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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3,149 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. Can’t I just use parchment paper on the peel – to avoid spilling corn meal, etc. onto the stone? And why can’t I just use a sharp scissors to makes slashes on top? Easier, less messy.
    Also confused; isn’t the lid on the cambro container a “tight” lid? Thank you. Mostly do deli rye and plain Boule. I tried baguettes but they didn’t shape well. One grandson ate a whole one……….Thank you.
    (Book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day)

    1. Hi Maureen,

      Yes, we recommend parchment for exactly this reason. Saves a lot of time on cleaning the oven. You’ve got the first version of the book, where we hadn’t quite turned to parchment for everything.

      If you can slash with the scissors then there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t. There may be certain breads that are difficult to get the right angle with a scissor, but give it a try.

      I poke a small hole in the lid of my cambro lids to allow the gas to escape.

      Here’s a post on shaping a baguette:

      Cheers, Zoë

  2. Hello! I am new to baking bread, and I bought your “Gluten-free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes” book. My kids are now on a gluten-free diet and I am ready to try baking bread at home (as the store bought ones are expensive and not tasty at all). I’m starting from scratch, which means I don’t have the special equipment to bake, so here is my question:
    Of the different types of Baking Stones and Pizza Peels that you suggest in your book, which would be a good first buy – the ones that I will get the most use from and be able to bake a greater variety of bread? I don’t know which ones to pick from your list. Thank you!

    1. Hi Patricia,

      My personal favorites are the baking steel, which is super durable, heats a bit faster and conducts heat the best.

      The peel I use most is one by epicurious, because it is a good weight for the larger size.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. I am using your book First Ed Artisan in Five… I am finding I am not getting an open interior (crumb) and have extended the baking time. I am using King Arthur and I see I need to add 1/4 cup more water. At the moment I have pre-made enough dough for 6 more loaves in the fridge. I assume I’m stuck with it and cannot add water at this point in time? Otherwise I will be mixing it in – doesn’t sound like a good option but I’m asking.

    1. Hi Lorraine,

      There are a couple of options. You can let the dough rest much longer than we suggest in the book, especially that edition. You can let them rest up to 2 hours, unless it is really warm in your kitchen, then more like 90 minutes is the limit. This will give the dough more time to rise and have a more open crumb.

      Or, you can add more water, but it is some work with a batch that size and you will want to use a stand mixer with a dough attachment. Just add the water in small amounts until it is incorporated.

      Here are some more suggestions:

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. I very much enjoyed proving to my wife that I can make bread thanks to your book! She laughed out loud when I told her I was going to try. That was a number of years ago pushing ten years I think. The volume I have has Zoe and Jeff pictured across the top.

    Well my wife has been happily eating the bread ever since, even ask is me to bake bread for parties and gifts! She has now asked if I could bake her some 100% rye flour bread, as the all purpose and whole wheat flour seem to hurt her stomach.

    Can you advise if you have such a recipe? If so can you share it or advise which book has the recipe?

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Ossi,

      That is so wonderful, I am so thrilled you have been baking so much bread. We don’t have a recipe with 100% rye flour, because it would be so dense and wouldn’t store very well. You’ll have to look for a more traditional recipe. The style of bread you are talking about it popular in Europe. Here is one that looks pretty easy and tasty:

      Enjoy, Zoë

  5. Hi, I’m wondering how long your GF baguette from GF artisan bread in 5 min will last and bow I should store it after it’s done and cooled. Should I wrap it in plastic wrap or in a container or…? Also how long does it last?

    Thanks you, Angie

    1. Hi Angie,

      The gluten-free breads stale faster than our wheat breads, so it is best to bake it and eat it on the same day. If that is not possible, I actually would recommend freezing whatever you have left over, so it doesn’t get too stale. Slice it first and wrap in plastic, then you can just toast it when you are ready to have more.

      Cheers, Zoë

  6. Think my initial question got lost somewhere! I’m making the Brioche in the New ABIF page 300. Can I substitute sugar for the honey? If so, what is the substitution amount? Same question for the Challah. Thanks.

    1. Hi Molly,

      Your question was left on a different thread FAQs!

