FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Our best inspirations come from reader questions, and we’ve enjoyed answering them since starting this blog to support our books in 2007.  Click on any of the questions below– these are the ones that seem to be on a lot of bakers’ minds.  If you’re having a problem with one of our recipes, breeze through these FAQs first. If you can’t find an answer there, click on any “Comments” field adjoining a “post” here on the website (doesn’t have to be related to the content underneath). Tell us which book you’re working from, and which recipe and page number.

And please understand that our publisher would disown us if we put all our full-detail recipes here on the website or in the comment responses.  If we did, there’d really be little reason for anyone to buy our books.  This site is mainly a way of reaching out to our readers, and supporting them as they work on recipes that appear in our published books.

If the list of FAQs below doesn’t get you the answer you need, try our Search Bar: We’ve been posting recipes and answering questions on this site since 2007, so if you have a question, there’s probably a post that addresses it somewhere on this website. On our Home Page, it’s right over our pictures. In narrower displays, it sometimes appears right underneath our orange BreadIn5 logo. Just type in the bread style, ingredient, or technique that you’re interested in, and the search-engine will show you all the similar posts we’ve ever done on it, with recipes and answers to many questions.

  1. Comments policies: I posted a comment to this site but it hasn’t appeared. What happened? Can I put up links to other sites?
  2. Contest and Giveaway Rules
  3. Convection oven: Any adjustment needed?
  4. Dense or gummy crumb: What am I doing wrong?
  5. Flour varieties: Do I need to adjust the liquids when I use different kinds of white flour?
  6. Freezing the dough: Can I do it?
  7. Fresh-ground grains: can I use them with this method?
  8. Gluten-Free Frequently Asked Questions (GF FAQs)
  9. Gray color on my dough: Is there something wrong? Is it mold?
  10. High-altitude baking: How do I adjust the recipes for high-altitude?
  11. Incorporating dried fruit, nuts, or herbs into stored dough: How do I do it?
  12. Larger loaves: What adjustments are needed?
  13. Left the dough on the counter overnight! Can I still use it?
  14. Measuring flour by volume: How we measured when we tested the recipes (scoop-and-sweep)
  15. Missing instructions and missing recipes: Some of the web-based recipes don’t have everything I need to make the bread, and others are missing from the website altogether
  16. Nutrition content: How can I calculate it?
  17. Photographs: Can I post pictures to this website?
  18. Privacy Policy
  19. Refrigerator rise trick: The formed loaves or rolls rise overnight and are ready for the oven the next day
  20. Rising: My shaped loaves don’t seem to rise much before it’s time for the oven.  What am I doing wrong?
  21. Salt: Can I decrease the amount of salt in the recipes?  How do I adjust for different kinds of salt?
  22. Sourdough starter: Can I use it with this method?
  23. Steam alternatives: How do I create a steam environment for a great crust when my oven doesn’t trap steam well?
  24. Stone broke! What did I do wrong?
  25. Storing bread: What’s the best way to do it?
  26. Traditional recipes: How can they be converted to the ABin5 method?
  27. Underbaked! My loaf didn’t bake through to the center.  What am I doing wrong?
  28. Web use: Can I use your recipes on my own website, in my class, or in a publication?
  29. Weighing ingredients instead of using cup measures: How do you do it?
  30. Whole grain flours and vital wheat gluten: How do you use them?
  31. Whole grain flours and doughs without vital wheat gluten: How do those work?
  32. Yeast: Can it be decreased in the recipes?
  33. Health questions that we’ve received over the years

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3,587 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. My “empty” bucket has been in the fridge since my 14 days were up, for two weeks. The dough still looks moist, smells good, and appears to be “healthy.” Can I still scrape the dough down to add to my next batch?

      1. We never start with a cold oven and have never tested with that. It’ll certainly take longer to bake, but I can’t guess how much longer. And for the whole grain loaves in the book you have, those may be underbaked in the center. So this’ll be an experiment.

