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.

  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?
  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?

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3,324 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Which book is that? I only have your 2007 edition. I was interested in how much water for batch of 1/2 APF and 1/2 whole wheat and how much water for all whole wheat flour batch. Thank you.

  2. I forgot to let the dough rise on the counter for 2 hours before putting it in the fridge – and it looks pretty flat in its tub:(
    Did I ruin it?
    Thanks for a wonderful site!

    1. Nah! Just take it out, let it come to room temp, and then give it the two-hour treatment (or more). This won’t harm things at all.

      1. Great! I went ahead and did (pretty much) just that – and now the bread is cooling. It looks just fine – I’ll try it in the AM for breakfast. Thank you:)

  3. I’m making the soft American style white bread. I’m using it immediately after the first 2 hour rise. Does it need to rest the whole 90 minutes? Also, do these breads need the water in the broiler tray underneath?

    1. You can probably shorten the resting time since the bread isn’t coming from the fridge–60 minutes should be enough. The water is nice if you’re looking for a firm top-crust, but you can omit it, or even brush with oil or melted butter–if you want a soft crust.

      1. Thanks a lot for your respond I love bread making I have problem with no knead bread I used chef John food wishes recipe and it didn’t ask for water in oven but the crust so tough and almost white after 35 minutes in 425 oven

      2. Mimi, we’re not familiar with Chef John’s recipes, ciabatta or otherwise, and we don’t comment on other folks’ methods here on our website, where we support readers of our books.

  4. Hi guys I want to bake 22″ baguettes a day a head for a friend who is having a party the next day. 1. Can I par-bake the loaves without freezing them? 2. Do they need to be refrigerated it they are finished the next morning?

      1. I have all your books I use a variation of the master recipe using strong flour. Doubling the recipe and I am adding some 1.5 Tbs of sugar. I don’t have a page number because it is on my kindle.

      2. Baguettes don’t keep that well, because there’s so much surface area relative to the mass of bread. Refrigeration especially does them harm. Your best bet is to par bake them, and as you suggest don’t freeze them, finishing the baking as close as possible to when they’ll be used

  5. For the mixture #1 in the book Can I use whole grain sorghum flour or does it need to sweet white sorghum flour? I don’t want an off flavor with the whole grain.

    1. We tested with the Bob’s product, which is WG. Probably will work either way but haven’t tested with anything but the Bob’s.

  6. Hello, my question is about your book “Holiday and celebration bread in five”. I live in Spain and I would like to know if you can help me with the equivalence between American and Spanish flours. I have read that American wheats have different characteristics than Spanish ones but I have not found a table with the equivalence in order to know wich flour use in recipes.
    Thank you very much for your attention.

    1. We haven’t tested with European flours, but in general, they tend to be lower in protein than North American ones. That means they might take a little less water, but unfortunately, I have no specific knowledge of the conversion or any tables with these numbers. You’ll have to experiment.

  7. I own your books and have been making your bread for years. I always bake the day I am going to use it – and it is rare there are leftovers. With Thanksgiving approaching, my oven will be busy all day Thursday. If I bake the bread(s) Wednesday will it still be as perfectly delicious? I need to make multiple loaves as my family and friends inhale this bread. Thanks!

    1. No–it won’t be perfectly as delicious–it won’t be bad, but it won’t be the same. This is most acute for plain white bread, and a little better if the dough was well-aged before baking (sourdough is acidic, and the acid’s a natural preservative).

  8. When I took my dough out of the fridge after it sitting overnight (it did rise before putting it in the fridge by 2 or 3 x) the dough was still risen and when I pulled off a piece I wanted for a loaf it broke off in bits/chunks – all around the holes (if that makes sense). There was no holding together (strong dough/gluten dev?). I was able to pull chunks off to make a loaf and then had to let it rise for a couple hours (because I had to knead the dough back together). What would cause this? Too much water? too fast of an initial rise (I did it in a warm oven with light on). I made my loaf with sourdough starter so maybe too wet? Why no gluten developement? The loaf came out with a thick crust and dense despite letting it rise a bit before putting it in the oven.

    1. Hi Linda,

      What recipe are you using? What kind of flour (type and brand)? How warm was the oven and how long did it rest? Straight sourdough or yeast as well?

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Candace,

      Yes, freezing is better, because it won’t dry out as much in a deep freeze. Wrap it very well so it won’t take on any flavors in the freezer or get freezer “burned” then let it defrost in the wrapping before eating.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  9. My dough is lumpy. Like, hard lumps. Still cooks fine. Is this due to me not evenly distributing the flour when I made it?

  10. First time making bread, and I am storing the master recipe dough in the dough in the refrigerator. Should it be stored in an airtight container? Thank you.

  11. I’ve been making your bread for a long time and love it. I just got a Combi steam oven and would like to use it instead of the tray method but I’m not having as much success. Do you have a method already worked out for steam ovens?

    1. Hi Shannon,

      I’ve only ever baked with steam in a professional oven and it worked just great with our bread. Can you describe the issue you are having?

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. Can I make hot dog buns using one of your recipes? I have the first Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I gifted the Gluten Free one to my granddaughter.

  13. Can I use my stored dough to make waffles? Not as-is, probably, but is there a way to incorporate some of the master recipe dough into a batter? I love overnight/yeasted waffles, but perenially forget to make the batter then night before–being able to use the dough as a kind of sponge the morning-of would be a game changer. Thanks for any wisdom!

    1. My guess is that yes, it would work. But, it’s going to take a lot of experimentation… something like our pate fermentee method in our books. You start with a little bit of fully fermented, aged dough, and dilute it into the eggy pancake batter. See what you think!

  14. Ingredient lists: Clarification on Gold Medal all-purpose flour – are you using the bleached or the unbleached all-purpose flour in your recipes? Thank you. 🙂

    1. We used unbleached because we like the slightly tan result, and we always seek to avoid unnecessary chemicals, and this one is truly unnecessary. But we’ve tested with both and both work fine at the hydration levels we specify.

  15. Can you parbake the loafs then put them in the freezer and take out and complete the baking process? So is there anything I need to know before I do this, ex: do I still put in the water to steam, and what about putting water in again when take out of freezer to finish the baking, and what about the oven temperature, any changes with that? Thankyou

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