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Jan 20, 2008 07:17 AM

no knead bread..doesn't look right (1st rise)

I think I may have let it rise too long, it's been close to 22 hours and the dough doesn't have that bubbly look that I've seen in most images after the first rise. The other Issue might be;
that it's freaking colder than heck outside (16 below over night) and though I let it rise in the oven, it wasn't on..just had the light on.

Am I out of luck? It looks basically still a little shaggy and hasn't spread out in the bowl..I'm using a big stainless bowl.

Any suggestions to save it?

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  1. Well, you could mix in more flour and more yeast and sort of start over, maybe dividing your present dough into two parts, and freezing one for later. But I myself would probably just throw it into the oven and hope!

    6 Replies
    1. re: bcc

      What do you think I did wrong? Let it go too long? I'm wondering if it just wasn't warm enough and if I should turn on the oven a touch during the second rise (which I haven't started yet..)

      1. re: cherrylime

        I assume that your proportions of flour, water, yeast were correct, and that your yeast was fresh, right? In that case either of your guesses could be right. But I would tend to believe it was over-rising, because I often let the dough rise in the refrigerator, and it doubles and gets puffy overnight. If it has over-risen, and you bake it as it is, you won't get very good volume. In that case it may be best to save it and add parts of it to other doughs.

        1. re: bcc

          ok I'm just going to go ahead and do the second rise and take my chances..Then just start over with a new loaf. What would using part of this dough do for the new loaf (would that be considered a starter?..) Obviously I'm a bread novice.. Thanks for your help.

          1. re: cherrylime

            Usually when people talk of a 'starter' they mean a 100% sourdough starter, with no commercial yeast.

            When you mixed the original dough, did you use hot water? If it was too hot, you may have killed the yeast (I did this once), which would account for the lack of rising. If that were the case, using the unsuccessful dough in another loaf would not add anything to the taste. If the dough had over-risen and then collapsed, it might add a pleasant sour tang. I don't think that you would find it unpleasant.

            1. re: bcc

              I'm thinking the yeast was no good..I don't have the package anymore but it's possible it was too old. I'm just going to bake this one and see what happens and start over w/fresh yeast for a new loaf...

              Thanks..I'll let you know how it all goes..

              1. re: bcc

                There's another sort of starter that's called a levain, poolish or biga. For these you mix various ratios of flour and water with a little bit of yeast and let it sit out overnight to gather local microflora and develop flavor. Depending on where you live you may have accidentally already made one or you might have to let it sit out for a few more days. They tend to be pretty wet so the no knead bread recipe should make a decent one. Just add up to a cup of it to any bread recipe to give it a sourdough tang and improve the texture.

                You can keep it in the refrigerator for a week before bringing back to room temperature for use or rejuvenating it with a half cup of flour and a half cup of water.

                Personally, I don't go to all this bother. I just cup a half cup off of the dough before the second rise and keep it in the refrigerator to add to the next week's loaf.

      2. It should definitely have been bubbly after 24 hours. Either the yeast is dead (either at your hand, or through no fault of your own), or it was too cold for the dough to rise. Ideally, the dough would be rising in a controlled environment of 71-74 degrees F, but should be okay anywhere from 68-80 degrees, with rise times adjusted accordingly. I'd guess that it was too cold.

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        1 Reply
        1. re: sirregular

          I figured it rose and fell over that time in my advice, but you could be right too.

        2. Funny, my first batch rose for about the same time and turned out fine. It didn't rise a lot, though. My house is usually about 70 or so. I also used regular yeast, which Cook's Illustrated says not to do. They call for rapid-rise yeast. For my second batch, I activated the regular yeast in warm water for a few minutes before I added it to the dough, and it rose quite a bit more.

          It may well have been too cold.

          Let us know how you make out. I'd definitely go for it and bake it. It might be fine!

          3 Replies
          1. re: bear

            Wow!!!! I am stunned.Stuck it in there in a 5 qt cast iron dutch oven. It came out and it sure *looked* gorgeous. Then we waited impatiently for 15 minutes for it to cool. Seriously, it's by far the best loaf I've ever made and as good as most "artisan" breads I've ever had. Except of course Sullivan Street..keep in mind though that this is coming from a person who came home w/a bunch of Sullivan st. stuff in her suitcase last trip to Nyc...

            My first try and I thought it was ruined! Now I see what all the fuss is about! I can't imagine how good it would be with fresher yeast! Heck I don't know if I'll change anything..what if it's not as good?

            It does look as though it could be a little "holier" i.e. bigger holes..but the crust..amazing. Thanks everyone!

              1. re: cherrylime

                Awesome! I had a feeling it would be terrific. It really is an amazing process...and the first time you really have to go on faith and chowhound feedback, because it sure doesn't look pretty. I'm really grateful to the dedicated people who developed and then perfected the recipe.

                I'm so glad you loved it. I know it will be a staple in our house, along with the variations in other recent posts. The rye sounds fabulous.


                I'm glad you stuck it out and didn't try to "fix it" beforehand. Congrats!

            1. Mine looked like that too, but it baked up fine with an especially good crust. I have no idea what I did wrong, but it didn't matter.

              1. Thanks so much for posting the ultimate result of this dilemma.

                I was just looking for answers to the same problem (Dough still scraggy after first rising- in no way resembling anything that might qualify as "bubbly").

                I used regular yeast and threw this together while it was COLD out too. I did proof the yeast, so perhaps it's just the crappy weather?

                Probably would have scrapped it and started over if not for your post, but I'll finish it up now and hope that it turns out as well as yours.