My shaped loaves don’t seem to rise much before it’s time for the oven. What am I doing wrong?

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In our method, proportionally more of the rise comes from “oven spring,” rather than “proofing.”  Traditional bread methods get more proofing rise than we do.  Proofing is the time that the shaped loaf spends just sitting and waiting for the oven.  Oven spring is the sudden expansion of gasses within the pores of the loaf that occurs upon contact with the hot oven air and the stone or other hot surface that you might be using.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a whole lot of rise during proofing with our method. You’ll still get a nice rise during the oven spring, so long as you didn’t over-work the dough while shaping.  Make sure your oven’s up to temperature by checking with a thermometer like this one on Amazon.  If the oven is too cool or too hot, you won’t get proper oven spring.

If you’re still not happy with the final result– if it seems to dense and under-risen, check our our “Dense Crumb” FAQ.

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

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346 thoughts on “My shaped loaves don’t seem to rise much before it’s time for the oven. What am I doing wrong?

  1. I have the Artisian Bread in 5 Min a Day cookbook. I have tried the first basic recipe, and both of the wheat sandwhich bread recipes. I am finding that the dough rises very well (not to the top of the container, but more than doubles) in the initial rise. I then place the dough in the fridge, and when I take some out to bake the following day I am seeing no rise in the pan, and no rise in the oven. I am using the unbleached flour. What could be causing this?

  2. I am having similar problems to others with dough that spread a lot and was very wet. I have watched some of your videos and my dough (ABi5 master recipe) almost poured out of the kitchenaide. It was so wet and sticky I couldn’t even touch it and when I went to cloak it I needed a ton of flour to keep it from being a sticky blob.

    I used unbleached store brand AP flour and the scoop and sweep method (and regular sea salt not Kosher, fwiw). I am guessing I just need more flour next time (I live in a humid area, could that have been a factor?) But for now, I have three more loaves worth of dough. Is there any remedy? Can I incorporate more flour now? If so, what is the best process for that to save the dough I have?


    1. Hi Julie,

      Yes, you can add more flour to the dough, then you need to let it rest again to allow the excess water to be absorbed. The humidity can play a roll, but I wonder if the brand of flour is more of a culprit. What brand are you using? Some are just lower in protein and won’t have the same structure. This can be remedied by adding more flour to the mix.

      Was the dough refrigerated when you tried to bake with it?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I have the same problem as Julie, but if I stir in the additional flour after the dough has risen and chilled overnight, won’t that smash out all the air bubbles the yeast produced? How much resting time will the dough need after I stirred in the extra flour before I can use it?

      2. Hi Doris,

        If you add more flour to the dough, you need to allow it an hour or more for the flour to absorb the excess water, which will also give the dough time to create more air bubbles.

        Thanks, Zoë

  3. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    I just finished trying out the Whole Wheat Master Recipe. It’s got a nice crust, but it’s pretty flat. I cut it up to use as bread sticks instead. Also, since I didn’t have a baking stone, I used baking trays with parchment paper instead. Do you think this is the problem?
    I’m currently looking for unglazed quarry tiles/bricks. So far I’ve found pizza stones. Would bread rise on a pizza stone or would I need to stack two pizza stones?
    Many, many thanks.

  4. Have a question about covering the dough. I have been been covering the dough in a bowl with tight cling wrap.

    The cling wrap has been expanding like a dome and I am wondering if that is ok? Should the dough be allowed to let the gasses escape? Or is this fine?

    I tried just covering with just a towel and the dough didn’t rise well at all

    Any thoughts?

    1. Cessnabmw: I can’t for the life of me think of why towel vs plastic should have changed the rising capability of your dough. Something else must be different. We generally don’t recc the damp towel technique because it usually sticks badly to our wet dough. Is that the problem?

      The dome shape should be fine, I doubt it’s making a truly airtight seal or it would pop. Some people can detect an alcohol smell when things are sealed too tightly, that’s the only risk. If you’re not smelling off-aromas or flavors, you’re fine. Jeff

  5. buckwheat bread from second book. i cant get this bread to be much more than a blob. crumb is good and color is good. ive cut a 1/4 cup of water out and still a blob. it start nice on the counter but in 90 minutes goes blob.

    1. Hi David,

      A few questions for you:

      Have you baked other breads from the book that worked well?
      Are you using the scoop and sweep method of measuring the flour?
      What type and brand of flours are you using?

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. I just started baking your master recipe boule….pizza turned out fabulous! The next day I tried the boule…tasted great but the bottom cracked open…were my slits not deep enough on top or should it have rested longer? I live in the hot humid south…my dough seems a little drier than what I see on your video. Also, now for a dumb question…I made the pecan caramel sticky rolls tonight, they were really good but my question with that recipe and the other recipes that call for a pan, do you still have the stone in the oven too ? I had to place a cookie sheet on the rack under my rolls because the caramel overflowed. The recipes always say if not using a stone you only ace to preheat for 5 minutes….sorry just a little confused.

    1. Suzanne: Yes, deeper cuts in the dough should prevent, also try a longer resting time, instead of 40 min try 60 or even 90 min, esp if your room is cool. Could adjust the water upward if you’re finding the dough’s dry (though that doesn’t explain the cracking you’re getting).

      You don’t absolutely need the stone in the oven when using a pan, but it does even out the heat nicely if your oven heats unevenly. the cookie sheet’s a good idea if your’e getting overlowing sugar.

  7. Thank you! Would you place the stone on a rack lower than the pan or place the pan directly on the stone? If the room is warm,which mine tends to lean closer to 74-75 degrees do I need to make any adjustments? I know these are silly questions, but I am a newbie!!

