FAQs

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?
  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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3,482 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. I have a question about your hot cross bun recipe. My kindle version of your book does not indicate the yield. Also can the recipe be halved?
    Thank you

  2. I love your book, but many times, my bread would come out very heavy and dense instead of light and fluffy and would lack the nice holes throughout the loaf. What can I do?

    1. I am baking at altitude (6,000ft) in Johannesburg, South Africa, using your book: Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I cannot source Vital Wheat Gluten – would Xanthum gum be an acceptable substitute?

      1. Hi Jane,

        That’s a great question, I’ve never tried using xanthan gum in a wheat recipe. It is worth a try, but I would make a small batch to see if you like the results. Can you find a high protein bread flour? You can replace the all-purpose flour with that to get more gluten structure.

        Thanks, Zoë

  3. Hi,
    I’d like to share fresh baked bread with friends. What is the best thing to wrap it in for delivery? Plastic? Parchment?

      1. Our fresh homemade stuff, made without dough conditioners or preservatives, doesn’t do well after 24 hours or so. If you want to try it, it’s more shippable when the bread is very moist in the first place, if it was made with longer-stored dough, or if it was made with natural sourdough (we have a recipe…). But basically, I never ship bread–it won’t be great.

  4. I have two questions.
    First, can I make half the recipe for the European peasant bread? Our refrigerator is pretty full right now and no room to store the larger container I use.

    Secondly, I received a pottery bowl labeled as a bread baking bowl as a gift. Can I use the above recipe to bake a loaf and if so, how long should I bake it?

    Thanks much.

    1. Half recipe: yes!
      Bowls generally aren’t generally oven-safe, but some are. Also the surface may or many not be highly adherent to the dough as it bakes–can be a problem (or not). May have to experiment. Baking time might be a little longer. 5%? 10%?

  5. Hi guys. I’ve used your recipes for years now, and love them all. Recently I’ve discovered something amazing, though. Proofing this dough for 4 hours in an electric pressure cooker on the “yogurt” setting makes this dough magical, or I should say more magical. It really intensifies the flavor and the end product rises like crazy. Just thought I’d share. Thanks for the years of great bread!!

      1. Yes! It works wonderfully for the master recipe from the Healthy Bread book. I’ve not tried the 100% whole wheat yet but I am anxious to give it a go. Haven’t done sourdough either. In fact I think I just killed my starter by accident and probably have to begin again.

  6. I used the master recipe from this post (https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2013/10/22/the-new-artisan-bread-in-five-minutes-a-day-is-launched-back-to-basics-updated/) and both my loaves came out pretty flat, but still edible so we’re okay 🙂 The second one (which I made today after the dough had been in the fridge for almost a week and a half) was particularly flat. I’ve been having issues scouring the dough (maybe don’t have the correct knife for this) and have found the dough to be quite sticky when I take it out of the bucket to form the loaf. I’m wondering if those might be signs of something going wrong. I have the ingredients on hand to start another batch, so any tips moving forward are appreciated!

    Oh and one more important thing to note, the first one I baked on a cast iron pizza stone with the broiler tray of steam (followed the directions in that post above) and today I tried baking it in my dutch oven, and removed the lid after about 20 minutes to let the crust get dark.

    thanks so much!

  7. Hi Guys, is there an official ebook/PDF version of (new) / artisian bread in 5 minutes a day. Two reasons for asking, 1.I’d like one! and 2.Unfortunately I see it on the UK ebay site from various sellers but I’m sure they are not legit. Hopefully you can have them taken down. love the crusty loaf recipe! Best regards Sean

    1. Sean, it’s virtually impossible for publishers to eradicate illegal downloads, so they hardly try. But the word is out that when you download illegal copies, you’re working with criminals and you may also be downloading spyware, ransomware, and viruses–so this isn’t as big a problem as you think. We have versions for Kindle but I have to be honest–I don’t love them, because the Ingredient lists are images and they aren’t enlargeable and they’re hard to read. Have you seen the hard-copy British version of our book, on Amazon-UK at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-Minute-Bread-revolutionary-kneading/dp/0091938945/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1294401650&sr=1-1

      … it doesn’t have a kindle version, and Amazon-UK doesn’t seem to offer the Kindle version of our US book, though they do offer the hard-copy, at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jeff-Hertzberg-Artisan-Bread-Minutes/dp/B00NBE857C/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=artisan+bread+in+five&qid=1587066919&s=books&sr=1-1

      … and I think it’s better than the UK version of our book.

