a baking stone? If so, how long are you letting it preheat before baking?

      Everything else sounds right, but somehow you are not getting the intense heat that causes oven spring and coloring on the crust.

      What kind of oven do you have? Is it gas? Is it a Wolf or Viking?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. “Is it a Wolf or Viking?”

        Only in my dreams 🙂 My stove/oven is a small gas (propane) Force 10 on my sailboat.

        Unfortunately my oven is too small for a stone (12″ X 17″). I use an aluminum 1/4 sheet pan for the bread and an aluminum pie pan for the steam.

        I too think it sounds like I’m not getting the intense initial heat needed although I preheat my oven to 450 as measured by my ‘standalone’ Taylor oven thermometer.

        I’m going to try a few things:
        1) Get a new oven thermometer
        2) Allow the oven to pre-heat a while longer 3) Try using a (pre-heated) cast iron skillet

      2. Hi Mike,

        Oh wow, how cool to be baking the bread on a boat! I fear the issue is the gas oven. We have heard from many readers that their crust is lackluster when baked in their gas ovens, and I have had this experience when I have used them. One thing you can try is baking the bread in a closed pot. Do you have a small Dutch oven? Here is a post about using one to bake: https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2009/03/11/baking-bread-in-a-dutch-oven

        Thanks, Zoë

      3. That is very interesting about gas ovens. I had no idea. One would think that 450 deg is 450 deg whether gas or electric.

        No cast iron dutch oven here either (yet). Plus, parchment paper is non-existent here in Guatemala. I’m going try your inverted aluminum roasting pan approach, see if that helps.

  23. I just made my first loaf of boule from the recipe in AB in 5. MY loaf is crispy on the outside w/ good color. The inside right under the crust is great, but the center is gummy. The loaf is about 4″ high and 5″ in diameter:( What did I do wrong? The dough in the fridge is gorgeous; there was very little rise during the rest period prior to baking (45 minutes). I am using Gold Medal AP flour and packet yeast. Both are fresh.

    1. Hi Deb,

      Are you using an oven thermometer? Often times ovens are not true to what they say on the dial. Are you using a baking stone? How thick is it and how long did you let it preheat?

      Are we suggest in this post, you may just need to let the dough rest longer, about an hour.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks for your speedy response. My oven tends to run hot by 25 degrees, so I set the dial for 425 rather than 450. The oven had not come to full temp after the 20 min. preheat, and, once I poured in the hot water, I didn’t want to open the oven to check the temp because I didn’t want to lose the steam. I have a stone; it’s 1/4″ thick and 12″ in diameter. I preheated the stone for the 20 mins. the oven was preheating. The stove is an old Chambers gas stove with a small oven. I will try resting the dough for a full hour and making sure the oven is completely preheated to 450 before I start the baking next time. Thanks again for the info.

    1. Thanks, Jeff. Will do. Also, our kitchen is far from the wood stove, so it stays around 58-60 degrees on most winter days even w/ the oven on. I should probably put the resting bread over the pilot on top of the gas stove or maybe cover it. That might make a difference as well.


      1. Deb: 58 to 60? Bet that’s your problem right there. Might need a very long rest at that temp.

      2. Hi Zoe and Jeff,
        Today’s loaf did somewhat better in terms of rise, though not as much as I’d hoped. I placed the dough on the stovetop, covered it w/ a towel, and checked the temp using a laser gadget. The temp was between 68-71 on the stovetop. The bread rested for 65 mins, and the oven was a solid 450 before I put the dough into the oven. I baked the bread for 35 mins. The internal temp was 200 when I took it out of the oven. It cooled for an hour. Then I cut off a slice and tasted it. Yum! This bread is very flavorful. The texture was good inside and out (except the bottom was soft). But…the height is only 4″ and the diameter is only 6″. I can’t tell the size of your loaves in the picture on page 30 because there’s nothing to compare them to, but I suspect they’re larger than mine! Any more ideas for me?

      3. Hi Deb,

        Try letting the stone preheat longer, for up to 40 minutes before placing the bread on it. This will improve the oven spring and the bottom crust.

        Thanks, Zoë

      4. If your kitchen is cool when the dough is resting before you bake it and you go for a longer rest time, how will you know it has rested enough?

      5. Hi WG,

        Your dough will no longer feel cold and tight. When the yeast has done its work, air bubbles will develop that make the dough a bit lighter, and it will move like set jell-o when you move it. It will rise slightly, but that is not a good indication of the readiness.

