Q&A Whole Grain Breads

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Q: When I make the 100% whole wheat bread it doesn’t seem to rise as well as the other doughs, am I doing something wrong?

A: The short answer is no! It is nothing you are doing wrong, it is just the nature of whole wheat flour. Because there is so much bran and natural oil in the flour it is impossible to get enough gluten development to achieve a really good rise on the bread.

To get a higher sandwich loaf, we tend to overfill the loaf pan and let it rise for longer. If you go about 3/4 full and allow the dough to rise for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours depending on the size of the pan, you’ll get a taller loaf. The whole wheat loaves in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day will do well with this approach.

Another way to get more rise in the bread is to add “vital wheat gluten” (also known as “vital wheat gluten flour,” to the dough. If you whisk in 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of dry grain ingredient you will have a much higher, lighter loaf of bread. It also contains vitamin C which helps to improve the dough and make it more elastic.  But you’ll need to increase the water in the recipe to adjust for the extra protein; that’s the kind of recipe testing we did for Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

“Vital wheat gluten” products are available from Bob’s Red Mill and Hodgson Mill. Both products are often in the baking section of typical supermarkets.

Q: My whole wheat loaf doesn’t get a good crisp crust! What can I do?

A: The naturally occurring oils in the flour, plus the added oil in the recipe will prevent this bread from ever getting a really crackly crust. You can bake the bread with steam to help with the crust, but it will eventually get soft again. If you want a bread with a crisp crust you will want to look for recipes with mostly white flour and no added oils.

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470 thoughts on “Q&A Whole Grain Breads

  1. Hi Zoe,

    Thanks for your quick response. I used a extra heavy dark pizza pan instead of my cast iron skillet and my master recipe 100% whole wheat loaf turned out GREAT! I just ordered your book and can not wait to try other recipes. I first saw you and Jeff on the Today Show and then read your article in Mother Earth News and tried your method – I LOVE it!!!

    1. Whoa, Barb, the Today Show? Hmm, I’m pretty sure we weren’t on that. We’ve been on all over the country, including some SuperStations, so maybe that’s the confusion.

      Hey Today Show, we’re still waiting for that call. Oprah and Martha too! Glad the recipe worked well for you.


  2. Hi Zoë,

    I’ve only managed to track down vital wheat gluten in bulk quantities (55 lbs bags) with the suppliers not willing to break the bag and sell me smaller quantities…

    I most definitely can get other high protein flours, so I’ll start experimenting to see if I can find a suitable replacement…

  3. Alwyn: Sometimes high protein flour is labeled as “better for bread” or something like that. The approximate protein content of various white flours are:

    Cake flour: 8%
    All-purpose (AP): 10%
    Bread flour: 12%

    Those are generally white flours, not whole wheat, so you can use 12% white flour in place of AP in our recipes that call for white flour in the new book (Healthy Bread in Five). But that doesn’t help you for recipes that are all or mostly whole grain flours. Look closely at packaging; whole wheat flours are not generally labeled as “Bread Flour” or “Better for Bread.” But often they’ll say what kind of wheat it comes from. The highest protein flours come from “hard” wheat. If a brand’s label emphasizes “hard” wheat, it may be higher in protein than one without that label.

    But we’re in uncharted territory here… stay in touch and we can continue to help you.


  4. Jeff,

    Thanks for all that, its roughly the kind of guidance I was looking for. Unfortunately I won’t get experimenting within the next week or so, but I’ll check back in with some updates once I’ve managed to get my hands dirty!

  5. If you can’t use the wheat gluten can you just knead the dough after taking it out of the refrigerator ( before the second rising )?

    1. Alex: Wouldn’t do it. Our stuff can’t tolerate kneading at that stage. If you want to knead, do it before the first rise only. Otherwise you knock the precious gas out of the stored dough and you can’t get away with our little trick here. If you leave out the VWG, the storage time will be radically shorter– basically, days. And you’ll have to decrease the liquids. Jeff

  6. I’ve been baking breads from both your books. I prefer heartier whole grain breads, so most of what I’ve been making have been from your Healthy Breads book. However, I have made the master recipe from the Artisan Bread book several times, including some experiments with using some whole wheat in that bread with good success.

