Ask a Question

If you have a bread-baking question, you’ll probably find the answer on our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page, so please start there (we also have a Gluten-Free FAQs page). If you don’t find your answer in the FAQs, you can post baking questions and comments, but please be brief, so we can get to all the questions.  

Here’s how: Click on any “Comments/Reply” field at the top of any of our posts (it doesn’t have to be here on “Ask a Question”) and scroll down to the bottom; then enter your question or comment. Tell us which book you’re working from, and which recipe and page number–we need that in order to answer your question. If you enter your e-mail and check off “notify me of follow-up comments by e-mail,” you’ll automatically find out when we respond.

We answer all questions ourselves here on the website within 24 hours, often with a reference to a page number in our books where possible.  Please remember that our blog is moderated, so your post may not appear until we’ve read and approved it; this can take 24 hours.  And don’t look for our response in your personal e-mail– come back here to the site, on the page where you posted, to look for our answer.


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2,393 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. Hi. First, I’ve been enjoying your method for several years now and I want to express my gratitude for simplifying my bread-making and for being so accessible and offering so much information on your website.

    Second, I wonder if you could recommend the best of your recipes for making slider rolls.

    1. Hi Botany Bill,

      Thanks for the note. I like to use the challah recipe for this type of rolls. Use about 2 ounces of dough to make a small bun.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  2. Hello,
    I really love bread made from sprouted wheat flour such as the Ezekiel brand. Does your method stand to incorporating such an ingredient to produce a loaf such as Ezekiel’s?

    1. Hi Paris,

      You can find information about sprouted wheat in our newest book The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. We talk about substituting the flour in any of our recipes, but we don’t have one specifically mimicking Ezekiel bread, so you’ll have to do some experimenting.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. Oddly, my kidney diet requires/suggests sparing use of whole grains, so I’m usually using your original Artisian Bread in 5 Minutes a day. However, I do like whole grains and occasionally substitutes a little for unbleached white flour. I bought some mesquite powder/flour online but I can only find “hearty” bread recipes. T was a xpensive and I don’t want to waste it. Can I just substitute one cup of mesquite flour for white unbleached like in the recipe for Deli Rye bread in your first cookbook? Thanks. I’m enjoying baking bread for the first time in 20 years and you save me from having to buy expen$ive store bought artesian bread or the styrofoam stuff. ❤️

    1. Hi Leslie,

      Yes, that should work just fine. Mesquite doesn’t have any gluten, so if the dough seems a bit too wet, just add a little more flour until it looks like the dough you are used to working with.

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Eileen,

      We have pumpernickel breads in both our New Healthy Bread in Five and New Artisan Bread in Five books. Our recipes use Rye flour and caramel color. The one in the healthy bread book uses more whole grains as well.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. In your book you mention that there is a video on this site on “shaping bread”. I cannot find that page.

    I have made your basic recipe 3 times now and am not happy with the results. I weight everything, and the first rise seems to go well. I shape the dough gently so as to not deflate, follow the directions on slashing and then allow to rise. Not much rise and seems to flatten out in the oven. I do use a stone and steam. The bread is heavy and the crust is always bumpy…not smooth.

  5. Hello. I just read your post about Better Batter flour mix and that it can be substituted for Flour Mix #1. If I want to use sorghum in place of some of that four mix (Better Batter), will I have to adjust xanthan gum? I was just thinking about it, and I realized that, given that the xanthan gum is already in the flours, its proportion would be accounted for in everything except a sub (in this case, sorghum). Or perhaps, it’s too small an amount to matter?? Thank you in advance for any help.

    1. Hi Sandy,

      It depends on how much Sorghum you intend to use. If you are using a cup or more, than I would increase the xanthan by about 1 teaspoon per cup. This will take some experimenting. I would start by making a small batch until you get a dough you are happy with.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. For 5 months i have been baking bread from your Master Dough recipe in Zoe’s Craftsy video. I weigh the flour in grams, use Gold Medal ap flour as directed. But this month, Feb. I end up with really wet dough. It looks shaggy after mixing just as in the past. But when i go to bake the next day, it is too wet. It’s one sticky mess. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and the home is cool at 65 degrees. If i use mor flour to shape I lose my artisian crumb. Its tasty, but not the loaf we enjoyed in the past. I’ll reduce yeast next to give a go. Any other suggestions?

    1. Hi Eva,

      Have you made more than one batch that turned out this way? If so, it can be a batch of flour that is lower in protein. Typically in the winter the flour would be dry and therefore produce a stiffer dough, not a wetter one, so this is curious. It may also be a matter of shaping the wet dough. Here is a video that may help:

      Reducing the yeast will produce a nice dough, but it won’t effect the wetness problem. It will take longer to rise, but it will produce lovely artisan hole structure.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. interested in making Irish brown bread with coarse whole wheat. Plan on using King Arthur brand. Can i substitute this flour for the whole wheat in the Master Recipe in the New Healthy Bread book without any additional changes other than the change noted in the book if using King Arthur flour?

    1. Hi Bob,

      Coarse whole wheat will behave differently than any of the whole wheat flours we mention in the book, since it won’t produce as much gluten as the other brands we’ve discussed. You’ll likely need less water, so I would start with 1 cup less water and add it only as needed to get a dough that resembles the dough you have made from our books before.

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. The New Healthy Bread in 5 a Day 100% Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Bread calls for a pan 8 1/2 x 4 1/2. If I need to use a pan 9 1/4 x 5 1/4 how large a chunk of dough would I use and how long should it bake? Would a better bread be produced by using the stated size pan? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi. You could add another 8 ounces of dough to the pan to fill it nicely. You’ll want to increase the resting time by about 30 minutes and baking time by about 10 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. I have just acquired The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I am acquiring all my equipment and my question is regarding the broiler pan. I do not have one. Is that required or can I supplement another pan to hold water – say a small round cake pan. I have a very small apartment oven . Thank you for your response.

