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 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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2,883 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Hi, I have a question about the Eastern European Potato Potato-Rye Bread on page 195, the NewAB in 5: I substituted Bob’s Red Mill potato flour for the mashed potatoes, as I had tried the recipe before and wasn’t thrilled with the mashed potatoes. I weigh all my ingredients now, but I couldn’t find a weight measurement anywhere online for the potato flour substitution, so went with 1/2 cup, with no change to the water. Bad move. Ended up with a really dry mix, couldn’t even stir it. Added water, almost a full cup, to be able to mix it, then it was way too wet…

    I almost threw the dough out at least three times, but wanted to see what would happen. Stored it for a day, then tried to shape it. I found the absolute boundary for the wettest dough one could still shape into a loaf. Baked it in my much-revered Emile Henry Cloche, afraid to remove the lid and see what lay beneath. Huge surprise! The loaf baked up beautifully: high, airy, great texture. My family says it’s the best tasting bread I’ve baked yet. Go figure. BTW, I had added 2 teaspoons of herbs, rosemary & thyme to the dough mixture, which worked amazingly well.

    While it was a good learning experience, I’d really rather know a more exact measurement for substituting potato flour in this recipe, if possible. Thanks very much, still baking bread from your books every day.

    1. Well, we’ve never tried that, but our approach to what you did would be exactly the same as yours. When one makes swaps like this, you simply have to experiment. You waste a lot of flour and ingredients when you write a bread cookbook. When we’re not writing one, I often forgo the recipes and informally experiment with swaps like this.

      So glad you succeeded with this though.

  2. Bread wizards,
    Got a trick to baking flexible noncrumbling sandwich bread? Have baked w.w. Tassajara recipe for decades (with endless what’s in the cupboard additions). Love it, but it never works for husband’s sandwiches.. Expectantly with appreciation.
    Larraine

    1. You may find that our wetter dough, from any of our books, slices better when baked–less crumbly. For sandwiches you’d be best off with one baked in a loaf pan.

  3. I’m having a problem with basic Master Recipe breads from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. They always taste delicious, but they always crack. I have tried a longer rest and a longer preheat, but I still have the same problem. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Well… they’re supposed to crack, it’s just that that slashing makes the crack more controlled. Go deeper with that slashing, that should help.

      Also, consider a longer resting time–if you’re not already doing 90 minutes, do that and see what you think.

  4. I am making brioche using the new artisan bread in 5 minutes but forgot the eggs. the dough is the fridge since last nite . wehat can I do now frank

    1. Frank– your dough will be too dry w/o the eggs, so you need to hydrate up. May as well use the eggs.

      Mix them in–machine will be easiest, plus a couple spoons of water, and enough flour (not much) to adjust for the water. You need the new flour to spark a new fermentation, which you’ll need given that you’ll knock all the gas out by this mixing step. Then, two hours on the counter to re-rise. You should be able to get away with it.

  5. I just tried the basic bread in 5 minutes–3 cups water, 1 Tbsp quick yeast, kosher salt, 6.5 cups flour. I mixed the dough, let sit 2 hours at room temp, then refrigerated overnight in a dough bucket. I had closed the lid of bucket, but had made a small hole in the lid, so there was room for gas to escape. There was also a lot of condensation in the bucket after refrigeration.

    I pulled out a lb. of dough, but it is a gummy blob which is too loose to form into a ball. It is sitting on a piece of parchment, but I doubt it will turn into a ball in 40 minutes. The dough is just too wet and loose. What did I do wrong?

      1. Hi, Zoe
        Thanks so much for your reply. I tried the recipe again and was careful to count each cup of flour–I apparently didn’t use enough flour the first time because this time the bread turned out great! I also weighed the flour so I know exactly how much to use next time. I’m an experienced baker, but have only had failed attempts at bread baking, so I’m thrilled to finally succeed.

