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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2,941 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. I follow the recipe to the letter and my dough initially rises nicely, I cut off a piece, do the cloaking and put it on my paddle, where upon it flattens out and I get a flat oval shape dough and subsequently a flatter loaf, not the nice round shapes one see’s in pictures, What am I doing wrong?

      1. The book is “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day “, following the recipe on Page 26 The Master Recipe (Artisan Free-Form Loaf. I tried again same problem after cloaking I put the dough on a pizza paddle it didn’t keep its shape and flattened out to about 1 inch thick .

      2. Three possible answers:
        1. Your flour measurement may be off. Weights are the most accurate, but if using volume (cup-measures) be sure you’re using the scoop-and-sweep method like we tested with.

        2. May not be “gluten-cloaking” adequately.

        3. You may be using a flour with less water-absorbing protein than what we tested with (which was Gold Medal All-Purpose). If the dough’s too wet, it’ll spread sideways. Just decrease the water a bit if this is the likeliest.

        See videos at

        Gluten-cloaking/shaping with Rye Dough from ABin5, wet at 14 days: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/03/08/new-video-shaping-the-ball-from-a-very-wet-dough
        • Gluten-cloaking/shaping with whole-grain dough: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/02/16/new-video-how-to-shape-a-loaf-using-whole-grain-dough
        • The Scoop-And-Sweep Technique: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/04/28/how-we-measure-our-flour-using-the-scoop-and-sweep-method

  2. I am trying to make the sourdough starter you mentioned and it separates after stirring. I am on the 6th day and not much in the way of bubble activity, and it seems to be very liquid. Is this normal?

    1. Separating is no big deal, but “not much” bubbling is a problem. Is your water highly chlorinated?

      Throw away half, replenish and see if you can boost the bubbling.

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