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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3,137 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
    regards
    Julie

  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.

  13. For the first time, after using this recipe for years, the bread tasted great but as you slice it, it got crumbly. In the past, the bread is usually comparatively dense, but never crumbly. What has happened, or what changed the texture of the bread?

  14. I have a Wolf Steam Oven. How can I use that oven to cook my Betsy’s seeded bread or any other bread. I no longer have to create the steam manually. On that oven, I have a Convection Steam, Convection, Convection Humid and Steam Mode.

    1. Neither of us own one of those, so it’s hard to advise–I have to assume that Wolf supplied detailed instruction on how to deliver steam. But I can tell you that you want to deliver steam for about the first quarter to third of the baking time, and then you don’t want it–in order to crisp the crust. And you only want it for our recipes that call for steam.

      1. Thanks for your response. The oven comes with a Convection Steam setting which I am considering using so that it has both components. Any thoughts on using Convection with the Steam?

      2. My guess is that convection would blow the steam away and make it less effective, but if not, the convection is going to help you get an even richer brown color.

  15. I’m making the Finnish pull bread in your new book. The ingredients list includes walnuts and I see them in the picture but the recipes doesn’t say what to do with them. Chop, but on tops of the braid?? Also notice that some recipes which call for milk say to heat and others don’t. I’m assuming you always want to warm so the yeast activates.

    1. Sorry, yes you chop them and put them on top of the braid. We’ll add that to a corrections list that will come up on the website soon. Heating the liquids isn’t crucial but you’re right it will activate the yeast quicker and result in a quicker rising time.

    1. absolutely, just follow the directions for loaf breads and bake accordingly. It always takes more baking time when you do it as a loaf bread.

    1. We have not– but truth be told, it’s much easier to get GF flours to work well in cookies than in breads–our breads took a lot of testing, and retesting, etc…

    1. Hi Monique,

      I personally like and use the steel, but the stone will also give you excellent results. The steel heats up faster and conducts heat very well, so to me it is just more convenient.

      Thanks, Zoë

  16. Following your instructions in The New Healthy Bread in Five Minutes, I made a batch of dough using Arrowhead Mills organic whole wheat flour and rested the dough as you directed. The next day I eagerly made one loaf of bread from it — which spread sideways. I think the dough is too wet. The rest of the dough is sitting in a container in my refrigerator waiting for me to use it. Is there anything I can to decrease the moisture at this stage? Thanks.

    1. Hi Marguerite,

      Yes, you can simply add more flour to the batch and then let it sit for a few hours to absorb the excess liquid.

      How much water did you use for the original batch?

      Thanks, Zoe

  17. I found an error in Holiday and Celebration Bread. Page 85 – Chocolate Bread. The weight for all-purpose flour should be 1 pound 14 ounces, not 1 pound 4 ounces, to correspond with the volume and metric weight figures. (My dough was REALLY wet, but the bread still tasted great!)

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Thank you so much for pointing this out to us, we will mark it on the correction page of the website.

      I’m so glad you still enjoyed the bread! Zoë

  18. I made four loaves of Judy’s Cinnamon Bread this week, in your new Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. When we slice the bread the bread does not stay in one piece, the center top with the cinnamon and sugar separates from the bread above it. It flops over. Hope you can visualize this. What am I doing wrong that the bread does not stay intact?
    Thank You!

      1. Hi Zoe,
        I am using the Buttermilk Bread Recipe on page 74 your new Holiday Breads book, I use to use the Buttermilk Bread recipe in your New Artisan Bread book on page 327 which is the dough recommended on page 330 for Judy’s Board of Directors Cinnamon Bread. There is a difference in the amount of sugar in both recipes the Holiday book calls for 1/4 cup and the Artisan book calls for 1 1/2 tablespoons. Could that make a difference?
        I really appreciate how we can reach out to you and Jeff with questions and how quickly you get back to us.
        Thanks, Marilyn

      2. Hi Marilyn,

        I find in general that the buttermilk dough has a bit less structure, so if you want a loaf that holds together a bit better, I would suggest trying it with challah dough. It won’t have exactly the same flavor, but I really like it. The extra sugar in the buttermilk dough, really won’t make that big of a difference in the structure, just the flavor. I’m thrilled that you are baking from the new book!

        Cheers and enjoy! Zoë

  19. My loaves are continuously misshapen. It does not seem to make a difference if I make a free form round shape, a free form oval shape, or I bake the bread I a pan the loaves come out very contorted. I always make the recommended cuts in the loaf just before I put the loaves in the oven. The contortions are either around the cuts themselves and sometimes even on the side of the loaf if not baked in a pan. It is a drag to look at a warped loaf when the pictures in the book are so perfect. Please give me a couple of ideas.