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      You can place the pan directly on the stone.

      That is about the same temperature I keep my kitchen, so you don’t need to change a thing.

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. While I am asking, both batches of master recipe have had pretty good stretch when I am pulling out my dough, but both times it has broken off by itself …I haven’t needed to cut it with kitchen shears…is that normal or I am wondering if it needs to sit out longer than the initial 2 hour rise before the fridge… is rising well and appears to be flattening out. Last night before I put it in the fridge it was still bubbling in the container….should I have waited to put it in the fridge?

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      it sounds like your dough is too dry, which is why it is breaking off when you pull it out of the bucket, and probably why it is cracking on the bottom. The cracking on the bottom is also caused by not letting it rest long enough before baking, but making the dough a touch wetter may help both problems.

      What brand flour do you use?


  9. Hey Zoe! Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour. My second loaf just now did not crack on the bottom yeah! However I do still think it is too dry. Should I add water or decrease the flour or does it matter? My dough does not seem to smooth out as much as I think it should based on your videos. Thank you so much for patiently answering my questions…my family thinks I am obsessing but I am having so much fun!

    1. Suzanne: You can make a moister dough by either increasing the water, OR, by decreasing the flour. Try your changes 1/8-cup at a time.

      The 2-hour time assumes that your room is about 68 degrees, and you started w/lukewarm water. If it looks like it at least doubled, you can go to the fridge with it even if it looks like it didn’t collapse. Jeff

  10. What about the bubbling in the container…should I let it sit out longer until it actually collapses or is the 2 hour time period pretty standard regardless.

  11. When I form my loaf after the 2 hour rest period the loaf doesn’t look smooth like the ones you do in the videos…. mine is rough and craggy.. Will it still be ok? What did I do wrong?

  12. Hello, I tried the brioche recipe from abin 5 pg 189. My dough just broke off…no stretch at all. I used gold medal unbleached all-purpose flour. Help! I was so looking forward to making the almond brioche bostock and now am afraid this dough is not going to work. Do I need to start over?

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      Your dough is probably just fine. Because of all the eggs and butter the dough is entirely different in texture than the Master recipe. Once your start to work with the dough it will warm slightly and have a bit more stretch.

      Let us know if you have more questions, once you have tried one of the recipes with it.

      Thanks! Zoë

  13. I made the loaf with the brioche. It looked and smelled amazing but was crumbly. I attempted the almond bostock but my dough was just too soft to get a nice roll even after the freezer…back to basics for me. My friend used the brioche for the pecan sticky rolls and she commented that they were crumbly. I used the boule with good results in that recipe, is brioche typically crumbly? True blue novice here. Thank you for answering my questions.

  14. Nope, I use gold medal unbleached, and the correct flour method. I did see on Zoe’s video where she used a mixer to mix up the brioche…thinking I will try that! I made the light whole wheat dough this week and it had the perfect stretch and wasn’t too sticky. My best attempt yet! Thank you!

  15. Jeff,
    Thanks for your help yesterday – I made the gluten-free crusty boule which is SO good. My 4 loaves of bread didn’t rise that much. Ultimately I’m looking to make sandwich size bread in a loaf pan. Would you recommend that I simply double up the amount of batter I put into the loaf pans (two vs. four) or would recommend a different recipe?
    Many thanks, Elaine

    1. Elaine: The trick with GF is to avoid a doughy-ness, an under-baked sensation in the middle of the loaf. To that end, we had better results in our testing with free-form loaves, and smaller loaves in general. If your loaf pan isn’t too big, you should be able to get away with it. Yes, you need to fill the pan about 2/3s to 3/4s full. Consider mini-loaf pans like the ones in the link below if you’re finding that big loaf pans aren’t to your liking. Jeff

  16. I’ve been baking bread from “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.” Often when I make batards or baguettes from the Master Recipe, my finished bread comes out of the oven with a long horizontal crack down near the bottom. Any ideas why this is happening? It doens’t affect anything except for the appearance of the bread. I have no problem with the rise.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      This is usually caused by a dough that needs to rest longer. Let the baguette rest for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoe

      1. Hi Everyone,
        This question is not the same topic but as close as I can find.
        I’ve been trying make the bread before putting it in the frig. It is tricky but comes out great. Have also been using a sourdough starter most the time. The problem I’m having is scoring the loaf before baking. The dough is so light and airy that it doesn’t want to score without tearing the dough, even using a new razor blade, and sometimes it deflates.
        What can I do about this? If the dough is refrigerated I don’t have this problem.
        Thanks Much for all your help and really enjoy your new bread in five book.

      2. Hi Dake,

        The fresh, warm dough is the trickiest to slash. Have you tried a really sharp serrated bread knife? I’ve found the jagged edge can cut through the soft dough more easily than the small razor. Flouring the dough well can help. You can also try wetting the knife before each cut.

        Hope that helps.


      3. Thanks Zoe, I have had better success with a sharp serrated bread knife but thought a thin sharp razor would be better. I guess not. I’ll try using a damp knife as well. I also do flour the top of the loaf.
        Just wondering why it works on Tartine type bread which is essentially a no knead process as well?
        Keep up the great books and web site.

      4. Hi Dake,

        I don’t know the exact Tartine recipe, but maybe the hydration is slightly lower than ours, which would make it easier to slash with a lame.

        How long are you letting the dough rise before slashing? If it is deflating, it is probably over proofed and you can just try reducing the rest time. The dough will rise even faster if your kitchen is particularly warm.

