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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2,910 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. Hello Zoe and Dr Jeff! Love you two, your books and this site! Could you please do a review on the Lekue Silicone Bread Maker ? I have been researching cast iron vs clay vs stoneware options and came upon this unique bowl/ baker. I am looking to create a wonderful “shatter-y” crust and wondered how it might compare to the other options. (I also don’t want something super-heavy and this looked very promising.) THANKS! Bev

    1. Sorry, what I meant to say is could you please do a review SOMETIME on the Silicone Bread Maker? (ie I wasn’t expecting an A in this Q&A. BTW, here is the amazon link .. I do see it has many good reviews, but I am particularly interested in YOUR expert opinion on how it would work with your breads:

      thanks again! (I am also really keen on trying your blueberry yeasted coffee cake! )

    2. Hi Bev,

      I’ve been meaning to try it out, so if I get one, I’ll be sure to do a review! It seems like it would work in the same way, but I can’t be sure the materials won’t effect the outcome.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. THANKS, Zoe! It LOOKS like some people are getting pretty good results using the Lekue baker, which actually surprised me, as it seems the bread is baked with the silicon “open” on both ends. Here’s a couple pics to show the result: crust pic is at the top; crumb picture you have to scroll down for:

        Seems that the baker stood the silicon form right ON a steam tray, so that might account for his particular results.

        Anyway, if you do try it out sometime (maybe the Lekue Company would send you one to review!) I’ll be very interested in hearing your opinion. Thanks again for this site and all your great posts.

  2. Hi Jeff and Zoe,

    Last week I made a loaf of Master Recipe from the original book, which had been in the fridge for a week.

    I let it rest for some time and had grown slightly and taken the “jiggly” consistency you have shown in your videos is best for baking.

    Then I forgot to slash it(!) and was quite concerned…but when it came out of the oven, it had not exploded in any funny way, and when we cut one a few hours later and then a second a day later, it was surprisingly moist inside (unlike other times with fresher dough which had been slashed.)

    My questions are all trying to figure out if there’s anything to learn from this! ;-D

    a) is older dough going to be better left unslashed?
    b) if so, after how old would it be to chose not to slash the dough?
    c) if dough is let to rise long enough, will there be no oven spring?
    d) does slashing make dough drier?

    Thanks and regards from Long Island!

    1. Hi Eitan.

      The fact that your loaf didn’t explode or become misshapen, is more to do with the long rise and a wee bit of luck. If the dough doesn’t rise completely before baking, it will have enormous oven spring and tend to bust out of its skin, which is why we slash.

      The older dough also tends not to have quite as much rising power, so it isn’t going to bust out as forcefully.

      The proteins in the dough harden very quickly, so even the slashed part of the dough will create a crust and therefore it doesn’t effect the moisture in the dough. Older dough does tend to have more moisture, because of the fermentation and breakdown of the structure.

      I hope that helps? Zoë

  3. Hi Jeff and Zoe,
    I just received your book from Amazon two days ago and I haven’t put it down since! I’ve managed to bake the master recipe this morning and the boule was very well-received by my family. What would your advice be if I’d like this bread to be ready by 6:30am (in time for my daughter’s school) but I’m hoping that I do not have to wake up one hour earlier (30 minutes for rise and 30 minutes of baking time). I live in Singapore and the temperature is 28-32 degrees Celsius with high humidity (if that helps).

    Secondly, if I make the buttermilk bread dough in bulk, will the subsequent loaf acquire a ‘sourdour’ taste?

    Thanks for your advice!

    1. Hi Melanie,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed your first loaf.

      To have fresh bread in the morning you can do the refrigerator rise:
      1, shape the dough and set it on a piece of parchment. Cover loosely, but completely with plastic, set it in the refrigerator 8-14 hours before baking time.
      2, remove from refrigerator and let it rise as the oven preheats. Slide into the oven as directed. It may take a few more minutes to bake, since it will still be a bit chilled.

      Any dough with dairy in it needs to be baked within the 5-7 day range, depending on the dough and your taste. You can always freeze the dough and use it later.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. Using Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, I’ve enjoyed about a year of pleasant and productive learning — now a question.

    On the Gulf Coast of Texas, shall I reduce the water in order to produce a drier loaf? Even adding minutes and increasing temperature, my loaves a bit more damp than I would like.

