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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3,443 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. Hi Jeff & Zoe,
    For The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, page 96, Hearty Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf, I’d like to use Pyrex glass loaf pans, which is what I have, for the master recipe. Can the pans go in a 450 F oven? And can they sit directly on the hot stone?

    Also, you suggest trying the Honey Whole Wheat variation on page 92. Are the directions on page 92 for a 2-lb loaf? Is it 1/2 cup honey for one loaf or for 4-lb batch? Since the baking temperature is only 350 F, isn’t the suggested baking time of 45 minutes too little time for a 2-lb loaf?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lia,

      You can use a pyrex pan, since the glass is tempered and meant to be baked.

      This is just a variation for the 1-pound master recipe. You can make a 2-pound loaf, but you’ll need to let it rest and bake longer, as you suggest.

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Thank you for making me a baker of bread! I no longer buy bread or rolls since I started using ‘The New Artisan Bread in Five’ about four years ago. I also have ‘The New Healthy Bread in Five’, and I’d like to try a dough incorporating Chia Seeds. Would a person toast them, or soak them in water before adding to recipes? And would any other recipe revisions need to be made? I’d like to try adding them to the Master Recipe from both books.

    1. Hi Lori,

      Chia seeds absorb quite a bit of moisture, so you will want to soak them before adding them to the dough or they may make the bread seem too dry. Don’t add too much extra liquid though or the dough will get sticky and hard to use.

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Jana,

      All of the recipes can be dairy free if you substitute whatever form of milk you usually use.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. I’d like to make the Hearty Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf on page 96 of The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day using the master recipe on page 79. I have Pyrex glass loaf pans. Can these go in a 450F oven? And can they sit on the hot stone or should the stone be eliminated?

    For the Sandwich Loaf using the Honey Wheat variation on page 92, which asks for a baking temperature of 350F, is steam used? Additionally, is the 1/2 cup honey used in this variation for a 1-lb loaf, a 2-lb loaf or added to a 4-lb batch? It’s kind of confusing because the variation comes right after the 100% Whole Wheat Master Recipe and includes no baking details other than the lower temperature, suggesting everything else is the same (free form, 4-lb batch, and steam). I’d appreciate very much your specifications for making the Sandwich Loaf with the Honey Wheat variation.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lia,

      Did you see that I answered your questions from earlier? Some of what you ask here has already been addressed.

      The honey is used to make a full batch of dough, which is about 4 pounds, to then be used for four 1-pound loaves of bread.

      You don’t need a baking stone when using a loaf pan, so you can eliminate that.

      I believe Pyrex can be baked at 450, but you may want to check their website if you are nervous.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. Hi – I bake your recipes exclusively and love them all!! Question: When I make the master boule recipe, I replace 1/4 C of the flour with 1/4C of Bob’s 10 grain cereal. I’d like to replace an additional 1/4 C of the flour with flax meal. Will that work, or am I jeopardizing what is currently an amazing loaf of bread? Thanks!

    1. Hi Renee,

      It should work just fine. You can try making a half batch and make sure you like the results.

      Cheers, Zoë

  5. I live in Boulder, CO at an altitude of about 5,600 feet. I have recently purchased your book “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and have been experimenting with the Master Recipe. I have found that the best technique for giving me the “air bubbly” interior I want is the Refrigerator Rise on page 42. My only frustration is that regardless of the “resting” technique I have tried, the crust is tough, especially the bottom crust. The crust is crisp but really hard to tear apart with hands, teeth, or knife. For steaming, I use the pouring water into a broiler pan on the bottom shelf. BTW, I have experimented with both regular bake and convection bake. The tough exterior crust occurs regardless. Any suggestions would be so appreciated. Thank you.

      1. I preheat my oven 20-30 minutes, and I have an electric oven. Thank you for your suggestions.

      2. Hi Linda,

        Try letting the stone preheat for closer to 45 minutes. If it is very thick, it may even take an hour.

