Apr 22, 2015

No Knead Bread Questions

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Questions about your no knead bread or rolls? These notes should help…

My dough didn’t rise.

  • No knead dough doesn’t rise like standard yeast breads, it only puffs up and gets bubbly. It will be a little bigger after the resting time but don’t look for a much larger volume.
  • Your yeast may not be fresh. Yeast has a short shelf life once a package is opened. Even with the small packets, once it’s opened, yeast should be tightly sealed and kept in the freezer, not refrigerated.
  • Your water may have been the wrong temperature. For the faster method, hot tap water is usually around 125 to 130°F. Anything hotter than that is too hot. And boiling water is definitely out. For the overnight method, cold to room temperature water works.
  • You changed the recipe. It’s best to follow the recipe exactly for the first time. That way you know it works. Don’t change the recipe the first time, paying attention to every detail. You can get creative later on.

My dough was too dry.

  •  You did not aerate your flour before measuring. Flour always settles in the bag or container and must be aerated before measuring; otherwise, you will be using too much flour. To aerate flour, using a large spoon or spatula, stir the flour around to incorporate some air.
  • You measured the flour incorrectly. To measure flour, use a flat-topped measuring cup, gently spoon the aerated flour into the cup until it’s mounded above the rim and level off the excess with the back of a knife. Do not tap the cup or the container of flour.
  • You changed the recipe.

My dough was too runny.

  • You used too much liquid or not enough flour. Use a cup specific for measuring liquids, have it on a flat surface and view it at eye level to make sure your liquid is at the correct line.
  • You sifted the flour before measuring, which would cause you to use less flour than required.
  • You changed the recipe.

My bread wasn’t cooked inside.

  • Your oven (and pot) were not preheated long enough. Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven has reached 450°F. It can take over half an hour.
  • You sliced it too soon. After bread is removed from the oven, it will continue to cook inside. It’s best to let it cool completely before slicing (I know it’s hard to wait!)

My bottom crust was too hard.

  • Your pot was too close to the heat. Try raising the oven rack so the bottom is not as close to the heat.
  • Your oven may be hotter than you think. Use an oven thermometer to assure your oven is the proper temperature.
  • Try a slightly lower temperature by preheating to 450°F but lowering the temperature to 425°F to bake.
  • If using a black cast iron pot, try another one that is not black.
  • Do not bake any longer than indicated.

Don’t  you need sugar to feed the yeast?

  • No. You do not need sugar to activate the yeast. This is a half-true old wives tale left over from when yeast wasn’t preserved as well as it is today.

Doesn’t hot water kill the yeast?

  • No. Hot water does not kill yeast. Today’s yeast is more sturdy and accommodating than years ago and can tolerate water or liquid up to 130°F. The killing point for yeast is 140°F. (average tap water comes out at about 120-125°F – my tap water is 127°F)

I don’t have a Dutch oven.

  • I have only made my bread in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven (Le Creuset) so I can not recommend something I have not tried.  But I have researched online and other people claim to have success using: a glass pyrex dish with a lid, a stainless steel pot with a lid, a clay baker, and a pizza stone with a stainless steel bowl as a cover. Several people posted here that they used a black cast iron pot with a lid. With a little research, you may be able to find more options and you can also look through the comments below the recipe for other ideas. Keep in mind that any lid must be tight fitting because you need to create steam inside the pot and the lid should have an oven-proof handle (not plastic). Your pot will need to hold at least 3 quarts but 5 to 6 quarts is most common.

A Final Note: If you have followed my recipe exactly with no changes at all and it doesn’t look right before baking, don’t make adjustments to try to “fix” it. Trust the recipe, don’t change anything and continue as directed. You may be surprised that it turns out after all.

111 Comments on "No Knead Bread Questions"

  1. Maria

    Jenny

    I’m trying your recipe for the first time and I forgot to by parchment paper
    can I use wax paper instead in my Dutch Oven

    • Jenny

      NO! Wax paper will melt onto your bread. It is not intended for the oven.

  2. Janet

    Jenny,

    My bread refuses to brown on top. It’s pale, with just a little color. I followed your recipe exactly. I haven’t cut into it yet, but I’m not worried about it being done. It sounds nice and done when tapped. Thanks.