    After buying and reading the Healthy Bread book, I have tried the master recipe, as well as the Whole Wheat Flaxseed, Whole Grain Rye, 100% Whole Wheat and the Quinoa Bread. In all the breads except the master recipe, I have found that the breads have had very little “spring” in baking. The result has been great bread, but still very “short” and squat. The highest part of a loaf is often 2″ or less, and the ends taper to about 1″.

    I am using fresh flour, yeast, vital wheat gluten. The ONLY thing I can think of is that it’s winter in NH, and the house is most often between 65 and 68 degrees. I DO let the dough rise until it flattens before putting it in the fridge. I have tried both straight measure and weighing ingredients. I do form the dough correctly (I checked your new video). I have now made about a dozen or so batches of dough, so I’m not a “newbie.”

    I do understand that the whole grain breads aren’t going to be as light and springy as a AP-flour based bread. I’m not looking for lightness; I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong or if my results are typical. I did notice that the HB master doesn’t have the same loft/spring as the AB master; but that’s to be expected, right?

    1. Hi Margaret,

      You are correct that the whole grain loaves don’t have the same oven spring as the ABin5 loaves, but it should be getting more spring than 2″ at the peak. It could be that your kitchen is cool, but that isn’t too much cooler than mine, so I suspect it is something else. When you say fresh flour, do you mean that you are grinding it yourself or it is newly bought commercial flour? Fresh ground does seem to require more vital wheat gluten.

      Does the dough seem to be spreading too much when you shape it? If the dough is too wet (also a can be a result of fresh ground flour) it will spread too much and not get a good rise.

      Let me know more about the type/brand of flour you are using and we can take it from there.

      Thanks! Zoë

  7. I found whole wheat bread flour and whole wheat pastry flour at my food co-op and wanted to know if I can substitute these flours in your recipes? I wonder if the pastry flour will be good for the sweet breads like your Indian Spiced Whole Grain Donuts and the bread flour for your whole grain bread recipes?

    1. Barb: the WW bread flour should swap in well, you may need a bit more water though to achieve the loose consistency with this flour, all depends on just how high-protein the flour actually is. As for the WW pastry flr, it’s going to be lower in protein, with the opposite effect– you need less water. It will work well in flat breads, which don’t need as much rise, but no particular advantage for the doughnuts or others.

      The bread flour– yes, it will be good in the loaf breads from the second book. Jeff

  8. I recently came across your recipes on motherearthnews.com and I tried the Master Recipe boule last week with great success. Today I decided to try the wholewheat sandwich bread, but I now realise that the dough was way too wet as I couldn’t really shape it before baking and it spread out like a biscuit before going in the oven. The result was that the bread didn’t rise at all in the oven and it was still like a biscuit.

    Is there any way that I can use the dough that I have left by adding more flour for example, or is it too late for that and I have to start again? I actually don’t really know which type of grain the flour was made from as I live in the Czech Republic and just used a wholegrain flour without knowing what the grain is. Perhaps this flour doesn’t absorb as much water as the wholewheat flour.

    I’m hooked on your breadmaking method and I ordered the book from thebookdepository.com Looking forward to trying more recipes.

    Thank you!

    1. Julie: Flour differences, unfortunately, can make all the difference– if the protein level’s low, you end up with too-wet bread. We’ve had this experience a lot when people write in from overseas and have different products than what we tested with.

      Just work in more flour, then let it sit for two hours before returning to fridge. Jeff

  9. I made my whole whaet mast dough last night – but before I start, I have a question. I bake in a stoneware casserole. Because my oven is vented into the kitchen and has a glass front oven, I was concerned about the steam not staying in the oven. Can I use the Casserole method with the Healthy Breads like I do with the original recipe?
    Thanks! Waiting to eat -YUM

  10. I recently purchased a Bosch Nutrimill, which grinds wheat into fine flour. I am eager to make homemade bread with my homemade flour. I am wondering if you are familiar with the different types of wheat available to make flour (Ex: hard white wheat, hard red wheat, soft white wheat,etc). If so, how much of each type of fresh ground flour would you use?

    1. Hi Cindy,

      The trick to making great bread with home ground flour is to use a hard wheat (red or white) and to grind it as fine as you can. The coarse ground flours result in a dough that is too wet.