    1. Hello. I am just new to your book and your methods. While I see that you suggest a covered cast iron pot is a good alternative to the stone/steam method, what is the baking time you recommend for that? In other recipes with the cast iron, it’s 30 min covered, 20 min uncovered. What is it for your method please? Thanks!

  2. I cannot find traditional yeast anymore, the rapid rise yeast does not rise the same when baked. Have tried shortening the initial rise time and the rise for baking day but doesn’t seem to make a difference, the bread is ok but not the same as with traditional yeast. How should I be using rapid yeast? Have you ever used the rapid yeast?

    1. Yes and we can’t tell the difference with our long stored dough… We use rapid rise all the time. Active Dry Yeast seems to be readily available, at least on Amazon, and that’s more traditional than rapid but but it sounds like you mean fresh cake yEast which, you’re right, is difficult to find now. We’ve experimented with it in the past when it was easier to find and we find it doesn’t make much difference that we can tell in our stored dough.

  3. Hi guys,

    I have recently started using a baguette pan for my Master Bread recipe baguettes. I use your 2013 book, The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

    Unfortunately some of the baguettes stick to the pan. I think it may have to do with the wash before I put them in the oven, but the sticking appears on the bottom.

    Any tips for keeping the baguettes from sticking?

    I really enjoy all your books and making bread for my family and friends is really rewarding. Especially now that I can find yeast again!


  4. I watched the video about too wet dough, but mine is actually like liquid. i couldn’t even possibly keep it from running through my fingers. I followed instructions completely and the dough looked just right going into the fridge. This is my first go round and am tempted to give up but i’m hoping there is something that i may have misssed??

    1. Hi Kate,

      Which dough did you make? I am sure we can get to the bottom of this and have you baking it into bread.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I made the master recipe, all fresh ingredients, weighed everything. It only filled the 6 quart bucket about half way after 3 hours on the counter, which seemed lower than in your videos, and when I took it out of the fridge this morning it was more like pudding than dough, no stretch at all! What did I do wrong?

  5. I am not happy with the loaves I have baked using King Arthur bread. The crumb is too soggy and wet. I have let it bake longer, your instructions say increase water with high protein bread – did not work for me. I live in an arid environment – desert-like. I did not decrease the water with King Arthur. However, Today I am using my favorite Montana Wheat flour – with 13.5g protein. I decreased water to 2 2/3 c. Hope that helps. Am I headed in the correct direction? I use the stone/steam method and weigh all ingredients.

    1. Hi Karen,

      I assume you mean King Arthur Bread Flour? Which recipe are you using? How are you measuring your flour, by weights or cups?

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. Can I bake multiple loaves at once? My first Boule came out perfectly! So excited to try more recipes. But can I bake 2 Boule at the same time?

    1. Hi Susan,

      You can bake as many loaves will comfortably fit on your baking stone.

      So glad you are enjoying the bread.

      Cheers, Zoë

  7. I need your help. I’ve just tried to mixup mixture #1 and made a mistake: instead of 1 3/4 cups of tapioca starch I put in 1 3/4 cups potato starch. I have not put In any tapioca starch yet, but all the other ingredients are mixed in quite well. Do you have any suggestions on how I can save all that I have mixed up (besides doubling the entire recipe)? I don’t have enough of all the ingredients or big enough containers to double it. It’s my first time trying to make your gf flour and bread from your Artisan book. I had read and studied it, but somehow messed it up.i hope you can help me. Many thanks!

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      I have done the same thing, so you are in good company. Unfortunately, the ratio is going to be off if you don’t now double the rest of the flours to match the potato starch. You can try adding the appropriate amount of the rest of the ingredients and make a small batch of dough (maybe a quarter batch), to see if you like the results. My fear is that it may be a bit gummier with the increased potato, but it may be worth a try. If that isn’t to your liking, you can get more flour and fix the ratio of the mixture.

