Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an ebook Bread Science?
Yes! Read more here:

Will you do a Spanish/Chinese/etc. version of Bread Science?
Numerous people have asked for this, so I’d like to do it. The main hindrance is not having time to make it happen. Also, I don’t know if I should sell the “foreign language rights” and let someone else take care of it, or pay someone to translate it and do a whole new book myself.

I want the most recent edition of Bread Science. Is there a new edition coming out soon?
The Bread Science 15th Anniversary Edition arrived on September 1, 2021. It does not have loads of new material. It has a new (professional!) cover. I have tweaked a few points I’ve learned more about since 2006 and (for longer discussions) added footnotes directing readers to the updates page on this website:

Read more about this edition here:

Why do people sell Bread Science on Amazon or other sites for $99? Is it out of print?
Okay, no one has ever asked this, but I wish they would! I wish people would not buy my book and resell it for $99, but I cannot stop them. Currently, I’ve posted a “print-on-demand” version of Bread Science on Amazon, which hopefully will stop anyone from paying $$ for a copy from a third-party seller. (I may also post the offset-press version that we sell on this site as a third-party seller on Amazon, which is how I used to undercut the crazy-high prices before print-on-demand.)

Can you sign my book?
I’m happy to sign your book, but you have to tell me when you order it. Seriously, Mom is really fast, and if you wait, your book will be mailed. Also, let me know if you want it signed to anyone in particular. If you don’t specify a name, I will sign the book without personalizing it.

Why won’t my dough rise?
There are many possibilities: the yeast was old or wasn’t stored properly, the dough was too wet (which sometimes makes it spread out instead of rising), the dough was too cold or the room was too cold, or the dough was not well kneaded. Put a lot of energy into kneading your dough, and use the punch-and-fold technique to add a little extra strength to it. Do not punch-and-fold or shape your dough early; if you don’t let it rise fully the first time (which stretches it out), it will have trouble rising the second time. Use warmer water if your final dough is below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Put it somewhere warm to rise. I use the top of my toaster oven, which I turn on briefly to warm it up. Keep the rising dough covered so it does not dry out, but don’t wrap the dough ball tightly in plastic wrap so that it cannot rise. (I recommend rising in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and after shaping, proofing in a plastic container.)

There are other possibilities, like that your water is so hard/soft/chlorine-laden it is impeding the yeast. I’m not trying to dismiss these ideas, I just fear that people often want a quick-fix, but the fix is (alas!) kneading more.

Incidentally, I wrote more on this topic for a colleague’s cookbook, so I’ve posted the longer version here.

Why doesn’t Bread Science include a section on [insert topic of your choice]?
My intention was to cover the basics of bread making, using the most basic recipe. Most of my experience came from a bakery making European-style hearth breads, so that’s what I knew best. There were other interesting areas to explore and experiments to run, but I was limited by time, and I wanted the book to be a reasonable length.

How do you make salt-rising bread?
For years I thought salt-rising bread was some kind of myth. People kept asking me about it, but no one seemed to know what it was, how it worked, or how to make it. Not anymore! In 2016, salt-rising bread got its own cookbook, which you can check out at

And, thanks to Harold McGee, there is a good article explaining the bread, but you might be sorry you asked:

Will there be a sequel to Bread Science?
Right now, there is no sequel on my radar. While I enjoy teaching bread-making classes and always hope to learn more about bread, I no longer bake professionally, and I work full time as a copy editor while also pursuing my fiction writing. I would not want to publish More Bread Science without doing proper research on any new topics, and right now, there is not that kind of time. But I guess you never know.