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Ask the Bread Doctor          

The ol' bread doctor has had to take down his shingle But don't leave! First search this page to see if your question has already been asked and answered. If it's about collapsing loaves, separated ("flying") crust, or cracked crust, it has, many times. And, of course, the answers to all your baking questions are my critically-acclaimed book, 52 Loaves, which you can purchase here

Thanks for all your great questions over the years, and for those of you wondering what what I'm up to next, get ready to learn some French! (Fall, 2014)

bread capping
My whole wheat bread sometimes forms a hollow just under the top crust. Why?

Dear Reader:
This is a phenomenon called "flying crust". Please search this page for "flying" to see other queries (and some answers) on that topic.

uneven rising
why does my bread not rise in the center

Dear Reader:
Are you referring to during the proofing (2nd rise) or after baking, it's sunken in the center. If the latter, it's usually because it has risen and collapsed, usually because of too much yeast or too long a rise. Try adjusting one or the other and see how you do. Good luck!

Pale crust
Bread was baked in a bread machine, but the crust is pale compaired to the rest of the loaf!

Dear Reader:
And, sorry, it always will be in a bread machine. It just doesn't get hot enough to make a proper crust, and the bread steams inside it. I exhort, encourage, beg you to try baking bread on a stone. Read "52 Loaves" and see how easy it really is.

bread capping
bread crust separates on top forming a cap during baking. How to correct?

Dear Reader:
Ah, the old "flying crust". Please search this page for many similar questions (and 1 or 2 possible answers). Good luck!

Starter from dough
Hi. I'm the lady who was sentimental about my starter and accidentally used it all to make bread. I asked if I could use some of the dough to turn into starter, and you suggested I try and let you know. Good news! I took a ball of dough about 3" across. I fed it, left it a room temp, It was definitely active. I fed it again at 6 hrs and then 12 hours later, discarding half each time. It definitely worked, and I've now refrigerated it as I won't be baking again until next weekend. Thanks for helping me rescue by daughter's starter!

Dear Reader:
Hey, thanks for letting me know, and congratulations! Glad I could help.

Chewy Crust on Soda Bread
Thank you in (hopeful) advance for answering two questions: 1) I am baking white, soda bread on a preheated, 425°, pizza stone, and my crust comes out thick and chewy, instead of crispy. What is the cause Of and solution for this? 2) Will you marry me?

Dear Reader:
Answer to question #1)Soda bread problems can be hard to dx, since eggs, milk and butter can all factor in. One thing you might try (before just switching to a different recipe) is adding some steam, something done in yeast bread baking. "52 Loaves" as well as some of the recipes on the website go into that. Answer to question #2) Not if you can't bake a perfect loaf of bread, but thanks for asking!!

Sour starter from bread dough
I've been using starter that my daughter gave me, so I am sentimental about it. Today I goofed...used all the starter to make dough! Recipe includes scalded milk, butter, egg, honey. All ingredients organic. Can I take a bit of the dough and continue to treat it like starter, or not because of the extra ingredients?

Dear Reader:
You *might* have enough wild yeast in there to keep going, so I'd give it a try. Take a bit and feed it well with flour and water for a few days. You know soon enough if have any action. As you keep adding flour, discarding half as the volume builds, you'll gradually reduce those other ingredients to a trace. If that fails, read "52 Loaves" and build you own from scratch - but I understand sentimentality. I'm the same way about mine. Good luck, and let the doctor know how you make out!

Wheat yeast rolls
I bake the lunch bread in the school cafeteria. My rolls and buns always have crumb looking things on top of them. Some have smooth tops but most look wierd. Also when I pinch my ball to make the roll the dough is tearing. What am I doing wrong?

Dear Reader:
Sounds to me like your dough is too dry. It certainly shouldn't tear when you pinch it. So try increasing the water n the dough. The tops I can't explain. Lucky kids - fresh bread in school!

loaf caves
why does top of loaf cave in?

Dear Reader:
You might want to search this page for "collapse," "collapsing," etc. for similar questions, but the in general terms, your dough is not strong enough to support its own weight. That is often because of too much yeast, so try cutting down yeast and/or rising time, and if that fails consider a higher-protein dough,like bread-machine dough. Much more on this topic in my book, "52 Loaves." Good luck!

soft crust
how do you stop the crust going soft after it come out of the machine

Dear Reader:
Bread machines aren't go to give a hard, fully cooked crust because they don't get hot enough and steam the bread. The crust is, in my opinion, the best part of the bread. I encourage you to make a non-machine loaf with a wild yeast starter to get the best crust. See "52 Loaves" or this website for more details. It's easier than you think!

sourdough bread falls apart
why does my sourdoughs crust always fall apart

Dear Reader:
Sounds like "flying crust." Please search this page for the words "flying" and "separate" for some possible explanations.

Glutin Free Bread from a Bread maker
Why when making bread does the bread appear shiny inside the area the paddle was?

Dear Reader:
I suspect because the paddle is "polishing" the grains in that area. Would seem like an indication that the paddle is not fully kneading the bread, but that mainly thy center is getting kneaded. Of course, with gluten-free bread, there's no gluten to develop via kneading, so it may not be all that serious.

Remedy of wrinkled bread
How can i prevent my bread from been wrinkled after baking

Dear Reader:
Several things can cause that, but I'd first make sure you're baking long enough. Let the crust reach a nice, dark color, and as a bonus, your bread will have more flavor. Good luck!

day old bread crumbles away
I bake bread with instant yeast. After a day or two the bread crumbles away. What can be the problem

Dear Reader:
There's a lot of bread lore floating around, but one things that's true is that using a starter (aka levain aka sourdough) will keep bread fresh longer. I encourage you to read "52 Loaves" to learn how easy and fun (and tasty) it is to make and use your own.

Crumb is really thin (see through) in middle
I am baking regular, white, yeast bread. I have been baking bread for 10 years but recently moved to a high altitude region. (6000ft). This has caused many issues. My main problem now is that in the middle of my loaves, the crumb is very thin. Like when I slice it, I can see through it. And using it for PB&J sandwiches is difficult because the jelly goes right through the bread. I've tried more liquid, less, less rising time, more flour. I'm at a loss. I never experienced this when living in the Midwest. Thanks for any help you can provide.

Dear Reader:
I'm afraid I can provide precious little help. High-altitude baking is a challenge. Best I can do is to direct you to Google your way to several websites that discuss this. Good luck, and don't give up - it can be done!

Sourdough bread rolls
Is there a specific recipe for making sourdough bread rolls using Granary flour.

Dear Reader:
You can adapt my recipe on this site for peasant bread (or you really want a totally sourdough roll, the Abbey bread recipe that's in the back of "52 Loaves") for rolls. Everything's the same except the shaping, and shorter baking time. Good luck!

Bread dough turning grey while rising
Is the bread still good to eat?

Dear Reader:
Not knowing why it's turning grey, my legal team is reluctant to allow me to answer. I'll just say it's a common occurrence.

bread too hard in two days
made some challah 2 days ago and today even though i tried softening leftover in oven & then microwave it was too hard. couldnt use at all. any hints???thank you

Dear Reader:
Honestly, two days is about the limit for home bread (especially a rich dough like challah) made without preservatives. You can extend by using a starter (see a few questions up on crumbly bread for a similar question). Bread also freezes really well, so cut that challah into chuncks and freeze some. Defrost in a 350 F oven and eat warm.

Holes in the crumb
I am baking pullman sandwich bread on a continuous line and experiencing holes in the crumb which runs in the bottom hlaf through the length of the loaf. will you please suggest some remedy.

Dear Reader:
I have no experience with commercial line bread - I'm a home breadmaker, but it's unusual for holes to develop at the bottom of the loaf - they normally appear at the top - so I'm guessing it's air trapped in the bottom of the pan. Rapping each pan hard on a table as they are loaded might help. Good luck!

thaw, reheat then serve warm rolls and bread
What is the right way to thaw, reheat and serve warm bread and rolls?

Dear Reader:
Skip the thaw step, and just place in a 350 F oven for 5-10 minutes, and serve immediately.

quick breads
why do my quick breads come out flat rather than raised in the center

Dear Reader:
Hard to say - could be a million things, from old baking powder (and it does get old) to technique, and since you say "breads" I'm assuming this is happening with more than one recipe, so I'd change the baking soda/powder. And don't over-proof. Good luck!

rye bread
dense, too chewy rye bread

Dear Reader:
Rye bread is challenging because the nature of rye grains, which are sharp and cut into the strands of gluten. Unless you insist on a 100% rye, I'd try adding some white flour (almost all commercial ryes do) or a non-whole rye flour. Good luck!

bread
why is the crust of my irish soda bread always hard

Dear Reader:
Try covering the loaf loosely with aluminum foil for the last third of baking - I've seen that help. Good luck!

Lots of holes in my bread
Why?

Dear Reader:
Oh man, I spent a year trying to get holes in my bread! Most bakers want them. If you don't reduce the amount of water in your dough - that'll do the trick.

spots on top of bread like bubbles
Spots on top of bread like bubbles

Dear Reader:
It's a fairly common occurrence in a quick bread. I've never seen it in a yeasted bread, however, so I'm at a loss - sorry!

french bread going pure white in middle
After defrosting a french bread there is a pure white circle in the middle of bread. What is that?

Dear Reader:
You don't if its your own bread or commercial bread, but it could be that the outer portions have dried out, thus the interior looks different. If it's your own, you may be undercooking - that would also give a difference appearance in the center.

bread rolls
How to get them black (almost) on top like my local baker?

Dear Reader:
High heat. Preheat your oven to the highest setting and turn the oven down to 475 for baking. If they're still not dark enough for you brush with a little milk before baking.

Buns
Why does crust detach from top layer of buns

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for many questions on "flying crust" -- although I've never heard of it happening to buns!

Bread tearing
I am baking white bread with a high gluten bread flour. One side on every loaf is tearing, it looks like the seam has travelled up the side of the bread, but that is not the case. I tried using a bit more salt, a little less sugar,less yeast; I've tried shaping it differently, as well as underproofing. No matter what, one side always tears. I would love to figure this out. Thank you. Liza

Dear Reader:
Are you slashing the bread with a razor before putting it the oven? It gives the steam a place to exit neatly and is absolutely critical. (For more on this, see by book, "52 Loaves")

Zuchinni bread
What causes my zuchinni bread to fall in the middle?

Dear Reader:
Please see rule #2 at the top of this page - sorry, but I'm ignorant about zucchini bread.

bread sinking
why does my bread sink on the sides when cooling?

Dear Reader:
No it doesn't - it sinks in the center, right? Everyone's bread sinks in the center, not the sides...Sorry the doctor is stumped.

Falls apart when sliced
Why does my bread fall apart when s Iced

Dear Reader:
Hmm. You don't say what kind of bread it is, but this is common with quick breads like Irish soda bread, due to the dry crumb. Not so much with yeast breads. It sounds like your dough is too dry, in any event, so I'd try adding more water - not too much, start with a couple of tablespoons.

sticky zucchini bread
I baked 6 mini loaves of zucchini bread & all of them came out sticky on the outside, why the stickiness?

Dear Reader:
Please see rule #2 above - sorry!

skin on dough during rising
Hi, will my bread , more specifically dinner rolls be okay if it formed a little bit of a skin? Happened during first rise. Still formed the rolls. now second rise

Dear Reader:
Sorry for the late answer. So... how were they? (I'm guessing not bad

doughy center
my quick bake beer bread was doughy in the center, why?

Dear Reader:
Underbaked. Get a digital instant thermometer and bake till center is between 205 and 210F.

flying crust for real
The doctor will be with me on four flying crust threads.....then he turns up on the fifth, but produces a broken link. Please tell me why my crust separates on my sourdough rye bread when it does not for other types. I have no questions about babies - I've made eight of them! Thanks.

Dear Reader:
The doctor apologizes - hey, you get what you pay for. The long-awaited answer...No idea! Honestly, other than, as you know, sourdoughs are different beasts, so they'll do different things (I know, lame answer). As for the 8 babies --- I've very impressed that you've been able to handle a sourdough AND 8 kids at the same time. I can barely feed the sourdough....

reason for bread going doughy in middle few days o
bread goes doughy in middle after a few days and smells sourer. what is the cause of this

Dear Reader:
I think you're underbaking. Cook till interior is 205-210 on an instant-read thermometer. Good luck.

Blast freeze wrapped bread.
We are openning a factory for different types of bread. Flat bread, pita bread, noon bread etc.. My qouestion is shall we wrap the bread befor the blast freezer or after? And what is the etimated time to defrost?

Dear Reader:
Hey, pal, I'm a home baker. But best of luck with the factory!

bread
what oven rack is best to bake bread?

Dear Reader:
You have to play around with it, but I place a cast iron pan with water on the bottom shelf (for steam - read 52 Loaves if you don't know about steam! - and bake the bread on the middle shelf. It depends on your oven.

Sourdough Bread Crust very Hard & white
I baked a white bread with sourdough and while baking it at 250 degrees centigrade for 40 minutes I still find the crust white and very hard.Please advise adjustments to be made so that the crust is soft and brown.

Dear Reader:
Well, that could be a touch hot. I'd turn the oven down 25 degrees or so after about 20 minutes of baking and see if that helps. Also you need to be using steam (see "52 Loaves" if you don't why or how)

fresh yeast
i bought some fresh yeast about 2 weeks ago it is not crumbly but soft and doughy is it okay to use

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I have no experience with fresh yeast. But if it proofs in warm water, and smells OK, I'd guess it's OK.

Brown bread turning white?
Hello, I have been using a bread maker for years and my bread has turned out fine. However recently it has been going white on the slices and smells strongly of yeast. I haven't changed any of the previous things and it isn't mould. I was just wondering if you have come across this before?

Dear Reader:
I threw out my bread maker some years ago when i discovered how much better handmade bread is (see "52 Loaves") and not hard to make!

Bread turned yellow
Shite bread for ham and cheese sandwich-both sides turned yellow

Dear Reader:
That's a new one...sorry, no idea.

Brittle after toasting
We make simple yeast bread but the bread turns out to be brittle after toasting almost the crust area becomes a bit pokey & so the kids complain, but without toasting it is soft and chewy? Please suggest?

Dear Reader:
Cut off the crust? But your fresh bread shouldn't be soft and chewy. Bake till center is 205-210 F, and let sit in turned-off oven another 10 minutes after that.

Bread sticking to the tin
What should be the time to remove the bread from the tins after baking as after it getting at normal temperature I have to use the back side of the knife to sperate the bread from the tin to which it is slightly stuck but then when I turn it it comes out clean.This even happens if we oil the tin prior to baking.Please suggest that the tins remain clean when we take out our bread?

Dear Reader:
Most people remove when the bread has cooled slightly, but not yet at room temp. But I don't bake in tins much, so sorry, I'm afraid I can't help much.

White Crust
Our bread turns out very soft but the crust does not turn dark brown.Is it because we have increased the size of the loaf from 400gms to 500gms.Please suggest as the loaf crust is always off white?

Dear Reader:
Are you baking long enough and at high enough temp? It's hard to overcook the interior, so bake till the crust is browned to your liking.

HARD BREAD
Why does my bread dough turn out hard and dense??

Dear Reader:
I finally solved this problem by turning to a sourdough (aka starter aka levain). See "52 Loaves" for details.

White Italian Bread cooked on stone
I made the dough last night and let it rise covered on counter. In the morning the dough more than doubled but looked flatter than usual when I formed it into a loaf. I cooked it on preheated bread stone for 55 minutes on 385. The bread did not get as brown or swell as much as usual. The bread was soft (normal) on the inside but the crust was thin and not very crunchy. What did I do wrong? Thank you!

Dear Reader:
385!! It's not a casserole, my friend! Try 485 next time (seriously).

Doughy taste focaccia!!!!
I have just made a focaccia in my slow cooker!!! It looks amazing but tastes a little doughy. What would balance this?

Dear Reader:
No fooling! In a slow cooker? An impressive feat! I guess you could fix it by - um - baking it? But kudos on the slow-cooker bread!

Used all starter with first loaf - normal?
Hi. I've followed your instructions and made a lively levain. The problem is that the first loaf I made with it - your pain au levain - used up all but I-2 Tb of the levain. 1) was I suppose to end up w/more than 500 gr of levain after the first 3-4 days of feeding? 2) am trying to keep the 2Tb going through regular feedings. Sound good? Any advice? 3) plan B is that I am simultaneously restarting the starter. Do I need to know anything special about blending the two starters ....assuming plan b works - the apple water isn't bubbling like the first one did :( ? Thanks!

Dear Reader:
Sorry for the late answer. I think maybe you didn't feed the levain before using it in your fist loaf. But you plan sounds good. (How did it turn out?)

cinammon raisin bread
should cinammon raisin bread be refrigerated or left out?

Dear Reader:
Bread should never be refrigerated - it hastens the staling process.

Zuchini Bread
My zuchini bread did not turn the usual brown color after baking, it remained light in color, why?

Dear Reader:
Please see rule #2 above. Sorry....

italian breead crust looks like wrinkled skin
i mix up 50lbs at a time i work for a grocery store ive tried to bake in the rack oven and the deck oven lately looking like old wrinkled skin i use 50lbs flour 3.8lbs big n krusty and 16ozs yeast and 28lbs h20

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I work only in small batches in my kitchen. Large batch bread is a whole other deal, but you might speak to some local commercial bakers - bakers are always nice people! Good luck!

cinnamon raisin bread roll
for how long can a store bought cinnamon raisin bread roll keep from the day it is baked

Dear Reader:
Given the additives in it, I'd say about 3 years.

Top splits
Why does my bread rip on top while it rises?

Dear Reader:
Ah, you have to slash the top with a razor just before baking, to give the steam a place to escape. See "52 Loaves" for more...

white bread turns to (yellow crumb)
why does my home made traditional white loaf have a yellowish crumb

Dear Reader:
It's from oxidation of the compounds in the flour. Nothing to worry about.

Hi William, Are You OK?
there has been no sign of you in quite a few days, are you ok???

Dear Reader:
I'm fine, thanks, but have not been getting notifications of these postings so I'm just catching up! (and getting finger cramps)

bread in hot car
Is it safe to eat light bread that's been left in a hot car all day?

Dear Reader:
What are you, trying to get me sued? But when it doubt, I usually give it to the cat, first.

homemade bread for sandwich
why does bread fall apart

Dear Reader:
Probably too dry. Or you put it in the fridge.

bread making
ideal bread

Dear Reader:
See "52 Loaves"

proofing issues
i make different types of sandwiches with a dough retarded over night. the sandwich is a bi fold type roll. during proofing the dough is proofing inside the dough walls instead of all uniform. basicly the dough is exploding, causing abnormal blowouts. The product has an enormous airpocket within the walls of the dough???

Dear Reader:
Cut way back on the yeast. And take care you're not trapping air when forming the loaf.

dinner rolls
if you mix yeast dinner rolls in a commercial floor mixer and proof in commercial proofer and the same mix has big and small rolls out of the same batch and sometimes they wrinkle on top even if they weren't overproofed

Dear Reader:
Sorry, as a home baker, I've got no experience with commercial equipment. Perhaps the manufacturer can offer some advice.

Old bread and biscuit "bad smell"
Hi William What is the bad odor of some days old bread and biscuit called in english!? and what chemical and environmental reactions make this happen? can you at least give me some links to read more?

Dear Reader:
Hmm. No idea what it's called, but if you're really into bread science you'll want Pyler's "Baking Science & Technology" (and Alexander's "52 Loaves")

Store bought loaf bread
Why does bread fall apart even though it hasn't expired yet?

Dear Reader:
It's stale. Read 52 Loaves and start baking your own!

Bread break at sides while baking
Why do bread breaks at sides while baking?

Dear Reader:
Probably due to escaping steam. You need to slash the top of the loaf to give it path (see "52 Loaves")

Nut roll
baking nut roll what would cause it to fall after baking?

Dear Reader:
Usually over-proofing. Cut back on the yeast and/or proofing time.

Crust
Why does the crust keep separating from my homemade brown bread

Dear Reader:
Please see many questions on this page on "flying crust"

baguettes
Our retarded baguettes have holes on the bottom when baked ? Trays are getting old not many holes , , seems to be a winter problem.

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I'm stumped. But I don't think it's the trays.

breadmaking
why does my bread dough tear during the final rise

Dear Reader:
That's a little unusual. Wonder if you're over-rising. Try baking before it tears and see how it turns out.

Zuchinni bread falls in middle
What causes my zuchinni bread to fall in the middle.

Dear Reader:
Sorry, please see rule #2 above.

crust
Why does the crust of my bread come off?

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for the many questions 9and possible answers) on "flying crust."

Flying crust
Why does my sourdough loaf end up with a seperate crust on top??

Dear Reader:
At least you know the term, but please search this page for the many questions 9and possible answers) on "flying crust."

bread molds or other pans for special bread shapes
Yes! Mr. Alexander: Hope this is not an off-the-wall question. Where can one purchase molds or special utencils for cooking connected-roll like wraps in order to place certain ingredients? Thanks,Harold harolds940@gmail.com

Dear Reader:
Hi Harold, Not off the wall, but I have no idea. Sorry...

Flying Crust
Why does top of loaf separate?

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for the many questions 9and possible answers) on "flying crust."

Hope you're OK!
Hey Bread Doctor - you haven't been online for a while - I hope you're ok! Miss reading your sage advice.

Dear Reader:
I'm back! Thanks for your concern - just brain drain, not health!

fallen
Why did it fall in the middle i use my bread machine most days andbtoday my bread collapsed in the middle :-(

Dear Reader:
Stuff happens - yeast is living. But suggest you read "52 Loaves" and start baking bread by hand!

Bread factories
What bread factories add to their dough for long lasting bread?

Dear Reader:
All the ingredients are listed on the package. God, I hope you're not asking so that you can do this at home....

Falling Loaves
Why does my whole grain wheat bread fall when I take it out of the oven?

Dear Reader:
Generally too much yeast, so try cutting back a bit.

Plaited loaf
Describe the characteristics of the finished plaited loaf

Dear Reader:
The doctor is unfamiliar with the plaited loaf. Plated loaf I know about, however...

yeast
what if i use instant yeast can i put the bread after finish kneeding in the oven pan directly and let it rise and ferment .because instant yeast doent need double raising or better use active yeast thanks dr bread

Dear Reader:
Instant yeast has similar properties to active dried yeast - the word "instant" doesn't imply you can take shortcuts. It means you don't have to pre-dissolve in water. It's the only yeast I use.

Alcoholic Smell and Taste
I've smelled freshly baked bread before and it doesn't smell like the kind I make. There is a very VERY strong smell, as well as taste: It is not edible, or if it is, it is not pleasurable. I have been trying to make an average white bread loaf.

Dear Reader:
Sorry to the shill answer, but it's a complicated topic - suggest you read "52 Loaves"

My bread is gray inside
One loaf when baked in the oven is white and the other loaf is gray inside when bread maker is gray inside, same dough. Is it baking temperature? Oven is 350. I don't know bread maker temperature. Can you help?

Dear Reader:
I've had numerous questions about grey loaves and have never been able to find an answer. Sorry...

crust on vienna bread
Hello bread doctor, how can I get my vienna loaf to have a really crunchy crust that lasts. cooked in fan forced oven thankyou.

Dear Reader:
Well, if the convection oven isn't giving you a crisp crust, I don't know what will..but make sure you're using steam

FALLEN BUNS
WHY ARE MY BUNS FALLING AFTER THEY ARE IN THE OVEN FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES

Dear Reader:
Chances are you're over-proofing. Cut back on the yeast and/or proofing time.

not white
i follow a recipe for white bread using strong white bread flower and instant yeast crust looks fine but when cut open the bread is not white like bread out shops but its a kind of off white yellowish colour

Dear Reader:
That's a good thing! Bread should have a cream-colored interior, not be bright white like Wonder bread. It's from compounds in the flour.

Falling Bread
I have been baking bread for year, the last 2 times I tried it didn't turn out, help! The first time the dough was a different texture when I kneaded it, but I kept on going; it was sticky after it rose in the bowl, but I put in pans anyway, it rose but as soon as it got to the edge it flopped over, I baked it anyway & it was dense & heavy; I made bread crumbs with it. The 2nd time I tried kneading it a bit longer & the dough felt good. I put it in the bowl to rise & it took very long, I punched down & let it rise a bit longer, it came up a bit more & I put in pans, again the dough was very soft, but this time not so sticky. Well again, the dough rose up to the top of the pans & flopped over. This is very disheartening as I've been doing this about 25 years & have never had a problem, help!

Dear Reader:
I'd cut back on the yeast. Sounds to be like it's overinflating. A higher-gluten flour (bread flour) may also help.

.bread making
why does my bread crust become detached from the main body of bread

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for the many questions 9and possible answers) on "flying crust."

weight of bread
why does the weight of bread reduces after baking

Dear Reader:
Water in the dough turning to steam and escaping.

bread fault
how to tackle the flying top of the bread

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for the many questions 9and possible answers) on "flying crust."

white bread
why is my bread not white

Dear Reader:
It should be a creamy color, not start white like Wonder bread. It's from compounds in the flour, and is a sign of artisan bread!

Soda bread
Why does the crust go so hard on my soda bread

Dear Reader:
Try covering loosely with foil halfway through baking.

tiger bread
i have been following a recipe online for tiger bread which states after making i coat the bread , leave for 30 then put in the oven for 35 mins. i went to check after 20 mins and the rolls were black. so next time i put it in for 10 mins, the crust was brown but the rolls are raw on the inside . ive tried every combination i can think of but it wont come out right, can you advise ?

Dear Reader:
So you went to someone else's online recipes, and now you want MY advice? (this bluster is cover for the fact that I have no idea - sorry)

elastic bread
why can't I get my bread smooth and elastic in my bosch mixer

Dear Reader:
I'm a proponent of hand kneading. See the video on this website (under Recipes & Techniques) if you can stand it.

homemade bread
why do i get holes in bread?

Dear Reader:
From the carbon dioxide produce from the the yeast - it's called fermentation.

homemade bread turning doughy when toasted
I made a lovely loaf yesterday but on toasting it this morn for my husband its tastes doughy and claggy when I have toasted it

Dear Reader:
it's undercooked. "Claggy"?

sourdough is very dense
What would cause my sourdough bread to be dense and cruble easily. There is no elasticity to the crumb.

Dear Reader:
Have you tried my sourdough recipe? See "Recipes & Techniques" on the menu at left.

dough is grey
Making sourdough my dough has a gretish colour after first rising

Dear Reader:
That's quite normal. I could be from the ash content of the flour, or a by-product of the sourdough - mine gets a slight grey cast if I haven't fed it in a while. Give it the nose test: if it smells good, you should be OK. If not, my lawyer says, throw it out.

My crust keeps going soft
I've just started baking , I've baked a few different types of bread and used steam to get a nice crust I also spray the bread before it goes in , they all come out fine but once they've cooled off the crust goes soft , they tase perfect I just want that crisp crust please help

Dear Reader:
First of all, congrats on having started baking and using steam/spray. Try baking your bread at a higher temp, and let that crust get good and brown. It will give you better flavor as well. If that doesn't work, skip spraying the loaf, but I don't think that's the problem. (If you read 52 Loaves, you'll see I had the opposite problem - rock-hard crusts.) Good luck!

bread
My bread did not rise

Dear Reader:
I'm sorry to hear that. Perhaps your yeast is old. You can test by dissolving some in a little lukewarm warm to which you've added a good pinch of sugar. Good luck, and don't give up! As I describe in "52 Loaves" it took me a year to figure it out -- but it was worth it!

the right soft rolls
Why my hot dog rolls always taste chewy and plastic?

Dear Reader:
Well, that's really hard to say, without knowing much more, but you get points for even making hot dog rolls! Personally, I figure the Pepperidge Farm split on top rolls are better than anything I can make, so I don't bother, so... hat's off to you!

extending the life of my bread
what can i add to my bread to make it last longer

Dear Reader:
Anything to add is going to start to transform your homemade bread into commercial-tasting bread. A far better solution is to freeze half the loaf in a freezer bag after baking. Bread freezes really well. You can go directly from freezer to 350-degree oven to serve.

how do you know when you've over worked dough?
how to know when you've overworked the bread dough?

Dear Reader:
It's not obvious at the time you're doing it, that it's overworked, so prefer to focus on knowing when you've worked dough enough - many bakers perform a "windowpane test," tearing off a small piece and seeing if you can stretch it until it's translucent. For me, when it starts forming a "duck foot web" between my finger (I knead by hand) I know it's ready.

tempture of finished bread?
tempture of finished bread?

Dear Reader:
Finally, an easy one! 205 - 210 F. (I am for 210).

Soft rolls
I've been reading your book (I just finished 'Terce') and can't wait to try this peasant bread you've spoken so highly of but in the meantime, I've been trying to reproduce a particular type of restaurant roll at my family's insistence. Apparently 'researching' (reading your book) isn't an acceptable excuse to not bake to them. The internet has a couple of 'copycat' recipes but they always seem to lack the stringy crumb structure, rich, yeasty flavor, and gigantic holes of the restaurant's rolls. Maybe you have some advice so I can get them off my back? They want rolls similar to Ryan's/Golden Corral/O'Charley's...which I hope exist up north...all you can eat buffets may not do as well outside of the South. Thanks for any ideas!

Dear Reader:
First of all, let's make sure we're taking about rolls, not biscuits (I've never eaten at any of the places you name.) For rolls, if you take my baguette ancienne recipe from the book and form rolls, you may find something close to what you're after. If they're not yeasty enough, increase the proportion of levain (and you'll know how to do that after reading the book). The secret to an airy crumb, btw, is a wet dough. My baguettes should be about right, but consider increasing the water by 10 g or so if you're not getting the structure you want. Good luck, and let me know how you make out!

dry bread
why does my bread machine bread come out dry

Dear Reader:
Bread machines are designed for convenience, not for good bread. In fact, as I observe in "52 Loaves" they seem to be designed to try to replicate supermarket bread, not artisan bread. Suggest you read "52 Loaves" and see how simple it is to bake great bread at home.

Buns (white)
Why do my buns turn out heavy after baking them, I used a mixer to do everything, using a dough hook on low speed.

Dear Reader:
Your question contains the answer: Use a mixer to do nothing, instead of everything. As I relate in "52 Loaves" my bread improved tremendously once I started kneading by hand. Start with a 30-minute autolyse (rest) before kneading, which is fun and easy. See the video on this website.(And read "52 Loaves") Good luck!

deflate toast bread
dear sir why my white toast bread deflate after baking whaile multigrain toast not deflate .

Dear Reader:
Well, they're different formulas, and the dough has different properties. Whole grain wheat is a whole other beast from white flour. Deflating is usually a result of over-proofing or over-yeasting. Please search this page for 'collapse' and 'fall' for many previous discussions on this topic.

bread falls after being baked
read falls after being baked

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for 'fall' and 'collapse' for many previous questions (and occasional answers) on this topic.

Heavy base
My bread for a first try was a reasonable success. The bottom of the loaf was slightly doughy, and the crust had an air pocket. What did I do wrong?

Dear Reader:
For a first try, that's not bad. As you bake more and become more accustomed to handling dough your bread will improve. For the crust issue, search this page for 'flying crust'. And bake till interior is 210F. Other tips in '52 Loaves.' Good luck!

Fruitloaf crumbles when cut
The flour must be 500ml not 50mnl

Dear Reader:
Whew!

My yeast fruitloaf crumbles when cut
Why can itbe that my yeast fruitloaf crumbles when cut, the taste is delicious. Ingrediants are 50ml flour, 125ml oil, 125ml butter, 5ml cinema, 500ml mixed fruit,250ml sugar,10ml bakingsoda,2ml bicarbonade of soda,5ml brown sugar and then the plant that contains flour, yeast, suger, 125ml lukewarm water/milk, the plant grows over 10 days, mixing it once a day and mix some ingrediants in on the 5th day

Dear Reader:
Wow - that's some loaf! Hard to say why it crumbles - you've got a lot going on in there. Generally additional moisture well help, though, so I'd try increasing the milk/water and see if that does the trick. Good luck!

dark bread??
the last few times i have tried to make quick bread it has turned completely dark inside and out! I don't understand what is happeneing. I have been using the same recipe for years and suddenly this started happeneing. The taste of the bread is not bad, but it is off, the texture also is still light and fluffy but it has this awful dark color throughout :(

Dear Reader:
I've had similar posts about bread turning gray, but never dark. Sorry, I'm stumped, other to state the obvious. Change everything: flour, baking soda, etc.

Flatbread
I haven't made bread in a while but I wanted to try doing flatbread...something along the lines of naan but without yeast and yogurt (i'm working with what I have in the house)..so I used a recipe with literally baking powder, salt, flour and water. I used AP cause I didn't have bread..but the dough was dense as anything. I'm a chef and it's super frustrating because i've made breads with loads more ingredients. I think flatbreads are oddly difficult to get just right. can you help?

Dear Reader:
Well, I've never made a "quick-bread" flatbread, which is what you're trying to do, so I really can't comment, other to say that AP is not the culprit. You might see if someone thefreshloaf.com has some advice for you. Good luck!

whole wheat bread smell
Will rancid or old gluten cause a really chemically smell to brown bread. I have baked theses loaves quite often,but admit that the gluten I used is probably 2 years old.Bread tastes fine,just smells odd

Dear Reader:
Yes.

shape of buns
I rolled my dough into bun shape. but they tend to open up and not retain perfect bun shape. Why?

Dear Reader:
Because dough is elastic - that's what allows it to rise. Sometimes resting after dividing but before shaping will help. Good luck!

Baking Whole Meal Bread
our bread is slightly heavy, how can we make it softer we have used half and half of strong wholemeal flour and strong white flour

Dear Reader:
Sometimes a little bit of butter or dehydrated milk will help. Peter Reinhardt has an excellent book on whole grain breads with a number of tricks. Good luck!

doughy pretzels
we were making pretzels and they turned out ok but they had this unpleasant doughy after taste. How can we make them with out getting that doughy after taste?

Dear Reader:
You might start by looking at my recipe. But the get the real "pretzel" taste you need to use lye. Good luck!

bread
my yeast bread seems heavy and somewhat gummy?? whats going on?

Dear Reader:
A spent a year solving this very problem (see "52 Loaves"). In short, try forming long, narrow loaves, and cook till center is 210F, but there's much, much more in the book. Good luck!

vacation
when will you be back? today is march 28? hope you had fun !!!

Dear Reader:
Had a wonderful time. I'm back.

irish soda bread
my soda bread atwo days later seems too dry.could i add vegatable oil to recipe and how much .Thanks

Dear Reader:
Irish soda bread is dry. Personally, I don't care for it, and I doubt that a tablespoon or two of oil would improve it.

bread
why does my bread fall

Dear Reader:
Usually because it's over-risen. But you're not alone: Please search this page for "fall" and "collapse" etc. for many questions on this topic

crispy bread
My bread comes out lovely and crisp but when it cools down it goes soft.

Dear Reader:
I assume you mean the crust. Bake a little longer, or at a higher temp. And if you're using fat in the loaf (butter or milk) that will do it as well.

baking bread
why does bread fall while baking in oven?

Dear Reader:
Please see the many questions on this topic by searching on "collapse" and "fall", etc. Good luck!

Soda Bread crusts turning out too brown and shiny
I have experimented for several years on making soda bread tast more like a well flavoured European normal yeast based bread. I have now satisfied the weight, texture and flavour goals to a large extent but without removing the unique features of basic Soda Bread. However, baking to achieve uniform success throughout leaves me with a minor problem which I will no doubt resove over time but I would like another opinion: I now bake successfylly at 390 degrees F rather than at higher temperatures. However I stil end up with a crust that is too dark and too shiny. I brush the crust with a beaten egg with a little added milk. Do you think that brushing lightly with only egg white or milk would solve the problem?

Dear Reader:
I do. Also, baking on a lower shelf will reduce the reflected heat you get from the top of the oven, and should help. You can also try not brushing anything. Good luck on your mission.

Wrikle surface in soft burger bun
Hello Burger buns and soft rolls wrinkle after cooling down. My recipe is as follows For every kilogram of flour I add the following: 15 grams of active dry yeast 15 grams of bread improver (for soft bread) 75 ml of oil 15 grams of salt 80 grams of sugar. Roll and bun weight ranges from 80 grams to 150 grams. I bake using a convection oven, when baking I heat the oven to 220 degrees celcius and drop it to 180 degrees celsius right after placing the tray inside the oven and closing the oven door. I use steam after closing the oven door for arround 10 seconds. Baking time from 12 to 15 minutes. Thank you for your assistance Regards Ned

Dear Reader:
Ned, this is due to shrinkage that occurs when bread cools. Thin crusts shrink more than thick, and this is not unusual for soft buns. You can try leaving the buns in the oven to cool gradually for 10 min after baking, with heat off and the door closed or just cracked open. More steam might also help by improving crust development. Good luck!

Bread crust separting
Why does my bread crust separate from the body of the loaf?

Dear Reader:
This is phenomenon called "flying crust." Please search on those words and "separate" for my previous thoughts on this vexing problem.

uncooked dough in middle
my Irish soda bread is uncooked in the middle - what can I do to make it edible?

Dear Reader:
Not much, unfortunately. Sometimes it'll make edible toast. In the future, however, a small investment in a digital instant read thermometer would help. Bake till center of loaf is 205-210 F. Happy St. Patrick's day regardless!

grey soda bread
Why does my soda bread get a grey streak?

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for 'gray' and 'gray' for similar questions and my previous unhelpful answers.

Oven baked bread
Why after baking the inside of the bread is sticky

Dear Reader:
Most likely it's underbaked. get yourself a cheap instant read digital thermometer (cilck on 'blog' then Amazon Store to see the one I have) and bake till interior is 208-210. Good luck!

Size of bread loaf pan
Can I use a slightly larger pan than called for. Ie:9.5 x 5.5 vs 8.5 x 4.5 to make my loaves.

Dear Reader:
Sure - just realize that the loaf may not come up the sides, leaving you with a slightly flatter loaf, and cooking time may be reduced.

chiabatta
Why does it collaps and not have structure before it goes in oven

Dear Reader:
Ciabatta (the word means "slipper" in Italian) is an extremely wet dough - that's how you get that airiness - and notoriously difficult to handle. It will not have much structure and won't be more than an inch or two high. But to make it easier to handle. Work with plenty of flour on the countertop when kneading and forming (as much forming as you can do, which isn't much).

bread splits
why does bread splits in the middle of the loaf?

Dear Reader:
Because dough is about 2/3 water by weight, much of which turns to steam and is driven off during baking, and that steam needs to go somewhere. That's why bakers make a slash across the top just before putting the loaf in the oven. I have a chapter on this in "52 Loaves"

Pretzels
Temperature for baking pretzels without bubbles in them

Dear Reader:
Most people like a few bubbles in pretzels. - it makes them lighter. But if you're plagued by too many, they aren't the result of the temperature but of the amount of yeast and water in the dough. Reduce the water a bit, and they'll go away. But for the record I bake mine at 425F. Recipe here.

White bread turns out brown
I am using strong white bread flour to makehand made bread but the finished result always looks brown, where am I going wrong? Thanks

Dear Reader:
Very strange - I assume you're not adding anything to the flour and yeast that would cause that - but I'd try a different brand of flour. It should not be white like sliced store bread, however, but slightly creamy in color. Most importantly, however, is how does it taste?

chewy tough bread rolls
Why did this happen, I have never made them before but made the dough in my bread maker.

Dear Reader:
That's why it happened (you made the dough in your bread maker). Bread machines are very hard on dough - that's why most of them specify bread flour, which is tougher. You can try using all-purpose flour, or, as I do, knead by hand. More on that topic in "52 Loaves." Good luck!

elementary science project
toasted and a regular piece of slice bread kept in sandwhich bag over a 20 day period. Need research to back up why the toasted bread became hard and the regular slice of bread became crumbly

Dear Reader:
Sorry, can't help you there. Most bakers, including myself, focus on the science of bread *before* it's baked. Good luck with your project.

Burnt top on my crust
I'm having some temperature adjustment issues with my oven when I bake my sourdough bread. I'm working with a homemade starter. I checked my oven temp back when I started baking a few months ago and it was, oddly enough, spot on at 550. So I haven't checked it again. I also don't know what i should do if I check it and it isn't 550. I can't make the temp any higher on my oven so I'm limited to the max on it. I bake the loaves in two increments of 7 minutes. That worked for a while, but then I started getting middles that were still gooey. So I upped the baking time to 8 minutes. Now I'm getting burnt peaks around my cuts on the top.

Dear Reader:
I'd an advocate of a hot oven, but 550 seems a little high for anything other than baguettes or sticks.I preaheat the oven to 550, then bake at 480. For a boule, once the crust starts to brown, I turn it down to 450. Using a lower temp will give you more even baking between crust and interior. Good luck!

I don't get a good crown on tin baked loaves
Why?

Dear Reader:
Usually because you're not getting enough oven spring. This could be because the loaves are either over- or under-proofed. You might also try beginning your baking at a higher temp for the few 10 minutes. Good luck!

Superior Bakery Bread, Chicago since 1940's
I am trying to duplicate this bread and have watched the process at the bakery. They use a high gluten flour (remarkable #57122), Red Star Yeast, salt and Chicago water. When making their bread, they use a 7-hour rise time and form their loaves in the morning, as you have indicated you do as well with a 7-hour rise. They practice using less yeast and a long rise time to make this particular bread. I have varied the amounts of water, yeast, baking temperature and second-rise time and have still come up short. My bread does not rise adequately in the oven and comes out with a good crust but very dense inside. I have used 425 degrees oven temperature and bake for about one hour or until golden brown. I have tried adding a little more yeast and a little more water without success. Any suggestions?

Dear Reader:
Sounds like good bread...As for yours, I had the same problem with dense loaves until I began using a starter (levain). There's a recipe for on in my book and also on this site. You don't say what shape the loaves are, but I also found I get airier (and tastier) loaves if I shape them as batards or even baguettes as opposed to round boules. Also, crank up that oven! I preheat to 550 and bake at 480. More tips in "52 Loaves"... Good luck!

bread rises and then sinks
What am I doing wrong, I'm using an all in one mix from the super maket and just have to add water to the bread machine.

Dear Reader:
That's what you're doing wrong. Honestly, you cannot make bread that way. Biscuits, maybe, but not bread. Your sentence: reading 52 Loaves from cover to cover.