  8. I just removed my bin of dough from the fridge after leaving it in overnight.
    It seems to have risen a lot.
    The dough is like mud. Completely WET
    I don’t think I added too much water.
    What happened? Can this huge bin be saved?
    HELP

      1. I am having a similar issue, what happens after you add the extra flour–do I let it sit on the counter for a bit, for another rise? I am using the master recipe from Healthy Bread in 5, first time adapting with sourdough starter. Used about 3 cups very active starter (approx 500g) and adjusted by reducing flour and wather by 250g. each. Noticed it was a bit wetter than usual when stirring, but only added a little extra AP flour. Tried to shape after a great rise (more than doubled, lots of bubbles) and it was like pancake batter. Thanks for your help!

      2. Hi Ariella,

        Yes, it sounds like you need to add more flour to the mixture. The dough will be more slack than normal, but it should still form a ball. After you add the flour, let it rest in the refrigerator to absorb the new flour and try shaping again. If it is still very soft, I suggest you bake it in a Dutch Oven, which will help to contain the dough and give it a nicer shape.

        Thanks, Zoë

  9. Hello! I am wondering how to test if my sourdough starter is active enough.
    I read online to drop some in water and see if it floats. Mine has been sinking which would indicate it’s not active, but it is perfectly frothy and sour smelling to me.
    Is that test accurate?

    1. Many on the web are using the “float” method and though that wasn’t our choice, seems like a good option to me. Is it doubling in size with feeding? If not, could regulate the temp–warmer’s better, so folks are finding good results by storing it in an oven with the light on, which’ll be a nice warm environment. Also can try feeding two times daily rather than once, though you’ll probably have to throw some out or you’ll start getting too much.

    2. I enjoy using the Crock Pot method, will this method work for bread shapes other than the boule? Maybe an oblong loaf or small baguette?

  10. I’m loving the traditional bread recipe, but when I shape my bread I never get a nice round loaves, mine always spread our and become a fatter bread then I hope for. What I’m I doing wrong?

  11. Made the maple oatmeal bread and got barely any oven spring? Looked in faq’s.
    Have the right oven temp. It is delicious but wondering if it should be rising more

  12. I made a whole batch of brioche dough from p. 300 of The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (the Kindle version), gave it the usual 2 hours on the counter, and then put it in the fridge. It didn’t really rise like I was used to, though (usually it grows like a thing possessed), and today when I went to use it, it was actually hard and brittle. It acted more like cookie dough than bread dough; no stretch, just clumpy and dense, and not sticky at all. I had to use a different kind of flour this time because it was all I could get, so maybe I needed to adjust the water? Previously I have only used King Arthur bread flour, but all I’ve got right now is Gold Medal all-purpose flour. Any ideas what might have gone wrong, and how I can avoid that in the future?

    1. Gold Medal is our standard for testing; that’s not it. Sounds like you had a measurement error of some kind. Do you weigh your ingredients? Did you bake off any of this dough?

      1. I do weigh them, yes. I didn’t bake any of this dough. It just crumbled when I tried to form it up into anything.

      2. If I had to guess, it sounds to dry. You can try to work water into it, and let it sit on the counter again for a good long time after that–may be able to salvage.

      3. I think I figured it out! I think I got confused, and only added the egg yolks, and not the whole eggs. That would definitely make it too dry. I made another batch, and it seems much more like what it’s supposed to be this time. Thanks for your help!

  13. My dough is too wet and it has been in the fridge for 36 hours. Can I add flour at this point so that I can form a loaf without it falling flat?

  14. I have a block of fresh yeast and would like to to use it to make the Boule master recipe. What would be the weight measure of fresh yeast to replace the 1 1/2 tablespoons of dry yeast.

    Thank you and best regards,
    Ginny
    Stay safe!

      1. Apologies Rita, our webmaster doesn’t let us put up URLs that we can’t personally vouch for– it’s a security risk.

  15. Every time I have made sourdough bread, my dough is too sticky. I can never shape it properly bc it sticks to the board and my hands despite how much flour I use to coat. What am I doing wrong?