        Thanks, Zoë

      5. Hi Zoe,
        Thanks for the reply. I think you are right about the over proofing. Once the dough is mixed I let it rise about two hours then I shape the loaves. Once the loaves are shaped I let it rise another 90 minutes. Trying to get a super open crumb. It’s very airy with bubbles in it sometimes. As soon as I score it the loaf goes flat like letting the air out of a ballon. I’ll try letting it proof for 45 minutes or less.
        When I’m short on time I mix the dough according to your recipes and refrigerate it so I can bake anytime on short notice. That is a Great help, thanks for that tip.
        The basic Tartine peasant boule is about 75% like yours. I think they let the dough ferment overnight then do a stretch and fold while shaping the loafs. Need to check that to be sure.
        When I have the time I enjoy the more hands on approach of working the dough a little more.
        Baking is really fun!!
        I’ve learned a lot from your books and want to thank you for inspiring me to bake again.
        Made a pizza from you book this evening, great!!.
        Thanks Again,

      6. HI Zoe,
        Baked two loaves this morning and only did a 40 minute second rise. Much better. Still have to be a little careful not to tear the fresh dough but it was much easier than before.
        On another topic of getting raves from friends about the bread. The Pan d’ Epi is always a big hit. I looks fancy but is really easy, especially with dough that has been refrigerated.
        Thanks for all you great advice.

      7. Hi Dake,

        I am so glad to hear that helped.

        The Epi is my favorite bread to make, especially when we have guests.

        Cheers, Zoë

      8. Zoe,
        Thanks for all your help.
        Baking bread is so much fun, especially when you can share it with friends.
        All the Best,

      9. HI Again Zoe,
        I forgot to ask why some loafs deflate once scored. Have they risen too long, not long enough etc?

  17. Thank you so much for making my life easier with your all 3 books!!!
    You guys always repond my (other people’s) questions right away and that makes me feel we are all cared to bake better bread together!!

    This time my question is how to freeze dough and bake.
    My kids love rolls with any types of bread. I’ve been making rolls with most of the dough and successfully freeze them, bake them whenever I want to.
    I made from first book Bran-Enriched White Bread dough the other day and shape them (rolls) and freezed them. After freezed, they were already flat. I didn’t mind at the time, so I slowly rised them (as I usually do with other dough from your books) for 3-5 hours and then baked. They didn’t rised and inside was densed and mostly tasted salty!
    Are there any tips when I freeze dough for store? OR I just screwed up somehow, so I should just not worry about it?!
    (it doesn’t stop baking bread with your books!)

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Remi,

      Did you defrost the rolls in the refrigerator first or just take them from the freezer and let them rise on the counter?

      The saltiness may mean that you need to decrease the salt slightly in your next batch. Have you noticed that other doughs taste salty or is this one different?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I haven’t tried defrost in the refrigerator before. I usually defrost (all of your dough from book)on the counter and they were OK. This was the first time. So, should I defrost bran-riched white bread in the refrigerator?

        About salt, I didn’t put too much, but I can decrease it. I didn’t have this problem before either…

        I must have done something different only this time? May be…

  18. I have just started baking bread and using the master recipe from your first book.

    I am getting a silpat to use instead of cornmeal. Could you guide how to use it using your baking method?

    1. Hi Daniel,

      You can start the baking on the silpat, just stick it in the oven on a cookie sheet. In order to get a crisp crust you will need to take the bread off the silpat to bake directly on the oven rack for the last 10 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. Hello Zoë and Jeff,

    I am on my fifth dough recipe (both books’ master recipes, Vollkornbrot, whole wheat brioche) and mix them exactly according to the recipes.

    I weigh the ingredients and don’t substitute anything. However, my doughs never rise during the first two hours on the counter. I’ve mixed in a big bowl and also in a (square bucket).

    When I am ready to bake after a day or two I noticed that I don’t have to cut the dough. It kinda just breaks off. I do get a decent oven spring.

    What do you think?

    The breads turn out fine but I wonder how they would be if my dough would rise and fall first.

    1. Hi Julia,

      Do they rise at all? What kind of flour are you using? Brands are helpful. Are you using cold water when you mix?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Zoë,

        Thanks for your reply. I switched yeast brands and have had success yesterday. I also used a thermometer to check water temperature and I might have used slightly too hot water before.

        Thanks again for always helping out!


  20. My rye bread (AB in 5 Minutes, 2007 edition, page 58) turns out very small — 7.5 inches long, 2.5 inches high at the highest point, and 4 inches wide.

    I posted about this problem before. At your suggestion, I switched to Hodgson Mill rye flour. I bought fresh yeast. I use unbleached all-purpose flour, and I scoop the flour. But I still get mini loaves — delicious, but tiny.

    Please help!

      1. Thanks, Zoe, but that’s not much help. I gave you the dimensions of my loaves, so I hope YOU can tell ME if that’s the size of your rye loaves. I doubt it, unless you are cooking for munchkins. Of course I could double the ingredients, but something seems wrong if that’s necessary – don’t you think?

      2. Andy: In that book, the basic loaves are pretty small, one-quarter of the full batch makes a loaf weighing about 0.9 pounds (you can weigh your loaf to confirm, but the dimensions you give are pretty much exactly what I get). That’s why Zoe suggested using a bigger ball of dough in the first place. Why’d we specify such small ones? Easier to master for a beginner– less likely to end up with a loaf undercooked in the center.

        But the other implied question is why your loaves don’t rise higher (literally, in a vertical direction). Our wet dough has a tendency to spread sideways when it expands in the oven rather than vertically– often this improves as your “gluten-cloaking” technique (p.28) improves.