        Thanks, Zoë

  6. Hi Zoe, I love your books and am baking bread every few days! I am allowing the shaped dough to rest about 1.5hrs, but am still getting quite a dense interior. I’m preheating the convection oven for 30-45 min. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

      1. I have used several: I’ve used the master recipe in the New Artisan Bread as well as the master in the health book. I’ve also made the semolina bread and oatmeal maple bread. All absolutely delicious but heavy. I’m wondering what I’m missing.

  7. before purchasing your book(s) online i was curious if any of your recipies are egg and dairy free as well as gluten free?

    1. Hi Pete,

      If you need gluten-free breads, then you will want to take a look at our gluten-free book, which also has egg and dairy free options.

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. Hello, I love your books and the bread has been delicious! I was making the healthy bread master recipe and shaped the loaves for proofing before baking and forgot about them on the counter for 5 hours :(. I’ve read in that it’s ok to leave the dough out overnight for the initial rise but was unsure if an extended rise was ok during the proofing period. My dough is about a week old. I put them back in the fridge on the peel since I no longer had time to bake tonight. Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Renee,

      I would reshape the loaf and let it rise again. The issue with over proofing the bread is that it rises all it can before hitting the oven and then collapses in the oven, making a dense loaf. You are better off reshaping it and letting the yeast start over.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. I use King Arthur organic all-purpose flour. You don’t have that listed. Would I need to add more water? Thanks so much for your help!!

    1. Hi Orit,

      The organic flour seems to behave just as the regular flour. With King Arthur we find a bit more water is necessary for a good rise.

      Thanks, Zoë

  10. I tried the master recipe for the first time. 2 days in the fridge, 1 lb portion. made a mistake & rest only 20 min b4 dust & slash & popping it in the oven preheated only 10 minutes.
    Realizing my mistake, I took it out and let it rest a further 20 minutes and then baked it on a stone and also poured 1 cup hot water for steam.
    The result was the bread did not raise as much and internally it was dense and not puffed. 🙁
    How can I get better results?

    1. Hi csaket,

      Are you following the instructions from one of our books or one of the posts on the website. If you follow the directions just as they are written, you will have much better results next time. You can’t really take the bread out of the oven, once it has started to bake, because the yeast dies as it hits the hot air. So, the bread collapsed and was dense, because it was baked and then taken out.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thank you for the response.
        I am following the master recipe from the first Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, page 25.
        The flour is from Costco Organic Unbleached All Purpose flour by CMC from hard red wheat it says.

        I had better result last night as I let the bread rest for 2 hours. Reading other comments, it did seem my fridge was too cold as my hands hurt handling the dough.
        I also heated the oven to 500 F and baked for 35 minutes.

        The bread rose and I had some better less dense crumb.
        On the other hand the crust was too hard.

        Wondering if I should butter before or after baking. Or add more water due to the flour I am using.

        The stone I am using is a Pizzacraft PC9899. It seems good but when the oven gets hot, the stone warps a bit and is not straight/flat!

        Thanks for the great book.

      2. Hi. If the crust is harder than you like, then buttering it as soon as it comes out of the oven and draping a kitchen towel over the loaf while it cools will soften the crust.

        If the dough seems dry compared to the dough in our videos, you can watch several on our Youtube channel, then you can a few tablespoons more water to the dough.

        I have never heard of a baking stone warping? How long did you preheat the stone before baking the bread on it?

        Thanks, Zoë

  11. Zoe, I am still working on improving my crust so it is thinner and crispier, rather than tough and chewy. I have not yet tried your suggestion of baking the bread in a Dutch oven but will as soon as I get my Le Creuset metal replacement knob.

    In the meantime, I have been reading (and re-reading) the Tips and Techniques chapter in your “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” book. On page 42 in the “My loaves are too dense and heavy” section, you discus the “refrigerator rise” trick to be used once the dough is SHAPED. On page 47 in the “How do I bake at high altitude” section, you recommend doing the INITIAL dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. (1) Would one, or both techniques, make a difference in increasing a bubbly crumb? (2) Would one, or both, techniques make a difference in achieving a crispier, less chewy crust?

