New video: Gluten-cloaking, or how to shape a loaf


So many of you have asked for close-up video of someone shaping a loaf  (what we called “gluten-cloaking” in the first book) Doing this quick shaping step is the same with whole grain doughs, but the feel is different– it isn’t quite as resilient.

But as you can see in the video, it’s basically the same process with this 100% whole wheat dough (the honey-enriched variation on page 92 of The New Healthy Bread in Five Minute a Day).

146 thoughts to “New video: Gluten-cloaking, or how to shape a loaf”

  1. Being a single mom leaves me poorer than dirt. I couldn’t afford to buy a peel nor a baking stone. What I could afford was an unglazed Terra cotta tile from the Blue and White home improvement store. I also have several cookie sheets at home. I use the Terra cotta tile for the baking stone and turn my cookie sheet (well, technically, it’s a Jelly roll pan) upside down. I put my corn meal on it, plop my shaped dough on top of the corn meal and let it rest for 90 minutes. The a quick opening of the oven, shake & jerk back of the pan and my bread is safely on my tile. In goes the water and a quick close of the door – 30 minutes later I have a great loaf of bread.

    Moral of the story: sometimes you just have to think outside of the box, not go outside and buy the box.

    1. Darlene: Yes– we’re definitely in favor of the unglazed quarry tiles. Key is unglazed. This doesn’t need to be an expensive hobby at all. The ingredients cost just 40 cents a loaf for the basic stuff. Jeff

    2. Thanks for the tip. I don’t have the money or space for another large kitchen item. So excited to try this tonight!

  2. I’m making the Gluten-Free Crusty Boule and the dough is total liquid (it hasn’t set for 2 hours yet) so I’m just wondering if there are corrections to this recipe. I’ve reviewed each ingredient and amount 3 times making sure I didn’t miss anything. Thank you!

    1. Hi Teresa,

      Here is a post on that loaf that may be of help:

      Are you measuring your flours with the scoop and sweep method? If you spoon the flour into the cup you will end up with too little flour and the dough will be way too wet. The only other thing that would cause what you describe is a lack of xanthan gum.

      Let me know if this helps! Zoë

  3. I am SO thrilled with your book. It has revolutionized my life! I have been baking whole wheat bread with fresh flour that I mill myself for about 10 years but had gotten away from it because of the time and because my loaves would all go stale so quickly. This method is so easy! I’ve made 3 batches in the last 2 weeks!

    I have two questions. I measure my flour by weight and not by volume and the dough is very very wet when I go to shape it. I’m just able to pour it into the pan. Should I be adding more?

    Secondly, I have tons of great recipes for whole grain breads (Laurel’s book) that I’d love to adapt to this method but I”m not much of a scientist. Is it possible to do so by simply adding more water and the gluten?

    Happy baking day! I’m off to make brownies for a birthday party!

    1. Hi Gina,

      Often when people mill their own flour it is much coarser than the commercially ground flours. This results in a dough that is wetter than we intended. Some people have found it helpful to add a couple more tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to the mix, or to just add more flour.

      To adapt your own recipes you will need to add more water and the vital wheat gluten and then just experiment until you get it just right!

      to bake in a loaf pan you need to let the dough rest longer in the pan and bake it longer, but not change the temperature.

      Thanks, Zoe

  4. Another question I have is about temperature. I make all of my loaves in loaf pans for sandwiches. Should there be any difference in the baking temperature or length of time in the oven?

  5. Thanks Zoe. I made the Simple 100% Whole Wheat tonight and you said in the book, if it’s going to be done with honey (which I added, but only about 2 tbs) that it should be done at 350 instead of 450 and for longer. Is that only due to the additional honey? My loaf came out beautiful. I can’t wait to taste it!

    1. Gina: Yes, the honey tends to make it burn at the higher temp. May be less so since you used so little honey. Jeff

  6. I’ve had good luck with making your bread by the instructions, but I’d like to make larger loaves. Perhaps double the size that the “grapefruit” sized dough makes. Could you give me any guidance? I love the rye bread recipe.