        You could also increase the flour slightly in the recipe (1/4-cup?) and that will combat the tendency to spread sideways. One other biggie: check oven temp w/something like . You won’t get good lift without a hot oven. And use a stone, like…

        or“>Emile Henry Flame Top Pizza Stone, Black

        Thanks, Jeff; these are helpful tips. I do use a stone, but will check my oven temperature.

        One thing puzzles me: you talk about “cutting off” a piece of dough with scissors or knife. I simply dig my hands into the dough and easily remove what I need. Does that indicate there’s something wrong with my dough?

        Also, your post says the loaves are about a half-pound, but your book says that the rye bread recipe makes four 1-pound loaves.

      3. Andy: Interesting about the breaking-off versus cutting-off. I’m super-experienced with our wet dough, so I’m able to break/pull off a piece, but people usually find that cumbersome without a knife or scissors. It does suggest that maybe your dough is already too dry– crumbly almost (though that’s an over-statement). See our videos (tab above) and see if your stuff looks like ours.

        Which post said these were 1/2-pound loaves? Sounds like a website typo, though we do use 1/2-lb balls of dough for pizza in our 3rd book ( Jeff

      4. Hi Zoe,

        I was wondering if the small size loaf is true for the master recipe in new ABin5. I have been having this problem. I get great rise in the initial 2 hours, very little for resting stage and only a very small bit of oven spring. i have made sure to keep the house warm and use minimal handling when shaping, i have also cut off a bit of dough around 1lb in weight,

        Any ideas?

      5. also I have been using a pizza stone which you say should help with oven spring.

      6. What’s your hole structure like? Is it dense and doughy, or is it expanding well– but sideways instead of upwards. Have you been through the Tips and Techniques section in the book?

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for getting back to me. Being from Europe I am used to a denser/chewier crumb so im not really sure, it is a little denser than i would like,

      as for the hole structure, comparing to the picture in this post Baking in a Cloche which was post by zoe on december 8th of 2013 and has a master recipe loaf cut in, mine has a more uniform smaller hole structure, with no bigger size holes.

      could my fridge be too cold maybe, if so would letting it rest for longer than 90 fix that?

      1. Certainly possible, try two hours. Or maybe make the dough wetter (50 grams more water in the batch?). Unless it’s spreading sideways, which you didn’t say. If it’s spreading sideways, wetter dough will make that worse.

      2. Is it normal for the dough to decrease in the refrigerator? It went from 2qt to 4 qt in the initial rise of 2 hours, then to under 3qt after 2 days in the refrigerator.


      3. doing a covered rise for about an hour longer solved all my problems. I think it may be down to my fridge temp, just needs longer to adjust to room temp

  21. OOPS – I misread 0.9 pounds in your last post as 0.5.

    I have erred a bit on the side of using more flour, because the comments in the book and online made me think that was the cure for flat loaves. But I just watched the Healthy Bread video and was amazed to see Zoe so easily shape the dough into a loaf without adding flour. My rye dough sticks to my hands unless I coat it with flour.

    1. Hi Andy,

      Some of the doughs, especially some of the whole wheat doughs, will be a bit drier and require less flour when shaping the loaves.

      Thanks, Zoë

  22. Thanks, Zoe. Re-reading Jeff’s earlier comment, I am struck by something I glossed over before: he said your rye loaves come out the same mini-size as mine. In that case, I’m not doing anything wrong, I simply should double the dough as you suggested. I am surprised that you give a recipe that produces such a tiny loaf; the slices make half-size sandwiches. If you do another version of the book, you should explain this.
    My local supermarket has very good rye bread and their 18-ounce loaf is normal size, so I’m surprised it takes 2 pounds of your rye dough to make slices big enough for a sandwich — but I will try, because your bread sure tastes great!

  23. How do you tell when the dough has risen enough for the final rise before popping it in the oven? Traditional bakers keep advising me to use the same “test” for conventional dough, such as the poke-it-with-your-finger-and-see-if-it-bounces-back method. How to tell when it is underproofed, overproofed, and just right?

    1. Hi Kitchen Barbarian,

      Some of the traditional tests just don’t seem to apply to our method. Let me know which dough you are working with and I can help you figure that out.

      Thanks, Zoë

  24. Jeff/Zoe…

    I have been making the basic recipe from your first book AB in 5 for a couple of months now. While it is always tasty I more often than not get wet/gummy spots. I only use unbleached KA flour, sometimes AP sometime Bread and sometimes a combo of both. I have used less water in some batches and more flour in others and sometimes both less water and more flour. I have increased resting time and baking time. Still wet spots. For my current batch I went back to following the recipe exactly for water and flour content using AP flour. Have only made one loaf from it and yes, it has gummy spots. The loaf going in weighed 1 lb. 1.6 oz; rested for 60 minutes and baked for 45 minutes. Weight after baking was 15.2 oz. I have two oven thermometers in use and watch them like a hawk to maintain 450 degrees. Can you help me save the balance of this batch of dough?

    Thank you – we love this bread and don’t want to give up on it.

    1. Marilynn: If the oven temp’s right (it is), and you’ve already tried the longer rest (you could even go to 90 min if your home environment is very cold), you’ve accounted for most problems, so this is a puzzle.

      Check with this for adjustments for KAF: For that matter, go through all troubleshooting tips our FAQs tab above, esp the one about “Dense crumb…”

      Is the crust nice and dark?

      Any chance you are over-handling the dough when you shape it? Should take 20 to 40 seconds.

      1. Thanks Jeff……….yes the crust is nice and dark and yummy too…..and I put it in the warming draw during the resting period ….maybe I do spend too much time shaping but not excessive……….I have another loaf currently resting…. will let you know and will check out the link above……..