    Also, I want to confirm that with the Dutch oven method that you do not need to add steam to your oven once you remove the lid, correct?

    1. Hi Linda, I think I can help you. I actually remove the knob when I bake with a dutch oven. I used to cover the hole with foil but it would fall off so now I don’t use ot anymore. My breads come out great. You don’t need steam. I hope that helps.

      1. I am using the dutch oven method too – the idea of using the enclosed cooking vessel is to capture the steam so I would think having the hole covered would be important.
        Linda – I am still working on my crust too- top is great but bottom crust is tough and difficult to cut through. Does anyone have any tricks?

      2. Hi Joanne,

        If your bottom crust is getting over done, it may be that your oven is too hot. Try baking it at a slightly lower temperature. Do you use an oven thermometer to know f your oven runs a bit hot?

        Thanks, Zoë

    2. Hi Linda,

      Certainly give the refrigerator rise a try, some people really prefer the results of the bread done that way.

      You do not need to add any water when using the Dutch Oven.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Zoe, do you mean to use the refrigerator rise for BOTH the initial rise and the shaped-dough rise? Or should I try just one of the phases in the refrigerator? If so, which one?

        Thank you again, Linda

      2. Hi Linda,

        The initial rise needs to be done at room temperature, so the yeast can establish itself. The refrigerator rise is only meant for the shaped loaves.

        Thanks, Zoë

  12. Hi, Jef and Zoe,

    I bought my first Artisan Bread in Five several years ago after hearing about it on Splendid Table with Lynne Rosetta Casper and now have most of the books. I am crazy for Asian steamed stuffed buns, called baozi in pats of China, and I’m wondering if there is a way to make them using one of the doughs in the books. I tried to make one using dough from the master recipe, but it just didn’t turn out as light and fluffy as the ones I had in China. Is there a better recipe to use than the original master recipe?


    1. Hi Dayna,

      I have made them and replaced some of the wheat flour with rice flour. They were good, but I’ve not got the dough quite right yet, so I will post once I am happy with them.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. I’ve enjoyed recipes from your Bread in Five this winter, and am now trying recipes from Healthy Bread in Five. Everything has been delicious, and as a bonus it warms up my kitchen! But when the heat summer comes I’d like to try crock pot baking (p. 98). Knowing that moisture is important to getting a good crust, I’m wondering if it placing the dough on a rack and adding some water to the pot when cooking might be a good idea? Have you ever tried using an Instant Pot (or similar) w/o using pressure?

    1. Hi Jim,

      There is no need to add water to the crock pot, since the moisture of the dough creates so much steam in the crock pot that the bread really doesn’t create a crust. That is why you need to put it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the crust.

      I haven’t tried the instant pot yet, but intend to very soon. Maybe even tomorrow. Will keep you posted.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks Zoe. I wonder if setting the Instant Pot lid to ‘venting’ while baking the bread might allow enough moisture to escape to create a better crust?

      2. Hi Jim,

        My first attempt wasn’t very successful, so I will have to keep at it. The setting I had it on wasn’t hot enough and the dough just over proofed and collapsed. Once I am successful, I will do a post about it. This could take some experimenting.

        Thanks, Zoë

  14. Do you have any suggestions for using wild yeast (sour dough starter) in your artisan bread recipes. I am struggling to get a good rise. Rises well and then I refrigerate it over night, when I go to use it the next day or a few days later I can’t get a good rise even after 6 hours. I have tried adjusting by using less water and tried less flour to accommodate for the starter. I have had good results when the following your recipe as is. But a good sour dough is my goal. My sour dough starter is happy and bubbly. Any suggestions? Thanks

  15. Hi, I have recently be using the “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” book. It is working marvelously. One question about the “Lazy sourdough shortcut” on page 62, is for how long the remnants of batches can continue to be used for the next batch, assuming non-enriched dough is always being used?

    Can this lazy method be used indefinitely, or is there some point where mold growth would be a concern?