  3. K

    Hi
    When de oven reaches 450 degrees I put the dough in the oven , the oven should turn of ?

    • Jenny

      No, you do not turn the oven off. You bake the bread at 450 the whole time.

  4. Goldie

    Hi,
    I made this bread and my parchment paper stuck terribly to the bread!!! Any ideas what I may have done wrong?!?! Thank you!!!

    Goldie

    • Jenny

      It’s probably inferior parchment. I use Reynolds brand and it never sticks to anything.

  5. Ty Kelsey

    Jenny, my wife is a type 1 diabetic and needs a breakdown of carbs to know what she might need for insulin. do you have a chart for that? If so please e-mail it to me. Incidentally, I used half ground flax and half bread flour instead of the 1/4 cup of just flour.

  6. Reen

    Jenny,

    My kitchen is so small there is no room for a range with oven. I use a toaster oven, microwave, an air fryer, and an induction cooktop (NuWave) for all my cooking. My toaster oven does have a top heat of 450 but it is not large enough for any of the dutch ovens I found online. (lower shelf to just below top element is 5 inches) A dutch oven will work with the induction cooktop, but the bottom would probably get too hot and I would not get the benefit of the hot oven air when the lid comes off. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Jenny

      I wish I did but I have nothing to suggest, except you may be able to try the no knead crusty rolls.

  7. Edita

    Hi
    Ur recipe looks wonderfull.
    Just not sure how much measure is cup on ml or -gramms.
    Here we got 1 cup 250 ml
    Is it same? Thank you

  8. Jim

    I really love what you do and need help on your bread reipe please. I have a bread machine and looking for bread mix that would work in the bread machine can you please help.
    Respectfully, jim

    • Jenny

      Sorry, I have no experience with a bread machine.

  9. Diane G

    Hi Jenny – I love your recipes and videos – so refreshing and no-fail-good!

    My question is this – I have successfully made my first loaf of no-knead bread and I would love to know if you have any tips about adding other ingredients such as cheese, sun dried tomatoes, olives, roasted garlic, etc. I would love to start playing with some of these flavors!

    I would like to offer a tip to your Canadian fans – I discovered many years ago that flour is milled differently here in Canada so it is wise, when using recipes from the States to cut back on the flour by at least a quarter of a cup. You can always add more but I ruined many a pasta and bread recipe before I learned of this. Hope it helps!

    Many thanks and keep up the great work! I will be posting a picture of my bread and will share you on Facebook!

    Regards,
    Diane G
    Vancouver, BC

    • Jenny

      I have only made the versions of no knead bread that are posted but if you check the comments under the recipe you may find some ideas.

  10. Geraldine

    Hi Jenny! I love your bread recipies. My question is tis…if using active dry yeast, do I add it to the milk at 110 deg and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding it to the flour etc??? I am asking this for your whole wheat bread recipe. I tried adding it directly to the flour, then adding the milk at 110 deg and the dough didn’t rise. I did fluff the flour before and also made sure all was at room temp. The yeast is new and I tested it before hand. Thanks

    • Jenny

      I suggest staying with the recipe. It’s possible your milk lost a bit of heat before adding it. The temperature can be up to 120 deg with active dry yeast. I suggest heating it to 120 and try again.

    • Dave S

      Geraldine
      I read that you have had trouble using Jenny’s recipe with active dry yeast. I have found that you have to activate the active dry yeast with 1/4 cup liquid before including in a recipe. Instant yeast needs no pre-activation to work well. Just add to the dry ingredients.
      Hope this helps

  11. Leslie

    Jenny, the recipe is great! Success the 1st time, however when I went to slice it, got down to the bottom, and it was rock hard (again, just at the bottom crust. I use a heave Dutch oven. Did not vary the recipe at all. I’m going to try to lower the temp, and put the oven rack up a bit higher, do you think that will help?

  12. Catherine

    Jenny thank for sharing the cabbage roll i had done it all my friend and family love it.

    Thank

    How do i attach the cabbage roll photo to show u

  13. ninette

    can the easy pan pizza be cooked on stove top since I dont have an oven please respond as I want to try this pizza. Tks

    • Jenny

      Please look through the comments below the pan pizza recipe as I believe this was addressed there.