  25. Ok….. here is the report on my last batch of dough….I cut back the water by 1/2 cup, followed balance of recipe exactly. As I always do, I left in in the frig for 4-5 days before making the first loaf which I was very careful not to over shape, rested for 90 min and baked for 45. Wt going in was 1 lb. 1.7 oz and 14.4 oz when baked. A week later (about 12 days out from mixing date) I decided to cook the balance of the dough. I only had enough dough for two loaves, pre-bake wt for one was 1 pound on the nose and the other 1 lb. 1.1 oz. Shouldn’t it have been closer to 3 lbs. left? Anyway I handled it as above and both loaves had gummy spots. Could it have to do with the length of time in the refrigerator? Though I have never gone over the 14 days storage. I use a std. dough rising bucket with a small hole in the center so it is not air tight.

    1. Marilynn: Our pound-numbers are only estimates– the recipe makes four 0.9 pound loaves, to be exact. Sounds like you’re someone who’s going to prefer our stuff with a max storage time of 10 days. Try that and see what you think. Also, it helps to use it every day, not just on day one and on day 10, 12, or 14.

  26. I made the first batch of dough and the mix rose to the top of my container. I put into the refrigerator and it fell to less then half the height it was in the beginning. I have searched this out and see no qyestions or answers of this. The bread was delicious but more dense then I would expect.

    1. Mrs T: which book do you have, I can direct U to answers? Also check our FAQs tab above, esp “Dense crumb…” Your experience is normal.

  27. Hello!
    I made the wheat verson and my bread rose just fine in the first two hours. When I went to bake I let rest 90 min before baking on my stone with steam water. While resting & baking is spread out instead of up. Very flat. Now, I did have some inprovises. First I had no wheat gluten, & second I subbed 1 cup wheat germ for flower plus .25 cup of wheat germ in place of wheat gluten.

    1. Pam: dough’s too loose w/o the VWG called for in that high whole wheat recipe! Wheat germ won’t swap for that.

  28. Hello again! I’m continuing to use your doughs with very good results. Today, I used the boulle recipe to make 4 ficelles. Two of them rose nicely in the oven, but the other two only rose a little. What would cause this?

    Also, with the ficelle, and when I make baguettes, I often find that they come out with a slightly upwardly curved shape. Could this be due to not slashing them deeply enough?

    Third, when I shape my baguettes, I use the more traditional shaping method (pat into a circle, fold into thirds, fold the top 3rd down again, then fold from the top again all the way in half), rather than just rolling them as you describe in the book. Is this a mistake for this dough?

    And last, I put sesame seeds on the ficelle, which just came out of the oven. Some of the seeds are slightly burnt and bitter tasting. Is there a way to use seeds on the surface of the high temp breads and get the crusts to brown without burning the seeds?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Chris,

      Here is a post about shaping the baguettes in the manner that you described: We recommend it for this dough, so that isn’t the issue. Are you baking them all at the same time in the oven or staggering the baking?

      No need to preheat the baguette pan. I usually shape them on a piece of parchment and lay the parchment right into the baguette pan to bake. This post is g-f dough, but you will get a sense of how I used the pan:

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Zoe. I baked all four ficelle at once. Actually, they made very good sandwiches – it’s just that two of them didn’t rise as well as the other two.

        Regarding the sesame seeds, in case this helps other readers, I noticed later that the seeds I’m using are already toasted, not raw, so sticking them in a 450 degree oven pushed them well past toasted. I’m going to try again using raw sesame seeds and see if that makes a difference.

      2. Hi Chris,

        Thanks for the tip about the sesame seeds, that should make a big difference.

        When I am baking multiple loaves, I rotate them in the oven. There is usually a hot spot in the oven and the breads may not always bake evenly.

        Thanks, Zoë

  29. Hello again. First of all, thanks for taking the time to personally answer all of these questions! Truly over and above.

    I just tried Chris Kimball’s whole wheat sandwich bread. I made the dough yesterday evening, and this evening, decided to bake a loaf. I noticed that the surface of the dough in the container seemed a little dry, and then the baked loaf barely rose at all. It didn’t even fill out the bottom of the pan. Any ideas about what could have gone wrong? The preliminary rise of the dough before I stuck it in the fridge was great, it’s just the oven rise that didn’t seem to do anything.


    1. Hi Chris,

      Here is a post about baking in a loaf pan if you want a larger loaf: It may just be that the loaf we call for in ABin5 is quite small?

      Did you have the cover on the bucket so that it was totally covered, but not snapped shut? If there was too much air circulating in the bucket, it may create a crust on the dough.

      Did the dough, other than the top of it, seem drier than normal?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Well…I’m inexperienced with this, so I’m not sure how accurate my assessment of the moisture content would be, but it did seem dry – again, especially on top. When I pulled the dough off to make the loaf, I didn’t have to cut it. It broke off pretty easily, and it wasn’t all that sticky.

        The flavor, by the way, was great. It just didn’t rise much.

      2. Oh – and I forgot to say that yes, the lid was on fairly tightly. I’m using a 6 quart bucket, so it was 1/4 to 1/3rd full after the initial rise and collapse.

      3. Sheesh – I’m distracted today! I’m not responding all at once…

        Regarding the loaf size, the recipe says to pull off a cantaloupe sized amount of dough, and if I recall correctly, it’s supposed to be a 1.5 pound loaf. The recipe makes three loaves. I pulled off a third of the dough, but the resulting ball of dough wasn’t quite what I’d call “cantaloupe sized.” I was assuming that it would at least fill the 9x4x3 pan called for in the instructions, but it didn’t even cover the entire bottom. Is it really not supposed to be that big?