        Thanks, Zoë

  24. Hi Guys,
    I’ve had your books for a while (artisan bread in 5 minutes a day) and have made the cinnamon scrolls many times successfully from it! I’m now (going backwards!) and trying to master the master recipe for our ‘regular’ bread needs. I’ve made this three times now and have the same problem each time, lovely dough, good inital rise, great colour and crust in the oven but no further rise (oven spring). It doesn’t matter how long I leave it for the second rise – I get perfectly cooked, brown, crusty, tiny loaves! I use a pizza stone to cook it on and have a fan forced oven (I have adjusted the temp in your book 450F=230C – 20C for fan forced so 210C for baking).
    I’ve tried different yeasts, different flours and get exactly the same perfect mini loaves from each batch! Any ideas??

    1. Kat: Have you been through the “Dense Crumb…” post under the FAQs tab above? That’s assuming you’re actually getting a dense loaf. Are you? If not, it’s just spreading sideways, and you can try doing it in an closed vessel (see Baking in a Dutch Oven: https://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=552).

      If the loaves are just small, well– our basic recipe is small. Just use more dough. Also, try it without the fan– may be setting the crust before it has a chance to do oven-spring.

  25. I apologise for posting yet another question, but I’m not sure the others will solve my issues. I’ve been using 5MB (ISBN 978-0091938949, the one with an illustration rather than a photograph on the cover) for months now and have made nothing but flatbread! I use the Master Recipe and measure flour by weight using a digital taring scale. The flour available commonly here is either “plain” (which is the one I use) or “self-rising.” I have no idea of the protein content, or even whether it is bleached! My dough is very wet, I don’t need to knead by hand at all to ensure there are no dry patches, I can easily stir until the consistency is even. I have tried adding an extra 35g of flour (forgetting that I had halved the recipe) but this made no difference. “No difference to what?” I hear you ask. I’m getting there, I’m just slow. I get a huge rise the first time – 3-4x original volume – putting the bowl in the airing cupboard because the temperature in the kitchen is not much higher than inside the refrigerator. I then refrigerate overnight and the next morning, grab half the mixture (remember this is a half-recipe, so it should make two loaves, right?), and immediately it’s much smaller than a grapefruit. Even though it doesn’t collapse in the bowl after the first rise, it deflates the moment I touch it! I only take a few seconds to gluten-cloak (I do not work it, I just spin it around and stretch the top layer of dough) but the portion is by this time about the size of my fist. Because if I just plop my fist-dough onto a tray, it will become pizza, I have been using a silicon small loaf pan. I have tried anywhere from 40 minutes resting to all day (in the window with a wet paper towel stretched across the top to prevent the surface from drying out. There is no rise during this time, only a bit of spreading out to fill the bottom of the pan (it is the length and width of the loaf pan and maybe an inch deep). I have checked the temmperature of the oven (I have used both the large fan oven and the smaller non-fan above) and have used a thermometer to ensure the right temperature. I also use steam. I put the loaf pan directly on the rack, I have no baking stone. There is absolutely no oven rise. None. The upper crust tends towards hard, but the bottom is soft and fully cooked and the inside is pretty soft but the texture of ciabatta.

    I have a feeling I’m going to need several corrections, from the amount of flour/water, to resting conditions, to adjustments for the silicon tray (as I said I tried shaping loaves but they spread sideways – baked them on a perforated metal pizza tray as again I have no stone). But I love bread and would appreciate any advice. I love the idea of having quick and easy dough sitting in the fridge rather than saving the pleasure of fresh bread for days off!

    Thank you for all your hard work.


    1. Zoe: Assuming you’re baking in the UK, I’m assuming you’re problem has nothing to do with altitude, but if you happen to be in the Alps, see our altitude FAQ (click above then go through the questions).

      I’m almost certain that your problem is too-wet dough, figuring out why is going to be challenging– probably the flour isn’t absorbing enough water. Our British editors assured us that the Master worked as written, with volumes for water, but I’m going to suggest that you weigh the water. Try this instead– weigh the water rather than measuring its ml or pint-volume.

      750 grams water with 1000 grams “Plain” flour (that’s known as 75% hydration (750/1000) to professional bakers); everything else stays the same. If that’s too wet– then your flour isn’t absorbing as much water as ours. Can decrease the water at that point (or increase the flour). With the Sainsbury Plain you may need to decrease the hydration to 70%, or even 65%. You’re going for a wet dough, but not so wet it won’t hold a shape. See our videos (tab above) for what it should look like. Let me know if you can’t find a video that addresses this.

      Some whole grain might help here… wouldn’t need to decrease the hydration so much.

