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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2,967 thoughts on “FAQs

  1. Help, help! Day before yesterday I tried the Master Recipe from ABin5 – first time for any AB recipe. I halved the recipe. The dough seemed wet – no trouble incorporating flour – but I thought it was supposed to be wet. It didn’t rise much (even with fresh yeast) but my house is cold. Today, I was going to bake, but the dough was way too wet to form. I added some flour but it’s still more like a pancake.
    What did I do wrong? And what should I do in the future?

    Thank you!

    –Mary D.

    1. You can still work in more flour and get a good result (allow to sit on the counter for 2 hours after adding flour). But it sounds like you may have measured wrong, we use this method, see my video on this:

      The Scoop-And-Sweep Technique: http://artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/04/28/how-we-measure-our-flour-using-the-scoop-and-sweep-method

      Also your shaping technique with wet dough:

      Gluten-cloaking/shaping: http://artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/03/08/new-video-shaping-the-ball-from-a-very-wet-dough
      Gluten-cloaking/shaping with whole-grain dough: http://artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/02/16/new-video-how-to-shape-a-loaf-using-whole-grain-dough

      Any chance you’re using low-protein flour like White Lily? That doesn’t have enough protein for this quantity of water.

  2. I have bought the book, and would like to make some bread, but I’m having trouble finding a container large enough to keep the dough in that is BPA free. any ideas?

      1. Hi Barbara,

        The toothpick sounds like a brilliant solution!

        You will want to reduce the baking time by about 5-8 minutes. See if that makes a difference. You may want to test the oven temperature with an oven thermometer, to make sure it isn’t running too hot.

        Thanks, Zoë

  3. Hi Jeff,
    On a related topic of Lilly vs. other flours…does KA flour require different measuring than Gold Medal? I find it much drier, especially when making whole wheat recipes.

    1. Yes, see our FAQ tab above and click on “Flour varieties: Do I need to adjust the liquids when I use different kinds of white flour?”

  4. Thank you so much for your reply. I decided it was likely the flour, too. It was some kind of off brand. I did add more flour and I baked the pathetic little pancake that resulted (I only let it rest 40 min.). The crust was tough but the crumb was quite nice and it tasted wonderful. So, I will try again, with Gold Medal, and the full recipe. Thank you for the encouragement!


  5. I apologize if I missed this on the website–I searched on Google and thought I found the answer, but then I didn’t see it when I got to the page. Anyway, if I am cooking two loaves (master recipe from HABin5, in boule form), can I cook them both at the same time? If so, I’m not sure how much more time I should add. Thank you!

  6. Hi, somewhere on your site in the past I found what the internal temperature is supposed to be for the master recipe and for egg breads. Now I can’t seem to find it and I no longer have that info. Can you please tell me what the internal temps are supposed to be so that when I make a larger loaf I will know when it’s done? Thank you!

    1. It’s not on the site, as far as I’m remembering, at least not in a post. Our publisher would kill us if we put all our content from our books here on the site. It only appears in the New Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day (http://amzn.to/17Rw23Y )

      1. FYI: I found it. It’s in the FAQs regarding underbaking.
        “If you’re really struggling with underbaking, you can try an instant-read thermometer. For lean breads (no eggs), the temperature at the center of the loaf should be 205 to 210 degrees F (96 to 99 degrees Celsius). For egg-enriched doughs, the temperature should be about 185 degrees F (85 degrees Celsius).”

  7. I ordered and the cancelled from amazon because it said not BPA free. Maybe there are others. I do gave the one from King Arthur but it’s pricier. Probably worth it

    1. Sorry, misunderstood. Yes the Amazon one isn’t BPA-free, the King Arthur one is. Maybe there’s a way to order directly from Cambro but I haven’t found it.

  8. I am making olive bread. When incorporating olives into dough, the dough became very gooey and sticky. I might have over worked the dough to cause this. Can I salvage this loaf? Should I rest it in the fridge and cloak again? Thanks!

    1. If it were me, I’d just bake it as a flatbread. You can also try working some flour in it (assuming the dough wasn’t very old), and try to re-shape.

      Or just fold it over on itself once, and accept it as an odd-shaped loaf bread?

  9. I made the Italian bread after getting semolina from KA. Found thT bread dough to be much stiffer. Is that from the semolina? Did I need to add more water?