  6. Hi there!

    My batch of dough always rises a little but Never As high as you say it should. I’m using a glass container, about the same size as your plastic reccomendation. I follow the recipie using a scale so it should be pretty much perfect….any ideas of why it isn’t rising as much?

    1. Hi Robyn,

      Which recipe are you using, from which book? Does it rise initially after you mixed it or not even then?

      Thanks, Zoe

  7. HI, I’m working from The New Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day Book. Master Recipe, page 58. Have also done buttermilk bread, baguettes, light wheat. I don’t seem to be getting really brown breads. Temp is right, used water in pan below. I’ve been baking til 190 degrees. Would like better browning. I’m afraid to leave in oven too long cause I don’t want to dry out… any ideas?

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Typically with our wet dough we bake to 200°, even 205°, so that may make the difference in the color. Try that and see if you like the results better.

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. I just bought your Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I love it. But, I would like to know why you recommend a 8 1/2″ X 4 1/2″ loaf pan. I would like to use a 9 X 5 for sandwich size loaf. Is there any reason not to use the larger pan?

    Thank you.

    Marie

    1. Hi Marie,

      You can bake in a 9×5, but you’ll want to use more dough to get a nice full loaf. You’ll need to increase the rising and baking times as well. This will depend on the dough you are going to bake, but about 30 to 40 more minutes of rise and 15 more baking. Add about a 1/2 pound more dough.

      Thanks, Zoë

  9. Hi guys! I have a question about how to tell if the dough is no longer good. I can’t seem to pinpoint if it’s been exactly two weeks, or closer to 17 days. Is there a way to tell, or should I just toss based on that 14 day principle?

    Thank you so much.

    Super fan of life-changing artisan bread in 5,

    Adina

  10. OK this is my first time and I used King Arthur flour and added vital wheat gluten. I used the amount of liquid in the table on page 82 (The New Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes A Day). The dough seemed right yesterday, now today I take it out to bake a loaf and find the dough looks like a sponge and has no elasticity. I shaped the loaf anyway and am going to bake it after it rises, but I don’t think the dough is right. Almost like I did not add enough liquid. What do you think?

    1. Hi Richard,

      It may be a bit dry. If so, just let the loaf rise a bit longer than we recommend and it should be just fine. Let me know how it is once it is baked and we can determine how to improve it next time.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. After letting it rise for 90 minutes with a little rise, I baked it thinking it might not turn out well. But to my surprise it looked good and tasted great although it was a little bit dense.

      2. Hi Richard,

        I’m so glad to hear it worked out well. If the dough seems a touch dry, it will do well with a longer rest and that should improve the dense crumb.

        Enjoy! Zoë

  11. I tried making the Deli-Style rye on Page 58 of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. What a disaster. The dough was so watery despite being well mixed that when I put it on the stone it just spread out not up. Way, way too much water in this recipe – I think. I was careful with my measurements of ingredients.
    Any ideas on what went wrong? Has ANYONE successfully made this bread?

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Sorry you had an issue with this recipe. It is one of our work horse recipes, so I am confident that it works well. Let’s try to figure out what went wrong.

      How did you measure your flour? Did you (scoop and sweep) or (spoon and sweep) the flour into the cup? What brand flours are you working with? They all have different amounts of protein, which can effect the gluten development, which makes a dough wet or dry.

      Give me more details and we’ll figure out how to improve your dough.

      Here is a post on working with wet dough. Is your dough much wetter than this? http://artisanbreadinfive.com/2017/04/16/new-video-shaping-the-ball-from-a-very-wet-dough

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Kristin,

      There are different ways to store the sour starter, so it depends how often you’ll use it and which fits your baking style. You can find our methods for storing in our book The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. My bread maker died recently, and at the urging of a friend decided to buy your book and give it a try.
    My question is this… You have loaf recipes using oat flour, but not whole oats. What is the substitution ratio if you want to use whole oats instead?
    My favorite bread (from the bread maker) was oatmeal, and the recipe basically substituted one cup of oats for a cup of flour. Will this work with, say, your master recipe?