Homemade bread
Crust wrinkles after cooling

Dear Reader:
So do I. What's your point? Okay, sounds like an undercooked crust. Don't be afraid to bake your bread to a dark, almost mahogany color. It also adds flavor.

Sweet bread from bread maker
I have a new cusinart bread machine and I have made an "apple pie bread" with the sweet bread function. Once I made the 1.5 lb loaf with light crust and used bread machine yeast and it came out perfect. The next time I made 2 lb loaf and used a rapid rise yeast and on the light crust setting and it was wrinkly on the top tasted really odd, almost like turkey! I assumed this was because of moisture bc I put it in the container and didnt let it cool on the rack very long. So the next time I did everything the same and let it sit out to cool over night. This time the bottom half of the loaf tasted great, but the top half (which was a little wrinkly again, but drier) tasted like turkey or almost metallic again! So, my question is what would cause this?! Is it the type of yeast or is it that fact that I have it on the light crust setting and it's not getting baked long enough?! Please help! So confused...

Dear Reader:
You're not going to like my answer...instead of investing on a Cuisinart machine you might've been better off with a $25 pizza stone. There are serious limitations to what bread machines can do. At the risk of sounding like I'm hawking a product (well, I am) I suggest you take a look at "52 Loaves". Hopefully it will inspire you to start baking artisan bread. If nothing else, you'll enjoy my chapter on bread machines.

how long and where do I store homemade bread?
how long and where do I store homemade bread.

Dear Reader:
The "how long" depends on the type of bread. Peasant bread make with a levain, or wild-yeast starter, can keep several days. A baguette is stale by the next morning. I store my bread cut side down on a cutting board if I'm consuming it fairly quickly. Otherwise I store in a closed linen bag (a paper bag is fine, too. Never, ever refrigerate bread, which hastens staling (read "52 Loaves" to find out why).

Bread Dough
Why is my bread dough not coming together as it should?

Dear Reader:
Most likely it's too dry. If that's not the case, a 20-minutes rest (the French call it "autolyse") before kneading will help tremendously. I discovered this technique halfway through my "52 Loaves" and it changed the way I make bread.

home made bread
why my homemade bread splits on the side

Dear Reader:
Probably because you're not slashing the top to allow the steam a path to escape. The scoring you see on artisan loaves is not just decorative. (A have an whole chapter on this in "52 Loaves")

Brownbread dough
Why does my browmbread dough tear while rising in proofer

Dear Reader:
My guess is that you don't have enough gluten development; thus instead of stretching the dough is tearing. Try more kneading and perhaps more water. Good luck!

nut rolls flatten
why do my nut rolla flatten after they're baked?

Dear Reader:
I don't-a know-a why-a you're-a rolla flatten. Oh, sorry, that's "rolls" - just a typo on your part. But try leaving them in the oven with the door open for a few minutes after baking before you remove them.

eliminating crowns on homemade bread
How do you keep from having large crowns form on breads?

Dear Reader:
Use less yeast. But those crowns are prized in some quarters, you know. If the rest of the loaf is satisfactory, I'd say leave it alone.

bread
How much active dry yeast should you use in a recipe or formula that calls for compressed yeast?

Dear Reader:
About half, by weight, according the SFBI. For instant yeast, go with 40%. If you doing it by volume, see this page

whole in bread loaf
The loaf comes out looking really good and done but then when you cut into it when it cools there is a doughy huge whole in the middle. I was wondering why?

Dear Reader:
Not sure how a hole can be doughy -- a hole is the absence of matter, right? But let's not quibble. I know what you mean. As for doughy, the bread is under-baked. Bake till the center is at least 205 F, using an instant-read thermometer. The hole was probably left when you shaped or folded the dough, although too much yeast can that also. Good luck, and thanks for the existential question!

Bread falls
My bread falls after I take it out of oven within 5 minutes

Dear Reader:
You probably have over-proofed or over-yeasted, but search this page for similar questions (and more detailed responses). Good luck!

Making bread
collapse

Dear Reader:
And how!

buen dia
porque el pan despues de que lo saco del horno se arruga

Dear Reader:
I think you're saying your bread wrinkles when it comes out of the oven. I'm not sure why this happens - ¡lo siento

Dough weight
Hi what the typical mixed dough weigh for a everyday white 800g loaf please

Dear Reader:
I assume you're asking about how much water and gas is loss during the baking process. It depends on your technique and even the style of bread (round loaves lose less water than long, narrow loaves, but it's usually in the range of 12-15%, so if you want to finish with an 800g loaf, you'd start out with (using 13% as your loss) 920 g.

bread dough
what is the initial and sudden rise of bread dough when it is placed in a hot oven

Dear Reader:
Oven spring.

top crust
What causes the top crust to separate form the loaf?

Dear Reader:
This is known as "flying crust" and also "!@$#!&!" Please search this page (cntl-f) for occurrences of "flying" crust and "separation" etc. to see previous similar questions.

round milco loaf
I remember as I grew up there was a cylindrical loaf called milko. Am I right please

Dear Reader:
There's an Oriental bread called milo, but I'm not familiar with anything called milko or milco. Sorry!

bread making
Dough is done kneading when it starts to climb the hook and we test to ensure a stretched piece of dough has transparency without ripping. This test is known as

Dear Reader:
What is this -- a quiz to see if the doctor is licensed? The answer is "windowpane test."

Sourdough Rye splitting in baking process
Hello. I have made sourdough ryes that split during baking as if from really strong oven spring. I try to follow the finger test and do slash the tops. Both the boules and vienna shapes do this. Am I underproofing? Or is it my shaping? The split will be along one side, usually nearer the base of a boule, or along the top side on a vienna loaf. Otherwise, texture and taste are great! Thank you, Paula M.

Dear Reader:
Hi, Paula. I'm going to say you're under-slashing. Make your cut or cuts deeper and angled, and considering increasing the number of them (makes for pretty loaf, too). Let me know how you make out. Good luck!

sourdough
Can you tell me how to build a sourdough starter?

Dear Reader:
See the recipes link on this page for the short answer. For a for more interesting answer, read "52 Loaves."

Bread won't rise?
I have a Dutch recipe as follows: 500 g whole wheat flour 7 g instant yeast 2 tsp salt 1 TBSP sugar 350 ml milk I first mixed 350g of flour with the warm milk, yeast, and sugar, then let it go through the autolyse for 20 minutes, but nothing happened. I ignored this, added the salt and remaining flour, and it is now standing in a warm area under a teacloth, supposed to rise. After an hour or so I checked on it, but it is still the dense, blob of dough it was when i first put it to rise. I have had this experience with other brea recipes many times where i actually baked the bread even though it hadn't risen and it came out VERY dense and chewy. Do you know why the bread won't rise?

Dear Reader:
With that much yeast and sugar (in the milk), all that I can think of is that your yeast is dead. You can check by proofing the yeast with some lukewarm water and a teaspoon of sugar. It should be foamy within 10-15 minutes. Good luck!

granary
does granary bread contain niacin

Dear Reader:
If by "granary bread" you mean bread made with Granary flour, a flour sold in Britain, I don't know. All white flour sold in the US is fortified with niacin to replace the niacin lost when the bran is removed. I discovered the fascinating history of niacin in bread while researching "52 Loaves," where you can read the full story.

collapsing bread halfway through cook cycle
Collapsing bread

Dear Reader:
A common (but still vexing) problem. Please search this page on "collapse", etc. for many, many similar queries (and some possible answers). Good luck!

Bread machine bake
Bread sticks to knife when sliced

Dear Reader:
Warm bread will do this -- make sure your bread is cool before you slice it (it will taste better, too). If the knife is sticking to cool bread, the loaf is either too moist or under-baked. You have more control if you bake bread in an oven instead of a machine -- and it's easy! Read "52 Loaves" for more info. Good luck!

Soft bread
Made bread that always just right. Add nuts and dried fruit. Had holes in middle and soft. How to solve this?

Dear Reader:
You might take a look at some of my artisan bread recipes, on this site, on my blog, and in "52 Loaves." These breads have a firm texture and a crisp crust. Good luck!

Home made bread
Why does bread fall in the middle

Dear Reader:
Please search this page (cntl-f on most browsers) for many, many similar questions (and answers).

oven
Do you have any advice on building an outdoor wood fired oven inexpensively?

Dear Reader:
I would start by reading "52 Loaves." And check out my blog, around March 2011. And don't build an earth oven. Go with something more durable (like brick) or concrete/clay composite. Stu Silverstein has a good book.

Stiff levain
Before you tell me to, yes, I read your book! Bought a digital scale (have always preferred metric) and a peel. The apples in Dec. in the Midwest were all shiny and I didn't know if they would work. Finally noticed the organic apples were nice and hazy. Everything went well except my levain was very stiff. I aerated it and fed it exactly as directed, although trying to whisk it was nearly impossible. This was all in preparation for my book group last night where we all brought bread and discussed our 'bread memories' and our experiences. I did make a mistake in accidentally pushing centigrade on the thermometer and not understanding why the center only ever got to 100 degrees! So, the crust was ROCK-HARD, but the inside, the crumb, was delicious!!! It was a great opportunity to compare bread machine bread right next to other breads and the pain de compagne: in my opinion, there was no contest (once we were able to break through the crust) - pain de compagne with apple water starter wins hands down! Anyway, should I just add more water to the levain?

Dear Reader:
I don't know -- read the damn book. Okay, I guess you merit an actual answer. (The NY Times, btw, published a recipe last week using grams - it warmed my heart.) The new levain will be stiff, but as it matures it will (should) loosen up to almost a liquid. I think this is due to the creation of byproducts which liquify. It's also possible you made a mistake along the way (even the Doctor has done that). Either way, if you feel it's not right, you can discard about two-thirds of it, replacing that about with fresh flour and water (50/50 by weight, of course). That should restore it. But I think patience is called for here. Give it a few more good feedings first, and see what happens. Your starter is *very* new. And I think the crust will improve over time as the starter matures as well. Good luck, and thanks for the note!

rye bread crust hard as a rock
I have a New York rye bread recipe which calls for several risings. I have made it twice and each time the crust turns out thick and hard as a rock.Please tell me what I am doing wrong.

Dear Reader:
As I relate in "52 Loaves" my kids refused to slice my early loaves for fear they'd hurt themselves with the hacksaw. The crust changed for me when I started using a sourdough starter, or levain. Sorry I don't have another answer, other than make sure you're introducing steam in the first few minutes of baking. Instructions for a levain can be found in the Recipe section here, or, even better, in "52 Loaves." Good luck -- we've all been there.

All my bread/bun recipes taste like pretzels
I'm really hoping you will be able to answer this for me. Any time I made bread or buns the crust always tastes very similar to soft pretzels. I don't mind soft pretzels, but if I want them I make them. I want my bread and buns to taste like bread and buns - not pretzels. Thank you for your time - and hopefully an answer :)

Dear Reader:
So, one of the hallmarks of artisan bread is the really crispy, flavorful crust. In fact, a friend of mine has been complaining that he can't get softer, pretzel-like crusts using my recipes (you can't please everyone). Baking your bread with high heat (I preheat to 550 F, then bake starting at 480), using steam in the first few minutes, and baking free-form loaves on a preheated stone (for at least an hour at 550) will give you a nice crust. Using a starter or levain will give you even a nicer crust - chewier, rather than rock-hard, and really flavorful. Read "52 Loaves" for more. I spent a year trying to get a perfect crumb and crust. Good luck!

rolls flatten
Why do my bread rolls come out flat after rising and baking?

Dear Reader:
If there's collapsing after or during baking, chances are you're using too much yeast. Search on this page for "fall", "collapse" etc. for more. Good luck!

ROUGH ON ONE SIDE
WHY IS MY HOMEMADE BREAD ROUGH LOOKING ON ONE SIDE ?

Dear Reader:
The doctor needs a little more info before making a dx. It it a free-form loaf or a pan loaf? Is the roughness always on the same side (e.g., always on the side facing the back of the oven)? What kind of breasd? What's the the shape the loaf? And does it only "look" rough, or is it actually rough?

temperature of water in bread machine
Many recipes give a temperature for the water to be put in the pan of the bread machine. The pan is cold. Need to warm up the pan. The flour is cold, the yeast is cold. Why warm the water? Maybe everything should be at room temperature? Or maybe the temperature of the water isn't important.

Dear Reader:
Some bread machine instructions/recipes recommend warm water to speed up the fermentation process, which actually robs the bread of flavor, but guarantees a quick and high rise. Suggest you consider joining the legions of bakers on this site who bake artisan bread in the oven (start with reading "52 Loaves").

Pumkin bread sinks in the middle
why does my pumkin bread sink in the middle

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I'm not an expert in that area (quick breads), but suggest you look for a new recipe if it's happening consistently. That really shouldn't happen.

crust separates from loaf after baking
why does the crust separate from the loaf during baking

Dear Reader:
Please search this page (cntl-f on most browsers) for similar questions about "flying" crust, "separate," etc.

Quick bread
I made quick zuchini bread dough. I have never had a problem. I baked one of the loaves and it just taste like a lump of bread. And it is extremely solid. Is there anyone to salvage the rest of my dough? Could I add something to it? I froze the rest of dough.

Dear Reader:
Please see rule #2 above. Sorry, my expertise (or lack of it) extends to yeast breads only.

Parchment, silicone, or cornmeal?
I have read recipes that say to bake the bread on parchment dusted with cornmeal or even parchment sprayed with vegetable oil and dusted with cornmeal. But when I bake it naked parchment (or even on a silicone mat when I'm baking at lower temperatures), it seems to come out just fine. Am I missing something by omitting the cornmeal? P.S. Rest assured, you are not the only home baker who has had trouble with the Lahey method. Just today, I had my third and probably final go at it. I can't get my family to eat it and it just ends up in the bag we use for making bread pudding and feeding ducks.

Dear Reader:
You're correct: with parchment you don't need any other "lubricant." You can sprinkle it with cornmeal if you want a crunchy bottom - I sometimes do that with my peasant loaves and pizzas. (And thanks for your comments on Lahey's no-knead. We're a vocal minority!)

irish soda bread
why does the crust come away from crumb

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for "flying" crust for an explanation of this phenomenon.

pumkin bread
Hi..After I defrost my frozen pumkin bread it is always gooey and wet on the top and sides. Can I avoid that?

Dear Reader:
I've seen the same thing on my own. Putting it in the oven for a few minutes helps.

Bread collapses and is sticky
The collapses. Consistancy of dough is very sticky and elastic.

Dear Reader:
The sticky and elastic part is good. Please search this page for keywords like "fall", "collapse" etc. for many questions on why bread collapses.

Cooling time before removing from pan and slicing?
Good day Bread Doctor, I have made wonderful bread, but when I remove it from the pan, it falls (with the top of the loaf standing like a roof collapsed on a building!). My recipe says to remove it immediately from the pan when it is finished baking. Should I wait? When I go to slice it it's even worse! The taste is fabulous and my family doesn't seem to mind. But, I would like to have "normal" looking slices. Thanks so much for your help!

Dear Reader:
Good day! Yes, you should wait till it cools a bit. Place the pan on a rack. Although it really shouldn't be collapsing at that point -- you're sure it's done, right? (Center should be at least 205 F.)

Bread like leather
My bread, both tinned and hand shaped, when cooked is perfect. It's crusty and tight and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom. But, after about thirty minutes the crust goes all "leathery" To return it to its crispness i have to bake again for about 15 mins. Why does this keep happening and what can i do to keep the crust crisp?

Dear Reader:
Hmm. That's really odd, unless you live a very humid climate. I assume you're cooling the bread on rack, to allow air to circulate. The only thing I can think of is to let it bake a little longer. Don't be afraid to let the crust get good and dark brown - that contributes to flavor as well. Good luck!

using a bosch mixer
my bread fell while baking

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for "fall", "collapse" etc. for many, many questions (and a few answers) on fallen loaves. Good luck!

Nut rolls split open
Why do nut rolls split open when they are baking?

Dear Reader:
It's from the escaping steam. Just be putting the rolls in the oven, make a slash on about a 45-degree angle on the top of each roll with a very sharp knife or a razor blade, to give the steam a place to escape. It also looks really cool! For a whole chapter on scoring bread, the history of razors, and what French bakers do about missing razors in the bakery, read "52 Loaves."

BREAD DROP OVER THE SIDES OF THE TIN
WHY DOES MY BREAD DROP OVER THE SIDES OF THE TIN WHEN RISING

Dear Reader:
You're probably letting it rise longer than it would like (or using too much yeast). Another possibility: your tin is too small. But try baking when the bread when the rise is just a nice crown above the top of the bread tin. It should finish rising in the first few minutes of baking. Good luck, and for more on baking, read 52 Loaves!

Yeast Rolls
Why did my rolls rise in the fridge but when I set the prepared rolls in the pan to rise they rose and the fell flat as a pancake. What did I do wrong?

Dear Reader:
Search this page for many questions (and a few answers) on fall, collapse, etc. Short answer: dough is over-extended, which may mean too much yeast or too long a 2nd rise. Good luck!

Dear witty sir
First off, I'm loving your blunt sarcastic answers to some of these questions.. Making me feel a little better about my two loaves out of four that seem to love stubborn living any time I'm baking for market. I bake vegan, and always have this issue where they rise beautifully (2nd rise for about an hour) before the oven.. Sliced.. Two rise beatifically and two sulk in their jealousy of the two beauties.. Any suggestions? I want all my Lil bread babies to be beautiful!!

Dear Reader:
Thank you, but flattery will get you nowhere. Buying a copy of "52 Loaves" (where you can read all about my own falling loaves), on the other hand... I was going to give a straight, serious answer, because obviously you can't have a very successful semi-pro baking career if half your loaves deflate, but I came to a screeching halt when I came to "I bake vegan," which set me wondering if yeast, tiny microorganisms which reproduce like mad before YOU KILL THEM IN THE OVEN, are animal or vegetable. (Did I just ruin your day? Sorry.) Okay, let's agree our little yeasties are vegan-approved and move on to your bread problem. The answer (to put it bluntly) would seem quite obvious (unlike questions I've had this week like, "is there a mouse in my bread?" - geez). You have four loaves, made from the same batch of dough. Two rise, two fall. So, it's in the handling. Or the pans, if you're using pans, but I think it's the handling. I'd like to see you try a little shorter 2nd rise - maybe 40 minutes. It sounds like the gluten is getting a little over-extended, which is why bread collapses. And put those suckers into a really hot oven (gently) so you get nice oven spring. I preheat mine to 550F then turn it down to 480 when I load the loaves. Good luck, and let us know how you make out.

hole in fresh shop bread halfway through
My daughter likes a fresh loaf sliced from supermarket for her toast I have found that half the loaf has a big hole in it and she has had a bad stomache for a week could the hole be caused by a mouse or something ?

Dear Reader:
So...I'm not actually a doctor, you know. But I'd say if the mouse wasn't still in the bread, and you didn't see a tunnel from the outside going into it... no. But why not treat your daughter to some *real* bread and bake your own? (Read "52 Loaves" to figure out how)

white spots and odor
My store brand, light wheat bread has been gaining white specks and a strong chemical-like odor, maybe 2-3 weeks after I bring it home. I have eaten some (but I don't like too very much as the odor puts me off a little) and didn't get sick, but I generally throw it away. It affects the taste a little as well. What could it be and should I be eating it?

Dear Reader:
Wait a second --- you're eating bread 3 weeks after you buy it??!! Even all the artificial preservatives they add to it can't keep it fresh that long! The white speaks are mold, and yes, you should throw it away.

to clarify
re: the question below, the container is covered with a lid, I didn't mean exposed to lots of air.. just the headspace in the container... thanks!

Dear Reader:
Wonder if it could just be from the dough drying out a little on top. Here's an experiment to try: Press oil-misted plastic wrap onto the top of the dough before putting on the lid and see if you still get the grey marks. We anxiously await your results....

grey marks on pizza dough
I have the same problem as a previous writer with pizza dough. I make it, leave it to rest in the fridge for a day or three in a plasstic container, little olive oil to coat... the top surface of the dough (exposed to air) develops grey discolouration. what could be oxidizing or causing this?

Dear Reader:
See response to followup question above.

Fallen bread
Can fallen bread still be baked?

Dear Reader:
It can, but you're better off trying to get another rise: Fold the dough back in on itself, form into a loaf, and give it another hour. Good luck! (And read 52 Loaves for more on the frustrations and joys of baking!)

bread dough didn't rise
I make my own starter (no commercial yeast) made two loaves my usual recipe, kneaded by hand, arranged in loaf pans expecting it to rise. Four hours later in an off oven out of draft and still not rise. Please tell me there is a fix for my problem. Is the dough salvageable? Jayery@aol.com

Dear Reader:
Well, in theory, if the dough did not rise at all, it should still be salvageable. Remove from pans, work in a teaspoon of instant yeast, and try to get a rise from it. Sounds like your starter might be cooked, however. Good luck!

Really dense crumb
Okay, I've read (and re-read and re-read) your book(s), made my levain and baked and baked. The bread is tasty, but really dense. The levain seems peppy, but any thoughts where I might be going wrong?

Dear Reader:
Thanks to a local reader. So, I couple of things: Are you kneading adequately? If you don't get enough gluten formation you get dense bread. 2) are you only baking boules, or have you tried dividing the dough in half and making batards? I find that the cylindrical shape lightens them up a bit. 3)If still no luck, increase your water by 10 g and see what happens.

This *will* be a denser bread than what you get from a supermarket or even most bakeries, but it shouldn't be a brick. Good luck, and let me know how you make out.

frozen french bread
I started working at a bakery and everyone there is new. I set frozen bread on cooler over night, let it proof in the morning for about an hour and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. I also steam for 60 sec before baking

Dear Reader:
And how's the bread?

bread baker
Why does my Gluten free bread suck in the sides when removed from my 13x4 in. pullman pan?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I have almost no experience with gluten-free bread, but I'm not sure I'm understanding the question. It is "stuck" on the sides, are the sides contracting, or does the bread suck?

recipe for health nuttymeal no yeast
recipe for health nuttmeal wholewheat bread no yeast

Dear Reader:
Don't have one, but try thefreshloaf.com. Someone there should be able to help.

Knifing the top of the bread
When do you knife the top of the bread, before the second rise, or after. I am thinking before, due to the risk of it falling after.

Dear Reader:
Just before putting it into the oven. If you use a really sharp blade (you can use an old-fashioned double-edged razor on a wooden coffee stirrer) and slash quickly, without hesitating, and at an angle, the bread should not collapse. BTW I have an entire (fascinating) chapter on this -- the French call it a grigne -- in "52 Loaves."

Ate active dry yeast
accidentally ate bread with uncooked active dry yeast

Dear Reader:
Still alive, I trust. In fact, active dry yeast used to be given as a vitamin B (niacin) supplement, so it's not only harmless, but healthy! (Read more in "52 Loaves")

grey marks on dough
when I make bread or pizza dough, there are grey marks on the bread or dough. Why is this?

Dear Reader:
You mean, before baking? That's odd. I almost wonder if it's being picked up from the surface or bowel in which you're kneading it.

dry bread after 3 days
what cause it ?

Dear Reader:
After the bread cools, water gradually moves from the starchy walls back into the gluten, leaving the crumb dry and crumbly. We call this "staling". For more bread science and lore read "52 Loaves."

Levain better with age
Dear Bread Doctor, I made a levain, according to the directions in your book. It is approaching its two-year birthday and doing well. I don't notice a difference, however, in the taste of my bread now that the levain has begun to "age". Am I missing something? Are there changes that I should expect / look out for? Thank you. Saleve

Dear Reader:
Dear Saleve, Congrats on your levain's 2-year birthday. I don't think you're missing anything. I find that the levain is fully-flavored after a couple of months. When I say it gets more robust with age, what I mean is, it is better able to tolerate missed feedings and general abuse. If it's not strong enough for you, though, leave it out longer after feedings. Continued success!

hard edges
i have a bread maker and the sides of the bread always comes out hard why does this happen

Dear Reader:
Not to be flippant, but "because it's a bread maker." The sides of that metal pan are hot. I encourage you to read "52 Loaves" and try making real, artisan bread -- it's not much harder! (And sooo much better)

Levain Rising?
OK, I got some organic grapes from the Appalachian Trail and carried them around in my plastic shopping bag all day. When I got home, the grapes had "sweated" a bit, but I ventured on. The levain seems to be working - When I feed it, it increases quite a bit in size, even under refrigeration. But when I bake, my breads don't rise nearly as much as they do when I break using traditional yeast. Any ideas?

Dear Reader:
Cool. But those grapes (or any other wild yeast levain) will not give you as much of a rise as commercial yeast. There simply isn't as much punch. That's why I use an eighth of a teaspoon of instant yeast in my peasant loaf, and a long (5-6) hour proof. If you want to avoid commercial yeast entirely, increase the amount of levain in your dough until you get a satisfactory rise. I have a recipe for a pain au levain miche in "52 Loaves."

hole
too many big hole on sourdough bread

Dear Reader:
I'm always amazed when I see this question, because I spent a year trying to *get* holes in my too-dense bread. But cut back on the yeast a bit. That should help.

Crust almost burnt
"Finnish Bread Loaf" using butter,sugar,flour,eggs,raisins,currant & orange zest. 325 in greased glass loaf pan. Entire crust, top,bottom & sides hard & way too brown. Bread slightly dry.

Dear Reader:
Sounds great - thanks for the recipe! Oh, it's a question? Sounds like you're simply over-baking. Pick up an instant-read thermometer and remove bread to cooling rack when center is 205 F.

cracking bread
Why does my bread crack

Dear Reader:
Because the water in your dough turns to steam in the oven, and has to escape from the dough. We (cough) bakers control this process by making a slash (grigne) (or several) in the top of top of the loaf to control the exit of the steam. Those marks in a baguette are not just there for show! I have a whole chapter on this in "52 Loaves."

Doughy pretzels
The outside of my pretzels were nice and crispy but the inside was doughy, where did I go wrong?

Dear Reader:
I'm not baked pretzels, but I'd say they're undercooked. Baking at a lower temp will allow the inside to cook before the crust burns. Good luck!

baking bread
why do some of my loaves get white around the edges when baking?

Dear Reader:
Hmm. It could be from flour that's on the surface, or not incorporated into the dough, but the doctor would have to do some more tests to be sure. Sorry I can't give you a better dx.

Loaf size
My loaves of bread are too big. The bread looks and tastes ok, but the loaf is 5x6x7. Can I reduce the flour? If so, do I decrease both the yeast/water too? And, by how much? Thanks...Ron

Dear Reader:
That's not a loaf, that's a brick! But, yes, you can decrease everything proportionally. Your baking time will decrease, but you can remove the guesswork by using an instant-read thermometer and baking till center is 205-210 F.

bread not bubbly
I have been trying to get my bread to have that airy texture inside and the crunchy crust outside... but can't seam to get it right.

Dear Reader:
Welcome to the club. All I can say is read "52 Loaves" to see how I finally conquered the same problem. It CAN be done, but there's no one-sentence answer.

Bread seems undercooked
Whenever I bake bread it seems undercooked. I have tried baking it for longer time. At first,I didn't use any yeast;It seemed undercooked. I thought the problem was not using yeast. But even after using yeast,there was no difference. Please help me.

Dear Reader:
Not sure how you can bake bread without yeast, but I'm guess that the bread is too dense and heavy, which is preventing the center from being cooked. So you may need more leavening. You could try cutting back on the water. And start at a high temp (I start at 480 F), but drop down to 425 the last portion. Also, I use an instant-read thermometer, and cook bread till it's 210 in the center. Good luck!

hole in machene bread
have a hole half way down my loaf of machene bread

Dear Reader:
Yes, it's due to the paddle that mixes it. No way around it, other than...(see the post directly below)

weight of bread machines
My Bread machines are getting too heavy. (16-18 lb). Is there a light one that you would recommend? Many thanks.

Dear Reader:
Yes -- your hands. They're light, travel with you, and bake great bread. Seriously. Read "52 Loaves," get rid of the bread machine, and try making bread by hand. It's really much easier than you ever imagined.

adding to zucchini bread
What can i add to my zucchini bread dough?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, the doctor is not licensed to answer questions about zucchini bread (see instructions, above)

holes in wheat bread
why are there holes in the middle of my wheat bread

Dear Reader:
The holes come from the carbon dioxide produced by yeast - it's what makes bread rise. Holes are generally desirable, especially in whole wheat breads, which can be dense. If your holes are of the gaping variety, though, you can reduce them by gently pressing the gas out of your loaf before forming the loaf, and not letting it proof too long. Good luck!

forming bread loaves
how do you form dough into loaves of dough for bread?

Dear Reader:
Wow, that's a bread question. Depends what type of loaf you're making: pan loaf, round boule, long baguette? Suggest that (in addition to "52 Loaves" of course) you pick up a good bread book - The Bread Baker's Apprentice is good - with lots of photos. Good luck!

Homemade bread
How can I fix molasses raisin bread that is still doughie (not chewy) in the middle?

Dear Reader:
Usually, you can't. Making toast from it can make it somewhat palatable. For future loaves, buy an instant-read thermometer and bake till center of loaf is 205-210 degrees F.

Homemade bread that is chewy in middle
We have made bread for years and are using the same ingredients. I now have complants about the bread being chewy. Some say the new pans are bigger. Some say the old pans were seasoned. Can you help? Thanks Bridget

Dear Reader:
Bridget, I don't see how either of those things would affect the crumb much. More likely the flour (even if the same brand) has changed slightly. Or you've just lost your mojo. (Let's hope it's the former). Good luck getting the old bread back.

sticky cake
why is brown soda bread soggy when baked

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I don't do much quickbread baking, but in generally, breads are soggy when undercooked. Good luck!

bread sinks when clingfilm come off
why my breade sinksb when film come off

Dear Reader:
You may be disturbing the gases that make the bread rise. Spray the clingfilm (in the US, we call it plastic wrap) with something like Pam so that it peels off easily. Good luck!

Commercial bread
Do you know why bread has changed lately? The packages feel fresh when squeezed but the slices feel like they have sandpaper on them now. Is this some new government regulation where the bakery can't use some ingredient now? I remember when bread used to be dense, now it's like full of air.

Dear Reader:
I can't say I'm aware of anything. But I'm 59 and as long as remember, bread has been filled with air! Of course, you could read 52 Loaves and start baking your own...

Bread smelling alcoholic
When baking bread with yeast (instead of sourdough as I do mostly), the inside of the bread has a definate alcololic smell to it. Although the bread tastes lovely, the smell is not too pleasant. Shop bought bread doesn't seem to have that. Any ideas?

Dear Reader:
Because the process of making bread involves fermentation, the same fermentation used to brew beer. See "52 Loaves," for a full explanation.The fermentation not only makes the dough rise, but provides the flavor for what we call "artisan bread." If it's too strong, however, you may be undercooking the bread. Bake till the center of the loaf reaches 205-210 F. (use an instant-read thermometer). Good luck!

red fife honey bread
The inside of my oven baked bread was gummy - what did I do wrong?

Dear Reader:
Undercooked. Bake till center of loaf is 205-210 F. Use an instant-read thermometer like the one here

too much flour
i put double the amount of flour in my soda bread how long should i leave it to cook

Dear Reader:
Hopefully you put double the amount of water and yeast in as well. As for cooking time, well, I way to late to weigh in on that. Hope it came out all right!

split on top of bread
I use a bread maker and the bread now split across the top when cooked

Dear Reader:
Well, that's what you get for using a bread machine. When making "real" bread bakers always make one or more cuts across the top with a razor, to allow the steam to escape. Otherwise, the bread splits, as you found. I encourage you to read 52 Loaves and start making artisan bread at home. It's easy! (And so much better)

uneven bread
My bread rose unevenly in the oven one side exploded and the other stayed where it was why?

Dear Reader:
Well, usually that's because of either uneven heating in the oven or because of the way you scored the crust -- you did score the crust, I trust. It's important to give the steam a place to escape. I have a chapter on this in 52 Loaves.

Properties of Bread
When I put a slice of soft white bread in the same bag as a hard cookie for lunch, in a little while the cookie gets soft and the bread gets hard. Noticed the same phenomenon with bread from a restaurant and tortilla chips: the bread is now hard and the chips are soft. Why does this happen?!

Dear Reader:
I've think this has something to do with sex taking place in the confines of the dark, humid breadbox, but as I've never been able to catch that cute little cookie in the act, I've not been able to confirm. (My way of saying: "no idea." -- sorry)

Ciabatta not enough gas/holes in the loaf
I have made ciabatta a couple of times first time was a disaster, second time it looked good on the outside but not enough holes in the body of the loaf. I made the dough over a period of 24 hours and added pre ferment to the final mix, it rose was full of gas but just under developed at the end result.

Dear Reader:
Don't feel too bad -- ciabatta is challenging. You can try making your dough ever wetter than it already is -- that's the trick to getting that wide-open crumb -- and then working with plenty of flour when handling it and forming the loaf (otherwise it's almost impossible to handle). Peter Reinhardt has some nice photos of this in his "Breadbaker's Apprentice". Good luck!

flying crust
Soda bread - the crust detaches from the crumb. Why?

Dear Reader:
Please search this page on the word "flying" and you'll see a few other posts on this and a link to more info. It's a vexing problem!

Another "Not a Question" / Suggested Variation
Dear Dr. Alexander, I continue to have great fun, at least once a week, with the starter I created last spring using your excellent method. Yesterday I adapted your baguette recipe -- my basic dough of choice -- by substituting 85 grams of a nice rich porter from Black Butte Oregon for 85 grams of water, and adding about a tablespoon of finely chopped, just picked rosemary. I substituted 25 grams each of barley, whole wheat and rye flours for 75 grams of all-purpose. I added a generous glug of olive oil, too, as I like what oil does to the structure of the crumb. I baked it in a boule shape for 40 minutes. Sensational!! Many thanks. Best regards, Antonia James

Dear Reader:
Thanks for the note and the recipe, Antonia. Sounds fantastic! Keep slingin' the dough!

sticky dough
i followed the recipe. dough has become too sticky. how do i fix the dough

Dear Reader:
The dough actually should be sticky -- the extra water content is how you get that nice crumb. When done right, it should stick to your hands, but not to the counter.

bread crust
how do I keep my crust from getting so hard during baking?

Dear Reader:
Introduce lots of steam -- I add a cup of water to a cast iron frying pan set on a shelf underneath the dough. If that doesn't work, the addition of a little mashed potato or milk also softens the crust. Good luck!

bread crust falls off when I slice bread
After I bake rye bread, i slice it and the crust falls off.

Dear Reader:
Search this page on "flying crust" (I kid you not)

why does my bread fall after i take it out of the
why does my zucchini bread sink after i take it out of the oven

Dear Reader:
See the top of this page regarding zucchini bread please.

sinking
wholemeal bread sinks in middle

Dear Reader:
Wholemeal (for you US readers, whole wheat) bread is always a challenge. I don't bake a lot of it, so I'm not much help, but Peter Reinhardt has written an excellent book on baking with whole grains. Suggest you go there for advice. Good luck!

Accident - Save my bread?
I was letting my dough rise in the oven as I was preparing the rest of my meal...during which I forgot the bread was in the oven all together and set it to preheat. It was in there for about 15 minutes before I pulled it out. Shall I proceed in kneading again to let it rise for a second time or is my bread dead? HELP?!

Dear Reader:
It's kind of reassuring that other bakers make the same kind of dopey mistakes I do. Sorry I'm 3 days too late to help (I'm the bread doctor, not the bread ER!) but I hope your meal wasn't ruined. For more bread gaffs I recommend "52 Loaves."

Bread flour
Is there any reason not to use bread flour in your baguette recipe? Sometimes I run out of all- purpose but have bread flour on hand. Thanks very much. Sincerely, Antonia James ;o)

Dear Reader:
Hi Antonia, You can use bread flour. I've tried both, and prefer (as do most professional bakers) the softer all-purpose flour in baguettes. Bread flour is really for bread machines, but you can certainly use it for hand-made breads -- lots do.

baking sourdough bread
why does top of bread peel off?

Dear Reader:
This is called "flying crust," and there's an excellent explanation here. Also TheFreshLoaf.com has a lengthy thread on this. Good luck on getting your flying crust grounded!

My first Sourdough starter
Can you use pomegranate juice to make a wild yeast starter?

Dear Reader:
I don't see why not. Peter Reinhardt uses pineapple juice to give his a kick-start. Good luck -- great to hear you're making a starter!

Wrinkly bread
I have made an 8 strand plaited loaf and after covering in egg white and baking it was a pale brown and had a wrinkly texture to the top of the loaf. I was expecting a nice golden crust that was smooth. Why did my bread go wrinkly and not as brown as it should have done?

Dear Reader:
I'm tempted to joke it grew old in the oven, but, seriously, I suspect you might have overdone the egg wash thing. Good luck!

braided challah
Why is my braided Challah bread turning out lopsided?

Dear Reader:
Assuming you wouldn't write if you forming it lopsided, it's possible that one side is "springing" more in the oven than the other. Try turning 180 degrees after the first five minutes of baking and see if that helps.

Not a question
You have asked about Monk`s Bread recipe:Monks Bread Yield: 2 loaves This recipe is a variation of the bread baked by the Benedictine Brothers of St. Josephs Abbey in St. Benedict, Louisiana Ingredients: " 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast " 2 ¼ cup warm water (100° to 110° F) " 1 Tablespoon salt " 1 Tablespoon sugar " 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour " - shortening " - white distilled vinegar Method: 1. Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoons sugar in 2½ cups warm water in a warmed small bowl. 2. Mix well and let stand in a warm place 10 minutes. Note: A  warm place is created in an electric oven by preheating to 175°F for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat and open the door for 3 minutes. Then place the bowl of yeast and warm water in the oven and quickly close the door. Let the yeast stand for at least 10 minutes. This will give you the appropriate environment for the yeast to activate. 3. Mix salt and flour. 4. Pour the activated yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Note: If you do not have a dough hook knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary to prevent stickiness. 5. Turn to mixer speed 2 and mix about 1 minute or until well blended. 6. Gradually add flour/salt until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. 7. Dough will be sticky. 8. Turn out on a lightly floured surface. 9. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary to prevent stickiness. 10. Lightly oil a large bowl. 11. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat on all sides. 12. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set in a warm, draft-free place. (See note above.) 13. Let dough remain in oven until it has doubled in size, about 1½ hours. 14. Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. 15. Divide in half, shape into 2 round loaves. Note: You can make several individual hamburger buns with this dough instead of two loaves. 16. Place dough rounds on a lightly greased baking sheet. 17. Carve an X in the top of the loaf with a serrated knife. Make the slash about a half an inch deep. 18. Spray with the loaves with white vinegar. Note: You cannot make a crispy crust on your bread without steam in the oven. A kitchen oven does not have that much heat. Putting a pan of water under your bread in order to create steam creates a nice illusion, but doesnt help the bread cook any better. At the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York (the former site of a Jesuit novitiate, St. Andrews), an alternate method to steam is taught. Using a plant sprayer, spray the bread with plain white vinegar right before you put it in the oven and again after you have baked it for ten minutes. The acid in the vinegar gives the bread just the right crisping lick. 19. Place in a preheated 350 ° F oven and bake for 10 minutes. 20. Spray the loaves with white vinegar. 21. Continue to bake in 350 ° F oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 22. Immediately remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks. Permalink | Reply By speyerer on Mar 16, 2010 09:01 AM

Dear Reader:
Thanks for the recipe!

zuchinni bread
secret for moist zucchini bread

Dear Reader:
Oil. Lots.

is it done
if the temperature reaches 207 is it done

Dear Reader:
Yes. 205 - 210 is considered done, so that's right on.

bad taste of crust on whole grain loaves
I have been baking bread for years with really good results. But this morning I got a loaf with a really bad taste, especially to the crust. Sort of like what I don't like about store-bought breads, which is why I bake my own. I used my long-standing sourdough starter, whole wheat and bread flour, molasses, egg, and milk. I also added a half-cup ground flax and 1/2-cup of a multigrain uncooked hot cereal. Could this be the reason, and if so, why?

Dear Reader:
Maybe, but flax can also have a strong flavor, especially when old, as the oil in the seeds turns rancid.

My baguettes sometimes crack open pretty bad!
My baguettes sometimes crack open. It doesn't happen all the time and some cracks are worse Than others. Could you please tell me what could cause this?

Dear Reader:
Are you scoring them before baking? Bread will always crack *somewhere* as the steam escapes during baking, so you need to control it with a grigne. I have a chapter on this in 52 Loaves.

plaited loaf lost shape
I made an 8 strand plaited loaf and during the cookong stage some of the plaites dissapeared. can you tell me what has happen? thank

Dear Reader:
This is not uncommon -- you see it bakery loaves also. Basically, they melded into the other strands during the oven spring. Not sure how to fix, other than maybe a shorter second rise, but I don't do a lot with plaited loaves myself. Might want to ask on thefreshloaf.com and see if anyone has an answer.

Course bread
I have baked bread for years. Recently my bread has a course textile to it. I don't know why. On occasion it seems dry too.

Dear Reader:
Hmm. The course texture has me stumped, unless that the dryness speaking. I make my dough with about a 68% hydration; that is, 68 grams of water to every 100 grams of flour. This is a wet, sticky dough, but makes great bread. If you're measuring by weight, move to 68% hydration; if you're measuring by volume (which is less accurate), add a little more water and see if that helps. Good luck!

dough loaf
how much cream of tartar in 1 kg of flour

Dear Reader:
I don't know. I don't add tartar to my dough.

weight in a different manner
if i have 5 pounds of ingredient[dough]how much will the finished produce[bread] weigh

Dear Reader:
I once saw a figure for the average loss due to baking, but I can't locate or recall it now. I'll take a guess and say less than 5%, however.

bread falls when it's half baked
Why does my loaf fall in the middle after it is half baked? Looks great for the first 10-15 minutes and then just gets ugly.

Dear Reader:
Please search on variations of "fall", "collapse", etc. on this page for many queries about this problem.

Heavy dough
What can we do to make lighter cinnamon rolls out of 50% whole wheat and 50% bread flour?

Dear Reader:
Other than taking out the whole wheat, you mean? I'm all for using whole grains, but pastry is made with white flour for a reason. (In "52 Loaves" I discuss how Viennese pastries changed the type of wheat grown in the US). That being said, a little egg added to your dough might help.

pita
how to make the pita softer

Dear Reader:
I've only made pita once, so I'm no expert. In general, however, using a softer flour (all-purpose instead of bread flour) or adding a little powdered milk and to a dough tends to tenderize it. Good luck!

bread falling
my bread falls in the middle durning baking

Dear Reader:
Please search on variations of "fall", "collapse", etc. on this page for many queries about this problem.

baking white bread
What causes the top to cave in.