  10. Butter milk dough for the cinnamon raisin is outrageously delicious. I did lengthen my rest and had a huge oven spring resulting in a little bit of a mess in the oven but, well worth it

    1. A very few folks have reported that in older ovens without tempered glass, water dripping onto the glass can actually cause it to shatter. By covering the glass surface of the open door with a towel, you prevent that. Remove the towel before shutting the door.

  11. I am considering purchasing a stoneware bread cloche from King Arthur Flour but it has to be put into a cold oven with the dough already in it–unlike preheating a stone and putting the dough on a hot stone–should I purchase this cloche and what changes should I make to accommodate putting the dough/cloche in a cold oven?

    1. Whether they say to or not, I always preheat the cloches before putting the dough into them. I’ve done this with the Sassafras product (http://artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=566), and the Emile Henry (http://amzn.to/19pGnXE) with good results.

      If the manufacturer says to do it one particular way, we’re all at our own risk as to whether pre-heating might cause cracking, which would make the cloche worthless. So the safest is to do it exactly like they recommend. If you do it in a cold cloche, probably need to increase the baking time a bit. 15%? 20%?

      1. thanks, jeff!! after reading further on your site, I have decided to go with the cloche from emile henry–a bit pricier but high reviews and no bad ones

  12. Hi Jeff/Zoe,

    I have a Stoneware Cloche I purchased from KA several years ago, is the Emile Henry Cloche different? I am trying to decide if its worth the investment since I have the Stoneware Cloche. Thank you for any help you can give me.

    My brother was here for Christmas and loved the Artisan bread I have been making from your cookbooks.

    Happy New Year!

      1. Thank you. My 88 year old father enjoys the bread very much. He hasn’t had store bought since Oct. He used to make bread the old way, “never heard of not kneading bread” he’s hooked! But he wants that chocolate bread from the first book. His wish is my command. Buttermilk is his first favorite, the basic bread is second, pumpernickel, third, whole wheat is fourth. Thank you very much and we both wish you a very Happy New Year!

    1. Basically, any peasant bread. Rolls. You name it. Sandwich bread, etc., assuming it’s to your taste. Oh, and of course, focaccia, fougasse, etc, all the Mediterranean things in the books.

  13. Working with your first 3 books with good success. Always looking to improve. “Baking with Julia,” and Steve Sullivan of Acme Bread in the SF Bay Area agree that kneading the dough moves the food to the yeast as yeast cannot move to the food … As bread is aging in the fridge would kneading the dough a day or two prior to baking improve the end result?
    Thanks & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

    1. I’m not convinced there’s anything the idea that you’re somehow “moving” nutrients to the yeast–the nutrients are dissolved in the water-solution that suspends all those particles that make up flour. But– you can knead, just do it once, at the time of the initial mix, just before you let it rest at room temperature. If you do it later, you’ll knock the air out of the dough, which our stored-dough method depends on for loft.

  14. I have the new artisan bread book, just started the first batch of the master recipe but the dough is too sticky even after adding another 1/2 cup of flour. I’m going to check on it tomorrow hoping overnight in the fridge will help. I’m in Asia I assume it was the humidity but then again it’s winter here as well so I don’t know what went wrong

    1. Well… in Asia, the flours are lower-protein, you may have to add a lot– it’s the protein the absorbs water. Do you have access to American-style flours in your local markets? I know that, for example, Gold Medal Flour is available in China (but I’m told you have to know where to look for it).

      1. Thanks, Jeff
        I did use gold medal all purpose flour, but it could be export version.
        could it be the salt? I wasn’t able to find kosher salt I just used pink Himalayan that was in the kitchen.

  15. I tried making the brioche; I halved the recipe. I think I used an old packet of yeast and it must have been too old. It did not rise at all. Is there any way to save the dough at this point? I can’t think of a way to add yeast now.

    1. Well, you actually can add yeast (make sure you have fresh stuff this time). Let the dough come to room temp, and make a slurry of a new half-tablespoon of yeast and 1/4-cup of water. Work the slurry into the dough, using a stand mixer, spoon, or dough whisk. Work in some flour to account for the extra water you just added, so the consistency’s back to what you started with. Should be OK in about 2 hours at room temp.

      1. Thank you so much! I am very excited about this bread. I love your book. Thanks for your help- and thanks for creating this book!

