Yeast 101: a required course for new grads

My son Nik, a 23-year-old newly minted college grad out on his own for the first time, emailed me last week with this question: “Mom, how do I make a baguette?”

Well, nothing like jumping right in with both feet, kiddo… A baguette? Though Nik has been part of the King Arthur family since 1990, when he modeled a kids’ apron in one of our first catalogues, he was never interested in baking.

Till now. Hunger and thrift have opened his eyes.

Initially, I thought I’d send him to our baguette blog. Then I thought better of it—the kneading, the overnight starter… nah.


Eureka! Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking has been getting a workout lately here in the King Arthur Flour test kitchen. Authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François have truly made crusty artisan yeast breads easily attainable by ANYONE.

Including my son, the kitchen neophyte.

I emailed him this paraphrased recipe from Five Minutes a Day:

“2 pound bag King Arthur Flour
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (if you can get instant – otherwise, 2 packets of the regular yeast)
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt

“Mix all together — will be very gloppy. Do this in a LARGE bowl. Let rise at room temp. for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days. When you want to bake: Pull of a hunk — about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, like an oversized softball or a small cantaloupe. Stretch into whatever shape you like – long and skinny like a baguette, fat, round and flat… It’ll be sticky; just wet your hands to work with it.

“Put on a WELL GREASED PAN. (Parchment is preferable; I’ll assume you don’t have that.) Let rise for an hour or so; no need to cover. While rising, preheat oven to 450°F. Use a scissors to slash the top of each bread before baking. Set a shallow pan in the bottom of the oven. And just before you put the bread in, pour in 1 cup of boiling water; it’ll make steam, which gives the bread a nice, shiny/crackly/crunchy crust.

“Bake for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on shape (long and skinny bakes faster); should bake till dark golden brown.”

An hour later, I get a call on my cell. Nik’s in a Giant supermarket in D.C. We spend 30 minutes doing some virtual shopping together. “I found the King Arthur Flour. Where’s the salt? Which of these kinds of yeast should I get? Can I use this big plastic bowl, it looks like something for kids on the beach?”  We never do find the plastic wrap…

Next day, an email with attached photo:


“The inside is really nice too. Perfect moist inside with crunchy outside!”

Believe me, from a kid who’s been known to send me ONE-LETTER emails (“K” – yes, it makes sense in context), this is absolutely effusive.

My son, the baker!


So OK, Nik’s loaves don’t look exactly like mine. But I’ve been at it a lot longer; he’ll get there. And he can’t go wrong by sticking with Five Minutes a Day, which he can use to make these cinnamon rolls…


…a nice challah…


…and yes, the promised crusty artisan loaves.


Nice crumb, eh?

But for the time being, you know what they say…

Cinnamon roll, $2.00.

Challah, $4.95.


Using email and a cell phone to teach your 23-year-old son how to bake bread: priceless.

Nik isn’t keen on sweets. Heck, he doesn’t even like chocolate. Talk about the acorn falling FAR from the oak… But if he ever wants to impress breakfast guests with his baking prowess, I’d recommend these Ridiculously Easy No-Knead Sticky Buns in a heartbeat.


My version of Nik’s “big plastic bowl” is our 6-quart dough-rising bucket. In go the flour, salt, yeast, water, eggs, honey, and vegetable oil.


The ingredients don’t begin to fill the bucket at this point, but don’t let that fool you into using a standard-size bowl; the dough will eventually rise quite emphatically.


Stir to combine. This is a good start…


…but keep stirring. You want to make sure all of the ingredients are thoroughly moistened, with no floury patches left.


Our sturdy dough whisk, with its flow-through blades, does a first-rate job here.


See how this ultra-sticky dough falls right through the blades?


Here we are, nicely mixed.


Put the lid on the bucket, and let the dough rise for 2 hours at room temperature. Here it is at the start of the rise…


…and here it is at the end. Now it goes into the fridge overnight. It can live in the fridge for up to 3 days or so; longer than that, it’s best to freeze it.


Now, for two of our favorite sticky bun ingredients: baker’s cinnamon filling, and sticky bun sugar.


Add water to the cinnamon filling…


…and stir to make a smooth, spreadable paste. Boy, is this tasty; and you just saw how easy it is. Set it aside while you make the topping.


Drizzle melted butter, honey or syrup, and brown sugar in a 9″ round cake pan. Be sure to spray the pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray first. Sprinkle sticky bun sugar atop the rest of the ingredients; this is what gives sticky buns their ooey-gooey stickiness.


Add pecans or walnuts, halves or chopped. Set the pan aside while you make the buns.


Take the dough out of the fridge; see how much it’s grown overnight?


Look how the gluten has developed—all on its own. Fermentation over time develops gluten just like kneading does. So no-knead breads substitute time for kneading. I’ll take that trade any day!


Ready to bake sticky buns? Begin by sprinkling some flour atop the sticky dough in the bucket.


Grab 1/3 of the dough in the bucket; this will be a scant 22 ounces, if you have a scale.


Place the dough on a well-floured work surface; a silicone mat works well here. Sprinkle more flour on top.


Quickly roll the dough into a rough 15″ x 10″ rectangle. You want to work quickly, because the colder the dough, the easier it is to work with.


Spread the filling on the dough, and roll it up starting with a long (15″) side. Don’t be over-zealous and roll it super-tight; if you do, the centers of the buns will pop up as they bake. Be firm, but gentle.


Cut the log into eight 2″ slices; a pair of scissors works well here.