      I’m posting this in two places on our website but you don’t have to, we’ll see your response from anywhere you post. Jeff

      1. Okay, I was so *flabbergasted* by the speedy response I rushed right into the kitchen to try your suggestion. Since this may require further tweaking, I quartered the original recipe, using 225g plain flour, 169g water, just a smidge over 1 tsp yeast and a sprinkling of salt. It’s in the airing cupboard now. At first it seemed significantly drier than previously, but when I got in with my hands (only because the yeast seemed to all be in one clump) it was quite wet and sticky. Will let you know how it is after the rise. But be warned, I don’t think I will be able to wait through an overnight refrigeration – unless you specifically advise it! I intend taking the dough straight out of the bowl, giving it a gluten cloak, letting it sit in the loaf pan for 90 minutes, then popping it in the preheated oven. Would you stop me right there? Should I refrigerate overnight straight from the airing cupboard? Should I shape it, pop it in the loaf pan, and then leave it overnight in the fridge?

        I have no doubt that with your generous personal attention I will soon be making bread even my husband will eat (“I’d eat it but it’s too crusty” he says). But for the record, other people have braved it and said the taste was lovely.

      2. Zoe– it’s easier to handle, and less sticky, when cold. Sounds like this is still too sticky though, if it remains so after chilling (following the rise), you can still work flour into it– but probably need to rest it again after that. About the refrigerator rise at https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2008/02/10/qa-dense-crumb , scroll down a bit to where we talk about the fridge.

        So, finish your experiment with 75%, then go 70%, etc if needed. At some point, it will be too dry to store well, and that is the challenge. Wet dough can store in the fridge and retain its rising ability for up to two weeks. Traditional dough (around 60 to 65%) does not. 2 or 3 days max for those.

        I think the Sainsbury Plain simply has less protein than the typical US flours labeled “all-purpose.”

      3. Re the 75% experiment: I was careful to use a spoon to scrape the dough from the bowl so that none of the air bubbles popped but it still did not fill the bottom of the small loaf pan. I took no more than 5 seconds to gluten cloak. It rose by maybe 50% in the fridge during the day, but it deflated with dust’n’slash. I reduced the oven temp by 25 degrees and used the fan oven. I baked for nearly 20 minutes, then popped it out of the tin to bake the bottom a bit more. Although the loaf is no larger than the last one, because of the reduced baking it is much softer and my husband actually ate a bit. But he is a toast fan. So next opportunity I will try 70% and see if the rise is improved. I’ll check back then. Thanks again for your help!

    Last night I made the Carrot Bread Recipe from healthy bread in five minutes a day- I doubled the recipe and the loaves turned out BEAUTIFULY- BUT when I tried them they tasted quite yeasty- with an awful after taste- like alchohol, I think I could have accidently added too muuch yeast(or something) – however the rise was perfect – its just the taste that was bad -is there a way to salvage the left over refridgerated bread dough? and maybe even the two loaves that are already baked like change them into something different- any ideahs? I hate waste, is there a way to avoid throwing it all away?

    1. ShonG: If you’re sensitive to the flavor of yeast, you’ll prefer the low-yeast versions of our recipes (see page 15-16). And ventilate your storage vessel a little more– a hole drilled in the plastic lid, or leave it open a crack for its whole storage life.

      Salvage– Use small portions of the dough you’re not liking as a “pate fermentee” (page 34) in newly-mixed low-yeast batches. About a cup of the old dough per batch should be OK, won’t transmit a strong flavor.

  27. Question: I am using HB5 Master Recipe and accidentally put the whole container of dough in the fridge instead of allowing the 2 hour room temperature rise. I’m not sure what to do now. Do I let it rise at room temp. for awhile or just bake as usual. I’ve seen comments that people can do this, but because it was in the fridge for the last 10 hours, I have no way of knowing if it ever actually rose completely and then fell.

    1. Correction: Sorry, meant to say that the bread has been in the fridge for about 22 hours. I put it in at 11 am yesterday and it is now 9 am.

      1. Kris: It probably rose just fine. Do you see hole-structure (assuming the container is transparent or semi-transparent? If I were u I’d just use it.

        Or let it sit at room temp for a couple hours…

      2. Yes I can see holes and bubbles on the side of the container. I decided to go for it. The shaped loaf is on the counter resting now. Fingers crossed!

      3. Hey there, I gave the bread a try as is and it came out perfect!! Thanks. Here is a pick of the loaf cooling. I didn’t do the seeds because I wanted to see what the master recipe tasted like plain first. I think I will make bagels next!


  28. Hello Jeff or Zoe

    Just a short question that I can not find having been ask – while you have all the dry ingredients out to make a new bread batch would it make sense to make 2 or 3 more total batches of all the dry ingredients at the same time?