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Matt,

      As long as you are mixing fresh dough into the batch on a regular basis, it can go on for ever, just like a sourdough starter.

      Thanks, Zoë

  16. Hello zoe & Jeff, I just brought your latest book & I love it! (I’m in Canada)
    My only problem is my bread is gummy. The recipe I’m using is the whole wheat master recipe.
    I tried the tips in the book & this web site but no luck
    I bake the the bread in a dutch oven & take the top off after 20 minutes & bake for an additional 10 minutes.
    I don’t have a scale but I use the scoop method from your video.
    Any help you can give I would appreciate it.

    1. Hi Rosemarie,

      Are you letting the bread cool before cutting into it?

      Does your dough look like the dough in our videos?

      If so, you may just need to bake it a bit longer?

      Thanks, Zoë

  17. Great website and books. I am loving this method of baking bread. I am still working on getting my loaves to be less dense – I am sure it will work out with more practice.
    Ok – here is my question – what happens to the dough if it is not used in two weeks? Is the taste off or does it just lose the ability to rise?
    Keep the videos coming!!

    1. Hi Joanne,

      They have similar results, it’s just whichever technique you like to use. You have more flexibility in shapes with the stone. The Dutch oven doesn’t require additional steam.

      Thanks, Zoë

  18. I would only like to use my dutch oven for all the recipe’s. Is there a set formula i have to ffollow for baking in my dutch oven?
    Thank you Jeff and Zoe.

  19. I have the original Artisan Bread in 5 and love it; between my husband and me we’ve bought very little bread in the past 10 years. Now needing to go fiber free and maybe gluten free or low gluten. Is there such a thing? I see the main gluten free flour you mix has xanthin gum or psyllium which are both extremely high fiber. Is there a fiber free substitution for those?

    1. Hi Megan,

      This is an interesting questions and one I am not sure how to answer. I have never heard of a low fiber substitute, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. Have you checked with Gluten-Free Girl or any of the more experienced gluten-free bakers? If you find a substitute, I can TRY to help you adapt our recipe.

      Thanks, Zoë

  20. Dear Zoe and Jeff,
    Met you years ago at a book signing in Minneapolis, and have since moved to NC. Of course, bought the Healthy book also.
    Here’s my question.
    Can I bake TWO loaves at a time? If so, what adjustments, if any, do I need to make to baking time or amount of water for steaming?
    BTW .. we give out loaves of fresh bread to neighbors, and they LOVE them!

    1. Hi, Great to hear from you! So glad you are still baking the bread and sharing with your neighbors.

      You can bake two loaves without any changes. The only thing to watch for, is that they have a nice color, which may take an extra couple of minutes with two loaves. You don’t need any additional water. Just be sure to give them plenty of room to rise in the oven.

      Cheers and enjoy all the bread!


    1. Thank you so much. I’m trying new breads as I’ve been diagnosed with cancer and my appetite isn’t always so good. This sounds like a healthy bread. Next one I try os the Healthy nd Protein Packed, Cornell Bread.
      I’ve been using your book for quiet a while and enjoy it very much.
      Thanks Again, Nancy

      Thank you so much. I been diagnosed with cancer and am looking for healthy breads. Next one I’ll try is Cornell Bread; Healthy and Protein Packed.
      I’ve been using your book for a while now and enjoy it very much.
      Thanks again.

      snd Protein Packed , Cornell Bread.

  21. Hi Zoe,
    Can I substitute chocolate ganache for Nutella in a Nutella Swirl Bread recipe? Does it need to be a whole wheat brioche or will a regular brioche dough work too?

    1. Hi Drew,

      Yes, you can use ganache and you can use the non whole wheat brioche. If you use a ganache that has some butter, it will flow better and not dry out when baking.

      Thanks, Zoe

      1. Thanks I made a bread I’m calling a chocolate braid turban. I posted it in craftsy. In your artisan bread class. It came out great.

