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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4,505 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. I compared your volume to weight ratios for flour in your recipes to the label on my flours which say 1/4 cup is 30 g for both all purpose (Great Value Walmart brand, bleached) and whole wheat (Gold Medal brand). Why are your weight measures higher?

    1. there’s rounding error in the package labeling. Also we use the scoop and sweep method, which we described in our books and on the website. Most flour labels use spoon and sweep which is different.

  2. I am sorry that I wasn’t very clear, I meant what is the temp of the bread suppose to be before you take it out of the oven. Thank u.

    1. If you mean the internal temp, taken with a thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf, then it’s 205F for our basic loaf.

  3. I want to bake cracked wheat bread from The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day, page 162. I am using KAF, both AP and WW. The conversion chart on p. 82 does not address the amounts in this particular recipe. It is a conversion only for the master recipe, whose quantities are different. I simply cannot understand how to convert the flour/liquid. Can you please help? I’ve tried this recipe once before, and it was a flop. I regularly bake your European Peasant Bread in one of your first books but want a heartier more nutritious bread. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for finding that problem. On the bottom of page 161, it should say “… see page 82.” Not page 55, which didn’t help you–I’m directing you to the correction for the Master Recipe in Chapter 5. On page 92, you can see that our intent was that (assuming you are using vital wheat gluten) you increase the water by a quarter-cup (it takes a bit of interpretation, because page 82 is directing you to increase the water from 4 cups, to 4 1/4 cups. The Cracked Wheat recipe starts out with 4 1/4 cups, so this is telling you to go to 4 1/2 cups. Before you do that, tell me how the recipe flopped. I’m assuming it was too dry, so you ended up with a tough, hard, dry bread. If that wasn’t the case, we have to keep thinking on this…

  4. Zoe/Jeff –
    I have been making loaves of bread using 2# of dough in a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 pan, resting for 1 hr. 40 min., baking at 375 for 60 min. I would like a larger loaf. Can I use a 9 1/4 x 5 1/4 pan and if so how much dough, resting how long, baked at what temperature for how long?

    1. The original instructions were posted on the main page of your website by Zoe. This must have been a number of years ago because she also included a picture of one of her sons eating a sandwich from the loaf of bread and he looked to be about 10 years old. I’m using the master whole wheat recipe on page 81 from The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day copyright 2016.

      1. For that dough-type, same rest-time and baking-temp, but you may need to bake for an additional 10 or 15 percent longer.

      2. My best estimate would be to use about 15% more dough than we called for using the slightly smaller pan. But go by the height of the dough in the pan rather than a hard-and-fast amount.

  5. I like to bake the Olive Oil bread for pizza. I want the bread in individual sized rounds 1/4 to ⅛ inch thick. How do I prevent them from ‘bubbling up in places?

  6. I am trying to do one loaf of page 299 Gluten Free CrustynBoule (New Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes 2016). I carefully reduced each ingredient. Used a mixer till just incorporated and it is not dough – quite soupy. Should I wait for the liquid to absorb or which ingredient can I add to get a dough consistency?

    1. Unless you weighed the ingredients, my guess here is that the measurement is off. Volume isn’t a great way to go with the powdery GF flours, and if you’re off by a little, we’ve found that GF dough is very particular. If you did weigh, it may still have been a rounding error–this is much easier to do in a large volume.

      To salvage this, you’d have to all all the flours proportionally, and that won’t be easy to do. By volume, the ratio is 2:1.5:3 (rice:sorghum:tapioca), and you could try that starting with half-teaspoon measures in that ratio. Just a guess on my part–about how far you have to go.

    2. Heres how the problem was solved: Eyeing the proportions of the dry ingredients I incorporated more until the consistency was like the video (important to watch!). I refrigerated the risen dough overnight, then let it come up to room temperature, and shaped the loaf on parchment paper. Because it was still slack I dropped it, paper and all, into a loaf pan and slashed with a lame. Put the 1 cup of water on lower shelf of the oven and, as with my daily breads, I heated the oven to 410 degrees. Baked 40 minutes (the pan was on a baking stone) and although it didn’t rise a lot it is done with a soft crumb and a nice crust (no problem with paper sticking). SUCCESS!

      1. I forgot to add the yeast when mixing the bread didn’t realize till it sat for 2 hours to rise. Then added it in after. Will it rise now? Feel like an idiot. Lucy

      2. Hi Lucy,

        You are not alone, it has happened to many of us. It will rise, just leave it for the 2 hours and hopefully you’ll see some action.

        Cheers, Zoë

  7. I am going to bake quite a few loafs at a time so I need to use metal pans. Is it important to warm the pans like I do with the pizza stones? I think it would be difficult to do with the pans since I will use one big sheet of parchment paper. Thank you.

