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 in the FAQs, click on any “Comments” field adjoining a “post” here on the website (doesn’t have to be related to the content underneath).  Please tell us which book you’re working from, and which recipe and page number.

  1. I posted a comment to this site but it hasn’t appeared. What happened?
  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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3,083 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. I’d like to use my Instant Pot to bake my bread, but since I’m not an experienced baker I need directions so I don’t mess it up. Can you help? Thank you.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I haven’t successfully baked a loaf in the instant pot yet. As soon as I do, I will post it here on the website.

      Cheers, Zoë

  2. After refrigerating half the dough for a day, I find that the dough seems to have shrunk. When I bake the loaves from that refrigerated dough, I find that they are smaller than the first time I baked on day 1. Why would that be? Then I tried to make a batch of dough again and found that it didn’t even seem to rise as much as the first time. I used the same container as I had made the first batch, with a little dough remnants to help the rise along as your book instructs. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

    1. Hi Val,

      What dough are you working with? It sounds like it may just be a temperature thing. The first time you baked, was the dough fresh and still warm from sitting on the counter, or had you refrigerated it?

      Try letting the dough rest a bit longer before baking it next time.

      If you added cold dough to the new batch, it may just take a bit longer for the yeast to activate, since the temperature of the batch would be a bit cooler. It is still good, just needs a bit more counter time before baking.

      In all cases, I think you just need to let the dough rest longer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  3. I have just bought the book but I live in the UK and wondered what our alternative to “All purpose flour” is? We have plain flour or self-raising flour.

  4. Thanks for your help in the past. I am trying to create breadsticks from the Rye Bread recipe, which is a favorite. Would like any advice on how best to get these to be uniform, evenly baked or any other ideas you could share. Thank you

    1. Hi Marilyn,

      Which book are you using? I can try to lead you to the spot that will help with the technique we use for breadsticks.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Two of our books have second editions the basic one new artisan bread, and then new healthy bread. The healthy bread book has two breadstick recipes on page 313 and 293. Unfortunately new Artisan only has a recipe for gluten-free bread sticks which I don’t think you’re going to help you very much if that’s the book you have… But it’s on page 279.

      2. I have had success using the basic rye recipe for bread and rolling it with a rolling pin,
        cutting the breadsticks with a pizza wheel cutter and adjusting the timing . If there is a way to create greater uniformity, I would appreciate any advice. Have also made these with the Light Whole Wheat recipe in your book. Thanks

  5. I live in Britain and my Canadian daughter in law gave me your book, revised edition 2013, but I find using your table of ingredients on page 53 but using your metric equivalents that my mixture is too sloppy. We do not have US all purpose flour. We have plain flour, self raising flour and what we call strong flour which is used for making bread. My daughter in law has no problem with your recipe in Canada. I am sure that you have encountered this before and I would be grateful for your advice.
    Thank you

    1. It should work well with British “strong” flour–which one are you using? If by “sloppy” you mean too wet, you can just adjust down the water…

  6. GF Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
    I am intolerant of night-shade vegetables, one of which is potato. I read that yu don’t accept any substitution for potato starch, but could you suggest a solution? Should I just use Mixture #2 for all recipes, or is there another starch I could sub?
    Thank you!

  7. Basic Boule recipe. Usually do not bake until about 5 days at least. Yesterday, took out a piece to make me a roll (dough mixed Saturday, so just 2 days). Somethinkg wrong with crust. It just wouldn’t chew; had to spit it out. Do you know why?

  8. HI Zoe, Jeff
    I have both New Bread in five and Healthy bread in five. I have been using master recipes up to this point, and its been fun. I recently made the honey challah which I’ve never made before. The dough wasn’t what i expected – didn’t rise like I thought it would after the 2 hours room temp. and never rose much in the refrig. I baked anyway today, the dough was stiff, almost like an airy cookie dough – it was not wet, airy and elastic like other doughs. With a lot of struggle, I made the honey apple challah and got “some rise” – it actually looks pretty, but its rather heavy and gummy. I have to believe something went wrong…( I weigh my ingredients and use KAF ). Do you have any videos showing how the dough is SUPPOSED to look after the initial mix, 2 hour wait and when removing from the container before bake? that would be helpful.
    At this point I think I’ll toss the remaining dough and try again.

    any thoughts would be appreciated

  9. When I cut the top before baking my bread collapses along the cutlines. Then the bread is dense around that area. I use flour and a bread knife. I just bought a new bread knife from Henckle. The baguette recipe says to wet the op before cutting. The master bread recipe says to flour it. Which is it? Any suggestions? I have your new book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Thanks!

  10. This is a general question. I have that exact 6 qt plastic container that you show mixing the dough in. In the directions you talk about the lids being air tight or not. On that particular container is it air tight? Should I leave it loose? I can’t tell in the pictures if you have secured the lid or not and cannot decide if it is airtight.

  11. I’m on my third master batch and I still am not getting the oven rise I should be. I have extended the time for the bread to rest after the gluten cloak. I get a better oven rise in a dutch oven, but I am not sure what to try next. I’m using the New Artisan Bread cook book.

    1. Hi Devery,

      Tell me a bit about your dough and baking.

      1. what kind of flour and what brand are you using?

      2. Do you bake on a stone? how thick and how long do you preheat?

      3. Do you have an oven thermometer?

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. TIPO “00” FLOUR

    I bought both red (13.5% protein) and blue pizzaria (12.5%) bags of Caputo 00 flour. The information on the net is confusing and some say it’s like AP flour. All I know for sure is it is made from soft white wheat. I wanted to know if I used this flour in your Master Recipe, pizza dough etc. do I increase the water and if so how much?
    Thank you very much…..

    1. OK, there’s some confusion, because our Pizza book’s only had a first printing, and there was an error in the recipe using Italian 00 flour. So, which of our books are you working from, and what recipe and page number?

    1. Haven’t tried it–milk is a tenderizer, but above a certain level, you may find that it makes the bread a little on the dense side–master the water version first, then compare with increasing levels of milk.

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