No Knead Bread Help - Urgent!

So, my dough doesn’t look right. I’ve made this recipe around 10 times over the last 2 years and it always works perfect, but the dough I made last night does not have that bubbly surface it should, indicating the yeast is doing it’s job. There’s a little activity in the dough, but it doesn’t look right. Maybe the yeast wasn’t good, I’m not sure. I assume if I go ahead an d continue to bake the dough the bread will be flat. Do I have any recourse? Anything I can do to kickstart the yeast? Should I just dump the dough and not have delicious home made bread with our penne ala vodka?

I would proof some more yeast and, once you’re sure it’s good, add it to your dough, along with some more flour if needed.

Ok, thanks! Ummm… how?

This is assuming you’re using dry active or instant yeast (the granular stuff that comes in a packet).

Take about a 1/4 c. of 110 degree water. (If you don’t have a thermometer, the water should feel comfortably warm, not hot.) Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Give it about 8 minutes. It should look sort of creamy and foamy. If it is, that means the yeast is good and doing its thing. Add it to your dough. (You may end up having to knead your no-knead dough to get it distributed throughout.)

Thank you!

Let us know if this works!

It may have been a bum batch of yeast, which happens, or it could have been proofed at too cool a temp to get good yeast beastie action.

I try to always check the use by dates on the yeast packets if I am not at home using my own yeast, sometimes people just grab off the shelf, and sometimes stuff has been sitting there too long…

Well, I’d like to report a huge success but I cannot. The final product looked good enough, but was much denser than normal and about 3/4 normal size. We wound up slightly toasting it because it never fully cooked, and it was edible, but not all that good.

I guess I didn’t mention that it rained all night and most of the morning, so maybe the yeast wasn’t to blame. My wife pointed out that the weather was probably the culprit. When I proofed the additional yeast it sure seemed active enough. Oh well, our meal was fine.

I appreciate the assistance though, Dopers never let you down!

Well, bummer! Yeast can be finicky little buggers sometimes.

I doubt that’s it. In fact, I’m starting to think the “warm water to proof yeast” is a myth. I’ve proofed in everything from the 110 degree supposed ideal down to cold water right out of the tap, (and sometimes not proofed it at all, just dumped it in with the water) and have never noticed a difference in the results. Michael Ruhlman makes the same observation in his latest ratio book. I certainly wouldn’t try it with water above 115, or with water near freezing, but I think the range of workable temperatures is far, far higher than it’s usually credited with.