  14. Marlene

    Hi Jenny,
    Made the no knead bread and it’s very good. Without putting it in the refrigerator how long can it stay out before it go’s bad?

  15. aladin

    Can i double the quantity? it takes same time coocking?

    • Jenny

      I have never doubled the recipe. You could look through the comments under the recipe to see if anyone else has.

  16. Suraiya

    I used your recipe once after trying the longer method. Both the times they were really good. Yours is more interesting as it takes much shorter tiMe. I am baking one now adding dill with it. I took it out after 30 minutesofbaking and it looked verycourful. Now it is being baked uncovered and without parchment paper. It is out now. My son in law loves it and I am baking it for him. Will send you the picture. Look forward to your new recipes.

  17. DENI

    Can you put the bread in a clay pot without parchment paper and put it in the oven without heating it first?

  18. MARIANGELES

    LOVED YOUR VIDEO! BREAD LOOKS GREAT OUTSIDE AND YUMMY INSIDE!
    I WONDER IF THIS COULD B DONE W/ GLUTEN FREE FLOURS.

    I CAN’T TOLERATE WHEAT ESPECIALLY WHITE PROCESSED GMO FLOUR. I’M OK WHEN IT’S SPROUTED WHEAT.

    IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO ANSWER I CAN UNDERSTAND, DON’T WORRY.
    BLESSINGS TO YOU!

    • Jenny

      Yeast breads generally need gluten but you could look for gluten-free no knead bread recipes online and see if there is a way.

  19. eva

    Jenny,
    you’re amazing!!

  20. Nancy

    My first loaf is in the 3 hour time..which I followed to the letter.

    My question is can I leave the salt out of the recipe ?

    Salt is my enemy!

    • Jenny

      You can but it won’t taste very good.

      • Polopoly

        Yes, you can, but it will be very bland to most people’s tastes (it may be ok for you if you don’t typically add salt to your cooking)
        Try adding some dried herbs / spices to boost the flavor.

  21. Lawrie, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Seek and ye shall find! Just came across your metric conversion chart.This answers queries in my previous (about 5 minutes ago) comment.
    Lawrie.

  22. Lawrie, Johannesburg, South Africa

    Like your site very much. Clear and concise directions. The video was well done. Your photographs get my mouth watering. Want to try this bread for Bible study Wednesday night because it seems so simple. Please could you give the weight of the flour (in ounces or grams) so I don’t have to worry about aerating etc. I am an aspiring baker with almost no experience. Baked one bread long ago which was a total flop. Really want to get this one right. Are your cup liquid volumes 250ml or 230ml?
    Thank you.
    Lawrie

  23. Sandy

    Hi Jenny,
    Do you think it would be okay to bake this bread at 425 degrees for a longer time (maybe 45 minutes)? Thanks!

    • Jenny

      This recipe depends on a very hot Dutch oven to create steam but I guess you could try. I suggest you preheat it to 450 and then reduce it to 425 when the dough goes in, and I would also check it at 30 minutes. Please let us know how it turns out.

  24. robin

    I don’t have a Dutch oven or lid for the oven that can be used at that high temperature. is there any other way? i’m new to your site and I like what I see!

    • Jenny

      Please look under “Questions.”

    • Jenny

      Did you read these No Knead Bread questions?

    • Brad S

      I saw on a web site where they used a “poor mans dutch oven”, where they put the dough in a metal bread pan & inverted another bread pan on top, used a couple of metal clips (like the ones sold at stationary stores like Staples) to hold the two pans together.
      I made my 1st loaf of bread a couple of days ago using that method with a couple 9X5 inch bread pans & it came out great, soft on the inside with a nice crunchy crust on the outside, & coated with sesame seeds. YUMMY!

      If you don’t have the bread pans what might be worth a try is an oven safe skillet with a large oven safe bowl inverted on top to hold the steam in.

  25. Karla

    I tried the no need biscuits and mine turned out heavy and doughy. Should I add more yeast and maybe cook longer?
    Thanks
    Karla

  26. Ursula Ellsworth

    Can I use this recipe to make a rye bread ? And if so , are the measurements the same ?

    • Jenny

      I posted my no knead rye bread recipe here in the Breads category.

