Watching Dough Rise – how high should it go? (Plus, a new member of the Bread in Five family)

We have you mix up your dough in a nice big 6-Quart Food-Storage Container, because over the course of 2 hours it will grow to nearly touch the lid.  Some folks have asked exactly what that should look like, so I mixed up a batch of each Master recipe from ABin5 and HBin5, then sat back and watched them rise. I promise this is more fun than watching paint dry, it will show you exactly what your dough should look like and I’ve set it to a little Johnny Cash (Ooops, apparently I can’t do that. Had to switch to something with a little less….copyright).

We also have an exciting announcement to make, especially for those Brits who are baking our bread or people excited to bake with weights.

Our first book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day was translated for British bakers. Yes, it is still in English, but the recipes are converted to weights. They appear in both ounces and metrics. For those of you Americans excited to bake by weights this will be a welcome edition. The book’s title and look are also changed, but the recipes are the same. Five Minute Bread is now available for pre-order on and will be on bookstore shelves in January 2011.

Happy Baking!

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177 thoughts on “Watching Dough Rise – how high should it go? (Plus, a new member of the Bread in Five family)

  1. Whee! A use for my new (last Christmas…) kitchen scale! Way to go guys. Since my first Zoe class, I have been turned on to cooking by weight. So much more accurate!

  2. I would like to use Flax Seed meal in place of the oil in one of your bread recipes. I have used this method before with other bread recipes when the recipe calls for 2 Tbls. shortening I use 6 Tbls of flax seed meal. How would I do this for the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread which uses 5 Tbls neutral-flavored oil?

    1. Hi Michelle,

      This is a new one to me, but it sounds like an interesting idea. You can try the same method you have been doing for converting and see if it works. Please let us know how it goes!

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. Hi there

    I get a lot of moisture on the cover of the bin that I have my bread rising in. Is this ok? I do have to keep wiping it off every day.



    1. Hi Patricia,

      This is fine, but if you pierce a hole in the top, as I show in the video, you can avoid it all together!

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. Off topic a bit, but I was wondering about something. I’ve inthe past done no knead breads where some lager beer was substituted for water to give the bread a pleasant sour dough tang.

    I have found that the first loaf of does not possess the great yeasty zip of a later loaf from the batch and wondered if a portion of beer could be similarly substituted. Have you experimented with this? Would this affect the fridge life of the dough?

    Thanks and regards


  5. Does this also hold true for the gluten-free recipes? Does the gluten-free dough look similar in appearance?

    I’m still experimenting with the recipes and don’t know if what I’m doing is correct. My results have been… ehhh… some ok, some not. It’s so much easier with a visual 🙂

    thank you!

    1. Hi Carrie,

      I will also be doing a post on g-f dough rising. I agree that it is easier to follow with the visual.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. Question: my bread doesn’t rise that high. I’ve tried it with the lid all the way on (no hole) and lightly on and still it goes up about to the 4. Thoughts? I do use warm water, I’m not sure what else could be wrong? I will try the hole! Thanks!

    1. Hi Susanna,

      What brand of flour are you using for your dough and which recipe is it?

      Let us know more details and we will try to help you figure it out! Zoë

  7. I would love to own the British version–will it be available to purchase in the states? Will HBin5 be released in a British version?

    1. Michelle: Short of ordering it from the U.K., I can’t think of any way of buying a copy of “Five Minute Bread” in the US. I will check with our UK publisher and post here again, but I have a feeling that’s the answer. Jeff

  8. Love the video, and the fun music!

    Question for you on baking in a dutch oven. I tried baking a AB5 bread in a dutch oven, to see what would happen. I baked it for about 35 minutes in the oven. I thought I’d try it that way before trying it on the grill. I baked it awhile longer with the lid off because it was pale. I put a thermometer in it and it measured 200 degrees, so I took it out.

    When it was cool some hours later, we broke into it. But it was damp in the center.

    I would like to try it again, I liked the crust. Should I bake it longer with the lid on or off? Wouldn’t 200 degrees normally signal that the bread is done, when cooked on the stone?



    1. Judy: We usually say that you need about 2/3’s of the baking with the lid on, and 1/3 with the lid off. Have you seen our post on this: Go by the color— if it looks pale, it may be underdone. I’m not crazy about the thermometers (I’m never confident that I’m in the center of the loaf), but for our stuff, many people find that they prefer 205 degrees F. Jeff

  9. My family and I are crazy about this artisan bread!! I showed my daughter-in-law how to make it and she now keeps TWO containers of dough in the fridge at all times for her family of six. Thank you so much for creating such a fun and easy way to have delicious homemade bread every day!

