View Full Version : Bread Baking Failure, Need Help!

12-29-2013, 11:00 AM
Alright, so I've recently started baking bread again. The recipe is the no knead bread from the NY Times, which is a simple and delicious bread to bake. Here are the results of my first bake… http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/c/189/hsfv.jpg …Fantastic!

Last night I prepped another batch of dough, which is made from very simple ingredients.

3 Cups Flour
1/4 teaspoon of yeast
3/4 tblspoon kosher salt
1 and 1/2 cups of warm water

I mixed the ingredients together in a stainless steel bowl (same one I used the night before) and covered with plastic wrap. Today I wake up and the dough has not risen at all. What could possibly be the cause.

Factors that may have changed below…

temp of water (it calls for warm water, what does that really mean?)
Temp in the house although both nights according to my thermostat were at 62 degrees F.
Yeast for second batch was from the packet I had opened the night before, but that packet was secured in a ziplock bag

What gives?

12-29-2013, 11:12 AM
Try mixing the yeast and warm water first. Until it foams a bit to activate it a bit more and then mix it into the flour and salt

12-29-2013, 11:19 AM
I think bread prefers around 72-74 F if I remember correctly. 62 F isn't really that warm anyway :). Your yeast was probably bad how old was it? If it foams as mentioned above it is good to go. Old yeast, unless out of the freezer, will not work very well in my experience. Also I have read that salt and yeast are not friends so if you add them at the same time it can hinder the yeast. Water for yeast should be 90-110 or slightly warmer than your hands with no thermometer. Cold or warm wouldn't matter for the slow fermentation depending on ambient conditions.

Also depending on the size of your container and dough ball the rise went out instead of up. The bread is gonna expand both ways unless there is some structure directing the expansion. In the no knead case its the dutch oven.

12-29-2013, 11:21 AM
I have a simple bread recipe. 1kg flour 600mLs warm water 10g yest and a pinch of salt and sugar. Add salt and flour togethor put salt on one side. Put yeast suger and water togethor it should foam a bit then use a butter knife and make a well in center of flour add water and yeast mix to well and work with the butter knife until the flour is worked in enough to kneed it. Then work the dough until it bounces back when poked. Make a tight smooth ball put into a bowl and cover with cling wrap or a teatowl. Once its doubled in size knock it back work it into a nice tight shape. Without tearing the dough and let it prove once its proved slash it slightly and spray with water mist bottle sprinkle flour on top nd put into a 200°C oven and bake for about 15-25 mins depending on size. When you can bang on the bottem and it sounds hollow it should be ready. ALWAYS LET BREAD COOL 80% BEFORE YOU CUT IT. Otherwise its doughy and hasent finished cooking process. Bread is simple to make but requires patience and technique also understanding. Practise goes a long way and with cheap ingrediants why not!!! Hope that helps a bit

12-29-2013, 11:26 AM
My first guess would be that your water temp was off. While there’s some downside to using water that’s a little too cool for the yeast, water that’s too warm - between 130 and 140 degrees - is fatal to yeast.

For active dry yeast, the water temperature should be between 105 and 110 degrees for proofing. While 95 degrees is the best temperature for yeast to multiply, that’s not quite warm enough for proofing active dry yeast.

For rapid rise or instant yeast that will be mixed with the flour rather than added directly with the water, the suggested water temperature is significantly warmer. Package directions suggest that water of 120-130 degrees should be added to the flour and yeast mixture.

12-29-2013, 11:33 AM
Thanks to everyone who has chimed in with helpful suggestions. My guess is leaning towards what bkultra said about the temp of the water. I'm using active dry yeast so the water may have been above temp. I will try again tonight but I will premix the yeast and water together to make sure they activate first.

12-29-2013, 11:37 AM
I would proof yeast at 105 or higher, no sugar I would go 115. Your recipe will probably rise better at 70 to 80 degrees . Maybe look for a warm spot in you kitchen or SLIGHTLY warm empty oven.

12-29-2013, 12:28 PM
I've used that NYT recipe and I found it to be a little dense for my tastes. I doubled the yeast and its a little better, but not my favorite bread. I agree that it sounds like your yeast died, one way or another, or 62 was too cold for it to activate. Try using your oven pilot, if you have one.

12-29-2013, 02:32 PM
When I dumped out the yeast it looked like the bottom layer of the dough had begin to activate but the top half remained unchanged from the previous night.

12-29-2013, 08:23 PM
No knead bread doesn't sound good. Kneading stretches gluten and gives bread shape and texture. Adding warm water not essential if you're doing an overnight prove. My guess is that the yeast wasn't evenly mixed throughout the dough. I am not a fan of overly expediated proves either; a warm oven a def no no in my book. Of course proving cupboards important with commercial baking and deadlines, but for your own use I'd sjust let it prove until ready at room temp,whatever that is!