Dear Reader:
Please see the many posts on this page on "collapse", "fall," etc. You may find your answer in one of them.

Alternate asking method
Not a question, but just wanted to let you know that a few weeks ago, when my pizza stone broke but I still wanted to make bread using my "52 Loaves" levain, I used the Lahey screaming hot covered Dutch oven method with your baguette dough. Sensational! We only asked it for a total of 40 minutes though, because we're not crazy about the charred, thick and hard crust the 45 minutes produced. I have another batch proofing right now, in which I used, instead of plain water, the cooking liquid from potatoes I mashed the other night, which I had cooked with a few fat cloves of garlic. Potato water makes any bread better; the garlic makes the dough smell divine. ;o)

Dear Reader:
I seem to be about the only person who doesn't like Lehey's method -- although you did soften the blow by pointing out you used it with my baguette recipe, so at least you're not using his gloppy dough. Glad it worked out for you!

top o bread loaf falls
After I remove my loaf of bread from the oven and check the temp, with a instant read thermometer, and it teads 205 deg. F, after cooling the top of the loaf falls.confused

Dear Reader:
*After* cooling the top collapses? I feel like I should know the answer, but I'm stumped -- sorry. Maybe someone at thefreshloaf.com can help.

Bread shape
How do l make my bread get a perfect bread shape?

Dear Reader:
Well, that depends on the shape you're after. Boule? Batard? Baguette? Each has it's own technique. Suggest you pick up a good bread book such as Peter Reinhart's Bread-Baker's apprentice, which has lots of photos. You Tube is also a good source. Good luck!

Signature cut
Why is it that after proving my bread for the second time and when i cut my bread at the top just to make it appealing it collapses? Like half the air goes out and when l bake it,, it doesn't rise nomore??

Dear Reader:
I've had it happen to me. It's almost like you've slashed a tire. I suspect it's a symptom of over-proofing. Make sure your razor (I used a double-edged on a stick) is good and sharp, and make a bold, shallow slash, without hesitating. Incidentally, those kinds of problems went away for me when I started using a levain and very little commercial yeast, so I can't say why. Good luck!

weight
how can i tell how much my loaf will weigh

Dear Reader:
Serious amateur and all professional bakers measure ingredients by weight, not volume (see my recipes on this website). So, if you do that, you can just add everything up and you'll know. Otherwise you have to convert cups of flour to grams or ounces (a quick Google will give you a rough approximation).

bakig bread
what makes bread fall while baking

Dear Reader:
Please search on "collapse", "fall", etc. on this page. You'll find plenty on this topic.

wheat bread crust issues
Our wheat bread isn't raising as it did before. Now we're getting some loaves that tear on one side as if it's raising too fast yet is ok on the other side. The overall raise seems to be even so we're not sure what is happening. We cut back on yeast but it did it again, but not as bad as previously. Any ideas?

Dear Reader:
There are so many factors that affect rising, it's hard to pin one down. The fact that it's happening on one side (I assume you rising in a loaf pan) makes me wonder if the pan itself isn't clean, and one side is impeding rising, as off-the-wall as that seems. Have you tried rotation the pans halfway? The other causes you probably know: spoiled yeast, temperature, and even the flour itself could've changed. Good luck. If you figure it out, let me know!

steaming bread?
The recipe for a bread i am using (www.applepiepatispate.com/bread/whole-grain-sesame-flaxseed/) says i have to steam one cup of boiling water in a heavy steam pan then bake the bread. I don't understand this....Do i put the breads in a loaf pan then in the water and bake? Please help!

Dear Reader:
Ah, you need to read "52 Loaves," my friend! I have a whole chapter on steam. In short, steam keeps the crust soft so I can fully rise in the first few minutes of baking. The pan with the water goes on a rack UNDER the bread, the bread is not baked in the water. See my recipe for peasant bread on this website to see how handle steam.

yeast instead of whole wheat starter
Instead of using whole wheat starter can i use yeast? If so, how much yeast would i need for 18 grams of 50% hydration whole wheat starter?

Dear Reader:
Hard to say, but 18 g of starter is not much (my peasant bread uses 260 g, so I would think maybe 1/8 of a teaspoon?

Bread that falls during baking
I grind my own flour (with my vitmix)and it raises nicely then falls as baking. I checked my yeast ,expiration is good,I also use gluten. Any suggestions

Dear Reader:
Search this page for variations of "falling". It's usually due to over-risen dough.

Starter won't thicken
Hi there, I am attempting to collect wild yeast for a starter. I used equal flour to water ratio by weight at 85 degree water, sit it outside and voila I had tons of bubbles and activity in no time. problem is the starter did thicken but it's not that thick, its like a pancake batter and I read that it should also be doubling in size as I am feeding it but it's not. Is there anything I can do to make it thicker and increase in size? Thanks so much!

Dear Reader:
A 50/50 starter is a liquid starter, and should be the consistency of pancake batter, so you're doing everything right. It will not double, but should climb significantly up the container a few hours after feeding. See my tips on making a starter here

uncooked dough
how to fix under cooked bread after it gets cool

Dear Reader:
Nothing to be done, except learn the lesson to use an instant-read thermometer like this one to know when bread is done (205-210 deg.)

heavy and dense
why are loaves heavy and dense woodfire

Dear Reader:
I spend an entire year of baking trying to figure that out. See "52 Loaves" for the answer.

Bread goes sticky after a few days
Our Panasonic used to make perfect loaves but now they have a tendency to go sticky in the middle after a few days. Any suggestions please?

Dear Reader:
I had a Panasonic that had the same problem...except it was an electric shaver. Read "52 Loaves" and start making real artisan bread. Trust me, you'll never go back to using your bread machine again.

Preservatives
R there any preservatives,ect I can put in my bread when I make it in a jar to keep it fresh longer?

Dear Reader:
Good lord, no! I mean, there are, but one the benefits of homemade bread is that it's wholesome and pure. Store in a paper bag or freeze half the loaf. And see "52 Loaves" for more on homemade bread.

Wheat flour
How much does a gallon pitcher of wheat flour weigh?

Dear Reader:
No idea, which is why all my recipes use weight instead of volume measurements.

Restaraunt bread
Why don't restaraunts cut bread all the way through?

Dear Reader:
To annoy you (and so it looks nice in the basket, and doesn't fall apart).

Nuts rising
I know you don't deal with zucchini bread, but this could go as any bread with nuts. Normally you need to dust your nuts with flour to keep them from SINKING, but all the nuts (including the zucchini) all rose to the top. I mixed the batter thoroughly. This is the first time I've ever experienced this happening. Please help. Thanks!

Dear Reader:
Which I could, but I've no experience with nuts in bread - only nuts eating bread. You might try thefreshloaf.com to see if anyone has an answer.

zucchini
why does center fall

Dear Reader:
Sorry, no zucchini bread questions (see top of this page)

coconut flour
a local baker secretly make a fantastic chewy bread , levain style rustic shaped loaf . making it with only coconut flour and water, no yeast no nothing else. Cannot find any recipe anywhere to do this, without eggs and a lot else, that end up really being just cake like. ???

Dear Reader:
Coconut flour?! Wild. Well, if there's no yeast, it's got to be a quick bread with baking powder, I would think (something's got to make it rise) but, sorry, don't have an advice for you, other than to look at gluten-free bread recipes and adapt one of those to coconut flour.

Crust cracking issue
Hi, I'm baking italian bread. Lots of oven spring. Light crumb. My problem is that after the bread cools, large cracks appear in the crust all over giving it a checkerboard look - large almost square crack chunks all over the bread. it looks like a puzzle! the breads great, tastes great, light crumb, but the crust is unsightly. the crust fwiw is thin and i cook at 440. loaf is about 1.2 lbs after baking. thanks doc.

Dear Reader:
Are you scoring the top of to it with a razor just before putting it in the oven? the "grigne" (as the French call it) is to control cracking. See "52 Loaves" for a more on this (including an interesting story about razors found in French loaves)

Collapsing bread
In our bread machine, when the bread is finished, it slowly collapses in the middle.

Dear Reader:
Which is why you should be making true artisan bread by hand. See "52 Loaves" for more on how easy it is (once you profit from my year of mistakes). Good luck!

sunfower seed bread
why do i have a crispy crust but a doughy center?

Dear Reader:
Sounds like the bread is under-baked. Bake till center is 205-210, using an instant-read thermometer like this. Good luck!

Whole Wheat Rolls -- Fall while Baking
I came up with a whole flour recipe. I grind 1 cup oats and 3 cups whole wheat berries and add 1 cup white flour to make a mix grain flour. In all I use 5-1/2 cups of flour. I use instant yeast. Anyway, the first rising goes perfect, then the rolls rise perfectly in the pan just until they are peaking over the sides, but almost immediately during baking they fall. The texture is good, but they lose 1/2 their height. Any ideas? Jack jack_loganbill@yahoo.com

Dear Reader:
These sound like great rolls, Jack. I think you may be over-proofing, or using too much yeast. Try cutting back on time, temperature, and/or yeast. Also, you can try using bread flour as your white flour - the extra gluten might help. Good luck!

Keeping crust hard/crunchy
When I buy a loaf of fresh bread from the store(say country french bread) the crust is hard and crunchy, but by the next night when we go to eat it again the crust is soft. Is there a way to make it crunchy again?

Dear Reader:
The track may be more in how you store it. Do NOT put it in plastic, but keep it in a paper or linen bag. It it still softens (which it will if it's humid) place directly on a rack in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes.

bread
a name for a dark chewy loaf

Dear Reader:
How about "dark, chewy loaf?" Sorry, that's the best I can do. I kind of know what you mean, but the name of the bread is not coming to mind.

making pierogi
when rolling dough thin and couting out a shape the dough retracts

Dear Reader:
A common problem when making pizza, for example. That can be a sign the the dough is not quite ready, that it needs to be rested. But even a ready dough can do that. When it happens, just walk away from it for a few minutes to give a chance to "relax."

tunnle oven
As the bread comes out one side of oven over cooks. What can be the problem?

Dear Reader:
Your oven. Turn the loaf around midway through baking, more if necessary.

dough collapses
the dough doubles in size, but taking it out of the warm cupboard ti collapses before I can get it to the oven. Any tips?

Dear Reader:
Yes -- rise your dough in a cooler place, not in a warm cupboard. It may take longer, but you have a more stable, flavorful dough. Also, I don't let mine double. I let it rise about half again. Good luck!

Bread
What do you add to bread dough to bring out the flavor of the wheat?

Dear Reader:
Great question! You don't add anything -- it's fermentation (cool and slow) that brings out the flavor. I discuss this a great deal in "52 Loaves."

making yeast
how do I make yeast?

Dear Reader:
Ah, you're in luck: "52 Loaves" (the book) has an entire chapter on cultivating wild yeast. (It's too long to go into here)

Dried yeast
How long does dried yeast last?

Dear Reader:
I'm using instant yeast that I've kept airtight and in the fridge for 2 years now. If you're not sure it's good, put some in warm (about 100-degree) water with sugar. You should see action in 15 minutes.

egg
making bread in bread machine i had started machine realized for got egg put in will my bread be ok.

Dear Reader:
I guess by new you can tell us how it came out. Sorry...the doctor often has a long queue.

loafs
why does my fruit loafs always burn on the bottom

Dear Reader:
Well, the sugar doesn't help, but you can't do much about that. Try moving the pan higher in the oven. If that doesn't work, place it on an insulated cookie sheet. And send me a slice when you're done!

spicy fruit loaf
How long you to wait to put the dried fruit in the mix when I'm making the spicy fruit loaf on the raisin bid

Dear Reader:
Sorry, that's a different specialty. The doctor doesn't do fruit. (Although he-- I mean I-- should!)

holes in center of my bread
Why am I getting holes in the center of my home-made bread? I mix it in the machine and then remove for the rise and finish.

Dear Reader:
I suspect it has something to do with the way the mixer is treating the bread. Try kneading halfway, then finishing by hand.

sub buns
buns are too doughy

Dear Reader:
Use less dough? Or, bake a little longer. "Doughy" often means undercooked. Use something like this inexpensive digital thermometer and bake till interior is 210 F.

Looking for Monks Bread
Doe any one know anything about Monks Bread, in the 80's we could buy Monks Bread, it was a small loaf of slightly dense bread and was a little sweet, wonderful flavor, tastes real good with flavored cream cheeses.

Dear Reader:
Believe or not, I've been asked this question before. And I still don't have an answer....sorry!

"Smile" Under the Crust
Just made my first light wheat bread using a dough hook (2C wheat flour to 3C white flour). The loaves look and taste great, EXCEPT, there's a hole in the shape of a "smile" just under the crust. Should I do something differently next time?

Dear Reader:
See the query titled "Italian Bread" a few questions below. I believe you have the same issue.

bread
what do you call the inside of a ioaf of bread

Dear Reader:
The crumb.

garlic
Is it ok let roasted garlic stay out overnight?

Dear Reader:
Sure. But I would insist on a chaperone.

my crust is too tough
crust is too tough. How do I get a crunchy crust without the toughness?

Dear Reader:
That's a tough one, because there are a lot of variables that affect the crust. But first of all make sure you introducing steam into the first few minutes or more of baking. I discuss this issue more fully in "52 Loaves."

freezing muffins and breads
When I thaw my muffins and pumpkin or blueberry bread the top are gooey. Help

Dear Reader:
While my specialty is yeast breads, it might help to know that I thaw my breads by putting them in a 350-degree oven until slightly warm. That might help your gooeyness problem as well.

soggy bread
my home baked wholemeal bread is slightly soggy in the middle, it rises ok, and looks good and tastes good but the middle is uneatable

Dear Reader:
It seems pretty clear your bread is undercooked. Best way to known when a loaf is done is to use an instead-read digital thermometer. Make till center of loaf is at least 205 (I prefer 210) F.

Baking classes
Hi, do you have any suggestions for classes to attend that might be better than you French Ritz experience?. Maybe one that uses a brick oven-I built one, use it, but might like a week away baking elsewhere-anywhere. what the heck!

Dear Reader:
The classes done in the Northeast by King Arthur flour get good reviews. Also, if you're into wood-fired baking, Ciril Hitz who teaches at Johnson and Wales does private classes during the summer at his home near Providence, RI. (www.breadhitz.com -- tell him I sent you!)

bread
I Left Hot Dog Bread On Top Of The Microwave And I Came The Next They To Make A Hot Dog And Their Was Flies Inside The Case/Rapper Why Is That

Dear Reader:
Spontaneous generation?

granary bread
My first attempt was okay but it sank as soon as I put it into the oven?

Dear Reader:
Welcome to the club. Wish I could give you an easy answer, but learning to make bread is a process -- suggest you take a look at "52 Loaves" to see how I worked through mine. Good luck!

Italian Bread
The crust falls off the bread, why?

Dear Reader:
This is a phenomenon known as "crust separation." Go to Thefreshloaf.com and search on that phrase. You'll find enough opinions on it to keep you busy for a day.

Nutrition Facts and Calories
Hi there, I am using your recipe from your book (which I own :-) to make one large loaf of bread weekly. I have recently discovered that you can make some very delicious sour dough pancakes. Now that our consumption has increased we were wondering if you can help us figure out the Nutrition and Calorie count (guesstimate is fine) for say 1 cup of starter. I will be happy share the pancake recipe if you are interested. Cheers, -Lars, Santa Cruz

Dear Reader:
Easy! Since the starter is 50/50 flour and water, measure out and weigh 1 cup of starter. Divide that figure by half (that is the weight of the flour). Look at side of the flour bag (or online) and determine the nutritional info, which should be in grams, for that amount of flour. And I'd love to see the recipe! If you want to e-mail it to me (see "contact" menu item) I'll post in my bread blog.

First time baker....long time reader.....
I have attempted to build levain twice from apples in our back yard. The first batch of levain lasted a few weeks and I was able to bake one loaf of peasant bread that was both tasty and shared with friends. The second batch was flat and as a result warranted a bread just as tasty! I have to admit that until reading your book, I had never really paid much attention to the white "haze" ensconced around them. I have a few questions - One, it seems that my levain is thicker than it should be. You state to whisk the levain generously - my levain is pretty thick and gets all mangled in the tines. What consistency should it be? Second - I have been reading about the aquarium pump. While I am amused at the concept, why not use a power mixer to add air into the levain? The beaters of a mixer whip around and make a fluffy substance - isn't this the same concept of adding air? Third - is there a trick to NOT getting dough stuck all over your hands in the mixing process. I am not opposed to being messy - just ask my wife when I am cooking - but there must be an easier way! And last - I noticed the second batch of levain had diminished in quantity when I went to measure the right amount to make peasant bread. Can levain do this? It kind of reminded me of something eating their young..... I thank you for your time and guidance and look forward to your added wisdom. Mark Paradis Lebanon, NJ

Dear Reader:
Mark, it does start off rather thick, but thins out over time as the yeast begins to contribute alcohol and water (that's my theory, at least). And it will get stuck to the whisk. I'm leery of a power mixer because it may start to develop gluten, and then it'll get really thick (in fact, if you're over-mixing now that may be contributing to the thickness). As far as keeping hands clean, the rule of thumb (no pun intended) is, when mixing dryer doughs, use flour on your hands; for wetter dough (like mine), use wet hands. But dough will still get stuck, esp. during the early stages. I've considered shaving around my wrists and forearms because I get tired of pulling dough off there for days after baking. Finally, since a freshly-fed levain is puffed up by carbon dioxide, the minute you plunge a spoon into it, it will deflate and lose some volume. Feed it or warm it, and it increases in volume again. If you're following my book, however, you're measuring by weight, not volume, so you don't care (and this is in fact a good illustration of way measuring by weight is so much more accurate). Thanks for the great questions, and good luck!

Rosemary Wheat Quick Yeast Bread
I miscalculated the time for the second rise, and I won't have time to bake before work. Will the bread dough be okay for 10 hours or so? What if I put it in the fridge? Thanks.

Dear Reader:
Yes, you can put it in the fridge, although that's typically done during the first rise, not the second. Bring to almost room temp before baking.

tiger bread
why would my bread sink in the second proofing? Can it be salvaged?

Dear Reader:
As for why, please see multiple questions on fallen or collapsed loaves on this page. As for salvaging, fold it over a few times, and try to get a third rise out of it.

making loaves
how can i make a loave without yeast?

Dear Reader:
You use baking power and/or baking soda. It's called a "quick bread" Irish soda bread is one example

zuchini bread
Why does my bread get hard on the top and how can I prevent this?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, please see instructions above. I don't know beans about zucchini bread.

Levain consistency
Hello, I read your book a while ago and made my own levain at that time - it's about 1.5 years old. As I am quite busy these days, I only make bread during one week a year while my parents are visiting and helping with the kids. During the rest of the year, I feed the levain monthly and it gets thin and watery. This week, however, I have been feeding it every other day and it's much thicker. Would you please explain this change in consistency? Thank you and regards, Diane

Dear Reader:
Hi Diane, Congratulations on you starter making it to the toddler stage! The starter is thin and water because you're not feeding it enough. The liquid (which I pour off when it accumulates) is a waste product (alcohol and water) of the yeast. By feeding weekly you can avoid it, and you'll have a healthier starter. But whom am I to argue with success? Best of luck!

Bread flavor needs to be stronger.
I am making an orange chocolate English walnut bread, I am using dried orange zest,& orange flavoring. The bread just doesn't have enough orange flavor. Should I use fresh orange zest, or would you have another idea. Thank you,

Dear Reader:
I like the flavor you get from orange zest, so I would ramp up the zest. But the chocolate might make it challenging to get the orange flavor to come through. I love using my microplane to zest citrus, btw. Good luck

sourdough splits on second rise
my sourdough loaf splits on the top during the second rise. While cooking it flatens out on top as well. Not sure whats going on seems to rise ok during the first one and after that everything goes downhill.

Dear Reader:
I've had this question a few times, and haven't yet been able to supply a definitive answer, but is sounds to me like either your loaf is try try (aim for at least 68% hydration by weight; i.e., 68 g water for 100 g flour) or you kitchen is too warm during the proofing stage. Also, cover the top of the loaf with plastic wrap sprayed with veg. oil, if you're not doing that. And remember to make a nice grigne with a razor just before baking. Good luck!

yeast starter
My my yeast starter was sitting in the refrigerator and is now grey in color. What causes this? can it still be used for starting a dough?

Dear Reader:
I'm not sure, but I've seen it, and I think the grey color is dead yeast cells, or the waste products from yeast cells. You might be able to revive it. Discard all but about a quarter or less of it, and feed thoroughly and often for several days, leaving at room temperature. Whip thoroughly to incorporate oxygen after each feeding. Good luck

Top of dough is hard
I left frozen pizza dough out to thaw, it is thawed but has crusty like film on top of the dough. What can I do before rolling it out?

Dear Reader:
Sounds like to needed to go to the bread ER, not wait 3 days for my next appointment, but what I would've said is fold the dough a few time, then form your crust. Next time, keep Pam-sprayed plastic wrap over the dough while it is in the freezer and thawing (you may still get some crusting, but less)

Gluey In The Middle
My bread is always gluey and sticky in the middle. If I pull off a bit and squeeze it, it looks like a little lump of dough! I am following a recipe exactly and have gradually upped the cooking time from the recommended 20mins to 45mins and also tried increasing the temp from 180 to 200.

Dear Reader:
Unless you're making breadstick, 180 C for 20 minutes is going to result in an underbaked loaf, as you've already found out. I bake at around 250 C, sometimes reducing after 20 minutes if the crust is browning to fast. But bast way to know bread is done is to buy an inexpensive instant read thermometer like this one and bake till center of loaf is 210 F, or about 100 C.

bread smell
What causes the great smell of baking bread?

Dear Reader:
To quote from "52 Loaves": various organic compounds such as alcohols, esters, ketones, and aldehydes - scientists have identified over two hundred such compounds in a fermented dough - that even in their miniscule amounts provide the signature taste and smell that we associate with freshly-baked artisan bread.

bread baking smell and flour is different
The bakers and chefs flour I have always bought at Costco is different lately. I used it to bake bread and there was almost no smell of baking bread???? Normally, the whole house smells like bread and I can tell when the bread is ready bye the smell. strange. What could they have changed?

Dear Reader:
I'm not familiar with the flour, Con Agra Mills Harvest flour, but I suppose if it were stale you might not get the flavor. But if nothing has changed in your technique - fermentation time, etc. - then I'm frankly stumped. But if you want your house to really smell wonderful when you bake, start baking with a levain or starter. More in "52 Loaves."

taking something out and putting it back in?
Hi, I made zucchini bread but was too tired to stay up for it to finish in the oven. So i took it out for the night wrapped it in foil and now its back in the oven but i dont know if it will rise. Does it not work that way? Is there anything i can do?

Dear Reader:
As I've think you've found out, it doesn't usually work that way. You get credit for staying up late and baking, though, even if you couldn't see it through.

Flatbreads
I bake all my bread from basic white to artisan loaves. I am 70 years old, and have baked bread since I was ten years old so I have had lots of practice...lately I have been baking flatbread, but the edges are hard and impossible to roll...what am I doing wrong...warming helps, but they are still not soft enough to roll easily...grandkids love rolled pizza and I have too much pride to purchase the store bought flatbreads!!.... appreciate any help you can give..thanks Mary

Dear Reader:
First of all, Mary, congrats on 60 years of baking! I've only made pita once (I cooked it over a charcoal fire) and didn't have that problem, so I'm not really able to give you much advice. But you should be able to get an answer from thefreshloaf.com which has a wonderful bread forum and many (opinionated) readers. Good luck!

sultana loaf
I followed the ingredients but my sultana loaf has come out white why is this?

Dear Reader:
Hmm. Most recipes for sultana have either dark brown sugar, or a little malt or molasses, which would give it that light brown color you're after --- but not all. So I'm stumped! Sorry. But I think I'll make it myself one of these days and see what happens.

bread hard as bricks
making my grandmas homemade bread recipe and it comes out hard as a brick.Why is this happening?

Dear Reader:
Been there, done that. No easy answer, but it sounds like you're a candidate for reading "52 Loaves," in which I explore this and many other problems.

banana nut bread
What should I do if the batter is a bit thick?

Dear Reader:
Thin it with water. But you know it's supposed to be thick. It's not pancake batter.

chewy bread
why my bread is chewy after 2hrs baking?

Dear Reader:
Tough one, but firstly, you should realize that your making artisan bread at home, not duplicating commercial -- wait a second, did not you just say 2 HOURS?? I think you may be seriously overcooking you bread. Get an inexpensive instant-read thermometer like this one here and bake just until center is 205. If that doesn't work switch to all-purpose flour if you're currently using bread flour. Good luck!

baking
process limits in making a bread

Dear Reader:
In 50 words or less? I'll refer you to my 2-volume Pyler on the science of bread.

Silicone pan
I want to use silicone pan to make bread loaf, is it a good idea or no? I am not sure if it will stick.....

Dear Reader:
It shouldn't stick --that's the whole point of silicone, although bread rarely sticks to a pan anyway. The one rap I've heard on them is lack of browning, but otherwise you should be OK. Try it -- all you have to lose is a few cups of flour!

traditional bread
shrinking during the baking

Dear Reader:
I've heard of this problem, especially among the elderly. Suggest getting more calcium in your diet.

why did my bread explode in the bread machine?
i have a high tech bread machine and when i used it, following the recipes provided, my bread exploded. literally it had cooked but the top of it exploded. why?

Dear Reader:
Bread will explode in a conventional oven if you don't slash the top, giving the steam a place to escape during baking. Never heard of it happening in a machine, however. But suggest you look at "52 Loaves" and consider baking true artisan bread on a stone - not much more difficult than what you're doing now.

fruit dough loaf not cooked
why has my fruit loaf not cooked in the middle.

Dear Reader:
Because you haven't cooked it long enough. Get an instant-read thermometer and bake till center is 205 deg. F.

half loaf baking time difference
I was wondering what the baking time might be for a half of a loaf in a cast iron pan that Is normally 30 minutes with the lid on and an additional 30 minutes with the lid off?

Dear Reader:
Hard to say, but the best way to judge when bread is done is by using a digital thermometer, and baking until the interior is at least 205 deg. F. I use this accurate but inexpensive one.

hellow
how many breads can be produced from 25 kg of wheat flour

Dear Reader:
Anywhere from one really big loaf to 25 little ones. Come on, surely you figure that out yourself...

sourdough bread
can i putsourdough bread in my luggage bound to hawaiian island

Dear Reader:
Oh my, you MUST read about my experiences trying to bring sourdough on my carry-on in "52 Loaves." There an excerpt here.. But in any event, you should be able to put in in your checked bags --just makes sure it's sealed very tightly. Bon voyage!

Bread
Why is homemade bread not soft and moist in the middle?

Dear Reader:
Because commercial bread is full of additives, air, and whipped up to make it soft and fluffy. The bread you're making at home is *real* bread, and it should have some bite to it. For those of us who grew up with packaged bread, it can be hard to shake that false ideal of what bread should be. That being said, if you prefer a softer bread, try a potato bread or roll recipe.

bread falling
why is my zuchini bread falling in the center after it bakes.

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for 'zucchini'. I believe this question has been addressed.

flat top
why does my bread raise lovely, but when I put it in the oven it goes flat on top and then is airey when cooked?

Dear Reader:
Well, it's unusual, to say the least, for a bread to both fall and be airy. As far as the collapsing goes, please search this page on keywords like "collapse" and "falls". You'll see quite a few comments on the subject. Good luck!

zucchini bread
why doesnt my zucchini bread rise? I am using a old family recipe

Dear Reader:
Has it occurred to you that it might not have risen for your old family, either? (But keep in mind zucchini bread don't rise a lot to begin with. It tends to be a dense bread (think pumpkin bread). Sorry I couldn't help more.

Top of bread browning too fast
I am making Challah bread the temp is at 400 for 20 min then I am to rotate the bread, turn oven down to 375 and cook 20 more min or until browned. Well, it's brown after the first 20 min. Should I cover the challah with foil so it doesn't burn and it can continue cooking to make sure the inside is done? Or, what else should I do? Thanks.

Dear Reader:
Well, you CAN cover the top with foil, but whenever I hear of people needing to do that, I figure there's something wrong somewhere. Some things to check out: 1) Your oven thermostat. Buy a free-standing oven thermometer to check it out. 2) Make sure the top element of your oven isn't coming on during the baking cycle. If neither of these pan out, try moving the shelf lower in the oven -- you may be getting reflected head of the oven ceiling. If that fails, cover with foil. Let us know how you make out. Good luck!

Shaking bread maker
Is it usual that the bread maker shake when is baking?

Dear Reader:
During the kneading phase, yes. But read "52 Loaves" to find out why you should be making bread by hand instead of my machine!

why does my bread taste doughy??
please help i love making homemade granary bread for my family but it always tastes doughy :( why is this??

Dear Reader:
It's undercooked, my friend. Invest in a digital instant read thermometer (I have the one here and bake till the center of the bread is 210 degrees.

Fruit bread
I make a fruit loaf in my bread maker and it turns out lovely only thing is I thickly slice it and put it in toaster but it falls to pieces when toasted. difficult to get out of toaster.

Dear Reader:
3 consecutive questions about crumbly fruit or zucchini breads! Some of these quick breads don't hold together well. You can improve the cohesion by adding a little vegetable oil or making the breads more moist in general. When a bread I'm making doesn't turn out the way it should repeatedly it's time to try a new recipe. We like the old Fannie Farmer for quick breads, but the King Arthur Cookbook is good as well.

Zucchini bread crumbles
Why does it crumbly can't cut it into slices

Dear Reader:
See above.

Zucchini
Why does it crumbly, can't cut it

Dear Reader:
See two questions above.

rising bread
when i bake zucchinni bread or THE LIKE THE CENTER of the breads always rise real high and the sides stay where they were filled in the pans. Is there a way to have the loaves come out xclose to even all round.

Dear Reader:
You can always tell when the zucchini is ripe -- I suddenly get lots of questions on zucchini bread. Anyway, other than baking the loaf free form, on a baking (pizza) stone, or in a pullman pan with a lid, the answer is 'no.' That's what bread do. Why? No idea.

Baugette crust too chewy
I have been using this recipe for more than a year, earlier crust used to be crunchy with soft crumbs and really nice holes.. But now the crust is chewy and looses the crunch just after 15 mins of baking.... The bread is kind of dry too. Even when its a high hydration dough. 13 ltr water for 20 kg of flour. Plz help

Dear Reader:
Hmm. Same recipe, different results. I'm assuming your steam your baguettes for the first few minutes of baking. Is is possible something has changed in that area? You may be over-steaming. You want the steam to be gone by halfway through the baking cycle. As for the bread being dry, I'm stumped on that one. Your 65% hydration isn't all that high, btw. I use a 68% level, and baguettes, because of their shape, can handle 70. Of course, handling them can become a problem at that level. But I'd move up to 68% (13.6 liters water) and see how it goes. Good luck. (as you speak "hydration" I think you'd enjoy 52 Loaves)

baguettes hard
Why did my baguettes were kinda hard?

Dear Reader:
Make sure you introduce steam in the first 10 minutes or so of baking. See the recipe in the "recipes and techniques" section of this web.

Convection vs. regular baking?
I have a convection oven. Should I bake with this feature? Is so, should I adjust either the temperature or the time for the peasant bread? Thanks.

Dear Reader:
I don't like to use the convection feature with bread (I do with pizza), because it can make the crust brown before the interior is cooked. That being said, I know of bakers who swear by it, so you might give it a try. After all, you have little to lose.

Domestic pig
When have about a 300 pound pig that is laying on its side and doesnt get up. Its still alive but doesnt move much its just laying in the same spot for a day and a half. Do you have any ideas on what can cause this?

Dear Reader:
Oh my, that sounds serious -- maybe you should consult a vet (and line up a butcher).

additional bran
I thank you for your answer, however, my question was whether the additional bran should be part of the total amount of flour and not whether I like the taste.

Dear Reader:
Oh, sorry. Yes, I would count it as part of the flour, but because bran is hightly absorbent, (more than flour), you might have to increase the water in the dough a bit.

Looking for Italian bread
when i was a kid growing up in northern new jersey my grandmother used to take us to an italian bakery in either Cliffside park ar Fairveiw. she called the bread italian bread. it was round witn a dark brown chewy crust. the inside was very airy it had a lot of holes in it. it was great just smeared with butter. can anyone tell me what type of bread it was?I thought it was pagnotta bread put pagnotta is a lighter crust and the middle is more dense. Help anyone.

Dear Reader:
Got me stumped. Anyone?

Homemade bread is going sticky when stored
thanks for getting back to me. it has indeed been very humid in our kitchen- especially in the summer months -not much ventilation so i think you are probably right. I was keeping it wrapped in a plastic bag and stopped doing this after your suggestion, and think it improved the situation a bit but still ended up sticky after 4 or 5 days. have tried cooking for longer -1 hr 45 mins - but gets too burned on outside. oven isn't a very good one - not consistent/accurate heat. but thanks anyway!

Dear Reader:
Just a final note: 4 or 5 days is **long** time to keep homemade bread (commercial breads have preservatives). Mine is stale by the third. You might consider freezing half the loaf after you bake it -- bread freezes really well.

home made bread
Why is my home made bread so crumble?

Dear Reader:
Really hard to say, so knowing the recipe, etc. But you might try one of my recipes :)

falling middle in dense bread
why does middle fall in friendship bread

Dear Reader:
Friendship bread! Oh my, do I have a story about friendship bread in "52 Loaves." But to answer you question, it may have something to do with the box of vanilla pudding mix (if your recipe is the same as the one that was give to me). I encourage you to try some "real," artisan bread. There are recipes on this website

additional bran
should a small amount of bran 20gr be part of the total flour content when making sourdough bread

Dear Reader:
Well, there's no "should" I add a small amount of whole wheat and rye flour to mine (see recipe on this website), so I'd say try adding the bran and see if you like it.

coarse bread
Why is my homemade yeast bread coarse in texture?

Dear Reader:
Impossible to say, not knowing the recipe. But homemade artisan breads will not have the pillowy texture of commercial breads -- and that's a good thing. As I write in "52 Loaves" about the first great bread I ever tasted, "when you bit into it, it bit back."

Dough smelling fermented
I made bread dough today, and while it was rising, a few hours later it is smelling fermented. Is it safe to eat?

Dear Reader:
Absolutely! The first rise is properly called "fermentation" (and the 2nd "proofing"). You're on your way to a delicious loaf of bread. You can learn much more about fermentation in "52 Loaves"

burning on bottom
rolls burn on bottom before browning on top.

Dear Reader:
Move to higher shelf. If that fails, place an insulated cookie sheet a shelf under the rolls. If that fails, bake rolls on an insulated cookie sheet. And make sure your oven is fully preheated before placing rolls in. More on solving bread problems in "52 Loaves"..

krentenbrood
mijn krentenbrood is te droog

Dear Reader:
Voeg meer water. (No wonder you guys lost New York to the British)

Zucchini bread batter
How long ahead can I make zucchini batter? And how do I keep fresh? Freeze ,refrigerate , how long?

Dear Reader:
You probably *can* freeze the batter (I freeze pizza dough all the time) for several weeks, but I'd think you'd be better off freezing the bread and defrosting/warming in a 350-degree oven just before serving.

fallen bread
on the last rise,my bread fall.will it still be ok

Dear Reader:
If it fell on the floor, probably not. If it fell in the other way, I would do a few folds, form a loaf, and try doing a third rise. Good luck!

Bread not rising
I have been making bread for 30 years and just the last 3 times it hasnt raised. I have tried adding a little sugar, changed yeast, checked the expiration date and changed yeast. Nothing, could it be the flour?

Dear Reader:
Sure could. Or maybe you've just lost your mojo (hopefully it's the flour).

can I brush water on bread before baking?
can I brush water on bread before baking

Dear Reader:
I'd spray, rather than brush. In fact, Cook's Illustrated recommends that as an alternative to steam.

Falling bread
bread rises but when i put it in the oven the heat makes it fall

Dear Reader:
Please search this page for many, many other posts of collapsing loaves.

homemade buns
why are they burning on bottom before baked

Dear Reader:
Move up to a higher shelf. If problem persists, place on an insulated cookie sheet.

aroma & taste
what can you do to increase the aroma & taste of homemade bread. using mom's recipe but it just dosen't have that aroma & taste's more like commercial bread than italian ?

Dear Reader:
This is nice, easy one! Use a wild-yeaster starter or levain. See my instructions on the recipes page and read more in "52 Loaves". The difference in like night and day!

Light in the Loafers
I am a personal chef out of San Diego trying to recreate a favorite boyhood recipe from an Italian bakery in Michigan. It is an Italian white bread stuffed with marinara sauce and pepperoni. First attempt today. Bread too dense. Need a lighter, toothier dough. Used AP flour, 2% milk and butter. Any suggestions?

Dear Reader:
I've always wondered what it would be like to be a personal chef. Anyway...White bread stuffed with tomato sauce and pepperoni. Wow! Sounds more like a calzone, but I'm really out of my league here, but check out recipes online for a "pain surprise", as that's a similar concept. Good luck -- hope your job doesn't depend on making this loaf!

rustic italian bread?
I made a loaf of bread with a recipe with great reviews. It came out looking like an old man's wrinkled leg, and not a pretty one at that! No color to the crust, just ugly white. The crust was nice and hard but the center was heavy and dense. I just made yeast doughnuts and they also came out heavy!!! I'm thinking I need to just give up! What in the world did I do wrong?

Dear Reader:
No, you certainly don't want to give up! It took the better part of year to master baking just one kind of bread (see "52 Loaves"). You've discovered the dirty little secret about recipes. There are so many variables besides the ingredients and steps (not the least of which is that yeast is a living organism!). But in this case, you problem may not be too difficult. If the crust was pale, the bread was undercooked. No matter the recipe says, bake at 475 (preheat oven to 500 or more) and cook till center reads 210 with an instant read thermometer. I baked many heavy, dense loaves, and what started to turn things around for me was using a levain (see instruction the Recipes page of this website). It seems to give you more margin for error. Good luck, and look for more bread advice on my bread blog!

Homemade bread is going sticky when stored
Why does my (delicious) home made bread go sticky in the middle after being stored for 2 or more days? I have tried baking it for longer and keeping in the fridge. is it too much yeast? have tried different types of yeast? its a real pain!

Dear Reader:
You don't say how you store it, but bread keeps best overnight turned cut end down on a wooden bread board. For longer storage, use a cloth or paper bag. I doubt very much it's the yeast, but local humidity will do a number on bread, and if you've undercooked it (bake till center is 210) that will really show up later as well. But do NOT keep it in the fridge! (Read 52 Loaves to find out why)

zucchini bread
sinks in center on top

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I'm mainly a yeast bread guy, so I don't really have any suggestions for you, except to point out that heavy loaves like zucchini bread can be challenging. You might try a different recipe, maybe one will another egg or more leavening. Good luck!

bread won't rise in pans
My bread rises great in bowl and then when I put the dough in loaf pans it won't rise to the top of pan just 3/4 of the way in the pan

Dear Reader:
Actually 3/4 doesn't sound too bad. With the oven spring rise it should reach the top of the pan -- does it? Assuming you've tried the obvious things to get it to rise (longer time, warmer temp, more yeast) before forming the loaf, gently press out some of the gas and do a few turns of the dough to expose fresh dough the yeast, then fold and form your loaf. That may help.

Flat Bread... on accident
I;ve tried baking home made bread several times, and it always turns out flat. It doesn't rise well. I usely try to use whole wheat flour and sometimes use a sugar substitute such as coconut plam sugar or agave. Could this be the problem? I think i've tried making bread following the recipe exactly as well and it also was flat.

Dear Reader:
Been there. In fact, wrote a book about it that you really should read. I don't even care if you buy a copy -- get it form the library. Whole wheat is especially challenging and substituting ingredients also presents some uncertainty as well. You might check out Peter Reinhart's book on whole wheat breads to see how he handles it. He has some soaking techniques that seem to work. Good luck!

Baking Time!
How long should I put my fully mixed whole wheat bread in the pre heated oven??- Concerned Baker

Dear Reader:
This of depends of loaf shape, temp, etc., but one thing doesn't change: Bake till the interior reads 205 - 210 with an instant-read thermometer. I use the one here

using metal french bread mold
baking bread for a long time but decided to buy a french bread mold. Using my tried and true french bread recipe but the bread browns beautifully on top, is cooked right through, but bottom does not brown. Used the mold with parchment paper and without. What am I missing?

Dear Reader:
You know, I don't have much experience with these. I cook my baguettes right on a baking stone. It may just be the nature of the beast. Sorry I couldn't help...

Food Groups
what food group does buttere4d toast bread fall under

Dear Reader:
Carbs. With a little fat, from the butter.

Mold
How long will it take to mold 50% of mold on white bread from tip-top with 5ml of water? thank you

Dear Reader:
I give up -- how long? Oh, you expect an answer from me?? Sorry, I'm a baker, not Mr. Wizard. But I suspect you should've started your school project about a week ago, am I right? Good luck with it, anyway!

scoring results in collapse of the bread
Hi. I'm a newbie at baking bread, but I have the same problem over and over. I am making a simple white bread with live yeast. I shape it into a ball and it rises beautifully, but when i attempt to score the bread before putting it in the oven, my scoring causes the bread to "deflate". Any suggestions?

Dear Reader:
I know exactly what you mean. It's incredibly discouraging, and it plagued me for months. The problem vanished when I switch from a commercial-yeast bread to using a levain, or starter (see "52 Loaves"), but I don't think it had anything to do with the levain, rather was because my new recipe used much less yeast. Your bread is over-gassing and is thus fragile. Use less yeast and ferment and proof and a lower temperature, and you should see an improvement. Good luck!

spelt bread falls while cooking
I've been using a bread machine for ten years with great results. I just bought a new one and its not so great. I make spelt bread using the same recipe as always. I rises fine but drops when cooking and the finished loaf is small and dense. What can I do? I bought brand new yeast that expires in 2014 and it stays in the fridge. I use warm water.