    Thanks for a fine approach and great books —

    1. Hi Ann,

      So glad you’ve enjoyed your bread!

      Yes, I would try adding a bit more flour to the dough. If it’s very humid, it may need a little drying out.

      Cheers, Zoë

  5. I cannot find my baguette recipe but I have my artisan in five bread flour mix already made. I cannot find it on the website and am trying to make it tonight. Can you share the recipe with me? I don’t have time to go out and get the book.

  6. Is there a technique or trick for slicing bread evenly? I start off with an even slice, but eventually end up with wedges. I’ve used a bread knife and an electric knife with the same results. I’ve tried turning the loaf and slicing from the side but still keep slicing at a slight angle. I’ve seen different bread slicing guides sold on Amazon, but they all get bad reviews as well as good reviews. I toast my bread, so it helps for slices to be even so they toast uniformly. I would also like to make french toast, which calls for even slices of bread.

      1. Hi Zöe,
        I need a rye braed using whole wheat. I have the original book, the gluten free and flatbread books. Do you have a link for me to a recipe.
        Thanks in advance.

      2. Hi Drew,

        I am so thrilled you have all those books and I hope you are enjoying all the bread. You have requested the one bread that is in the book you don’t have New Healthy Bread in 5. It’s also a recipe we have not shared on our website. If you don’t want to buy another book, I could suggest you take it out of your local library, they tend to have our books.

        Cheers, Zoë

    1. One thing which might help is to use a knife which is wide from top to bottom. I find that one which is about 2 inches from top to bottom works best, and, of course, it should be sharp so you don’t have to to fight with it.

      I hope this helps,

      Mike Dietz

      1. At your suggestion, I bought a new bread knife where the blade is not tapered. It is one inch wide the full length of the blade, and that seems to make the difference. I got slices that were even. Thanks for the tip!
        (The knife I got is a Cuisinart for $20–didn’t want to spend a lot.)

    1. Hi Jon,

      Our method is based on making large batches of dough and storing the dough to use over a long period of time. It is too much dough to use in a bread machine, so you’d have to make a smaller batch. This means you don’t get the time savings. But, If you made a 1/4 batch it may just work, I’ve never tried it.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. Apple-Barley Bread p. 258 from New Healthy in 5: Why does the recipe call for regular apples as well as dried apples and do you recommend a particular variety of apple for this recipe? Thanks

    1. Hi Carole,

      The regular apples and dried ones impart different textures and the dried apples have a very intense flavor, while the regular ones add moisture. I tend to use Braeburn or other firm apple.

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. I have been experimenting with Bob’s Red Mill Low-Carb Baking Mix as the base for my bread buckets. The experiment is going well Have you tried it? Here is my adaptation of your New Healthy Bread… Master Recipe Table on page 81:

    144g Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour
    120g Bob’s Red Mill Spelt Flour
    720g Bob’s Red Mill Low-carb Baking Mix (c
    ontains wheat gluten)
    3.5g yeast
    1Tbsp sea salt
    4c water

    Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Joseph,

      I have not tried it, but it sounds like a great experiment! Thanks for sharing your blend with us, I’m sure other readers will be excited to give it a try.

      Cheers, Zoë

  9. Baked brioche recipe page 189 in Artisan Bread. Tastes fabulous however finished bread is very lumpy and cracked instead of smooth and shiny. I am reluctant to mix dough too much as the recipe says. What can I do to get a smooth finish. I am using the fluted pan and eggwash.

    1. Hi Judy,

      If you knead the dough just a few times before shaping into the ball, you will get the gluten all linked together and you’ll get a better stretch. You will need to let the dough rise a bit longer, since it will be a tighter ball. I’d say 2 hour rise will help the shape and cracking once you’ve kneaded the dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. Hey! Last night I made the dough for your boule recipe for the first time. I got distracted when adding flour (yay small children!) And I think I added a cup less flour then I should have. Its been in the fridge all night. Should I chuck the dough or just add the missing cup of flour?

