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. To see a short video on how to aerate flour, click here.
  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.

108 Comments on "Problems with Yeast Baking?"

  1. Bill B.

    How can I get the crumb to be a little more dense? I use the 1/2 cup bread flour but the only thing I change in the recipe is that instead of the sugar, I use 2 Tbs. of molasses. We like the extra taste of the molasses. I would like for the bread to be just a little more dense so that it holds together better after slicing. Would the addition of vital wheat gluten benefit this & if so, how much would I use?

  2. JACK

    I followed your recipe but it stuck bad in the pan. The bread is the best ever, however.


    The finished loaf comes out of the oven bulging out on one side of the bread. I can see part of the last fold, even though I sit it in pan seam side down.

  4. MJ

    I learned from you to aerate my flour and it really works well when measuring!

  5. RedHatGramma

    Can I double this recipe ?

    • Ken

      Refer to question (below) by Melisa Gallagher on May 17, 2020 at 7:57 am
      I just started using Jenny’s wheat recipe and have amazing results! Love her sense of humor in videos. 🙂

    • Donna w

      I doubled my recipe several times and came out great.

  6. Craig

    Dear Jenny;
    Because you said the first time not to greasse my loaf pan. For this Ww bread . I had one heck of a time trying to remove it. I tore up the bottom of the loaf.
    Then I see a little pop up after that states to grease my loaf Pan….
    I made your WW loaf of bread 🍞
    And the crunchy one in the Dutch oven.

  7. G Hill

    Followed measurements, followed instructions etc. it did not rise 2 millimeters.
    I understand yeast can get unusable with age but l bought it hardly a month ago. Their is a reason for my failed bread. Is it possible too buy yeast that is old at the grociers?

  8. Carole

    My first loaf was perfect with white flour. Then I tried whole wheat flour and
    the bread was heavy and tasteless?? How can I remedy this.

  9. Gail from Manitoba Canada

    We love this recipe. I have made it I would say, 15 or 20 times now and it turns out perfectly. Today I am trying it with some onions and olives on top for an appetizer evening as a side dish. I make my own garlic butter to go with it, which is real butter mixed with minced garlic and a small amount of kosher salt, if butter is unsalted.
    Thanks Jenny. You are so inspiring.

  10. Joanne

    I’ve tried your whole wheat bread recipe twice. I followed the directions to a T.
    The dough didn’t rise to 1″ above rim. The bread came out very dense and was
    crumbly both times. What could be the problem?

    • Jack

      Could be bad yeast. (Old or spoiled in some way).
      Water not correct temperature or egg, milk making mixture too cool.
      Fresh yeast and warm temperature is required for a good rise.
      I made it and it was awesome!!

      • Cookie

        I haven’t made this bread in a dogs age and when it didn’t rise after 3 hrs I thought I measured the yeast wrong or killed it with hot water. Anyway since Jenny said this was a forgiving dough, I let it sit longer than 3 hrs and it started to form bubbles after 6 hrs. I didn’t care how long it took so I followed the recipe from there on and now it’s in the oven snd smells wonderful!!

  11. gail

    Hi Jenny I looked at the faq’s but could not find the answer to my question regarding yeast….Can I use Quick rise instant yeast in your whole wheat bread recipies….Thankyou….

  12. Corinne

    If I double the bread recipe.
    Should I cook it longer or is it the same time as single recipe?
    Thank you

    • Baker12

      I baked double the amount as two loaves in a single long pan. I baked them for about 25 minutes which is the usual amount of time I do for one loaf.

  13. Sean

    Hi Jenny,
    I’m about to try your recipe and need to know if I can use wheat multigrain flour instead of whole wheat flour.

  14. Robinrn

    I can’t see that altitude is discussed and how it can affect the results of bread. I have read high altitude should be taken into account. Seems the loaf falling is a common problem. Will you comment on high altitude above 3500 feet ft and adjustments that may be helpful for baking bread? Thanks. You view. Is appreciated.

    • Michele

      I live and bake a high altitude and have found that yeast breads dont need adjustments. Cakes and quick breads (things that use baking powder and/or baking soda) generally do.

  15. Jill Cusack

    O.K ……… I AM doing something very wrong ………… I know it.
    My dough is VERY wet & sticky once I add my measured milk, egg & oil. I add 1/4 cup more as I try to knead by hand (50x turns). Oie!
    Once cooked & cooled, I attempt to cut the bread & it falls apart ….. WHY??
    My husband loves the recipe when I make the buns & I think they turn out beautifully ………… BREAD …….. not so much 🙁

  16. Bonnie Joan

    I bought fresh yeast and measured the temp with a candy thermometer but each time I try to make one of your bread recipes it doesn’t rise. When you say “instant” yeast, do you mean “rapid rise”?

    • Jenny Can Cook

      RapidRise is instant yeast. Please look at the FAQs for a solution.

  17. Melisa Gallagher

    When doubling should I double the yeast as well?

    • Barbara

      No, do not double the yeast. A small extra amount might work, but doubling the yeast will cause the dough to overproof.

  18. Daphne

    Hi Jenny love this whole wheat bread recipe and was wondering can I double or triple the recipe with the same results?

  19. Carlye

    Hi Jenny,
    Made your Simple Whole Wheat Bread today and hope you can help me with a problem. I followed the recipe exactly, correct size bread pan, the rise was perfect in 35 minutes, 1” above the top of the pan. Put it in the oven and didn’t rise one bit more 🙁 Doesn’t look like your photo. I read through all of the comments and didn’t see anyone else that had this problem. Can you tell me what might have gone wrong? I’m anxious to try it again because it was easy and people love it judging from all the great comments. Thank you.

