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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4,563 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. Am working from original Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day using King Arthur strong bread flour with wetter dough. I’m at 4,500 ft in Sparks, NV so must deal with high desert atmosphere.

    Lately my master dough has been getting lumpy after storing in a plastic bucket with stretchy “shower” cap cover. I tossed the first defective batch thinking I was at fault. I have been diligent in thoroughly combining dry ingredients then adding water and mixing until shaggy while making sure everything wet.

    Lumps are slightly drier than bulk portion, found throughout the dough and only seem to appear after a day or two. I believe the extended rest, dry environment and perhaps too much air reaches dough. Watched Zoe’s video on blueprint/Craftsy and have tried to follow steps. I have discovered that a tablespoon or two of extra water helps the final product.

    Today I’m going to bake lumpy dough to see what happens.

    Any help with high desert bread baking would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      The dough should be uniformly wet, so I am not sure what you mean by “shaggy” but it sounds like maybe you need to mix it together a bit more. If you are using a KAF strong bread flour, you will need 1/4 cup+ extra water to get the dough wet enough.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I have your new 5 min bread book and I have a question about sourdough. The directions in the book are clear enough but my question was about how long the dough can be stored after a batch of sourdough dough has been mixed. Your book says a lump “normal” lean dough can be stored in the fridge for 14 days. What about a lump of sourdough dough?

      2. I have found that 7 days is about the max for that, some would say 5. At that point the flavor becomes too strong. our sourdough method is in the new version of our whole grain book (The new healthy bread in five minutes a day).

  2. I’ve ordered your book but haven’t received it yet. I’ve purchased all ingredients and cake yeast was the only yeast available at the time. Does cake yeast need to be hydrated prior to adding to dry ingredients? On the product’s website it says cake yeast has high moisture content.

    1. Hi, You just need to break up the yeast into the water from the recipe and let it dissolve, then proceed as instructed.

      Thank you, Zoë

  3. Is it possible to make dumplings – Chinese , empanadas, turnovers with your bread recipes? Which would work best. I have your book and have been baking bread, which is quite an accomplishment for me. Thanks

    1. Hi Helen,

      I have made steamed or baked pork buns with our olive oil dough. There is a recipe for it in our Pizza and flatbread book. Turnovers are basically just little calzones with different fillings so you can do that too.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  4. How do I keep my bread from splitting? I’m using the master recipe on pg 53 in The New Artisan Bread in 5 and even though I cut the slits, the bread still pops and shows a big split down the center or sides sometimes. I leave out 20 to 40 mins after forming into a ball. I’ve also tried ciabatta on pg 71 with same problem.

    Thanks!!

    Zach

    1. Hi Zach,

      You need to let it rest longer if your dough is splitting, it means it hasn’t rested long enough. Depending on the size of the loaf and how cold your refrigerator runs, you may need 60+ minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  5. I am working from GF Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. When you mix the Master Recipe, can you store this in the freezer? How long would it still be good? Does it need to sit on counter until it is room temperture before making dough?

    Thank you,
    Debbie Chandler

  6. Hello! I am the lucky owner of a steam oven! Well, kind of lucky as I bought this wonderfully expensive built in oven as a part of a kitchen remodel. Problem is, it’s not very intuitive and there is little information out there to learn about it. I am slowly getting more accustomed to it and doing more experimenting. I am just now getting back into doing artisan bread in 5, as I have loved it in the past! So now that I have this steam oven I am wondering if you have done any baking with one and what you would recommend for the settings. I own a Bosch steam oven and it does have variable steam settings as well as steam/convection. I searched the FAQ’s and only found references to adding steam manually with a broiler pan or spray bottle.

  7. Jeff, I can understand how a regular-sized kitchen scale might not be accurate for measuring small amounts of yeast and salt, but have you tested a small scale such as the AWS-600 digital scale that measures up to 100 g? It’s reasonably priced.

      1. No apology necessary, Jeff. I understand. Thanks for the heads-up. BTW, I have no affiliation with the AWS-600 digital scale company.

  8. Hello, I am interested in making whole grain gluten free pasta. Do you think your Master Recipe #2 would be the best mixture for this??

    Thanks!

    1. My guess is that it won’t work, though that is a whole grain mixture. I think it might just fall apart when you went to shape it and then boil it. I mean would fall apart at one or both of those steps.

  9. Can I make a gluten-free version of the giant pretzel and /or pretzel buns on pp 101-104 of the holiday book? I have some gf flat bread dough (pp 172-173 in the gf book) to use. I’m primarily interested in rest time, bake time and temperature.