    1. Hi Maegan,

      It happens to the best of us! 😉 You can add the flour now. It’s a bit easier to do if you have a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

      Cheers, Zoë

    2. Maegan, if you are not sure whether or not you added that last cup of flour, add up the weights of ALL of the ingredients called for in the recipe and then check the actual weight of the dough and see how the numbers compare. If you are short the weight of 1 cup of flour, you’ll have your answer. Note that the numbers won’t be exact to the gram or ounce, but close enough to approximate the weight of one cup of flour.

  11. Love the book, Artisan in 5 !! Great stuff!
    I now have a Dutch oven , a large black pot.
    Do you guys have any guide lines for this type of backing? I love that it traps the steam

    Many thanks Eric

    1. We sure do, which of the Artisan in 5 books are you working from, and I’ll direct you to the page number with those instructions.

  12. I’m looking at The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and I am loving it! It says that I need a broiler tray to add water to when I start baking the master recipe. I do not have a broiler tray. Do you have any recommendations on the tray I should get, the type of metal, or any alternatives to the broiler tray for adding the water?

    Thank you!

    1. We’ve always used the enameled steel one that comes with the oven, but there are alternatives–see pages 19 through 21.

      Whatever you do, don’t use glass–it shatters.

  13. Hi there,

    I am on day 7 of my new starter as per your recipe, and there is much hooch, & a slightly “off” sour smell. I thought by now that the starter would begin to foam and smell “pleasantly” sour.This is not my first starter or bread experience, but I am also not a pro.My previous starter had a yogurt base, which did tend to have a very nice sour smell. I would really like to begin a loaf, but the smell is a bit alarming, and it does not match your day 7 foamy picture. Any suggestions? I hate to waste all that time & flour (I used organic hard flour), but 1 of my other buddies who regularly makes her own starters says “if it smells off-toss it!” I appreciate your feedback!


  14. I’m using the master formula for a boule in New Artisan Bread. The only flour I used is King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour, and I weighed it. My question is this, I know KAF takes more water than other flours, but I had to add almost a cup more than 3 cups to get a dough that was wet enough to fill into the corners of my bucket. Is this common that KAF flour would need that much more water? Or do I follow my instincts as I did today and add enough water to make a wet dough

    1. On page 10, we talked about what we observed–about a quarter-cup extra water, so I can’t explain this. Any chance your scale is off?

      Most importantly, how did the dough perform–did it spread out sideways instead of rising upward as it baked when done as a free-form?

  15. I haven’t baked yet with this batch of dough. I’ll know tomorrow when I bake on. The dough has risen like crazy in the container, but is quite wet.

    1. Yeah–might be too wet. If it spreads out rather than upwards, go with our recommendation on page 10 for your next batch.

      It’ll taste just fine though…

      1. I cloaked it well, and I think it did spread a little, but the loaves came out great. Apparently it wasn’t too wet after all, though I don’t understand why KAF took so much water. My next batch, a double, I measured instead of weighed, in case my scale was off.

  16. Can you please tell me if there are any repeated recipes in “The New Artisan Bread…”, “The New Healthy Bread…” and “Artisan Pizza and Flatbread…” ? My primary interest is in being able to make some good basic bread (traditional and healthy) and a decent basic pizza dough. Or phrased another way, do I need to purchase all three books to have the information that will allow me to do this?

    Thank you

    1. There’s some redundancy. If you want to buy one book that covers a little of all that, you could try The New Artisan Bread in Five…

      But, there’s not much whole wheat in there–it’s mostly white flours. But a decent amount of pizza and flatbread recipes.

  17. I have your first book, and this summer I made your white and peasant loaves several times while up at my cabin in Minnesota. (I usually use another bread making method, but the table top oven at the cabin only goes up to 450 degrees, and that’s not quite enough for the other method.) Anyway, the white bread I made from your recipe always turned out great. But the dough for the European peasant bread always seemed too loose and hard to handle, even after it was refrigerated. In fact, I thought the first time that I had miscounted the cups of white flour and had maybe used 4 1/2 cups, instead of 5 1/2 cups. But I’ve counted carefully every time since. When shaping the peasant loaf I had to work very quickly to keep it from almost oozing out of my hands. The dough spread out quite a lot while it was resting and didn’t rise very much in the oven. I also have to cook it longer than you advise to get the bottom of the bread done–even at home in my conventional oven. However, the crumb looks quite good and the bread is very tasty. I’m not sure what the issue is, but I was thinking I might do better if I had a target weight for the white flour. instead of volume measurements. Do you know how many grams/ounces I should be shooting for? Or, maybe you have another idea about what’s going wrong. Thanks, Beth

    1. Doesn’t make sense to me, because the rye and whole wheat usually aborb more water than white, and you’re just replacing it cup-for-cup with 1 cup out of 6.5.

