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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3,606 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. Dear Zoe & Jeff, I’ve loved baking bread from your original book for many years (that za’atar bread is a family favorite) and have recently gotten a copy of Healthy Bread to add to my collection.

    How much pear puree do you estimate you use in the recipe for Turkish Pear Coffee Bread on page 185? I have many, many small pears that I can use to make (and freeze!) pear puree, but I’m not sure how much to include in a batch of dough.

    I’m also wondering if you serve this bread with butter or other toppings.

    Thanks so much!

    1. It all depends on how small your pears actually are. We used medium-sized pears, so I’m guessing that you’d need to use more–maybe 4 or 5. I’m afraid this is going to take a bit of experimentation. Too much fruit and the dough will be too wet (you can compensate with additional flour).

  2. Need to make bread for school fair – can I just make up 20 k of flour and cook off 40 loaves in Dutch ovens

    Appreciate any advise

    1. Of course, you can, but it’s going to be a major task–20 kilos of flour means nearly 40 kilos of dough, so you’ll have to find storage space, and unless you have a very, very large oven, you’re going to be limited to how quickly you can bake off all that dough (at least, if you opt for half-kilo loaves). Unless you have access to professional-scale baking equipment? Mixer? Etc?

    1. Sure–just wrap well or use an airtight container. It will not be exactly the same quality as fresh bread, and this will accentuate with longer storage.

  3. question re substitution in GF mixture #2 — the formula list shows an asterix beside teff flour, referring one to the sub list on pg 61, but I can find no suggestions there or on the website for replacing teff. please advise. thank you.

    1. Sorry Kelly, that asterisk is an error, shouldn’t be in there. We didn’t find a good swap for teff in our testing. You’d have to experiment, but we found that swaps in these recipes are very tricky.

  4. I’m trying to integrate more whole wheat into the “bread” category of our diet and I own “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.” I’ve made the master recipe several times, but feel like it’s a bit too bitter for our taste. I usually love whole wheat bread and grew up eating it, but am wondering if there is any way to increase the sweetness while still retaining the crustiness of the bread. Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Well, sweeteners do soften the final result. I have another idea–why don’t you try WHITE whole wheat, which has the same bran, germ, and nutrition as regular WW, but a milder, less bitter flavor?

  5. While storing my master recipe dough overnight in a refrigerator it developed a firm top layer over the center and extending to just before the edges of the bowl. I stored it in a large bowl wrapped in plastic wrap on top with gaps to let in air. This is the second time I have used the bowl and previously it stored perfectly, I’m assuming a messed up in incorporating remnants of the old dough into the new dough, but that’s just my guess.

    What’s the most likely reason this crust formed on my dough and how can I avoid it?

  6. I’m using the new artists in bread in five minutes a day but it’s a Kindle version so I do not have a page number. I’m looking at the beginning of chapter 2 where you list types of flours. I am trying to figure out how to use your method with all purpose Einkorn flour. I saw in an FAQ they were supposed to be at church in the healthy bread book so I went to the library and looked but could not find the chart. But I want to use the white einkorn and no vital gluten. On my first try I used half a cup less water. The dog broke off instead of stretched so I added another quarter cup of water. It was then so sticky that I could not form the ball.

    1. We didn’t test with einkorn flour, so I’m afraid I may not be very helpful–I’m not sure how it’ll behave. But I’m fairly certain that einkorn products currently available in the U.S. are whole grain–they’re not white flours at all. So–they probably make good substitutes for whole wheat flour, not the all-purpose white flour we call for in your book (on page 53). I’m guessing that if you want a 100% whole grain with einkorn, it’s going to be better with vital wheat gluten (which we detail in “The New Healthy Bread in Five Min/Day”), but if you want to do without it, you can probably use it in the page 53 recipe, but adjusting the water upward by a quarter cup (or more–this will take some testing). In what you describe, you’ve DECREASED the water by a quarter-cup net–that’s not going to work; whole grain flours take MORE water. How much in this case, I don’t know.

      That said–since einkorn is lower in gluten than regular wheat, your result may be denser than you would like. And that might improve if you used vital wheat gluten.

  7. Hello! I love your book–so far, I’ve made a boule, buns, baguette, and pizza dough from your book: “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” from 2007. I’m currently making the babka and I’m a little confused about how to form the dough in the loaf pan and bundt pan. I’m making two loaves. First of all, after you roll the dough and fold it–do you twist it three times, as well? This is what I’ve seen in other babka rolls. Also with the bundt pan–how would this work? Would I use two pounds of dough? Would I twist it? Thanks for the information! I live in Minneapolis and follow you on Instagram.

    1. You’ve made the easy stuff, now for a hard one… 🙂
      We did not do the triple-twist–our stored dough may be a little less tolerant of that–we’re trying not to knock all the gas out of the dough.

      But you’ve detected a problem with our instructions (thanks…) if you do it exactly as written, it’s really only going to work in the loaf pan, not the bundt. For the bundt, you can’t fold it or it won’t make it all the way around. Makes sense?

  8. Baking my bread in a counter-top convection oven, provides me with several challenges. Due to age, health and a tiny kitchen I have been forced to ignore the regular oven. I love baking bread, have done it on and off my whole life and am not willing to give up fresh baked for store bought ‘sticking-to-your-gum’ bread. Besides, I give my breads to friends and neighbors who have been so kind helping me with things I can no longer do.
    Replacing the cast-iron dutch oven, which will not fit into my oven, with two loaf pans, one with loaf the second placed upside down on top of first, will that work? And if so, are regular pans sufficient or should they be cast-iron?
    I have played around with trying to make some steam while preheating the oven. But I have to remove the pan to make room for the bread. Oven size limitations in play here.

    Height constraints affect the rack placement also, either it brings loaf too close to top burners while expanding and it will burn bread before it’s done, or on the lower rack the bottom burns. I have been experimenting by alternating between up and down during the baking, but I don’t know when it’s best time to move the bread to lower rack, not knowing how to assure it bakes through without burning either top or bottom or under-baking the internal part. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

    1. Franziska, take a look at my response in the post where you first listed this question: “Larger loaves: What adjustments are needed.”

  9. I recently bought the book gluten free artisian bread in 5 min a day. I’m making my first couple loaves . On page 69 it says to come to this website to see the shaping video but I’m not finding it. The dough looks spongy like. Used a big spoon to take some out. I thought the video would help please email me.

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