  10. Hello. Let me first say that I am REALLY ENJOYING your book. It’s been years since I had a good tasting bagel (and never had a gf one until now). I do have a couple of questions:
    In the bagel recipe in your gluten free book, it first says to preheat a stone. Then it says to put the bagels on the “prepared baking sheet.” I didn’t see anything about a baking sheet prior to that step. Then it goes on to say, that you put the stone in the oven…. I decided that you must have meant that I should preheat the stone, then put the bagels to rest on a baking sheet with parchment, and then put the baking sheet onto the preheated stone that is already in the oven. Is that correct? If not, can you please clarify? Thanks.

    My next question is about the bagels, but it also relates to other recipes in the book. I went a bit crazy (so excited to have great tasting gf breads), and I made a lot of things (bagels, boulle, and a flatbread with zaatar). What is the best way to save these? We cannot possibly eat them in the next few days. Wrap, freeze, and reheat in oven? Any suggestions? Thank you again for this wonderful book.

    1. Hi Sandy,

      Yes, you are absolutely right. You’ll place the baking sheet right on top of the baking stone. You can also bake the bagels directly on the baking stone, but its easier to get them in and out of the oven if you use the baking sheet.

      I’m so glad you are enjoying all the bread. The GF breads do tend to stale faster than our wheat based breads, so you want to freeze any that you haven’t finished. You can toast or reheat in the oven when you are ready to eat.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. Got “The New Artisan Bread…” for Christmas and have been making several loaves a week since. Mostly loaves turning out well, family chows down the bread, etc. But, while the bread generally tastes good, I notice a slight bitter aftertaste on my tongue after each bite. Any ideas what this might be and how to avoid? I use the Gold Medal all purpose flour, good (no taste) tap water, etc. I do use a store brand yeast – might that make a difference? thanks for your thoughts.

    1. Hi Ben,

      This may be the fermentation that is building up in the dough. Does it have an alcohol taste? Some people are more sensitive to it than others. My husband can detect it and I can’t. You can use less yeast and that will help. Using less yeast means you will need to let the dough rise longer before using it. Here is a post that will help:

      The gases will also build up in the container if it isn’t vented well enough, so you need to make sure that there is a tiny hole in the lid or that it is open a hair so the gas can escape.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. In “Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” (Oct 2014), the Bagel recipe on pg 164 is confusing. Step 5 says to place the stone in the oven, but it’s already there from step 1 and it never tells you when to put the bagels in the over. Are we supposed to place the (metal ?) “baking sheet” (from Step 4) with the bagels on them in the oven on top of the stone ? And why can’t we put the water in the broiler tray earlier ?

    Also, please provide a pointer to a “lean dough” recipe in your book that fits for these bagels.


    1. Hi Alan,

      You’ll place the baking sheet right on top of the preheated baking stone. You can also bake the bagels directly on the baking stone, but it’s easier to get them in and out of the oven if you use the baking sheet.

      You can use the master recipe or any other recipe that doesn’t contain too much sugar.

      Thank you, Zoë

  13. Hi,
    I’m very happy I discovered your book. Baking was like a myth to me, thanks to your book it turned into reality!
    I was wondering whether you’ve tried low carb breads using coconut flour, for example?

    1. Hi Liliana,

      We do have a coconut bread in our gluten-free book, but most of that book is not geared towards low carb baking. Since most of our recipes are based on wheat or other starches, I can’t say that we’ve really covered this area of baking. Peter Reinhart has a book that covers this subject well.

      Thanks, Zoë

  14. I have experience the same thing, specially when I know I have used some “extra” yeast trying to assure a good rise. Thanx for the tip Zoe

  15. I just don’t seem to get that tight skin around my dough. When I score it, it’s not too good. What should I do to make a more taut outer surface on my dough?


    1. Hi Al,

      Did you watch the video about shaping the dough? That should help you form a tighter ball. You may also need to pinch the ends together on the bottom so it does’t lose it’s shape.

      Thanks, Zoë

  16. I’ve learned it is better for me to weigh my flour, and while I’m at it I use a thermometer to make sure my water is the right temperature. But when I didn’t know what weight to use for Durum flour for the Italian bread I threw caution to the wind and just used measuring cups and guessed the water temperature. First of all, the dough did not rise like the other doughs had. Secondly, it seemed very dry when I pulled out my first loaf’s worth. Can I add more water? Should I?

    1. Hi Wendy,

      Yes, you sure can. If the dough is already risen and chilled, it is easiest to add water in a stand mixer using a dough hook.

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. Any suggestions as to how to freeze dough—in a ball, wrapped in parchment? Or can it just be frozen in a freezer zip lock bag? (Does the frozen dough just pop loose from whatever wrapping when it’s still frozen or will it tend to stick to the wrapping)?

    When storing dough in the frig, what would be the result of plugging the air escape hole after a day or two, and does the answer depend on what kind of flour was used to prepare that dough?

    1. Hi Kathleen,

      In the books we suggest to divide the dough into smaller balls (1-pound pieces) and put them into zip lock freezer bags. The bags need enough space in case the dough still rises when it first goes in the freezer. If the dough is chilled before freezing, it won’t rise much. If you are going to freeze the dough for more than a few days, I would double up the bag.

      Thanks, Zoë

  18. If i keep a couple ounces of my “Master Recipe” to create a quick sourdough starter (suggested in the book “Artisan Bread in 5” you can just mix your next batch in the same container with the bits of leftover dough) can I keep my few ounces by adding some flour and water weekly or every 2 weeks as you would with a standard starter? How often would I need to feed it, and about how much flour and water per ounce?

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