How this whole adventure started!

… it all started with a question for Lynne Rossetto Kasper on The Splendid Table NPR radio show, on April 4, 2000 (see video below), and then a publisher heard the call-in interview and made an offer.

I can’t vouch for this as a way of getting a cookbook idea noticed– it was a bit of dumb luck:

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48 thoughts on “How this whole adventure started!

  1. Hey Jeff & Zoe – we’ll be thinking about you as you prepare for the new book. Can’t wait to get a copy!! Made pita bread again – my husband loves the ww pita filled with egg salad or chicken salad and sprouts for lunch. The soft whole wheat bread is awesome – made it last night and served it with Chicken n’ Sausage Gumbo….yummy. God bless you as you work!

  2. Congrats on the new book! Please do not forget to include gluten-free recipes and ingredients in there if you can. My gluten-free life has been totally transformed because of your book — seriously. I have made everything from pizza to naan to cinammon rolls and baguettes that are loved by EVERYONE- regardless of their ability to tolerate gluten.

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      Thank you so much! We are on it and working to come up with some great new ideas! 😉 Let us know if there are things are you craving!

      Thanks, Zoe

  3. (This time, with my correct email)

    I have a question about pitas. What are some rules to follow if I want both layers of my pita to be more uniform? Right now, the top layer can be pretty thin and the bottom layer is much thicker

  4. Hi Maria,

    What you are describing is a certain type of pita, one with a thicker bottom and thin layer on top. If you want both layers to be thin you need to roll the pita thinner before baking.

    Thanks, Zoe

    1. Hi Ana,

      This is very unusual. You can make your breads on a sheet of parchment paper and this will eliminate any fear of sticking.

      I wonder if your stone is preheated enough? If the stone is not hot enough the dough will set to it, instead of forming a crisp crust on top of it. Are you using an oven thermometer?

      Thanks, Zoe

  5. Pizza and Flatbreads? You’re really talking to my soul now. I can’t wait! Thanks for posting the grill recipes!

    1. Hi Kathy,

      No, there is not really any timing difference with two loaves, as long as there is enough room on the baking stone.

      Thanks, Zoe

  6. Love your cookbooks! I’ve been using Artisan Bread in 5 since Christmas and it has changed the way my son can eat. He is allergic to wheat, but not gluten, so I substitute spelt flour in all your recipies. Before this book he had never eaten great bread and he is loving it! I just got Healthy Bread in 5 this weekend and read it through. I have one comment on it. You state that white spelt flour is not available in the US. I thought it might be helpful for some of your users to know that it is! I’ve been using it for years. I order it through a co-op in Oregon: Azure Standard. The brand is “Vita Spelt” and they carry both the whole and white spelt. I substitute it in all your wheat recipes….I do have to add just a little more flour than the recipe states, but have never had a failure yet. Thanks for the great books! Cher

    1. Hi Cheri,

      Thank you so much for this, I’m sure many people will find it very helpful! So glad that your son is enjoying all the bread you are baking for him!

      Happy baking! Zoe

  7. I love both of your books. I am baking bread everyday. My family and friends can hardly wait to see what is coming next. Where is the best sorce for mesquite flour?

  8. I have tried making pizza with both the peasant bread dough and the semolina dough. Both are easy to work with, but I end up with a tough crust. Do you have any suggestions for tweaking the recipes to increase the tenderness of the crust? I live at high altitude and have cut the yeast amount (1 1/2 TB. to 1 TB.) Could that be the problem?

    Thanks, Susan

    1. Hi Susan,

      The culprit to a tough crust usually have more to do with the baking temperature. Are you baking at 500-550 degrees with the rack at the bottom of the oven? This will bake the pizza quickly and hopefully lessen the time for the dough to get tough. You may also prefer to bake with the olive oil dough, which is made tender by the oil.

      Thank you, Zoe

  9. I am having difficulty getting 4 loaves out of one master recipe for the boule. I weigh out one pound of dough, but am only getting 3 regular size, plus a mini loaf. Any suggestions? I love your books and my bread is a hit at the farmer’s market here in Southport NC.

    1. Hi Dottie,

      You are right, the batch actually makes 3# 12oz of dough. This will give you 4 loaves that are just shy of a pound each. If you want larger loaves or more of them you can always make a larger batch.

      Thanks, Zoe

  10. Well, it took me a few batches but I think I finally got it all figured out. I have made the boule, broiche, light wheat and a hybrid buttermilk-oat flour dough (which was particularly yummy)! My husband and very picky daughter both love the buttermilk – oat flour one! Thanks so much for these great books and I can’t wait to get my hands on your new one!

  11. I have both your cook books and get so excited trying them all. In your first book, some recipes call for caramel coloring which I could not find anywhere. I came up on the idea of using a product called “Kitchen Bouquet”, normally used in gravies. It is mostly caramel coloring with some veggies in it. But it is a liquid and works great. I have used about a tablespoon per batch so far but think maybe I could use more the next time. Anyway, I am so enjoying these books and have convinced some friends that you really can make it in 5 minutes a day!