      Thanks and enjoy your fresh flour and breads! Zoë

  11. What is the malt powder listed as an ingredient in Montreal Bagels, p. 129? Is it the malt powder (Carnation, I believe) like you’d put in a milk shake to make a malt? Or is it an enhancer? I found some barley powder enhancer at a store that sells supplies for brewing home beer. I didn’t see malt powder listed in the index or the list of ingredients at the beginning of the book.

  12. Hi Zoe

    I whipped out a batch of Whole wheat with olive oil and when I baked it there was a very sour taste ( like alcohol ) . Is that normal ? I threw the entire loaf away as the taste was very strong.

    I have not used the “Healthy bread” book since.


    1. Chris: If you snap the lid shut as the dough is fermenting, alcohol produced by the yeast can build up. Leaving a little space helps– don’t keep the vessel with the dough completely closed. You can also buy plastic containers that have little vents which accomplish this.

      Sounds like you aren’t having this problem with your white doughs (from your other question), which I can’t quite explain. Some people can’t smell the alcohol, I’m one of those. But if you’re very aware of the smell, I can’t figure out why you’d smell it only in the whole wheat bread. Jeff

  13. Hi Jeff

    I finished the white dough in 2 days ! haha

    As for the whole wheat dough… it was over 7 days.

    I kept the lid on with a little space for it to breathe.

    I find the whole wheat bread to be alot denser and strong in scent as compared to the white dough.

    I could smell the strong alcohol and thought that by baking it would be better but the smell was still there.

    Maybe it fermented too well = )

    Thank you so much

    1. Christine: Fermentation goes on over the life of the dough, and I’m not sure why you’re perceiving it more in the whole grain dough than in the white. Our whole grain doughs have MUCH more whole grain than most commercial whole grain breads (which often depend on molasses and caramel color to heighten the illusion of lots of whole grains). It may be that this is the difference.

      But try this vented and see if that helps. Jeff

  14. I want to make the 5 minutes a day basic bread. My question is what do I do different if I grind my own wheat? I have hard and soft wheat. Can you answer for both. AlthoughI like soft flavor better. I did buy the vital glutan if I need it. Thanks Pam

    1. Pam: I tried fresh-ground wheat (I didn’t do it myself); see my post on this at http://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1165 . I found that at this grind, it worked great, without adjustment. That’s not generally been the case with people grinding their own– there’s tremendous variability in the grind, and in the amount of water that the flour soaks up.

      So you need to experiment; look at our videos and try to reach that level of hydration– it’s wet, but not so wet that you can’t manipulate it.

      Hard wheat will absorb more water than soft; in either case you will need to use the VWG in order to get adequate structure so you can store the dough (assuming you are using 100% whole grain flour). Jeff

  15. Loving this method guys! Not brand new to baking but have only had success in the past with one recipe…feeling more adventurous this year! Quick question. I made a couple test loaves of your basic boule the other day–came out great..I’ve never gotten oven spring before then–yay!! But in our house we like to make things a bit healthier. I’m attempting a 1/2 white 1/2 whole wheat loaf with a 1/4 cup honey thrown in (no milk) and I’m just trying to figure out how that will affect pre-baking rising time/baking time/baking temperature–also, I’ve DOUBLED the loaf size!

    1. Jen: Our second book (Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day) deals with the sort of ingredient switch you’re interested in. Some of the material is here on the website, but not all. We had a long post on this when the book came out, scroll through back to the week of October 29, 2009 (the basic whole grain recipe is there). You can’t just swap the ingredients without making other changes as well.

      Check our FAQs pages as well, also above.

      You can get the 2nd book on Amazon by clicking on the image of that book above…


  16. Hi Zoe & Jeff:

    I’ve been experimenting with getting the deli rye recipe (p. 58) to work in a bread pan without much luck. I first tried to bake it exactly as the recipe called for only using a larger piece of dough to fill out the pan. The result was the center was totally uncooked. The loaf rose and looked beautiful until I tried to cut off a slice. Please help with exact meaurements, temperature and duration cause I love this recipe but find that loaves baked on a stone don’t lend themselves to great sandwich bread.


    1. Jeff: Our recipe calls for a one-pound loaf baked at 450F for 30 min; you probably have a two-pounder there, and that may take 45-60 minutes. But your oven temp may be off and that may be the problem. Check with an inexpensive oven thermometer like http://bit.ly/czmco2 . If you want to use an instant-read thermometer, the center of the loaf should read 205 to 210F.