        It made great toast for this morning, but it’s not really big enough for making sandwiches.

        And again, thank you for your continued feedback. It’s been very helpful!

      4. Hi Chris,

        Next time I would make the loaf larger, which will mean you need to let it rest longer and bake longer. Check out the directions in the sandwich loaf post I sent you. The dough almost sounds like it was a bit dry, if it just broke when you stretched it. This can be dry or very cold dough. If your refrigerator is running a touch cold, then your dough will be stiffer and require a longer rise time.

        Thanks, Zoë

      5. This is actually a reply to your last response. Our refrigerator has been running cold, so that could be it. I’ll also try adding a bit more water next time, as the book suggests. Thanks again for the continued help! Again, I’m really enjoying the book, and aside from a few minor issues, I’ve been thrilled with the results.

        Speaking of results, here’s the ficelle I made the other day:[email protected]/8110308983/in/photostream/lightbox/

  30. I’m using your ABin5 master recipe I found within your website, the back to basics blog. I mixed my dough, and am using a larger round container for the initial rise, I didn’t think I had one tall enough to hold it after the rise. I don’t seem to be getting the volume of rise that your photos, instructions/comments indicate. Wondering if the temp in my home could have an impact? Currently it’s about 66 degrees inside. I used gold medal flour and red star active dry yeast.

    1. Hi April,

      Your room is about the same as mine, so that should be just fine. You may be using water that is a touch cooler than we indicate, which is fine, but it will take longer for the dough to rise to the full volume. The dough should still behave well in the oven!

      Thanks, Zoë

  31. My sister and I both use your books (the original and the healthy bread books). When she slashes the top of the dough, it pops apart; when I slash the top of the dough, nothing happens. I use a serrated bread knife too. Any ideas why it doesn’t pop apart?


    1. No idea! Bake together, using the same dough, mixed by one of you. See what your doing differently, I’d bet it’s depth of the slash. Perpendicular cuts, try 1/2-inch deep.

  32. Purchased all three of your books before I tried baking a loaf. Since there is only myself, and your book recipes said they can be reduced or increased without a problem. Although, I don’t if that is true because my first loaf came out of the oven missed shaped…one side was huge the other smaller. Slicing the larger side of the loaf it was nicely cooked but toward the smaller end is was very wet. Read your FAQ re scooping flour, I’ve been using that method for 54 yrs. Moving along, baked my second loaf and this one did not rise in an hour, in the oven a little over 30 min’s, nice color crust, but so miss shaped and extremely dense. What am I doing wrong? I’m beginning to feel like I have the kiss of death when it comes to making bread!

  33. Hi, I’m in desperate need of HELP! 🙂

    I’ve tried 2x’s to make the Rye bread on pg 113 of the Healthy Bread book but failed both times. The 1st time I didn’t have the wheat gluten the 2nd time I did.

    When I mix my dough it certainly isn’t wet, like some of the pictures I’ve seen, it starts out very dry. It doesn’t seem to rise very much (certainly not doubled). And, it bakes into a very small, dense, hard loaf.

    I followed the recipe exactly; do you have any idea what I’m doing wrong?


    1. Hi Kimberly,

      Tell me about the flour you are using? What brand is it? Was the dough dry even when you didn’t use the vital wheat gluten?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Zoe,
        Thanks for the response.

        The dough was dry both times, with & without the wheat gluten.

        The Rye flour was Hodgson Mill; the wheat is Giant brand this time but it was different last time (can’t remember what though), and the white was a big bag from Sam’s club. Does the brand make that much difference?

        Thanks again,

      2. Hi Kimberly,

        Some brands have much higher protein contents than others, which means they absorb more water and will make the dough dry. Is it possible that the big bag of white was bread flour?

        If not, I am stumped as to why it would be so dry, our doughs tend toward the wet side. You can always add more water to the remaining dough. Have you made other recipes from our book with success, so you know what the dough is supposed to look like in the end? If not, I would watch some of our videos.

        Thanks, Zoë

      3. Hi Zoe,
        I had a bag of AP & a bag of Bread flour but I put them into 5 gal buckets and marked them; I suppose it is possible they could be marked wrong but I’ve been using the flour (that I thought was AP) in may things with no trouble; of course I know a lot of times you can use the 2 interchangeably without any noticeable difference.

        I did make the master bread recipe form the 1st book without any trouble so I know the dough is supposed to be pretty wet; which is why I was very skeptical about this dough from the beginning …. it was DRY! So, can I add more water to make it a wet dough; will that salvage the remainder of the dough? Thanks again for your help!

      4. Hi Kimberly,

        Yes, you can add more water to the remaining dough. It is easiest to do in a stand mixer. Add the water a tablespoon at a time until it looks correct. Let the dough sit for an hour or more to allow the dough to absorb the water.

        Thank you, Zoë

  34. Hi guys — So this is weird . . . . I generally never have a problem with your recipes. But on very hot days in Los Angeles, I’ve found that the dough won’t rise at all! One time it took me three shots at it before I had something passable. I’m assuming the air conditioning in the house dries out the air. Is that it? Even if I more tightly cover the containing, it still won’t rise. What’s the problem and how do I fix it? I’d rather not have to move!