    • Jenny Can Cook

      I suspect your oven was not preheated long enough. An oven thermometer is the best way to know the temperature for sure.

  20. Lynn Lambert

    Jenny, I know you are busy with questions but I was wondering if your breads can be cooked in a Convection Oven rather than a regular oven. Our Motorhome only has a Convection.

    • Jenny Can Cook

      I don’t know but I googled “no knead bread in convection oven” and some good info came up – better than my guessing.

  21. Cathy

    Hi Jenny, I would love to try this bread I have the whole wheat flour but only have a all purpose gluten free flour. Will this work for 90 min wheat bread recipe?

  22. Mary K

    No questions here, just a HUGE THANK YOU JENNY!
    My husband couldn’t get bread at the store because of the covid pandemic,
    so I quickly whipped up a loaf of your white bread and he loves it!! Me too!!
    I have made your wheat bread, but he won’t eat wheat bread, so I make it for myself. I also make your no knead bread in the dutch oven,mmmmm so good.
    I never thought I would be able to bake fresh bread, but thanks to you, I can!
    I have also made your apple pie with oil crust, your beef stew (which is our favorite), your meat sauce, and spaghetti sauce.Love them all!
    Watching your videos and cooking with you has really boosted my confidence, and I really enjoy your sense of humor!
    I’ve always been a fan of yours, so when I stumbled upon “Jenny Can Cook” I was eager to try your recipes. And just like you, they don’t disappoint!
    Thanks for helping a girl out, you’re the bomb.com! Stay safe and enjoy your day!

    • Jenny Can Cook

      Thank you, that’s really great to hear. ❤️

  23. JB Creative

    Sourdough bread is just one extra ingredient and adds a wonderful flavor as well as health benefits. I see you have not tried this. I encourage you to create a starter–which many people would love to see on your videos–and bake a sourdough artisan bread. It’s virtually the same as what you do, but with a little starter added. I’m happy to share my starter recipe with you.

  24. mike

    if i use a higher protein wheat will it still be necessary to add white flour

  25. mike

    jenny i love your bread. should you knead very lightly,because it hurts shoulder when i knead harder. also if i knead with dough hooks how long to knead then let it rest 10 minutes?

    • Joanne

      I have a Bosch mixer. For bread it calls for 8 min +/-. This mixer is different than a KA. I don’t have to do 2 rises. Pricey but a great machine.

  26. Queen of Words

    Do you recommend any changes for high altitude baking? I live outside Boulder, CO at exactly 5,280 ft elevation (the famous “mile high” of Denver, the “Mile High City”). Jim Lahey’s original recipe calls for all kinds of gyrations for altitude baking, i.e. more salt, less yeast, etc. because, he says, the bread will rise too quickly/too much at altitude and develop a lot of big air pockets if one does not make adjustments to slow down the rise…

    What say you??
    BTW I love Lahey’s recipes, but have always found the looooong rising times to be VERY difficult to plan around — “let’s see, I need bread for tomorrow morning, but need to start it 18 hours ahead in order that it’s ready on time… that means I need to start it by 8:00 a.m. to accommodate rise/bake times… Aaaaaarrgh!!! Yours is so much simpler 😉

    Sorry this is so long, but I’m also known as the “Queen of Words”

    • Michele

      I live and bake a high altitude and have found that yeast breads dont need adjustments. Cakes and quick breads (things that use baking powder and/or baking soda) generally do.

  27. Sharon

    Can cinnamon roll recipe be doubled successfully?

  28. Cindy

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

  29. 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.

      • Martin

        Trial and error with baking. Because your ingredients are not that costly, a failure isn’t a big loss — Plus, failed bread can be re-purposed (Croutons, e.g) …or bird food. 🙂

    • susan

      Same complaint, worked perfectly, but NO FLAVOUR….NO TASTE….has Jenny explained this?

    • Janice

      Your flour must have been old. I did a trial run with some old flour and it was not what you’d say flavorful. Get some fresh flour and try it again.

  30. 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?

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

    • Greg

      I realize this comment was from 9 months ago, but it doesn’t appear anyone else responded.

      1 cup = 235ml (a volume measurement) is ONLY 235g (a weight measurement) when measuring water! …because 1 milliliter of water weighs 1 gram. Just like 1 cup of flour is a different weight than 1 cup of marshmallows would be – they don’t both weigh 235 grams! Either go by the cup measurement, or the weight measurement, but don’t try and interchange the two (unless weighing water).

      • Paula Vedder

        Please refer to the comment above …Gayathri for the conversion use the metric link at the top?

    • Martin

      For precision, use a digital scale versus a cup.

  33. 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

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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?

  37. 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

      • Carolyn Cornie

        But…what is the ‘timing’ when using a dough hook and mixer?

  38. Dawn D.

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

  39. jackie L

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

  40. 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

  41. Alisha

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

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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)

    • Jenny

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

    • Deanna

      I have used fresh yeast in Jenny’s recipes cause I can’t find dry anywhere now and in her recipes I just let it dissolve in the bowl with the warm liquid stirred it a bit then followed recipes as written and they were perfect! Hope that helped!

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. Pauld108

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

  49. Ruth

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

  50. 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.

      • Alan

        Thank you Jenny for answering my question.

      • Cindy

        King Arthur Flour website has said that adding powdered dry milk to bread recipes extends the life and freshness.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.”

  54. 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! 🙂

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

Leave a Comment

Want to share your photo of my recipe?
Just click on this link: YourPhotos@JennyCanCook.com.