Anthony Rue is the co-owner of Volta Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate in Gainesville, Florida. He knows many things, including a great deal about bread.

How do I know when my loaf is done baking?

For most free-shape loaves, you simply flip them up and knock them on the bottom. If they sound hollow and feel hollow, they're done. If they feel dense they need more time.

As to color, it depends on the loaf. For the crustier breads, the crustier they are the darker they need to be. It depends. Some Cuban breads only need to go slightly past that light golden color. Color is an untrustworthy indicator of doneness.

Why do some recipes call for water in a pan at the bottom of the oven, or steam?

Because in traditional European bread making, they use ovens that have steam valves in the oven and the steam helps bring up the crustiness of the bread. Since American ovens don't have steam valves, putting a pan of water at the bottom of the oven tries to replicate the European ovens. It allows you to do your best to create European-style breads.

Is it okay to add more flour than the recipe calls for?

Absolutely. How much flour is used depends on humidity in the atmosphere. If it's very dry, you sometimes need more water. If it's very wet, you need more flour. But it's more important to go by feel, so it's not as precise as pastry-making would be, for example.

Can you substitute whole wheat flour for white or regular flour?

(Exhales deeply.) Well, only in some recipes. One thing is, most true bread flours are actually what they call 20% flours, and they end up mixing some whole wheat flour into bread flour in order to get a more accurate type of bread. So it's generally advisable to mix some whole wheat into regular flour, but most flours, like regular bread flour will not work well with whole wheat flour.

For a home baker it's very difficult to get a real type of bread flour, so you can blend some whole wheat flour into regular bread flour. But you would never want to use all whole wheat.

What should I expect when I do this?

The bread loses its ability to develop gluten, so you lose some of your texture.

What's the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?

Bread flour tends to be made with hard red spring wheat, so it has a higher protein and gluten content. All purpose flour is not as high in gluten.

Can I substitute active dry yeast and instant yeast?

Yes, you can substitute them.

Why does yeast bubble in sugar water?

Yeast that's been improperly stored will die. By proofing the yeast, you make sure they're still alive and sort of kick-start the fermentation process.