    1. Hi Dean,

      It could be that the air conditioning has dropped the ambient temperature of the room, so it is just taking the yeast longer to activate. If your water is slightly cooler, this too will inhibit the rise of the yeast, but it should eventually happen. The only reason that modern yeast doesn’t activate at all is if the water used is too hot, then it can actually kill the yeast.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks Zoe! Following your advice, I checked the water temperature first, and it worked out fine. I think I have been raising the water temp each time in an attempt to address the problem, and instead I’ve been inadvertently making it worse. Rookie mistake, I guess. Good thing this is just between you and me.

  35. My oven thermometer detected that my desktop oven only gives me around 400F of heat. My boule has too dense a crumb. Am I doomed to failure with this oven?

    1. Try a longer baking time, 15 or 20% more. If that still leaves you with a poor crust, or an undercooked middle, consider flatter loaves, they’ll bake more fully at that temperature.

  36. Hi

    I have been trying the master recipe. It does not seem to have much rise either before hand nor after the bake. I baked it in my Emile Henry cloche but started the oven from cold as I normally would for the Cloche and as per the cloche’s instructions. What am I doing wrong. I let it rise in the cloche, covered again as per usual instructions.
    Thanks for any help


    1. Hi Fatemah,

      I have done it both ways and find that you get a better oven spring when you preheat the cloche. We have just written a recipe for Emile Henry to use in the cloche packaging that reflects the preheated method, so we know they have our blessing to do so. 🙂

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks Zoe. Do I need to preheat the cloche for the same time that you would the oven? I will try it next time.


      2. Hi Fatemah,

        I think 15 minutes is plenty of time for a cloche, since it isn’t very thick.

        Enjoy, Zoë

    1. Preheating the cloche made a huge difference with much greater oven spring. Thanks for the advice.


  37. I baked your Master Recipe:Boule for the first time in my new unglazed la cloche. Do I need to adjust the cooking time when using the la cloche? It did not rise as much as I expected, but it was delicious as is! Thank you for your books and help.

  38. Do you have any guidelines about adjusting resting time after shaping for various room temperatures?

    My house is older so the HVAC system is not zoned. My kitchen is too cold in the winter when the heat’s on, too warm in the summer when the AC’s on, and varies from 60 to 80 during the spring and fall when the windows are open for a couple months.

    I’m getting some of the side and bottom cracks that are mentioned with too short a resting time right now when the kitchen is probably around 64.

    I don’t mind funny-shaped bread with weird cracks much, but I’m concerned that with warmer days coming soon (NC doesn’t get much winter), I’ll have exploding/collapsing bread in the overly-warm kitchen.

    1. In warm weather, you often can get by with 40 min for a 1-lb loaf. In cold, you’ll be happier with 90 min (which I often do in all but the hottest weather).

  39. I love your book! I’ve made several loaves using recipes from ABin5. The bread is delicious but the bottom of the loaf keeps blowing out/splitting when I bake after the dough has been refrigerated If I bake after the first rise with no refrigeration, I don’t have this issue. I use the master boule recipe on page 26. I use the King Arthur bread flour. I let the dough rise as indicated in the book. Should I decrease the oven temp? The bread still tastes great but I would love to prevent it from splitting/cracking. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Thank you Angela,

      If you let the dough rest for an additional 15 to 20 minutes before baking this should not be an issue.

      Cheers, Zoë

  40. Hello
    I recently stumbled upon your method and was so very excited especially since we are trying to avoid processd foods. I tried your master recipe from the first edition of your book and time after time my shaped dough doesn’t get much rise and even in the oven, there isn’t much oven spring. The method I saw the most rise with was refrigerating it over night then baking it. I didn’t really shape it I just put it in a mini loaf pan. Also my breads come out super white. It doesn’t brown at all. Any advice would help. Thanks

    1. Hi Sandy,

      There are a few things that come to mind…

      1. Are you using an oven thermometer? The oven temperature will effect the color of the crust and oven spring.

      2. Have you seen this step by step post to see if your dough looks similar to ours?

      3. Here is a video on shaping the loaf that is helpful:

      Let me know if this helps. Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks for the quick response and advice. I totally forgot to mention that I’m in Korea right now and in their local economy, I cannot find unbleached flour. So all the loaves I made before were with bleached flour. I received my order of unbleached flour yesterday in the mail and I made a loaf with it and the color is a bit darker but not by much. Also my apartment has a built in oven which uses gas and the heat source is only on the bottom. I tried the Dutch oven method but using a stainless steel stock pot and this time I got more oven spring. I think I’ll have to buy an oven thermometer to get a more accurate temperature reading. Once again, thanks so much. Even though the looks aren’t perfect the taste is amazing 🙂

      2. Hi Sandy,

        Yes, I would check the oven temperature. If you have a cast iron pot, that would make a better Dutch Oven. The stainless steel doesn’t conduct heat as well, so it won’t improve the oven spring as much. You may need to turn up the heat, it sounds like your oven runs cool.

        Thanks! Zoë

  41. Bought your book, the New Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day. I’m still trying to master the Boule. I’m in Edinburgh, Scotland and I’m finding getting the perfect Boule a real challenge. The first time I used the wrong flour (plain) as the book wasn’t specific enough. Then I tried Allisons Strong White. , then their Very Strong White. The problem I’m having is my dough doesn’t hold its shape and turns into flat pancakes. Its like the dough can’t hold in the gas. It doubles its size in the bowl in the 2 hour rise time but then after shaping things go wrong during the rest period. My house is quite cool, around 18oC and humidity can be quite variable. I tried cutting back on the water. Then my dough isn’t wet or sticky like its supposed to be. I find the longer the proofing time, the flatter the loaf.

    1. I have fond memories of one of the Allinson products, their yeast, which worked nicely, during a great trip to England in 2007.