      Hope that helps! Zoë

  8. When I lived in Texas I had no problems with the recipes in your book. In fact, I loved them! Now I live in Central America and of course products that I can buy are different. I just can’t seem to get a good dough. I don’t know if it’s the flour, the yeast, or something else. The first rise just never seems to happen. I get lots of bubbles but it doesn’t really rise. I’m going to try to use it anyway but looking for ideas. The dough is VERY WET.

    1. Hi Jan,

      I bet it is the flour, is it a local brand or are you getting something imported from the states? Also, are you at high altitude? Give me a little more detail about the ingredients and your environment.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. Hello,
    I would like add walnuts and dried cherries to your wonderful peasant loaf dough and refrigerate it. Will the dough will react in a negative way with the add ins? Thank you for your awesome book and your time!

      1. Zoe,…. Deborah and I seem to be on the same path that I have been for the last few years, to use the European Peasant Bread (New Artisan, p. 94) as a base recipe to approximate Costco’s delicious version of a Cranberry-Walnut Bread, usually available during the Holidays. I add a generous amount of dried cranberries and walnuts to the dough . I have been pleased with the proportions but find that the boule is quite a bit heavier than Costco’s, but I love the proportions of the fruit and nuts.

        My thoughts are that the the dried cranberries/cherries, while re-hydrating in the dough, absorb quite a bit of the moisture from the dough during storage (for me, that would be 1 to 2 days before baking), thus throwing off the water percentage in the recipe, thereby baking off a too-heavy loaf.

        So, one/two questions I have are whether to increase the water percentage in the base dough or should we separately toss the dried cranberries/cherries with some water or adult beverage (we can go crazy here!)… for an allotted time before mixing the rehydrated fruit into the dough?

        Sorry to go on so lengthy here. Your Peasant Bread is my absolutely favorite recipe and I have so many lovely food memories of that type of bread that my German immigrant parents served and that I grew up with, which was baked by a German baker in my small town on Long Island, NY. Kudos on you for getting it right!


      2. I think your guess about the berries absorbing water is probably correct, but beware about increasing the hydration on that one–it might be over-dense just from that. Maybe try a small batch with the re-hyrdrated-berry idea–that’d be my first experiment. We didn’t do any of this for our Pumpernickel-date-and-walnut bread (page 127), and never found it too heavy, but as always: this is a matter of taste so experiment away.

  10. I’ve just come to this site out of the first book. I’m still experimenting with master mix 1, but when checking out some of your new recipes I see they call for gf all purpose flour. Are you no longer suggesting the mixtures you had in the first book?

  11. I’ve never baked bread before. I got the book and I’m excited to master this technique. I made my very first batch of dough this week following the “master recipe,” but I halved all of the ingredients. After being in the fridge overnight, the dough was very sticky. I put a lot of dusting flour, but there was just no way I could shape it into a smooth ball because of the dough sticking to my fingers. To compare with your videos on YouTube, your dough looked so much more manageable and easy to shape.

    Is this because my dough was too wet? For my next batch, should I increase the amount of flour? I also still have half of this first batch–can I add flour to it?

    Also to note, I live on the tropical island of Guam, and I made this batch when the room temperature was around 85F and the room humidity was probably around 75%. Perhaps I need to take this into account?


    1. Probably humidity had something to do with it, but on Guam, you may be getting different flour-types than we get in the 50-states–maybe lower in protein. That’ll take less water, so decrease water 10% or so? And you can salvage you current batch by working in flour, then letting it rest again for two hours at room temp.

      1. Hi Jeff – I used Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour (the bag also says “enriched bleached pre-sifted”). I’ll decrease the water for my next batch and I’ll add flour to this first batch. Thanks for the quick reply!

      2. Ok, but it’s not the flour, since that’s a very standard u.s. product. More like it’s your measurement technique for flour. If you’re using cup measures be sure you’re doing the scoop and sweep method, not spoon and sweep (see the book). The most accurate method is to way of the flour, if you have an accurate scale

  12. I love your book and videos! I have The New Artisan Bread in Five, 2013. Just working on the Master Recipe for now. My dough always seems stickier to work with than it seems in your videos no matter how much flour I sprinkle on. Always put dough in the fridge for no less than 1 day, often 3-5 days, no difference in the handling. All purpose flour, a variety of brands. Thank you for all of the FAQs.