    I have a Vacum Seal machine so I could make the size of plastic bag needed for each batch, seal and put in the backup freezer for a later date. If so what is your recommendations on where to store – pantry, refrigerator or freezer and what would be the shelf life.

    This way when you need another batch of dough just open the bag pour in water and mix – boomskie – just asking.


    1. Would work just fine, I do that when I travel with it. Flour’s pretty long-lived, but the freezer or fridge will extend it, so long as the container is really airtight. O/W will pick up odors.

  29. My loaves are very dense and heavy (but they taste good). Have made several from both books, most recently Chris Kimball’s on p. 78 of AB and 100% WW Plain and Simple (Traditional Honey Variation on p. 80) from HB. I use KA WWW flour and Costco organic AP flour. Have checked oven temp, and have also weighed ingredients instead of measuring. Average kitchen temp, new yeast. Dough usually rises well initially. After 8-12 hours in fridge, it rises very little in the pan (or pizza peel), even following instructions explicitly — oven spring is minimal as well. What could be the problem? Thanks.

  30. I’ve used ABin5 master recipe with success in the past, but seem to be hitting a wall in a new home, new oven, new fridge. I’ve checked out the FAQ and was wondering if the temp of my fridge might be a factor. It is usually pretty cold at 38 degrees Fahrenheit and sometimes the dough feels really stiff. Should I let the dough rest longer after shaping to compensate? How much longer? Or should I let it come to room temp before shaping?

    1. Diane: If it still feels cold and clammy, and doesn’t “jiggle” on the peel, consider a longer resting time. Which book do you have, can point you to areas in there.

      1. Thanks I’ll look out for that jiggle. I have the 2007 ABin5 and am making a master recipe loaf every day this week to get it down!

  31. Diane: Actually nothing else in that one to point you to. If all else fails, adjust the water so the consistency looks more like what you see in the videos.

    1. Update: I had a lot better oven spring and crumb when I set my dough bucket out for about 30 minutes and let the dough get less chilled before shaping it. I think it just was too close to freezing temps when I just pulled it out and shaped it straight out of the cold fridge. Straight out of the fridge it was more like ripping dough out than stretching it and cutting it. Then it would just spread during the rest and then barely spring. But when I let it come more towards room temp, it shaped better and baked better. It seemed that that was more effective than a longer rest because I shaped it after the dough became a bit more pliable. Just thought I’d let you know what seems to be working!

      Last question: do you think I could let the dough come closer to room temp like this for about 30 min, pull some off, and then put the bucket back in the fridge and still be able to store it as long? How warm can I let the dough get before the yeast wakes up and starts shortening the life of the remainder?

      You guys are great – I love how committed you are to helping us be successful with your method! This website inspired me to buy HBin5 too, and I can’t wait to start up on those breads once I master ABin5.

      1. Hi Diane,

        So glad you are having better results with the dough. I have a fridge that keeps things colder than average and I have to let the loaf rest a bit longer to compensate.

        I would pull the piece of dough out and let just that piece sit at room temperature, or you will run the risk of diminishing the life of the batch.

        Thanks, Zoë

  32. Hi there!

    I just started trying out your recipes. I’ve only made the carrot bread and the millet fruit bread so far, but both have had no oven spring and are quite dense. I have read through the website and am not quite sure what I should try to remedy this.

    I am using King Arthur WW and Gold Medal (unbleached) all purpose. I have an oven thermometer, which seems to be reading about right for the recipes. Both baked in less time than you called for, though, and were starting to burn on top. I accidentally added way too much water to the carrot bread, so that may have been part of the problem there, but I made sure to follow the recipe just as written for the millet fruit bread. I formed the loaf for the millet fruit bread, let it rise in the refrigerator for 10 hrs, and then let it rest for 45 min at a normal room temp before baking (on a cookie sheet). The dough consistency seemed good. I wouldn’t describe the millet fruit bread as gummy, just dense and small.

    I am concerned that maybe the crappy oven in my apartment has an ok temperature, but the top element is too hot. Do my burnt crust and no oven spring sound consistent with that? Or does it sound like something else? More gluten? More or less water?

    I’m so excited to get your recipes working! Thanks!

    1. Sami: First thing I thought of was “bad oven,” but more garden-variety prob. Have you checked the temp with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU ? Or it could be uneven-ness, as you suggest.

      But millet is a little unpredictable, different products etc. Might need to adjust water. But my real advice is to try the simpler recipes first, get comfortable w/your oven, etc. How about the Master Recipe from that book as a first step?