  8. I have just your first book and didn’t realize you changed the amount of yeast. If one uses only 1 tbsp per recipe, should the dough be out at room temp longer than 2 hrs. Thank you.

    1. If you’re making it exactly as we specify, with warm-ish water, it doesn’t matter. That’s why we decreased the amount of yeast in the recipe. If you use cool or cold water, the resting time can go up dramatically (with good results, by the way, but USDA recommends against that with egg-based breads, because of the possibility of bacteria in the eggs).

  9. So when using pan instead of the pizza stone, do you put the pan with the loaves in the oven when the oven has preheated to 450 degrees or just after the 20 min and the oven hasn’t reached the 450 degrees. Thank u.

    1. It’s forgiving if you just wait the 20 minutes, but the results will be better if you wait until full temperature is attained.

  10. how does the temp work when baking the bread on a metal sheet. Do you put the bread in before just after the 20 min or have the oven go to the total heated? Thank u.

  11. Hi I have the Gluten Free Version of your books and love it. Would you be able to recommend how to modify the gluten free donut recipe to make it pumpkin?
    Thank you.

    1. Well… you could try adding pumpkin puree to the dough as we did with the Pumpkin Brioche Doughnuts in the post below. But we didn’t test that in a gluten-free version, because we were concerned that the pumpkin would make it too dense. You could experiment (first thing to try would be decreasing the pumpkin). If I had to guess–it’d probably not be to most people’s liking.

      https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2018/10/12/pumpkin-brioche-doughnuts/

      1. Hi Jeff,
        I made the gluten free pumpkin version of pumkin Brioche from the regular recipe with one for one
        substitution of the wet ingredients and it worked.
        I was able to make donuts with it.

  12. I thoroughly enjoy baking bread for others with your recipe, and am thankful it is so easy. Question: my bread turns out generally well, but occasionally I have a loaf that kindof explodes. I make the cuts across the loaf, but instead of splitting there nicely, the formed crust curls back on itself, rather than looking pretty like the loaves on the cover of your books. It can happen to one of two loaves I am baking simultaneously. I have deepened the cut to try to eliminate it, and use both a dutch oven and a cast iron skillet with lid to bake in. I’m not sure if it happens more in one than the other baking instrument. Ideas? The curled back crust tends to get very crispy and sometimes almost burn, and I’d rather the bread comes out looking more like on the book cover. Thanks

  13. I am working from Gluten Free Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day; can I use egg whites from a carton (pasteurized) in the enriched master recipe in place of fresh egg whites?

  14. Hello,

    Love your books! I wanted to know if you can make bagels in the crockpot? If so, how would you go about doing it?

    Thanks,

    Michelle

  15. I have your New Artisan Bread book and have made the excellent master recipe. Does your latest Gluten Free book have recipes that use a different master recipe (seems like the pics show a whiter bread). Thanks.
    Sandy b

  16. Hi Guys,
    I am making full sized baguettes. They are about 20-24 inches long. They taste great but they seem to split down the side, even though I score the top. I am thinking they may be too dry. I use KA Sir Lancelot flour high gluten. I do make the dough in large batches twice the size in the books. I have been making them for about three years so I have tweeked the formula and I do like the flavor. As I said they tase great but i wish I could get them to look better.

    Thanks in Advance,
    Drew
    The Eat Well Cape May, NJ

    1. Most likely, you’re right–too dry. That flour has a lot of gluten and needs extra water. Have you read the water adjustment for high-protein flour in the book?

  17. Recipe for Soft Dinner Rolls on page 88 of The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day does not say to use any flour when removing the 1 pound piece or when shaping the 3 ounce rolls. Is this correct? It’s very difficult to shape this sticky dough into balls.

      1. They came out great (even without any flour!)

        Any modifications to the recipe you can suggest to make them a little less dense?

  18. More often than not my dough is really wet. I can barely cloak it because it is so sticky.
    I usually make Rye bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day. I usually don’t wash my bucket out to keep my bread as sour-dough-y as possible. I think that is where some of the liquid is coming from.

    (I can’t wait to try your Sour Dough!)

    1. I think you’re right, ardo definitely gets wetter as the dough gets older, or you use pre fermented though. depending on how you’re measuring the flower, I’m guessing you’re using two Little flower. Either way the ingredients, or be sure you’re using our scoop and sweep method that we described in the book. Is also a video on that, on our YouTube site. if those don’t solve the problem, and just increase the flower by 2 tablespoon increments until it gets to be about the way you want. At some point, the door will be as dry as regular dough and it won’t be store-able.