Dear Reader:
Well, it seems the problem is with your bread machine, so I really can't help you there -- other than to urge you to try making true bread by hand, baked on a stone, and leavened with your own wild-yeast starter. (Easy-- trust me!) Perhaps a look at "52 Loaves" would convince you. (If try, try a different machine)

shape of bread
if you have a basic bread recipe and you shape it different than in a loaf will the bread have a different taste. I thought it would be the same but a friend who bake bread said the shape determines the taste

Dear Reader:
What a great question! Your friend, alas, is correct (to a degree). What matters is not so much the shape in itself but the ratio of crust to crumb. You may have noticed that the crust has a different taste (sweeter) than the crumb, and that taste does penetrate into the bread. So loaves with a higher ratio of crust -- long skinny loaves vs a round boule, e.g. -- will have a **slightly** different taste (and texture as well).

Bread falls in the oven
Why does my 100% whole wheat bread "cave in" in the middle when I put it in the oven to bake?

Dear Reader:
Whole wheat bread is challenging, and I've never mastered it. Peter Reinhart has found several ways of handling the heaviness of whole wheat, including pre-soaking of the flour, so you may want to look into his book on whole-grain baking and also see what tips you can find on thefreshloaf.com. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

loves EATING
hi..i just love eating and i really enjoy it as well..i tend to finish 1 loaf of bread in 2 or 1 days..is it bad for my health?and comparing between white bread and wheat bread,which is good for diet??

Dear Reader:
Well, let me answer this way. I begin each section of "52 Loaves" with the current weight of my bread bookshelf and my own weight -- and both went up. A loaf in 1-2 days is a *lot* of bread. Suggest you both cut back on the bread (and eat more fruits and vegetables) and when you do eat bread, eat whole wheat if weight or diabetes is an issue. In general, complex carbs (such as whole grains) are better for you than white carbs.

GROWTH OF MOLD BREAD
Hi...i really need an accurate answer for the lab report that is due to submit tomorrow..i just wanted to know, why is there a need to wait 1 to 2 weeks for bread mold to grow? thanks a bunch..

Dear Reader:
That's actually a good question, but I don't really have an answer. But I'll guess... I assume that the spores are in the air all the time, land on the bread, and it takes time for them to reproduce vs. a change in the bread over time that makes it susceptible to mold growth, but it could well be a combination of the two.

height
how can i stop my rising height?

Dear Reader:
Eat lots of white carbs and avoid calcium. Oh, you mean the height of your loaf! Use less yeast (much less) and if you can, let the dough rise in a cool room. A slow rise will also produce better-tasting bread (the reason is in "52 Loaves")

left with a big hole in center of cinomom loaf
im am left with a big hole in the center of my cinnamon loaf ime how do i stop this

Dear Reader:
It happens to best of loaves. If it's an occasional occurrence, I wouldn't worry about it. If it happens with *every* loaf, then look at your loaf-forming technique. And de-gas the loaf halfway before proofing.

Gas over while baking
Hi, I was baking simple white bread and the gas got over. It has risen alot already in the oven, but the top inside is slightly uncooked. Can I put it in the microwave? or will I just have to toast it when I slice it ?

Dear Reader:
The answer is obviously coming too late to help (sorry, but this is not a real-time service - after all, I'm a bread *doctor*), but neither for other readers, neither of those solutions is likely to be satisfactory, but I'd lean towards toast.

Crust doesn't last
I bake my bread and it turns out great with a fantastic crust but the crust goes soft after a couple of hours but I know I can buy a loaf from the bakers and the crust will last for atleast a day or so. Any ideas why this is happening; thought it might be because I'm using normal plain flour not baker's plain flour?

Dear Reader:
I doubt it's the flour -- I use all-purpose myself. I think it's because you're not developing a good crust to begin with. Bake at high temp (I preheat to 550) and bake at 480) and introduce plenty of steam the first 10 minutes of baking with a cup of water in a cast iron pan or baking sheet on the bottom shelf. That should give you a solid, durable crust.

won't brown
I make bread. Bake at 400 degrees but does not brown

Dear Reader:
400 is low for bread. I preheat to 550 and bake at 480.

thick bread
My bread seem to always be very light. What can i add or do to make a thicker bread, as in to give my bread weight?

Dear Reader:
Good thing you didn't supply your phone number, or you'd be getting scores of calls from bakers saying "How do I get a light loaf?" I've never been asked this question! But I bet adding a little whole wheat and rye (see my Peasant Bread recipe on this website) would not only give the bread some substance, but improve the taste. Good luck!

Sunken top crust
My loaf looks perfect going in the oven but the top crust has sunken areas after baking. What am I doing wrong?

Dear Reader:
Possibly over-proofing or using too much yeast. And make sure the oven is good and hot (I preheat to 550) when you put it in so you get a nice oven spring. Good luck!

sourdough starter
What grade of cheesecloth should I use to cover the jar?

Dear Reader:
There are grades of cheesecloth? Who knew! Anything that will keep out the fruit flies is fine. And good luck with your starter!

crumbly wheat bread
my wheat bread is crumbly the next day

Dear Reader:
Hard to say what's causing that. You don't say how you're storing it, but try inside a linen or paper bag.

Conservatives
Can I use Absorbic Acid as a conservative inside my batter and Sodium Benzoate as a spray on conservative to deter mold from forming on the outside of my bread?

Dear Reader:
I'm afraid this is a bit beyond my scope. If you're a home baker I'd suggest you freeze uneaten loaves or half-loaves, rather than add additives, however.

cinnamon rolls
how come my cinnamons rolls wern't done in the middle, while the rest of it looked done

Dear Reader:
A couple of things could be responsible: too high an oven temp (lower temps provide more even cooking) or they actually weren't done but looked done due to caramalization of the sugar. Suggest you use a toothpick to gauge doneness instead of appearance.

WHY IS MY BREAD DOUGHY IN THE MIDDLE? REVISITED...
Thank you for the quick response. I have one question though. If the crust is already dark;won't leaving it in the hot oven continue to darken the crust?

Dear Reader:
Lowering the heat will even the baking of the crust and crumb; leaving the loaf in the oven, turned off but with the door cracked does not, for me at least, appreciably darken the crust. (But keep an eye on it the first time)

bread makers
I had a oster bread maker for years that allowed me to program the dough cycle. Are you aware of a bread maker that has this feature...having difficulty finding one. Thanks

Dear Reader:
Ah, afraid you've come the wrong place, my friend. This is not machine-friendly territory (we make bread by hand), so I'm not up on breadmakers. But read 52 LOAVES and I guarantee you'll be making beautiful French-style loaves in no time.

bottom separates from main loaf when baking
Why does my bread consistently separate from the bottom by at least an inch? It bakes beautifully otherwise. After 15 minutes, I normally put a piece of aluminum foil on the top so the crust doesn't get too dark. Is this what's causing the separation? It doesn't separate all around the base. Usually it's just one side. I was thinking that when I'm cloaking it, there is an area that I can't see when I put it in the oven. Thank you - Shoshanna

Dear Reader:
Wow, I've heard of "flying crust" (where the crust separates from the loaf) but never dropping bottom. I don't think it's the foil (though I'd recommend if you going to cover the loaf for 15 minutes you do it the first 15 minutes of baking,not the last). I think it's your loaf-forming/folding technique. See e.g., Peter Reinhart's instructions in The Bread Baker's Apprentice on forming pan loaves. You *are* letting it rise in the pan, right?

Actual Hydration %...
I've been forever confused as to what the actual hydration % is, of my 946g HG Flour and 473g water? It's obviously a 50% hydration level but... my dough seems way too slack/wet after about 8-10min of mechanical mixing followed by a series of stretch/fold... I live in Hawaii but the temperature is constant in my home at about 75F... How much additional hydration should i be adding from ambient air,humidity, flour??

Dear Reader:
Well, you're correct about the hydration: it is indeed 50%, which is really low. So what's the problem? Try changing the flour (I use all-purpose, not high-gluten). Flours can vary tremendously in their ability to absorb water. And while I don't think this has much of an effect, keep it in a sealed container, so it's not absorbing your moist Hawaiian air. Aloha!

WHY IS MY BREAD DOUGHY IN THE MIDDLE?
WHY IS MY BREAD DOUGHY IN THE MIDDLE?

Dear Reader:
Most likely it's undercooked. But an inexpensive instant-read thermometer and cook till center is 210 deg. F. Then leave in oven another 10 minutes with door ajar. Good luck!

Soft pretzels
Do you have a recipe for soft pretzels?

Dear Reader:
Do, I don't, but check The Fresh Loaf. I'll bet you find one there. And don't skip the lye!

Shrink
I have been baking for a year now and with improvements I am happy with the quality of my bread but have recently noticed that my bread when finished baking has shrunk back slightly from the sides of the baking tins whereas this didn't used to occur. Is this good or is something going wrong?

Dear Reader:
That's normal, though I can't say why it's happening now and not before.

Flying crust
I made a batch of bread the other day, 64% hydration. Autolyse, bulk for 2hrs, shape, retard for a couple hours, proof, and bake. (we only have convection ovens in my restaurant, but I always put the fan on low when baking bread). There was a slight flying crust, which I attributed to perhaps insufficient proofing the 2nd time.. I had 2 loaves from the same batch which I left in the walk-in overnight until 8pm last night, when I pulled them out, and let them proof until 11pm, when I put em in the oven. They were room temp, and bubbly. They had a more significant flying crust than the 2 loaves baked the day before... why does this happen? Thanks!

Dear Reader:
There's an excellent explanation here. Also TheFreshLoaf.com has a lengthy thread on this. Good luck on getting your flying crust grounded!

Gettin my toast on
Was at a bonfire, tried toastin my hoagie, the bread turned doughy, why?!?!?!?

Dear Reader:
No idea, honest. But I love the rhythm! Tried toastin my hoagie, the bread turned doughy...ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom!

no color on upper half of baguette
I cooked the same recipe in a dutch oven and on a baking stone. The round loaf from the dutch oven came out with great, rich color. The baguette on the baking stone had great color on the bottom, but a pale lack luster color top. I steamed the oven for 10 minutes and the heat was set at 450 degrees F. The internal temperature of the bread rose to 205 degrees F after about 25-30 minutes. How do I get a nice rich color on the upper half of the baguette?

Dear Reader:
I hate it when someone has done all the right things (including using a thermometer -- you get points!) and still has disappointing results. Here's one thing you can try, which a trick I use with pizza: move the baking stone up closer to the top of the of oven. The reflected heat from the roof may help brown the top. Also, don't be afraid to crank the temperature up a bit. Thin loaves like baguettes can handle heat. I start mine at 500-525 then then the oven down to 480. Bonne chance!

gluten free bread in bread maker
Why did my gluten free bread made in the bread maker crack on top?

Dear Reader:
All breads, gluten-free or not, split when baking due to expansion. We deal with it in oven-baked loaves my making a slash on top just before baking. Not so easy to do in a bread machine, but the cracking is normal and nothing to worry about.

re-baking
can you put bread back in the oven to finish baking if it's been out and cooling for 15 minutes?

Dear Reader:
Probably not, but if had an undercooked loaf I'd give it try. For future baking, I recommend you buy an instead-read thermometer and bake till the center of the loaf is 205-210. The one I use is here.

Milk and bread
What happens when you make bread balls roll them in milk and cinnomon and bake them?

Dear Reader:
I don't know, but it sounds like the next special at Dunkin Donuts.

why
Why are you so mean in your answers, I don't think I would bother taking your advice. It seems that when you don't have an answer, you think it's someone failing to do their homework. If it is for homework, I feel sorry for them thinking you might have a good answer for them.

Dear Reader:
When someone asks a scientific or baking question I try to answer to the best of my ability. When someone who clearly is a student who has assigned an experiment tries to avoid the assignment it by asking for the answer, I don't provide it, but suggest that they should actually do the experiment If that's "mean" I plead guilty (to being a former teacher).

Deflated bread
My bread rises beautifully, however the minute I slash the top and transfer it to the baguette tray it deflates.....is this normal?

Dear Reader:
No, it's not, though I've had it happen to me. It's almost like you've slashed a tire. I suspect it's a symptom of over-proofing. Make your your razor (I used a double-edged on a stick) is good and sharp, and make a bold slash, without hesitating. Incidentally, those kinds of problems went away for me when I started using a levain and very little commercial yeast, so I can't say why. Good luck!

Bread rolls
What time scale do I need to make up bread rolls and leave standing before a party

Dear Reader:
There are quick rolls and there are longer sourdough-type rolls, so there's no set answer. But if you throwing a party, I'd make the dough the day before, let it sit, covered, in the fridge overnight, bring to room temp (2 hrs) and bake then you can bake the next morning. Re-heat in the oven if you want them warm. Bread is actually better after it sits for a few hours. (you might be interested in how I crammed baking daily bread into the routine of the French monks I write about in "52 Loaves."

bananna bread
the bananna bread has been in the oven for an hour at 350 on the middle rack and the center is still not done. what can I do

Dear Reader:
Keep cooking it.

How long is thawed bread save to eat?
My freezer stopped freezing. All is lost but I thought I could save the bread (commercial). The freezer, over the course of at least six days, got quite warm. Now my son tells me that any wheat product becomes dangerous to eat if it has gotten that warm for that long. Is this true?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, my legal team does not allow me to address food safety issues. (The Bread Doctor is not actually a doctor -- I only play one on the web)

rotting bread
how long does it take for bread to rot?

Dear Reader:
I would love to know which science class this is and who told all the students to ask me instead of doing their home experiments.

Moulding bread
what could happen if you over mould the dough

Dear Reader:
You mean "mold" as in form or "mold" as in it gets moldy. If the former, you risk losing all the gas and having a dense, flat loaf.

main risks
what are the main risks that can happen to my bread product???

Dear Reader:
You've wasted 80 cents on ingredients. Fortunately, you'll rarely kill anyone with bad bread.

bread not cooking completely or rising
I am baking gluten free bread without using yeast eggs.as I connot tolerate them.but my bread is not completely cooked and not rising. I am using baking powder over baking soda. What is the difference between them. I am also using warm water or milk when mixing batter. What am I doing wrong?

Dear Reader:
Wish I could help you, but I'm not experienced with gluten-free breads. There are a number of websites devoted to the topic, however,so you might find some help there.

never can obtain that yeast flavor in my bread
Why can't I have that beautiful yeast smell in my kitchen,and the yeast flavor in my bread after baking? Same thing with rolls and sourdough breads.

Dear Reader:
Really, even with a sourdough? Have you tried making sourdough (levain) from the recipe I have on this website? It gives the bread (and the kitchen) a wonderfully yeasty smell. The longer you leave your sourdough out after feeding, by the way, the stronger the flavor will be.

bread mould
What happens to a bread when you put it at a warm and a dark place for seven days?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, you science teacher wouldn't want me to help you cheat on your experiments. Gotta do it yourself and see!

mold on white bread vs on wheat bread in a week
how much mold is grown on a piece of white bread and how many on a piece of wheat in a week

Dear Reader:
What, did the whole class decide to ask me instead of doing your homework? (See above)

Dough
Dough didn't rise

Dear Reader:
Join the club. Read "52 Loaves" to see how I spent a year solving (and other) bread problems.

Holes in bread
Why do i get holes in the top of the loaf made in a bread maker please

Dear Reader:
No idea. But I suggest you put the thing in the closet (next to mine) and try making real bread. You'll be shocked at how easy (and how superior) it is. (See "52 Loaves")

bread in a cold place
what happens to bread when its in the fridge

Dear Reader:
It actually stales more quickly than if left at room temp. I have a short chapter that explains why in "52 Loaves."

bread in heat too long
what happens when bread is in heat too long

Dear Reader:
"Heat" as in the oven (it burns) or "heat" as in sitting in the sun? I don't know, but this sounds like another science lab question you're trying to get out of. Do the homework assignment, kid!

Zucchini bread split in middle when baking
Why do zucchini bread split in the middle when baking

Dear Reader:
It due to expansion. It's why baker user a razor to slash the top of loaf -- it controls the split. But it's quite normal and nothing to worry about.

"Hollow" rolls
20+ years ago...at the Waldorf Hotel, in London, I had the best "hollow" rolls. Crunchy crust....with almost no crumb! Clearly, not egg or milk, which would soften the crust. Shiny and tasty like a hollow ficelle or baguette.....bot NOT a rosette. The hotel changed hands and actually purchased to rolls from a bakery. I have never found a way to produce these fabulous "big lemon sized" beauties. Any ideas???

Dear Reader:
Cool -- I've never heard of such of thing, although it sounds a little like a popover. The way you can get hollow breads in to make a laminated dough with folds. The way is to make it like a pita -- roll out a golf-ball-sized piece before baking. There's a good-looking (I haven't tried) for pita here. Good luck!

Bread "guts"?
Dear Bread Doctor: What is the name for the part of the bread that is inside the crust? A friend's son asked him and he didn't know. It occurred to me that I don't know either (although another good friend offered the word "anti-crust". What is the correct term, please?

Dear Reader:
The "crumb."

sinks
the bread rises then sinks in the middle

Dear Reader:
This is often due to over-rising. Try using less yest. If problem persits, take 2 perinea -- I mean, switch to bread flour, if you're using all-purpose now.

scoring a dry baguette
My proof seems fine, with a good rise. However, when scoring my baguettes, the shell feels rather dry and hard making scoring difficult...

Dear Reader:
Are you covering the loaves (with, e.g., plastic wrap sprayed with vegetable oil) while they proof? But no matter why kind of crust you have a fresh double-edged on a stick should slice through with ease. Score with confidence and without hesitation (and read the fascinating chapter on scoring in "52 Loaves"!)

rising bread ?
Hi there I am sick of making bread - a busy quick bread reciept that doesnt involve a rising time, and when i the oven the top and side cook and the middle ends up half cooked and raw. Its worked once and no luck since. the yeast is kept in the fridge. Whats going wrong here. thanks L

Dear Reader:
Hard to say. I spent a year learning to make bread (see "52 Loaves"). Was a long journey, and often frustrating, and I considered giving up more than once, but it was worth it.

Bread
Word for bread rising

Dear Reader:
The first rise is properly called "fermentation." The second rise is "proofing."

homemade rolls and buns
How do i keep my breads and rolls from bein so dense,thinck and heavey. No I dont have a bread maker.

Dear Reader:
That can be a real challenge for the home baker, and you likely never achieve the texture of commercial bread, for they rely on additives and machines to fluff things up. I didn't get the texture I wanted until I started using a sourdough (or levain), but that probably isn't the answer you wanted to hear. The recipe section of this website has instructions for building a sourdough.

Flying with bread
How can you take Italian crusty bread on a plane and have it not become soft

Dear Reader:
Hmm...not sure why bread would become soft in the dry environment of a plane. But keep in a paper, not a plastic bag. That's about all you can do.

bread and mold
I did an experiment in school where i tested moist bread with mold. I poured 4 ml, 8 ml, and 12 ml into three different pieces of bread. I was confused when the 4 ml of bread had the most mold in it.. can you explain why?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I'm the bread doctor, not Mr. Wizard (old TV science show host), kid. No idea, but I'm glad to see they use the metric system in schools. (All my recipes are in grams!)

why wheat bread break after 4 days?
why wheat bread break after 4 days?

Dear Reader:
If you haven't finished a loaf after 4 days you should consider why you're baking bread. But seriously...I discuss the science of staling in "52 Loaves."

bread
I just made bread dough in my bread maker and I want to bake it in the oven. Is there a step between bread maker and oven?

Dear Reader:
The most common way to do this is to do the kneading and fermentation (first rise) in the machine, then remove the dough, shape it, and do the second rise in outside the machine while the oven heats.

Levain on a jet plane
Hello, Doctor! My levain is now seven months old. That may not sound like much, but it's older than my daughter! (Yes, the bun is out of the oven, and much less misshapen than many of my loaves!) I will be travelling out of state for work for the summer months. I recall your flight to Paris, bringing your levain with you in several containers...luckily, I'll remain domestic. Do you have any advice for the best way to travel with levain? Would it be better to ship it; and if so, how? Does it freeze? Etc., etc. Your loving student, Frankenstein

Dear Reader:
Hey, Frankie! I love the "older than my daughter" line. I would suggest you freeze it, then put it in checked baggage and should be fine. Give it a good feeding when you arrive at your destination. Bon voyage, and enjoy the summer!

baking bread
i baked 2 loaves bread at same time.wy did one stay round and one go flat?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I'm not Carnac (old reference you may not get if you're under 50). No idea.

cinnamon bread
large hallow area inside after baked

Dear Reader:
Please search (cntl-f) this page for "hole" and you may find some possible explanations.

banana bread
How do you know when done in the middle?

Dear Reader:
Please see instruction #2 above. I don't bake banana bread, so I don't have the answer.

bread splits while rising
My sourdough rye and sometimes wheat loaves have a tendency to split while rising. How can I cure this Problem?

Dear Reader:
I was about to say, you have to score the tops of the loaves, then I saw it was splitting during rising, not baking. That's a new one. Sounds like a case of too much yeast. The loaf is over-rising and has no place to go in the pan (I'm assuming this a pan loaves -- if not, I'm totally baffled)

Bread becomes sticky during second rising.
Why does my bread dough stick to the floured board during the second rising. It also sticks to my hands?

Dear Reader:
It's perfectly normal for dough to stick to your hands (because artisan bread is made with more water than in the past), but it should become less sticky as you knead. As for the board, here's a trick: Use plenty of rice flour on it, instead of wheat flour, and it will slide right off. Or even better, invest in a super peel. It's a home version of a commercial baker's peel. Priceless for pizza as well!

Over risen dough?
I forgot my loaves on the final rise ( one knead, rise, punch down and put into loaf pan, rise) and they have risen too much- can I punch it down and let it rise again for a nicer top and texture- or have I ruined the bread? Thanks!

Dear Reader:
What do you think -- I sit around waiting for questions that have to be answered immediately?? Okay, once in a while I do. So I have no life -- sue me. Where was I...oh, the bread... fold it a few times (don't punch) and try for a third rise. If your yeast isn't exhausted you may be OK. Good luck!

non wheat bread rising
Can you use club soda instead of water to help non wheat breads to rise???

Dear Reader:
I've seen club soda used in waffles, so it's worth a try if you're having trouble getting your gluten-free bread to rise.

bread experiment
what will happen if you seal and store white bread in a warm,dry and dark place within seven days

Dear Reader:
How about you try it and let us know? After all, you subject line is "experiment".

bread
what happens to alcohol when baked in bread

Dear Reader:
Virtually all of it cooks off.

pão caseiro
o que devo fazer para o pão não ficar duro no dia seguinte

Dear Reader:
Comer el primer día. O a cabo en una bolsa de papel.

french bread won't brown
How can I brown french bread during baking?

Dear Reader:
Lots of heat! I bake my baguettes at 475 on a preheated pizza stone. See my recipe in the "recipes" section of this web.

yeats and water
what happens when you put lots of yeast and not much water in the bread?

Dear Reader:
When you put Yeats and water together you get soggy poetry. Lots of as yeast and not much water, I don't know, but I suspect ain't good.

slicing bread
Why don't restaurants cut bread all the way through?

Dear Reader:
To keep it neat in the basket. It used to be the tradition in France not to slice it all; tearing bread from the loaf was thought to be a communal, bonding practice, but that has largely given way to modern sanitary sensibilities.

Bread Falls in Oven
Why does my bread dough rise beautifully.... then fall shortly after in the oven ?? I've tried several things; kneading longer, kneading shorter, one full rise, two full rises nothing seems to work anymore.. Can you help me , Please?

Dear Reader:
Start by searching on 'fall' on this page (cntl-f) for the many other questions on this topic. Maybe you'll find a clue there, but the gist of it is that your loaf is too delicate. Try less yeast, but I can almost guarantee that if you went to using a starter (see Recipe or his website or, even better, read "52 Loaves), your loaf would not fall (and you'd have far tastier bread that wouldn't stale as quickly. Good luck, and let me know how you make out.

glutenfree bread
if you have worked with glutenfree breadsa seem to be heavy and very low rise or flat what can correct these problems if you know

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I haven't worked with gluten-free breads, but there a number of web sites devoted to the topic. And check out the King Arthur catalog. They may have some lighteners/leaveners for gluten-free bread.

light bread rolls
at what tempature and how long to bake rolls

Dear Reader:
There are no hard and fast rules, but I like to bake all my breads on a preheated stone at 475. Rolls usually take around 20 minutes but best way to tell when they're done is to cook till center read 205-210 on an instant read thermometer.

forgot the first rise
Help!! I am baking dinner roll. I totally forgot to let the dough rise the first rise. After kneading, I simply divvied up the dough into small rolls. They are now rising in the oven. Should I allow this rise to be longer to compensate for no first rise? How would no-first-rise affect the final result? Thank you!!

Dear Reader:
Sorry, but I'm not able to offer a real-time advice service. So how did the rolls turn out?

DOUGH DEFLATES
When I make slits in my bread prior to baking, the loaves go flat

Dear Reader:
I have this image: Pfffffsssst. Sound like a weak,over-inflated dough. Try less yeast.

Yeast dough left out all night
IIIN left yeast dough out all night. I had planned to refrigerate it but forgot. Is it still usable?

Dear Reader:
It depends on a lot of factors -- if it's your first rise (fermentation), quite possibly (some of mine are 7 hours). If your second, it's probably out of gas. I would make a few folds with it to expose some fresh dough to the yeast and see if you can get a quick third rise of it.

white swrils on wheat bread
i just brought a loaf of wheat bread and each slice has white swirls on it

Dear Reader:
Another reason to make your own!

bread falling
What causes bread to fall in the middle while baking? does the opeing of a door cause this?

Dear Reader:
Opening a door (or likely, closing it) may, if the bread is unstable, but this is generally due to other causes. Please search the many questions of falling loaves on the page to see some of them.

Rye Or Multigrain Bread
Why When I Make Rye Or Multigrain Bread In My Breadmaker,Why Is It Not Smooth On Top Of The Loaf

Dear Reader:
I don't know, but I'd love to convert you to baking artisan breads on a stone instead. Read 52 Loaves, or the current (May) issue of Saveur magazine.

WHOLE WHEAT YEAST BREAD
The bread is so light, it won't keep it's shape after rising.

Dear Reader:
Over the hundreds of questions I've received, this is the first one that has asked about whole wheat being too light! Most people (including The Doctor) end up with dense, heavy loaves, so I think maybe you could teach us a thing or two. Anyway, I'd cut back on the yeast by a third to a half, or rise at a cooler temperature, or both, and see if that helps. Good luck, and I'm jealous!

Crunchy bottom
How do I make the bottom of bread crunchy and not crusty? I'm using muffin pan and baking bread somewhat like rolls but not really rolls.

Dear Reader:
I'm not expert in this area, but I would try placing the muffin tin directly on top of an insulated baking sheet. Also, some people feel that muffins in silicone muffin tins don't get crunchy enough, so that may be a solution as well. Good luck!

bread browns to dark on bottom in my bread machine
what am i doing worn my bread gets to dark on the bottom in my bread machine but it light in the top. i ahve adjusted all i can think of but mothing helps

Dear Reader:
Not to be snide, but what you're doing wrong is using a bread machine. See the current (May 2012) issue of Saveur, peruse this website or, even better, read "52 Loaves" and discover the ease (honest!) and joys of making true artisan bread at home.

bread under a blowing fan
Correction I meant to type if you keep bread under a fan "several hours" will it get too moist or go bad?

Dear Reader:
Why would you ....? Never mind. If anything, I suppose it would dry out, not get moist. It certainly won't go bad. But why would you...? Never mind...

yeast rolls
what made my yeast rolls fall after they had already risen, before baking

Dear Reader:
Try rising for a shorter period. Also, see the many other queries on this page about falling loaves and rolls.

Making Homemade Yeast with Raisin?
I made a Kick Ass Wheat Beard by hand, However i'm tring to strat making homemade yeast with raisin (1/2 cup of raisin to 1 cup of water and let sit for 5-7 days). My questions is how much of this yeast do i need to us in my Wheat Beard? When i us 1 1/2 tsp of store yeast right now. And do i need to do anything Differtion with my beard?

Dear Reader:
That's really hard to say. What you're doing (which is fantastic, btw) is building a levain, or sourdough. Check out my recipes on this site to see how I use mine, but you're going to need a couple of cups to equal the dried yeast you're using now. I discuss the leavain thing a lot (read the excerpt that's on the website as well) in "52 Loaves." Good luck! (And you're going to need to add some flour to that raison mix)

Improving Smell of Bread
I am disappointed in bread made in Sunbeam Bread Machine. I have tried all the recipes for white bread in recipe booklet that came with it, but find that the smell of freshly-baked bread is very faint. How do I improve to get that beautiful freshly-baked bread smell?

Dear Reader:
Well, yeah, sure you're disappointed. It's a bread machine. If it's smell you want, I urge you to build your own wild-yeast starter and make true hearth bread in your oven. It's all in "52 Loaves". Good luck!

Bread making problem
I'm using a bread maker. The bread rises ok twice. When it starts to bake it falls.I need help.

Dear Reader:
See above response. We don't cotton to bread machines 'round these parts! (And it's sooo easy to make the real thing, which is soooo much better!)

bread making problems
What makes bread fall after it has risen?

Dear Reader:
Please do a search on "fall" with your web browser (alt-f on most) on this page and you choose the answer that you like best!

french baguette
french baguette top too moist to score

Dear Reader:
It's possible you're hydration is too high and the bread is indeed to moist. If so, there's nothing to be done about that other reduce the hydration, but if it's holding its shape in the couche, then the problem is your knife is too dull. Get a wooden coffee stirrer from Starbucks, but a pack of double-edge razor blades, and draw through the loaf quickly, without hesitation. There's an entire chapter on scoring dough in "52 Loaves." Good luck.

undercooked in the middle
My bread is undercooked in the middle

Dear Reader:
Don't be afraid of letting the crust get good and dark. Bake until the center reads 205 - 210 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. If you can't get there without burning the crust, then turn the temp down after the first 20 minutes of baking. Good luck!

Rough crust
I made basic white bread and the top was rough. What caused this?

Dear Reader:
I don't know, but I may able to tell you how to fix it, which is what you really want to know. Try misting the top with water from a hand-held sprayer just before you put the loaf in the oven.

Ode to spring
Given that I've got -- and am stuck with -- an oven that's not going to make it above 475 on its best day, do I hope in vain for oven spring? Is there anything I can do to encourage it?

Dear Reader:
Sure, you can get some oven spring with that oven. Preheat a good, thick pizza stone for a full hour before putting in the bread. That will help retain some of the heat lost when you open the door. And don't forget steam (see "52 Loaves" for more on the role of steam in oven spring.) Great subject line, btw! Took me a moment...

Large hole
Why do I get a large home in my loaf bread?

Dear Reader:
Thanks for you question. Please see several recent postings (most recent are at the top) on this very (suddenly hot) topic. An easily fixed problem!

yeast rolls
I forgot to mix in the dry active yeast in my rolls until the end, before proofing, they proofed thought not very well and now the finished bread has some granules on it, is it safe to eat?

Dear Reader:
The interesting part of your question is that the rolls proofed without yeast (there is a small amount of wild yeast in flour). Sorry, but I'm not qualified (nor insured sufficiently) to comment upon food safety issues. I will only say that it was at one time common to give dry yeast to people as a vitamin supplement (it's high in niacin -- for the full story, see "52 Loaves).

Hole in the loaf
I also got a big hole right in the center of my loaf. If I knead the bread a little after the first rise, I don't get the hole. I'm told this is not a good idea, but can't figure out why. The bread that has been kneaded a little after the first rise seems fine, good texture and no big hole. Why are you not supposed to knead after the first rise?

Dear Reader:
The reason not to knead again is that you don't want to force out *all* that hard-earned gas you've spent hours coaxing out of the yeast. You'll end up with a flat and dense loaf. BUT...what you want to do after the first rise is to gently press out some of the gas, because the CO2 gas retards additional fermentation and thus rising (and your case makes a hole). Usually while forming the loaf, just before the 2nd rise, you are also folding the dough in some manner, which also exposes some fresh flour (food) to the yeast. So it's a balancing act. In the old days, bakers would talk about "punching down" the down down to deflate it. Most bakers these days are more gentle, and push out some, but not all, of the gas. Hope that answered your question.

bread
which food group dose white bread falls under

Dear Reader:
Carbohydrate, although there's a decent amount of protein in flour. But bread's a carb, no matter how you slice it.

Cold fermentation
I'm unable to get the bread started early enough that it's ready by dinner, so I've been making the dough the night before and letting it rise in the refrigerator over night. I bring it to room temperature in the morning (about an hour) and prep it for proofing in a lined colinder, but the second rise is always disappointing  making a dense crumb with little to no holes. Do you think I'm using up all the yeast letting it sit overnight or should I give it more time to come up to temp and knead it a little more to wake up the yeast? (I love the book by the way, but the next edition really needs an index!)

Dear Reader:
A overnight, cool fermentation is pretty standard practice these days (I've done it a number of times myself), so I don't think you're using up all the yeast. However, an hour to come to room temperature seems a little short -- it usually takes my dough 2-3 hours. So I'd give it more time before proofing, and also, as you suggest yourself, do a couple of folds to expose some fresh yeast. And thanks for the suggestion on the index! Good luck.

Whey as liquid in baguettes
Dear Dr. Alexander, I like to make fresh cheeses (mozzarella and ricotta) so I often have a lot of leftover whey on hand. I use it in my conventional yeast-fueled, as yet levain-free Pullman loaves. It gives the bread a luscious texture and fragrant crumb. Is there any reason not to use it In place of the water in your baguette recipe? My ricotta is made using whole milk, cream and cultured buttermilk. Many thanks. Best regards, Antonia James

Dear Reader:
Dear Miss Antonia: You know what they say -- only one way to find out. But powdered milk (which is realize is not exactly whey) is often added to Pullman-type loaves because it improves the crumb, so you might be onto something. Go for it! (And I'll stop salivating over your homemade ricotta and mozzarella.)

Swedish Brown Bread
Do you have any experience with Swedish Brown Bread? I've been experimenting with it for months. I've achieved the light airy texture I want, but the loaves are all flat on top - I can't get a nice crown on them. Thanks!

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I don't, but that raises an interesting question: what makes (or breaks) the crown on the top of pan loaf? Now you've got me curious...

Instant yeast vs active dry yeast
Why do your recipes call for instant yeast? Can I use my active dry instead, until I can get some instant yeast? Thanks so much. (My first levain using your method is ready to use!). Best regards, Antonia James ;o)

Dear Reader:
Congrats on the levain, Antonia! The reason I call for instant yeast is that it is easier to use (does not require proofing or pre-dissolving) and keeps forever if stored in an airtight container in the fridge. But yes, you can use active dry instead. Just use about 25% more, as the instant is a little more potent.

My bread is not getting any color
I am using a deck oven and baking at 200* Celsius and none of my loavs are getting any color after 30-40 mins but are burning on the bottom. Should I turn the temp up?

Dear Reader:
I bake my loaves at 480 F, which is 250 C, (at least for the first 20 minutes or of baking) then turn down 425-450, so I'd say yes: give that bread some heat! Good luck!

bread shape & rising
My sour dough loaves do not hold their shape during the second rising. They spread out and I end up with a loaf that is less than 2 inches in height. What am I doing wrong?

Dear Reader:
The doctor has had many a boule turn into a discus. It's a challenge working with a wet dough -- but rewarding when you master hit. Here a few tip I share in "52 Loaves": When forming the loaves, try to develop some surface tension by pulling the outer skin. Dusting generously with add'l flour can help this. The second rise needs to be done in a basket for a boule, or between the folds of a couche for long loaves. Transfer to the baking stone as quickly as possible and have oven at highest setting when you put in the loaf. Then lower it to your baking temperature (I bake at 475 - 480 for first 20 minutes). Good luck!

fermented
to add to the last one- the last two loaves i've made smell like alcohol, they never have smelled so strongly before. could I be using bad yeast? or a bad ingredient?

Dear Reader:
I'm assuming you're not using a sourdough,but if you are, it may need a serious refreshing. (Discard 2/3 of it and give a generous feeding). If it's a straight-dough bread, either stale flour or yeast could, I suppose, cause this, so I'd try with some fresh ingredients. Unless you buy flour in 20-pound sacks, it's a fairly inexpensive test. But see the question below: an alcohol smell is not only normal but desirable.

smells
why does the dough and bread smell fermented?

Dear Reader:
Because the process of making bread involves fermentation, the same fermentation used to brew beer. See the current issue of Saveur magazine for a quick explanation, or read "52 Loaves," for a much fuller one. The fermentation not only makes the dough rise, but provides the flavor for what we call "artisan bread." Any alcohol taste left in the cooked bread is from byproducts of fermentation, not alcohol itself.

yeast not incorporated into bread
I used a bread machine to mix and knead the dough, and took it out when that was completed. In oiled bowl I put the dough to rise, but noticed tiny clump of un-disolved (active dry) yeast, I kneaded into the dough. Will the bread turn out ok? Thanks in advance.

Dear Reader:
Well, by now, I guess you can tell me: did the bread turn out OK? My guess is, it did. But I wish I could convince you to toss out that bread machine and make artisan bread by hand. You'd be shocked how easy (and superior) it is. Maybe "52 Loaves" would convince you.

Rising
Why does covering rolls with foil, when you bake them, make them rise higher ?

Dear Reader:
Hmmm. I'm guessing because the foil keeps in the steam, and steam help the dough rise by keeping the crust soft. Jim Leahy's famous no-knead bread is cooked in dutch oven with the lid on for the first few minutes for that reason.

dough fell
my dough fell in the pan can it rerise

Dear Reader:
You can try to reform a new loaf and do a third rise. Sometimes it works fine; sometimes not.

Bread cooling
the skin of my bread seperates from the crumb after cooling leaving a large pocket.

Dear Reader:
The great think about this site is I get to hear about all the weird problems other home bakers are having. Makes me feel better about my own problem. This one is new to me. I don't even a good bluff for an answer. Sorry -- you've stumped the Doctor!

cream of tartar
HOw would cream of tartar effect the flavor of the bread

Dear Reader:
In the small amounts in which it's used in baking, probably very little.

sticky dough
After shaping my dough after the first rising,I put my dough in a warm oven for a second rising and it came out sticky and would not hold it's shape.

Dear Reader:
The Doctor's 2nd Rule of Baking: don't put your bread in the oven until you're ready to bake it. To get the best texture and flavor out of the dough you want to do slow, cool risings. I tackle this subject in depth in "52 Loaves."

fluffiness
what would happen if i mixed butter with water and then added water how would it affect the fluffiness

Dear Reader:
Adding fat to dough generally retards rising (and thus fluffiness), no matter how it's added, but my answer to these types of questions is "try it and see." What's the worst that can happen?

big hole inside the bread
chef y the bread inside have hole after baking.i try with 3 different recipe,bt still it makes hole inside the loaf give me a solution for this issue... thank you farish

Dear Reader:
One big hole in the middle of the loaf? All I can think of this that it must be the way you're shaping the dough. See my video on making a peasant loaf and see how I form the loaf. For a pan loaf or long loaf you form by folding, like a letter. Good luck!

Bread
What was bread like 60 years ago

Dear Reader:
Bread from 60 years ago? Stale! Hooo, that's a good one, doctor! Although I actually know the answer to this question (for a change) because I'm 59, so I grew up with it. Commercial bread was all like Wonder bread, whiter than white, made fluffy with additives and mechanized processes. There a piece I contributed to the May issue of Saveur magazine about the bread renaissance you might find instructive.

I can't make light and airy itlian.
my itlaian bread comes out very heavy and it a day or two it becomes very hard and dri, even in a plastic bag.

Dear Reader:
See the answer below.

poor quality bread
my bread is crumbly, especially the crust, and it is very heavy. It took many hours for it to rise very high.

Dear Reader:
I totally sympathize with you. It took me a full year to figure it out and start baking airy loaves with a good crumb and crust. If there was just one trick, I'd gladly disclose it, but there isn't. It's a journey, and at the risk of sounding like I'm only here to sell my books, I'd recommend you read "52 Loaves" and perhaps you'll discover your own journey. Good luck!

Where the yeast bread cracks
How can I control where the bread cracks open? I've been making a yeast sandwich bread which sometimes cracks open right down the middle where I score it and other times the whole top stays intacked and the side cracks open which makes for a very lopsided looking sandwich bread.

Dear Reader:
You're on the right track with scoring, but score deeper, and on an angle. (I have a chapter on this whole business in "52 Loaves," including why the traditional lame is officially outlawed in France.

Bread rolls
My rolls are always misshapen, never round, always look more like ciabatta rolls - why please

Dear Reader:
Two possibilities: 1) you were lousy in grade-school art class, and can't form a consistent shape to save your life, for which you're made fun of by the art teacher and that creep Tommy --- sorry, got carried away; bad memories -- or 2) you're using a very wet (ciabatta-like) dough that doesn't like to hold its shape (but makes delicious, airy rolls). I proof my rolls between the folds of a canvas linen couche, as if I were forming baguettes, which seems to help keep them in line until I get them into the oven.

mold growth on wet wheat bread.
Why would it take about 2 weeks for mold to grow on wet wheat bread?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I'm a baker, not a scientist, and am not familiar with the growth habits of mold. But I'll assume you're doing this on purpose, in the name of science,and not readying to invite me to dinner.

how do they do it?!
how do the loaves fom the grocery store always look prrfect with a paper thin multi curved top and soft doughy bread while my loaves turn out hard, free form snd and crunchy tough on top?

Dear Reader:
Let me offer an analogy. If you decided to build a car in your backyard, you might build a car superior to anything you can buy, but it would certainly have a rougher appearance. It's hard to shape sheet metal at home. Same with commercial bread, which is constructed with highly automated, repeatable, mechanical processes, often untouched by human hands. Revel in the fact that each of your loaves is unique, and don't try to reproduce grocery store bread (really, why would you want to?). In "52 Loaves" I discovered the path to almost ideal bread -- suggest you take a look and you may be inspired to do the same.

baking multiple loaves at the same time
Hi Bread Doctor! I usually bake two loaves at a time in my sweet little antique O'Keefe & Merritt oven. I can fit 4 loaves in there but don't know if I need to increase the bake time or simply rotate them halfway through. Thank you so much. Love your site!

Dear Reader:
Hi there! Good question. Because the dough isn't chilled when it goes into the oven, adding 2 more loaves in unlikely to make much of a difference - maybe a couple of minutes, if anything. But use an instant-read thermometer and bake till the interior is at least 205 to eliminate guesswork. If you're not rotating now, you may not need to with 4 loaves, but just keep an eye on them and see if one end is cooking faster. I don't like to rotate because of the heat lost when you open the oven. Good luck! --- The Doctor.