      Yes, with our method, there’s less structure than traditional loaves, and if things are off, you can end up with a loaf that spreads rather than expands upward. First question, is the loaf dense (without much hold structure)? Or is it simply expanding sideways rather than up? Assuming the latter…

      How to counter that– first, check our video so you can see if you’re forming enough of a “gluten-cloak,” go to If that’s not the problem, it could be a protein difference, even when you went to the Very Strong variety. In which case you’ll need to decrease the water a bit.

      How are you measuring ingredients; are you using the metric weights we included in the new book?

      1. Hi Jeff.

        Yes, I’m using the metric weights. I’m halving the quantity to make two 1lb loaves. I’ve been worried about the absorbency of my flour. By volume the water works out at 680mL so I tried 340mL and that was too much. If I leave my formed proofen loaves out for a long time, say overnight on the baking tray, should they be able to hold their shape? Last night I tried again and used 300mL. This time my dough is much less runny and still sticky. It took a long time to rise, I left it out overnight. The local night time temperatures are around 7oC outdoors so the house cools quite a bit which will slow the yeast down as well as the denser mixture.


      2. They won’t hold their shape if you leave them to sit after shaping overnight. Don’t go longer than 1 1/2 hours, I wonder if that’s been your problem all along.

      3. Okay, finally got something that looks amazing. With the flour I’m using and perhaps the cooler, more humid climate I only need 300mL of water rather than the 340mL in your recipe but I understand that with flour and temperature being so variable its impossible to specify proportions that will work for everyone everywhere. And yes, this time I reduced my proofing time like you suggested. Now I can graduate to the next recipe 🙂

      4. Last night I made 1/2 the Challah recipe. I’ve had problems with the rising as well, but this time it was much better. I used all the dough instead of enough for a 1 pound loaf. Then when I was ready to put it in the oven, I fashioned a bottomless loaf pan from tin foil all around the braid. It worked wonders. It rose well.

  42. Hi,

    Any tips on how to prevent my loaf from spreading out? I am working with a 2 pound loaf and let it rise for 90 minutes. It did not rise upwards that much but did spread out quite a bit.


      1. Zoe, I am now using the Platinum yeast you recommended. It comes in packets and I’ve been opening the packets and weighing the yeast. But neither my loaves in loaf pans nor my shaped breads are rising properly. Do you have any suggestions? Can you give yeast amounts using the packets instead of the weight? Thanks loads.

      2. Hi Joyce,

        You’ll need 1 1/2 packets for a full amount of the yeast called for in our recipes in New Artisan Bread. If the yeast is taking longer it may just be the temperature of the water is a bit cool, which is fine, it may just take a bit longer to rise in the bucket.

        Hope that helps! Happy New Year! Zoë

      3. Thanks Zoe. If I make 1/2 a recipe then I should weigh out 3/4 of the package weight?

      4. It turns out 1 1/2 packets don’t work either. When I looked carefully it says that 3 packets have 21 grams and each one is only 7 grams. So I’m going back to jar yeast that I can measure out.

  43. I have made several of the recipes from the “New” edition. the first few breads looked fabulous. The one I just made, Potato and Roasted Garlic has a wonderful moist texture and a great taste. However, I think it needs to rise more. I think the oven temp is OK. I couldn’t attach a photo, but it is 2 ¼ inches high. any suggestions?

    1. If the hole structure is good, what’s probably happening is that it’s spreading sideways rather than expanding upward. The potato “interrupts” the gluten structure, so this is a risk with that bread. You could try improving your “gluten-cloaking,” or possibly decrease the water a bit so it’s a less-wet dough, which supports more upward expansion.

      Short of that, you’d have to bake in a loaf pan…

  44. My dough didn’t rise after taking it out of the refrigerator. I’ve had this problem with all of the recipies and have had to increase the amount of yeast. Tonight I tried something else. I used a 1/4 cup of warm water and an extra 7 grams of yeast, but used my grandmother’s trick and added one teaspoon of sugar to the water & yeast, stirred it, and let it stand for 10 minutes while it doubled, then added it to the remaining dough using my Danish Dough Whisk to mix it in completely. I then put it in my Chicago Metallic loaf pan and put it in my oven on warm for 45 minutes (about 200 degrees). It almost doubled in size. As this loaf is a brioche, and needs the egg wash, I’ll use my grandmother’s method and use the wash about 10 minutes before the bread is finished. That way it can continue to rise while baking.

    1. Hi Joyce,

      Your dough rose during the 2 hours on the counter, but then didn’t rise when you shaped it in a loaf? How long are you letting it rise once it is shaped?

      Thanks, Zoë

  45. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    Thank you so much for your amazing recipes! I have made the master recipe very successfully with all purpose flour (both King Arthur and the 365 brand). Because of the lack of flour at the stores, I bought bread flour from a local mill. I added 1/3 cup extra water to the dough as suggested in the Artisan Bread in 5 boon. After being in the fridge for a few days, I went to make some bread and noticed that the dough wasn’t as stretchy as usual and kind of broke off. I shaped the boule and it kind of spread out after the second rise (I let it rise for 90 minutes). It just got out of the oven and it didn’t have the oven spring like normal either. Kind of a flatter boule. Any suggestions of what went wrong? I’m guessing it’s the different flour but I’m not sure how to adjust it to make a nicer, taller boule next time. Thank you so much!!

    1. I can’t decide if the dough is too dry or too wet. That “breaking-off” phenomenon makes me think too dry, but not certain from your description. Think about how it looks and feels compared to the same recipe made with your usual flour, and adjust accordingly. All bets are off with non-standard flours, they take different levels of hydration.

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