    1. You should be able to get away with that, yes. But beyond, you’ll need extra water. We do have recipes using whole oats—which book do you have and I’ll direct you.

  13. Hi. I’m just baking my first batch of dough in my slow cooker. It’s on high but so far has taken 2 hours and 35 minutes and it’s still not cooked. My slow cooker is a Morphy Richards sear and stew model with a capacity of 3.5 litres. Have I done something wrong?

    1. No–but it’s possible that this particular slow-cooker is cooler than most even when it’s on high. That said, keep in mind that it doesn’t really brown well in these, and it may be fooling you.

      Unless it’s really soft and mushy, and a fork put in there comes back wet–then it’s not done. Keep it going.

  14. A question please:

    If I use the full 3 cups of my sourdough starter can I still use the 1.5 tablespoons of yeast called for in the recipe or should I reduce it. Maybe the sourdough starter is more for flavor than for rising?

  15. I just finished watching the April 16, 2017 video on how to shape the wet dough. It appears that Zoe works at least a minute or more shaping the dough. I thought that you were only supposed to work with it about 40 seconds.
    Also my bread ( master recipe or peasant bread from original book) gets overly browned in the oven. I have tried putting it on different shelves and use a thermapen to check the dough and cook it to 200 . F I have just started using a lodge cast iron pizza round

    1. Stick with 40 seconds. It was an editing problem.

      Have you checked the temperature of the oven (not the bread)? Use something like http://ow.ly/8CVPU And if you’re using convection–stop doing that.

  16. Hi, I made the Whole Grain Rye Bread (p.167 from The New Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a day) and it was, well, perfect! I’m very excited.
    I would like to know how to adjust resting and baking times if I make a 2 lb bread instead of a 1 lb. Also, if I bake two loaves of the same size at the same time, is the baking time the same?

    1. Fantastic–type “large loaves” into the Search Bar–let me know if that doesn’t answer the questions.

  17. I made 50/50 All-Purpose and Cake Flour Thin Crust (p.74 from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in 5 minutes a day) tonight. Everything was fine but I think I’m the one who messed up… Although my family loved the pizza, it was disappointing to me. I know both in the recipe and p.41 says Naples Style is 1/8″ thickness with 1/2 lb orange size dough for 12″ round and bake hottest temp., but I must’ve made a lot thicker and more dough? I was little worried if the dough is too thin, the topping would be too heavy to the dough as rolling out. So, it was pretty thick. Taste and texture was just fine. It was a lot thinker than I was imagining. I’m so sorry to bother you, but if there is any other tip (other than what is in the book) to roll out 1/8″ thickness dough? I really want to make crispy on the outside!!!! Help me!!

      1. Thank you so much!! The link helped me a lot–especially the pictures. Our family has pizza night every Friday, so I will handle the dough ball and roll it out the way it shows there 🙂

  18. This is my 3rd attempt at getting an answer to my high altitude question! I am using The New Artisan Bread in Minutes a Day Original recipe and am not getting my Boule and Baguette cooked through. Are there adjustments that need to be made to the Original recipe or to the cooking time or to the temperature?

    This is my 3rd batch and although I achieve a great, crunchy crust, the center is always raw. My external thermometer never reaches 102!

    Help!

  19. Does weather change the dough? The past few batches have been much thinner and sticky. I was wondering if it might be because it is warmer (I’m in NJ). Can I add more flour or should I just leave it?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Leslie,

      Yes, the heat and humidity will change the dough consistency and the crust on your bread. The more humid, the more moisture your flour will absorb and it will make your dough wetter than it is in the winter.

      Thanks, Zoë

  20. There is a buildup on the edges of my cloche (I use it at least twice per week) which makes it tricky to keep the lid on. Is there any way to clean that off? If not, I’ll have to buy a new one – will I lose flavor or depth by using a new cloche?