      1. Yep, my oven thermometer is that general type.

        Fiddled with the setting on my oven (old one where the markings by the knob don’t seem to match the stops when you turn it) and found one that seemed to make sure the bottom element was at least as hot as the top. No burned top. Yay!

        Made the master recipe from HBin5. Better density and really yummy, but still not a whole lot of oven spring and smallish holes. Improved crumb over my earlier attempts, though. Oven was definitely at 450 when I put it in. Maybe a bit more gluten? Or a slight water adjustment?

        Thanks for your help!

      2. Sami: Could try slightly less water, see if holes bigger. They’ll open up as the dough ages, by the way.

        Not sure what the breaking-off dough signifies. If anything maybe a bit dry-ish dough, but I doubt you’ll like it with more water (anything’s worth an experiment though)

      3. Oh, and maybe a helpful note: When I pulled the dough piece out of the bowl, it broke off from the rest of the dough more than pulled off. I had to pull off a couple more bits to get enough. Maybe that relates?

      4. Thought I’d send you an update. I made the light whole wheat and chocolate breads from ABin5 and the red wine and cheese bread from HBin5 when I was at my mom’s near sea level in TX over Christmas. They all worked great (and I had a pizza stone there). I figured my problem at 2000′ in AZ was either my oven, or maybe the altitude, though it is not that high at all. I got a stone, but still no luck. Today I made a half batch of the rosemary flax bread, substituting KA bread flour for the all purpose, adding 2 T of water, and making sure not to let it sit too long on the final rise. Success! The bread had wonderful oven spring!! I guess it just needed a little extra structure that the bread flour provided. Thanks for your help!

      5. Hi Sami,

        Thank you so much for the update, very interesting indeed. Really glad it worked out.

        Cheers, Zoë

  33. Hi,

    First – love your ABin5 book Jeff & Zoe 🙂

    We love brioche and ran across your ABin5 book while searching for recipes. Bought it and have since made a couple of batches. Not quite there yet. First batch we had the quantities incorrect (see below) and second batch “rose” more horizontally rather than vertically.

    We’re having some issues converting from US to AU measurements. Should we be treating the measurements as a ratio of 1:1 e.g. 1 cup US == 1 cup AU, or should we be converting?

    Also, just found out we were using “ultra white flour”, so guessing this is bleached. Is there a way to make it the same protein content as unbleached flour?

    Thank you.

    1. Fred: not sure how Australian cup-measures compare with US. Have you googled-searched this question? Alternative– do it by weight, 1000 grams of flour and 750 grams of water. Can’t miss if the protein content is comparable to ours.

      Which brings us to your 2nd question. If you’re finding the dough consistently too wet. just increase the flour very slightly. If the flour isn’t labeled as “bleached,” I bet it is not. See our videos youtube.com/breadin5 to be sure you’re “gluten-cloaking” properly.

      1. Jeff,

        Many thanks for the quick reply.

        I have researched the difference and the consensus appears to be as follows (in ml):
        1 cup -> US = 236.59 | AU = 250
        1 tablespoon -> US = 14.79 | AU = 20
        1 teaspoon -> US = 4.93 | AU = 5

        So there looks to be quite big differences between the cup and tablespoon sizes. So I think by weight may be a better method. I see in the other FAQ 1 cup of flour = 5oz, so that’s workable however I haven’t spotted the weight equivalent for tablespoons and teaspoons?

        I’ve also got comments that the baked brioche didn’t have as much elasticity to it as what’s usually seen. Is this an issue with the measurements, or more likely the gluten in the flour?

      2. Fred: We don’t have equivalents for the spoons, but you could work it out, since 1 US cup has 16 US tablespoons. And 3 teaspoons per tablespoon (again, US).

        Brioche: that is a highly kneaded dough in the traditional world, and if you like, you can do a little kneading– that’s what they’re missing. Extend the resting time slightly if you do that since you’re knocking some gas out of the dough.

  34. My doughs (especially the lean ones) tend to stick to the sides of the container, so when I pull some off to make a loaf, plenty of the air gets knocked out by the stretching that occurs. Is there a reason that I shouldn’t oil the sides of the container to avoid this?

  35. Hi again, guys!

    So I have both your bread books, and everything has always worked perfectly. lately, i have given the ciabatta a shot. it only turned out properly the first time- i had formed it right after rising, with no fridge time. it was super difficult to form, but came out gorgeous. this past boule i used, i couldn’t make it come out ciabatta! this time i refrigerated it. it just ends up being wonderful white bread. i flatten it to about an inch high, use water on my fingers… should i try NOT forming it into a ball first? somehow the holes are escaping inside the dough. the first round, the bread broke open in the oven. the next round, just white bread was turned out! please connect me to a link if you’ve previously spoken about what to do! also, the dough didnt rise too much on the last rise…?