Baked Bread
Do you take the bread out of the pan as soon as it comes out of the oven, or do you wait awhile/ Thank you

Dear Reader:
Let it cool for a bit, unless you're in a hurry.

barmcakes
following the recipe and method to the letter my barmcakes cracked on top. Why was this

Dear Reader:
Because you followed the recipe to the letter. And the recipe neglected to tell you to score the tops of the cakes with a razor just before putting them in the oven. All the water in dough has to go somewhere when it turns to steam in the oven, and a grigne, as the French call the slash, directs it out in orderly fashion. See more about topic in "52 Loaves"

grey bread
why is my bread blotchy some grey some white?

Dear Reader:
Never seen this, but the grey could be due to the ash content of the flour, or something else you're adding. In any event, I'd advise to use a high-quality unbleached all-purpose flour like King Arthur.

Cinnamon roll
I am making cinnamon roll. Is there a difference in adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients vs adding wet ingredient to the dry ingredients. Thank you.

Dear Reader:
No, as long as everything get thoroughly mixed. By the way, you know how to make a cinnamon roll? Give it a good push down a hill.

Bottom of Loaves too Soft
I bake a loaf of sandwich bread once a week. I haven't made a loaf I dislike so far, but I would like the bottom and sides of my bread to be a little bit firmer. When I pull my bread out of the pan, the bottoms and sides are still very pale and the weight of the beautiful golden crust on the top of the loaf causes the whole thing to compress while cooling. I bake in a small, dark-coated nonstick loaf pan at 400f.

Dear Reader:
Try cranking it up to 450 with pan in the bottom third of your oven. 400 is a little low for bread.

How many loaves can be baked in an hour.
Okay, here it the problem. I bake bread for a living and I have a industrial oven with two racks in it and a mixer that can do up to 3 batches at a time . I was only given three large rising bowls by my employer. Now think about this, she thinks I should be able to produce 40 loaves an hour, which might be possible if I had an assistant, but I still say it is not because of rising time. My bread goes through two risings, one in the bowl, and then I knead it and place it in the pan and wait for it to rise and in some cases apply a egg wash. There is no way in hell with all of these processes can i produce 40 loaves. What do you think is a realistic number or is she right? Keep in mind I am pretty fast, but not fast enough to keep up with rising bread .

Dear Reader:
What is this, an SAT question? (Or an episode from I Love Lucy?) I can't do the math, but shaping 40 loaves in hour, if that's all you were doing, should be possible. The problem is, that's not all you are doing. If you're not a member of the BBGA, I'd have you employer sponsor your membership and post the question there, where you'll get more opinions from professional bakers (which I am not) than you could ever want. Sounds like you have your hands full, however. Good luck (and check out 52 Loaves -- you sound like the type of baker who might relate to it)

dry bread
I have been using my mother's electric oven and it seems that all the breads, rolls & muffins are dry. What can I do to correct this problem?

Dear Reader:
It's not the oven. I'd bet your breads are underhydrated. Most bread these days has a hydration level of at least 65% (meaning the water in the dough is weight of the water is 65% the weight of the flour. Take a look at the recipes on this site or, even better, 52 Loaves.

forgot to add eggs to bread (yeast)
I forgot to add the eggs to my yeast bread.

Dear Reader:
Sorry.

Baking Later
I'd like to take the uncooked yeast rolls with me to bake at my friends so they're nice and hot. Is this okay?

Dear Reader:
Absolutley. In "52 Loaves" I write about preparing my dough, putting it in a cooler, and racing like a fire engine to a fire to a bakery with a wood-fired brick oven in order to bake it.

soda bread
can i make the dough, refirgerate and cook the next day?

Dear Reader:
For yeast breads, this is quite common. I've never done it with soda bread, but what the heck -- give it try.

raisin bread
center not done. can i rebake?

Dear Reader:
nope.

French Bread
How long should I let the bread rise?

Dear Reader:
That depends on a lot of factors: yeast, temperature, etc., but for baguettes (which is what I assume you mean by "French bread" it's usually fairly short, 30-60 min.>See my recipe for baguettes on the Recipes section of this website.

how long to cool in pans
how long to cool in pan

Dear Reader:
I don't think there's any rule of thumb on this. Most bakers let the loaves cool in the pans; that is remove after the loaf is cool, which takes at least an hour, but you can remove whenever the loaf is cool enough to handle -- and eat.

forgotten pizza dough left out all night
I set my pizza dough aside to rise at 9:00 pm and forgot it until the next morning. The dough is beautiful but smell like alcohol. Should I use it?

Dear Reader:
Absolutely! You might even find it's better than usual. (See my chapter of dough fermentation in "52 Loaves"

my crust goes soft
Hello no matter what I do the cust on all my bread comes out of the oven had but softens as it cools. Have tried water inoven, salted water on the crust - fan and non fan help Rob

Dear Reader:
Have you tried baking at a higher temp? I preheat my oven to 550 and turn it down to 480 when I put the bread in. And steam does help, as well, so continue doing that. And bake till the interior of the bread is between 205 and 210 degrees. Good luck!

irish soda bread
why is my homemade soda bread a bit chewy

Dear Reader:
The chewiness of usually due to the gluten developed when you add water to flour. If you're bread flour, switch to all-purpose. If you're using all-purpose already, switch to a lower-protein flour (King Arthur all-purpose is as high as some others' bread flours.) The company's websites often state the protein level. You could even try cake flour, which is the lowest of all. Good luck!

Greek Easter Bread - Dyed Red Eggs sink into loaf
Dear bread doctor, Whenever I make Greek Easter bread, I add the dyed red, hard boiled eggs when shaping the loaves during the 2nd rising, then bake the loaves and what always happens is that the egg in the middle drops down into the loaf. This only happens with my round loaves, not my braided loaves. Any suggestions are welcome!

Dear Reader:
In other words, your bread is laying an egg. I would suggest that, instead of an egg, you put a chicken inside, to delay, the insertion of the egg into the loaf. Good luck, and Happy Easter!

my bread turned out brown on the inside
i am wondering why my bread colour on inside looked as dark as chocolate cake although texture was great , i used dry yeast , but i added half a teaspoon of bi carb soda and let it rise twice . did i create somthing odd or does this happen allot .

Dear Reader:
What's the bi-carb soda for, if you're making a yeast bread? I've never heard of bread turning dark in the center. You might want to look at the recipes section here and try a different tact.

52 Loaves
Hi! I just wanted to say I finally found a copy of the book 52 Loaves at my school library and just started reading it. I had to stop and pass it to my mom for the great laughs just 10 pages in (not including the prologue), so while I'm writing to you, she's over on the couch laughing hard. Thanks for this!

Dear Reader:
Thanks for the kind words. Now stop laughing and start slinging some dough!

Gluten free bread overly moist
I used the following gluten free sandwich bread recipe: www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/White-Bread-369570 and my bread turned out overly moist and cakey on the inside (but with an excellent brown crust). Should I omit an egg? Increase the bake time and lower the temp? Any other ideas?

Dear Reader:
Ah, sorry, gluten-free in an area as mysterious to me as macroeconomics. There are several gluten-free websites you might consult, however. Good luck!

taste of yeast
made bread dough which sat too long. How do I get the yeasty flavor out of it?

Dear Reader:
Nothing you can do with this loaf, unfortunately. But I once bought a car a let sit for too long, so it could be worse, you know what I mean?

Hole in center
Why was there a hole throughout the center of my bread

Dear Reader:
It's a gas pocket caused by the fermentation process, the same one that makes the bread rise. We like small pockets, because they make the loaf airy, but sometimes you get a large one -- possibly because some gas was trapped in the center when you formed the loaf. If it happens consistently, you need to look at your technique. Most bakers gently press out excess gas before forming the loaf, which also aids the 2nd rise. Hope that helps...

risen, punch down dough smells like alcohol
I made a yeast dough this afternoon for a recipe(cinnamon rolls),after risen for 1and1/2 hours, I punched it down for the first time and the dough smell like alcohol. Why is this. Rhonda

Dear Reader:
Rhonda, you have nose like a bloodhound! Most bakers don't notice, but the reason for the alcohol smell is that the proper baker's term for the first rise is "fermentation." The CO2 gas that makes the bread rise is a product of fermentation, as the yeast feeds on the flour. The alcohol all burns off in the oven. I have an article the touches on this coming up in the May issue of Saveur magazine, and also two chapters on fermentation (it's an interesting story, actually) in my book, "52 Loaves."

science project on bread
when they mean dry bread can i just wet it or do i have to do something? and in dry bread i dont have to wet it leave it dry

Dear Reader:
Sorry, not sure of the context of your project, but dry bread could mean bread that's left out a day so it's not moist. That would be my guess, anyway. Good luck!

toast
why does toast turn brown:experiment?

Dear Reader:
Finally, something I can answer! It's due to something called the Maillard reaction. Click on the link above to learn more than you ever wanted to know about it.

burning off alcohol before adding to a yeast dough
Is there a way to burn off the alcohol such as in anisette, rum or vanilla before adding to a yeast dough mixture. I know the alcohol kills the yeast. Therefore the yeast dough will not rise properly.

Dear Reader:
I don't think it's anything you need to worry about, as the small amount of alcohol in those flavorings will not harm the yeast. In fact, yeast produces quite a bit of alcohol during the fermentation process (aka "first rise"). I have a whole chapter on this fascinating process in "52 Loaves." (I highly recommend this wonderful book). But, if you're still concerned, heating and or flaming before adding would do the trick.

frozen yeast rolls
why would frozen yeast rolls fall after they raised once, and didnt raise again

Dear Reader:
Falling dough, whether in rolls or bread, can be due to too much yeast (over-expansion followed by collapse) or too little. And, of course the fact that they were frozen complicates matters, too. But I find the bread made a wild-yeast levain is less prone to falling. I discuss this at great length in "52 Loaves."

Baked bread
Why did it come out of the oven with the top collapsed?

Dear Reader:
Usually, the bread was over-risen. Use a shorter rise next time, or even less yeast.

Whole Wheat Bread
My whole wheat bread was very done on the outside, but too moist on the inside...what went wrong?

Dear Reader:
Yeah, I can sympathize with you. It sounds like it's undercooked, even though it was "very done" on the outside. I suggest you use an instant-read thermometer like this one and bake till the center is 210 degrees F. You make need to lower the oven temp during the 2nd half of cooking to keep the outside from burning. Good luck!

bread
what happens when you leave a wet bread outside the window and describe the process.

Dear Reader:
The birds eat it? I don't know --- do you leave wet bread outside your window, and why?

day old bread
Why is my whold grain bread crumbly the second day. The first day the bread is nice and soft, easy to slice. The second day it is crumbly and doesn't slice neatly.

Dear Reader:
I haven't experienced this phenomenon myself, but it sounds like it's stale. You might try storing in paper or linen bag. Also, breads made with a wild yeast levain have better storage properties. See the Recipe section for more on a levain, or read "52 Loaves," where I also describe the chemistry of staling.

Morning Buns
Do you have a recipe for Morning Buns? They are very common in the San Francisco and Berkeley area but I never see them anywhere else.

Dear Reader:
Sorry, the only buns I see in the morning are ... never mind. I'm not actually sure what "morning buns" are, but you can have fresh buns in the morning by making them the night before and letting them rise in the fridge. Take them out and let them warm up a bit before putting into oven.

cinnamon rolls
can take dairy cinnamon rolls on plane?

Dear Reader:
Well, I took the a liquid sourdough on a plane (a story a tell in 52 Loaves), although I wouldn't want to try again, but I'd say it depends on the luck of the TSA draw. Sealed container...I don't know. Smile a lot. (But I can't help wondering you'd be traveling with Pillsbury cinnamon rolls?!)

Bread Baking
Should breads be baked free form without pans to mold them to their shape?

Dear Reader:
There are good artisan bread that are baked in pans and good artisan breads that are baked free-from, on stones. My favorite breads are all baked on stones. Recommend you check out "52 Loaves" to learn more about this method if you're interested.

Buns.
Why is it that after my buns cool instead of being light and fluffy, they are really doughy?

Dear Reader:
Wow, that's a hard one, as there are a million variations. Suggest you try a new recipe if you're having the problem consistently or adapt my baguette recipe for rolls. It makes airy, hole-y breads and rolls.

undercooked middle
can I rescue my sourdough rolls that are undercooked in the middle?

Dear Reader:
Unfortunately, no. You can't put them back in the oven. Slicing them and making toast is the best you can do, and even that may not be satisfactory.

Top of bread is not going brown in the bread maker
I have just got a bread maker and have been trying to make gluten free bread - when the cycle has finished, the bread is still uncoloured on top but brown everywhere else (and partially undercooked in the centre). What am I doing wrong??

Dear Reader:
Well, I'm not a fan of bread makers, for that reason. Suggest you check out "52 Loaves" and try making artisan bread on a stone.

fruity bread roll
What is the word for a fruity breadroll. 7 letters.

Dear Reader:
Sorry, you need the crossword doctor. No idea.

Albino French Bread
So I tried making some "steamed french bread" i believe it was, but it did not come out golden brown and smooth but pale and rough. Any ideas?

Dear Reader:
Well, firstly, 'pale' sounds like you undercooked it. I have a baguette recipes in my recipe section on this website. You might want to try mine. You can replace the 250 g levain with 125 add'l grams each of flour and water, and increase the yeast to 1 teas.

Dark crust when adding groung pretzels to the doug
what cause the outside color of bread to change (got darker) when adding byproduct (meal) to the dough? Thanks

Dear Reader:
Adding anything that can caramelize -- that is, turn to sugars -- will cause the crust to darken. I don't know that meal would do that, but the meal might've made the dough drier, which can hasten browning as well. Are you using steam (see my recipes and techniques section) during the first few minutes of baking? That will help.

Insanity reigns supreme...
I am going out of my mind trying to figure out what I am doing wrong. I recently changed the recipe I use for white bread because the one I was using just lacked flavor. The new recipe has a lot better flavor, but the last couple of batches, I ran into a new problem. It cooks beautifully on the top, but on the bottom it is not completely cooked and smells of yeast. The ends are cooked even on the bottom, just the middle that is uncooked. The dough rises beautifully, and the crust is a nice color and flavor, so I am not sure what I should be doing differently. I use an active dry yeast and each time, both rise times are perfect. Please help before I lose what precious little I have left of my mind! I looked for an answer to this question here, but didn't find one; there is so much information here.

Dear Reader:
From the terminology you're using, it sounds like you're making a pan loaf, not something free-form baked on a stone, so my answer will assume that's the case. Clearly the bread is undercooked, even though the top is brown, so the top is browning too soon. Did the new recipe add sugar or something else that would promote browning? You can delay crust formation on the top of the bread by covering it with foil for the first 10- 15 minutes of baking. Alternatively, you can try spritzing the top with a few sprays of water from a plant mister, but foil will be more effective. When the bread is done, turn the oven off and leave the loaf in for another 10-20 minutes. Finally, try moving the the loaf to a lower shelf. Heat reflects off the top of the oven, which can promote premature browning. Finally, if you want flavor, try making a levain and my peasant bread recipe. You'll amaze your family and friends. Good luck!

breadcrumbs
When I cook a dish using breadcrumbs,my breadcrumbs are moist at the bottom but perfect on top. What am doing wrong?

Dear Reader:
Putting breadcrumbs on the bottom of the dish.

Dropped my rolls, landed on bread and deflated it
I was putting a pan of cinnamon rolls into the convection microwave/oven and accidentally dupped the pan ... some of the rolls landed on the bread and deflated it. I am going to try and let them all sit until it raises again. I hope this is the right thing to do.. it will be the third rise.

Dear Reader:
Too late to help you, but that's exactly what I would've done (including dropping them to begin with). How'd everything turn out?

Banana bread wet on top
Getting readership on the internet is tuff enough without abusing the few you have.

Dear Reader:
I apologize for my curt reply. I have stated repeatedly in other posts my aversion to questions about banana bread, a quick bread which I know nothing about. It was my mistake to assume you had read those posts before submitting yours. Regardless, I should thank you for your question yesterday, because it prompted me to post some guidelines about asking questions. so I'll try to answer your query: I suppose the reason b-bread is wet on top is that it has a lot of moisture in it (in the form of bananas), and perhaps the oils and sugar in the bread trap the moisture as it tries to escape. But that's just a semi-educated guess.

Saggy Center
My coconut bread dipped in the center. Why? What can I change to make sure this doesn't happen again?

Dear Reader:
This is a common problem with these types of breads that have a lot of moisture. I don't have the solution, except to suggest to do what we've started doing - make cupcakes instead. Same recipe, just cup back on baking time. Plus, you can freeze the excess.

Castalina bread recipe - takes a week to 'prove'.
Dear Bread Doctor, best bread I know i called Caschilina and takes a week of rising befire uit is ready to bake. Uses all purpose flour, fproduces a hard loaf that makes wonderful toast.

Dear Reader:
A week of rising -- wow. Sounds intriguing. If you want to email me the recipe (see Contact, above) I'd like to post it on my bread blog. I've never heard of Caschilina.

use sweet bun dough for loaf bread?
can we use sweet bun dough for other recipe? like cheese loaf bread,banana loaf.or veg loaf?.thanks

Dear Reader:
Have never done so myself, but be adventurous and give it a try (and let us know)! What's the worst that could happen?

Banana bread wet on top
My banana bread seemed to be cooked thoroughly and is very good but the top is wet even after a day?

Dear Reader:
Not another banana bread question! Sorry, but as I've stated previously, NO MORE BANANA BREAD QUESTIONS!

soda bread
i foound a day later that my soda bread was not cooked all the way through. Is is safe to eat???

Dear Reader:
Should be. Make toast

Doughy crumb
I have cook an artisan bread that had been refrigerated. Per the directions, I let it sit out for 40 minutes, and then cooked it for 35 minutes at 445 degrees. Tbe crumb had a doughy center. What do I do to correct the process to get the bread to cook through?

Dear Reader:
You specify the shape of the loaf, but for, say, a boule, that's a short baking period. Forget the recipe; don't be afraid to let the crust get nice and dark, and cook till the interior of loaf is 205-210. You can also leave it in the oven, with the oven turned off and the door cracked a bit, after baking to let interior continue to dry out.

Yeast in bread
what happens if you use too little of yeast in break making?

Dear Reader:
The break doesn't rise.

soft buns
why is my soft buns wet after leaving it out in room temperature for a few hours ,especially the bottom of the bread? I tried beating the dough longer and it is still wet.

Dear Reader:
Are you placing them on a rack so that air can circulate underneath? Bread continues to cook, which means steam is still escaping for a few minutes after coming out of the oven, and it needs someplace to go.

french bread
what did i do wrong to cause my dough not to rise.

Dear Reader:
Wow, that's like asking, "why did my marriage fail?" But I spent 52 weeks trying to get my loaf to rise, and I suspect you might enjoy reading about it "52 Loaves." (See "Buy" link above). If this sounds like shameless shilling, well, you *did* come to an author website. Good luck!

cooking a gluten free bread
How do i cook gluten free bread that rises high across the top instead of looking like a mound?

Dear Reader:
Sorry, the Bread Doctor did not study gluten-freed in bread school. There are numerous websites and even a few books devoted to gluten-free cooking, so I'd suggest you look there. Good luck, and thanks for come to this website. That'll be 25 dollars...

bread
why isnt bread alcoholic

Dear Reader:
The alcohol is burned off during the baking process. But during fermentation of the dough, the alcohol content can be as high as 3% -- about the same as "near beer."

Levain to yeast/flour conversion
I would like to use the levain in other breads is there a basic conversion to use the Levain in other breads that just use packaged yeast. There so much more body and texture when I bake with the Levain.

Dear Reader:
I find that levain improves almost all breads. If you're using mine, which is 50/50 flour and water (by weight), it's easy: just replace, say 100 g flour and water with 200 g leavin, and cut back a little on the yeast.

colapse
dough colapses after second rise

Dear Reader:
You may be letting it rise too long, or using too much yeast, which makes for a weak loaf. Also, a higher protein flour may help, but I don't think that's your real problem.

Too many hole in my cheese bread loaf
How to bake a cheese bread loaf without too many big hole in it?

Dear Reader:
You can reduce the holes in the bread by pushing out some of the gas after the fermentation (first rise) and shortening the second rise.

Too Brown
What can I do to prevent sourdough bread from browning to much on top?

Dear Reader:
I start with the oven at 550 F to get a good oven spring, then cook for awhile at 480, and when the top starts to brown, go down to 450 or even 425. Also, check the temp of your oven with a thermometer. Over thermostats often are way off.

bread
What's the middle of the bread called

Dear Reader:
The crumb.

bread dough over riseing
bread dough in bread machine over flows down onto element. It rises over top of inner container.

Dear Reader:
Sorry for the shameless promotion, but read "52 Loaves" and you will never use a bread machine again.

RYE BREAD
WHY IS MY RYE BREAD DOUGH WATERY?

Dear Reader:
At the risk of sounding snarky, it sounds like you have too much water in the dough. Even if the recipes calls for x amount, different flours have different absorption levels, so you have to adjust.

nut roll splits after baking
After baking my nut rolls the top always spliys. What am I doing wrong?

Dear Reader:
That's the moisture turning into steam and escaping. I cover this in "52 Loaves," but in short, you need to control the escape, but scoring the top of each roll with a razor just before putting into the oven. You'll also get a nicer-looking roll. Good luck!

How to make sourdough starter
How to make sourdough starter

Dear Reader:
Click on the Recipes link on the left. Directions are all there. For more info see "52 Loaves."

Done and brown from outside, doughy gummy inside
How can i get a done brown cinnamon rolls from outside but doughy gummy from insde? what ingredients responable for the brown color of the rolls?

Dear Reader:
Your rolls are undercooked. The brown color is from the sugar. It's possible your oven is too hot. You might want to check the thermostat with an oven thermometer.

Whole wheat loaf come out hard and heavy
Why my whole wheat bread hard and heavy?, I knead my dough smooth and silky by hand appr. 10mn, then let it rise until double in size, punch down, shape to loaf let the 2nd rise untill double appr. Take 1 to 2hrs room temp. Or in refrigerator over night, it look nice and fluffy, but right after get in the oven instead of pop up more it's start to shrink down and deflat, then when it done it turn out a slice a ton by weight? Sick!,,,,

Dear Reader:
Hey, welcome to the club! Whole wheat loaves are challenging -- I've baked my own share of bricks. Peter Reinhart, in the Bread Baker's Apprentice goes through some pre-soaking of the wheat. He also has an entire book on whole wheat baking. Me, I use some white flour in mine, which solves the problem.

Levain without pain
My question is somewhat rhetorical: why bother to put yourself through the tedious process of creating your own levain when a free, very high pedigree starter is available here: carlsfriends.net/source.html ? Carl's Oregon Trail Sourdough is the direct descendent of his family's 1847 starter -- I've kept my own batch going for at least ten years. This is hardy stock that doesn't need the kind of coddling you describe for a levain. In fact, it can withstand quite a bit of neglect and absentmindedness and come back strong. Great stuff... and as I said, it is free!

Dear Reader:
What, and miss all the fun and drama??

bread crust
I can't seem to get my bread to crust over nicely.....

Dear Reader:
Are you using steam? Read 52 Loaves for a discussion on this.

Blistering top of bread made in a hi rise machine
What causes the top to blister and make a peel across the top.

Dear Reader:
As you've found, you have to score the top of the loaf to allow the steam to escape or the loaf can blister or even explode. 52 Loaves has a chapter on this.

sourdough dough left out due to power outage
My sourdough dough got left out overnight due to a power outage and didn't get baked until this morning. Will it still be ok to eat. It has baked fine and smells fine.

Dear Reader:
Well, this answer is coming way too late for you, but the answer was 'yes.' You're still alive, right.

Banana bread
Why is my banana bread cooked perfectly on the inside but slightly tough and chewy on the outside? The outside is slightly burnt.

Dear Reader:
NO MORE BANANA BREAD QUESTIONS!!! (And I actually have no idea...)

Bread crust
We cook tuscan bread on a double rack oven with a steam, now that oven is broken and we tried to cook that same bread in a different oven where there is no steam, so the bread comes out cooked, but the crust never gets that shinny brown color, it comes out ugly white color. Is there a solution to this problem without the steam oven? Thanks

Dear Reader:
You can spray the top of the loaf with a plant mister just before you put it into the oven.

Levain bread final proof
How long should the final proof for a levain bread be?

Dear Reader:
Well, that partly depends on how long your fermentation is and the temperature of the room, but I give mine several hours, until it's increased about 1.5 times in bulk.

Crunchy?
My bread dough is rising, but the top is getting hard, crunchy almost. Much crunchier than normal. It hasn't entered the oven, did I do something wrong?

Dear Reader:
Crunchy before it enters the oven? Assuming that's not the case, you might try introducing some steam. See 52 Loaves for several steam techniques that I've tried.

Levain Separation
I been making your peasant bread and baguettes with great success. I was away for 10 days and was unable to feed my levain, when i went to feed it had separated with the water sitting on top and lost all its texture. I did wip it up and now I am in the process of feeding it now to see if it would revive. Any suggestions. Also when you use your levain after feeding it the night before do you re-feed it to replace what you just used? I am going out today to get your book. Thank you.

Dear Reader:
The "water" often forms. It's a byproduct of the alcohol produced during fermentation. I usually pour it off when it accumulates and replace it with and equivalent amount of water plus a touch of flour. Anyway, to revive your starter, discard about 2/3 of it and give it a couple of good feedings at room temp. It usually comes back. Enjoy 52 Loaves!

why do different breads mold faster than others
why do baguettes mold faster than white and wheat bread

Dear Reader:
The higher ration of crust to crumb in a baguette means the bread has more surface area, and thus stales faster.

Oops, no way to edit
I should have mentioned, the breads I'm baking are what I call a hearty grain (mostly whole wheat, some unbleached white and grains, seeds), a rye and rosemary garlic (where I reverse the amounts of white and wheat, adding rosemary a friend brings me, ground in my coffee bean grinder) and minced garlic. What sells the best? What week is it?

Dear Reader:
I think you'd have to tell me what sells best. I've never sold a loaf of bread in my life!

I'm laughing
I'm halfway through your book, 52 Loaves, which a friend brought to me since I've been baking bread. I'd never baked bread in my life when I decided to start baking it and selling it. And...weirdly enough, it's selling like mad here on my little island where I'm the only game in town (ok, except for the people down the road who charge twice what I charge and I think it's frozen and baked). I've worried about air holes, yet no one seems to care at all, they love it, whether they are world travelers who eat the best bread available, or locals who only know pan de aqua (seriously white bread). I can't wait to get to the magic moment...

Dear Reader:
That's fantastic! But you know, the profit margin is higher on selling my book (although I guess you can only sell it once; sounds like you've got the captives of your small island coming back again and again for your bread). Best of luck!

bread making
what does using a wet knife test mean in baking bread

Dear Reader:
Sorry, never heard of it. Perhaps someone else...

gluten free bread falls
what can i put in a gluten free loaf to stop it from falling

Dear Reader:
Gluten (just kidding). Sorry, you're out of my league, but there are several websites devoted to gluten-free baking that might be able to help you out.

Baking sourdough bread in a gas oven
What Rack or location in the oven should you bake sourdough bread and what temperature?

Dear Reader:
You might want to check out the recipe for peasant on this website (under "Recipes)" Or, even better, read 52 Loaves, which goes into all this kind of stuff and more.

Pumpernickle Bread
My pumpernickle bread was perfect except it was very hard on the bottom. What caused that to happen?

Dear Reader:
Hard to say... too high oven heat, too long in the oven. But artisan bread baked on a stone will have a harder crust than you may be used to, so you may not have a problem at all.

shaping
how do you shape loaves

Dear Reader:
Depends what shape you want to make. But check out my videos under the Recipes section of this website, and demonstrate some techniques.

bread dough
what causes bread dough to not hold shape

Dear Reader:
You want to try to create some surface tension when forming the loaf, stretching, pulling, and tucking. Sometimes a little add'l flour will help as well.

bread on rising
Why does my bread not rise when baking?

Dear Reader:
This is a common problem with home bakers. Suggest you read 52 Loaves to learn about yeast and the use of starters.

bread
WHAT IS THE MIDDLE OF A LOAF OF BREAD CALLED?

Dear Reader:
The 'crumb.'

preservative in commercial bread
Correct quantity of preservative in 100kg flour

Dear Reader:
0 kg.

second rising
should loaves be covered for second rising?

Dear Reader:
Yes, otherwise you will get a skin forming on the top.

Iron Levels...Glove Test
Well, I started out making the bread dough wearing the gloves. Round 1 of fermentation went great. I took my gloves off for the punching process and when we were rounding them. I got very little rise from my dough after that. I left the gloves off when I started shaping the dough, stuck them in the proofer, and nothing. So, I really am stuck as to why it would make a difference with and without gloves. Thanks for the help though! This was an interesting experiment. =^_^=

Dear Reader:
I'm stumped, too. Anyway, it was an intriguing topic -- far more interesting than the "why isn't my banana bread done?" ones I get too many of! Best of luck with your baking.

hole in middle
Why does my bread have a caverous hole in the middle of the lofe, on the inside?

Dear Reader:
No idea, but is smacks of too much yeast. Try less yeast with longer fermentations, as I describe in "52 Loaves."

350g loaf
how long do i cook a james marti roast red onion & balsamic vinigar bread mix as it doesnt say just says cook till light brown

Dear Reader:
Use an instant-read thermometer (if you go to my blog link above, then to my Amazon store, you'll see one I like) and bake until the interior is 205-210 degrees F.

Iron levels in body affecting dough rise? (Reply)
Well, we are making bread again tomorrow in class, so I will do one without gloves, and the rest with gloves and come back to you with the results. My hands are very dry, but I refuse to put lotion on before a class because I don't want it to come off in anything I am working with, so that would also rule out natural oils I would think because of how dry they are. *ponders* Well, we are making bread again tomorrow, I'll do one without the gloves, and the rest with gloves and see how it goes, then report back to you. Since iron is added to flour, is there any other type of mineral in the body that may be affecting my fermentation that I possibly overlooked?

Dear Reader:
I'm not enough of a scientist to answer that question, but I just think it's unlikely that enough of any type of mineral could get transferred from your hands to affect the fermentation of bread. But let's see how the glove test goes....

Iron levels in body affecting dough rise?
So I've been trying to make bread for 6 years now, each time failing to have my dough rise. I'm in BAP classes and last week, and this week, we are working with making different breads. Last week, I apologized numerous times in advance to my partner because I knew our bread wasn't going to rise. I believed I was cursed with bread at that point. My bf's sister had told me that my iron level may be too high and that I should try wearing gloves when working with bread that requires yeast. I did this today and sure enough my bread dough rose without a problem. I can't really find anything about it through search engines so was wondering if you've ever seen/heard anything on this?

Dear Reader:
Wow, you sent me running to my 1200-page "Baking Science and Technology" for this one! All minerals, including iron, can have a negative effect on fermentation (and thus rise), however, iron has been included as an additive to flour since the 1930s. I can't imagine that the any traces of iron from your body transferred to your hands could come close to the amount already in the flour. It may be something else on your hands, though - lotion or natural oils. Or maybe just a coincidence. Keep the gloves on for a bit and let me know what happens.

Big bubble in the middle of our pizzas
We own a pizza franchise, and here lately, we have been experiencing a rather large bubble in the middle of the pizza the cheese and topping litterly go to the side and we are left with this huge bubble, it's not the type that you might get from not docking. Any ideas?

Dear Reader:
Wow, I can honestly say I can't ever heard of anything like that. I mean, bubbles happen all the time, but not always in the same place and not so large that all the sauce flows off! You might try folding your dough once or twice during the fermentation process, or cut back on the yeast a bit. Good luck!

Strong Smell form bread
I have been making home made bread for about 3 years now, I make the bread the freeze it until I need it. The last two times I made the bread, when defrosted and cut has a very strong smell. Could the yeast be bad? And is it safe to eat?

Dear Reader:
I don't yeast would be the culprit - by the time the bread is baked the yeast is dead. I'm guessing it may have picked up odors in your freezer. You don't say how long it's been in there, but it's probably safe to eat. But if smells bad, it probably doesn't taste so great. I use ziplock freezer bags, btw.

bread falling
why does bread fall in the middle

Dear Reader:
Usually too much yeast and too little gluten.

bread
bread too brown on bottom

Dear Reader:
Sorry to hear that.

wholewheat bread in bread machine
have tried everything suggested in line incleding adding vital wheat gluton flour but still my 100% wholewheat bread wont rise so can anybody help

Dear Reader:
Throw out your bread machine and make real bread. I explain my path to that revelation in 52 Loaves.

Sourdough spreads
My loaves of sourdough spread and flatten out. What am I doing wrong?

Dear Reader:
Assuming you don't have too much water in the dough, it might be that you're not forming enough surface tension when you form the loaves. You want the create a tight skin that you seal on the underside.

carmel sticky yeast rolls
how can I prevent the rolls from getting too brown before they are done baking?

Dear Reader:
Move them up higher in the oven. If that doesn't help, bake them on a thermal cookie sheet. This is almost guaranteed to work!

collasping fruit loaf
i make a white dough fruit loaf ,it bakes ok ,but it is very soft when it come soft of the oven and when taken out of the tin the loaf colllaspes how can i stop this from happening please the oven temperature is 220 degrees and i bake it for 30 minutes if i bake it any longer then the loaf starts to burn

Dear Reader:
See other queries on this page about collapsing loaves. It's usually too much (not too little) yeast or not enough gluten (protein) in the flour.

size
How much should a cooked roll weigh?

Dear Reader:
There's no rule - depends how large you want them, but mine tend to be about 100 grams, give or take.

Banana Bread Baking
Why is my banana bread cooked on one side and only partly cooked on the other? Thanks

Dear Reader:
I said, NO MORE QUESTIONS ON &@!#! BANANA BREAD!

rough top
can banana bread come out with a rough top? or does it always have to be smooth? please answer this question. thank you

Dear Reader:
Are all these questions about banana bread coming from the same person? Please, I beg you, no more &$%!@ questions about banana bread!!!

bread dough falls a bit while waiting to preheat
Hello. I've been baking my own simple white bread for a few weeks now. I am having a blast! I have noticed lately though, that when I take the raised dough out of the oven for the 10 mins it takes to preheat it, they tend to fall. It's like a cold breeze hit them. How can I avoid this? They look perfect until I have to preheat! Then they come out looking a bit deflated. Help! Thanks... greentoothlouie@yahoo.com

Dear Reader:
Hey Greentooth (and I don't want to know how you got that moniker) what on earth on your doing? Putting your dough in the oven while preheating it?? That's dough abuse! Even simple white breads will benefit from a long, cool fermentation and rise. (And it won't collapse) Suggest you read 52 Loaves for more info.

Holes in the middle
I've been successfully baking bread for a short while but when I cut today's batch one loaf had large holes in the middle and the other had less holes and they were smaller. Any ideas?

Dear Reader:
Congratulations! I spent an entire year trying to get gas holes in my bread! What's your secret??

storing a boule
what is the proper way to store a sourdough boule to keep it fresh?

Dear Reader:
Cut side down on a breadboard. If storing for longer than a couple of days, then store in a linen or paper bag.

baking bread
what is the exact quantity of yeast,sugar,salt,oil,butter and water to mix 50kg flour.what are d steps to take in the mixing procedure.

Dear Reader:
Um, that's handful of a question,and I think you'd be better off consulting a commercial bakery (which is where you'd have to bake that kind of quantity) rather than a home baker like myself. Good luck.

Yeasty smell in bread
could you please tell me why my 100% whole wheat bread smells yeasty when sliced ? also any advise how i can avoid this please? Thank you for your help

Dear Reader:
Well, most people like a faintly yeasty smell -- it's the smell of homemade bread. Assuming you're not using a sourdough starter, though, I'm not sure where it would be coming from. Sorry, I'm stumped...

baking bread
i put bread pan on bottom rack and will not brown the bottom of loaf ,what can i try?

Dear Reader:
Why not try a free-form artisan loaf on a stone instead. You'll get a much better crust all around. See my book, 52 Loaves, for details.

color
my italian bread taste great in my opinion but has a slight grey tint inside and when I compare to the bakery near my house the inside of there's is completely white is it because im using dry yeast not wet or something else?

Dear Reader:
The completely white interior is not something you should be aspiring to. That is a sign the oxidation has robbed the bread of its beta-carotids and flavor. You dough should have more of a creamy color to it. I've never seen bread that it gray, but, but it is most likely due to the flour you're using, not the dry yeast.

Further reading
You list quite a few books in the back of yours, i.e. A Baker's Bookshelf. Please recommend 2 or 3 of these that would be a good place to start for a beginning baker.

Dear Reader:
If I were only going to own one bread book, it would the Reinhart's "The Bread-Baker's Apprentice." After that, I like Leader's "Local Breads" as well as his latest book, "Simply Great Breads" which has a great yeasted doughnut recipe (see my blog for photos and comments).

liquid levain
I added a 1/4 teas. of instant yeast to my liquid levian after I fed it to get ready to make a french boule, is this a absolute no no?

Dear Reader:
In time, the commercial yeasts will eventually overwhelm the wild ones. Besides, it's probably unnecessary. I would suggest that you keep your levain pure and instead and touch of yeast to the dough (I add 1/8 teas.) if you need to give a little more pop.

courseness of bread
Why does my bread come out so course.

Dear Reader:
Well, coarseness is relative. If you're used to commercial bread, homemade bread will have a little bite to it by comparison. But most people say that's a good thing. If you making whole wheat bread, and it's too coarse, substitute some white flour for the ww.

Backyard bread.
I know your recipe includes rye flour & farine compl`ete but what is the recipe for the bread that you made in your backyard oven? I'm sure that you added malt but how much? I would also like to grind my own wheat to make bread.

Dear Reader:
Farine complet and malt...are you French? If you're baking in the US, flour already has malt in it. I never did add malt to the French flour, and found with the levain that I didn't need it, so I don't know how much to add if you're using French flour. Not much, though, just a few grams. As far as a recipe, I just use the Peasant Bread recipe on my website. Good luck!

pot boule crust isnt crunchy
I have made boule once and it came out amazing, perfect in my eyes. The top wasnt too crunchy but the bottom was and it was perfect. This time using the same recipe the crust came out soft, still delicious but missing that extra oomph. Any suggestions?

Dear Reader:
Could be a couple of things. The first, that you put too much water (steam) into the oven is unlikely. The second is that the temperature was too low to guarantee a crisp crust. But I like to preheat my oven to 550, then turn it down to 480 when I put the bread in, and then turn down to 450 after the crust has browned, and I usually get a pretty crisp crust. Also, make sure you don't take it out too soon. Don't fear dark mahogany. Good luck!

sour dough
Why does my sour dough get wet and spread out instead of rising.

Dear Reader:
If it's spreading out too much on the baking stone, your only option is to use less water. Also, try to get it into the oven ASAP. The heat will quickly stabilize it.

Bread recipe
I'm a large scale bread producer, I want to increase my variants, could you please do me two different recipes for 50kg of flour each? Thanks.

Dear Reader:
You're way out of my league, pal (I don't go through that much flour in a year), but I suspect you could take any of my recipes (see "Recipes" menu option) and scale them to 50kg.

levain
How often do you need to feed your levain?

Dear Reader:
I keep mine in the fridge and feed weekly.

bread
why does my bread fall when i take it out of the pan

Dear Reader:
Please check the previous posts -- this question has been asked multiple times (some I've given multiple reasons!)

writing on bread
How to put 2012 on a round loaf before baking

Dear Reader:
Easy: make a stencil out of, say, wax paper, with 2012 cut out. Just before putting the loaf in the oven, place the stencil over the loaf and dust heavily with flour: rice flour if you want the writing to be light; regular flour if you want it to be dark. Good luck!

pizza dough
what can i do to make my pizza dough stop tasting like beer

Dear Reader:
Funny you should ask. I'm fermenting pizza dough for dinner tonight as we speak. I have a wonderful recipe for pizza on this website under "recipes", and more on why your dough is tasting like beer in the book, 52 Loaves.

moist bread
I bought a loaf of bread & when I cut it I found that it's soft & alittle moist in the middle - what does this mean?

Dear Reader:
It means you should be baking your own! (You might start by reading "52 Loaves")

Amish Friendship bread
How can I cook my amish friendship bread without having to add to it and starting 4 new starter bags. I'm tired of it plus I'm starting a new diet. :) Instead of adding the ingredients required before I take the 4 cups out, can I just skip that and do the remainder of the recipe? Thanks!

Dear Reader:
Oh, my goodness... you making Friendship Bread. You really, really out to read the chapter "With Friends Like This..." from 52 Loaves to learn about my nightmare experience with it!

science question
what is the temperature for bread in the refrigerator

Dear Reader:
Not sure I understand the question, but, as I explain in 52 Loaves, bread should never be stored in the fridge. It actually goes stale quicker than if left out (I explain why in the book...)

bake-off bread packaging
what is the reason of squashing of bake-off bread after packaging? and ho do we prevent it? thanks

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I don't understand the question, but I'm home baker. My breads are never packaged.

Banana Nut Bread
I made a new recipe of banana nut bread for my son last night. I stayed up late and thought I probably misgauged something. Sent my husband today, to re-buy baking powder, bananas and nuts. Baking soda was unopened, and everything else was fresh. Needless to say, I spent a couple of hours on the Internet trying to find all I could about banana nut bread, although I have used different recipes the past 20 years and never had this problem. So I started again, much earlier this time, checked and double checked my measurements, did the wet ingredients to the dry, stirred just enough to moisten, put promptly in oven and did not open until forty five minutes. Bread was really brown on top, put foil over and set oven for 15 minutes more. That was an hour and it did not move, Yah! Not? As soon as I took out, both loafs fell completely though, leaving a gaping, and I do mean gaping hole in each. I can't blame it on anything but the recipe, and it sounded so good!! Needless to say, I had to slice at each end and put in a container that said; Karl, put on plate and use fork, as it is very buttery and moist, and threatened my husband with death if he told him. I just don't get it, I tried so hard, as my son had said I made the best banana nut bread ever, he's 26, and I know he'll see though the ruse. Here's the recipe, please tell if it is fixable, or should I just give up on this one, and try another one??? Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 cup butter or margarine 2 cups white sugar 2 cups mashed overripe bananas 4 eggs, beaten 1 cup chopped walnuts Directions 1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans. 2.Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter or margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in the bananas, eggs, and walnuts until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, and stir just until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans. 3.Bake for 60 to 70 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the crown of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for at least 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack, and cool completely. Wrap in aluminum foil to keep in the moisture. Ideally, refrigerate the loaves for 2 hours or more before serving. PS this had 11,114 reviews and more than 17,000 saves. Help!!