      2. Thank you. I have tried the remedy. The dough has risen a bit, after about 2 hours. It is a slight rise, not a large one. I wonder if I should add more yeast the same way I just did. Do you recommend it?

      3. Hi Amanda,

        If the dough was chilled at all it may just take a bit longer than two hours to fully rise. How much yeast did you add to the batch?

        Thanks, Zoë

  16. Hi, I’m having a pizza party tomorrow night with some friends. I practiced making pizza over the weekend from the pizza/flatbread cookbook (master recipe). My dough keeps “shrinking” when I roll it out or press it out with my fingertips. If I give it a rest for 3-5 minutes, it shrinks less so but still continues to pull back. Am I doing something wrong?

    1. No, that’s just what we recommend! If you used bread flour (or other high-protein stuff), it’s very hard to prevent this. Do multiple rests. Another technique is to pre-form and rest the dough balls, see page 43 step 2. Even 60 minutes is good.

      1. Thank you very much! I will try that method. I really love your books. I have all 3 of them and use them often, plus I just ordered the revised version of your first book, which, hopefully, will arrive today from Amazon!

    2. My kids find this maddening during our weekly Sunday Pizza Dinner, and it takes some time and getting used to.
      We found a few things help: a) if you like thin crust, then using a pastry roller with quick strokes from-the-center-outwards can help the dough get very thin, which seems to beat the stretch out of it, (it also doesn’t rise as much) b)that the older the dough, the less we found it stretches (and rises), and c) letting it get to room temperature/waiting helps a lot. I sometimes preshape balls for them 30-60 mins in advance, and they are easier to stretch and still rise d) if the bottom of the dough is left moist and you use parchment paper, then the moisture sometimes helps the dough stick to the paper, and remain rolled out. Lastly, we have begun trying to toss the dough which also seems to help, but that could just be from it falling on the floor too many times 😉 Good luck! Maybe you can let us know which technique worked for you.

      1. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply, Eitan. I hope to try some of these suggestions. I might look into the pastry roller because I have such a hard time getting the dough to roll out thin enough; however, for tomorrow I’ll probably just trying making the dough balls and letting them sit out for a while.

      2. Hi, Just an update. I made pizza last night and let the dough balls rest a long time before using. It worked perfectly!! Thaks for the help!

  17. Hi Jeff + Zoe. Thanks for making yourselves consistently available to us for questions via the site. 😉

    A question in short: does it matter whether the dry or wet ingredients are dumped into the bucket first?

    Long version: I have gotten a new food storage bucket which is rectangular, and does not have a flat bottom. When I dump the dry ingredients in first, it is hard to then get them to incorporate with the water using a simple stir, since the dough hook is not able to reach into all the corners and crevices in the bottom where the dry ingredients are hiding. I often have to tip the bucket on it’s side or shake around the dry ingredients somehow. I think vital wheat gluten needs to be distributed very evenly, and perhaps that requires mixing dry ingredients before adding the water, but do you have any tips or insights on this? If the wet vs dry order does not matter but the VWG needs mixing, maybe I could still mix the dry ingredients in a separate container first (which is easily cleaned, since it’s just dry powders!) and then add it to the liquids…?

    1. Hi Eitan,

      The only reason we have you add wet to dry in HBin5 is because of the VWG, so mixing all the dry together in a separate bowl and then adding it to the wet will work just fine.

      Cheers, Zoë

  18. Hey Jeff,
    Just wanted to let you know that the olive oils dough makes delicious rolls. They have terrific flavor.
    I bought the ingredient to make pumpernickel and rye bread but I wasn’t able to. Find rye flour. I ordered medium rye flour from KA. Did I order the right one?

  19. Sorry to waste your time. I just reread some info in the book so it answered my question. I’m assuming that I can use white whole wheat either it.

  20. I have the same problem I even bought a digital scale. I am going to use Gold Medal AP flour on the next batch to see if that is any better. I had used my supermarket brand on the other batchs

    1. Hi Jess,

      Are you using an oven thermometer? Your oven may just run a bit cool. You may also need to let your baking stone preheat a touch longer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  21. Hi Jeff and Zoe. Just wanted to wish you both a happy and healthy New Year .

    I also wanted to thank you both for your help, support and eagerness to help and assist all of us on this new adventure with bread baking..no question is to large or small and the fact that you answer so quickly is utterly amazing. Many thanks and best to you and yours!