    1. Hi Walter,

      Try letting the dough rest longer before baking. If your kitchen is on the cooler side it may take an additional 30-40 minutes for the loaf to proof fully. The yeast is still too active in your loaf and it busts the shape apart.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Zoe thanks for the quick response. Much appreciated. I will definitely add an additional 30-40 minutes to the resting period . I live in northern Canada and my kitchen is definitely on the cooler side ( 18-20 degrees C).

  20. I already have a New England sour dough starter that I’ve had for awhile. Is there a way to convert it to conform to your master recipe?

  21. My son has an egg allergy, and is unable to eat baked in egg. I have tried various egg substitutes over the years, and it seems that the best substitute varies by the recipe. Do you have any recommendations for an appropriate egg substitute for the brioche, page 65, Amish-style milk bread, page 83, and the Challah bread? Thank you so much for your help. I know I could just start trying different things, but wanted to check with the experts first!

      1. Like me, it turns out that Zoe hasn’t tested the high egg recipes with egg substitutes. You’re probably best off trying the substitutes as an experiment, but start with the lower egg versions like challah, rather than babka.

  22. I would like to form the iced cinnamon Buns from The New Artisan Bread in Five Min a Day in the evening and use the refrigerator resting method for baking the next morning. Will it work with cinnamon buns and sticky pecan caramel rolls? From the FAQ’s it looks like you increase the baking temperature by 25 degrees. Shall I increase the temperature from 350 to 375? Is it a rule of thumb that anytime you use the refrigerator resting method you increase the temp by 25?

  23. I have finally gotten the hang of getting a decent loaf of bread (much longer rise times in my cold kitchen and Zoe’s video on shaping made all the difference). My one remaining issue is that my bread gets too dark on the outside when cooked long enough to get the inside just right. I lowered the cooking temp and even splurged on a dutch oven, but still get an over-dark bottom. Here’s what has worked best so far for my slightly smaller boule: preheat dutch oven to 400 degrees (convection), then bake the loaf on parchment paper in the dutch oven with the lid on for 40 minutes. I never end up removing the lid because it’s always browning with the lid on. Should I lower the temp more or do shorter bake time? Give up the parchment paper?

    1. Have you tested your oven temperature? It just sounds like it’s running too hot. It’s not the parchment. Also, convection tends to over-brown the outside…

      1. Thanks for your help Jeff (and the great recipes!). Glad to know it’s not the parchment, since that makes clean up easier! I haven’t noticed a problem with other recipes, but I suppose it could be the oven. (I don’t have a thermometer handy). I figured that since the bread is baking in a dutch oven, the convection wouldn’t affect the rate of browning. I was also surprised that the bottom is much darker. I will try a lower temp.

  24. P.S. Thought I’d share a tip for reducing clean up. I now shape my boules on the inside of the lid from my dough container (from the fridge) instead of on the countertop. The lid keeps the flour contained and any leftover I just dump back on top of the remaining dough before putting back in the fridge.

  25. Hi, I am trying to make your master dough in the New Artisan Bread book. When I add the 1 cup of water, it has fully evaporated before the baking time finishes. Is this to be expected or do I need to add more water so that some water is still present at the end? Thanks for your help!

  26. I would like to see on the web the twisting of the challah ropes for 6ropes, 3 ropes, four ropes etc; It would be much easier to see these on a video than looking at pictures. Are they are this web site but I just can not find it?

  27. My Master Dough batch develops a crust on top if left untouched for more than one day in the refrigerator. The lid is on and only slightly askew to allow for escaping gasses. Before using the dough I have to pick off the crusty part. Otherwise, the breads I have made have come out great. I have been using a cloche and a covered ceramic baguette pan. Please advise.

  28. I have a tried and true French bread recipe that I love. Can I add jalapeños and cheddar to that dough? If so when do I add them…..when mixing in the flour, after the first rise….?

  29. As per my comment on January 16 regarding the crust forming on my Master Dough, I am using the book “The New ArtisanBread in Five Minutes a Day, page 51.

    1. I’m surprised to hear you get that crust with a mostly-closed container and that particular dough. Best guesses–

      –try a smaller container with less head-space
      –very dry refrigerator environment (though there’s nothing you can do about that except raise the temperature a bit; allows for more humidity)
      –ignore it and bake despite the crust. It may not make any difference unless it’s really dry; even then it may not.

      1. May I add that you might have your lid a little too far askew? I’ve put only one push-pin pinhole in my lids which otherwise seal pretty tightly, and that is sufficient to release gasses and prevent drying the top of the dough. Hope this helps.

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