      But it’s too wet, should decrease the water a bit. 1/4-cup? Weights appear in the 2013 edition of the book (The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day).

  18. Is it possible to halve the recipe for the basic dough? Just went from a family of 5 to a family of 2 (triplet daughters off at college!) so we can never use up the dough in time. It’s been a household staple for years so I want to keep making the bread. Thanks!

  19. Baked my second batch yesterday, but forgot to slash before placing dough in oven–ended up slashing after about 10 minutes in oven–but tastes delicious. I read in “The NEW Artisan Bread…” book that I can leave the baked bread on the counter covered with an overturned bowl and another way (wax paper, perhaps?) and then loosely covered in foil before placing it in fridge. Which is the best way to store baked bread? Thank you.

      1. Thanks, Jeff; thought i saw it but then couldn’t find it–driving me crazy. I have a kindle version–found the info on location 755, under “what’s the best way to store fresh bread? THANKS!

  20. Hi Zoe
    My dough ended up a gooey mess even though I sprinkled it with flour before attempting to bake. I ended up throwing this first batch away. What did I do wrong?

  21. In advance, thanks for responding to this unusual request. I have a number of severe dietary restrictions and have found the only bread that seems to agree with me on a somewhat regular basis in English muffin bread loaf. A gluten free English muffin bread loaf recipe would work as well. I really don’t want to make individual the small rounds we see commercially available. I have several of your books but have missed finding this recipe.

    Trying to feed myself is such a chore, so thanks again.

    1. In Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, we recommend pan-baking the Gluten-Free Challah or Brioche dough from that book (on Amazon at–to get what you’re looking for, you’d just bake these as loaf breads as written (could skip the braid on that Challah).

  22. I am using:
    ”The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”

    I would like to find ways to vary the INDIVIDUAL loaves I bake using Your Master Recipe. I like variety in my breads.

    Prior to using your method, I had been baking single loaves using a no knead recipe. I would bake a loaf using bread flour one day. The next day I might substitute Whole Wheat for some of the Bread Flour. And the next I might make a caraway rye loaf.

    It is obvious to me that I could not simply add other flours to each handful of dough I take from the Master Recipe, since those additional flours would not be fermented.

    Have you any suggestions for how I might create different loaves?

    1. All our variations in that book–are basically what you’re looking for. Basically everything in Chapter 6 of the book you’re referring to.

    2. Steve, since you vary the flours and/or ingredients on a daily basis, perhaps you could scale down the master recipe to make, say, 2 or 3 single loaves of the size you prefer and store the smaller batch of dough in one smaller container. Glad containers are great for this.

      Then, for 3 or 4 days in a row, mix up one different 2- or 3-loaf variation each day and store those. You would have 3 or 4 smaller containers in your refrigerator. That way you wouldn’t have to mix a fresh batch of dough for 8 or so days in the cycle and could pull out a loaf-size ball of dough from whichever variation you’d like for that day’s baking. You would have 6 to 12 days’ worth of single-loaf baking available for 3 or 4 days’ worth of work without having to mix a fresh batch of dough every day except for the first 3 or 4 days. Those numbers are not a mathematical certainty, but hopefully you get the idea. Hopefully I explained it clearly enough. I’ll call it the Revolving Door Method.

  23. Just discovered New Artisan in 5 updated book: love everything I’ve made. I do have 1 question. In 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (p. 134), can I substitute 5 tbspns melted butter for the oil, or will that create problems?

  24. I am making the whole wheat bread from your book “The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” I have found that the bread becomes stale to the point it is nearly uncuttable if it is over 8 hours old. I was hoping to make some bread that I could keep in my bread bag and use over the course of 2-3 days. Is this possible with your method?

    1. Plastic bags may work better than your bread bags, but the crust will almost immediately soften. Fresh homemade loaves weren’t made for storage; they have no preservatives or dough conditioners. That said, the natural sourdough (end of book) is a natural preservative and that might be your answer.

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