      You can swap the honey for sugar in equal measure, using the cup measure for either recipe. The flavor will be a bit different, but the sweetness level will be about the same.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. Hi – I bought your latest book and have baked several recipes including the basic loaf but really like the olive oil dough recipe. I find it’s easier to work with but you don’t have any loaf baking instructions for this dough. Can you suggest how best to handle it from proofing, shaping and baking? I’m lucky enough to have a cast iron double cooker to create steam and convection ovens with proof cycles. Thanks

      1. Thanks. Had to bake on Christmas Eve so used the olive oil dough then basic recipe for shaping into 2 loaves and let them rise 90 minutes covered on counter. I baked them in a double cooker with lid and romertopf clay baker with lid both preheated to 500 convection. Baked 25 minutes with lids on and 25 with lids off to 210 degrees internal temp. Flavor was excellent. You should include instructions on website for convection baking and proofing ovens as these are more commonly available now.

      2. Hi Nancy,

        Sounds like a great day of baking. I will do a post on baking with convection heat and look into proofing settings on ovens.

        Cheers, Zoë

  8. Is there a way to make a poor man’ pain au chocolate using brioche dough?

    Also, this more of a tip, but I added tapioca flour to the master recipe (plus some more water) and the results were delicious and beautiful!

    1. Hi Jose,

      You can certainly roll chocolate into brioche dough and make a chocolate filled roll, but it won’t be laminated (layered with butter) like a croissant. I am in the process of developing a croissant dough for our next book, that I hope will be easy and fast enough to satisfy all of our readers.

      I love the idea of adding the tapioca flour. It sounds like the french bread you get at the Vietnamese restaurants, but they use rice flour.

      Cheers, Zoë

  9. I have been looking for a good oatmeal bread recipe (good memories of that kind of bread growing up), and wondered why the fridge life of your 100% Whole Grain Maple Oatmeal Bread (New Healthy Bread in 5 book page 205) is only 7 days. There isn’t any egg or butter or anything that I could identify as a problem.

    Also, can the sourdough recipe in the back of New Healthy Bread be combined with some of the other flavors of bread – ie. make Whole Grain Garlic Knots with Parsley and Olive Oil (page 100) with a sourdough base recipe? Are there recipes that you would NOT recommend using the sourdough for?

    1. Hi Maria,

      That dough has quite a bit of sweetener, so the fermentation will be fast. The 100% whole grain doughs also lose their rising power faster than the ones with white flour, because there isn’t as much gluten producing proteins. If you like the results of the bread after 7 days you can certainly store it longer. It was just our preference when testing to limit the storing time.

      You can use sourdough starter in just about any recipe. I don’t always care for it in the sweeter recipes, but again, that’s just my preference.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks for your reply. I have already tried it with the Pesto and Pine Nut break from New Healthy Bread book. We liked it – or at least those of us in our house that aren’t fighting the colds that were shared over Christmas and could actually taste things well!!

        I didn’t think about the sweetener speeding things up. I will have to try it and see. Does it make it more like sourdough, or “alcohol-ish”? I’m hoping that an oatmeal bread will be a happy medium between the white bread my husband grew up with and still prefers, and the healthier whole grain/whole wheat loaves that I would prefer to be making. I just like bread to last more than a week in the fridge so that if we have one of “those weeks”, I don’t have to worry about it. 🙂

      2. Hi Maria,

        The dough will develop a alcohol flavor if it ferments too long or too fast. You can always freeze the dough if you don’t use it up during the first week.

        Cheers, Zoë

  10. HI,
    I just started baking in your book GF in 5 minutes a day. I wanted to make bagels so I used your whole recipe on page 62. Didn’t have brown rice flour so I us d white rice and I used Miller instead on oat.
    When mixing and here is the part I am really confused about. In your book on page 96 a97 for the whole grain recipe you are suppose to use the same amount of ingredients as the gf No1 recipe. That means the one cup of flour you use 41/4 cups of water. My instinct from being a baker said too much I was righ way too watery. Basically I through it away. Could you please look at that recipe and let me know before I waste another cup of flour which is expensive if you make a mistake. I would greatly appreciate it. I have been baking for years and do realize the chemistry is different that’s why I want to run it by someone who knows. Thanks

    1. Hi Joyce,

      The recipe on page 96 calls for a total of 7 cups of flour (6 cups Mixture #1 and 1 cup Mixture #2), is that what you used and it was still too wet? The hydration level on that dough seems right to me. It may be the substitutions you made in the Mixture #2, however there is so little of that mixture in the dough, that I doubt it would impact it that much. Just in case here is why:

      Brown rice flour absorbs more water than the white rice flour. Oat flour is much more absorbent than millet flour, so you will need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe when you make substitutions.