  27. PERRY

    Hi Jenny.I’ve tried your no knead recipe quite a few times,and the bread ALWAYS turns out dense…No matter if i spray water over it to achieve brown crust,it’s never airy with lots of holes inside like yours …I even added more yeast to make it puff out more but the result is the same…-What am i doing wrong?By the way-i bake it in a toaster oven,and had no failures baking other types of bread in it.Thank you very much for your assistance.Perry.

    • Jenny

      Did you look at the “Baking Problems” category in my blog? You may find the answer there. I don’t think you can fit a Dutch oven into a toaster oven. Are you using a Dutch oven or other covered pot for the no knead bread?

  28. Janet

    Hi Jenny,
    I found your site from watching your video on making the faster artisan bread. Very nice video, and I like the shorter time for the bread.
    I like the way you do your set up…..wonder where you find the colored spatulas, bowls, etc?
    I’m not a follower of the carb fad…..I believe in using whole grains [or part at least] in my breads…..to me, the carb fad confuses some people into thinking even whole grains are bad [yes there are those who truly have a need to stay away from gluten because of years of refined food eating, damage can be done to a person’s digestive system].
    Will be trying your lovely bread recipe, the rolls, also the flour tortillas soon, though will exchange all or part flour for whole grain flour 🙂

    Thank you, Janet

    • Jenny

      About my colored utensils, please look under “Questions.” And you’ll find several variations of my no knead bread, including whole grain, on this site.

  29. Charmaine Tanti

    Dear Jenny,

    I’d like to try out your NO KNEAD BREAD RECIPE. Can I use spelt flour for my dough? If so, which is the best spelt flour to use: white or wholemeal. Can you please give me the recipe in grams instead of cups?

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    With many thanks and best regards,
    Charmaine Tanti

    • Jenny

      I have no experience with spelt flour but look through the comments as I think someone mentioned it. Also, I have a metric conversion chart there in my blog so that may be helpful.

  30. ada

    hi my dear love your receipes this receipe is the best bread I have ever tasted I make herb etc bread but this is wonderful I as well love my bread lol my ? is the bread is great is there any way to get a softer crust my family says its great but crust is to hard for them was wondering if I put egg wash on top would that help make it softer..thanks in advance…

  31. Betty

    Do you know or have you tried using gluten free flours? And if so,which would you reommend?

    • Jenny

      Sorry, I have no experience with gluten free flour.

  32. Andy the retired engineer

    I was not sure about using my small cast iron dutch oven with pyrex cover at this temperature. Instead, I used my cast iron skillet and halfway through at 15 minutes, I cover the bread with with aluminum foil. It came out great.

    • Janet

      Great idea Andy, thank you for posting. I have a smaller cast iron pot with lid, but was wishing it was bigger so I could bake a larger loaf. Will give your method a go.
      Janet

  33. Dee

    This bread is so easy and good. How can I make it have a more BUTTERY taste???

    • Jenny

      I’m sorry I don’t know.

    • Janet

      Dee,
      I’d replace part of the hot water with hot melted butter and see what happens……maybe 4 T. melted butter + 1 and 1/4 c. hot water??
      Janet

  34. Kay

    Loved the technique . 122 degrees still too damp. Why? Bread baker. Kay B

  35. Paul

    I prefer to measure my flour by weight as I find it more accurate. Do you ever do this? What would you suggest the weight of a cup of flour to be. There are standard weights available on the Internet as well as at King Arthur Flour, but I would like to keep the recipe as close to yours as possible.
    These no-knead bread and roll recipes of yours are fantastic, thanks very much!!!

    Paul

    • Jenny

      Weighing flour is more accurate but I’m old school and it seems to work for most people.

  36. Therry UK fan

    Hi thanks for your ‘No Knead Bread’ recipe – Just fantastic!!

    Although new to baking I have tried and persisted with a many different recipes, some from famous chiefs / bakers, often spending hours achieving very little and getting frustrated to the point of giving up!!