  19. Hi guys,
    I made the panettone in the new holiday book. I used muffin sized molds 2 3/4″ diameter 2″ high. I baked 16 of them on a sheet pan at 350 for 35 min. That was the whole batch. They seemed undone so I added 15 min. The recipe said bake until set and browned. I was afraid I would over bake them so I took them out. They seem to be underdone on the bottom still. Is there an internal temp. they should be?
    Thanks again for your help,

      1. That’s interesting, Jeff. I’m ready for a new oven thermometer. Could you elaborate on what makes this particular thermometer better than others of its type? Different construction or metal coil sensor? Or were you comparing it with the Thermapen thermometer (with a swing-out probe)?

      2. This is the basic non-digital, old-fashioned oven thermometer. We haven’t found meaningful difference between brands; they all help make the results more consistent. We’ve never experimented with the higher-tech ones like you mention, or the infrared ones. Those tend to be more expensive and in general, we find that doesn’t excite our readership.

      3. Just search on the words “INSTANT-READ THERMOMETERS” and it should take you right there. Or the words “under $20”

    1. Might I add that your and Zoe’s participation in the Q&A are absolutely unique, as others have mentioned often. I’m loving the Q&A because I pick up so much useful information and tips from the posts. Your answers so often make me look at the process from a new perspective and inspire me to apply them to other applications. Thanks for being here for us

  20. I use an I-Grill2 to measure oven temp. Seems to work fine. My whirlpool stove oven varies 30+ degrees as it cycles. Is this your experience with home ovens?

    1. Haven’t noticed it, but I bet that’s because the thermometers that is only and I have tested with are slow to react. They’re not instantaneous.

  21. Hey Guys I have a question do you think I could use a stove top griddle the same way as a cast iron pizza stone? It seems like flat side would fit two breads or two small pizzas.

  22. Ok so I was making ‘American White’ dough for the kids and I accidentally added the full amount of water and 1/2 of everything else. I only had 1/2 the amount of flour left so I was trying to make a 1/2 recipe but have no more flour. I realized after mixing that it was not right but can’t get to the store so I let it rise. It looks fine but super sticky so I put it in the fridge. I’m sure it won’t work for a bread loaf or rolls, but I’m thinking maybe flatbread? If so, skillet or baking sheet? Any other ideas as I am guessing getting more flour won’t be good for it at this point.

    1. Well, actually, you can work in more flour, allowing it to rise again at room temp for at least two hours before using, to set up a new fermentation and rise.

      You could try baking flats with the super-wet stuff, but may be to hard to handle.

  23. Hi – I love your books. I have the first two. Recently I have been having a problem where the slashes that I make don’t stay open. They close over when I put them in the oven and then the bread doesn’t rise enough cos the air can’t escape. This is using your original basic recipe, with a sour dough starter as per your instructions for sour dough. Any suggestions?

    1. Try it a little less wet–a couple tablespoons less water and the loaf will probably hold it’s shape better and prevent the closure.

  24. You give adjustments in the book for different brands of flour. I use whole foods brands, usually the organic flours. Have you arrived at any adjustments for whole foods flour? Or, is the whole foods brand similar to one of the brands that you have tested? Thanks?

    1. unfortunately, we haven’t specifically tested with those. That said, I have no reason to think that they’re particularly different from other flours.

  25. Zoe – In an August 28, 2017 posting called “Loaf Bread – the Best School Lunches …” on your website, you used 2 lbs. of dough for a 8 1/2” x 4 1/4” loaf pan. How much dough would you recommend to use in a 9 3/4” x 2 3/4” pan?

    1. Hi Carole,

      If you are using that same dough, I’d recommend a 2 1/2 pound piece of dough if you want a nice big loaf.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  26. I bought your book 3 years ago but did not bake your bread once I discovered that rice is the main ingredient. I cannot eat rice. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free All Purpose Flour for any baking. Since rice is the main ingredient in your recipes, am I to be denied the bounty of your wonderful breads? What about adding more tapioca or cassava flour to Bob’s blend?

    1. Hi Annette,

      We tested the recipes with lots of flours and landed on the combination we use because of flavor and texture. If you need to substitute for the rice flour, you’ll need to do some trial and error. I’ve never made the bread with Bob’s, but it is worth a try. I suggest you make a small back until you get the combination that you enjoy.

      Thanks, Zoë

  27. We have a local bakery that makes an incredible Whole Wheat raisin pecan bread with a lovely crust. Are there any recipes that you have that may be similar? My daughter is keeping them in business 🙂
    Although, she loves the bread I make from your recipe the raisin pecan quells a bit of a sweet tooth.