      Did you use xanthan or psyllium?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I understand what I did wrong. I only did one cup of whole grain, not the additional 6 cups. That’s why it was so soupy.

        One critical comment of the cook book. When you go to the page of the item you want to bake it would be helpful if they gave the recipe right there. It is very confusing as to which flour recipe to use especially If you are a novice with gf and the cook book.

      2. Hi Joyce,

        Yes, that would result in a very soupy batter. You can still add the other flour, if you still have the dough on hand. Our intention was for people to make up batches of flour mixtures, much like if you’d bought a bag of it, then you could just use the flour as needed. It would take up so much space in the book if we reprinted the flour mixture in every recipe.

        Thanks, Zoë

  11. The pita recipe on page163 of first book calls for using a 1-pound ball of bread to make one pita loaf. That seems too big. Can I divide it into 4 pieces?

    I have a new kamado type grill that controls temps well. Ever bake in one of those?

    1. Hi. Yes, you can make a pita any size you like.

      I have baked in a Green Egg, but not a Kamado, are they are similar?

      Cheers, Zoë

  12. Love your books, but I’m struggling with how wet the dough needs to be (in particular, your whole grain master recipe on page 81 of The New Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day).

    We’ve been using organic, stone ground flour four our whole wheat flour and we’re at 3,600 ft altitude, here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. My free form loaves have been flat and I think it’s mostly due to a wet dough. Do you have a video or a colour photo of an example of dough?


    1. Hi Beth,

      Here is a post about that recipe. The photos are not color, but you can see how thick the dough is. Your flour may be absorbing water differently and you may need to adjust the amount you add to the dough to get a better consistency. You can always add more flour to the batch, if you have more dough left.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. Hi there,
    First, I love your book Gluten free artisan bread! It is absolutely amazing and I think it is the best gluten free bread book out there! Best purchase ever 🙂

    Im about to make the bread called “Seeded 100% Whole Grain Bread”.
    I have a couple of questions and I would be really appreciate it if you could answer them 🙂

    1.The recipe calls for eggs, is there a way to avoid them? What is the purpose of eggs in this recipe? Can I use grounded flax seeds instead mixed with water?

    2. The recipe doesn’t contain any starches. Any reason why?

    3. I let my dough raise next to the fire or next to my heater. I usually let my dough rise for about 12 hours and I realize that after rising, the surface gets very dried? Is this normal? Am I rising the dough way to much?

    Again, thanks a lot for all your answers and for having made such an incredible book!

    1. OK, in order…
      1. Eggs help it rise, and you really need that with 100% whole grain GF breads. It’ll be a brick without it. Ground flax is something we talk about in the book, but it won’t work well here.

      2. Starches are pure white flour, and this recipe was for folks who want to stay away from a pure, 100% carbohydrate, 0% fiber grain.

      3. It won’t dry if you keep a non-airtight lid on it. You probably don’t have to go quite so long on the rise though.

  14. Gluten Free Artisan Bread p60,62: My question relates to using Mixture #1 and/or Mixture #2. I just mixed up a batch of Mixture #2 (all dry as yet) because I like the whole grain aspect to it. However, the master recipe (p64) calls for Mixture #1 as the first ingredient. Am I to assume that when I read “Mixture #1 Gluten Free all purpose flour” that it is automatically interchangeable with Mixture #2? Is the recipe identical with that one exception?

    Also, to work through all the recipes as you suggest under the Master Recipe chapter, am I to have Mixture #1 plus Mixture #2 all prepped and sitting in my frig with all the liquid/yeast components mixed in. That means I have two ready to go bread mixes sitting in my frig. I’m not sure my husband will agree to losing all that space especially since there are only two of us living in our home.

    1. No– if one of our GF recipes calls for #1, it won’t be interchangeable with #2.

      I typically have only one dough at a time prepped in the fridge–as you note, having more than that creates a space problem unless you have multiple fridges.