  22. Would using fresh or frozen (as opposed to dried) cranberries work in Judy’s Board of Directors Raisin Bread (p. 209 in the original book) as a substitute for raisins?
    Thank you.
    Gretchen Langevin

  23. Hi
    I am getting good boules but want to make loaves so I have bought a 9 inch length pullman loaf pan.
    I used 1/4th of the batch from your 2013/10/22 blog post recipe.
    The water I keep at 95 degrees then add in the yeast and salt and 2 pounds of CMC organic all purpose flour by weight.
    I let it rise for 4 hours and then refrigerate for 24 hours.
    I then take it out and shape it and put it into the loaf pan and let it rest/rise for 4 hours,
    The dough rises to almost double size.

    The oven has a stone and is preheated to 450 F.
    I dust and slash the loaf and put it in the oven.
    Then I add a little more than a cup of hot water into the broiler pan and bake for 35 minutes.
    The bread does not rise at all. The rise was only when it was resting/getting to room temp.

    I coat it with butter and let it cool for 3 hours then cut it.
    The bread does have good holes but is still “dense” and very chewy and not suitable for kids sandwiches.

    I am suspecting that maybe I have not enough water? The 3 cups might not be enough for the 2 pounds of my variety of flour?
    Or am I resting it too long both before and after putting it in the fridge?

      1. I added some water, turned out it was a little too much.
        Had trouble shaping the loaf so added in some flour to compensate.
        The loaf did rise in the oven but the end result was about the same.
        The loaf was allowed to cool overnight and then cut.
        The crumb felt dense and moist.
        Not sure what adjustment to make now.

      2. I am working on developing a cranberry-walnut bread possibly based on the New Healthy Master Recipe. But my question concerns the use of the dried cranberries. I plan to use a generous amount of them in the dough and wondered if, as the dough rests before baking, the cranberries would be rehydrating and using up a portion of the water percentage allocated to the dough which might possibly affect the rise. Do you think I should rehydrate the cranberries before mixing the dough?

      3. I never hydrate them, but then, I never use more than about a half-cup or so. May have to experiment.

      4. Jeff, I’ve been curious about this too. Might baking at a 25-degree lower temperature for a longer period of time perhaps dry out the interior of the loaf a bit?

      5. I used the temperature (375) and timing (60 mins) from the Sandwich posting made by Zoe on 2017/08/28.
        It did not help.

      6. Hmmm, not sure. Which of our books do you have, there is a trouble-shooting chapter in each of them, and I can point you to some tips.

  24. I have the new artisan bread in 5 book and the master recipe on pg 53 is what I used.
    The boules I am making are fine.

    So I am thinking to get softer less dense bread I should follow the soft white bread recipe on pg 324.
    Is sugar or oil what will help make less dense bread?

    1. Yes–both are tenderizers. But I went back through your comments here on the site, and I’m struck by something–you didn’t find it dense when you made the basic dough as a boule, but the problem began when you started using the Pullman pan.

      A Pullman pan is covered, and that means it will constrain expansion of the loaf as the “dome” fills the air-space in the closed volume. That means expansion is constrained after a certain point. The result is a perfectly square slice of bread from a perfectly rectangular-topped loaf. The crumb is described as “fine-grained”–but what you’re experiencing is density.

      I think you’ll be happier with an open loaf pan, though see what you think of p.324’s recipe in this setting.

      1. Thanks, I have now had success with an open pan.
        The recipe I have settled on is the Page 325, Soft American-Style White Bread from the new bread in 5 book.
        The loaf mushrooms out over the top.
        I guess to fit I have to scale the ingredients down.
        I had been using 1/2 of the ingredients which is 1 lb of flour essentially.

        Loving bread!

  25. Working from “The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” Baguette recipe, pp. 103-105.

    Problem: Direction 8 says “Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone.” But the baguette doesn’t slide off the parchment paper–it sticks to it. Trying to get it off, I wound up with a mess.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Sorry for the confusion. When using parchment, the parchment goes right along with the bread and at about 2/3 of the baking time, you peel it off and let it finish without it

  26. Jeff, Would you suggest “peeling” off the parchment paper at 2/3 baking time when it is used for any recipe?

      1. Do you actually remove the loaf from the oven to peel off the parchment paper?

        Or maybe turn it upside-down on the stone to peel off the paper?