    1. Would I be able to modify one of the Master recipes with 2c raisins soaked in boiling h2o then drained; 2T sugar; 1T cinnamon ; 2c toasted pecans ?
      Or would that come a complete mess?

      1. Hi Cecilia,

        The bread sounds fantastic. You can absolutely add all the ingredients you mentioned. Adding 4 cups of raisins and pecans may be quite a bit for a single batch, but give it a try and see if you like the results. Let me know how it goes.

        Cheers, Zoë

  28. I saw the raisin cinnamon walnut bread recipe on your website, can you make the same recipe in a loaf without the pan, like the loafs you make with your master recipe?

    1. Hi Louise,

      I have never used an air fryer, so I am not sure what it is capable of. I suggest you try making a small roll in it and see how you like the results. Let me know how it comes out.

      Cheers, Zoë

  29. Hi! I’m making my second batch of dough after successfully managing the first one. I didn’t believe this method would work so took it on as a challenge. Now I’m delighted.
    My question: I want to reduce use of plastic wrap. Can you suggest a reusable sheet that I can clean and reuse? I’m using the new Holiday book and basic master recipe.

    1. Hi Laurie,

      I am so thrilled you are enjoying the bread. There are reusable sheets made of bees wax that you can look into using. If you are trying to cover a loaf as it rests before baking, you can try inverting a large mixing bowl over the loaf.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. Just starting out with your book, “The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” and you mention using a wooden spoon for stirring. Being a total novice with this subject I put my project on hold until I purchased one. When I discussed this my friend who has all kinds of experience baking she tells me it doesn’t matter if a metal one is used. Why do you mention a wooden spoon if that’s the case?

    Thank you.
    David Strimple

    1. Hi David,

      The shape of a wooden spoon just makes it much easier to use for mixing the dough than a metal one. A Danish dough whisk, a stand mixer and a large food processor will also work to mix the dough.

      Enjoy all the bread. Zoë

  31. Zoe –
    Using the ciabatta recipe in 2013 The New Artisan Bread … page 71-72; I want to make square rolls so how much dough should be used for each roll?

    1. Hi Carole,

      It really depends how you intend to use them. If they are meant for sandwiches, you may want them larger, like 4 or 5 ounces. If they are just small side rolls, you can do 2 or 3 ounces of dough.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  32. Hi! I have a house full of celiacs, including several young children who must be on gluten free diets. Because of the issues of arsenic in rice, the fact that rice flour is in most gluten free goods, and the fact that their little developing bodies and brains cannot handle large amounts of arsenic, I make most things from scratch. I was so excited to find your book because I truly believe they should have yummy things to eat. I saw on your substitutions page that the recommended substitute for rice flour was a different rice flour. Do you have any recommendations for a non rice flour substitution? Thank you!

    1. Hi Laura,

      I tried this recipe with so many flours, including a version without rice. The problem is that rice has a mild flavor and a nice texture that I just couldn’t replicate with other flours. I’m at a loss of what to suggest for you to replace 100% of that flour. If you want to experiment with your own blend, I suggest you start with a small batch until you hit on something that you really like.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thank you for your reply. One quick follow up. Have you experimented with cassava flour? Rumor has it that it functions very differently than gf grain flours and I was wondering if that might be worth exploring in lieu of rice flour—or if that was an unsuccessful experiment. Thank you!!

      2. Well, it derives from the same plant as tapioca flour’s base ingredient, but with more fiber (includes more of the whole root). I bet it’s going to absorb a lot more water (and require more)– than rice flour. We haven’t experimented with it.

  33. Hi~ can I make your bread recipe from the original book– artisan bread in 5 minutes a day– with starter rather than yeast? If so, how do i altar the steps in the recipe or the recipe itself? i tried looking through the faq’s without finding out. thanks!

  34. Hi Jeff and Zoe, looking at Finnish Pulla (Holiday and Celebration, p 247-249) I notice you have a correction listed to sprinkle the walnuts on top, as they’re not mentioned in the recipe. Unfortunately, the cardamom and vanilla extract also aren’t mentioned in the recipe. Where do they go? Thanks!

    1. Hi Grant, they get mixed in with the dough, they can be thrown in at any time, doesn’t matter which order they go into the bucket.

      Thanks, Zoë

  35. Hi, guys!

    This is less a question than a fan mail. I bought your first book when it came out and I was living in South Korea. I moved away and couldn’t carry all my books with me, so I found it a good home. When my spouse and I got settled again, I (naturally) had to buy your book a second time. We’ve moved several times since – the last edition I had to leave with a friend in the UAE, though I was happily reunited with my first book (which wound up in Ireland). I’m very grateful you’re maintaining the blog!