      Bet your oven is running cool? Jeff

  17. Actually my problem was that I forgot to allow for additional time in the oven. Are you suggesting I can bake in a loaf pan for 45-60 minutes if I want to use the pan? My oven is pretty accurate so I think the main problem was not allowing enough time for the additional dough to bake properly. Anyhow, I’ll give it another go. Thanks for the quick reply and I’m looking forward to getting your next book!

  18. I’m going to try it today. I have no problem with adding the hot water to create steam so I’ll continue with this method. An unrelated question that I didn’t see covered is what is the best storage method for rye and master recipe breads? Plastic baggies don’t work too well. Any suggestions are welcome!

  19. Hello,

    I just baked a loaf of the Sweet Potato Spelt Bread, which didn’t rise at all. The dough looked to be really wet and I just now noticed that the recipe was listed in the error page of the website. The bread wasn’t cooked completely through according to the baking directions. Is there any way I can make a proper adjustment to the dough I have now? Can I add more flour? What do you recommend?

    Thanks for your help.


    1. Hi Marc,

      Yes, you can certainly add more flour to the dough you have left. After you incorporate the extra flour just let it have time to absorb the excess water. I usually leave it to sit over night, but a few hours should do the trick.

      Thank you! Zoë

  20. Hi Jeff and Zoe,

    You have changed my life! I am using your book (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) religiously. Just got myself a copy of “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and wants to start trying it out, but notice that all the recipes are now calling for “vital wheat gluten”.
    My problem: I live in Japan and such thing simply doesn’t exist here, not yet anyway. What do I do with the recipe? How bad is it going to affect my dough if I don’t add the vital wheat gluten? Any recommendations how I should alter the recipe?


    1. Hi Tari,

      The reason we added the vital wheat gluten is so that the whole grain breads can be stored for longer periods without getting overly dense. Often people can find it as an ingredient for making “seitan” or “mock duck.” It is the same gluten that is used.

      In Japanese cuisine, the traditional type of wheat gluten is called fu (麩, lit. “gluten”). ~ this is from wikipedia

      Let me know if that is something you can find, if not we will come up with an alternative.

      Thank you, Zoë

  21. Hi Zoe,

    Over the weekend I found some online shop that carries gluten, and also found one specialty store in Tokyo that has some vital gluten and gluten. Although I’m not certain what the difference are, bought both of them (they sell it in very small amount in the stores here). Tried the vital gluten and it seems to have worked nicely.

    However here’s another question for you – if the purpose of VWG is for longer storing, does that mean if I don’t use VWG and use up the dough within 48 hours, then it is no longer necessary to use VWG?

    Thanks so much for your reply.


    1. Hi Tari,

      Glad you were able to find the gluten, I suspect they will be very similar. Let me know what you end up with.

      If you do not use the VWG in the recipe it will come out much too wet and hard to work with. You will have to decrease the water and use the batch within 24-48 hours.

      Happy baking! Zoë

  22. Have you tried using sprouted wheat flour ? I’ve read ther are lots of health benefits with it. I also read it can be used cup for cup in place of all purpose & whole wheat flour. I would like to try some, but I have no experience with using it.
    Thank you,

    1. Scheryl: I haven’t yet experimented with sprouted WW. But I disagree with the advice, at least in our recipes, where the moisture content is key. You should be able to swap it in for whole wheat flour, but NOT for all-purpose. Otherwise the water will be way off. See what you think, though.

  23. It kind of defeats the purpose of your books, but has anyone who has trouble finding– or paying for– vital wheat gluten tried making their own gluten yet? Making flour and water dough, then changing out water until water is clear so left with a lump of gluten?

    Was almost frustrated enough, and impatient enough, to try this! The grocery store that I didn’t think would carry the vwg had it. :0)

    1. Hi MerryB,

      My mom used to go through this when I was a kid. Not for the use in baking, but as a meat alternative. I can’t say I’ve had the patience to try it myself! 😉

      Glad you found some VWG at the store! Zoë

  24. Jeff, Thank you for the Information. I wondered about replacing AP flour with sprouted wheat. Thank you for your wonderful book! You have made baking wonderful breads fun!