    1. First question, how are you measuring the flour? Weighing is best, but if you’re using volume from cup measures, be sure you’re using the scoop and sweep method, not the spoon and sweep method. Depending on your answer I can send you to a video…

  13. Hello!
    I’ve just made the brioche bread for the first time. It sat on the counter for 2 hours and now it’s in the refrigerator. I’ve set a timer for an hour. Can I bake with it after only an hour in the refrigerator? Or should I wait until tomorrow?
    Thank you!

  14. Can spelt flour be substituted for whole wheat flour in your whole wheat sandwich bread in The New Artisan Bread book? (Page 134)

    1. Yes, but it’s going to require experimentation with hydration, because spelt products tend to be non-standard and absorb water differently than typical supermarket whole wheat flours. Probably a little less water, though you’ll have to experiment. Also, for a 100% WW loaf like this one (a tall sandwich loaf), the result with spelt is going to be pretty dense–it doesn’t rise as much as regular WW. In our other book (https://artisanbreadinfive.com/healthy), we talked about using vital wheat gluten to augment the rise for 100% loaves, especially with spelt.

      The book you have really doesn’t get into that detail…

  15. My baguettes always come out misshapen with bugles and lumps. What am I doing wrong during the shaping phase? Thanks.

  16. I just bought your book and I cannot wait to bake, but I have a couple of issues… I have a nightshade allergy and I’m also sensitive to oats in addition to wheat, even if gluten-free. Any help/suggestions would be wonderful!! Can I use more sorghum for the oat? But the potato starch seems the harder substitution.

    1. I’m assuming you mean our book that’s all GF (https://artisanbreadinfive.com/gf), not one of our others that have just a few GF recipes. Sounds like you have more food sensitivities than our book anticipated. The challenging thing: we found that GF doughs were very sensitive to minor changes in the flour mixture, and try as we might, we couldn’t succeed with any substitutions other than the ones on page 61 of the book. So you’d be in uncharted territory, increasing the various starches in place of potato starch in Mixture #1, and increasing the sorghum, brown rice, and teff in place of oat flour in Mixture #2. We found that even minor changes would cause flavor or density changes that weren’t to our liking.

      My advice: you’ll probably find that doing this leaves you with a result that gets too dense for a tall loaf (whether free-form or in a loaf-pan), but it might still work nicely as flatbread, which is MUCH more forgiving of density problems.

  17. About 10 years ago I used your old recipe and made perfect loaves all the time. I recently bought your New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The dough I get is so wet that I can’t form a loaf. It tastes great, but just spreads out and is 1 inch tall after baking. Please help. I want to get back to my old loaves, so perfect and delicious.
    Vicki Vorhes

    1. Hi Vicki,

      We didn’t change the recipes from the original book, just added weights. I wonder if you are using a different flour or if you’ve moved to the mountains (high altitude can do that)? Give me some more details and I can try to help you.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Moved from Seattle to CA, so water could be different—
        Using Gold Medal All-purpose flour.
        Thanks for the help.

      2. Hi Vicki,

        Were you using Gold Medal previously or is this a new flour? Different brands have different protein levels which effects the strength of the dough. The flour can also vary from season to season, so there can be some change in the way the dough behaves. The easiest solution is to increase the flour until you have a dough that resembles what you are used to.

        Thanks! Zoë

      3. Vicki, I’m butting in here. The recipes in the books say all-purpose flour, but they specify near the beginning of the book that what they really mean is All-Purpose UNBLEACHED flour. That confused me for a while until I read the first chapters. There is a slight difference in the protein level that might help, although not much. Perhaps you are measuring your flour differently?

        Zoe, do correct me if I’m wrong! Also, I was wondering if the brand of flour might make a difference. Also, are national brands milled regionally or in one central location?