  10. Excellent news about a “British” version of AB5. Even though I already have the original AB5, I have already placed my order for it.
    I have found the US cup measurements a massive obstacle in the realisation of a lot of recipes and, until I receive the new version, I have restricted myself to the two or three recipes I have managed to translate in metric weights.
    I can’t wait to try all the others!

  11. I love the tubs in this video! Where can I get something like that? I haven’t found a container yet that I’m happy with for mixing and storing the dough.

  12. I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving rolls and wondered if the Buttermilk Bread or the Soft Style American White bread would work for a soft, white dinner roll? My extended family does not like a crusty type roll with Thanksgiving. Thanks!!

  13. Can I teach a local bread baking class using your book? We just got a brand new kitchen for the community in Del Rio Council for the Arts…and I’ve already been baking your bread???

  14. Hi! thanks for the video! I have been making your bread recipes for over a year. So easy to do. My kids love to help out too. I’m getting ready to do Oatmeal Pumpkin from AB in 5 for this weekend. Got my pumpkins roasting now.

  15. Hi, I’ve followed your advice on adding some flour to the bread mixtures and my breads now rise beautifully and turn out just perfect. I have also bought your HB in 5 book but haven’t used it yet as I still couldn’t find vital wheat gluten. My question is , can I try the recipes without the wheat gluten?

    1. Ornit: It would take adjustment— you’d have to decrease the water, my guess is by somewhere between a quarter and a half-cup per full batch (4 pounds of dough). The result will be denser– and that density will increase with storage. So much so that we really felt that the doughs weren’t storable without vital wheat gluten– so I can’t really recommend doing this and storing the dough. And storage is really the advantage of our method.

      Have you tried ordering it from Amazon? Click on to see the product. Jeff

  16. Crazy question. Have you ever thrown the loaf in without the secondary rest? Just shaped, slashed, and baked? What would the result be?

    1. Bill: I have. It only works with very small skinny stuff. Baguettes, dinner rolls, but they’ll be denser than you’d ideally like (though often OK). And of course flatbreads are designed to take no rest at all (like pizza).

      The bigger the loaf (in terms of its thickness), the less this will work. Jeff

  17. Thanks, Jeff. I will try this and see what happens. I usually don’t store the bread more than a day or two anyway. I bake all the loaves at once and after we’ve eaten some, I then cool them, slice and freeze. This way we always have fresh bread at a moment’s notice.

    I’m sure I can find wheat gluten in Israel, just haven’t had time to look for it yet and the temptation to try some of the recipes in the book is just too great.

    1. Ornit: Since you’re not really storing the dough long-term, I bet you’ll have some success with this approach. Another option would be to freeze loaf-sized dough balls, take them out to thaw overnight in the fridge, and use the next day as always. Jeff

  18. So happy to see your recipes/technique in Family Fun magazine. I hope many children learn how easy it is to bake bread for life. I was thinking the pear fritters could be baked like cinnamon rolls??? since I don’t like to fry in oil.

    1. Hi Wende,

      I agree about kids getting in the kitchen and discovering the wonders and fun of baking. Yes, you could bake them just like cinnamon rolls and the pear would be fantastic!

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. Hello,
    I have been using the banana bread (BB) recipe for a few months…love it! We love it toasted with natural pb & bit of honey in the mornings for a quick breakfast to go. In past fall seasons, pumpkin bread was an occassional treat. After using your BB recipe I wanted to stay away from all the processed sugar, etc. so I adapted your BB recipe. Instead of adding the bananas (& choc chips!) I added a can of organic pumpkin plus extra spices to go with the pumpkin. It turned out just as fabulous as the BB! I left the walnuts in & sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar to add a hint of molasses flavor. When is your next book on pizzas, etc. expected to be released? I am definitely looking forward to it.

    1. Sarah: We haven’t done bread bowls, not sure how that is done. In the third book we’ll do a pita bread bowl, a very different idea– you couldn’t very well put soup into these. Jeff

  20. Thanks for getting back to me Jeff. I’ll have to give it a whirl and let you know if it turns out. My whole family loves the bread I have been making… Thanks so much for the great recipies!!

  21. Love baking your bread. Thought you should know that someone commented on the Family Fun recipe, saying they might not try it because the term “granular” did not address whether to use instant or active dry yeast. I realize that both kinds work, but I know you will want to reply.

    1. Hi Dana,

      Thank you so much, we will comment on the Family Fun article and let them know it doesn’t matter which one!

      Thanks again, Zoë

  22. Newbie to the AB5. Have identical containers to what you use in the video, but haven’t been able to get a hole in them. In fact, I split one of the lids (am using toothpicks to keep the split open). What do you recommend using for the hole?
    Another matter – my initial rise doesn’t get nearly as high as yours did; maybe doubled, but not tripled. Yeast and flour are fresh (from the grocery, not home ground), water was filtered, salt was kosher. Loaves come out very dense. Clearly I’m doing something wrong, but I can’t figure out what. HELP!! Judy M.