        I have been tugging at one corner of the parchment paper while pushing at the loaf with a wooden spoon to get it off. Works well sometimes, but at other times the loaf is stuck tightly to the parchment paper and the separation is a bit messy.

      2. I’ve found all of the above can operate–depends on how much it happens to be sticking, as you suggest. Sometimes you can just slip if out without removing it from the oven, sometimes easier to flip, etc…

      3. One person’s experience — this has probably been already covered elsewhere on the site: I personally find that a thin metal peel works better than a wooden one to separate the bread from the parchment, even if it simply pushes the parchment out from under the boule to the back of the oven while the loaf finishes baking on the bare stone. Most times the parchment can simply be pulled out before it becomes too crispy (fragile).

        I find that for me, a generous sprinkling of semolina flour or cornmeal on the parchment before adding the rounded dough ball is the secret for an easier release from the parchment later in the baking. Also, texture-wise, I prefer the the added crunch of the bottom crust when eating the bread. Otherwise, you can use a brush to remove any extra semolina or cornmeal from the bottom of the baked bread before slicing the bread. Worth a try. I hope this works for you.

  27. Zoe, I once again watched your video on the initial “dough rise.” I noticed that in both the artisan bread tub and in the healthy bread tub that your dough rose to about the 5-quart level in your tub. I make the artisan bread dough in the same 6-quart tub, but my dough never reaches the 5-quart level. It takes longer than two hours but eventually the dough rises to the 4-quart level and then flattens a bit (as it is supposed to). Is there something wrong with my dough that it does not rise as high as in you YouTube video? If so, could this negatively impact the nice open, airy texture I am trying to achieve? BTW, I live at 5,500 feet altitude.

    Thank you.

      1. Master Recipe on page 53 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Thank you so much.

      2. Ah, so the basic recipe. That should work out fine at that altitude. You didn’t say what kind of crumb you are actually getting. Putting aside where the dough hits the container-height, are you happy with the crumb-structure you’re getting? Have you been through all the trouble-shooting in the Tips and Techniques chapter, and here on the website (some redundancy there):

        Then think about your measurement techniques for flour–are you weighing? If not, are you using the scoop-and-sweep method as we specify at

        And what brand of flour are you using?

  28. Hi! I love your books and use three of them: Artisan in Five, Healthy Bread, and the pizza book. I also like to mill my own flours. When I went on the Bob’s Red Mill site to restock hard white wheat berries, I found that the product had been discontinued due to low sales.:( I really love Bob’s Red Mill; they have excellent quality and customer service, and I’d like to keep shopping there. They sell hard red wheat berries, kamut berries, and spelt (the latter which I have often used instead of wheat to vary the recipes). Do you recommend any of those be an acceptable staple/substitute for hard white wheat berries for your recipes? Thanks!

    1. The hard red is going to be the closest in terms of recipe performance. But the flavor and color are going to be different… it’s a bit more bitter and it’ll obviously look different. The others have very different protein levels compared with hard wheat and will probably absorb less water. Though, with home ground grains it’s often difficult to predict how it’s going to absorb.

  29. Can I use whey from my homemade yogurt to replace the water in your recipes? I have a recipe for a fantastic crusty whey bread, but I’d like to use the whey in some of your whole grain breads if I could.
    Thank you so much for your time!!

  30. Jeff, I am replying to your May 10, 2018 at 8:03 pm questions. Thank you for asking such relevant questions as a follow up to my post. Unfortunately, my crumb is generally a disappointment. The bread is completely cooked but the crumb is very uniformly dense with few air holes. The interior is NOT soggy or gummy. just very uniform. The brand of flour I use is Gold Medal Organic All-Purpose. Also, the crust is perfect.