Dear Reader:
Hard to say, but recipes that use baking soda as a leavening usually need an acidic ingredient (e.g., buttermilk). Some recipes call for both baking soda *and* baking powder for that reason. Good luck!

tearing of bread dough
how to prevent tearing(separation}that occurs during baking

Dear Reader:
Easy-- you have to make what the French call a grigne, or a slash, with a lame (sharp blade). I have a whole chapter on this is my book, "52 Loaves." (yes, there's enough on this for a whole chapter)

For Real?
Dear Author: Thanks for providing insights to the quest I have had (that perfect loaf!). Can't wait to try to start my levain. Living in Yakima (Paxton's home, no less) we have apples, pears, and grapes aplenty. I was pleased to see you already answered my question about washing the fruit before using it for bread creation. My one remaining question, though, may be more about "babies" (figuratively). How the heck did you have time to do your research, bake, travel, and hold down your day job? Cheers from the Great Northwe(s)t.

Dear Reader:
For the uninitiated, Paxton is the guy who invented the Kwik Lok tab that is found on almost every loaf of packaged bread sold in the world. How do I find the time? Good question, but at the moment I'm working at my day job half time while I finish the first draft of my next book -- about learning French at "my age". Hope it'll be out in 2013

bread crust
why does the bread crust fall off my bread machine loaf?

Dear Reader:
Um, because you're making bread in a machine? Read "52 Loaves" and learn how easy it is to make *real* bread. And I guarantee my crust won't fall off.

banana bread
why doesn't my banana bread get done in the middle

Dear Reader:
This question has been asked several times. Please check the list and what conflicting answers I've already given!

bread falls
What would make gluten free bread fall after removing from oven? It looked done but still fell.

Dear Reader:
If it is cooked throught the culprit is often too much yeast, which causes an unsupportable rise. I discuss some low-yeast, natural starter recipes in "52 Loaves" that are guaranteed not to collapse.

Dry wheat rolls
I want to serve some wheat rolls that are just a little dry- is there a way to make them moist again?

Dear Reader:
Other than lots of butter, I'd think not, but if you warm them, they'll be more palatable.

gluten free bread
I made buns today and they fell. The outside was cooked, almost overcooked, but when I took them out of the oven they fell. What did I do wrong? I used a mixer to mix them, not a breadmaker.

Dear Reader:
Possibly too much yeast or too long a rise, leaving noting to support them

Fell before the oven
After letting my dough for white bread rise the second time, it fell before it went into the oven. Is it possible to get it to rise again before it hits the oven?

Dear Reader:
Possibly. Fold the loaf a few times back onto itself to expose some fresh dough to the yeast, and try to do a 3rd rise of about an hour or so.

Ethanol in breed
What does ethanol have to do with the smell of breed?

Dear Reader:
In the cooked loaf, not much. Much what makes bread rise is *fermentation* thus an slight ethanol smell is normal.

refreshing levain, and scoring baguettes
Hello again from Denver - first just to thank you so much for your amazing book (and for this bread doctor site)! It has completely transformed my bread-making. I'm consistently making bread that's better than I've ever made. I'm eternally grateful (and so is my family - we're eating lots of bread these days)! I have 2 more questions for you... 1) I bought one of Peter Reinhart's books as you recommended in your "bookshelf" section. He says that when you refresh levain, you should always at least double it, if not triple or quadruple. But using your recipes I end up doing much less than a complete doubling. Your thoughts? 2) I've been making lots of baguettes and trying different scoring methods with a lame. The best seems to be 2 almost vertical, overlapping lines down the baguettes. But often when I bake them, after the first 5 minutes they've opened up nicely...just like in the pictures...but by the time the baguettes are done, a big bubble of crust has pushed through the score mark and it looks weird. Still tastes great, but do you have any suggestions?

Dear Reader:
Hello Denver. Thanks for your kind words. As for your questions: 1)I have the utmost respect for Peter, but I don't know here if he's talking about a regular feeding or refreshing a tired levain. In fact, once in a while when my levain starts looking a little wimpy I'll discard most of it and give it a good feeding (maybe 2:1 new to old). Other bakers I know caution against overfeeding, so what's a home baker to do? The bottom line is, is your levain healthy now? If it is, keep doing what you're doing; if not, feed more aggressively. 2) Never had that problem but I've seen it in purchased loaves. scoring more deeply may help. With smallish baguettes I like to do a single angled score down the middle, holding the lame at about a 60 degree angle to the bread, which gives you a nice "cresting wave" effect. Hope this helps.

Alcohol as a mold inhibitor
The use of sprayed alcohol on the top of the loaf bread is effective to prevent mold issues? if so is necessary included in the label (I live in USA. Thanks

Dear Reader:
I've never heard of this being done, and, sorry, I'm not an expert on FDA labeling regulations.

Tearing bred loaves
Why does our bread tear along one side while baking?

Dear Reader:
I suspect because you're not slashing to the top, which allows the steam to escape with exploding the loaf. I have a chapter on swallowed razors, exploding loaves and using a "lame" as the French call it, in "52 Loaves"

cinnamon french toast
i baked a cinncamon french toast using pillsbury cinnamon bread, but its underbaked inside on 375 degrees, the crust on top is golden brown.

Dear Reader:
There's a wonderful recipe for French toast on my blog (see link on menu above)using leftover baguettes. Suggest you try that and make authentic French toast instead!

Oven cannot go above 225 C
I am an American expatriate living in Shanghai. What can I do to compensate for my little ovens lack of heat?

Dear Reader:
That's 437 F. Yes, a little low for bread, but it shouldn't stop you. Suggest you stick with thinner loaves, like baguettes or batards, and you can try to spritz the loaf with water before putting the loaf in the oven to develop a crust. Good luck, and enjoy Shanghai!

pumpkin bread
why pumpkin loaf won't cook in the middle?

Dear Reader:
Well, I'm really a yeast bread guy, but I'd say you need to cook it longer. If that makes the crust burn, then once the bread has finished it's oven rise, you can loosely cover the top with some foil.

Inside ot a loaf of bread is called?
What do you call the middle bit of a loaf of bread, outside is the crust, what is called the inside? thank you.

Dear Reader:
The crumb. You can learn more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the crumb from "52 Loaves: A Half-Baked Adventure".

where I can find levain
do you know I can find levain

Dear Reader:
Make your own! It's easy and fun and gives you a real locovare levain. Suggest you read "52 Loaves" to see how I made mine. (Click above on "buy")

Liquid Levain
I am starting a liquid levain may I use sugar in the levain to get it started fermenting faster?

Dear Reader:
I've heard of some people adding a pinch of sugar, but if you're following my apple starter recipe, it's not necessary. The natural sugars in the apple are more than sufficient to get the thinking rolling. Good luck!

Fermented tasting rolls
I received a starter from a friend and the first batch of rolls I made were wonderful. The second batch smell and taste fermented (alcoholish). I used white wheat flour would that make a difference? What can I do to get back the sweet rolls.

Dear Reader:
Hmmm. Not sure why white wheat flour woiuld make them more alcoholish, but of course using whole wheat flour is going to change the taste and texture of any bread. iscard most of youro back to feeding your starter (generously) with white flour, and it will get back to normal in a couple of feedings. Good luck!

Cheese cloth as a baker's couche
Is it ok to use cheesecloth as my baker's couche?

Dear Reader:
I've never tried it, but I suspect the dough would stick badly, and the cloth is too flimsy to hold its shape. A better alternative is parchment paper.

rising bread
I make homemade bred and the recipe calls for it to rise twice. On the second rise I fell asleep and did not cook till the next morning, is it still good to eat?

Dear Reader:
If you mean, is it safe to eat, most likely, but you know, I'm only a "bread doctor," not an actual doctor or scientist, so I cannot really dispense advice of this nature.

alcohol smell
what makes bread smell llike alcohol?

Dear Reader:
The same thing that makes beer and wine smell like alcohol: fermentation, which is also what makes bread rise. I have a lot of interesting info on this process in my book, "52 Loaves."

My roll dough tastes too fermented
Let my roll dough rise and when it came time to shape and rise again it smelled pretty fermented, fresh yeast package open. Is this normal?? I don't like the yeasty/fermented taste so much. TY!

Dear Reader:
Yes, it's perfectly normal (and, in my opinion, wonderful). But the real question is, how did the rolls taste?

can I re bake under baked bread
i made home made nut bread and it looked done but as i sliced into it the next day it was under baked in the center can i fix this by re baking it for a short timeand if so How do i go about this?

Dear Reader:
Nope. Too late. But an instant-read thermometer is almost indispensable for baking. You can get an inexpensive one that I like here.

crust doesn't look smooth
I love baking bread,but when i loaf them,thats fine,but when its baked and ready to come out of oven,its looks like I just threw it in,its all clumpy on the top,which the bottom comes out and leaves that clumpy look not nice looking bread.

Dear Reader:
A couple of things could be going, on, but it sounds like the bread may over-rising, then collapsing a bit in the oven. You might want to take a look at my methods (see "52 Loaves"), which involved very little yeast, and long, slow rises. My breads never get dimpled or collapse. Good luck.

Quantity baking, overnight method.
Can you suggest a good recipe for an overnight rising method bread which will make 5 or 6 loaves? White is OK, but I grind my own flour and would like to use it as well. Thanks! Molly Baker

Dear Reader:
Molly, I faced exactly this problem when having to feed an abbey of 30 monks. The recipe for my Pain d'Abbaye is in my book, "52 Loaves". It uses a mix of white, whole wheat, and rye. I also discuss growing and grinding my own flour. Good luck!

my jula kake crust burns
we were makinfg jula kaka bread and it said to bake for 50 min at 375 and at about 35 to 40 min in the bread on the inside was perfect but the crust on top and some of the sides were starting burn any ideas

Dear Reader:
Sorry, I'm not familiar with jula kaka bread, but check your oven thermostat with a good thermometer. I'll bet it's running hot. Also, if if it's a sweet bread the crust is more likely to burn and you may need to cover it for part of the baking.

Forgot to proof
How do I save my dough when I forgot to proof my yeast?

Dear Reader:
You don't need to proof yeast these days. That was done back when yeast was unreliable and the reason for proofing was to "prove" the yeast was good. In fact, if you are using instant yeast, manufacturers advise against proofing.

Yeast
I was an ardent bread maker yrs ago and just returned to this wonderful hobby- BUT Fleiscmans-my old standby- and Red Star do not seem to make h esame wonderful yeasty smelling bread. the rises etc are fine-just the smell is gone. is it the architecture of the house? my nose?

Dear Reader:
The turning point in my bread-making was when I began using a stater aka sourdough aka levain, of wild yeast. This web site has brief instructions on making your own (easy!) and more details on in 52 Loaves. Good luck!

bread top splits on side
why does my bread split

Dear Reader:
Are you scoring the top just before baking? All that steam needs to go *somewhere*. I have a whole chapter on this in the book, in fact!

bread no oil
Dr. Edelstyn requires the use of bread with no oil? Unable to find ?

Dear Reader:
Basic bread has only 4 ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. If you can't find a market that carries an artisan bread without oil, make your own (read 52 Loaves). You'll be amazed at how good it is.

Banana Bread
My batter is too stiff I think, what do i do, before baking it?

Dear Reader:
Add more liquid.

bread in ear
if bread crust enters somebody's ear does the person need to worry

Dear Reader:
Depends... let's play 20 Questions: is the piece is bigger than a breadbox? Actually, there is a much bigger threat of something in bread that can get lodged in you -- read "52 Loaves" to find out what.

Bread conservatives
Would you happen to have what kinds of conservatives do they put in black,buttermilk and 12 grains types of bread?

Dear Reader:
I don't, but if you're writing from the US,it is required to be printed on the label. If you're speaking of a local bakery, probably none...but ask.

Storage Container Suggestions?
Hi there, we've got the levain going well. Trying to choose a storage container. Looking for : glass, ceramic, plastic? I imagine 1 - 1/2 liters with wide mouth? Glass / ceramic more sanitary than plastic? Any brand names you can hint at? Look forward to your reply! Thanks, Chris and Jeff

Dear Reader:
It don't matter too much, really. Professional baker Charlie van Over keeps his in an old (plastic) restaurant-sized creme fraiche container. I bought a 5-dollar hard plastic container at Kmart. Round or square, plastic or glass, it's a personal choice. Just make sure it has a lid that closes tightly and scrape down the sides with a spatula after using it.

cracks on top of banana bread
when my banana bread is done it has lots of cracks on the top, why?

Dear Reader:
I'm more a yeast-bread guy, but my wife says it's perfectly normal, and adds "if it tastes good, who cares?"

Loaves won't get done in middle
How do I get my pumpkin loaves to bake all the way through??

Dear Reader:
Bake the bread as long as you dare, then turn the oven off and let the loaf sit there for another 20 minutes. Pumpkin muffins are great, btw, and you don't ever have that problem.

Falling bread
What can I do to keep my freshly baked bread from falling when I take it out of the over

Dear Reader:
Sounds like it's over-rising. Reduce the yeast. Suggest that, if you haven't, you read 52 Loaves, which has techniques for nicely risen bread with very little yeast. Good luck!

bread crust
why does my crust have dimples instead of being smooth?

Dear Reader:
Because it's cute? Oh, sorry, you expected a real answer. I think you're either over-proofing the dough or using too much yeast, thus the crumb is collapsing in the oven. Some blistering or, conversely, depressions are normal, however, and don't affect the taste.

french bread
I started to make french bread from "yo Izzy's" recipe. it turns out pretty good while a little pale when done. Problem: it crumbles, especially on the oustide. I brush it with whipped egg white and throw a few ice cubes in the oven when it bakes at 400. What to do? I am very french and miss the good ol' crispy baguettes with air pockets. Thank you, Michele

Dear Reader:
You're French and you brushing the crust with whipped egg?? Really! Don't know "yo Izzy" but suggest you read 52 Loaves and try my techniques. One bite and you'll think you back on the Champs-Elysees.

follow-up to sponge question
What about the yeast specified in the sponge recipe - can I just leave that out when substituting the levain, or should I add some yeast also (and how much compared to the sponge recipe)? Thanks!

Dear Reader:
Most sponges have just a bit of yeast, say a quarter teaspoon, so I'd say you can leave it out of the sponge. Start with that as the default. You may even need to cut back on the yeast in the dough. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it's better to have too little yeast than too much. But there are so many variables here -- how much levain are you adding, how much yeast was in the sponge, how much in the dough, that it's hard to say from where here. Close your eyes, Luke, and just feel the force.

substituting levain in sponge recipes
Hi again from Denver. I've made the baguettes now (several times) and they are great! Also have been trying recipes from other books that call for a starter, and now I'm wondering if I can substitute levain when a recipe calls for a sponge starter, and if so how do I figure out how much to use? Do I just water down the levain to sponge consistency or ??? Thanks so much, I am really enjoying the process!

Dear Reader:
Hi, Denver. Yes you absolutely can, but don't try to imitate the recipes steps of first doing a sponge, etc., as you already *have* a pre-ferment in the form of your levain. Instead, if the recipe calls for, say, a sponge with 100 g of flour and 200 g water, simply use 200 g of leavin in your dough (to get the 100 g of flour called for), and add another 100 g of water, so that you end up with 100g of flour and 200 g of water, keeping the final hydration the same. Hope that's clear...

refrigerator dough starter not bubbling
Can I add another packet of yeast that has been softned in water to my starter now?

Dear Reader:
You can, but it will no longer be a wild yeast starter. Instead, I would discard some of it, feed with flour and water, and let it sit on the counter for a few hours. If it doesn't start showing some life, it's dead, and you should build a new starter.

Bread
Is it safe to leave bread dough out overnIgnt to rise?

Dear Reader:
It's safe in a food safety sense but, depending on your formula the room, that may be too long a rise.

Bread tastes a little too sour and yeasty.
Hi, I am baking a basic artisan bread (just flour, yeast, salt, water; mix and let rest for 18 hours) and the bread has a yeasty/sour taste to it. It is not a sourdough taste, which I like. Any thoughts?

Dear Reader:
You need to use a starter, or levain, to get that sourdough taste. Suggest you read my book, "52 Loaves" for the "why" and for instructions on building one. Good luck!

my homemade white yeast is gummy why?
My homebread looks beautiful and the nextday it goes gummy what is the problem not using enough flour or using to much water when making it by hand

Dear Reader:
If I had to guess I'd say you're underbaking. Don't be afraid to let a good dark crust form. When you think it's done (205-210 degrees in center), leave it oven another 20 minutes with oven turned off and door ajar. Good luck!

singing!
My loaves have started singing since I read the recipes in your book! I didn't think it was possible in a home oven, but apparently I just needed to preheat my baking stone for ~1 hour instead of just 20 minutes. Thanks!

Dear Reader:
Congratulations! Your note is music to my ears!

Levain and again....
Hello, again, Doctor! Dr. Frankenstein, back with more: I just finished reading your book again, and can't thank you enough for making all the mistakes for us and learning so much and then passing it on. My first loaf was not a complete failurein fact, a dinner guest told me (after I had given them my book report on "52 Loaves"), that it while it wasn't a 52nd week loaf, it was at least in the middle thirties! Praise, indeed! My latest loaf is much, much better, but still with room for improvement. Again, thanks for all your guidance. Here's my question: if I want to build my levain, that is make it larger (perhaps to give some away&) how much flour/water am I safe just adding to it? I imagine if I add way too much, I'll just have watery flour&. Is there a recommended ratio not to exceed?

Dear Reader:
Hello, mein pupil! You are correct, overfeeding will kill your creation. The general rule of thumb is that you should never feed it more than its current weight. So if weighs 1400 grams you could feed with up to 700 g each water and flour. I tend to be a little more conservative, myself. But even if you feed with, say, half it's weight every couple of days, you can build it up rather rapidly. Remember to leave it out on the counter for a few hours after each feeding. And clean the container once in a while, too, to keep your monster happy.

homemade bread hard
why isn't my homemade rolls remain soft after baking? within a hour after baking they are semi hard. How do I keep them soft?

Dear Reader:
I'm assuming you're referring to the crust. I happen to like a little crunch to my crust, but you want to keep it soft, take a look at these ideas

Why does the bread taste spicy hot?
I'm so glad to find your blog. I just started experimenting with 5 minute bread recipes. I love the rich flavor that comes from letting it rest in the fridge for a day or two. Recently I let the batch of whole wheat dough it sit out too long before putting it away. So it was a bit spent and didn't rise very much. The loaf had a nice crust and the crumb was airy. But it turned out spicy to the tongue, in fact burned like hot chili peppers. What kind of reaction would have caused that? Has this come up before? Thanks for your insight.

Dear Reader:
Wow, that's a wild one. I can't imagine. I've done quite a bit of research into the chemistry of fermentation, but don't recall ever reading about a reaction that produces spiciness. I assuming there was nothing in the dough that could account for that. Sorry I can't be of more help.

how much should a loaf of bread weight
how much should a loaf of bread weight when put in the pan

Dear Reader:
Is this a riddle? There's no "correct" answer, but whatever weight it starts out with, you can expect to lose about 30% to evaporation. Suggest you read "52 Loaves" to learn more!

o pão
oque acontece com o pão na água durante 2 dias ?

Dear Reader:
Desculpe, eu não entendi a pergunta.

crush too hard
Why the crush of my bread too hard?

Dear Reader:
Try getting plenty of steam into the oven when putting in the bread. I pour a cup or more of water into a cast iron pan that I keep on a shelf below the bread. (Wear an oven mitt and be careful or use ice cubes). Over-cooking can also contribute to a hard crust. Good luck!

Rising process for bread.
Please, what is the best time to leave a bread dough to rise? Also what is the required / best temperature for the rising? And lastly, are there any effects in leaving a bread too long for rising? Thanks

Dear Reader:
Bread uses two rises, an initial fermentation plus the second rise, or proofing. I like cool, long fermentations and shorter proofs. If you look at my recipe section on this website you see more details. Or even better, read 52 Loaves for all the science and "why" behind it.

Bread making business
What are the risks foresee in bread making business

Dear Reader:
Fortunately, I'm only an amateur baker, so I'm not the one to answer your question. But I suggest you join the Bread Bakers Guild of America (bbga.org)if you're considering it. You'll get plenty of advice on their forum!

Son of Frankenstein?
Hello, there again, Doctor! I have my first loaf of peasant bread in the oven e'en as we speak (or as I write). I hope I didn't jinx myself by baking bread (and my first loaf of this kind, no less) on the Day of the Dead! I think all went well until forming the loaf. Perhaps I didn't press it before trying to form a boule: is that the problem? I would have rather formed a batard, but in any case, it didn't want to hold shape, and would just try to ablate to something more like a miche. Is that the consistency it *should* have? Though it stuck to the peel a little, with some ingenious prodding, I got it on to the stone, and then poured water into the cast iron skillet on the floor of the oven&with just enough nerves to ensure that I'd douse the pilot light! I got in there to administer what I hope is the spark of life. Here's hoping. Though it's Compline, I could sure use a Vesper (martini). Incidentally, I have just recently learned that my wife has a bun in the oven. Do you think this is a coincidence? Yours yeastily, Dr Frankenstein (Dougfred).

Dear Reader:
Dear Son, Always a delight to hear from you. Yes, it's sounds like your dough is a bit too wet. It should hold its shape Interesting question about the bun in the oven, as there is a relationship between the French word for oven (four) and womb, although I can't come up with it at the moment. But congratulations nevertheless! (on the baby, not your lousy bread)

all-purpose flour vs bread flour
Hello from Denver! I loved your book (as well as The $64 Tomato), and last week I made the levain and then the peasant bread. It was the best bread I've ever made - tasted wonderful and looked beautiful as well. Thanks so much!! This weekend I'm going to try the baguettes, and I'm wondering why the recipe calls for all-purpose flour and not bread flour. I thought bread flour would have more gluten and rise better? - Miriam

Dear Reader:
Thanks for your kind words about the book. Yes, bread flour has more protein (which becomes gluten), but I find it has too much, which can actually inhibit a rise. In France, they use much softer flour, btw. But it also depends on the brand. The King Arthur all-purpose flour I use has almost the protein level of other bread flours.

Second rise of bread is disappointing
Hi, while the first rise of my baguettes is exactly what it should be, the second rise disappoints and I end up with a smaller, more condensed loaf. This happens to me consistently, any suggestions? Thanks

Dear Reader:
A couple of things could be going on. Your second rise could be too long (often, a half hour suffices for baguettes), or the fermentation too long. Also, make sure you gently press out some of the gas as your form the loaves for the second rise, to give the yeast another kick. Good luck!

Bread smelling after 2 days.
The bread happen to be fine at first, then after 2 days, it starts smelling alcohol. It still looks normal, except the smell. Please whats is the solution to this?

Dear Reader:
Hmm... I'm not familiar that phenomenon. The dough during fermentation can have a mild alcoholic smell (it's several percent alcohol - same as near-beer), but the alcohol gets driven off during baking. I don't think that adding preservatives is the answer, however.

Preservative on bread / yeast
Please what are the disadvantages of preservatives in bread? would one of them be, the bread smelling fermented/ alcohol? Please, what is the right quantity of preservatives and right quantity of yeast for a 25kg flour? Thanks

Dear Reader:
I don't use any preservatives in my bread, because I want it to be pure and I'm consuming it within a few days. I would suggest you contact a large bakery who could speak to the subject.

First-time Father (to be)
Hello, there, Doctor! My wife gave me your book almost a year ago, and I loved it! I think she knew what she was getting in to, because I have been baking my own bread for some time. But not *real* bread, with a levain.... So, waiting for the opportune moment, when I could go to a local farmer and get some good, hazy apples, I begain building my levain just over a week ago. I feel like Dr. Frankenstein (um...in a good way; let's hope my creation behaves!) The levain is bubbly, vital, healthy and yeasty. I have not yet baked bread with it, but soon! I have a couple questions, though: 1: Do I need to concern myself at all with how large a feeding I give? I mean, would too much flour and water in any way dilute its potency? 2: Why, after going through the process of building this living, breathing mass of yeasty goodness, do I add RapidRise yeast? Would the recipe (for Peasant Bread) not work without it? Thank you for your book, the inspiration, and (of course) your answer. Dougfred

Dear Reader:
Dear Dr. Frankenstein,
First of all, congratulations on creating a successful levain. In terms of feeding, yes, you should not overwhelm it. I usually add about 150g each flour and water to levain, which is about 2/3 of a half-gallon container. The reason I add a dash (and it's really just a dash) of commercial yeast in the recipe is to give it a boost when rising. If I omitted it, I'd have to use a higher proportion of levain, which makes the bread a little too sour for my taste. But you can certainly do that -- then it's called a pain au levain, and in fact I have a recipe for it the book. Good luck with the baking!

Crust too dark (burned)
Hi Bill! I absolutely loved your book and right way started playing with building levain. After second attempt I got a good starter and bread but preheating my oven to 500 and then baking at 450 for 30 minutes made my top bread crust very dark and basically burned. Should I cover it with foil next time or decrease the temperature? Thank you so much and I cant wait to read your new book next year! Elena

Dear Reader:
Hi Elena. Have you checked the temperature of your oven with a thermometer? Baking for 30 min. at 450 shouldn't burn the crust. I would turn the oven down. You shouldn't have to play games with foil. (If it's a gas oven, they can be harder to control, btw) Also, don't use convection mode if you have it. I occasionally find the crust browning too fast, and turn the oven to 425 to finish baking after 30 minutes or so. But your case sounds a little extreme. Good luck!

Bagels?
Hi Bill: Greeting from the North Shore! Many magnificent loaves of bread have come and gone since last I wrote. My wife (the kitchen-phobic yet ultimately willing assistant)insists that I should send you photos of some of the more impressive results. Perhaps you should set up a gallery for your disciples? Anyway, I feel it is time to take my bread-making to the next (and highest) level. Bagels. Do you have a recipe tailored to our levain? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Best regards, Andrew

Dear Reader:
Hi Andrew, I have to admit I haven't tried making bagels (even as a New Yorker, I'm not sure I'd put them at the "highest" level of breadmaking, but let's not quibble). However, I'd say you should be able to make a levain bagel by using my standard substitution of levain for flour and water. Since our levain is 50/50 flour/water by weight it's easy. So you if the recipe calls for, say, 500g flour and 300g water, you might replace 100 g each of the flour and water with 200g levain. Just cut back on the packaged yeast a bit and increase the fermentation time. If you want to send a picture or two of the result (and your recipe), I'll post it on my blog. Good luck, and let us know how you make out!

what is the recipe for a loaf bread?
what is the recipe for a loaf bread?

Dear Reader:
See the "Recipes" section of this website or even better, read "52 Loaves."

gnats in my loaf of bread
i recently found fruit flies in the package of my loaf of bread, can i still eat it or will i get sick?

Dear Reader:
Gee, I'm surprised they could survive on a loaf of commercial bread -- you'd think the additives would kill them (unless you're talking about a package of your own bread here). In any event, I'm not qualified to comment on safety or medical issues, but I shoo fruit flies off my tomatoes all the time.

Vigorous starter!
I am on day two of my first levain. It is so vigorous that is has more than doubled in size twice already. Can I use it tonight or should I still follow the whole procedure? Also I haven't found a stone for my oven yet, can I just use a well floured pan? I haven't read your book yet by the way. It's on it's way to me! Jennifer. (Thanks)

Dear Reader:
I usually get the opposite question: "my starter isn't doing anything" so this is refreshing. I'd let run its course. You'll have a more stable and flavorful starter

Variations On the Boule
Not a question but just wanted to offer another option that worked for me. After the long fermentation stage when making the peasant bread, I wanted to see if I could make rolls instead of loaves. I cut 12 pieces of dough shaped them as if I was making a boule put them in a cupcake pan. In each of the cupcake holes I put some rye flour and rolled the dough around in it. I did not grease the holes. I had a small bit of dough left which I shaped and put in a smaller collander. I baked the rolls at 480 for about 10 minutes, turned down the heat to 425 and then baked for about 15 more minutes. I checked the temp. I put the small boule in and baked it as a boule but cut the time for this also. Wonderful rolls and a nice small boule that I gave to a friend who really enjoyed it. My next experiment will be cinnamon rolls or something else like this.

Dear Reader:
Cool. I've often taken my baguette dough and made little and big rolls, mini-baguettes, etc. I admit to admit the cupcake pan is a new twist to me. But it's fun to play around with different things, and the great thing about rolls is that you can freeze them and just pull a couple out whenever you want them. Way to go!

Can I add rolled oats to a starter?
I have a recipe that uses an overnight starter with a small amount of instant yeast, water, white and wheat flours. The starter is then added the next day to the remaining ingredients, among them, rolled oats. Can I just add the oats to the starter on day 1 to soften them? There is adequate water in the starter

Dear Reader:
I don't see why not. But you may need to add more water to the total mix, if the recipe does not assume an overnight soaking, but adds the oats during say, the fermentation.

boule went flat when I took it out of the collande
Hey Bread Doc, It's CS Baker again. So, I have made the peasant loaf about four times now, and it seems to get better each time. But, today, I made it, and let it do a long proof in the basement (about 6 hours the first time, and 2 the second time). Anywho, when I dumped it out of the collander onto the parchment paper, it just went pretty flat, and the oven didn't do much to raise it back up. So sad. It's actually still in the oven, but I thought I'd see what you think happened while it's on my mind. Over-proofed?

Dear Reader:
Hey, CS. Glad to see you're still at it! The times don't sound overly long, although you are pushing the envelope, depending on how cool your basement is. There are many factors that can affect the rise: temperature, the freshness of your yeast and robustness of your starter. BTW, lately I've been baking 2 batards instead of one boule out of that same recipe and have eliminated the bread-flattening-on-the-stone problem one often has with a moist boule, as that can also affect the rise.(I also get more holes with this shape.) I have a floured couche that I use (King Arthur sells them), but if you just want to try it without committing to the couche, you can use folds of parchment paper to hold the batards in place during the proofing. Let me know you make out.

my starter is alive alright
what is swimming in my starter- looks like mosquito midges

Dear Reader:
If I had to guess, I'd say they're most likely fruit flies and are quite harmless. Whatever it is, I would discard the top few inches of the starter unless it's so infected you have to discard the whole thing, and cover with a frying pan screen or cheesecloth whenever you have it out on the counter.

Banana effect on loafs
What's the reason for banana shape of the loafs after moulding on an industrial line. It is because of the recipe or because of the long moulder? thanks

Dear Reader:
I assume you're talking about long, skinny loaves like baguettes. It's most likely due to the deformation that occurs when stream escapes during baking -- that's why we make slashes (to get the steam to escape evenly and in a controlled fashion), and you'll see curvy loaves both from commercial ovens and your own.

odor
How do you determine if the smell of baking bread comes from ethanol?

Dear Reader:
Interesting questions. The smell of baking bread is a marvelously complex mixture of ketones, chemical reactions, and yes, alcohol being driven off. How much of the smell is attributable to ethanol is hard to say, but a bubbling poolish (or pre-ferment) can fool someone into thinking you're actually baking bread, so it may play more of a role than you'd think.

Starter Smells Funky
I made two starters, one with bread flour and the other with all purpose, each with a different type of apple fresh from the tree. Well, the all purpose flour starter seems to smell a little different than the bread flour starter. Is there a difference in smells depending on the ingredients used? Also, if I get rid of one half of the all purpose starter and feed the other half, do I leave it out of the refrigerator for how long or do I put it back in the refrigerator after I feed it?

Dear Reader:
I doubt that the difference in smell you detect is related to the protein content of the flour. But if you'd made one with rye, e.g., that would be a different story. When feeding an established starter, I leave it out of the fridge for a few hours, until it's nice and bubbly. If your starter doesn't seem active enough or you'd like a little more sourdough flavor out it, leave it out longer -- even overnight.

levain bread
what is a levain bread?

Dear Reader:
A levain is a wild yeast "starter" or sourdough you make yourself and maintain. I go into it some depth in "52 Loaves". So a levain bread is a bread made with a levain.

Dividing dough and baking times
Hi, I've been quite successful making both your peasant loaf and baguettes (perhaps now they are mine as well). My levain just had its first birthday! To the point, I'm interested in making two smaller loaves from the usual peasant bed recipe. Baking time for the originaly recipe is in the neighborhood of 50-60 min, if I do two half size loaves what times would you suggest? I know I can figure it out by trial and error, but I'd rather not. Thanks! Loved the book, love the bread.

Dear Reader:
Probably about 40-45 minutes, but best way is to use an instant-read digital thermometer and bake to 205 - 210 degrees.Go to my blog link at top of this page, and then to my store to find the accurate, inexpensive one I use

International travel
Hello, My mother is visiting me in France and asked if she could take some of my levain back to the states. At first I scoffed at the idea of bringing it on a plane, but then I remembered that you did just that, although in the opposite direction. Obviously, I don't want my 70 year old mother to be subject to the same experience that you had. Is it possible to pack some of the levain in a tupperware container in her suitcase? Do you have any other suggestions? Thank you.

Dear Reader:
France has different rules than the US in terms of what you can bring onto a plane (for example, I'm not sure they have the 100 ml restriction, so she may even be able to bring it on the plane in her carry-on; you can check with the airline. But if you don't want her to deal with that, the extra levain that I stuck in a duffel bag as checked luggage seemed to survive. Levain is pretty resilient stuff, particularly if it's old. Just maybe stick that Tupperware inside a ziplock bag in case it leaks, and don't feed beforehand!

Shaping
When the bread is sliced, there is a big hole in the center of each slice. I know that 'honeycombing' in the crumb is a good thing but is this one single big hole an indication that the dough is too wet and/or I should be shaping differently?

Dear Reader:
You see this occasionally even in commercial artisan bread, but if it's happening consistently, you have a technique issue. I don't think the problem is that the dough is too wet; that would give you lots of holes throughout, so I'd look to your shaping. After fermentation, gently press the dough out into a disk, pushing out most of the gas with your fingertip. And of course, when you shape the loaf, make sure you're not trapping air under a fold. Good luck!

the alcohol smell
I have been trying to make sweetbread and each time I bake it that funky fermented smell remains. Please help as to what am I doing wrong?

Dear Reader:
A smell of alcohol is a sign of undercooked bread. Give it some time and/or heat. The center of the loaf should be at least 205 degrees when done. Good luck!

adding a starter to a recipe when it's not require
can i add a starter to my amish white bread recipe

Dear Reader:
Sure! It will only improve it. See question directly below for details on how to incorporate levain into any recipe.

recipes
thanks for taking our questions, very kind of you, three questions. First, i have tried to get other recpies using levain but find it difficult--any suggestions? second, do you think i can "convert" other recipes using poolish, etc by add to the levain additional flour or water to reach the right percentages? third,when i am doing the baguettes it speaks of if we have bubbles that is great but i never do--although the baguettes taste wonderful--should i be worried or doing something wrong? thanks

Dear Reader:
You absolutely can substitute levain for yeast in other recipes, and I find that it improves almost any bread. The beauty of my levain is that it's 50/50 flour and water, so the substitution is easy: use, for example, 250 g of levain and subtract 125g each of flour and water from the recipe. Because the levain doesn't have as much leavening power as commercial yeast, you'll probably not want to eliminate all the yeast called for in the recipe, but you should reduce it by quite a bit -- trial and error, and eventually a "feel" will tell you how much. Poolish substitution is easier. Same principal, but don't change the yeast. Good luck!

levain feeding
The apple levain totals 800g when complete. Discarding 250 and adding 250 total water and flour over time nearly killed the starter as it was not enough food. Is 550g too much for a 250g "charge"?

Dear Reader:
Most readers have had success with that formula, but, of course everyone' starter is different. Sounds like yours was hungry. 800g of starter should be able to handle 550g combined flour and water. Good luck!

salt
Sorry...I see it's coarse kosher salt.

Dear Reader:
You're hard to keep up with. Correct, but any salt will do, as long as it's not too coarse. I know bakers who swear by sea salt, others who use table salt. I only keep kosher salt in the house, so it's what I use.

salt
Sorry...I forgot to ask the question. You may have said before but I can't find...which type of salt do you use?

Dear Reader:
See above...

Salt
First of all, let me say that I am so grateful for your book. It is the most important bread-baking book I have. I admired your scientific and relentless pursuit of the perfect bread and adored your humor and optimism (we are all just a little crazy...eh?). After all was said and done, I was thrilled to find your hard-earned recipes at the end! I baked the exquisite peasant loaf today. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Dear Reader:
Thank *you* -- glad you came along for the ride, and I appreciate your kind words.

Fermentation too lon
Hello, I have been experimenting with your pain paysan recipe with some great successes and some, well, it's always edible. My last trial incorporated two changes, the result of which is that it didn't rise enough in the oven. The first change was deliberate: I incorporated about 1/4 cup ground millet. The second change was regrettable, but I had plans I didn't want to cancel: after an overnight fermentation, I left the dough at room temperature for about 5 hours before forming the boule for a second rise (1.5 hours). Could the long fermentation have caused my bread's poor oven performance? Thank you.

Dear Reader:
I rarely say "undoubtedly," but in this case, undoubtedly. I think you exhausted all the yeast. After an overnight fermentation, I either go right to forming loafs and the 2nd rise, or let the dough come to room temperature (but never more than a hour or two) and then form the loaves, depending on the the bread and my mood. Keep at it, and good luck!

CS Baker again: hydration ratio?
Well, Bread Doctor, as long as you are so generous with your expertise, and so prompt in your replies, I am going to bother you once more. So, I made this starter following the instructions on the internet forum "The Fresh Loaf" and got it going. It was a pretty gloopy, but bubbled okay, so the folks on the FL said give it extra water, stir a lot, etc. Which I did. But, now I have no idea what I am dealing with as far as hydration goes. Also, some recipes call for different levels of "firmness" I wouldn't think that I start all over to get the right hydration, so what do I do to get the hydration that specific recipe calls for. By the way, I have asked the Fresh Loaf forum this, but I got lots of answers, and then was just more confused, so I thought it would be better to ask one person, and get one answer. Thank you. And, honestly, I CANNOT believe you actually field questions about bread! That is just so cool. Thanks, Colorado Springs Baker

Dear Reader:
Dear CSB, So just to make sure I understand...you made your starter from a recipe on thefreshloaf.com (not my book), went back to FL for advice (bad idea), and now you want me to bail you out of this mess? Okay, just this once. Here's what you do: Add flour or water so that your starter is the consistency of thick pancake batter. The next day, discard 3/4 of your starter. Add equal amounts by weight of flour and water, enough to double the amount of your current starter. Wait a day or so and add another 50/50 mix of flour/water. Repeat again, discarding some first if you need to. By now, no matter where you started out, you'll be close to 50/50. Bon appetit!

measurements for feeding and other stuff
First, loved, loved, loved your book! I just finished it this morning, so naturally, I had to bake the peasant loaf. I am very new at this, but I did have a starter that I made a few weeks ago. As it turned out, I had just fed her (her name is Vivian) the day before, and when I took her out of the fridge, she became nice and bubbly, and very eager to bake some bread. But, for future reference, when you add the 130 grams each of flour and water, how much starter are you adding that to? 130 grams? By the way, the bread came out really good. Great flavor. The crust is a little chewier than I would prefer, and the crumb is very even (you've got me obsessed with those damn holes!) So, any advice you could offer would be fantastic. Thanks again for the great read! You are oh so funny. Sincerely, Colorado Springs Baker

Dear Reader:
Thanks for the kind words, CSB. When I add the 130 grams flour and water, that's to the entire starter, in my case about a quart or so. I don't have the book in front of me, but if you're referring to feeding of mature starter, the 130 g is very rough. More or less doesn't matter, as long you keep the amount of water and flour equal by weight. Good luck with the holes!

hard bread
How to make the bread become lighter and crispier?

Dear Reader:
Well, as this is the subject of my 80,000 word book, it's kind of hard to address in a sentence or two. Suggest you give it a read and follow my journey.

Not really a question... Continued
Yes, I will read your next book. Your writing is genius. And... Levain chez Gilbert is the difference between ok bread and bread that beat bread in France. So put on your headstone 'convinced people to use a levain.' If you accomplish nothing else, it is a life well lived. And we have a French exchange student living with us starting next month, so the real test of bread is about to begin in our Colorado home.

Dear Reader:
I predict your French student will be blown away by your bread. Thanks again for all the kinds words.

Not really a question...
I just returned from a bread tour of France with some side trips to churches and museums and stuff. After a couple hundred loaves of bread, I can count on one hand those that were better than the pain de Campagne from your book. Makes me happy! Thanks for the great recipes.

Dear Reader:
Makes me even happier! Thanks for the note. And is sounds like you may want to read my next book, in which I try to learn French.

pizza bread
Is pizza bread not good when its not fully cooked all the way

Dear Reader:
No bread is good when not cooked all the way. Undercooked bread is a common error among home bakers. Don't be afraid of baking to a mahogany brown exterior, and use an instant-read thermometer to make sure the interior reaches 205 - 210 degrees.

Overnight fermentation
I like to bake bread in the morning. Can the dough for peasant bread be fermented in the refrigerator overnight? Also, how long does the dough need to reach room temperature once removed from the refrigerator? Thank you.

Dear Reader:
Absolutely, I do it all the time! If anything, it improves the bread. In the morning, you can form the loaf (or loaves)from the cold dough and proof -- just allow for a longer proofing time. But if you're going to form loaves after it comes to room temp (another approach), expect to wait a good two hours.

Pizza dough (con't)
Woops! I actually have your book and read it a few months ago. (And enjoyed it very much!) Guess my memory isn't what it used to be... Thank you for your polite reply :-).

Dear Reader:
Don't worry about it. Even I can't remember what's in the book sometimes. Enjoy the pizza!

Pizza dough
Hello! I love your peasant bread recipe. Would you happen to have a good one for pizza dough? Thank you!

Dear Reader:
Yes, there's one in the book. And also here.

Translation of your book
Hi, I am reading your book, I live in France, and I have a friend (french!) who would like to read it. Has it ever been translated, if so, where could I buy it? Mind you, they may be a bit offended! I have really enjoyed it, thank you!