  25. Question: I love making bread from your book with all these whole grains. But storing the flours in the freezer (which is in my garage), it is a bit of a nuisance. So to save time & hauling canisters in and out, I’m going to make my own ‘mixes’. I’ll prepare the dry ingredients, say for pumpernickel, put them in a Ziploc with directions (add 4+1/4 cups water, 2 Tbs molasses) & freeze. (Just 1 bag to carry instead of 5 canisters.) What I wonder is–could the salt in my dry base mix impair the effectiveness of the yeast in storage? Must I add 1 of the 2 with the liquids later? Thanks for your ever-helpful advice!

    1. Hi Zorra,

      Great idea. I think that you will be just fine adding all of the dry ingredients together. The yeast and salt will not really interact until they are in a wet environment.

      Thanks, Zoë

  26. The recipe for Quinoa bread in “Healthy Bread….” doesn’t have a sweetener in it. Is this right?

    By the way – found “Wheat gluten flour” here in Ontario and it seems to be the right thing.

    1. Hi Jan,

      You are right the Quinoa recipe has no sweetener. If you want to add a touch of sweetness to the dough you can add a couple of tablespoons of honey without compromising the recipe.

      Wheat Gluten Flour is exactly right.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  27. I am trying to get a bit more nutrition than the unbleached flour, and am wanting to know how white whole wheat works. Can I substitute white whole wheat in your recipes for unbleached flour? I just received your AB book and have spent an hour searching for Q&A on this. Sorry if I’m repeating. I’m off to get my supplies and looking forward to my first batch! Thank you. Susan

    1. Susan: WWW substitutes for traditional WW, not for unbleached all-purpose (AP). If you try swapping WWW for AP, result will be too dry and won’t be storable, and might very well require kneading to develop gluten structure. If you’re looking for our method, but transformed for mostly whole grains, you’d want our second book, “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes Below,” on Amazon at http://bit.ly/3wYSSN In that book, you can use WWW pretty much anywhere we call for ordinary WW.

  28. Do I need to have vital wheat gluten to bake your recipes or can I use any type of gluten. For example in my super market I saw it just labeled gluten and not vital wheat gluten, is this ok? if not then what is the difference?

    1. Zara: I haven’t heard of a labelling like this, but I’m guessing that you are fine, assuming it is a flour-like powder. I’ve seen “vital wheat gluten,” “gluten flour,” “vital wheat gluten flour,” but never just “gluten.” What brand is it? Where are you located?


  29. Thanks for the reply Jeff! I am located in Alberta, Canada. I basically saw something similar to what you described (white flour like powder) in the bulk section of my Super Market here. It just had Gliuten on the label. Is there a difference between gluten used for the oven and gluten used for making bread in a bread machine?

  30. Hi Zoe & Jeff,

    I m trying to challenge myself for this revolutionary baking method, however, I have tried to use recipe with whole wheat flour. However, after sitting in room temp for 2 hours + putting in fridge for 3 hours (actually overnite), I cannot get the tough in stretchy and elastic texture as it should be. The dough can be teared into pieces easily, no need to use scissor to take the dough out of the basket. I have checked my measurements are correct, following the metric measurement as you have suggested for overseas reader. I wonder where goes wrong? Can you help? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Cheegi,

      The whole grain recipes, especially the 100% whole grain, are often not as stretchy as the ones made with all-purpose flour. Which recipe are you using? It may also be a difference in the type of flour you have available. If your dough has no stretch even with the addition of the vital wheat gluten, you may need to add a few more tablespoons of water to the dough.

      Thank you, Zoe

  31. My spouse and I have been using your book so much it’s fallen apart! We really like the quinoa bread. However, from everything we’ve read about quinoa in the past, it’s essential that the grain be washed prior to use. How can we wash the quinoa and still make your bread correctly?

    Thank you.

    1. Joe: Washing will introduce a little extra water into the dough. My guess is that it will be less than a tablespoon. The most accurate weigh to gauge that would be to weigh the portion of quinoa before and after washing, but probably not worth it. Why don’t you just try decreasing the water in the recipe by 1 tablespoon and see how it turns out? Jeff

  32. I can’t figure out why whole wheat bread isn’t kneaded. Since kneading is done before rising, there would be no gas that kneading would push out of the dough. Also, wouldn’t kneading only make the gluten develop more, so it would better trap later-formed gas? Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Michael,

      When you first mix up the dough you can knead it if you wish. The reason you don’t have to is because the wet dough aligns the gluten on its own. Turns out the proteins come together in a wet solution. It just isn’t necessary, but at this stage it isn’t harmful either.