  16. Several years ago I dried my sour dough starter. How do I revive it and how much should I use to revive it?
    Thank you!

  17. If the bread is not right how can I tell the difference from wether or not it was over proofed, under proofed, or worked too much? Thanks!

  18. The only good thing about Covid-19 is that I have had to get creative regarding flours since many people are baking at home now. Hence traditional flours have become scarce. I have both the Artisan baking book and also the healthy bread book as well. Between the two I can figure out creative solutions and discover new breads that I wouldn’t have even attempted before. My family and I send your our sincerest thanks for that.
    Despite our successes we still need a little help. I was wondering if you knew of a decent replacement for buckwheat groats. I have buckwheat flour but no groats. I’m stumped.
    Also, what is your general mindset and approach when replacing flours?

    1. Rye or wheat “berries” (unground) are sometimes available from food coops, and maybe from King Arthur Flour. That’d be the closest, but I don’t know how they’d differentially absorb water since we didn’t test that in, what I assume is our Vollkornbrot recipe.

      There’s no general answer– it all depends on how much water they absorb. But whole grain flours absorb more than white flours, and rough-ground takes more water or it seems dry. And virtually all rye in the US is whole grain, even though it’s not labeled as such. King Arthur sells (maybe not still, though), a bran-depleted rye called “Medium Rye,” and it takes less water than supermarket ryes that I’ve tested. But if you go too far on hydrating whole grains and rye– the center of the loaves don’t bake through. It takes some experimentatin, as you’re seeing.

  19. Hello! I’ve just started baking, mostly white flour bread and buns. I’m finding that even if the bread is soft after I bake it, the next day it’s pretty hard. Is it possible to have fluffy bread and buns for a few days after baking them, or is long lasting “fluffiness” usually only possible with preservatives like in conventional (store bought) breads and buns?

  20. When I store the dough in the refrigerator, it develops a crust on the top. I try to hide that away in the center of the loaves I form, but is there any way to prevent the crust from forming? I’ve looked all through my book, but don’t see any reference to that.

    1. Nothing bad, but many people find the flavor to be too sour after that. And the rising isn’t as vigorous, so you may have more density than you like. But not all our doughs can go that long. Which of our books are you using, what recipe and page number?

  21. Hi! I recently discovered your 5 minute artisan bread recipe and love it! My question is can I bake two loaves at the same time (because you know 1 is just not enough since its sooo good!)? What adjustments do I need to make if ever in terms of baking time, amount of water for steaming etc.?

    Thank you!

  22. Hi,

    Can I add an egg or two to any bread recipe and reduce the liquid by the same amount?

    What other adjustments should I make?

    Same question for using milk instead of water.

    Love your books and website!

    1. Sure, but above 2 eggs per four pounds of dough, it might burn at high temp. Check out our challah and brioche recipes for guidelines on high-egg recipes. Milk isn’t as much an issue.

  23. Hi there! I just made the original all-purpose master dough. I left it to rise for 2 hours on the counter and it hasn’t doubled – it’s barely bigger than it was originally. Should I let it sit out of the fridge longer? Start over? Maybe my water was too hot? Thanks!

    1. It can sit for longer, check out our FAQs page above. Check out our FAQs page above, choosing “13. Left the dough on the counter overnight! Can I still use it?.”

  24. My crust is crunchy coming right out of oven, but gets soft as it sits. Tastes great, but where is the crunch?

  25. Hi I ordered on amazon and it was hardcover book from 2013. Is that the most recent version of the cook book?

      1. Hi Stacey,

        The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is the latest version of the book. We have had several printings of it, so some very minor mistakes were corrected in the new printings, but that is the latest. Hope that answers your question.

        Thanks, Zoë

  26. I tried this today, and it’s a total bust. I measured the flour with a scale, followed the directions. When I went to form the ball, the dough stuck all over my hands and was impossible to work with. I scraped it off on to a piece of peace meant paper, and after 30 minutes it had spread out into an inch-think flat blob. I tried to pick it up off the parchment, but it was way too wet even for parchment paper. What a mess! I tried adding flour – I must have added almost a cup to the 16 oz I started with. Flour everywhere. Then wet flour everywhere. Like I said, a mess. 20 minutes later, the second shot at a “ball” is flattening out like the first try. Not sure it’s worth wasting the energy it’s going to use up to heat the oven up to 450 degrees for this one. I must be an idiot if I can’t do this, based on all the “rave” reviews.