Dear Reader:
Désolé, it has not been translated into French. But you'll want to read my next book due out in 2012/13 - about my attempt (at the age of 58) to learn French.

Aquarium Pump, Pt II
Well, it appears to have worked well. I was already doing generous feedings anyway. Occasionally, because I can't leave things alone, I would play with the air hose and move it around a bit. As for my wife, she reminded me how patient and understanding she is--I might add long-suffering. She also wanted to know how long it has to stay. "Has to" is difficult to define, however...

Dear Reader:
Dear Aquaman, I love this...Can you send me a photo of your hookup (my email address is under "contact" in the menu above.)? Will post on my bread blog. BTW, when famed Paris Baker Eric Kayser couldn't find a machine to maintain his liquid levain in large quantities he built his own. So you're in fine company. Continued success!

Aquarium Pump
While I'm sure my wife will be less than enthusiastic...I used to keep a sourdough pot then stopped, but not before drying and freezing some starter. I am pulling a Frankenstein as I revive it--I hooked a small aquarium pump (with a new hose) and am using it to keep air bubbling up through the starter. Do you foresee any problems? I'm thinking it will take care of the stirring part.

Dear Reader:
Yes, I foresee problems -- but with your marriage, not your starter. My only thought is that with all that oxygen, you'll want to be feeding it pretty often. Please let us know this all works out -- fascinating! (BTW, I've shared your creative idea on my bread blog, so you may get a comment or two there as well.)

Fine crumb and or crispy super light
hello BD. How are the super crunchy and massive bubbled french breakfast rolls made? Also if the crumb of a loaf is too small how is a more airated one made please?

Dear Reader:
In general, large holes are obtained by using a very wet dough, so wet it's hard to shape (like making ciabatta). The crispiness comes from a real hot oven and incorporating steam into the first few minutes of baking. I spent a year pursuing the kind of crumb you describe, so if you haven't yet, you might want to read "52 Loaves."

Silo Bread
How is Silo Bread Made

Dear Reader:
Sorry, even with my four-foot long bread library, I'm not familiar with silo bread. There is a bakery called "Silo" but I've never come across a bread of the same name.

Pre-heating
Hello William, As it pains me to waste energy, I tend to pre-heat my oven for a maximum of 10 to 15 minutes. Do you think that this results in significantly inferior bread? Thank you.

Dear Reader:
If you are using a baking (aka pizza) stone, 15 minutes is not long enough for the stone to heat sufficiently to: a) give you the oven spring you want and b) act as a heat sink and retain heat while your oven door is open. But why don't you try it once with an hour preheat and see if it makes any difference? In the winter, btw, I leave my oven door open after baking, and return much of that heat to the house, recouping some of the "waste."

Misc.
Hello, I just finished your book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I was left with a few questions... 1) Is it necessary to proof the dough in a colander/linen napkin rather than a bowl lined with baking paper, which would render it much easier to transfer to the peel? 2)If yes, what is the best method to transfer the proofed dough to a peel? My best efforts have resulted in big finger prints on the top. 3) I live in France and use type 65 flour which, as you point out in your book, is malt-free, unlike its US counter-part. Should I be adding something to make up for this short-coming? 4) I have made three of your recipes including the 70% water one. I found that I needed to add so much additional flour to the 70% water dough during the kneading process that I probably reduced the ratio down to 68%. Is there a better way to knead such wet dough? 5) Does a pizza stone really make a big difference? (I don't have one and would like to be sure it's worth the investment before buying it.) That's it! Except to tell you that I'm having a great time making bread with my own levain. Thank you so much for bringing this joy to me and my family!

Dear Reader:
Thanks for your words about the book. As for your questions: 1) No. Whatever works, as they say. 2)Place the well-floured peel over the basket or bowl,and flip. My new favorite tool btw is the "super peel." It's a miniature version of the loader I used at the Ritz. Never sticks-- ever. See my blog, then go to my Store on the right-hand side. 3)Lucky you! (My next book is about leaning French.) I found that as long as I had a levain I didn't need the malt. If your bread is rising without it, then I wouldn't worry about it. If you do need malt, perhaps a local boulangerie would be willing to sell you some. 4) I didn't have problem with stickiness with my one experience with type 65 -- at the abbey. But if I recall I was using a 65% hydration rate. But note that the wetter the dough, the less kneading you have to do, as the molecules will link on their own -- that's the theory behind no-knead bread. 5) A store (or tiles) is essential for hearth-style, free form loaves. But if you don't want to spend the money, try a couple of flooring tiles instead. A little Googling will tell you what types are recommended. Keep slingin' the dough. A plus tard!

random crust problem
I baked three types of bread today. One, standard Amish white bread, turned out fine. The second, a spiced yeast bread and the third a baking soda spiced bread both ended up with hard crusts. With the spiced yeast bread I followed the recipe and only mixed in 2 cups of flour, let it rise, add three cups and shape into "rolls". Didn't get as fluffy as I expected at all, and the crust bordered on "crackery" (horror) the third was a fairly standard quick bread recipe, and again, it's moderately dry, and the crust is hard. What puzzled me about all this is that it I almost never have complete failures, much less when trying recipes from two divergent locations. Any chance that someone can think of what I might have done wrong? All three were baked at 350 degrees. I generally set a timer for 1/2 time, check or rotate as needed and reset the timer. I do bloom my yeast. fairly standard there. the first rise on the second loaf was fluffy and nice... I suspect I added too much flour and under worked it? I have no idea what went wrong on the last.

Dear Reader:
Well, the technique of adding additional flour *after* the rise is rather unusual, unless what you're really describing is making a poolish in the first step. Also, 350 degrees is on the low side for baking bread, and will definitely impact the rise that takes place in the oven. Suggest you read (or re-read) "52 Loaves" carefully with an eye on the techniques. Good luck!

when baking a simple white bread...
i am not pleased with the shape of the loaves! according to recipe, they should be going to oven about now. will i ruin it if i punch it down reshape it and allow it to rise a third time? any advise would be most appreciated!

Dear Reader:
It depends. Some recipes in fact call for an additional rise. The risk you run is that there may there not be enough active yeast left to get a decent third rise, so you have to consider factors like, how long the first two rises were, how active your yeast is, etc. You can improve your odds if you are gentle with the "punch down" (fold, don't punch), the idea being to push out some but not all of the carbon dioxide and trying to give the yeast some fresh flour to work on.

Autolyse protocol
I read recently on a different bread-making site that the autolyse process is only for the initial combination of flour and water, and that after letting those two ingredients sit together for 20 to 30 minutes, the rest (starter, yeast, salt) should be mixed in. I see in your recipes that you mix everything together first. Have you compared both methods?

Dear Reader:
Once. Technically, you are correct in that autolyse is generally done just flour and water, but I found it rather difficult to incorporate a levain into a rather firm, autolysed ball of flour (especially when hand-kneading). Thus, since I add the levain before the autolyse, I figure I may as well add the salt and the dash of instant yeast up front as well. The only downside is, you can't let it go much more than 25 minutes, or it will start to rise.

Night Feeding
You mention in your baguette recipe that the levain can be fed the night before. Should it be left out all night after the feeding, or can it be used the next morning just out of the refrigerator? By the way, I live in France and I definitely agree with you about the quality of typical French baguette.

Dear Reader:
"Nocturnal stirrings," (my favorite subject line in some time) "night feeding" -- is Daylight Savings responsible for the last few posts? In any event, yes, I leave it out all night so it's nice and bubbly and yeasty in the morning, although I've been known to refrigerate (and remove it in the morning) if I'm not using it till the afternoon. Either way, I wouldn't feed, refrigerate, and use it straight out of the fridge. You want a nice, active levain.

No question, just thanks!
Wow, my first bread (peasant) with my first levain was fantastic! Perfect! I look forward to trying some of your other recipes. Thank you.

Dear Reader:
Thanks for the feedback. Next time I get a "followed your recipe exactly and it's the worst bread ever!" e-mail I'll point them here!

2-Quart container
Hello, Is it really necessary to keep the levain in a 2-quart container? It seems a bit large, given the quantity of levain. Thank you.

Dear Reader:
I suppose not, if you stick with the initial amount. But you may find yourself building up more leavain as you bake more, or before making a big batch of bread, and remember that after feeding, it will increase quite a bit in volume.

Nocturnal stirrings
Hello! I heard your interview on NPR and plan to buy your book. In the meantime, I am on Day 3 of making a levain and have been stirring it every two to three hours, including throughout the night. Fortunately, I'll be done tomorrow but I was wondering if the nighttime stirrings were really necessary. (By the way, both of my children were fed on-demand as babies, so I am used to this type of sleep schedule.)

Dear Reader:
Holy cow, did I say on NPR that I get up in the middle of the night every couple of hourse to stir my levain? No, you can let it sleep along with you during the night! Good luck!

levain revival
having read and become obsessed with your book (it beats looking for a job!) I started a levain months ago, and it's been sluggish for it's whole life. I didn't think of starting over (duh...)but in the meantime I've created some more apple yeast water that I just fed the starter with today...Do you have any wisdom to shed on my frustration? Having taken the starter with me on a road trip, to make sure it got fed, I guess I've grown attached. Thanks for a fabulous book, and for making my Thanksgiving Day complete with your interview on Diane Rehm Show!

Dear Reader:
If you start over make sure to really eally whip in air during the first week. Once you have an established starter you can try: instead of refrigerating after feeding leave it out overnight. And feed frequently. If all else fails you can cheat a little and add a quarter teaspoon of instant yeast to help the wild yeast along. Thanks for your kind words about the book and good luck!

Couche cloth
What is the best way to clean the couche cloth if you are a large bakery?

Dear Reader:
Here's the answer I got from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Hotline: "The couche is made of linen, that has been sized and pressed. A couche is easily cleaned with a firm plastic scraper. Just lay it out flat, with the cut edge closest to you, and gently push the scraper away from you while holding the edge of the couche. Shake the couche out to dispose of any debris. If you must wash the couche, to return it to it's firm state, it will need to be starched and pressed.

More than 1 loaf per week?
I started my levain with great success in August and make a delicious loaf every week. We eat it up so quickly that I wish I could have another before the week is up. Can you feed the starter more often than once a week? It seems logical that you could but I worry that you'd 'dilute' the starter and make it weaker by not letting it sit and age in the fridge for the week. Thanks

Dear Reader:
Absolutely! Professional bakeries feed their starter every day. Just keep a fair amount of in the fridge, like close to a half gallon, and it'll love a daily feeding.

using your starter with other recipes?
I have really enjoyed using your starter to make breads in your book. I'm so excited by the process I'm interested in trying other sourdough recipes. Are starters interchangable; ie: can I use your starter with any sourdough recipe? Thanks!

Dear Reader:
I don't know. I guess I read it somewhere. There's no magic to it. If you prefer a moister loaf you can pull it out earlier. In my own opinion, 195 is a little too moist. I go for at least 205, and honestly, sometimes 210 is hard to reach (as water boils at only 212!)

Temperature of fully baked loaf
I've made 4 of your recipes and am really enjoying the process; thanks! The temperature for a fully baked loaf has me curious, though, as the bread (especially the crust) tends to get a bit too tough and dry (especially the mini baguettes). In Daniel Wing and Alan Scott's The Bread Builders, a temperature range of at least 195 degrees, but not more than 205 degrees, is given. How did you arrive at your temp of 210? Thanks for taking questions; it's great to be able to get answers!

Dear Reader:
Not sure where the magic "210" figure came from, but it's a personal taste. You can certainly pull it out earlier (though 195 sounds a bit moist to me, but to each his own). Truthfully, sometimes I can't reach 210 -- after all, water boils at just 212, but I always get to 205, because I like the bread dry and the crust dark. Again, though, it's a personal preference.

best way to use proofer
i get air pockets in bread after proof and bake.i have a proofer and dont really know how to use it.what to set temp humidity ,time etc.

Dear Reader:
Wish I could help...but I've never used a a proofer. You might try searching on thefreshloaf.com. Best of luck!

success, i think
hello again.......i wrote yesterday about having the gummy middle in my first loaf. well, yesterdays effort was what i would call a success. very crisp crust, moist "holey" middle, not as dense. i did do two smaller loaves which seemed to help. thanks so much for answering my questions. i'm amazed that i actually heard back. life is busy and i know yours is to. have just begun to reread your book in case i may have missed something important. thanks again.we are at 7000 ft.......could that be a factor in any of this? now i'll have to figure a way to get my levain up to alaska for our summer. we have a lodge up there, i'm the cook. don't think the boys would much like this bread though. i do make everything from scratch there but they seem to prefer "softer, whiter" bread. oh well.

Dear Reader:
Sorry, but the bread is a success, not as gummy, good holes...so...what's the question? Actually, forget that: whatever the question is, the answer is, "You're living almost a mile and a half in the sky! It ain't natural!" (Yes, it's going to affect the bread, and you may have to tinker.) And show the boys in Alaska what good bread really is! (Or bring some bread pans and make good pullman-type loaves. No shame in that!)

smell
when does the bread still smell of alcohol even after cooking ?

Dear Reader:
I can't say I've ever smelled alcohol in baked bread -- I suspect that the smell you're detecting is sourdough. Most (but not all) of the alcohol gets driven off during the baking process, but of course the byproducts of fermentation -- sourdough -- remain.

finished bread too dense
finally got to bake my first loaf last nite, but the finished bread is way too dense......it rose beautifully and looks good, but the inside is almost gummy? too much water? not enough baking time? crust is great. i used some sprouted wheat flour, just a bit.....could that be it? am trying again today. my levain is quite thick, not like thick pancake batter at all. its hard to mix the flour/water into it to feed it. don't like the denseness of my loaf......how do i correct that? loved your book. how the heck did people years ago make good bread without all this science?

Dear Reader:
From the website http://nourishedkitchen.com/sprouted-grain-flour/:"Sprouted grain flour produces a rustic, dense loaf of bread so it's best used in multigrain breads where a chewy consistency is valued." But it you used just a bit that should be okay. It sounds like you undercooked the loaf. Don't be afraid of a really dark crust. Also, you might try making two batards from the recipe rather than a boule. That shape help to dry out the interior. If your levain seems too thin, to be sure, throw out most of it, and use what's left as a seed for a new levain (I assume you're using a scale): And make sure the levain is good and bubbly before you start the dough. I've started feeding mine the night before I bake and leaving it out all night. Good luck, and let us know how you make out!

Lame incision is lame
I can't get that cool looking fissure on my boule. It seems like the dough repairs itself after I make the lame slash. The bread doesn't look as good as it should and the innards are a little too moist. Any tips?

Dear Reader:
Finally, an ailment the bread doctor knows the solution to! You need to make your cuts deeper, and get the bread right into the oven quickly. (I usually slash while the loaf is on the peel.) But the main thing is, don't be timid: cut deep!

Funky smell?
Love the book and am now trying to make the levain. It is the 3rd day or feeding and see the statement about funky smell - mine smells winey and of apple and reminds me of bread I have made with rapid yeast - it is making bubbles and rising - should I increase my feedings? is it decaying - should I reduce by half and replace by the same weight of flour and dechlorinated water or should I keep going - this is what it should smell like? Thank you so much - love the book and am looking for the tomato one (I too have spent too much on perfect gardening - can't wait to read). Monica G, Alex., VA

Dear Reader:
It sounds like it's going perfectly! Stay the course, whip often, and good luck!

banana bread
How can I keep non-yeast type breads, like banana bread from falling in the middle?

Dear Reader:
I don't bake a lot of non-yeast breads, but my wife does - and she suggests you preheat the oven 25 degrees higher than what the recipe calls for, then turn it down to the specified temperature when you put in the loaf. Note that opening the oven door usually drops the temp by up to 50 degrees, so you don't want to dally while that's doors open. I'll add that in yeasted breads, falling is generally due to either over-proofing or using too much yeast, so you could have something like that going on as well. Good luck!

Barm to Levain
Mr. Alexander, I have been a fan of bread baking for years (I too have a treasured hardback edition of Beard on Bread with Mr. Beard and the gargantuan loaf on the dust jacket!) and have thoroughly enjoyed 52 Loaves and the peasant boule. Thank you! How would you go about adapting Peter Reinhart's sourdough recipes in The Bread Bakers Apprentice for a levain rather than a barm starter? Tim P, Ionia, MI

Dear Reader:
It's fairly easy, as (if my math is correct) the final composition of Peter's berm (7 oz seed + 16 oz flour + 16 oz water) is about 49% flour to 51% water, and mine levain is 50%/50%, so you can pretty much substitute an equivalent about my levain for his berm.

sick bread joke answer
He had a heel problem!!!! hahahahaha

Dear Reader:
Sorry I asked...

Artificial Flavor in Spray Oil
Mr Alexander, First and foremost please allow me to thank you with utmost gratitude for the remarkable gift of your book, 52 Loaves. Being a relatively novice baker myself, I feel I have been given inspiration, confidence, and a great sense of grace as I apply my efforts at this most fundamental, yet vexing, task of baking bread. Thank you. One question I would like to ask of you if I may: I notice in your video (as well as Peter Reinhart's wonderful book as well)that you recommend using Pam for Baking as a spray for the wicker basket for your peasant loaf to proof in. I've never been a big fan of spray oils due to the propellant, but decided to try them once again as they are much easier to oil the basket, but I am concerned because I discover that Pam for Baking contains an "artificial flavor" additive and after all the careful work of using the best ingredients and preparation, I am afraid this might detract from this wonderful bread! I'm wondering what your thoughts are in regard to this and if you might have other suggestions? Again, thank you so very much for this wonderful gift you have given your hundred's of thousands of readers. Peter F., Cape Cod MA

Dear Reader:
Thanks for your kind words about the book, Peter, and for your interesting question. I've never noticed an off taste from the Pam for Baking, but nevertheless I've kind of gotten away from using it. An environmentally-friendly (and cheaper) alternative is to purchase a refillable oil sprayer (the kind that you pump up) and add your own vegetable oil, then dust the hell out of the basket with rice flour (which is slippery stuff and doesn't turn brown in the oven). Once your baskets have been used a few times, you may find you can skip the oil altogether and just flour the basket. Alternatively you can use a linen-lined basket (San Francisco Baking Institute is a great source - http://sfbi.com). Good luck!

Wild yeast from citrus fruit
Dear Mr. Alexander, I just finished 52 Loaves and enjoyed it immensely! When my daughter was a young teen, she picked an "animal" project for 4-H of capturing wild yeast and making a starter. Ugh. She tried several times with different fruits, but was only able to make the foulest smelling concoctions we could imagine. Eventually she resorted to a commercial yeast for her starter which worked beautifully. After reading your book, I have learned that she likely raised a bumper crop of bacteria with her yeast from fruit. She's away at college now, but I am inspired to try again. We live in Florida, a state NOT know for its apples. In considering what fruit I could use as a yeast source, outside taking a trip to the supermarket, I realized that I might have a great candidate sitting on a tree right outside my back door: citrus! Certainly citrus is fermentable--who hasn't experienced the nasty shock in "off" orange juice at some time. Have you heard of using oranges or grapefruit to make a wild yeast starter? I just cut up a sun-warmed orange from one of our trees to initiate the yeast capture. Hope it works! Bea

Dear Reader:
Hi Bea. I have heard of the use of apples, grapes (very traditional), and if you browse the postings here you'll see that readers have used strawberries, peaches, and other fruit with success. I've never heard of orange juice being used. I'd be wary of the acid affecting the yeast, BUT... Peter Reinhart uses pineapple juice in his starter, so maybe yeast likes the acid. Give it a try -- and let us know how it comes out!

sick bread joke
A loaf of bread went to the doctor. What was its problem? tehehehe :D

Dear Reader:
I give up. What was its problem?

Recipe questions
I bought the scale and thermometer from your Amazon website. Thanks for the suggestion! So I made my first loaf the other day and had several questions: The recipe doesn't specify I should make two boules, but is that the case? Is the 50-60 minute baking time the total time, including the 20 minutes at 480 degrees? Or is it 50-60 min. on top of the 20? I baked mine for 50-55 total, but the crust was almost black and tasted burnt. The inside temp never reached above 203.3 degrees. Thanks, again! Kris

Dear Reader:
Hi Kris. Sorry if my directions weren't clear. The recipe is for one boule or two batards. The baking time is the total time. If the bread came out burnt it's possible that your oven thermostat is off. It is not uncommon for them to vary by as much as 50 degrees. Also, it's possible that your baking cycling turns on the broiler element as well, which will burn the crust. So check those things out before your next loaf -- or just turn down the heat. Good luck!

Splitting/sharing the starter
That is a given with sharing the starter. The levain is in a container on top of the book!!!!

Dear Reader:
Hear that, everyone? The doctor wishes you a happy new year!

Splitting/sharing the starter
I have made the levain (what fun!!). I was telling a coworker about it and she would like some of it. How do I go about splitting it. I was going to remove the 250 grams and give that to her. Can I do that and how (what amounts) of water and flour do I add? Thanks!!

Dear Reader:
You can absolutely do that. Just replace it with 125 g each water and flour. Or you can build yours up a little more than your normally keep, and give her the excess. Of course, a true friend would give her a copy of "52 Loaves" with it...

Alcohol left in homemade bread after baking?
Is there any alcohol left in homemade bread after you've baked it? I cannot consume any alcohol due to a liver problem.

Dear Reader:
Ah, I think you may be responding to my statement in "52 Loaves" that the level of alcohol while dough is fermenting is close to that of light beer. I was tempted to dismiss this out of hand, but you got me wondering...and thumbing through my bread library. I found the answer in my Pyler ("Baking Science and Technology"). He says (p. 637), "Freshly-baked bread, in which most of the alcohol has been volatilized and driven off during baking, still contains some 0.5 percent ethanol" He's talking about bread in general, not homemade, and we can assume that homemade probably has, if anything, a bit more alcohol than commercial, if you're making it right. He doesn't say what happens after a day (I would think it continues to lose alcohol as it dries out), but if you want to look up the original reference he's relying on, it's: Wiseblatt,L. Cereal Chem. 37, 728 (1960). If you find anything interesting, please let us know.

Whole grain recipe?
Thanks for your book and all the work it represents. I love the peasant bread but wonder if you have suggestions on how I could use the levain to make a loaf with more whole grains.

Dear Reader:
Sure. Two ways you can go: 1) Simply substitute more whole grains for the white flour in my peasant bread recipe. You will need to add more water as well, as whole grains absorb more, but now that you've made peasant bread a few times, you have a feel for how the dough should look and feel. 2) Take you favorite whole or mixed-grain recipes and substitute about a quarter to a third of the flour and water for an equal amount of levain. Since our levain is 50/50 water/flour, this is easy. So replace, say, 125 grams of flour and 125 of water with 250 grams levain. At the same time, reduce the commerical yeast to a 1/8 teaspoon or so (you may need to experiment). Finally, if you're a whole-grain diehard, you can make a levain from whole grain. Lots of people like a whole rye starter in particular. Let us know how you make out, and if you hit on something good, post it as a comment on the peasant bread recipe comments page!

a scale
I've been baking bread off and on for years (no bread machine or mixer, always hand-kneading). But I confess to feeling like an utter novice when I read that I need to buy a metric scale for your peasant bread. Any suggestions for the kind/brand/features of the scale? About how much money will it set me back? Is it absolutely necessary or can your recipes be converted into volume measurements? Thanks! Kris

Dear Reader:
My Amazon store (reached from my blog or directly at http://astore.amazon.com/the64toma-20) has the one that I use. They start at $20; most are $25. I love mine! Has everything you need: a "tare" or zero-out feature, good capacity, accurate to the gram. I find myself using it for other things as well, and you may, too. Good luck!

No More No-Knead Bread
I enjoyed your interview with Diane. I have been making bread at home long enough to have memorized the Tassajara recipe. I was on the way towards making bread with levain through another book when the No-Knead phenomenon arrived. My wife thought it the best ever and took the wind out of my sails with levain, since my efforts had been spotty. It negated my preparation and acquisitions. When would I ever use the Super Peel? Why bother with the stone that smelled up the house when I tempered it? Last week I resurrected the starter--it can come to life after a month's neglect, I've done it before--and I got out the digital scale that was unused. I have to say the results were very promising. The boule was a bit flat, the crust thicker than the No-Knead, but the crumb is superior and full of irregular gas pockets, and it's slightly sour, which you don't get with No-Knead unless you add beer. Plus this recipe gets me back on track. Thanks for letting us benefit from your experiences.

Dear Reader:
Thanks for the note, and glad you've seen the light! You might want to try making 2 batards from the recipe if your boule is a bit flat. The higher crust-to-crumb ratio gives is more flavor, as well. Keep slingin' that dough!

home made bread
the receipe said to bake at 400 for 20minutes and then turn oven down to 300 for 25 minutes. and in the first 20 minutes the crust turned almost black and by the time is was done it was almost burned. Can you tell me why?

Dear Reader:
Actually the recipe for peasant bread says to bake at 480, then turn down to 425, so if your bread burned at 400 in only 20 minutes, the doctor's prescription is that you take the oven's temperature - that is, buy an oven thermometer and see if your thermostat is off by a hundred degrees or so. The only other conceivable thing I can imagine is that the broiler element was on and the direct heat burned the top of bread. Good luck!

metricsystem
how does a doctor use the metric system

Dear Reader:
The bread doctor finds the metric system far superior (and easier) when weighing ingredients for bread, especially when doing things like trying to determine the percentage of water in a recipe or increasing a recipe by half. Once you switch, you'll never go back; trust me!

Wash the apples or not?
I'll need to get them from a grocery store, so I worry about what else is on those apples besides wild yeast. Is it OK to lightly wash them, or will that remove all the yeast?

Dear Reader:
You can lightly rinse them -- but don't wipe them down afterward. There's plenty of wild yeast in the flour as well, so you should be OK. Another reason for the apple, btw, is its sugar, which kick-starts the fermentation. Good luck with your levain!

microwave rising
Some years ago, I used a microwave - set at 10% - to raise the dough both times and then baked it as usual and there wasn't any difference that my jaded palette could detect - what's your judgement?

Dear Reader:
I can picture Raymond Calval, the champion of long, cool fermentation,rolling in his grave. The slow rise with little yeast allows for flavors to develop (this is explained in detail in the book). Of course, if you like the bread, then whatever works, but if you tried, say, a 5 hour fermentation (with little yeast and hopefully a starter) you might detect a significant difference.

low carb dieting and artisan bread
I was intrigued by your statement that it is possible to eat peasant bread and not gain weight. My husband and I love peasant bread, and I was making some using the no-knead/fridge batch method before we started to eat low-carb. We really need to lose weight, but if you have suggestions for how to make a low-carb bread, maybe we could add a bit of bread back without breaking our diet. Thanks in advance.

Dear Reader:
Making low-carb bread is a challenge at home, because you don't have access to the fillers that commercial companies use to make their bread "low carb." But as I'm sure you know, there are carbs and there are carbs, and whole grain carbs are healthier and less likely to end up on your hips. So, long story short, make whole wheat bread. If you don't like the heaviness of whole wheat flour, try a white whole wheat flour. King Arthur makes one. In either case, you'll need to increase the water in the recipe due to the absorbency of the bran. One other trick a dieter taught me about bread: when you go to a restaurant and they put out the bread basket, if you find it hard to resist (I do), only eat the crust. Good luck!

But it's sticky!
I have a confession to make. It was the KitchenAid mixer, received as a Christmas gift, that got me to finally bake bread. Why? Because my experience of it in my youth was that kneading by hand was an impossible mess, with dough sticking to my hands, and then more dough sticking to that dough, and so on until the dough left on the board was half of what I started with because the other half was glued to my palms. Now - I think I need to learn to do this by hand if I'm really going to get the right consistency. My first loaf of your Peasant Bread was good - but it was a bit wet so it was hard to shape it, and it did flatten considerably when I turned it out of the colander. First, I figure I can use a little less water - or a little more flour. Second - I need to do it by hand. How, oh how, do I manage to do this without half of it going down the drain when I wash my hands?!

Dear Reader:
As you knead by hand, the dough will indeed be quite sticky at first, but should become less tacky after a few minutes. Dipping you hands in water before beginning can help a bit, but usually don't worry about it - I just scrape the dough off my hands near the the end. If the loaf is so wet that it won't hold a boule shape long enough to get into the oven, though, your dough may be too wet. Try cutting back on the water, 10 grams at a time. You might want to look at my kneading video if you haven't already. Good luck!

Cheap and easy colander lining
A comment more than a question...I could not find a nice basket like you use but had a perfect sized colander. Also, I couldn't find a linen cloth my wife or I was willing to give up. Instead, I spray a paper towel with oil (Bounty has a nice pattern with dimples on one side) and then flour it well. Doesn't stick to the boule at all, leaves some nice flour dust behind, and cleans up real easy.

Dear Reader:
I love it -- especially the dimples part! Who'd a thunk that would work... Thanks for sharing the tip.

Peasant Bread Ingredient Options?
William, do you have any recipes that include adding other ingredients to the peasant bread recipe. I have that down beautifully but want to vary the ingredients? Can you make a raisin bread variant? Thank you. Bobby

Dear Reader:
I don't, having been rather single-minded about achieving my perfect peasant loaf. However, I encourage you to play with it, and turn it into raisin and other breads. For an idea of where to start (for example, how much sugar to add for raisin bread), I suggest looking in Reinhart's or Leader's bread cookbooks or any other book that gives the baker's percentages. Once you have that, it's easy -- just multiply the specificed percentage by 620 grams (the amount of total flour, including what's in the levain) to get the number of grams of "additives."

Can I maker my Levain hibernate at day 5?
Murphy's law has reared its ugly head. It took 5 or 6 days for my apple water to show signs of life. Last night I started "day 1" of building my Levain, and I just realized I leave the country tomorrow night. Beloved spouse does NOT share my love of the kitchen. Can I freeze the Levain at the end of day 2, or am I doomed to begin anew next Thursday when I return? I know that your first rec commendation is to take it as carry on, but . . .

Dear Reader:
Nice timing...but we needn't go there. I've known of bakers who have frozen a mature levain for a few weeks, but I suspect there's less chance of success in freezing a nascent one. But what do you have to lose? All things considered, it's probably safer in the freezer than left with your "beloved spouse" (who, by the way, will change her tune when you start baking incredible bread, and after all you've been through with the levain, it WILL be incredible bread). Let the doctor know how you make out, and bon voyage! (and if you have to start over, try bottled water this time -- just in case its something in that Long Island water that's suppressing the yeast...

My levain smells like bananas.
Love the book, love the bread! I am just wondering what a levain is supposed to smell like. I made with apple water, and my levain is now five months old and smells remarkably like bananas. It makes very good bread, but I was just curious if this is normal. Thanks!

Dear Reader:
Hmm. It's hard to describe exactly, but "bananas" is not the word that comes to mind. But it might just be a perceptual thing, or have to with your local yeast. If it bubbles, and doesn't smell horrible (and most importantly, tastes good in bread) I'd say you're stick with it.

Dough sticks to floured cloth
Loved the book, as did members of my group Banquets and Books (we talk food books while we eat and drink.) Just made my second loaf. Both times I get a wonderful loaf, chewy crust, fantastic flavor, nice "holes", etc. etc. BUT the loaf flattens out and I know why--when I go to turn it out of the colander where it rose, the part that was at the bottom sticks to the floured cloth and pulls away in pieces and globs--despite the fact that it is a very well-floured cloth. So, I lose the effects of the rise, AND I lose the surface tension, etc. Instead, I get a mess of dough pulls and breaks all over the top. How can I keep the dough from sticking to the cloth. Thanks.

Dear Reader:
I suspect the problem lies either with the type of cloth you are using (linen or linen canvas is best) or the wetness of the dough. If a change in cloth doesn't help, trying 10 less grams of water. Also, I often use a plastic "woven" basket that I bought for a buck in a kitchen supply store instead of a colander. Spray the heck out of it with Pam for Baking and nothing will stick to it!

Very Hard Crust and Unshapely
Love the book! I've made about 4 loaves so far, and while they are delicious, the boule flattens out when I take it out of the proofing bowl. The resulting loaf is disc like. I'm guessing I need to improve upon my boule forming technique. Secondly, the crust of my bread is very hard. Some would say it's burnt! It seems like this could be fixed by either a lower initial heat OR less time at the initial heat. I'll try both, but I wonder if you have a suggestion.

Dear Reader:
Sounds like many of my early loaves. Try reducing the water by 10 grams or so. Also, when you form the boule, kind of dredge it in flour on the countertop. That can help create service tension to hold the shape. As for the crust, check your oven with an oven thermometer. In terms of reducing the heat, I still light the high heat to start with, then reducing after 10-15 minutes. If all else fails, make a batard instead. I've become a big fan of batards since writing the book. Good luck!

Parisian Bakeries
I've read $64 Tomato and then read you 52 Loaves with much interest after hearing you on NPR. I am vacationing in Paris and made a list of the Parisian bakeries that you recommended before I left but left the list at home - any chance that you have it in list form that you could email me? Please?

Dear Reader:
Not without your e-mail address, I can't...but I can reply here: Eric Kayser (try his pain de mie), Poilâne (of course), Boulangerie Gana for his "flute", said to be the best baguette in Paris (I didn't make it there, however), Basil Kamir, and Poujauran (near the Eiffel Tower) has the best baguette I tasted in Paris. Bon Appetit! The doctor will be in France next week. Let's hope they stop these strikes!

Biga and Poolish
First of all, I loved your book. My grandfather owned multiple bakeries before I was born. Bread has to be in my veins somewhere! You excited me enough to find out. I do have some confusion though. Is a poolish and a biga the same thing? I have a baker who would like to share their levain with me but I didn't know if maybe a poolish was a better place to begin. Then I read a biga recipe and the reviewers said it wasn't for a beginner. Now I am not sure what to try first!

Dear Reader:
Well, there are no absolutes here, but in general, a biga is a thick poolish; that is, with more the consistency of dough than batter. Both are considered "pre-ferments" that give the bread improved flavor and texture and both are freshly usually made with commercial yeast (though bakers who bake every day often keep their bigas going by using a bit of today's dough for tomorrow). I don't why a recipe would scare off readers from using a biga. But if a baker is offering you a leavin, TAKE IT! It will, in my opinion, do much more for your bread than either of the others, and an established levain is easy to care for. Good luck!

Sticky dough, bread not too bad!
Mr. Alexander, I went ahead and baked the super sticky dough (see below) and it turned out to be an edible bread =) Our family had it for dinner and the boys loved it. It was strangely shaped, though. I wonder if it was the fact that I didn't use the rye flour in your recipe; I only had bread and whole wheat flours at home. I will try a bit less water next time. I'm using the KA brand, and I noticed they have a "white whole wheat" flour with 13% protein, higher than their bread flour. Have you used this one instead of regular white flour? Using some more whole wheat would make my baking even more acceptable for my wife... though she's far from complaining!

Dear Reader:
I doubt that the rye flour mattered much. I just use it for flavor and it has similar properties to the whole wheat you substituted for it. I just started a batch of bread myself, and was reminded just how wet and almost gloppy it is. I wouldn't say sticky, as it pulls almost clean off the countertop, but I suspect your dough is just fine -- but not what you're used to or expectd. I have used the KA whole wheat white, but not in this recipe. It's a lighter strain of whole wheat flour for those who want whole wheat but not the dense, dark bread that whole wheat makes. I'd say if it makes your wife happy, give it a try, either using half and half or going right to 100% whole wheat. You may need to add more water and another pinch of yeast, as the bran tends to absorb more water. Let me know how it turns out!

Sticky dough
Mr. Alexander, Thanks for your response on "levain not bubbling" below. I started a new one with very hazy plums and blueberries and got much better results. Today was the day to make my first loaf. But I ended up with very sticky dough. I hand kneaded for 10min, 15min, and it was still sticky. I got a little smoother after 30min, so I stopped to let it sit for 5 hours. When it came time to move to colander, it was very sticky again. I may put it in the trash and try again next Sunday. Advice? Thanks.

Dear Reader:
Congratulations on the levain. As far as the sticky dough, I suspect it was a little too wet. Perhaps the brand of flour you're using doesn't absorb as much water as the King Arthur I use. So you might solve the problem by simply adding add'l flour. But note that this kind of dough will be stickier than what you mother mixed up because it *is* wetter, and there isn't anything intrinsically wrong with sticky. Ideally, it should be tacky to the counter but pull away almost clean and the first few turns. Check out my kneading video to get a better idea. Sorry I don't have a more definitive answer, but let me know how you make out.

Hydration %
I just made my first loaf of your peasant bread. I'm a bit confused about the water % of the total weight. I followed your recipe exactly and assuming the Levain is 50/50 water/flour my calcs on the total % of water in the bread come to only 40% which seems too low (and the bread was pretty dry!) grams % wght --------------- All-Purpose Flour 400 38% Levain Flour 130 12% Levain Water 130 12% <----- Whole Wheat Flour 60 6% Rye Flour 30 3% Salt 13 1% Water 292 28% <----- -------------- ------ Total Grams 1055 Total Water % 40% Yeast 1/8 tsp A lot of what I've read talks about 60 to 65% water. Have I missed something ?

Dear Reader:
Aha! You need to (re)read Week 19! Everyone makes this mistake at one time or another, but the hydration is the percentage of water to the flour, not to the total (water+flour+salt+yeast). So, we have 620g flour and 422 g water. The hydration (or baker's percentage of water) is thus 422/620 = 68%. I'm surprised you found the dough dry, however. It's usually a pretty moist dough, but if it feels dry next time, add more water. Different flours have different properties. Thanks for the question, and good luck!

Beginner
I,too, heard about your book on NPR. Last night when I arrived with you at Abbaye Saint-Wandrille I decided it was about time for me to become a player. I've placed an initial order with King Arthur ...... can't wait to get started. Thanks for a fabulous read! No doubt, there will be a host of questions to follow.

Dear Reader:
Welcome to the dark arts. I look forward to hearing from you when you start baking!

Levain not bubbling/growing
Mr. Alexander, I'm on Day 4 of the levain, and it has only produced a few bubbles. Also, it's apparently not growing in volume. I started with local peaches. Yesterday (Day 3) I did two feedings instead of one hoping to make something happen. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Dear Reader:
Hmm. I wonder if there's something in the peaches that yeast doesn't like. Was the peach water fermenting (i.e., bubbling and had an alcohol-like aroma) before you added the flour? If not, I'd have to suspect the peaches and would have you start over using apples or grapes. If you peach water *was* fermenting, you may not be stirring enough at this stage. Try whipping some air into it several times and day, and if you still can't revive it, start over -- there's no shame in that.

Tackiness Revisited
Thank you for your advice. Ive decided to start a new levain. I used two while apples instead of one apple and the peal of an additional apple. I also let the apples set on the window sills for several day hoping to grow a little haze on the skins. I chopped the apples and set them in a bowl of water (4 cups). Three days later I think I have yeast. The amount of bubbles on the surface of the water is much more evident than my last try. It almost looks like a yeast proof one would expect from store bought yeast in warm water. Thanks for your advice. Robert

Dear Reader:
If the levain doesn't work out, it sounds like you're on the way to good apple jack, at least. Mmmmm....apple jack....

Oven Spring Redux
I think I may have stumbled on the solution. The first rise more than doubled in two hours so I formed a boule and proofed for one hour. I got nice oven spring and beautiful grignes.

Dear Reader:
Hey Rick, Glad you found the solution to your oven spring problem while the doctor making a house call. Especially since I didn't have a solution. Bon appetit!

Oven Spring
Dear Dr Bread, I am having a great time baking peasant bread using your recipe and techniques, thank you. I have a problem with oven spring. I use a 30 lb granite slab as a baking stone. I preheat to 500 and reduce to 480 after browning, etc. My changes to your recipe are: making a poolish with 30g rolled oats, 60g whole wheat flour, 50g bread flour, 292g water, and 1/4t active dry yeast. The poolish sits at 75 degrees for eight hours then I make the dough with 260g nicely active levain, all of the poolish, and 350g bread flour. I autolise for 25 min then add 8g salt. Knead for 7 min. Let rise for 4 hours. Gently degas, form the boule and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours in a floured cotton cloth in a colander. I slash with my homemade lame, pop it onto my granite slab, and pour 1C water into a hot pan on the bottom shelf. The result is delicious but it doesn't spring as high as the picture of your loaf. Any thoughts? Rick M

Dear Reader:
Beats me.

Tactiness
Dear Mr. Alexander, I loved your book. I've struggled for years trying to make bread. I've tried your recipe twice (Peasant Bread) and am only able to produce a loaf of brick. The dough consistancy before placed in the oven is so moist, it can't hold any shape. I'm wondering if the levain is too watery or if I should use more flower while shaping the boule. Help. Robert Macfarlane 8A Columbia Drive Londonderry, NH 03053

Dear Reader:
Hi Robert, Hmm. If it's not holding its shape, it does sound too wet. Try adding a little more flour. Also, since it sounds like the bread isn't rising, are you sure your levain is good? It should become bubbly a couple of hours after feeding. Finally, after dealing with those issues, you might try forming the dough into two batards instead of a boule. The higher ratio of crust to crumb can help out a troubled loaf. Let the doctor know you make out.

levain
Should I add a little whole wheat flour to my levain occasionally or just stick with the bread flour? Also, I couldn't find King Arthur bread flour in my local grocery so I bought Stone-Buhr bread flour. The protein content is higher than King Arthur (5g/30g serving vs 4g/30g). The bread turned out fine so I guess it doesn't matter that much?

Dear Reader:
I don't add whole wheat to my levain, but there are bakers who do. It will change the character of it a bit,so you might want to first experiment with only half of it. And of course, once you add whole wheat to it, you can no longer make true white bread (e.g., baguettes) with it. Stone-Buhr bread flour has a listed protein content of 11.5 - 12.1%, right in line with the KA all-purpose flour that I use, so you're in good shape there. (The grams of protein listed on the bag is an approximation: I like to to to a company's website for exact specifications.)

Can a stone be too thick?
I bought a 16x36 inch slab of 3cm thick granite and had it cut down to 14x18 to fit my oven. I preheated the oven to 500 degrees. It took nearly an hour for the heating element to cycle off. When I reduced the heat to 480 the element came on for a brief time to make up for the lost heat while the door was open but after that the element never came on again. The bread was nicely done in twenty minutes. Is it baking too fast?