    1. Hi Ker,

      You can certainly try shaping the loaf, without baking it into a boule first, this means less handling, which makes for larger holes. You may also want to let the loaf rest longer before baking. If your dough is particularly cold, it may take as much as double the resting time. Be sure the dough is thin enough when you stretch it, so the holes can form well.

      We have not done a post on this yet, but it is a great idea!

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Ker,

        I hope you understood that I meant to say “…without shaping it into a boule first…”

        Thanks! Zoë

  36. @zoe, i actually read it the way it was SUPPOSED to be written, and not the way it WAS written! 😉

    thanks again,

  37. Hi. Really love your ABin5 book. Have tried several recipes but seem to continually have two continual problems. (1) the slashes in the dough fill in right away. not matter how deep I cut, (2) not many air holes. I weighed the flour (Gold Medal All Purpose) the first couple of times I made bread, but I think perhaps it was far too wet as the dough couldn’t hold its shape. Now I scoop and top off and have added an extra 1/8-1/4 cup of flour. That is helping re retaining more structure, but the slashes still fill in immediately after cutting. Any idea how I can fix this? Love the Semolina bread most so far. Hubby has made pizza – the best ever. Thanks so much for creating these books. Giving the links and copies of the books to friends and family alike 🙂

  38. I love making the recipes in both of the books and have experimented with many. Unfortunately, I consistently find the bread made with dough stored any longer than about 48 hours to be inedible. The first loaf, usually made within 24 hours of mixing, is great. It is subsequent loaves that are strange. They sometimes rise nicely but sometimes don’t rise much at all. But they always come out too dense and almost wet in the middle It tastes almost bitter and is not pleasant at all. This issue results in me not wanting to ever store dough, which kind of defeats the whole purpose! Any tricks or suggestions?

    1. LeAnn: You could freeze the dough in 1-pound portions… but before that, have you checked your oven temp with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU ? Sounds like you’re not getting oven spring in a too-cool oven. In any case, try a low-yeast version, our instructions at https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2007/12/19/low-yeast-version-of-our-master-recipe

      … because you’re not enjoying the taste of sourdough, which is more pronounced in the high-yeast versions.

      Also, try a longer rest for a more open crumb, 60 or even 90 min. See https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2008/02/10/qa-dense-crumb

      1. I meant to include all that in my original post. I am only using 1 tbs of yeast for the full recipe and allowing the wheat loaves to rise for 2 hours or so before baking because the house has been on the cool side lately. They rise nicely most of the time, not spreading sideways.

      2. You can decrease the yeast further, to half that or less (the initial rise will be much longer). You may prefer that flavor, but alas, it probably won’t help your perception that late-batch loaves are too dense. I’m assuming you are using the kind of flours we recommend, and not making any other swaps.

        Could consider vital wheat gluten (VWG) for more structured loaves– see our FAQ entitled: Whole grain flours and vital wheat gluten: How do you use them?
        … and consider using VWG even for white doughs, with adjustments in water (increased).

  39. I made two kinds of bread today, one a tried recipe (a variation of Bradley Benn), and one a new recipe that would be along the lines of European Peasant loaf. They both seemed a little dry upon mixing, so I added splashes of water a tablespoon or two at a time until it looked right in the mixing bowl. I also got a new proofer, a boon to have in a kitchen that is currently running 60 degrees or so in the morning! It was the first run on the proofer, and with the proofer at about 80-85 degrees and 100% humidity, the loaves got nicely big–bigger than usual in diameter. I liked that a lot! But then, I did not get much oven spring, they were kind of flat. I am not sure if it was adding water to the mix, humidity in the proofer too high, or too long in the proofer (it was about 30 min on the one, and 45 on the Beer Bread). It is a lot of variables to run down. Just wondered your thoughts, so I can try to figure out where to start.

    THanks for any advice! Love the website, it’s kept me busy most of the day.

    1. Hi Beth,

      This most likely has more to do with the proofing than the extra water. Was the dough chilled before you used it or did you shape it right after the initial rise?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Beth,

        It sounds like the bread may have over-proofed, which means that it won’t have any energy left to create oven spring. Using the proofer is great, but all of our recipes were tested in kitchens that were closer to 70°F, which means the timing will need to be shorter if you are resting them at 80°F or higher. If you have the time, I would recommend going with a slightly cooler setting and letting them rise slower.