    1. I’d think you should be able to scrape that off with a metal dough scraper, or other metal implement that you don’t care much about scratching up.

      I don’t think that a new one would give appreciably worse results–mine worked great right out of the box. But if you discard these whenever there’s buildup, it’s going to get expensive. Someone once suggested putting them through the self-clean cycle in the oven, but I can’t vouch for whether it might or might not crack in that intense heat.

  21. Hi I am at the last loaf of my master recipe. It has been about a week since I first made the fight and it smells really sour and like vinegar. Is this normal? It is currently resting awaiting the bake.

  22. Hi, I am struggling with the basic recipe {The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, 2013, pg 53}. I have made at least 4 batches now and have experienced the same flat loaf problem with every single loaf. When the dough is resting, pre-baking, it flattens and spreads itself so that it is more ciabatta than boule. It doesn’t rise much at all when baked, so still very ciabatta in height. The bread itself is tasty but the lack of rise is very disappointing and I am at a loss on how to correct this…..any suggestions? I’d be very grateful!!

  23. I have just made my first batch to GF master recipe and it is not looking right and did not rise. I got on your site, which is amazing, and found the corrections for the first addition to: The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes book.
    So I did not include the sorgum flour and I am thinking that is my problem. Is there any way to correct the batch of dough I now have??? Or do I need to just discard and start over??
    My Grandsons have been diagnosed with allergies and are on GF and DF diets. Your book looks like a God send.
    Thank you so much.
    Bethnaz1@live.com

  24. I made a batch of the GF master recipe from the on line book: The New Artisan Bread in Fire Minutes a Day and it was not looking right. So got on line into your site and found the list of errors in the recipes in that book. I had omitted the Sorgum flour (as it was not listed). Is there anything I can do to rescue this batch of dough. It is not rising at all.
    I am very excited about your cook books and method but need to get it perfected.
    Thanks for your help

    1. You should be able to salvage–sorry about this!

      It’ll take a bit of doing though. You can work in the sorghum now, using a stand mixer, your hands, or a spoon. Then leave the batch at room temperature for two hours so you restart the fermentation. At that point, you can either store the dough as directed in the recipe, or go ahead and bake.

  25. I have been making bread for many years in the traditional way. I love the AB in 5 Minutes a Day method and am pleased with the inside of the bread. The crust, however, is so hard that I can neither cut nor chew it happily. Is the steam making the crust harder or softer? I have tried not using steam with no noticeable difference. If it is to keep the crust chewable and easy to cut perhaps my steaming method is the problem.

    1. a bit complicated, Carol… With a well-heated stone, in an oven that seals in the seam very well, steam makes for a thin crust that shatters easily–but shatters, rather than offering a tough surface.

      So something is off in that. Have you checked oven temp with a thermometer? Using a stone? Tried alternative steam methods (which book do you have, I can direct you)?

      Also, which recipe are you using (which book/page number)?

  26. Hi guys! I bought New Artisan Bread in Five for myself for Christmas and I have not looked back, and have since graduated to Healthy Bread in Five. The fact I still fit into my clothes is almost as great a miracle as my family enjoying whole wheat bread!

    I usually bake 2- or 3-pound loaves in a loaf tin, to get enough height for sandwiches. Have you experimented with such big loaves in the the slow cooker? I am thinking of buying one to continue with my bread efforts through summer (I’m in Australia so it’s perfect baking weather right now).

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the great note, we are thrilled you are enjoying all the bread!

      I’ve baked a two pound loaf in my slow cooker. I do it at a slightly lower temp for longer and it takes a long time to cook. I’ve never tried 3 pounds, it may just over cook on the bottom and be unfinished in the middle.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks for replying so quickly! I am definitely going to experiment and give it a try. Time doesn’t worry me so much as running the oven in an already 104-degree summer!

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