    Then I found your Youtube instructions – Wowza!
    My wife now thinks – Yes “I’m the best thing since No Knead Bread”

    I quickly mix late Friday evening and leave over night. Saturday morning I use 2 thirds your method and take 1 third unfolded, just flattened, stretched to ¼ inch then roughly shaped (flat oval) leaving to rest for 30 mins then cooked on a tray till golden brown this will give you a bread similar to Ciabatta which you can cut, add toppings to make a lovely Bruschetta for a starter or light lunch – two types of bread for the weekend from the same dough.

    Big thanks you Jenny

    Wisdom – “Baseballs are meant to be hit not collected” – Roberto Sultan, Bobcats73

  37. Kay

    Hi Jenny, I just discovered your website and I love it. I wanted to make the no knead buns, but I did change the recipe trying to accommodate my husband and my need to decrease carbs. Here’s what I did. Try not to laugh too hard.
    I used 1 3/4 C of whole wheat & 3/4 C of coconut flour to cut the gluten and the carbs. It was not as sticky even thought I added more hot water that stated and after leaving for 3 hours, the dough was not loose and sticky, but more solid. Well, one problem may have been that when I was following the video, I thought it said 1/2 tsp of yeast, so I had put twice as much as needed. So, I just doubled the whole recipe. After baking it didn’t really cook well; the outside was hard, not crunching and the inside was not fully cooked and didn’t appear that it would cook even if I kept cooking it. So, into the trash they will go. I’m not giving up, and next time, I will not change the recipe. I’ll just try your’s. I’m looking forward to just having some great homemade crunchy crust bread. However, do you have any suggestions about cutting carbs or using, whole wheat flour or alternate flours? Thanks for your time!
    Kay

    • Pat

      Jenny states in the no-knead bread video that she also makes it will whole-wheat flour.

  38. Cathy H

    I cooked mine in a black cast-iron skillet with no lid at 450° for 35 minutes then perceived it to Cool 15 to 20 came out perfect the best I’ve ever made

    • Jenny

      Good to know, thank you.

      • Rebecca

        This is the way i want to try but not sure if it will come out as suppose too if i don’t use the parchment paper. Does it matter if we use parchment paper or not Jenny?

        • Jenny

          You need something to lift the dough into the pot. You can try a floured towel but I find that it sticks.

    • Rebecca

      I want to try this way. What size cast iron did you use and did you use parchment paper as well?

  39. Joanne

    I LOVE the 4 ingredient bread. I have made this a few times and wondering about alternative recipes to change it up. I would li,e to make whole wheat, add different flavor ingredients. I am not sure if I have to change the original ingredient amounts. Thank you.

  40. Juliet

    Found your recipe today and made the bread.. Came out great. Thanks.

  41. sympathy

    Hi jenny, ihave acastiron dutchoven can i use it for baking the bread? will appreciate an answer soon . thanks.

    • Jenny

      My cast iron is enameled and is white inside so I’m not sure if being black would burn the bread. Please look at this post (http://mobiledev.jennycancook.com/no-knead-bread-questions/) and also look on the internet to see if anyone has used cast iron. There are many recipes for no knead bread besides mine. Good luck.
      p.s. There is no harm in trying anyway…

      • Jeanie Q

        I used a Lodge black cast iron dutch oven and the bread came out wonderful. Thanks Jenny.

      • Antonia

        I have made this recipe using black cast iron dutch oven, and just recently tried a very very old aluminum dutch that I had retrieved from my great grandparents house about 40 years ago. (After thoroughly cleaning and polishing the aluminum first.) As far as I’m concerned it is impossible to make this recipe fail. This is the only bread we eat now.

  42. Cheryl

    I made the bread today Jenny and it turned out fantastic! I ve never had success with any dough until I came across your easy recipe! many Tks!

  43. Mr. Phil

    Hey! Everybody! Listen to what Jenny says about measuring flour. It fixed 90% of my baking issues. This bread is fabulous. I don’t have a Dutch oven, so the first time I used my crock pot liner and covered it with aluminum foil. The next time, I used some really neat handmade clay covered casserole “pots” I bought close to where I live in Central Mexico.

  44. Reni

    Love the fast no knead bread. Have you made it with sourdough starter also? If yes, how much starter did you use?
    Thanks!
    Reni

    • Jenny

      I have never used sourdough starter.

