Apr 21, 2015

Problems with Yeast Baking?



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 and should not be used past the expiration date. Even with a good expiration date 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.

56 Comments on "Problems with Yeast Baking?"

  1. Cindy

    Best easiest bread recipe EVER but then again so are the cinnamon buns.

  2. Joy Bunch

    I made this bread exactly per instructions. Texture great!
    Rise perfect
    Flavor- it was unlike anything I have ever tasted/- THE WORST TASTING BREd in my 60 years and trust me I have eaten lots of breads!! Couldnt even recover with it toasted and slapped with butter and jelly!!! Bunch of wasted ingredients

    • Larry

      In light of all the other positive stories, I would be curious to learn what might have happened with your experience. As an engineer, I know the need to exactly follow the recipe, but do agree that things can go wrong (water temperature, yeast issues, etc.) and I would like to learn more so that I don’t make any mistakes. Thank you.

  3. Ann

    Can this bread be made the day before up to the step of rising then put in the fridge and baked the next day?

  4. Ann

    In the instructions, it says after 15 minutes baking, in the oven, place a foil tent over the bread pan to avoid over browning of the top. It does not specifiy if the aluminum foil should be shiny side up or down. Will this influence the browning/baking rate of the bread dough? Which way is preferred? Shiny side of the foil away from the dough or facing down toward the dough?

    • Jenny Can Cook

      Shiny side away from the dough (facing up) is what I do.

  5. Gayathri

    Jenny, thank you for the recipe. I’m using Betty Crocker cups which read 1cup = 235 my, which means 235 grams. I have taken the gram measurement u have specified and have now left the dough to rise. I had to take a little more flour for the measurement you have given. So which cups are right? I think the cups you have ate different than mine.. So how do I ensure I’m measuring correctly?

    • Jenny Can Cook

      Please use the Metric link at the top.

      • Gayathri

        Can you suggest me the brand u are using for cups?

        • Jenny Can Cook

          I have AMCO brand (Amazon & Walmart) and would recommend ones from the Food Network (sold at Kohl’s) or any that are sold by Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table.

  6. Sherry

    Do you need to use bread flour for the second step as stated in recipe or can you use all puropse flour thank you

  7. Myrna

    I would like to know or figure out how to calculate calories per slice.

    • Helen

      myfitnesspal.com – input ingredients into recipe and divide by number of slices

  8. Sarah

    My husband and I are following a low sodium diet. Is there any way to reduce or omit the salt in your bread recipes, particularly the whole wheat and white sandwich bread?

    • Jenny Can Cook

      Salt is the main source of flavor in breads so you could try using less and less every time you make it until it’s too bland for your taste.

  9. Michael

    Hi Jenny,

    I just started baking my own bread for health reasons. I made your bread recipe and it taste so good. I’m also feeling better. It’s also so good that my family keeps eating all of it. I want to start making larger loaves (9×5, 10×5, and sandwich size pans). Do you have a conversion formula or an ingredient list available that I can use for each of these pan sizes?

  10. Lisab

    I will be using a kitchenaid stand mixer. Any adjustments or things I should know? I have very troublesome Rheumatoid so hand kneading is not something I can usually do. Thanks!

    • Chris

      My KitchenAid mixer came with a dough hook which is the mechanical form of kneading

  11. Dawn D.

    Made your bread, love it, But how do you store it? Plastic bag, paper bag? Clueless in Cali~~~~ Thanks

  12. jackie L

    sometimes my bread is shiny and sometimes not……….what makes the difference?

  13. MS. Concerned

    When it was time to add milk to the Homemade WHOLE WHEAT YEAST BREAD receipe, there was no mention of measurements. Clarify the kind of milk added for this receipe . Thanks . MS. Leola Franklin

    • Jenny

      I reviewed all my whole wheat breads that contain milk and the amounts and type of milk are clearly posted. Please let me know which recipe you are referring to. Thank you.

    • Pat

      I used almond milk

    • Helen

      Clearly says 1 cup in recipe

  14. Alisha

    Can I use this recipe with a cast iron loaf pan? Is there anything that has to be done differently?

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. manuel


    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)

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Pauld108

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

  22. Ruth

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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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?



    • 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.”

  27. 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! 🙂

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

    • 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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