    1. Hi Judy M,

      What brand of flour are you using? Are you using the scoop and sweep method to measure? What temperature if the water you are using? If you use cool water it may just take longer to rise.

      Here are some other posts to check out that may help with your loaves:

      Thanks and we will help you get a loaf that you love, Zoë

  23. Will you post a volume:weight conversion chart for those of us who’ve already bought the book?

    I love the concept but the lack of weights is really frustrating. I have my own conversions but I think I’m using too little flour.

  24. Just thought I’d share – I baked the olive oil dough as focaccia ’tiles’. I flattened the dough gently into a rectangular pan, topped with some olive oil, rosemary and kosher salt. I then cut the dough into squares before baking. They turned out pretty little individual focaccias. The kids love to take them to school as sandwiches.

  25. My husband complains that bread smells as if it is fermenting–too yeasty. He now refuses to eat it! Am I storing it incorrectly, not baking enough? What am I doing wrong? I often use the soft wheat sandwich bread with honey in your second book. Also, when I do use that recipe, the bread often falls apart as I eat my sandwich. Did I let it rise too long?

    1. Gigner: Go to our FAQs page above and click on Yeast, Can It Be Decreased in the Recipes. See if that doesn’t improve the flavor.

      About the texture and cohesiveness of the loaf– sounds like you’re not “gluten-cloaking” enough to create a cohesive ball. See our videos on the tab above. It should be very smooth when it goes into the pan or onto the pizza peel. Jeff

    1. Bill: Spelt can be swapped for WW, but usually you have to decrease the water unless the amount is small (under a couple of cups). More about this in HBin5

      And usually need vital wheat gluten to use spelt successfully in stored dough, much more on that in HBin5 as well. Jeff

    1. Hi Bill,

      Yes, you can use spelt in our recipes, in place of the whole wheat, but it requires less water. There are several recipes in HBin5 that already use spelt, you can start with one of those to get a feel.

      Thanks, Zoë

  26. I want to make a loaf tonight with sausage and some sauce rolled into the dough. I thought about sprinkling the top with asiago cheese. Is that a good idea? Can shredded asiago handle 450 degrees for 35 min?

    1. Bill: We’ve used that kind of cheese rolled into the dough, not on top– will probably overbrown. I’d wait 15 minutes and then try it.

      … but it will be an experiment.

  27. I’m SO excited. I’m Canadian, but I MUST buy this book… I’ve been avoiding the other because I try to use weight measurements. I’m wondering – do the ingredients reflect British cooking terms or are they more or less equivalent? Do the various flours have the same names there or will that only muddle me if I try to work with these recipes? Do you give fahrenheit readings for oven temps, or just Celsius and Gas Mark readings?
    Sorry for so many questions, but I really, REALLY want this book!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      They do have some terms that seem to be unique to Brits, but they may be similar to what you use in Canada? The oven temperatures are in celsius and gas marks only.

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Julio,

      Are you making the master recipe? From which book? Are you using warm water? If you use cold water it will just take longer for the dough to rise.

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. I recently received your AB in 5, just love it. Just starting to make bread from it. I made the Boule and loved it, but crust was a little too hard for the kids in the family. I made the “buttermilk bread” recipe, page 207, and want to make dinner rolls out of it for Christmas. Can I divide the dough and put it in muffin pans for individual rolls?

    1. Mary Ann: If you brush the top with oil or butter, before and after baking, you’ll get a soft crust. Or choose one of the enriched recipes (with oil, butter/eggs). Jeff

  29. Zoe or Jeff, I asked about using the muffin pans earlier. That could’ve worked, but my dough did not rise enough. This is probably a goofy question but . . . I keep my yeast in the frig to keep it fresh cause I bought a little larger quantity to be more economical. Do I need to let it get room temp before I mix the ingredients? It always says also to let rise in a warm place. I never have anything warmer than the kitchen or the laundry I can close off from having any drafts. Other than those 2 questions, the rolls were good and I made cinnamon bread with leftover dough even thought they didn’t rise as they should.. I will say the, “Buttermilk Bread” recipe does only last about 7 days, at the most. It was almost sour towards that end of time.

    1. Hi Mary Ann,

      I keep my yeast in the refrigerator or the freezer and use it straight from either place with great results. The typical issue for dough that isn’t rising well is either cold water or a dough that is too dry. You may want to watch our videos to see if your dough looks like ours.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. Zoe or Jeff, I read a post that talked about how good your recipe for banana bread was. I have the AB book and don’t remember seeing it in there. Could you post this recipe if it is in another book? That would be great if you could. You guys are just great, not only for your great books but finding the time to answer all our questions and give your help. Thanks so very much.

