Apr 21, 2015

Problems with Yeast Baking?

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WITH BAKING, IT’S IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW THE RECIPE EXACTLY, RIGHT DOWN TO THE SIZE OF THE PAN.  EVEN THE SMALLEST CHANGE CAN CAUSE A RECIPE TO FAIL.

Dough Didn’t Rise

  1. Your liquid may have been the wrong temperature. Using an instant read thermometer is the best way to know it’s correct.
  2. 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.
  3. You used the wrong size pan. Using a larger pan than is noted lets the dough spread sideways instead of rising upwards.
  4. You changed the recipe. It’s important to follow the recipe exactly, paying attention to every detail.

Dough Too Dry

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. You used a different flour than stated in the recipe.

Dough Too Sticky

  1. 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.
  2. You sifted the flour before measuring, which would cause you to use less flour than required.
  3. You used a different flour than stated in the recipe.

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 degrees F. The killing point for yeast is 140 degrees F. (average tap water comes out at about 120-125 degrees F – my tap water is 127 degrees F)

Click here for my Flour Basics.

Click here for ideas on where to rise dough.

Click here for the difference between baking powder & baking soda.

30 Comments on "Problems with Yeast Baking?"

  1. Kristina

    I tried this recipe twice and turned out perfect both times. I even doubled the recipe and used almond milk and a flax egg. It was very good! Thank you very much.

    • G. Radcliffe

      Thanks for letting us know that this recipe works using almond milk. I’m only baking bread because I have a daughter with galactosemia and would also be using almond milk.

  2. Shruthi

    Hi Jenny. I really like your recipes. Thank you. I bake bread every week using your 90 min bread recipe. It turns out very well every time, except I use 2.75 cups of whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup all purpose flour. I just wanted to know can we add milk and egg in the no knead overnight bread and also can I bake it in bread loaf pan, as I don’t have Dutch oven.

    • Jenny

      You can not add milk and egg in this recipe or bake it in a loaf pan. There are other possible containers to bake it in if you look at the No Knead Bread Questions under my “Questions” link.

  3. Ruby

    Dear Jenny, love your smiling face and the way you go about presenting your recipie.
    I found packages of active dry yeast in my pantry which says best used before 2012. Can they still be used?

    • Jenny

      No, it’s too old to use. Yeast has a very short shelf life and once opened, it should be kept frozen.

  4. manuel

    Hello

    I am writing you from Portugal.
    I use fresh yeast when I want to make gluten-free bread for my wife.
    All the commercial brands of already prepared GF bread are very bad (their softness is very close to a rubber tyre…).
    As I can eat “normal” bread, I am tempted to make one, after seeing those beautiful photos and the YouTube video…
    I must say that I achieved much better results when I use fresh yeast, instead of the dry one.
    The question: Is it possible to dissolve the fresh yeast in warm milk, keeping all other steps unchanged?
    If the answer is positive, how much fresh yeast to use?
    (The normal proportion is 3 to 1)

    • Jenny

      I’m sorry I have no experience with fresh yeast.

  5. Old Bob

    I sent a comment yesterday on this subject and this is my follow up. Using your pan pizza recipe with HOT water I had some interesting results; the mixture did not get gooey like the cold water/12 hour recipe and it did not rise. After 3+ hours I removed the dough, sprinkled it with flour and treated it like regular dough. I pressed it out by hand to fit my 11.5″ iron skillet and continued with your recipe. It turned out nicely and tasted great. Looks like you can’t mess up with this recipe. About the rising problem, I read your comments regarding properly storing the yeast and that may be my problem. Question about the dough not being gooey; can I add some water as I mix to help with that?

    Thanks! Love your culinary contributions!!

    Old Bob

    • Jenny

      I think a little extra water would be safe to add without causing a problem. Let me know how the next one turns out.

  6. Nana

    Jenny, can you use Sprouted Wheat or Sprouted Spelt flour in this recipe?

    • Jenny

      I don’t know which recipe but if you scroll through the comments below any of my bread recipes, you may find people who used alternative flours.

  7. Pauld108

    Thanks. I would like a 100% whole wheat recipe WITHOUT eggs. (Dairy is OK) Any advice? Thanks.

  8. Ruth

    Good to know important stuff thank you again blessing to you and yours today

  9. Alan

    I have absolutelyno problems with this wonderful wheat bread. But I have a question on how to extend the life without putting it in the fridge?

    • Jenny

      Homemade bread does not keep as well as store-bought so I don’t know of any other way to store it expect refrigerated.

  10. Martha

    Can you make the cinnamon rolls without a mixer??

    I made your no knead rolls and they were fabulous! I couldn’t believe how well they turned out. I live 2 mins away from one of the best bakeries in Montreal..so the bar is high 🙂 These are just as good if not better than theirs.
    Now I want to try the cinnamon rolls but don’t have a mixer..would love to know if I can knead the dough the old fashioned way.

    Thanks for the wonderful recipes Jenny!!

    • Jenny

      You can mix everything by hand but you will have to knead longer, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

    • Jenny

      Yes, the old fashioned way is fine. You may have to knead longer.

  11. Aleksandra Hoffman

    Do I need to adjust the temp of the oven and how long I bake the bread if I want to do two loaves at a time?

    • Jenny

      I only make one loaf at a time so you may have to check some other recipes that are proven for two loaves. I would not want to steer you wrong.

  12. Gerry UK

    I have baked your no knead bread and it is delicious. Bought myself all the correct utensils so she who must be obeyed cannot complain that I have not cleaned up afterwards. However I find that the crust, whilst tasting really scrumtious, can be hard on the dentures, any suggestions?

    Sincerely

    Gerry

    • Jenny

      There are some ideas online for making no knead bread with a softer crust. Try searching “no knead bread with soft crust” or “soft crust no knead bread.”

  13. Magart

    Made this last week. Came out great. It took an hour to rise but was well worth it. It slices easily, kept well and tastes great! I used 2T honey instead of sugar and that worked just fine. I always use King Arthur flour and that does make a difference.

    • Kevin Gardner

      I as well had to let the dough rise longer than the 35 minutes as suggested in the pan (about an hour+). I used dry active yeast in the packets, wondering if the difference in yeast could be the reason it took longer. No matter really I guess just as long as it rises in the end! 🙂

  14. Bambu

    Excellent site on baking/cooking. Been baking/cooking since I could pull a chair up to the stove, and your tips are spot-on and easy to follow. A another plus is you’re ver pleasant and clear when speaking on your videos.
    Cheers….

  15. George

    I’ve made your No-Knead Bread twice. The first one was my fault. Water was too hot. The second one I followed the recipe explicitly. It turned out beautifully. When I cut into the crust, it sounded like the one on You-Tube. But the bread didn’t look like baked bread. Some stuck to the cutting knife. I returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes. That did not correct my problem.
    What would you suggest I do the next time.
    Thanks.

    • Jenny

      It almost sounds like you cut the bread too early. Bread continues to bake after it’s removed from the oven. Also, it’s possible your oven was not hot enough. If you like, please send me an exact & specific list of all your ingredients and exact description of the pan and I will try to help further.

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Please understand I’m not always able to answer your questions.