      • Reni

        Thanks. I love sourdough bread. I’ll add a 1/4 cup to your recipe and see what it’ll do. Will let you know.
        Reni

  45. Jeanie Q

    I loved the video. I’ve been using a pizza stone with and without parchment paper. The bottom doesn’t get brown at all. The bread is delicious but the bottom of the bread looks ugly. I remove the bread from the stone immediately and put on a rack. Do you have any idea what am I doing wrong? Thank you for the video.

    • Jenny

      You would have to preheat the stone for as long as one preheats the dutch oven. If the stone is hot enough, the bottom will brown.

  46. Marianne

    Most brands of flour will produce successful results, but there will be subtle differences. The age of the flour also makes a difference. It has a shelf life and some (wheat and rye) should be kept in the freezer so they won’t get rancid. I wish more recipes would give measurements in weights rather than cups. Baking is a science and measuring by weight gives more consistent, accurate results.

  47. Carmine

    Just made the bread today 100% better then I can get at my local supermarket. If I roast some garlic can I bake it with the bread.

    • Sarah Gregg

      Carmine I have added all kinds of different things to this bread ! Our favorite is the garlic cheese. I add roasted garlic and shredded sharp cheddar and it is AWESOME ! I have added cinnamon and brown sugar to it, I add that when I turn it out of the bowl to shape it into a ball, just add it to the flat bread and roll the bread up into a ball and it rolls the brown sugar and cinnamon up , and bake as called for. I have added chopped pepperoni and shredded mozzarella, my personal favorite is the Rosemary and Cracked Black Pepper or the Cheddar and chopped Jalapeno !!! Use your imagination, it has worked for me and I have no problems with it at all !

      • Sarah Gregg

        Ohhhh and try Apple and Cinnamon ! Dice the apple small ! Add cinnamon to your flour and mix as usual. Or use Apple Pie Spice, it’s awesome as well !!!

  48. Penny

    Hello from the UK – I love your website and videos.
    Would you please confirm that 450 degrees fahrenheit oven temperature is for a non fan-assisted oven. I need to work out the conversion temperature so I can try making the no-knead bread and rolls.

  49. Galo

    Dear Jenny,

    Kind regards from Guayaquil-Ecuador….very nice site and good recipes. My question about this particular one. Supposedly the salt and the hot water will kiss the yeast right? Why use hot water and not just lukewarm? and the salt has to go away from the yeast not on top of it.

    Thanks a lot..you are very cute

    Galo.

    • Jenny

      That used to be the case years ago but yeast today is much better quality and more sturdy than years ago. Hot water does not kill yeast, as you can see in my videos. The directions on a package of regular dry active yeast calls for liquid at 110 degrees and for instant yeast it calls for 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which is an average hot tap water. Boiling water (212°F), however, is not advised. I suggest you try a recipe and see for yourself that hot water (up to 130°F) and salt have no negative effect on the yeast.

  50. GIOVANNI

    I MADE THIS BREAD & IT WAS JUST FANTASTIC,, WHAT ADJUSTMENTS TO MAKE A LARGE LOAF?

    • Jenny

      I’m sorry, I don’t know. You could look around the internet as there are a lot of no knead bread recipes.

  51. Susan

    When you make your pie crusts, it always seem so easy and I can’t figure out why mine is so dry that I have to use significant force to just roll it into a ball. You seem to be able to gently roll it into a ball and then roll it out without using all your muscle power. What am I doing wrong? I have followed the directions exactly as posted.

    • Jenny

      It could be from not aerating the flour: http://mobiledev.jennycancook.com/flour-basics/

      • William

        I did not aerate my flour also I taped it so now my dough is dry what do I do.

        • Jenny

          Please clarify “taped” it.

          • William

            I taped the cup I had the flour in so it was not aerated.(⌒-⌒; )

          • Jenny

            Oh, you tapped the cup. If you’re just starting, just add some more water. I’m not sure how far along you are.

          • William

            I am on the 3 hour waiting time.

          • Jenny

            This is a very forgiving dough. I suggest you let it rest for the 3 hours and bake as directed, even if it doesn’t look right. There’s a good chance you will still get a pretty good loaf. Please let me know how it turned out.

          • William

            Ok thanks.ヾ(@⌒ー⌒@)ノ

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