12-29-2013, 08:25 PM
I am an obsessive sourdough baker though, 3-4 bakes a week for last 5 years

12-29-2013, 08:27 PM
Which makes me anal

12-29-2013, 10:47 PM
No knead bread doesn't sound good. Kneading stretches gluten and gives bread shape and texture. Adding warm water not essential if you're doing an overnight prove. My guess is that the yeast wasn't evenly mixed throughout the dough. I am not a fan of overly expediated proves either; a warm oven a def no no in my book. Of course proving cupboards important with commercial baking and deadlines, but for your own use I'd sjust let it prove until ready at room temp,whatever that is!

The long proofing time produces gluten instead of kneading .

12-29-2013, 10:56 PM
I just tried this recipe myself for the first time tonight! Prepped the dough last night, let it rise in a relatively cold house (definitely well below the recommended 70 degrees) for 16 hours, and just pulled it out of a 500 degree oven. I think I made a bit of a mess of it too; definitely not round, and I think I burned it a bit. Not pretty, but we'll see how it tastes in a few hours when the rest of my dinner is ready.

12-31-2013, 09:46 PM
We tried this for the first time and had questions, it turned out pretty good. Not absolutely sure we did it right, but it sure tastes good. It didn't really rise as we would have expected. Had a couple of slices with butter, then had an open faced sandwiche with prosciutto and honey mustard. One word....DANG!!!




12-31-2013, 09:59 PM
Spin blue it looks nicely baked I think with a little more work on the rolling into a nice tight ball and letting it prove longer could make it a bit bigger and maybe lighter? Otherwise it looks great ;) how was the texture ?

12-31-2013, 10:17 PM
Thanks Jai.

We started the loaf last night at 7. Proofed it 18 hours before pulling it from the bowl, then doing to the final two hour proofing. It was more than warm enough for the initial proofing, but I think we didn't keep the temp up for the final 2, but we'll try again. I'm thinking I want to try it with thyme next time.

I was pretty happy with the texture, the crump seemed very nice, but a hair heavy.

12-31-2013, 10:28 PM
The holes look great it looks like you did everything good just the shape and tightness can help it alot especially if you score it nicely

01-01-2014, 12:34 AM
Well I baked two more loaves today and they came out perfect. The thing I changed was mixing the yeast into the water to help activate it prior to mixing with the flour and salt. Thanks for the tip, I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out.

01-01-2014, 12:38 AM
Proof of the improved proofing :0 …

01-01-2014, 01:26 AM
Here is my first effort from yesterday...not pretty, but edible (barely). Will turn this into croutons after cutting off the crust.

http://i1147.photobucket.com/albums/o544/Kitchen_Knife_Forums/Food%20and%20Drink/No_Knead_Bread_First_Attempt_zpsb3a9867e.jpg (http://s1147.photobucket.com/user/Kitchen_Knife_Forums/media/Food%20and%20Drink/No_Knead_Bread_First_Attempt_zpsb3a9867e.jpg.html)

01-01-2014, 01:31 AM
I started two more loaves last night around 9:30 p.m., which came out of the oven this evening around 7:30 p.m. I used King Arthur's "all purpose" flour for one, and King Arthur's "bread" flour for the other (no idea what difference this is supposed to make). I covered the bowl with a blanket last night to let it proof in a slightly warmer environment, shaped the dough more carefully, and baked at a lower temperature (450 vs. 500+). Pretty pleased with it, and it tastes great!

http://i1147.photobucket.com/albums/o544/Kitchen_Knife_Forums/Food%20and%20Drink/No_Knead_Bread_Second_Attempt_zpscc355b0f.jpg (http://s1147.photobucket.com/user/Kitchen_Knife_Forums/media/Food%20and%20Drink/No_Knead_Bread_Second_Attempt_zpscc355b0f.jpg.html )

01-01-2014, 05:32 AM
JB, the new loaf looks great, glad it worked out for you. I baked at 450F in a dutch oven.

Stereo.Pete, I think my initial success can be contributed to all the help in this thread. I too added my yeast to measured, temperature water (~107), before adding it to the flour and salt.

Thanks Everyone. Seems like a very appropriate thing to do to bring in the new year. I had made the loaf to share with friends for the eve party, but my SO came down with a little bug.

01-01-2014, 09:09 AM
450 in a Dutch oven for 30 minutes covered and then 15 minutes uncovered seems to be the sweet spot for me. Thanks again to everyone who chimed in!