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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2,862 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.

    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. 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

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