    1. Cheryl: Assume you need longer rising time, no less than 90 minutes after shaping. Baking time’s longer, probably 40 minutes. Getting the interior fully baked is a little more temperamental– could use instant-read thermometer; lean doughs 205 to 210 degrees F at the center of the loaf; egg-enriched breads 185. Jeff

  7. I have a tip for release from a loaf pan. My first batch of bread was WAY too wet, because I used the King Arthur Flour weight charts ~4 oz per cup instead of 5 oz per cup. So it was almost impossible to work with. I decided to bake it in a non-stick loaf pan, which I greased, but I used a trick I learned from baking English Toasting Bread and dusted the greased pan with cornmeal. The loaf released beautifully. The bread was very dense, but it was still delicious. I have a second batch in the frig now, using your weight chart, and it looks much more like the dough in your video.

    1. Hi Kate,

      Thanks for the tip, it sounds like it would work like a charm and taste great as well.

      Hope this next batch comes out well for you! Zoë

  8. Kate, so are you saying that the weights in the KAF Whole Grain Baking book are off? I flip to that page frequently when getting ready to bake and, as mentioned earlier, mill all of my own grain. That might be why my loaves were so wet.

    I used to use cornmeal to release all my breads, but my family didn’t like the crunch on the outside of the loaves. Often lately, banging the pan on a counter will cause the final release needed to get them out.

  9. Gina: I think Kate is saying that KAF is off; they don’t measure flour the same way that we do (it’s correct for their measurement style, which I believe is spoon-and-sweep; we use scoop and sweep). Jeff

  10. I’m having a problem with blow-outs. I cover the dough with a towel and mist it while resting. I make deep slashes, but blow-outs still occur. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Tom: Try a longer resting time after shaping. 90 minutes should solve the problem (or are you already doing that?). Make your slashes straight down, with a serrated bread knife (not a razor or French lame, which will seal itself back up). Steady the loaf with the other hand while you make quick cuts with the serrated bread knife. Jeff

  11. My oven is equipped with only 1 rack. Is it ok to pour the water into a small metal loaf pan (instead of a broiler pan) right next to the pizza stone on the same rack.

  12. Good News – I have discovered an easier way for UK fans of your method to get hold of the Vital Wheat Gluten for the recipes in the new book.

    Fishing tackle supply places will often have it, but in the UK it would be listed as Wheat Gluten Powder. Apparently the fishermen use it to form shapes of processed bait. I don’t have a fishing tackle store locally so am now buying it online from a fishing tackle store on Ebay UK.

    1. Hi Zoe,

      Thanks for the tip on the UK source for the VWG. I have never heard of this use for it before, but I am sure many folks will appreciate the tip.


  13. Hi Jeff and Zoe – I received both of your wonderful books for Mother’s Day, and can’t wait to bake my way through both books. I have a couple of questions about a recipe in Healthy Bread in Five, though. This is for the Cracked Wheat Bread recipe on p. 109. Question 1: in the intro to the recipe, you say that we are blending cracked wheat with white whole wheat and traditional whole wheat, but then in the recipe it calls for white whole wheat, unbleached all-purpose flour, and cracked whole wheat. Should we use the all-purpose, or the traditional whole wheat, or is either one okay? Question 2: when you call for “cracked whole wheat”, do you mean bulgur? Or is there something else called that? I would be getting this at a Whole Foods Market, if it makes a difference.

    If you’ve answered these questions elsewhere on the blog, I apologize! I did search around and also checked the “errors” tab, but couldn’t find anything about this particular recipe. I have some bulgur in the pantry that I’d like to use up so this recipe caught my eye, if indeed the cracked wheat is the same as bulgur.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read our questions and answer them on this blog – what a wonderful service to all of us!


    1. Rose: Sorry about that– the paragraph is wrong, the recipe list is correct. Bulgar is a more roughly cracked whole grain that products labeled as “cracked whole wheat”– go with the latter.

  14. Instead of only baking off 1 pound loaf I would like to double for 2 lb loaf for when we have a group of people over. How much longer would I bake for 2 lbs (1 lb is usually 30 minutes)

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      You need to allow the dough to rest an extra 30+ minutes and it may take up to 45 minutes to bake. This will depend on how tall the loaf is, the flatter loaves bake faster.

      Thanks, Zoë

  15. Unless they’re in a pan, my 100% whole wheat loaves want to expand sideways instead of rising. I end up with flattish bread. Where can I buy a small, round, perforated bread pan?
    Another question: How long would I bake a smaller loaf – made from a piece of dough about the size of a Navel Orange?