    1. Hi Shelda,

      If they don’t sell it where you live, then any yeast will do. Your market may just not have it yet, so keep your eye out, it may be coming!

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Hi Jean,

      I just did this exact thing at Christmas and will post some pictures of it soon. It came out beautifully!

      Cheers, Zoë

  22. I am wondering if it is possible to substitute milled flaxseed for eggs in your gluten free recipes in your Healthy Bread book. I normally would use the ratio of 1 T.flaxseed 3 T water for 2 minutes

  23. Can you use any of the recipes in the crockpot. I am loving this method and have given friends the dough to try it and we all agree that it is the way to go. I have tried the basic recipe and the peasant recipe and they worked great but wasn’t sure about the others.

    1. Hi Laraine,

      I’ve tried many of our recipes in the crockpot and they all seem to work. You’ll just have to figure out how long each dough should stay in, they all seem to vary slightly.

      Thanks, Zoë

  24. Is there any problem switching the dough in the fridge from one container to another? It has been there for about 30 hours. I need my stand mixer bowl back!!

    Thanks for your help!


  25. Hi Guys – I was up early this morning baking bread for the fam. As usual they love it, but I noticed the inner window of my oven had cracked as I was taking the last loaf out. In looking up parts to replace it I found that most people looking for parts had dripped water on the glass. From the comments section the consensus was that one should protect the glass with a dishtowel or something before bringing water across the open oven door to add to a recipe. You may want to include that tip in your next edition. I use the New Artisan Bread and the pizza/flatbread books you guys have put out. Great stuff! Keep it up!

    1. Hi Eric,

      I’m sorry to hear it. Is your oven an older model? The new ovens tend to use tempered glass, so this isn’t as much of an issue. We have heard this on rare occasion, so we did put a warning in the equipment chapter (page 20).

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Wow. It sure is right there on page 20! Dang good advice. 😉 I’m not sure how old the oven is, this is a rental we live in. Either way it will have a new window soon. Thanks again for the books and the website.

  26. I love your HBin5. I bought it about 4 years ago when it first came out. Then last year we had to go gluten-free so fortunately there is a chapter on gluten-free bread. I have made the crusty boule and it is by far the BEST gf bread I have tried. Even my father-in-law loves it and he is a picky gf eater. With my family of 7 it is way too expensive to buy gf bread in the store and it is not nearly as good. Can’t come close to your great bread! Thank you for all your efforts. I have a couple questions: 1) do you have a substitute for soy flour in the gf olive oil bread? 2) what happens if my dough stays longer than 7 days? Can I still use it? 3) Can I substitute potato starch for corn starch in the recipes like other gf recipes? Thank you so much for your time. I love that you personally answer questions. You both are amazing!

    1. Hi Letticia,

      We are so glad you’re enjoying all the bread! We added the soy as a way to boost the protein in the bread.
      1)You can substitue any other bean flour in its place.
      2)Because the breads tend to have eggs you should freeze them after 7 days.
      3)I have not tried substituting potato starch, but I know tapioca works well. If you try it, you may want to start with a half batch.

      Thanks! Zoë

  27. I’m getting ready to try rye and pumpernickel. Any special suggestions on using these different ingredients? I remember that after I made the Italian with semolina Jeff said that it tends to absorb more water. Anything that might give me extra help with these? Thank You in advance.

    1. Hi Shelda,

      If you just follow our recipes for rye and pumpernickel as written I think you’ll have great luck. There isn’t really anything in particular you need to know.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  28. A big fun of your method/books!!
    Have you used King Arthur’s “9-grain flour blend”? Would you advice me for the amount I need to use?
    Greatly appreciate it! Thank you.

    1. Hi Sachiko,

      Although I have never tried that blend, I bet it acts like a whole wheat flour and I suspect you can replace it for any of the recipes where we call for whole wheat flour.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. One more question if I may.
        There are several Artisan Bread Flavors at King Arthur site. Have you use them? If so, how much should I add to Whole Wheat Master recipe? Or should I use Master recipe?
        Thank you so much!!