  15. Question: I made Mixture 2 and have a large amount stored in the proper container. I made it to use with Mixture 1 for Pumpernickel Bread. (It was delicious!) I have quite a bit of Mixture 2 left over and am wondering how long will it last stored in container and in a very cold basement? I made it on November 22, 2017.

    1. At that low level, it should be 1-to-1 by volume. Technically, honey is about 85% sugar, and 15% water, but that small differences won’t matter much here. If you find it too wet, increase the flour by a tablespoon or so.

  16. Hi! Working from the GF in 5 book and successfully made the almond bostock rolls for Christmas breakfast! They were phenomenal and made them again for New Year’s Day breakfast. My question is: Can corn starch be substituted for another starch in the Brioche recipe? My wife is sensitive to corn and there is a LOT in that recipe. Just curious for future. Thank you!!!

    1. We’ve really struggled with this question, because we haven’t been happy with the GF brioche unless it has a fair amount of cornstarch. Our experiments: not good enough to put in our book. But you should feel free to experiment and see if it’s to your liking–problem is that the liquid requirement changes with changes in the starch chosen. Could try any of the swaps on page 61 of the book, but I’m not super-hopeful. How about trying it with the challah dough (page 210). Much less cornstarch in that one (based on Mixture #1), and though it’ll be different (less rich), I’m pretty sure that substitution will work.

  17. I used no. 2 flour mixture and followed boule directions starting on pg 63 .. the result was a very dense unrisen failure certainly not bread .. careful to follow each step .. what suggestions do you have for success.

      1. That recipe calls for Mixture #1– you cannot swap in Mixture #2 there–as you found out, that doesn’t work at all. If you want a 100% whole grain GF bread, you have to radically alter things, as in the recipe on page 106–it needs the eggs, sweetener, and the extra xanthan gum. That said, be aware of your expectations for homemade GF bread–it’s denser than any supermarket bread.

  18. We’ve been loving the flavor and crust of the rye bread in page 167 of the New Healthy Bread in 5. My loaves seem to spread out to the sides, though, when removed from the fridge and rested for 90 minutes. This results in a somewhat flat bread, even when baking on the day after mixing. Loaves made a few days after mixing are even flatter. I was wondering how to get them a little taller. Would putting them in a loaf pan help by giving a little side support? If so, do I need to bake differently?

    They do seem pretty wet, could that be the issue?


    1. Two possible solutions, and you’ve hit both of them. Baking in a loaf pan would definitely work (baking time may increase 10 to 15%). Or, you can dry out the mixture slightly, by decreasing the water a bit. Try two tablespoons less for starters, if you go that route.

  19. I love your book, thanks. The problem that I am having is that I use a Cloche Bread Baker and the bread sticks to the parchment paper after it is cooked. I heat the Cloche, let my dough set for about an hour and a half (because I live in Colorado) then I put it in the hot Cloche. Pull it out, let it cool and the paper just ruins the bottom of the bread. I’ve tried flour and cornmeal and it helps a little. I’ve tried not using paper and it is hard to get it in the Cloche nicely. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hmmm. What brand of parchment are you using? Not, by any chance, “pastry” parchment, which we’ve heard sticks. The basic stuff from Costco works great…

      Could also just grease your paper, won’t fail!

  20. Hi Zoe and Jeff, Can I mix whole wheat flour with “00” ? I love the wheat flavor, but I prefer the texture of the “00” dough.

  21. I just moved to Hong Kong from Los Angeles. I make your bread all the time at home but it’s not coming out right here – heavy, sticky, chewy (cooked and edible though). The dough seems wet even though I added a cup of extra flour. Doesn’t rise well before baking. Takes longer to cook by about 10-15 minutes. I’m using british flour, oven set as high as it goes (equivalent to 450F).

    Do you think it’s the flour? Yeast? oven temperature? Thanks for any advice!

    1. I believe British Flour is softer than USA flour… perhaps blend strong flour and plain flour??? Or use all strong and add extra water as per King Arthur? Also is your flour unbleached or bleached?

      1. See below. We used to talk about bleached/unbleached because older methods of bleaching reduced the protein level, but that’s not true anymore for US flours (??? Asian ones).