    1. Judy: You may want to use vital wheat gluten if you’re not making your whole grain loaves from our second book. We did a post on how to use VWG at I’ve not seen a perforated pan like you describe…

      Smaller loaves need less resting and baking time. Orange sized piece probably needs to rest after shaping only about 30 minutes, and baking time decreases to 20. Maybe 25?

  16. Hello! I love all of your ideas and techniques–they seem very practical! I have tried two batches of the HBin5 master recipe so far…and not with very good results. The dough is not very elastic–I can just reach my hand in and pull a chunk out, no knife needed. And my loaves end up really flat, there’s not much oven spring going on there. As far as I can tell, there are two parts to this problem. One, I live at high altitude. I know your book says to increase the vital wheat gluten and decrease the yeast in this case, which I have done. It did help a little, but the bread still came out rather flat, and the dough was not stretchy. Two, I mill my own flour. I looked at everyone else’s questions and comments to see if you already answered my question about adjusting for home-milled flour. I found something rather interesting…near the top of the page, Jeff said to make the dough wetter, as home-milled flour soaks up more water. Near the bottom of the page, Zoe answered someone else asking the same question by saying that the dough would be too wet, and to add either more vital wheat gluten or flour. So, for baking home-milled wheat bread at high altitude, which do I need more of to get that lovely stretchiness and dome shaped loaves? Water, or flour and vital wheat gluten?

    Thanks for your help! I can’t wait to see my loaves turn out as beautiful as yours!

    1. Sarah: All bets are off when you mill your own flour, results are all over the board because moisture content, fineness, the amount of water it will absorb, and other parameters all vary unpredictably. From what you say, I’m guessing that you will benefit from more water— try an extra quarter cup, then next batch another quarter cup.

      Zoe and I gave different answers because home-ground flour can be off in either direction– but from what you say, sounds like it’s too dry.

      Which of our recipes are you using, and from which book? Jeff

  17. Hi This question is for Dr.Jeff:
    I was just wondering about yeast products in general.Are they okay for our health.Some people say they are harmful (esp for autistic children, or immunocompromised persons)while others say they are beneficial. Was just wondering what your take on this is Dr.Jeff. Also should a person avoid yeast containing foods if they are prone to yeast infections?Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this but I was really wondering about this ? for a while now.

    1. Leena: The science changes all the time, and I can’t make authoritative statements here on the site, and I definitely can’t give medical advice. I’m not aware of any credible body of science that would support statements about a relationship between bread yeast and human diseases (but keep in mind that my lack of awareness doesn’t mean that such evidence doesn’t exist, or that it will never exist). I’m no expert on the question you’ve asked.

      All I can say is that the yeast in bread is biologically distinct from yeasts that cause disease in humans… Jeff

    1. Marla: We do not. I’m guessing that you can add about a cup of it to our regular recipes and start experimenting. I’d use some sweetener (1/2 cup honey or equivalent or 1/3 cup sugar), and bake at 350F, not in a hot oven or this mixture will scorch. Jeff

  18. It looks like Q&A stop at 08/02/10. Are there more on the site that are current-but I haven’t found. I had a problem with my 1st HB master recipe. The 1st bk, I had incredible success, but I don’t like just white flour. Wound up with dense crumb/low rise loafs that were almost too hard to chew. I’m trying the MstrRec again today. With the first one, the 3rd day in frig and pulled it out-it smelled like cherries! I cant figure that out at all. I thought I should toss it, so I did. Has that ever happened to you guys in yr experimenting? So happy about these books and your willingness to take questions from us!! I also gave you a great review on Amazon! 🙂

    1. Ruth: Haven’t had a cherry smell, but you prefer a less yeasty version, check under our FAQs page for “Yeast, Can It Be Decreased In Our Recipes.” Takes longer but some prefer it. Also be sure you’re venting your container while it’s actively fermenting.