  31. Zoe or Jeff: Hi. I’m new to ABin5 and have made the Master Recipe twice. When I refrigerated the dough, it continued to rise and pushed the lid off the 6 qt. container (not the same one you use) by half an inch. Removing the lid immediately deflated the dough. Should I be worried about this? I used Hodgson Mill unbleached a.p. flour and two packets of Red Star yeast. Thank you.

    1. Hi Debra,

      Nothing to worry about, just excited yeast. Now that it has deflated it will no longer rise in the bucket.

      Thanks, Zoë

  32. Zoe or Jeff – Please disregard previous question. The container has a big “6” on the bottom, but I also found the words “3 qts”. That answers the question!

  33. Happy New Year ! ! ! I have looked extensively for this answer and cannot find. If you use the dough immediately after the initial 2 hour rise, after cloaking, do you need to let it rise again before cooking? Thanks again.

    1. Hi Mary Ann,

      Which recipe are you trying to bake? From which book? Each of the recipes should have a resting time for both refrigerated dough and fresh dough. Fresh dough does need to rest, but for a shorter time. Let us know which one you are making so we can help you.

      Thanks, Zoë

  34. Zoe, I made the Light whole wheat bread from AB in 5. I did let it rise for about 35 minutes then baked at 450 for 35 minutes ( we were about to have dinner and wanted it!). It was really good but a little dense. Think it should rise a little longer next time. Could you add a little honey to this recipe and it work alright? I still can’t get over how quickly you both answer all these questions. Ya’ll are awesome ! ! !

    1. Mary Ann: Go at least 40 min, but from what you say, I’m guessing you’ll like it even more at 60 or up to 90 min.

      Honey’s great– we use it in the 100% whole wheat recipe in that book– you’ll need to adjust the water a bit if you use it here– maybe 1/4 cup less water, or even less. Jeff

  35. Thanks for the excellent HB in 5! I’m really enjoying it, but I’m clearly doing something wrong. I’ve made 100% whole wheat, whole wheat w/flax, ten grain, and andama. In each case, when I went to grab a 1-lb. piece of refrigerated dough, it just broke right off–no cutting necessary. It didn’t have the nice stretchy, smooth texture of the dough in your videos, and the surface looked quite rough. I thought I might have been packing in too much flour, because I scoop from the flour bags, so I bought a digital scale. But, alas, the loaf I just made by weighing the ingredients had the same problem. The crumb was less dense, though. Any ideas on what I could be doing wrong? I’ve never used bleached flour, and I thought I was following the instructions exactly. Thanks.

    1. Hi Andrea,

      If you’re using a scale it is most likely not that your dough is too dry, which is often the case. It can also happen if the dough is particularly cold. When I pull dough out of my basement refrigerator it often behaves in this way, just breaking apart. Does your refrigerator run particularly cold? Try letting the dough sit out for about 15 minutes next time and see if the texture is stretchier. Or you can just add 15 minutes to the resting time after you shape the loaf.

      The 100% whole grain doughs tend to have less stretch as well, so part of it can just be the nature of the beast. In most of the videos we are using the master recipe which also has some AP flour, which will effect its ability to stretch.

      Thanks, Zoë

  36. I don’t think my first message went so here goes again. I have been trying to improve my bread results. Jeff told me I could add honey to the “Light Whole Wheat” bread in AB in 5. So I added 1/2 cup honey and reduced the water as he suggested, to 2 1/2 c. plus 2T. I let it rise for 2 hrs. initially, then cut off about 1-1 1/2 lb. size dough, cloaked and shaped into loaf, and laid to resst for 60 min. I slahed top, brushed with margarine to make soft instead of crusty, baked at 450 degrees (since I’ve made several other breads OK, temp seems OK) , baked for 30 mins., went to check on it, and was BURNT to a crisp ! ! ! I couldn’t believe my eyes. What did I do wrong this time? I peeled the burned part off, and the bread inside was some of the most awesome tasting bread I’ve ever eaten much less made myself. The honey really did the trick for me as far as taste goes. What do you think happened and what should I do next time? It wasn’t just burned on the top, also on the bottom. I don’t have a stone, but have used this particular cookie sheet (double layered) many times with no problem. Help again, please.

    1. Hi Mary Ann,

      Honey and sugars burn easily and this will also have an effect on your breads. You will notice that we bake our sweeter breads at 350 or 375 degrees for a longer time. If you add significant amounts of sweeteners you will need to reduce the temperature to prevent burning. You should also be sure to bake them in the center of the oven.

      Thanks, Zoë

  37. Thanks Zoe, I was hoping it was something simple. You can tell I haven’t had much experience with bread making. I hate kneading bread, so that’s why your book was so appealing to me. You’re great.

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