        Thanks, Zoë

  40. I have tried a few of your recipes with reasonable success (and a few complete failures where the dough was clearly either too wet or too dry!). I have mostly stuck to the master recipe in HBin5 (p.54).

    One consistent problem I have had is that there are still bubbles/holes on the surface after I shape the dough. It smooths out a little during the rest time but not much and I think it is interfering with the oven spring. The loaves taste good but do not rise much in the oven.

    Do you have any idea what might be causing this?

    Thank you for for your books and website!

      1. Thanks, Zoe.

        I think it was all to do with the shaping. I’ve been too worried about over handling the dough, but I had a loaf turn out perfectly today. Thanks for the feedback!!

  41. First, thank you for your wonderful book, and for answering questions here. I had always thought baking bread was far too complicated, but you have changed my life!

    I have problems with pizza dough. I use the light whole wheat recipe on p. 74 of Artisan Bread in Five (2007). When I try to roll and stretch the dough thin, it tears. Also, the thick edges of the crust taste gummy and doughy. And unless I pre-bake the crust a few minutes before adding toppings, the center of the crust gets soggy.

    1. it does take some technique; try the olive oil variation which is easier to stretch. Have you seen our videos (click through above to our YouTube channel)?

      Have you tested your oven temp with something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU ? Does your oven go to 550F? If not, try a longer preheat (30, 45, or even 60 min). Assume you are using a baking stone.

      1. I use a stone, but the stone is labeled with a maximum temperature of 445 (oddly precise number), so I have been baking pizza at 450. Maybe that’s the problem?

        I had the same issues with the olive oil dough.

      2. After watching your videos, I think part of the problem (the tearing of the pizza dough when I stretch it thin) starts way before it goes in the oven. My dough is not as elastic as yours. I don’t need scissors to cut it; when I grab a handful from the bucket, it simply tears off. What am I doing wrong?

      3. The whole wheat flour is Giant (supermarket) brand; the white is unbleached, either Giant or Gold Medal. (I don’t have the bag anymore.) Both bought in Falls Church, Va.

  42. Hmm. Try again with national brands only (Gold Medal). If the problem persists, just increase the water slightly until it “pulls” like in our videos.

    1. I can try that — but I had started reducing the water at your suggestion when my first loaves were coming out flat.

  43. Just made my first loaf of the master recipe. The bread tasted great but the crust was very hard and the crumb was bit wet and under cooked with small holes. I know I handled it too long when I shaped the loaf. The oven temperature tested accurately. My wife couldn’t wait for the bread to completely cool before cutting it. Appreciate any suggestions you can give me. Thanks.

    1. Kerry: first problem is that wet-dough breads have to cool completely or they seem wet. Small holes will get larger (though not as large as some) if you age the dough longer than a few days.

      Also, consider a longer rest after shaping, 60 or even 90 minutes. If so, cover loosely with plastic or an overturned bowl.

  44. I am having a terrible time trying to get my bread to rise. I’ve tried recipes from p. 54 and p. 238. I’m using Eincorn flour (healthier grains)and even when I use more water, the dough does not rise enough. I saw that I should use more vital wheat gluten so I might try that. It seems that the problem is that the top of the dough in my plastic storage container gets very dry and crusty (b/c you said not to cover it for 2 days so I leave the lid just a bit ajar). I have put a little water on the top, and I have also formed the loaf with the crust side down, but no avail. I’m also not handling the dough more than 20 seconds if that. I just cut off a portion and put it in a metal loaf container to rise. Thanks for your help . . . I’m discouraged but not daunted!

    1. Hi Lynn,

      Here is a video that may help with the shaping of the dough. It will also give you a sense if your dough is the right consistency. Einkorn is lower in gluten, so it will help a lot to increase the vital wheat gluten to get some structure in your loaf, which should improve the rise of the loaf.


      It sounds like you need to put the lid on a little bit more to prevent air flowing over the top of the dough. Putting the lid on the container, but not snapping it shut should do the trick.

      Thanks, Zoë

  45. I am very new to gluten-free (less than 2 mos) and have tried your recipe for “not rye” and it came out about 2″ high. Should it be higher? It tastes great though. I halved the recipe, refrigerated it, don’t think I handled it too much, and both came out about the same height. Just didn’t know what to expect because the loaves I find at the store are always smaller. (I also used instant dry yeast)

      1. Hi Zoe,

        I used a stand mixer [1st time using it]. I mixed it just until the dry ingredients were mixed in(I figured mixing too much would not be good). I thought the dough was light, especially when I did the second loaf after 2 days. Yes I did see the video, which was very helpful. Am I just not to expect gluten-free bread to rise very much? I understand about the kneading of regular yeast dough and how that rises much more, but I was hoping for a little bit more rise in my gluten-free. Thanks so much for your help!