      Confused about what you describe here, can you ask again? Don’t like white flour? As in the amount in the HB5 master? Or did you make some substitution? Jeff

  19. I meant I prefer more whole grain breads than just APflour. I seem to be having problems with HBin5. I threw away 2 batches. To root out the problem I decided to weigh my ‘scoop&sweep’: turned out I was at least 1 oz short on every cup. So I practiced my scooping and will weigh from now on. That error alone would result in being 7+oz short of flour. I also will decrease yeast a bit. So, maybe the problem isn’t too much water, but the reverse-too little flour. It’s been extremely hot last 2+ weeks so i haven’t tried again. I’m usually very good at baking. I talked to KitchenAid about my non- heavy-duty mixer (the HBin5 dough is much heavier & harder to mix and still treat dough gently.) I have the basic machine and I was told with AP flour 8 cups, but no more than 6 of whole grain. I’d like to try it even if have to change recipe-or do you think that will cause me more problems? You refer to the paddle not the dough hook. Why is that?

    Again, thanks and blessings for doing this wonderful project. I’ve always wanted to bake bread and now I can! Best, Ruth M

    1. Hi Ruth,

      Weighing the flour should take some of the guess work out of the process. Are you using a store brand of flour that is ground very fine, or a courser flour, this can also make a difference in the consistency of the dough. The courser flours tend to make a wetter dough and it will also have less structure.

      I use my 5-quart kitchenAid mixer to mix our dough all the time and have never had an issue with it. Because our dough is wetter than traditional doughs it is not quite so hard on the machine. The wetness of the dough makes it difficult to use the dough hook, although is can be done.

      Enjoy all the bread! Zoë

  20. Love your bread, my family loves it too!! My children gave me both books last christmas, a great present. A quick question, for the enriched breads in HBin5 can I use egg beaters as a substitute for eggs? Thanks

  21. I’ve baked Judy’s Board of Director’s cinnamon-raisin Bread several times and each time I baked it it’s been delicious. My only problem is that the outer crust of the bread is kind of hard. I was wondering if there is a way to bake this bread so that I get a softer crust. Thank You

      1. Can Jeff show us what the dough looks like underneath when he has done the gluten cloak? I do not think I have that part down yet. My rolls and bread spread, when the dough is older, instead of rise.

      2. Hi WG,

        It is not uncommon for the dough to want to spread more when it is older. How old is the dough? The bottom of the boule will look quite scrappy, not a smooth underside at all. It will all come together as it rests.

        Thanks, Zoë

  22. This video is just what I have been looking for over the past week or so after buying the HBin5 book and trying a couple batches. I’m now sure my dough is WAY too wet. I have weighed ingredients (like others did), and it doesn’t look like this at all when I shape it. My dough is extremely sticky and the bread turns out kind-of gummy (made a couple baguettes, a couple boules, some buns, and the cinnamon raisin bagels.- which were tasty though kind of soggy and took a long time to get firm). I grind my own wheat (on a pretty fine setting), so I’m assuming this is the difference. Is there a video or a picture of what the dough looks like as it is being mixed? I’ve watched the “overview” video several times trying to get a good look, but I’m still not sure what I’m going for. Should it form any sort of ball, or should it be loose? Mine looks more like a thick batter than traditional bread dough. I understand it is supposed to be wet with this method, but I’m wondering how I can know how wet (without doing all the experimentation that I am sure you and other readers have already done!)? Thanks!

    1. Katie: All bets are off when you grind your own wheat; that won’t have a standardized moisture content or absorbance. Check out my post on “fresh-ground wheat” (plug that into our search form above). I used some fresh-ground wheat but I sourced it from a mill– much more standard.

      Check out all our videos on the videos tab too.

      Shouldn’t be like a batter at all. Try it with store-bought flour just once, so you know what to look for. Jeff

  23. I just recieved my copy of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. The techniques seem great, but I want to make bread with 100% whole grain flour(s) and no added fat or oil. Will I find such a recipe in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day?

    1. Kathleen: Yep, HBin5 is the book with much more 100% whole grain, there are (I believe) ten master recipes with all whole grain in there. The book heavily relies on vital wheat gluten to make the dough storable despite that high grain content. Jeff

  24. First I want to say thank you for writing HB5! We have enjoyed the great tasting, gormet style breads I’ve been able to make with your method! I seem to have a problem though after eatching this video in an attempt to figure out why I had no strech when I take out some dough. My dough looks nothing like that! It looks almost like cornbread dough its so grainy! I’m using Hodgson’s Mill Whole White Wheat flour, bc that’ all that’s available where I live. It seems very course. Anyway I follow the recipe to a T and I get hardly any gluten strand strechiness like I saw on the video. Also my crumb is very dense with barely any holes. The only time I got some nice holes was with a good portion of the flour replaced with rye flour and more added gluten, but I still never had stretchiness. What am I doing wrong? Am I measuring wrong, is my mousture content off (I reduced the water after troubleshooting with your book, maybe I took out too much water)? Anyway, the taste is great, but the texture leaves some to be desired. Thanks!