    1. Hi Elaine,

      This is great to know. I know the product that you are talking about, but have never used it. The caramel color will give the dough color and a certain bitter edge that is classic to some rye breads. It would be wonderful if there was a product that was readily available.

      Thanks, Zoe

  12. For a flat bread recipe I would really like if we could make the Middle Eastern Flatbread (not pita) that is used in sandwich like Turkish Doner. Its like a pita but thicker. I was wondering how I could make something like this with the gluten free boule. Would I just flatten it and bake on a stone? Anyway I am really looking forward to the book. Here is a picture example of what I mean:

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      I was just in Turkey a couple of weeks ago and ate bread that was just like this. To recreate this with the g-f dough I would do something similar to this naan that I made, but roll it a bit thicker and bake it on a hot stone instead of frying it:

      Thanks, Zoe

  13. I`m going to give it a try…I would like to know how long to bake the “Basic” Bread tho..:)
    Jerry Alexander

    1. Hi Jerry,

      The baking time depends on the dough you are baking and the type/shape of loaf. Give us more details and we can help you get started.

      Thanks, Zoe

  14. I wish to make the blueberry lemon wreath, but am not clear from the cookbook directions how to form the loaf. Is there a video or other option?

  15. Any ideas for using whole sprouted grains, but no flour as in Ezekial 4:9 bread from the health food store? I’m really trying to keep my blood glucose under control without resorting to medications. Thanks

    1. Hi Jodi,

      We have not yet tried the sprouted grains with our method. I would love to hear your experience if you give it a go.

      Thanks, Zoe

  16. I just discovered your first book this week (I know, I’m a little late to the party) and am almost done baking off my first batch of standard dough. After making the caramel sticky buns this morning I was wondering if it would be possible to assemble the rolls the night before and then let them hang out in the fridge overnight before a rest on the counter and 40 minutes in the oven the next morning. I’ve noticed that the bucket of dough seems to rise a lot in the fridge from day to day, so I didn’t know if that was a viable way to let them rise. Oh! and one other thing- I’m using dough made with half as much yeast as the recipe calls for, if that makes any difference. Thanks!!

    1. Meg: Definitely can do overnight rise this way, see “Dense Crumb” under our FAQs tab above. Also, you can certainly decrease the yeast, see “Yeast, can it be decreased…” also on the FAQs page. Just takes a little longer initially. Jeff

  17. Thanks, Jeff! I love the sticky buns, but I have trouble getting out of bed early enough to do the entire process in the morning. Today I intended to make them for breakfast, but we ate them for lunch instead. 😉

  18. I now have remodeled my kitchen and I now have two convection ovens. How do I modify your bread recipes for this type of baking? Will your new cookbook have convection modes?

    1. Sylvia: Convection’s no big deal, just decrease the temp by 25 degrees, and make sure you’re using an oven thermometer to be sure that convection isn’t “fooling” your thermostat. May need to turn the bread, dep on what kind of fan your convection oven uses.

  19. I recently went to Ireland and I fell in love with the Irish Soda bread every morning! I have your book at home and I searched it numerous times for a recipe- HELP!

    1. Hi Maritza,

      Irish soda bread is so wonderful, but it is not a yeasted bread. As the name suggests it is made with baking soda as the leavening agent. There should be several great recipes available on the web, but I don’t personally have one.

      Thanks and let us know if you find one you love! Zoe

  20. Your book is great and your approach to breadmaking is liberating! I want to bake large loaf in a 2-lb loaf tin. How long will it take to bake? And how will I know when its done?
    Thanks in anticipation from Ireland

  21. I’m really late to the party, but I just got your book and made my first loaf from it. I had to come here to comment on how absolutely AWESOME it was. I’ve been baking my own bread for a year or two now, and it turns out fine, but I’ve never (ever!) gotten oven spring or a crust this fantastic! I am so excited to try more of the recipes. Thank you!

  22. Do you know what unbleached flour would be called in the UK? My sister in law helped me make boules from basic recipe while she visited, she’d like to continue back home in Glasgow, but not sure what is equivalent of unbleached flour there – any ideas?

    1. We’re told that US “unbleached all-purpose” white flour would be called “unbleached plain” white flour in the UK. What sets flours apart is whether they’re labeled as “strong flour;” in the US this would be called “bread flour” or “Better for Bread.” So long as it doesn’t say “strong,” you should get similar results.

      On the other hand, you could use “strong,” but just adjust the water, as we suggest at


  23. Hello! Thanks again for all you do. We’ve been baking out of HBin5 for half a year now. Love it.

    I’ve seen some recent articles about the benefits of sprouted grains. Do any of your recipes allow for sprouting / any recommendations how to sprout grains using your methods?


    1. Bethany: I’m guessing that you can use up to a cup or so of sprouted grains in our recipes, decreasing flour and water to keep the consistency the same. We’ve obviously not done it ourselves, so you’ll be in uncharted territory. Let us know how you make out. Jeff

  24. Why does everyone use so much salt in the No Knead bread recipe? I made this recipe and the salt was overpowering. The next time I will reduce the salt because I want to taste the bread and not the salt.

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