    2. Top culprit is the flour, which sounds like it has much less protein that US flours. That’s typical of flours sold in Asia. Low-protein flour absorbs much less water; hence you’re getting a gooey mess. Even though it’s “British” flour, it’s being made for the Asian market, probably with locally-grown wheat. Northern European and US/Canadian wheats are much higher in protein than their Asian counterparts.

      There’s a chance that your oven’s too cool to get nice “oven spring,” but I doubt that. Check it with something like

      Assuming it’s the flour, all you can do it dry out the mixture (less water) until it handles like what you’re used to at home. But it’ll still have a poor rise.

      Any chance you can add vital wheat gluten? That would remedy this.

  22. I have been making the master recipe in your The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day on page 53. It’s the first time I store the dough in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. I have closed the lid completely after 3 Days. While shaping the loaves today, I noticed water had accumulated on the bottom of my container, and the dough felt very wet underneath.
    Is this normal, and can I still use it?

  23. I want to use einkorn flour with your ARTisan bread recipes. I thought that you wrote about it in your Healthy Bread Version but I can’t find anything in the index about it. I am avoiding all conventional wheat because of the terrible pesticides they are using right before harvest times. I don’t trust Cert. org anymore either…
    Please advise! Gail

    1. We didn’t test with einkorn. It’s just a matter of how to adjust the water, so I’m afraid you’ll have to experiment.

  24. When substituting egg whites for some of the water in your Gluten-Free master recipe, how do you regulate your egg/water temperature to about 100F degrees? Thank you!

  25. Hi! I got your Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day for Christmas, and it’s been fun trying it out! I just received a digital scale and was trying it out, but to my consternation, four cups of whole wheat flour weighed 87.3 grams instead of the 515 that were called for. What might I be doing wrong? Thanks for your help!

    1. It can’t be right, that’s for certain. A cup of whole wheat flour weighs about 4.5 ounces, or 130 grams. So the gram-weight for the flour is right. Are you hitting “tare” at the right time? Have the units incorrectly set? Is the battery fresh?

  26. I have both Artisan Bread and Healthy Bread. Our 10 mo old was recently diagnosed with a severe milk allergy (including all the little things like casein and lecithin). Is the master recipe completely dairy free? Thanks!

    1. Yes, for the Masters–obviously no milk, butter, whey, etc–no dairy at all. For the other recipes in the book, take a look at the “Ingredients” lists–some of them do have dairy.

  27. Your NHBin5 just arrived! Woo-hoo! I want to start with Oatmeal-Date-Walnut Bread on pp. 255-257. Questions: Can I use my 9″ non-stick pans, rather than the recommended 8″ pans? Can I substitute old fashioned oatmeal (Bob’s Red Mill) for the steel cut oats? If so, what adjustments should I make? Finally (I’m slightly embarrassed to ask this), can I substitute good quality pancake syrup for pure maple syrup?
    Thank you,
    P.S. Your free advice and videos on the Web are very clear and extremely helpful, especially for someone who is new to your method of baking.

    1. To your questions, in turn:

      1. Sure, but they won’t fill as high, and baking time may be shorter, and slices will be skimpy-height.
      2. Sure, but I don’t know how the water absorption will change (could be up, could be down, wouldn’t know without testing.
      3. Sure, the syrup won’t change the water or sugar content much. Flavor might not be quite as good.

      But–a word of advice. As you learn our method, work out of the basic Master in Chapter 5, and don’t make any substitutions–just use supermarket whole wheat flour. That way, you’ll learn the consistency in the dough that we’re going for. The recipe you’ve chosen for your first foray–it’s complex, and more prone to complications (too wet, too dry, confusing to tell when it’s baked through…).

  28. I currently have The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Love the recipes. I am going Keto and wondered if you have done or are contemplating recipes with almond flour.

    1. We haven’t, though you can put a little of it into our recipes. Beyond a half-cup (or maybe a cup), it’s going to make our stuff very dense. It might still work as flatbread though. As for carb-free–no, we haven’t tried that.

  29. Can I halve the standard 5 minutes a day artisan bread recipe? so instead of using 6/12 cups flower, I use 3 1/4 cups and halve all the other ingredients as well?


    Joy A

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