    1. Better idea… Just follow the directions for “Soft Pretzels” on page 166 of the GF book, which swaps a baking soda wash for the boiling step. I’m pretty sure that gluten free dough will not stand up to a water boil.

  10. Hi! My whole family (extended included) loves the master recipe in your original book. I make a loaf-style for toast in the AM and (usually) a boule to accompany our evening meal. I wanted to share what might be a good tip for some: We love sourdough flavor, but keeping up with a starter was too much for me. Instead, I use KAF Instant Sourdough Flavor (3 tbsp) and one tsp Citric Acid – it’s delicious!
    I also have a question: Do you have a recipe/suggestion for making a softer bread that would work more easily for sandwiches? Or, is there an adjustment I could make in the master recipe?
    Thank you!

      1. I hadn’t even noticed the sandwich-style recipes in the Peasant Loaves section.
        Will definitely give them a try. Thank you so much!

  11. Hi, love your book and have made many tasty loaves—thank you!

    My question is about making the olive bread. I want to know why the halved olives are not just added to the original “master dough” mix, instead of the current instruction which is to roll out the dough after the first rise and then add the olives and then roll up into a log and then roll into a ball. When I’ve done it this way, the bread seems to lose a lot of the irregular, large holes. Thoughts? Advice?

    1. Both ways work, but the recipe you cite is intended to show the versatility of a basic dough–that it can be transformed this way. Your way will work nicely too, and as you suggest, might preserve hole structure (though the olives may interfere with that).

  12. From the Holiday and Celebration book, when I made the 100% whole wheat bread I used the alternative free form/baking stone option but top burned. I followed the baking instructions (temp and time) for the baking stone…should I have used the time and temp from the original 100% whole wheat recipe? Instructions weren’t clear (to me) on how to do this successfully.

  13. A bit of a strange question, but: I’m playing around with ciabatta-ish recipes using approx 5lb of flour. I have a 36″ wide electric oven and no baking stone. I recently purchased two heavy duty 4-strap non-stick loaf pans (10x5x4). Putting aside for a moment how real ciabatta is supposed to be baked, what I want to know is: If I put one of the strap pans in the oven to preheat (say at 450) – and then rise/put the dough into the other pan, can I then put the pan with the dough INSIDE the other pre-heated pan (they nest pretty closely) and have a decent result? (I’ve already dabbled with using inverted baking sheets; I’m more looking for an opinion on whether a doubled-pan method might work, since I can’t seem to find anything online). Thank you!!!

  14. I am referencing your new Holiday book. I have checked many of the recipes and your conversion per cup of flour to grams is 140 to 141 grams per cup.

    I always weigh flour for bread and have always used King Arthur Flour conversion chart which is 120 grams per cup of flour.

    In a large recipe using 7 cups of flour, the difference between your conversion and the King Arthur conversion is 140 grams – another cup!

    Are your recipes tested on the 140 figure? Would I be short of flour if I used the 120?

    1. The recipes were tested with Gold Medal All-Purpose, not King Arthur, which is higher in protein and accounts for part of this confusion. Zoe says on page 8 that this difference will result in a drier dough, but that it’ll work fine. The other confusion is that we use the scoop-and-sweep method for volume, and KAF uses spoon-and-sweep. If you’re weighing (always preferred), this won’t be a problem and you won’t be off by a cup. If you’re using volume, be sure to use scoop-and-sweep.

  15. Recently a batch of granola bread I baked had a very strange flavor that I found quite off-putting. My husband describes it as sweet, but I thought it more like an alcohol. I used a different pot this time for my dough. The pot is a nonstick pot. The dough was only stored overnight before I baked it, and in every regard except the off-putting smell was perfect. Help?

    1. Was it the first time you tried the granola bread? That’s a sweet one, and the sugar sounds like it super-charged yeast growth. Some of our readers are taste-sensitive to our relatively high yeast dose. If this one wasn’t to your liking, just try a low yeast version (it’s in our books, which one do you have)?

      1. Hmm… maybe? I usually like yeast – beer etc. I haven’t has this problem with challah, nor brioche, and those are sweet. I have The New Artisan Bread in Five (and just discovered your one for celebrations exists!!! I am buying that soon!!). It does mention trying a lower yeast version. Thanks for the thoughts! I bought your book almost two years ago now and except when I was on bed rest while pregnant with our third I’ve baked virtually all our bread since! Minnesota allows for many months of no fears heating up the house! 🙂

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