    I have incorporated some of the Tips and Tricks. (1) I weigh my flour and water. (2) My kitchen is cool so I let the dough rise 1 hour 20 minutes. (3) I have watched Zoe’s YouTube on how to shape wet dough, and I feel my technique is pretty good. (4) I preheat my bread cloche 40 minutes at 475 degrees and then turn it down to 450 degrees for actual baking. (I have even had my oven temperature checked by an appliance technician.)

    Do you think the fact that my dough does not rise beyond the 4-quart level during the initial rise is correlated with my dense crumb? Any suggestions?

      1. I do an initial rise of well over two hours. The dough starts to flatten in approximately 2 1/2 hours after only rising to the 4-quart level. I wait 2-3 days before I bake a loaf.

      2. So it’s not related to aging. When you described the crumb on May 12 as being “dense with few air holes,” that suggests that you have cooked un-risen dough–a uniform, mostly hole-free mass. If that’s the case, I can’t explain that, except for primary yeast failure, and I doubt that’s going on–you’re getting rise.

        What I’m afraid is happening is that your expectations for the crumb aren’t matching what we generally get with stored dough. Which is: a network of small (not large), and uniform holes. Classic, traditional sourdough has a network of large AND small holes–very hard to get that with our method–it happens sometimes–but inexplicably–I can’t systematically figure out why, and it doesn’t usually happen.

        Though I said your altitude is probably not the problem, you could try the altitude adjustments at … but I’m not holding out a lot of hope for that. You may prefer our method with pita and flatbreads from that chapter, where this isn’t part of people’s expectation.

  31. I’d like to know if I can use the whey from my homemade yogurt as a replacement for the water in your whole grain recipes.
    I have a great recipe for crusty whey bread that I sometimes make, but I’m not sure of the effects of the whey on dough kept in the refrigerator for a week or more.
    Thank you so much for your time (and for your wonderful recipes!)

  32. Having a hard time finding in your books ( which are awesome by the way ) information on flour substitutions.
    In the first Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a day the 100% whole wheat bread shows an option to substitute spelt flour. I am wondering what ratios I can use?
    Example 3 to 1 or 50 / 50? Or does it need to be a wholesale swap?
    Thank you.

  33. I’m getting ready to make the Herbed Potato and Roasted Garlic Bread recipe from Healthy Bread. I’m super curious about the instructions to use raw cubed potato – most of the other potato bread recipes I’ve used in the past call for cooked mashed potato. I didn’t see any background or study on it, and would love to hear about it! Obviously using raw potato is easier to get going than having to cook and mash a batch, but my guess is it won’t be as evenly incorporated if it’s included as raw dice. Appreciate the insight!

    1. You’re right, it won’t be evenly incorporated like traditional potato bread. This is a different effect, with little chunks of potato interspersed throughout, and a more complex texture.

      One tip–make sure to do the dice nice and fine, as we recommend. If you dice coarsely, the potato may be underbaked and hard.

      1. Thanks Jeff – made it and took it to a party last night, served it with goat cheese, and it was a big hit! I enjoyed the unique potato method, and the roasted garlic was AMAZING. I’m not used to working with such a wet dough; the loaves spread out quite a bit during the final rest and aren’t as high as I’m used to (same thing with the Olive Spelt bread a made a few weeks ago). They were maybe 2.5 – 3″ high at center. Is this normal for these two recipes? If not, do you recommend reducing the water, and/or not letting them rest as long?



      2. Those are less structured, yes. You can slightly reduce the water and see what you think. Try maybe 2 tablespoons less, than another 2 if it’s still a problem.

  34. I have a brown rice gluten-free sourdough starter. Can I incorporated some of the discarded starter it into my bread with your technique?

  35. I have your book but all the recipes are in cups/tablespoons. Is there anyplace where you list ingredients in grams?
    It’s terribly tedious to convert every recipe and the need to do so defeats the point of having a scale.

    1. Except for our very first book that came out in 2007, we give gram equivalencies for all our dough recipes.

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