      4. Hi Rita,

        We’ve had to adjust our conversation about bleached flours, because the process has changed and the mills say it no longer effects the protein in the flour. The national flour brands are all milled near the wheat sources and then shipped across country, so all flour from one brand will be pretty consistent. The wheat can vary from one year to the next depending on conditions, so that can play a role in changing dough.

        Thanks! Zoë

      5. Hi Rita,

        We’ve had to adjust our conversation about bleached flours, because the process has changed and the mills say it no longer effects the protein in the flour. The national flour brands are all milled near the wheat sources and then …………………

        Thanks Zoe. It’s always interesting to hear about what goes on behind the scenes that affects how we use the products.

  18. Hello! In these crazy times I have a hard time finding any flour. I have always tried to use unbleached and right now, my budget is tight so it’s the cheapest flour makes it into the grocery cart/trolly. Any suggestions on how to deal with supermarket generic flour?
    Thank You!

    1. Hi Tracy,

      You can certainly use bleached flours in our recipes. Some “generic” flours are slightly lower in protein, so they make for a wet dough. If you find your dough is wetter than normal, then just add a bit more to get the consistency that matches ours. If you haven’t made our recipes before, you will find videos on our YouTube channel that may help you see the consistency you are going for.

      Thanks! Zoë

  19. Help, I have tried the master recipe over and over, the whole wheat version, adding in the gluten, but my bread doesnt rise and comes out dense and heavy. It rises in the initial rise time of 2-3 hours, doubles in size!! but then when I pull it out to make loaves it just doesn’t hardly spring up at all. I am being gentle and quick as I form the loaf, so what am I doing wrong? Please help, I don’t want to give up already!!

    1. Hi JJ,

      Which dough are you working with, the 100% whole wheat or a blend of wheat and white? The 100% whole wheat has less oven spring. It may also have something to do with the flour you are using. What brand do you work with?

      Thanks, Zoë

  20. Hi! Hi
    Can I use a Vitamix Dry Grains Container, 32 oz. to mix dough? I also wanted to try to grind my own flour in this.
    Also, can I use a pampered chef stoneware tray instead of a pizza stone?

    1. I’m not familiar with that pampered chef product, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, so long as it’s manufacturer says it’s okay for the oven. As for that grinder option, I’m afraid I’m just not familiar with that product. If the manufacturer says it works, that’s the way to go.

      1. Not sure about the oat flour, but check out our post on home-ground (type the words “using fresh-ground” into our search bar above.

  21. Hello from St Paul. I bought ingredients fresh today and made first batch of dough. It did not rise to fill container, only a little over doubled in size. I assumed it could be due to low home temp and let it sit out for almost 4 hours but no full rise. Any tips?

  22. RE: Artisan bread baking
    My Dutch Oven manufacturer advises the oven is restricted to a maximum of 400 degrees…can you advise how much longer I should bake the Artisan bread to make up for the “missing” 100 degrees during the covered baking time, and then again for the uncovered baking time.

  23. Hi!

    Is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day friendly for those also avoiding dairy and legumes?

    I’d like to start baking gluten-free for a friend. He also cannot have anything derived from dairy (including butter and whey protein), or legumes (no bean flours). If you’re curious as to why, it’s because these are prohibited foods on the Best Bet Diet, a diet for those suffering from MS.

    In a previous gluten-free bread book I almost bought (“Gluten-free on a Shoestring”), the author based all her recipes using the addition of whey protein to her flours. So now I’m checking ahead in other books before buying to make sure that, while they may be gluten-free, they don’t rely on other ingredients prohibited by the Best Bet Diet.

    Thank you!!! ^__^

    1. We don’t use whey protein in our book on that topic: https://artisanbreadinfive.com/gf
      There is dairy in a minority of the recipes, mostly the enriched ones, and usually butter. Our basic loaf breads don’t have dairy, but they rise better if you use the variation with egg or egg-white. We weren’t crazy about the flavor of bean flours (legumes) so we didn’t use them in our GF recipes.

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