  29. Hello,
    I’ve been trying to use the Master Recipe from pg. 54 of the Healthy Bread book, but the dough doesn’t have any stretch to it. When I pull some out from the container it just breaks off in my hand and then it doesn’t rise on the counter or have any oven spring at all. The resulting bread is far too dense. I’m at 5000 ft. elevation. I have King Arthur’s 100% whole wheat and Gold Medal all purpose flours, using the scoop and scrape method for measurement, but I find that to get the dough wet enough in the first place I have to add a lot of extra water. Any suggestions on how to fix this or what I might be doing wrong?
    Thanks 🙂

      1. What a fast response!
        I will try those adjustments and let you know how it turns out . . .


  30. We just installed a Wolf Steam Convection oven. It does not preheat at the bread settings. I’ve made your bread with it and it’s good, but I can’t help wondering if it can be even better. Any suggestions about how to get the best out of it? On most of its settings, the oven steams first then switches to convection heat (and heats up pretty fast.) My question: do I really need the oven to be hot to start? I’m not sure it will let me — but I’ll try to override it manually if you think I need to (and if it won’t affect my Wolf warranty). Thanks.

    1. Hi Vicki,

      What you really want for the best crust is a preheated baking stone. The stone will help the rise of the bread and the crust. It seems odd that the bread setting won’t allow for a preheat, since most recipes will want you to put the bread in a hot oven. Is it perhaps a proofing setting that won’t allow for the preheat?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks — I don’t know about the other steam ovens on the market (Gaggenau, Thermador, and Miele), but the Wolf really does not seemed designed to preheat when baking bread. I know I’m not confusing it with a proofing setting because there is a separate setting for that. In any event, I’ve been enjoying the result and it’s so easy (no preheat, no stone). Baguettes in particular are lovely. I guess I’ll just stick with this. Wish I could show you!

    2. You say this is for a “bread setting”. If you have a regular “bake” setting that is really all you need.

      Also, I have a microwave/convection oven that I often use to bake my bread and while there is really no “preheat” I just put in the stone, set the temp and time, when it gets to temp I have it “preheat” for the required time, and then when that “bake” cycle is over I pop in the dough and extend/re-set the cooking time to actually bake the bread.

      1. Yes– the new technologies are throwing a monkey-wrench into our simple instructions! In general, I’d say try what the manufacturers intended and see how the loaves turn out. Then take it from there with modifications.

  31. I recently bought New AB in 5 and am enjoying beautiful loaves from the master recipe. I’ve been searching for a hamburger or kaiser-type roll but don’t see one in the book. Am I missing something?

  32. Hi there. I have the healthy bread in five book and love the recipes. I’d like to make some of the more interesting breads into sliceable sandwich loaves. Can I use a loaf pan for any recipe? Or is it possible to shape the balls by hand so that they are a desirable height for sandwiches? Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

  33. My SAF instant dry yeast recently died. It was a one-pound bag that was dated to last until April 2014 and was 14 months old. It had been kept in the fridge within a 1-gal Ziplok bag since opened.

    There are 9+ ounces left. I tried testing it by adding 1 tsp yeast to 1/4-cup warm water with 1/2 tsp dissolved sugar: no foaming. Did a second test with 4 tsp yeast and got moderate foam.

    Are there any uses for dying yeast? Or does it go to compost?


    John Gram

    1. Hi John,

      This seems quite unusual for commercial yeast, especially stored in the refrigerator. Could the water you’ve been using be slightly too warm, which will kill off the yeast. How long did you let it sit, it may just take a bit more time? If the batch is truely dead then there is nothing to do but compost it.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks for your reply, Zoë. I use an instant-read thermometer and weigh the water so I know it wasn’t over 100 degrees. The dough made pizza dough that was just fine and I made a final large loaf with the remainder. The loaf rose in the oven but not as much as with new yeast. So, it’ll be hello to the compost bin.

        John Gram

      2. Hi John,

        Sorry to hear it. I usually stick the yeast right into the freezer when I buy in bulk.

        Thanks, Zoë

  34. I just bought your New bread in 5. It’s terrific.
    However, I cannot find a bread that incorporates toasted seeds.and, or grains into the bread..(You know, like the kind at Costco) Where can I find this?
    Thank you for the improved index, the added weight measurements,and all the new recipes

    1. If you have Healthy Bread in 5min/Day (http://bit.ly/3wYSSN), we have Betsy’s Seeded Oat Bread. Or in NewArtisan that you have, just vary the seeds in Sunflower Seed Breakfast Bread. Use a variety. And you can always throw a seed mixture into any of the recipes in the books.

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