    1. Hmm. Are you giving it the full rest time? Maybe you’d like it with even longer resting, especially if your home air temperature is cooler than about 68 or so.

      In order to help– which loaves are you trying (which book, which page)?

      But I wouldn’t dry it out when you’ve got a coarse flour— maybe add back the water, it never stretches well when it’s dry. If you can get a finer-ground WW, like Gold Medal (forget the white whole wheat for a bit as you experiment), I think that might help too.

      See how that works and then check back in, we’re always here…

  25. Hello Jeff, Zoe, and company. I got ABin5 as a Christmas present and got most of the basic recipes working well (thanks much!) but I need advice on the chocolate bread recipe on page 211. On my first try I screwed up in measuring the ingredients. On my second try I very carefully measured everything and set it out in advance. I made the dough, chilled it overnight, and went shape it the next afternoon – I’d say it was in the refrigerator for about 18 hours. The loaf was extremely dry – it cracked rather than molding in my hands. I baked it and found the flavor exactly as described, but unsurprisingly the texture needed improvement. It crumbled to the touch and was almost impossible to slice. Given that I’ve gotten good results from your other recipes and was very careful on this recent attempt, I don’t think it was a measurement error. Do you have any thoughts on what might have happened and/or how I can adjust the recipe?

    1. Hi Jason,

      This recipe did have an error in it for the first several printings, which has since been mended. Here is a list of the some of the errors that appeared in early printings:

      If your dough seems too dry you can add a bit more water to the remaining dough. Just mix it in and then let it sit to allow the water to be absorbed. This is true of any of our recipes.

      Thanks and enjoy, Zoë

  26. Hello I love your book. I made the whole wheat dough recipe from first book. But the dough didn’t come to be sticky. I left it for 2 hours and then baked a lough. But it wasn’t moist. I am I doing something wrong? Please if you can post a video of how to make the whole wheat dough.


    1. Asifa: Which recipe from the first book, there are at least two– which page are you on?

      What kind of whole wheat flour are you using, what brand, where are you located? US or other? Jeff

  27. I came to this site looking for tips and wow – my dough from that recipe looks nothing like that. It is not stretchy at all. When I go to pull a piece out it breaks right off, and there is no stretchy gluten “skin” when I attempt to shape it – pieces just break off as I try. My bread has been dense and gummy and has almost no oven spring. What’s going on? I’m using Wegman’s store brand flours and my VWG came from a bulk bin so I am unsure of the brand.

    1. I’m guessing it’s either the store-brand flour, or something with the VWG. We tested with Gold Medal flours and Bob’s Red Mill vital wheat gluten. Which recipe are you using (which book/page number)?

      1. I’ve had the exact same problems with the master recipe, the 100% whole wheat with olive oil (pg 81) and the maple-oatmeal (pg 145). Both of the first two needed additional water above what the recipe called for in order to incorporate all of the flour, and the dough was still a bit dry. I’ve been poking around this site and saw one of you suggested to someone whose dough wasn’t stretchy that they add more water – maybe my flour just needs extra hydration?

      2. Yes, exactly. That’s why we put the videos up– not all flours are created equal.

  28. Reading your book thoroughly but one thing that you don’t seem to state with any real certainty — for me at least — is actual baking temperature. The preheat is 450°F for 30-45 minutes… check, but is that also the baking temperature? The first few loaves I’ve made have been absolute bricks with too hard of a crust. I’ve been considering dialing the temperature back a little once the dough is in.

    1. Hi Allan,

      Yes, the temperature that we state to preheat the oven, is also the baking temperature.

      Do you have a gas oven by any chance? What are you baking on? Do you use steam in the oven? If you have a Dutch oven, I may suggest you try that if you are not happy with the crust.

      Thanks, Zoë

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