    1. Hi Pamela,

      Did you have a chance to check out any of our videos? Here is one on shaping wet dough: https://artisanbreadinfive.com/2017/04/16/new-video-shaping-the-ball-from-a-very-wet-dough/ Does your dough look wetter than what I am using in the video? If you add more flour to the dough, you need to let it sit again for about an hour so the gluten has time to develop. I hope this video helps and be sure to use quite a bit of flour when shaping wet dough, so it won’t stick quite as much. If your dough is too wet, you can always bake it as focaccia or pan pizza.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I don’t think my dough is stretchy enough…. saw your video, my dough doesn’t look stretchy at all though it rises and has lots of air holes. Bread is soft….ish…. what could be the reason?

  27. I don’t like my bread that sour anymore, and I have a beautiful Levito Madre starter that I’d like to use with your basic recipe. I saw recalculation for the sourdough starter, but can you help me with calculating quantities for Levito Madre? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Christie,

      I don’t have any experience baking with it, so my recommendation is to contact the person who created the recipe or starter and see if they have any recommendations.

      Thanks, Zoë

  28. Dear authors,
    I purchased your Bread making book and am enjoining it to no end. Thank you for a fun, easy new way of preparing doughs.
    I mean to make the Spinach and Feta Bread today but I have two simple (and for expert cooks, totally idiotic) questions: 1) For the ingredient “cooked spinach”: Do you mean blanching? 2) Do I measure the 1 cup spinach raw or once blanched (and drained)?
    I feel silly asking, but I want to make sure my guess on this is correct…
    Again, many thanks for your consideration and for your lovely book.
    Fania

    1. Hi Fania,

      It means 1 cup precooked spinach, so you can blanch it or saute it, but it needs to be wilted before measuring.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  29. Hi, I live in India and started to bake bread from your book “ the new healthy bread in five minutes a day”. I tried the master recipe and the whole wheat version. Although I loved the taste of both. They were not so pretty to look. I can’t source bread flour or wheat gluten in my small town. Also I have an OTG and not the convection oven which is so common in US. What is the reason for the look of the bread? Oven or the flour?

    1. Hi Ridhima,

      it can be either or both of those reasons. The flour you use will account for the amount of structure and stretch the dough has, which affects the final rise and look of the loaf. If your oven is smaller, you will want to make smaller loaves, so they bake evenly.

      If you can’t find bread flour or VWG, you will want to reduce the amount of water and you will have a dough that is just not as stretchy. Whole wheat bread typically don’t have as much stretch to begin with.

      Thnaks, Zoë

  30. The dough that came out of the fridge was stickier than anything I’ve handled since roofing tar. I used a whole cup of flour on my hands, the dough, the countertop and the floor, and it still stuck to everything. I couldn’t get the ‘cloaking’ to work, and settled for a kind of a puddle in the middle of the parchment. It grabbed my bread knife and wouldn’t let me cut slashes in the top. It’s in the oven now, but what do I do next time?
    (The first attempt was a worse disaster, and I threw the ‘loaf’ back in the bowl with the unused dough – is that okay?)

      1. Thank you, Zoe.
        It was the Basic recipe from your new book same as the video. Using Gold Medal A-P flour, scoop-and-scrape measuring , and a stand mixer.
        The bread came out of the oven in pretty good shape, although the crumb was a bit dense and the crust was very chewy, so yeah I’m thinking the mix was too wet to start with.
        The dough in your video does seem drier than mine. I was envious that when you pulled the dough out of the container, you could actually let go, to pick up the scissors. I definitely couldn’t. 🙂 I’ll try using a 1/4-cup less water next time.

    1. Hi Elayn,

      I prefer sourdough and my husband prefers yeasted dough bread, so you’ll have to decide which you like best. The health qualities depend on the person. I have no sensitivities to wheat or anything else, so both breads (especially made with whole wheat flour) are healthy for me, eaten in moderation.

      Thanks, Zoë

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