Dear Reader:
Wow, that *is* a thick stone (and probably a beautiful one as well), but I don't think it's too thick. What you're really doing is kind of cool: simulating a wood-fired brick or clay oven, where the fire is extinguished before baking, with the walls of the oven providing the heat. If the bread is good, and cooked all the way through, then stick with it; otherwise you might try turning down the oven a bit, in 25-degree increments.

The reason for the long preheating time btw is more due to the fact that the stone interferes with circulation and stops the heat from reaching the thermostat sensor than the thickness of the stone. I use my oven's convection setting during pre-heating to get around that problem.

About those Hazy Apples..
Does the hazy apple have to be ripe? Our apple trees are loaded this year, but won't be ripe for another month at best. Do I have to wait, or can I go snag one and try it now?

Dear Reader:
I'd say you go ahead and grab a couple now. The only thing you'll be missing is the bonus of added natural sugar, which many starter recipes don't worry about. And you could always add a pinch of sugar to the apple water if after a couple of days it hasn't begun to smell a bit cidery.

Any Ideas for a stone?
What type of pizza stone? Where do you buy a good one? What do I look for? Thanks

Dear Reader:
You can't go wrong with the one from from King Arthur. In terms of what to look for, the thicker the better. And stay away from anything that says it needs to be "cured" first. It will drive you out of your house with the smell.

Levain for Miche?
William, I want you to know that you have made me a hero among my family members! I have baked three loaves of Peasant Bread and six loaves of French Bread and they all turned out great. I want to attempt the Miche next and notice that it calls for 500 grams of levain. Do I just feed it 250 flour and 250 water 2 hours before I bake? Also, any idea where I can find fresh yeast? I live in Charlotte, NC. and can't find it anywhere. Online mail order? I really enjoyed your book and have three friends starting the process. Thank you! Bobby

Dear Reader:
Dear Hero, Depending on how much levain you have, you may want to build it up with an extra feeding or two before dipping into 250g of it. Or feed before baking, and replenish after. I've taken to feeding the night before, btw, which allows a little more time to bake the next day and also yields a slightly livelier levain. As for yeast, I don't use fresh yeast, only instant. I've seen it in some grocery store in the dairy section, but these days it's generally sold only in bulk. With its short shelf life, I wouldn't bother, unless your monks insist on it, as mine did. The instant is just fine, and more consistent.

Confused - 75 gm flour and 75 gm water
So this has been a great week watching the levain grow but unfortunately today, day 4, I sent it swimming. According to the directions, I added the remaining water which I assumed was from the reserved tap water. I had 500 ml left and added it all. Was it supposed to be remaining apple water? or resrvd. tap water? It would also be very helpful if you did not mix quarts, grams, cups. When you say 75 grams of flour and 75 grams of water, is that volume or weight? Am I supposed to measure weight or measure volume? Very confusing directions but I am determined and will try again. Please clarify. Leslie, Jul 18, 2010

Dear Reader:
Sorry you were confused, Leslie. Yes, you did indeed "send it swimming," but you may be able to rescue it. First let me try to clarify a couple of things that I admit were not totally clear: 1. "Reserved tap water" refers to the the quart or so of tap water that you started with and first used to make the apple water. 2. Whenever I use volume references (a quart of tap water, a cup for the apples) these are imprecise measurements that don't really have to be precise because we are just getting some "raw ingredients" ready that we'll weigh out later in the course of making the levain. 3. "Grams" is a measure of weight, not volume, so wherever you see "grams" you weigh. In fact, other than the case I gave above, you always weigh. 4. On the last day, I wanted you to add "the remaining 100 g of flour and 100 g water," not all the remaining water. So you added, as I think you've realized now, 400 g (or 400 ml -- same thing) too much water. If you still have the levain, try adding another 400 g of flour, to get back to your 50/50 ratio. If it starts bubbling in a few hours, you're good to go. Hope this makes sense! Let me know how you make out.

Bread for Celiac. Where to buy it.
Hi, I want to know where I can order bread for Celiac people like me. You mentioned this on the radio with Diane Rhem, but I can't remember. Also is your bread good for Celiac? At the moment I cannot make it b/c I have 5 kids Thank you for all, Marta

Dear Reader:
Hi, Marta. I'm afraid all I said to Diane was that I wasn't familiar with it, not having the problem myself. You might want to check the King Arthur Flour website. They sell a gluten-free flour (and a cook book) but I've never tried either. Best of luck.

baking time
I found that my loaf was done after just 35 mintues. I preheated to 500, baked for twenty minutes at 480, and reduced to 425 for the next 15 minutes. I was baking on a 3 inch thick, flattish piece of rough basalt. I left the loaf on parchment paper and the paper charred. The loaf was delicious. I live at 5000 ft elevation. Why didn't baking time take 50-60 minuts as per recipe? Rick M

Dear Reader:
Simply lower your altitude by 5,000 feet and you'll be fine. Re parchment paper, yes, it will char in a 500-degree oven. Once I went to that high a temp (I actually preheat to 525 these days) I stopped using it, switching instead to a Super Peel or rice flour on a wooden peel.

Tour
Heard the NPR interview and just started chapter 1. Fantastic! I own a restaurant that champions sustainable fish, the sources of and ultimately the food we eat... Our food rusticly recreates dishes like coq au vin with fish, and believe every meal begins with eyes and nose. Long story short, I'd really like to see you out in sf (hey, raj patel is out here tonight). I believe authors both draw and advise consumers to better and brighter view, and there are many outstanding restaurants besides us that would fill the house to have you host a dinner and book signing. Thoughts? Bill Foss. Bill@331fish.com. 415 465 9100

Dear Reader:
"Coq au vin with fish" -- isn't that "poisson au vin"? Regardless, keep up the good work, and maybe I'll be able to catch up with you on my next tour.

Can't throw away the Levain!
I have found the perfect bread after ~40 years! I'm still treating the Levain as an infant, but can't stand the thought of throwing away some just to feed. Thus, I go ahead and start the process and after kneading, I just immediately seal in a clean (no soap) plastic container with lid and store in refrigerator until I can bake as usual. I have now stored for 6 days prior to baking and it was great as usual. How many days do you think I can store in cold prior to baking and can you freeze?

Dear Reader:
Congrats on your perfect bread! Only 40 years? Actually, if I bake at least once a week, I never throw away levain. I feed the night before with the amount I'm going to use in the bread, so I maintain a steady supply. You can safely go a week between feedings with a mature, refrigerated levain. I've heard you can freeze it, but I've never tried it.

Protractor
Bought and love your book after NPR interview. Didn't have a scraper so used my kids' protractor. Works great!

Dear Reader:
Not surprised ... I use my bench scraper for my kids' math homework.

Question on the levain
I heard your spot on NPR a couple weeks ago and have been trying to use your bread recipe. My question stems from the fact that I live in Phoenix so I was curious if the recipe should be tweaked at all due to the dry climate. One way that I can help you answer the question is that after the 3 day period for the apple water and after Day 1 my levain has risen and formed a crust over the top. I was able to salvage the dough underneath and add water and flour but not sure if I need to start over. Is the Levain supposed to watery or almost like a dough? From the start of Day 1 it has had a dough consistency. Again I am concerned about the dry air and possible excessive evaporation during the Apple water phase.

Dear Reader:
I would think that Phoenix in summer can certainly have an effect not only on your levain but on your dough, so you might need to increase the water. However, the levain does start out a little stiff. It will get thinner later, to the consistency of thick pancake batter. But it shouldn't be as stiff as dough. Add a little more water, and don't worry too much about the correct ratios as this point, as add the subsequent additions of equal parts (by weight) of flour and water will even things out in the end. Good luck!

Funky Smell
I'm almost finished with the levain. My question is about the funky smell you mention. The undisturbed, bubbly levain has only a very faint, doughy aroma. But the gas trapped in the bubbles, while not unpleasant, is pungent and cidery. Since funky is in the eye of the beholder, I thought I'd ask your opinion. Thanks for a rollicking good time so far.

Dear Reader:
That's the alcohol in the bubbles you're smelling, and "pungent and cider" sounds perfect. Keep whipping in air and, with any luck, you're on your way - Bon appetit!

My First Peasant Bread Had Wonderful Holes...But
I followed your peasant bread recipe with my new scale, but the dough was too moist so I added more flour. The crust looks like the best bread and it had great holes,the only problem was the crumb in between the holes is tight, heavy, and slightly moist. I was given a very good starter for Fathers Day. So, not the perfect loaf yet but close. Impressive for the first one. I was at your reading in Portland, OR Your booked opened a whole new world of bread making, I was in the inconsistent rut of hit and miss. Thank You for the great book, I enjoyed your time in the Abbaye Saint=Wandrille. Craig

Dear Reader:
Hi Craig, That was a fun event in Portland. Re your bread, it's very possible that the dough *wasn't* too wet. Bakers today use much wetter doughs than, say, Fannie Farmer. That being said, opening up the crumb was the focus of much of my year of baking, so I know exactly what you're talking about (and unfortunately don't have an answer). As for the moistness, don't be afraid to bake the bread to a deep brown -- almost burned, and you can turn the oven off and leave the loaf in there for 20 minutes with the door cracked open for a bit. Also, try forming two batards, instead a boule. The thinner loaf and higher ratio of crust to crumb helps dry out the bread. But it sounds like not a bad start for your loaf with my recipe. -- Dr. Bill

Wild Yeas vs. pinch of dry yest starter
Dear William, I just enjoyed reading your book, congratulations! Clay oven is my next dream project. I am originally form Ukraine and almost a year ago I started baking my own version of black Russian that I grew up eating. I use my own starter that I made from whole wheat flower or rye and water. I also added a pinch of dry yeast to it in the beginning. I guess it was cheating, but I really like the final product. Now after reading your book I started my own "honest" starter from black currants. It is the only fruit I have in my garden now. It got bubbles alright, but smells very different, not bad smell, but very different. I like my old starter better. Any ideas why it is so different? Or it is simply not matured yet? Also, can you recommend where I can find information of health benefits of using wild yeast vs. dry yeast kind. And finally, I make my own cottage cheese and use left over whey instead of water. It is healthier and I read that it makes it bake more even. I can't discard anything, so if I have more starter, I use more starter and if I have left over oats from kids breakfast it goes into bread too.:-) inna

Dear Reader:
Hi Inna, Without smelling your starter, it's hard to say, but it does take a while (a month or so) for it to mature. Make sure to whip in plenty of air to favor yeast over bacteria. Give it a chance, and if you don't like it, stick with your old starter. I'll bet you there's more wild yeast in there than commercial at this point. I'm not aware of any health benefits of wild yeast vs. dry. I love that you use the whey from homemade cottage cheese(!) in your bread and that you don't throw anything away. Thanks for the note.

Confused about use grams for liquids
Deaa William, I have made my starter and the dough is rising but you have me all confused!! Being the Dutch farmers daughter I thanbk you for your reply. I grew up with the metric system and I was pleased to see the use of grams. But when you used grams for liquid .......... I stopped. Liquid always goes in liters, deciliters or centiliters whith a small quantity and grams is for solid weight. On page 326 you say: 'take 75 gram of water and 75 gram of the flour mixture feeding the levain'. You use the same amount of weight but on page 328 you write: 'that same amount of water and flour( in a ratio of 3 parts water and 1 part flour)'. What am I missing? How can a ratio of 3:1 be the same as equal parts? Translating solid grams to liquid liters also is a problem, what system is being used here? Cheerio, Nicolien

Dear Reader:
Nocolien, I don't know what they teach about the metric system in the Netherlands, but 100 ml water weighs 100 grams. Sure, you can measure it by volume if you're more comfortable with that, but I guarantee you'll get more accurate results if you weight out 100 grams instead. You can weigh anything: solid, liquid, or gas. Regarding the other question, I have to plead guilty to confusing wording. What I mean to say is to replace the gray water that accumulates on top of the starter with an approximately equivalent amount of the water/flour mixture that it consists of, which is about a 3:1 ratio. So if you pour off 40g on grey water, replace with 30g of water and 10g flour -- clear? Glad to hear you made a successful starter -- you're halfway there!

wild yeast
can you also get "wild yeast" from the "haziness" on plums???

Dear Reader:
I would think so. I'd throw in like 3, split into quarter, and see what happens.

grape starter
Bill/William,I truly enjoyed your NPR interview! I am hoping on recieving your book for Fathers day.I would like to use grapes from my garden to get a starter going, can you give me advice on amount (weight) of grapes to begin with.I will then adapt to your apple starter recipe. Thank you, David

Dear Reader:
Thanks. Hope you got the Father's Day gift you deserve. As far as the grapes go, I'd throw in like three handfuls. The amount isn't critical, as you're going to discard them later anyway. Let me know how it works out.

pumpernickel bread recipe
Hi William, I'm presently making a dark rye bread that calls for 1/2 cup of molasses and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. Is it possible to lower these amounts and receive the same results that I have been getting for a perfect bread? Harris again!

Dear Reader:
You again, Harris? If this is a foreshadowing of what's going to happen when we all have free health care, we're gonna need a lot more doctors. Anyway, I'm bailing out on you on this one. I've no idea. Perhaps you should consult a specialist. That being said...try it; what's the worst that can happen. Flour is cheap.

top falls in is back
Hi William, I'm glad that you have nothing to do except answer questions from pains like us retired dad's. I have reduced the yeast by a 1/4 tsp. How much more can I reduce it by and not compromise the results? I have always made my breads using King Arthur Flour. Harris

Dear Reader:
It's indeed a sad state of affairs. I need a life. Now, are you using KA bread machine flour, or all purpose? (Use the machine flour, if you're not). Try reducing the yeast by half of the original amount. But keep in mind you're taking advice (or not) from someone who (with all this idle time on his hands) never uses a bread machine (OK, so I used it once [chapter 38]), so take this all with a grain of salt. Or yeast. Or whatever....

top falls in is back
Hi William, I appreciate your fast response, but I'm afraid that my daughter who now uses the Breadman would not be eating this healthy bread that she makes in my old machine if she had to hand knead it. So, I'm back to the same question, why is the bread falling after the final rise, and it starts to bake and falls in, in the middle?

Dear Reader:
Bet if you gave her a copy of the book she would :) Kneading my way only takes 5 minutes!! (Less time than to clean the bread machine, but some people use the machine ONLY to knead, and bake the bread in the oven, which isn't a bad compromise.) In any event, as much as it pains me to even attempt to diagnose bread machine problems,the bread doctor's Hippocratic oath requires him to treat all patients. So... Sounds like the bread is over-rising, so I'd cut back on the yeast and maybe use a really high-gluten flour like King Arthur bread flour if problems persist. (Now be a good dad and give your daughter a good read...even if she sticks with Mr. Breadman!)

Reviving levain
I enjoyed your interview on the Diane Rehm Show and appreciate your interest in creating good bread; as compared with so many recent works which offer bread that conforms to a modern hectic lifestyle. Your efforts have rekindled my interest in a project from last fall. And therein lies my question. Back in the fall I acquired a small quantity of grapes from a local organic vineyard and extracted a levain from it. A number of loaves later the results were promising but far short of truly good bread. Over the winter I stopped working with the levain and left it in the refrigerator for several months. The color and texture has not changed. Can this levain be revived? Can you offer suggestions on how to do so? Is there a better method of storing levain when you are not using it for more than a short time?

Dear Reader:
I suspect that if you haven't used your levain for a few months, it's dead. An easy test: add some flour and water and leave it out for a few hours. If you don't get any bubbling (or it smells foul), it's dead, so you'll need to start over (local grapes are a good way to start, btw). If you're not baking regularly, you need to feed the levain weekly or so (you may need to discard some first so you don't end up with a barrel of the stuff. Now, I've heard that you can freeze it, but I've never tried that, so take with a grain of salt.

Hazy apple?
What does a hazy apple look like?

Dear Reader:
It kind of looks like the haze that appears on the inside of the windshield of your car (which is caused by outgassing of the plastics used in the interior). I suspect most apples, hazy or not, have wild yeast on them (as does the flour you'll be adding), but I feel better using one that has a visible haze.

Digital version
Is this book going to be released in a digital version, and if so when?

Dear Reader:
52 Loaves should, I've been told, be available in all popular digital formats (Kindle, Nook, and others) within a couple of weeks. Thanks for your patience!

How do I get black Russian bread darker?
My Black Russian bread comes out brown, but not as dark as I see in the store. Is Black Russian the same as Pumpernickel?

Dear Reader:
I believe that both of those breads (and I think black Russian is a little heavier than pump.) actually get their dark color from the addition of artificial coloring, which you certainly don't want to do at home. But you can make dark rye or pumpernickel at home by adding about a tablespoon of molasses and either a couple of teaspoons of liquid caramel coloring (or cocoa or coffee powder dissolved in a 2 tablespoons of water). Let me know if you succeed!

Dutch farmers daughter
Being a Dutch farmers daughter I remember my dad growing wheat, tasting it in the field to see if it was "ripe" for harvest. He even had seeds sprout on a plate with a wet tissue underneath and a plate on top again. He wanted to know how soon and how well the seed would grow. The harvest went to the miller where we could pick up part of the flour and sell the rest. He complained in the 60ties that the americvan grain was harder, dryer and thus cheaper since the miller got more flour from less wheat. So much of the Dutch grain went to the pigs and what have you. I have lived in the USA now for 27 years and have always complained about their terrible breads as well as their bad coffee. Your voice on the Diane Rehm show came just in time since several breads I baked did not taste at all what I was looking for. Thanks, off to buy your book and start my own starter! Good luck. Nicolien

Dear Reader:
Hi Nicolien, Thanks for the very enjoyable note. Your father is right: American grain (esp. from the northern plains) is much harder than European grain. Ironically, Europe now imports quite a bit of it, as some bakers over there prefer a harder flour. Now, regarding bread, I have a German friend who, when she tasted my bread, said, "Now this is the bread I remember!" so hopefully my recipes will evoke the same reaction from you. Bon appetit!

top falls in
Hi William, Enjoyed listening to you this morning on NPR and decided that you could fix my problem. When I make a oatmeal wheat bread recipe in my Breadman machine everything looks great, but after the final rise and it start to bake the end result comes out with the bread falling down in the center.It bakes fine, but I cannot figure out why this happens all the time.

Dear Reader:
Your faith in me is humbling. But I'm wondering if you heard the part of the interview where I said to throw out the bread machine :) Just for kicks, try the same recipe, but without Mr. Breadman. After mixing the ingredients together, let it rest for a half hour before you begin kneading (or you can knead using the machine, then remove the dough for the fermentation and proofing steps). Bake in a loaf pan or free form on a pizza stone and see if it still falls.

mixer vs. kneading
Hi William, I've just fired my bread machine and want to learn to make bread by hand...no mixer. Is there a mixing time/knead time formula to follow for recipes that do not include instructions for hand kneading OR, is it all by feel? (And if so, what's the feel)?

Dear Reader:
Congratulations on liberating yourself from that lousy machine! Now, I hate to tell you this, but...the answers to hyour question are all in 52 Loaves. Just click on that little "Buy" link on the top of the page. (The short answer, it's a little of both, plus experience, which makes it sound harder than it is.)

Sourdough
Loved you interview on Dianne's show. Thanks! I have a 16 year old sourdough that I've made pizza dough with. Lately, I don't seem to notice any activity when I take it out to breath or make dough, regardless of whether I add flour, yeast, sugar, anything to it. It still makes a pretty good dough,but I'm wondering if it might be "dead", so to speak. Any ideas? I'm intrigued by the apple skin method of creating a starter and would like to know more about that as well. Jim in Texas

Dear Reader:
Hi Jim, Sounds to the bread doctor like the patient isn't breathing. I assume you're adding other leavening; otherwise if your breads are rising the sourdough isn't dead. If you want to make a new one, go to the "recipes" section and look up "building a levain." Ever better, read 52 Loaves, which has a full chapter on doing this. Good luck!

attachments
This is not pertaining to artisian breads, but breads for a restaurant. When i started working here i was told to use the paddle attachement on all breads for our 60 qt hobart. Im educated enough in bread to know that all the paddle does to gluten is tear it apart. i would prefer to use the hook but cant seem to get it through their thick skulls. whats something i can tell them?

Dear Reader:
I'm afraid this question is out the bread doctor's area of specialty (home baking). But why let that stop me...I would suggest you propose doing a test: A small batch with the paddle, and one with the hook, and have all the employees do a blind tasting to see which one is best.

Wheat
What variety of wheat is best for making bread? Which seed supplier would this variety be available from?

Dear Reader:
You could ask 2 bakers that question and get 3 answers. I planted hard winter wheat, though apparently due to my soil conditions, the wheat turned out rather soft...but still made good bread. Some bakers prefer soft wheat, so it comes down to when you want to plant/harvest your wheat. You could still plant spring wheat now, for instance, while winter wheat isn't planted till the fall. I can't help you with a source -- I just bought a couple of seed packets from a catalog...and it didn't even have the variety, just said "winter wheat." But good luck with it! Highly suggest the read 52 LOAVES first, though. Lots of tips on doing this.

ciabatta
How wet is the dough for ciabatta bread? I struggle between wet enough to make big holes and firm enough to hold it's shape.

Dear Reader:
That struggle you describe pretty much sums it up. It's close to a gloppy dough, but I haven't made enough ciabatta to give you a hydration percentage. Using plenty of flour on the countertop as you shape the loaf (you kind of stretch it out and fold it back on itself) will help it hold its shape in the folds of a couche as it proofs. Then, get it into a *real* hot oven damn quick - it will flatten out some as it hits the stone, but then pop back up when the oven spring kicks in. If you're not getting holes, add more water next time. Weigh everything and keep a log till you get it right!

Starting a starter
I plan on creating my starter soon. I know that baking recipes are precise. How important is it to the survival of the starter to be exact with the ingredients? I always "eyeball" the ingredients when I make bread. I just want to insure my success.

Dear Reader:
To the survival of the starter, the ratio is not critical at all. But to later use the starter in recipes that assume your starter has 50% hydration level is another story. Since you say you want to insure you success, the only way to do that is to weigh the ingredients. So, you may as well get off on the right foot, get your scale now, and build your starter by weight, not eyes. On the right-hand side of my blog you will see a link to an inexpensive one that I recommend.

Ingredients
Greetings, I just read the Poughkeepsie Journal article. You are my new hero! I am currently in the middle stages of my own bread baking quest. I have been cooking/baking since 1977. I owned/operated a pizzeria from 1988 until 2003. Now I bake at home for my family and friends. I am able to achieve fair/good results most of the time. Finding the right flour was my toughest challenge thus far. High gluten is what I like. Thank the baking Gods for King Arthur. Pizza dough is what I make mostly. Flat bread is another favorite of ours.Flat bread on a grill is awesome. I love peasant bread, however I can't even come close to making any. Now after reading your article, I will definately purchase your new book. I am newly inspired to expand my bread making tecniques. I also plan on getting a pizza oven some day. Either having one installed in our kitchen. Or the kind that sits outside.More time needs to be invested in research there. I have a pizza stone, but nothing produces the same results as a real stone cooking surface. Wood fired is my dream. I also love a good craft beer, especially porters/stouts/IPA's. But I'm not ready to make my own just yet. Cheers! Michael

Dear Reader:
Thanks for the note, Michael. Oddly, I started with bread and have been gravitating towards pizza. Perhaps we'll pass each other midway. If you're near Poughkeepsie May 1, stop by the Artist's Palate at 4:00 for a taste of my peasant bread (plus other breads and olive oils).

rye bread
why do i get air pockets in loaves of bread after baking them

Dear Reader:
We should all be so lucky. I spent a good part of my baking year trying to get some gas pockets into my bread, and they're especially hard to achieve in heavier breads like your rye. These voids are the result of the anaerobic respiration of the yeast (the same action responsible for bread rising), which occurs while the bread is both fermenting and proofing (aka the second rise) and also during the first few minutes of baking when, in a process call "oven spring," the high temperature of the oven fuels the metabolism of the yeast, and they exhale like crazy in a furious frenzy. Until they die. Now, why do these gases sometimes produce an even rising and yield bread with the consistency of a sponge, and sometimes coalesce into pockets? Good question, and I wish I had a scientific answer. I have found that using a levain, or starter (or sourdough), will usually give you more air pockets, as will using a really hot oven, like 550 degrees for the first few minutes, but it changes from one loaf to the next, and I have to confess, it's a bit of a mystery to me.

white bread
i forgot the salt. what will happen

Dear Reader:
Hmm...This sounds like a setup, but the doctor will answer, regardless. Three possibilities: 1) If you're me, you'll realize that this is yet another symptom of a failing mind, and get a humiliating mental status workup (Chapter 28: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste); 2) You will have to eat a loaf of tasteless bread, which is so bad it won't even make decent toast; or 3) Congratulations! You just made a classic Pane Tuscano. You're a better baker than you think.

Storing bread
What's the best way to store homemade bread?

Dear Reader:
The best way to to eat it quickly, so you don't have to do. But if you must, leave it on the counter, cut down down, on a breadboard. Never wrap in plastic or place in the fridge, which hastens staling.

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BREAD DROP OVER THE SIDES OF THE TIN
frozen yeast rolls
left with a big hole in center of cinomom loaf
sinks
white bread turns to (yellow crumb)
"Hollow" rolls
"Smile" Under the Crust
.bread making
2-Quart container
350g loaf
52 Loaves
a scale
About those Hazy Apples..
Accident - Save my bread?
Actual Hydration %...
adding a starter to a recipe when it's not require
adding to zucchini bread
additional bran
additional bran
Albino French Bread
Alcohol as a mold inhibitor
Alcohol left in homemade bread after baking?
alcohol smell
Alcoholic Smell and Taste
All my bread/bun recipes taste like pretzels
all-purpose flour vs bread flour
Alternate asking method
Amish Friendship bread
Another "Not a Question" / Suggested Variation
Any Ideas for a stone?
Aquarium Pump
Aquarium Pump, Pt II
aroma & taste
Artificial Flavor in Spray Oil
Ate active dry yeast
attachments
Autolyse protocol
Backyard bread.
bad taste of crust on whole grain loaves
Bagels?
baguettes
baguettes hard
Baked Bread
Baked bread
bake-off bread packaging
bakig bread
baking
baking bread
baking bread
baking bread
baking bread
baking bread
Baking classes
Baking Later
baking multiple loaves at the same time
baking sourdough bread
Baking sourdough bread in a gas oven
baking time
Baking Time!
baking white bread
Baking Whole Meal Bread
Banana bread
Banana Bread
banana bread
banana bread
banana bread
Banana Bread Baking
Banana bread wet on top
Banana bread wet on top
Banana effect on loafs
Banana Nut Bread
banana nut bread
bananna bread
Barm to Levain
barmcakes
Baugette crust too chewy
Beginner
best way to use proofer
Big bubble in the middle of our pizzas
big hole inside the bread
Biga and Poolish
Blast freeze wrapped bread.
Blistering top of bread made in a hi rise machine
Bottom of Loaves too Soft
bottom separates from main loaf when baking
boule went flat when I took it out of the collande
braided challah
bread
bread
bread
Bread
bread
bread
bread
bread
bread
bread
bread
Bread
bread
bread
bread
bread
Bread
Bread
bread
bread
bread
Bread
bread
Bread "guts"?
bread and mold
bread baker
Bread Baking
bread baking smell and flour is different
Bread becomes sticky during second rising.
Bread break at sides while baking
bread browns to dark on bottom in my bread machine
bread capping
bread capping
Bread collapses and is sticky
Bread conservatives
Bread cooling
bread crust
bread crust
Bread crust
bread crust
bread crust
bread crust falls off when I slice bread
Bread crust separting
bread dough
bread dough
Bread Dough
bread dough didn't rise
bread dough falls a bit while waiting to preheat
bread dough over riseing
Bread dough turning grey while rising
bread experiment
Bread factories
bread falling
bread falling
bread falling
bread falling
Bread falls
bread falls
bread falls after being baked
Bread Falls in Oven
Bread falls in the oven
bread falls when it's half baked
bread fault
Bread flavor needs to be stronger.
Bread flour
Bread for Celiac. Where to buy it.
Bread goes sticky after a few days
bread hard as bricks
bread in a cold place
bread in ear
bread in heat too long
bread in hot car
Bread like leather
Bread machine bake
bread makers
bread making
bread making
bread making
Bread making business
Bread making problem
bread making problems
bread molds or other pans for special bread shapes
bread mould
bread no oil
bread not bubbly
bread not cooking completely or rising
Bread not rising
bread on rising
Bread recipe
bread rises and then sinks
Bread rolls
Bread rolls
bread rolls
Bread seems undercooked
Bread shape
bread shape & rising
bread sinking
bread sinks when clingfilm come off
bread smell
Bread smelling after 2 days.
Bread smelling alcoholic
bread splits
bread splits while rising
Bread sticking to the tin
Bread tastes a little too sour and yeasty.
Bread tearing
Bread that falls during baking
bread too hard in two days
bread top splits on side
Bread turned yellow
bread under a blowing fan
bread won't rise in pans
Bread won't rise?
breadcrumbs
breadmaking
Brittle after toasting
Brown bread turning white?
Brownbread dough
buen dia
Buns
Buns (white)
Buns.
burning off alcohol before adding to a yeast dough
burning on bottom
Burnt top on my crust
But it's sticky!
Can a stone be too thick?
Can I add rolled oats to a starter?
can I brush water on bread before baking?
Can I maker my Levain hibernate at day 5?
can I re bake under baked bread
Can't throw away the Levain!
carmel sticky yeast rolls
Castalina bread recipe - takes a week to 'prove'.
Cheap and easy colander lining
Cheese cloth as a baker's couche
chewy bread
Chewy Crust on Soda Bread
chewy tough bread rolls
chiabatta
ciabatta
Ciabatta not enough gas/holes in the loaf
cinammon raisin bread
cinnamon bread
cinnamon french toast
cinnamon raisin bread roll
Cinnamon roll
cinnamon rolls
cinnamon rolls
coarse bread
coconut flour
colapse
Cold fermentation
Collapsing bread
collapsing bread halfway through cook cycle
collasping fruit loaf
color
Commercial bread
Confused - 75 gm flour and 75 gm water
Confused about use grams for liquids
Conservatives
Convection vs. regular baking?
cooking a gluten free bread
Cooling time before removing from pan and slicing?
Couche cloth
Course bread
courseness of bread
cracking bread
cracks on top of banana bread
cream of tartar
crispy bread
Crumb is really thin (see through) in middle
crumbly wheat bread
Crunchy bottom
Crunchy?
crush too hard
Crust
crust
Crust almost burnt
Crust cracking issue
Crust doesn't last
crust doesn't look smooth
crust on vienna bread
crust separates from loaf after baking
Crust too dark (burned)
CS Baker again: hydration ratio?
dark bread??
Dark crust when adding groung pretzels to the doug
day old bread
day old bread crumbles away
Dear witty sir
deflate toast bread
Deflated bread
Digital version
dinner rolls
Dividing dough and baking times
Domestic pig
Done and brown from outside, doughy gummy inside
Dough
dough collapses
DOUGH DEFLATES
dough fell
dough is grey
dough loaf
Dough smelling fermented
Dough sticks to floured cloth
Dough weight
doughy center
Doughy crumb
doughy pretzels
Doughy pretzels
Doughy taste focaccia!!!!
Dried yeast
Dropped my rolls, landed on bread and deflated it
dry bread
dry bread
dry bread after 3 days
Dry wheat rolls
Dutch farmers daughter
egg
elastic bread
elementary science project
eliminating crowns on homemade bread
Ethanol in breed
extending the life of my bread
fallen
fallen bread
Fallen bread
FALLEN BUNS
Falling bread
Falling bread
Falling Bread
Falling Loaves
falling middle in dense bread
Falls apart when sliced
Fell before the oven
Fermentation too lon
fermented
Fermented tasting rolls
Fine crumb and or crispy super light
finished bread too dense
First time baker....long time reader.....
First-time Father (to be)
Flat Bread... on accident
flat top
Flatbread
Flatbreads
fluffiness
Flying Crust
Flying crust
flying crust
Flying crust
flying crust for real
Flying with bread
follow-up to sponge question
Food Groups
For Real?
forgot the first rise
forgot to add eggs to bread (yeast)
Forgot to proof
forgotten pizza dough left out all night
forming bread loaves
freezing muffins and breads
french baguette
french bread
French Bread
french bread
french bread going pure white in middle
french bread won't brown
fresh yeast
frozen french bread
Fruit bread
fruit dough loaf not cooked
Fruitloaf crumbles when cut
fruity bread roll
Funky Smell
Funky smell?
Further reading
garlic
Gas over while baking
Gettin my toast on
Gluey In The Middle
gluten free bread
gluten free bread falls
gluten free bread in bread maker
Gluten free bread overly moist
glutenfree bread
Glutin Free Bread from a Bread maker
gnats in my loaf of bread
granary
granary bread
grape starter
Greek Easter Bread - Dyed Red Eggs sink into loaf
grey bread
grey marks on dough
grey marks on pizza dough
grey soda bread
GROWTH OF MOLD BREAD
half loaf baking time difference
HARD BREAD
hard bread
hard edges
Hazy apple?
heavy and dense
Heavy base
Heavy dough
height
hellow
Hi William, Are You OK?
hole
Hole in center
hole in fresh shop bread halfway through
hole in machene bread
hole in middle
Hole in the loaf
Holes in bread
holes in center of my bread
Holes in the crumb
Holes in the middle
holes in wheat bread
home made bread
home made bread
home made bread
Home made bread
Homemade bread
homemade bread
Homemade bread
homemade bread for sandwich
homemade bread hard
Homemade bread is going sticky when stored
Homemade bread is going sticky when stored
Homemade bread that is chewy in middle
homemade bread turning doughy when toasted
homemade buns
homemade rolls and buns
Hope you're OK!
How do I get black Russian bread darker?
how do they do it?!
how do you know when you've over worked dough?
how long and where do I store homemade bread?
How long is thawed bread save to eat?
how long to cool in pans
How many loaves can be baked in an hour.
how much should a loaf of bread weight
How to make sourdough starter
Hydration %
I can't make light and airy itlian.
I don't get a good crown on tin baked loaves
I'm laughing
Improving Smell of Bread
Ingredients
Insanity reigns supreme...
Inside ot a loaf of bread is called?
Instant yeast vs active dry yeast
International travel
irish soda bread
irish soda bread
irish soda bread
Iron levels in body affecting dough rise?
Iron levels in body affecting dough rise? (Reply)
Iron Levels...Glove Test
is it done
Italian Bread
italian breead crust looks like wrinkled skin
Keeping crust hard/crunchy
Knifing the top of the bread
krentenbrood
Lame incision is lame
Large hole
levain
levain
Levain and again....
Levain better with age
levain bread
Levain bread final proof
Levain consistency
levain feeding
Levain for Miche?
Levain not bubbling/growing
Levain on a jet plane
levain revival
Levain Rising?
Levain Separation
Levain to yeast/flour conversion
Levain without pain
light bread rolls
Light in the Loafers
Liquid Levain
liquid levain
loaf caves
Loaf size
loafs
Loaves won't get done in middle
Looking for Italian bread
Looking for Monks Bread
Lots of holes in my bread
loves EATING
low carb dieting and artisan bread
main risks
Making bread
Making Homemade Yeast with Raisin?
making loaves
making pierogi
making yeast
measurements for feeding and other stuff
metricsystem
microwave rising
Milk and bread
Misc.
mixer vs. kneading
moist bread
Mold
mold growth on wet wheat bread.
mold on white bread vs on wheat bread in a week
More than 1 loaf per week?
Morning Buns
Moulding bread
My baguettes sometimes crack open pretty bad!
My bread is gray inside
My bread is not getting any color
my bread turned out brown on the inside
my crust goes soft
my crust is too tough
My crust keeps going soft
My First Peasant Bread Had Wonderful Holes...But
My first Sourdough starter
my homemade white yeast is gummy why?
my jula kake crust burns
My levain smells like bananas.
My roll dough tastes too fermented
my starter is alive alright
My yeast fruitloaf crumbles when cut
never can obtain that yeast flavor in my bread
Night Feeding
no color on upper half of baguette
No More No-Knead Bread
No question, just thanks!
Nocturnal stirrings
non wheat bread rising
Not a question
Not really a question...
Not really a question... Continued
not white
Nut roll
nut roll splits after baking
nut rolls flatten
Nut rolls split open
Nutrition Facts and Calories
Nuts rising
o pão
Ode to spring
odor
Old bread and biscuit "bad smell"
Oops, no way to edit
oven
Oven baked bread
Oven cannot go above 225 C
Oven Spring
Oven Spring Redux
Over risen dough?
Overnight fermentation
Pale crust
pão caseiro
Parchment, silicone, or cornmeal?
Parisian Bakeries
Peasant Bread Ingredient Options?
pita
pizza bread
Pizza dough
pizza dough
Pizza dough (con't)
Plaited loaf
plaited loaf lost shape
poor quality bread
pot boule crust isnt crunchy
Pre-heating
preservative in commercial bread
Preservative on bread / yeast
Preservatives
Pretzels
proofing issues
Properties of Bread
Protractor
pumkin bread
Pumkin bread sinks in the middle
pumpernickel bread recipe
Pumpernickle Bread
pumpkin bread
Quantity baking, overnight method.
Question on the levain
Quick bread
quick breads
raisin bread
random crust problem
Really dense crumb
reason for bread going doughy in middle few days o
re-baking
recipe for health nuttymeal no yeast
Recipe questions
recipes
red fife honey bread
refreshing levain, and scoring baguettes
refrigerator dough starter not bubbling
Remedy of wrinkled bread
Restaraunt bread
Reviving levain
risen, punch down dough smells like alcohol
Rising
rising bread
rising bread
rising bread ?
Rising process for bread.
rolls flatten
Rosemary Wheat Quick Yeast Bread
rotting bread
Rough crust
ROUGH ON ONE SIDE
rough top
round milco loaf
rustic italian bread?
rye bread
RYE BREAD
rye bread
rye bread crust hard as a rock
Rye Or Multigrain Bread
Saggy Center
Salt
salt
salt
science project on bread
science question
scoring a dry baguette
scoring results in collapse of the bread
Second rise of bread is disappointing
second rising
Shaking bread maker
shape of bread
shape of buns
Shaping
shaping
Shrink
sick bread joke
sick bread joke answer
Signature cut
Silicone pan
Silo Bread
singing!
sinking
size
Size of bread loaf pan
skin on dough during rising
slicing bread
smell
smells
soda bread
soda bread
Soda bread
Soda Bread crusts turning out too brown and shiny
Soft bread
soft buns
soft crust
Soft pretzels
Soft rolls
soggy bread
Son of Frankenstein?
sour dough
Sour starter from bread dough
Sourdough
sourdough
sourdough bread
Sourdough Bread Crust very Hard & white
sourdough bread falls apart
Sourdough bread rolls
sourdough dough left out due to power outage
sourdough is very dense
Sourdough Rye splitting in baking process
sourdough splits on second rise
Sourdough spreads
sourdough starter
spelt bread falls while cooking
spicy fruit loaf
split on top of bread
Splitting/sharing the starter
Splitting/sharing the starter
spots on top of bread like bubbles
Starter from dough
Starter Smells Funky
Starter won't thicken
Starting a starter
steaming bread?
sticky cake
Sticky dough
sticky dough
sticky dough
Sticky dough, bread not too bad!
sticky zucchini bread
Stiff levain
Storage Container Suggestions?
Store bought loaf bread
storing a boule
Storing bread
Strong Smell form bread
sub buns
substituting levain in sponge recipes
success, i think
sultana loaf
sunfower seed bread
Sunken top crust
Superior Bakery Bread, Chicago since 1940's
Swedish Brown Bread
Sweet bread from bread maker
Tackiness Revisited
Tactiness
taking something out and putting it back in?
taste of yeast
Tearing bred loaves
tearing of bread dough
Temperature of fully baked loaf
temperature of water in bread machine
tempture of finished bread?
thaw, reheat then serve warm rolls and bread
the alcohol smell
the right soft rolls
thick bread
tiger bread
tiger bread
to clarify
toast
Too Brown
Too many hole in my cheese bread loaf
too much flour
top crust
top falls in
top falls in is back
top falls in is back
top o bread loaf falls
Top of bread browning too fast
Top of bread is not going brown in the bread maker
Top of dough is hard
Top splits
Tour
traditional bread
Translation of your book
tunnle oven
uncooked dough
uncooked dough in middle
undercooked in the middle
undercooked middle
uneven bread
uneven rising
use sweet bun dough for loaf bread?
Used all starter with first loaf - normal?
using a bosch mixer
using metal french bread mold
using your starter with other recipes?
vacation
Variations On the Boule
Very Hard Crust and Unshapely
Vigorous starter!
Wash the apples or not?
weight
weight in a different manner
weight of bread
weight of bread machines
what is the recipe for a loaf bread?
Wheat
wheat bread crust issues
Wheat flour
Wheat yeast rolls
when baking a simple white bread...
where I can find levain
Where the yeast bread cracks
Whey as liquid in baguettes
white bread
white bread
White bread turns out brown
White Crust
White Italian Bread cooked on stone
white spots and odor
white swrils on wheat bread
Whole grain recipe?
whole in bread loaf
Whole Wheat Bread
whole wheat bread smell
Whole wheat loaf come out hard and heavy
Whole Wheat Rolls -- Fall while Baking
WHOLE WHEAT YEAST BREAD
wholewheat bread in bread machine
why
why did my bread explode in the bread machine?
why do different breads mold faster than others
why does my bread fall after i take it out of the
why does my bread taste doughy??
Why does the bread taste spicy hot?
WHY IS MY BREAD DOUGHY IN THE MIDDLE?
WHY IS MY BREAD DOUGHY IN THE MIDDLE? REVISITED...
why wheat bread break after 4 days?
Wild Yeas vs. pinch of dry yest starter
wild yeast
Wild yeast from citrus fruit
won't brown
Wrikle surface in soft burger bun
Wrinkly bread
writing on bread
Yeast
yeast
Yeast dough left out all night
Yeast in bread
yeast instead of whole wheat starter
yeast not incorporated into bread
yeast rolls
Yeast Rolls
yeast rolls
yeast starter
Yeasty smell in bread
yeats and water
Zucchini
zucchini
zucchini bread
zucchini bread
Zucchini bread batter
Zucchini bread crumbles
Zucchini bread split in middle when baking
Zuchini Bread
zuchini bread
zuchinni bread
Zuchinni bread
Zuchinni bread falls in middle