      If you are talking about kneading after the initial rise then you will be knocking out the air that is built up over the initial rise. If you do this you will need to allow the dough to rise a much longer time to develop the hole structure in the dough.

      I hope this answers your question? Thanks, Zoë

  33. I’m confused about baking bread after the initial rise–can I just bake it right then after shaping it, or does it too have to sit 40 additinoal minutes? thanks.

  34. Hi Jeff and Zoe, I am making my first whole wheat brioche dough and plan to put the chocolate genache in the center from your first book. I have 2 questions: The first one is can I also put some raspberry jam in with the chocolate genace. The second question is can I use a brioche pan with a filled brioche. If so do I do anything difference? Thanks bunches for your wonderful help. I want to surprise my granddaughter with this bread.

    1. Hi Bettyanne,

      That combination is a classic and sounds fantastic! Be a bit careful not to overfill the dough with the ganache and the raspberry jam or it will leak out and get the pan and oven all sticky. As a little insurance you may want to put the brioche pan on a baking sheet in the oven. Be sure to grease the brioche pan really well with butter or oil.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  35. Good morning Zoe and Jeff, I made the WW Brioche (and added the chocolate genache and raspberry filling) for my granddaughter . She loved it!! I used a cookie sheet as you suggested. Good thing because I had a little runover. Now my grandson wants me to make a bread for him that has peanut butter in it. He doesn’t have a strong sweet tooth like she does. Can you help me out? I went through both of your cookbooks and your search engine but couldn’t find any info on a peanut butter bread or filling. Thanks again for being there to always help us out. You both are fantastic. BTW, where can I find a BREAD thermometer.

    1. Hi Bettyanne,

      I am working on a flatbread that uses peanut butter for our next book. I think it is a natural addition to a bread recipe and yet there are so few, if any available. If you come up with something for your grandson I’d love to know what you make!

      Neither of us use bread thermometers when we bake, just because it is an extra step and we thought it was too intimidating for new bakers. If you do get one you want it to be an instant read and unfortunately the really good, accurate ones cost a lot of money. Our breads, because they are so wet tend to run much higher in temperature than traditional breads. The master recipe should be about 200-205 when done.

      Thank you! Zoë

  36. Hi Zoe, I am going to try the peanut butter bread using this combination of ingredients and I would like your input on whether I have the right ratio of dry to liquid ingredients OR any other comments you think might be helpful. Here goes: 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 7 oz LW water, 3/4 T yeast, 3/4 T salt, 2 eggs, 2/3 cup honey 2 and 3/4 cup AP flour, 3/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup penaut butter chips and a handful of crushed peanuts. I’m hoping this will make one 1 and 1/2 lb loaf. But before I make it, I would like to hear what you think. thanks again

    1. Hi Bettyanne,

      Wow, I can’t wait to hear how it turns out, sounds incredible. I think that your dough sounds like it is going to be a bit too wet. You may end up having to add a bit more flour. If you are making this in a stand mixer it will be no trouble to add more flour once it is mixed. It is also doable by hand, but more work.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  37. Hi Zoe,

    I just finished the making peanut butter bread dough. I’m not sure what I’ll get when I bake it on Thursday morning, BUT right now I’m very worried. It is extremely heavy (like lifting a weight) and it looks very greasy. I did have to increase the AP flour to 3 1/2 cups because it was way too wet with the original 2 and 3/4 cup of AP flour but I made no other adjustments to the dough recipe I told you about. After 2 hours of rising on the counter, it didn’t rise as much as I’m used to seeing. I’ll keep you posted on Thursday a.m. after I bake it but right now it doesn’t look good. If you have any suggestions as to how I can save this dough, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

    1. Bettyanne: I’m guessing that this was just too much peanut butter for the amount of flour you specified. Too heavy and too large an oil load.