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Juliana,

      How wonderful, we are thrilled you are still enjoying all the bread and have been baking it all over the world!

      Cheers, Zoë

  36. Tried “Light Whole Wheat Bread” (The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day) using the Spelt variation. Flavor was good but size was small and very dense. Since it was my first time making it and almost no experience baking bread, recipe was followed exactly as written. Will try again though.

    I live in a metric world so that’s the column that was used.

    My question is regarding Volume (U.S.) to Weight (Metric), and this has been puzzling me: how to get from 3 cups of U.S. volume cups of WATER (236.59 ml) to 680 gr instead of 710 gr?

    1. Hi Vivi,

      We are using weights (grams), not volume (ML).

      3 cups would equal 680g or 710ml.

      Does that make sense?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi. I’m sorry to say, but no. I’m asking only about WATER because I think that that was my problem: 680 gr water = 680 ml water.

        So that I have it clear: the recipe needs 710 ml water?

        Thanks.

      2. I also have wondered about the water weight difference for several years. I measure by weight whenever possible and I have always gone by the USDA Food Composition Database, which says that 1 cup (8 fl. oz) = 237 g. 3 cups of water would therefore weigh 711 g. According to the USDA.

        As of October 1, 2019 the government has gone to a new database:
        https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/

        Since the change, the weight for water (municipal) has remained the same: 1 cup (8 fl. oz) = 237 g.
        https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175103/nutrients

        Now they have a new category, where 1 cup (8 fl. oz) water (tap) = 240 g.
        https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/344526/nutrients

        I have no idea about the weight discrepancy between the Municipal Water weight and that of Tap Water. Perhaps water treatment has something to do with it.

  37. I live at 8,000 feet in Colorado and would like to know what precise adjustments you would recommend that I make to the GF #1 bread recipe to improve the results of my bread? Thanks so much for your assistance.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      I have never baked the GF bread at that altitude, so I am not exactly sure what you’ll need to change, but I would start with reducing the yeast slightly and any sugar that is in dough. You may also need to increase the amount of xanthan gum in the flour mixture.

      Start with a small batch, since you may need to experiment to get the loaf you want.

      Thanks, Zoë

  38. I’ve heard wonderful things about EINKORN wheat lately and would like to try it out in some breads. I picked up the whole berries to grind. I understand it is not favored for bread-making, but is very tasty, nutritious, and high in protein. Have you all tried it or could you give some guidance on incorporating/substituting einkorn in some of the recipes in the Healthy Breads book?

    1. Hi Cathy,

      It is delicious, but it is low in the gluten forming proteins, so it doesn’t create much structure in the loaf. You’ll want to combine it with a bread flour or add more vital wheat gluten.

      Thanks, Zoë

  39. Hi from Australia, I have just started out with your new artisan bread in five minutes a day. The dough in the bucket is quiet dry. My first loaf was very dense. Can I add more water to the remaining dough in my bucket? Many thanks, Linda.

    1. Hi Linda,

      Yes, you sure can. Just add a couple more tablespoons of water. The flour you are using may be slightly higher in protein than we use.

      Thanks, Zoë

  40. I have the first book and I am wondering if I can use sprouted flours in the recipes and if so are all the measurements the same.

    1. Hi Gail,

      You can use sprouted flours and they work similarly, but you may need to use less water in the dough. I would start with a small batch and see how you like the results.

      Thanks, Zoe

  41. HI! I just got your new “Healthy Bread in Five…” and am excited to try to recipes. I do, however, have a question about using bread flour to replace the AP flour. I found one place (not that I’ve read every page yet) where you mention subbing the former for the latter, and that it will require more water. Could you give an amount for that? If I use bread flour but omit vital wheat gluten, does that make it a wash as far as water requirements?

    Also, a suggestion for the next edition: include Baker’s percentages.

    Thanks-

    Lisa

    Thank you

    1. Hi Lisa,

      You can use bread flour instead of all-purpose, but depending on the percentage of protein in the flour will determine how much more water you need and if it is strong enough to replace the vital wheat gluten in the recipe. In that book we do discuss omitting the VWG.

      Thanks, Zoë

  42. Do you have a recipe for Hawaiian Sweet Bread? I have your original book, the Healthy Bread in 5 , the Gluten Free Bread in 5. If you can give a page number that would be great! Thanks

    1. In any of those books, choose a brioche or challah dough, and follow the directions for making basic buns in the book. Hawaiian Sweet bread is basically a sweetened, enriched bun, stuck together as we do in the books. (“pull-apart” buns)

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