The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need Help with a No Knead bread

bobprobst's picture

Need Help with a No Knead bread

My bread is coming out too damp.

Thanks to my son's interest in making bread (he's 4).  I've started baking with him and have been pleased enough with the result to want to keep doing it.  Our first attempts turned out good but lacked the big crunchy crust that I love.  So I found this technique on YouTube:

It's very basic: 3c flour, 1.5 c water, Yeast, 1.5tsp salt.  Let it sit for 12 hours, form into loaf and cook in a dutch oven.  500F  30 min cover on 20 min cover off

I've done it twice and have been thrilled with the color and big crunchy crust but both times the center ended up cooked and edible but damp and slightly doughy.


Any advice on how to fix this?  Less water?  Longer Cook Time?  I can't go hotter, my oven only goes up to 500F.


Floydm's picture

Yeah, I would leave the loaf in the oven for at least an extra 10 minutes.  You could also turn the oven off at 50 minutes but leave it in there for an extra 10, 20, even 30 minutes.  It really quite tough to overbake a loaf.

Another option is to spend 7 bucks on an instant-read thermometer.    You want the inside of the loaf to get up to at least 200 or more like 205 degrees.

Darth Lefty's picture
Darth Lefty

The dutch oven is a very big hunk of iron.  How long are you preheating it?

jacobsbrook's picture

I agree that you should make sure that the pot is definitely preheated completely.   Are you letting the loaf cool completely?  Remember the loaf continues to set up during the cooling process.  I know if I cut any loaf warm, the interior becomes doughy and damp.  Just a suggestion.

Keep baking and enjoy!

bobprobst's picture

Thanks for the encouragement.  I'll try a longer bake time this weekend.

The dutch oven is a very big hunk of iron. How long are you preheating it?

I'm letting it preheat with the oven and then another 10 or 15 minutes.  Should I go longer?

I am also letting it cool completely.

I'll add that the first time I used some active dry yeast (which I proofed ahead of time) and the 2nd time used instant.  I doubt that made a difference -- but there it is.

albin1e4's picture

I use 2 different dutch ovens for No Knead Bread and both are preheated for about 45 minutes in a 450 degree oven.


My best loaves of No Knead bread were made with slightly less water than in Lahey's book. The dough was still very moist. I let it ferment for the recommended 18 hour period.


Covered baking is always 30 minutes. My Staub cast iron oven required 25 minutes of uncovered baking. Using an Emily Henry ceramic dutch oven, I had to increase my uncovered bake time to 35 minutes.



serifm's picture

I recently got a copy of Leader's new book "My Bread." I had been using another recipe   for no-knead bread which called for 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of water. The recipe in Leader's s book calls for 1 1/3 cups of water for the basic bread. Previously, I was finding that the crumb was quite damp, but the loaf I baked yeaterday, using the 1 1/3 cups of water, had a much better crumb. I baked the loaf for 30 miinutes, removed the lid and baked for an additional 20 minutes, then checked the temperature. It was at 200, so I took the pan out of the oven. I love this bread!

bobprobst's picture

Thanks for all the advice! 


I just pulled the new loaf out of the oven.  I went with 1 1/3c water and added more by spoon to get the right consistency.

Baked 40 min with lid on and 20 off.

It feels less dense and has a nice hollow thump when I rap the bottom.  Looking forward to trying this one!

I bobbled it when I was dropping it into the dutch oven and it ended up sideways!  Ooops!  Oh well, it's still bread, right?