      But you may be able to salvage by adding flour… the extra food for the yeast will stimulate another rise. You may also need to add some water so the consistency looks good. Jeff

  38. Hi Jeff, WOW, such a quick response. You guys are awesome. I’m sure you are right about why it is so heavy. So, I added about another 2 and 1/2 cups of AP Flour (1/4 cup at a time) and some water to improve the consistency. My dough is still oily but not quite so heavy and much smoother. It is rising now for its initial 2-hour rise so we’ll see what happens when I bake a loaf. Thanks so much for your help. I’ll let you and Zoe know the final outcome. This was an experiment for me. Thanks again. When do you guys sleep????????

    1. Hi Bettyanne,

      We so look forward to hearing about the peanut butter loaf. Just in case it is still too heavy you may just want to bake off a bun size loaf to see if you have the consistency the way you want it.

      Thanks, Zoë

  39. Hi Zoe and Jeff
    I just sliced the peanut butter bun (thanks Zoe for suggesting I start with a bun.) First of all, it passed the taste test as it tastes wonderful – pb is not overpowering and the chocolate chips are just enough to complement the pb. I tried a bite plain, and a bite with butter. Both great. If I had some Nutella in the house, I’d try a bite with that. The cooked pb bun is soft and more dense than our regular breads with your method–kind of halfway between a bread and a cake. So, I guess it has more work to be done on the recipe. My 9 1/2 year old grandson will be here Friday so I’m anxious to have him taste test it since he specifically requested it. Of course, with all the extra flour I added, I have way more than I can use up in a few days so I guess I will try to freeze some of it. Thanks to you two wonderful people for all of your help while I was doing this. I couldn’t have done it without you.

    1. Bettyanne: For the non-enriched, I find I can go four weeks. For egg-enriched stuff, two weeks is nicer– gets denser beyond that. Jeff

  40. Good morning all,

    OK, the consensus on the PB bread is that it is great as a dessert bread or to make kids PB and jelly or PB and Nutella but doesn’t work as an all day every day bread. My grandson really liked it for his PB and fresh blueberry sandwich but later in the day, he wanted to know if I had an Broa he could munch on. That tells the story and is my final comment on the PB bread
    I have a different question. When I attempt to slash loaves of bread that are painted with water as opposed to dusted with flour, I distort my loaf shape. What am I doing wrong. Thanks bunches and I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

    1. Bettyanne: I’d have to agree, that it’s a little tricky to slash the water-painted loaves. You need a very thin bladed serrated bread knife for it to work well. And make your cuts quickly. Mainly a cosmetic problem though…

  41. Hi Jeff and Zoe,

    Quick question: I was going to use parchment paper for the first time and noticed the box says that it is only safe up to 420 degrees F (I have Reynolds brand.) But we use 450 and 475 degrees F on several of our artisan breads so did I buy the wrong parchment paper. If so, what kind do I buy. Thanks again for being so interactive with all of us. I find myself reading posts daily on your website to learn and grow.

    1. Hi Bettyanne,

      I believe that Reynolds and other companies that sell parchment state a lower baking temperature than is necessary. I have a roll of parchment from Costco that says it is good up to 400 degrees and I have baked it in a 500 degree Dutch oven. If it makes you nervous, you can try it at the lower temperature and see how that goes. I have never, not even when baking pizza at high temperatures, had a problem with the parchment.

      Thanks and enjoy! Zoë

  42. Thanks, Zoe. I won’t worry about it then. When I bought your two books, I had no idea what a bargain I was getting—not only the two books–but timely professional interaction from you and Jeff when needed. I would love to attend one of your seminars/workshops/demonstrations if ever you come to the Sacramento, CA area.

  43. Great, what do I do to get your publisher to think about it? CA like healthy lifestyles so there is much emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, etc. I am a grandmother but I know many young couples your age who don’t buy bread anymore for their families. They make it all, pizzas, sandwich, snacks, etc. And with the recession, bread making has become a family activity, like making cookies used to be and the young children in the families request and help make different breads as their favorites.

  44. Hi – I’m still enjoying the two books (it’s such a wonderful idea!!), and have two questions: Does vital wheat gluten expire or lose its potency? I made a loaf of the 10 Grain bread from your second book, and it hardly rose at all. I also underbaked it, but will try the instant-read thermometer to verify it’s done next time!

    Also – I prefer to make the breads in loaf pans and soften the crusts a bit (to use for sandwiches), rather than freeform. Are there any general changes I should make, other than skipping the washes and slashes?

    Thank you….

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