Traditional recipes: How can they be converted to the ABin5 method?

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People sometimes ask us for simple formulas for converting traditional bread recipes to our stored-dough method.  Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to the question.  Developing recipes for our books takes lots (and lots) of trial and error.

If we put our our testing methods and approaches up here on the web, our publisher would kill us!  If you want to try to convert a traditional recipe to our high-moisture, stored-dough method, read through our books or check out our recipes here on the website to get a sense of the moisture level that’s needed, then check out the rest of the FAQs here on the website.  Pay attention to our “videos” tab as well.  It may take a bit of work, but you should be able to transform your existing repertoire.

Happy experimenting! More details on our method in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

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101 thoughts on “Traditional recipes: How can they be converted to the ABin5 method?

  1. I have tried several recipes from New AB in 5 with great results. I want to convert a coffee cake recipe (traditional) to your method. Do you consider the eggs to be liquid? Is the butter or oil also considered a liquid? Or are they considered separately and need their own ratio? Thanks for your assistance. Jim

    1. We do, all of the above are liquids, though they don’t provide quite the hydration of water. I’m guessing you can start with our challah or brioche recipe and work from there, see what our total liquids are, etc.

    2. I have never done this but I read somewhere that, when converting a recipe with eggs, they should be considered as liquid. Use less water and if the mixture is still too runny, add more flour until you gets a better looking consistency. Look around the internet, there might be some similar examples. Also, remember reading that anything with raw eggs added should not sit out too long because of possible bacterial growth (and fermentation is a bacterial process), so maybe using pasteurized eggs (more expensive) will be safer. Please report back on your results, and share the recipe if it comes out. Just a reminder, I have not done this, only read about it and though about trying to convert an old sweet yeast bread recipe.

  2. I added 1 cup powdered milk to the original boule recipe. What will that do?

    Also curious what happens if I use bleached all purpose flour as compared to un-bleached all purpose flour

    1. Hi Marie,

      It will tenderize the dough slightly and add a touch of sweetness from the lactose. You will need to use it within 7 days, instead of the normal 14, since it now has dairy in it.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. Is there any harm in doing some kneading during the initial mixing as in traditional recipes? Would that affect the rising/texture in a negative way? Just wondering if the “no kneading” means “you don’t have to knead” or “you shouldn’t knead because it won’t work right if you do.” I know that gluten develops more as the dough ages, so maybe it would still work with half the normal kneading time?

    1. Hi Sandra,

      For the initial mixing you can knead without any harm to the dough at all, it just isn’t necessary. If you need the dough after the initial rise, then you need to allow the dough to rest longer before baking, since you will have knocked the air out of it and the dough will need more time to develop more.

      Cheers, Zoë

  4. The Caramelized Onion and Herb Dinner Rolls (AB in 5, p. 108) are delicious. Is there a secret trick to getting the caramelized onions to stay on the dinner rolls? By the way, I noticed, belatedly, that in the new revised edition the rolls aren’t floured before slashing. Could this be where I went wrong? I seem to doubt that as I have the same challenge with onions falling off my focaccia which certainly is not dusted with flour.

    1. Hi Pat,

      The best way to keep the onions in place is to press them down into the dough, but gently, so as not to compress the rolls too much. You may want to give the rolls 10-15 more minutes of rising before you slash the dough, which will make a less explosive rise in the oven. The flour won’t interfere with the onions, since you are putting them inside the cuts that you make. When making focaccia, you want to really press them right into the dough and with that bread it is designed to be poked, so it won’t disrupt the rising of the flatbread.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Zoe. I had success on my next attempt at making delicious Caramelized Onions & Herb Dinner Rolls without the onions falling off. (I used European Peasant Bread dough, one of my favs.) Instead of simply placing the onions on top of each roll, I pressed down gently. I pressed nearly to the bottom of the roll. It worked a charm even without any additonal rising time. All the onions stayed on each roll. A bonus was when I sliced the roll in half and discovered that the bottom half also contained a share of the onions. Yum! Thanks for the great advice.

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