      2. Hi Alice,

        All the principles of g-f baking are different than traditional bread, so it is hard to apply any of our former experience? It is ok to really whip the dough in the mixer, which I find aerates it and causes the dough to be lighter. You can mix the dough, with the paddle, for about 1 minute on medium high speed.

        G-F dough doesn’t have the same elasticity as traditional dough, so it won’t rise as well or as much, but you should get some oven spring. If your dough still feels cold after it has been shaped and set to rise, then maybe it could use a little additional rising time.

        Thanks, Zoë

      3. Hi Zoe,

        Well, I’ve tried again and still it’s only about 2″ high. However, the dough was really light and spongy. I thought “Wow, I’ll get a good loaf this time.” Wrong! It tastes really good, it’s just very small. Perhaps I’m shaping the dough wrong. Could you tell me how big a loaf you get when you use a large grapefruit size lump of dough? I still have 3/4 of the dough in the fridge and I’m thinking maybe I should start with a larger piece. Will that change the oven temp &/or cooking time.

        I am really pretty good with yeast dough and this bread has been my first attempt with G-F so I really don’t know what to expect. All I know is when I buy a loaf at the store it’s always small. Sorry if it seems as if I don’t know what I’m doing; I guess, in some respect, I don’t :). But I am a better cook/baker than this.

      4. Hi Alice,

        The gluten-free breads don’t have the same oven spring as a traditional bread, so they pretty much stay a similar size as they are when you form them. If your loaf is tall and rounded when you form it, you’ll have a taller loaf. You can try making the loaf a bit bigger, but they tend to get denser as you make them larger, because they don’t have a lot of structure to trap steam, which gives a loaf its light texture. The larger loaf will need a longer resting time and a longer baking time.

        Are you baking on a stone? If so, how long are you preheating it?

        Thanks, Zoë

      5. Hi Alice,

        One more question, do you have an oven thermometer? I just want to make sure that heat is not an issue, because that too can cause inadequate rise.

        Thanks, Zoë

      6. Hey Zoe,

        Yes I do and it registers the correct temp. I am investing in a new one, however, just to be sure because mine is quite old.

        Could you give me the approximate measurements of the loaf I should be expected to get; maybe my expectations are too high. I was just hoping for something I could also use as sandwich bread; can’t do that with a 2″ high loaf. 🙂


      7. Hi Alice,

        I would say that 2 inches is on the small side, but not by much. Maybe 3″ or possibly 4″, but to get a taller loaf, you may want to bake in a loaf pan.

        Thanks, Zoë

      8. Thanks Zoe. If I try a loaf pan I have 3 questions:
        Would I use the same grapefruit size lump of dough?

        Do I bake it at the same temperature & length of time?

        How about the water for steam, would I still use it too?

        Sorry to seem so naive, but I am so thankful for your help.

        Thanks again, Alice

  46. Does the refrigerator rise method work well with the brioche dough? I have a batch in the fridge now but it will be too late tonight before I can chill it, let it rise again and then bake. If I can just let it rise tonight in the fridge and bake cold tomorrow that would be great. any adjustment needed to the temperature or baking time?

    1. It works well, and I haven’t found that adjustments are needed. But shape it tonight, before it goes into the fridge. If you try to shape the cold dough tomorrow and then bake, it’ll be too dense.

      Yes, you can shape before it’s risen, just account for the rise in the volume.

  47. If whole wheat doesn’t rise very much, then how do those supposed 100% whole wheat bread in stores get to be sandwich loaf sized?

    1. This is in comparison with white loaves– they do rise, just not as much as white. Commercial whole wheat breads use three strategies to get fluffier WW loaves, sometimes in combination. First, some simply are relatively low in whole wheat. You can call it “whole grain” if it’s 51% whole grain. The more white flour, the more rise you’ll see, and often they use molasses to make the bread nice and brown despite all that white flour. Second, they use dough conditioners, which aren’t generally available to home bakers and in any case, we’re not keen on additives. This is what they’re doing with commercial 100% whole wheat loaves.

      Third, they sometimes increase the gluten content with vital wheat gluten, and we take that strategy as well, in Healthy Bread in Five Min/Day, on amazon at http://bit.ly/3wYSSN

      Maximize your whole wheat rise in our method by increasing the resting time after shaping to 90 minutes, if you’re not already doing that. Understand that commercial bakers aren’t trying to store the dough the way we do to make it easier on home bakers.

      Finally, fill the loaf pan generously to end up with a tall loaf; make sure you bake through for long enough when you do this.

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