Place the slices in the prepared pan.


Wet your fingers, and flatten gently.


Cover with plastic wrap or a plastic shower cap, and let rise…


…till noticeably puffy.


I used two 22-ounce pieces of dough to make two pans of buns side by side here, testing different fillings. The filling on the right is a caramel-nut filling you’ll find in the Five Minutes a Day recipe.


Bake the buns in a preheated 350°F oven.


In about 45 minutes, they’ll be golden brown…


…and their interior temperature will register somewhere around 190°F.


Turn the buns out of the pan onto a rack. Ahhh…. Scrape any leftover topping out of the pan onto the buns.


Here’s another experiment I did. No sticky bun sugar on the left; see how the nuts slid off the buns? The sticky bun sugar keeps things “stuck” till the buns have cooled.


WOW. Trust me: anyone can make these. That means YOU.

Still skeptical? Take a look at Sticky Buns: The Video, now showing on a computer near you. Like, the computer you’re looking at right now. Like—right here:

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Ridiculously Easy No-Knead Sticky Buns.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Balthazar, New York City: Sticky Bun, $4.00

Entenmann’s Cinnamon Swirl Buns, 29¢/ounce

Bake at home: No-Knead Sticky Buns, 69¢ each; 15¢/ounce

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. Alicia

    I LOVE the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book! It makes bread-making incredibly easy AND incredibly delicious. Plus, you have enough dough for fresh bread daily with minimal effort.

  2. Deidra

    I’ve been baking bread for a few years now. I will stick to my weekly baking of whole wheat sandwich bread for most of the time, but I did like the results from my 5 Minute efforts. I impressed myself (a tough critic), the husband and my sister (another tough critic)!

  3. Susan D. Dickes

    Zoe has posted another method for introducing steam about which the Baking Circle started a discussion thread. Take a disposable aluminum pan, spray the inside with water, and place it on top of the dough in the hot oven for 15 minutes. Remove with a pair of tongs and continue to bake the bread as directed. This works to produce a nice oven rise and I find it safer than the hot pan and water method. Susan

  4. Marion

    I have forwarded this to my 21 year old at college (graduating this summer :-), he wants to learn how to make bread and pizza. What great timing!

  5. RJ

    Ok, ok…I have this book, too. My first attempt was an utter disaster….which did nothing for my fear of yeast breads!! Your blog has made me want to give it another try. Really not quite sure what went wrong the first time…any pointers for me as I go dust off my book? :-)

    If you follow the book recipes, did you measure the flour his way, which is to scoop into the bag and sweep off the excess? Jeff H. measures flour differently than we do, and in these high-liquid recipes, the amount of flour is pretty critical. What was wrong with your original breads? Dough was too sticky and spread all over the place? Or kept its shape, but didn’t rise enough? Read the instructions in our recipe carefully, so you use the right amount of flour…PJH

    1. GingerNell

      I’m not an experienced baker but every recipe I’ve tried from this book has turned out really well. Even after mistakes that I thought were “fatal”, at least to the yeast! Hope you try it again…

  6. Sue

    I’ve made several recipes out of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and I’ve had great results. Too much fun and so easy! I make half batches since there are only two of us, and I use a plastic gallon ice cream container to mix the bread.
    I haven’t made any of the sweet bread variations like challah or brioche but I will eventually, and your sticky buns look absolutely fantastic. I’ll definitely be trying those soon! Maybe for Father’s Day!?

    Sounds like a plan, Sue. Tip: Make sure the dough is chilled when rolling out. Don’t take it out of the fridge till you’ve made the filling, and readied the pan with the topping, then work fairly quickly. The colder it is, the easier it is to work with. And it absolutely makes DELICIOUS sticky buns! Have fun – PJH

  7. Susan

    I already love your blog bunches, and I didn’t think it could be any more wonderful — but the video!! SO COOL! I’ve always loved the pictures of the step-by-step instructions because they’re so helpful, and the video just takes that to another level. I think it’s probably the second best thing to seeing one of KAF’s live demonstrations. Thank you guys so much for doing all that you do!

  8. Jeff Hertzberg

    Thanks PJ, I loved reading about the whole bit with your son. My goal, getting my kids hooked on this BEFORE they move out.


    Jeff Hertzberg (co-author, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

  9. Alvara

    Can Nik’s bread be mixed in the bread machine and then rise and then put in the refrigerator to rise overnight? I use the bread machine for everything because it is so easy. I do have the dough whisk so I could do it your way. I just need to buy the big bucket. I enjoyed the story about Nik as I have three sons and they all like to cook, one bakes. Thanks as always.

    Alvara, you could definitely make and rise the dough in the bread machine, then refrigerate. Although it wouldn’t make nearly as much, and thus you wouldn’t need the bucket… I’m glad your sons are cook – kudos to you! PJH

  10. Pam

    These look fabulous. Could they be made as a pull apart? If so, how might one go about it?

    Pam, these pull apart very nicely – so not sure what you’re asking? If you want to know can they be made into monkey bread – not really. The dough can certainly be pulled off into small balls and rolled in cinnamon sugar, piled in a pan, and baked that way – is that what you’re asking? PJH

  11. Melina

    Beautiful sticky buns! Can’t wait to make these.

    And, uh, is your son single? :)

    Melissa, on behalf of my son – I’m flattered! But as his Facebook page says, he’s “in a relationship.” :) PJH

  12. Jake

    Oh, this is timely. I’m 2 years out of school and maybe 5 loaves beyond Nik, but yeah, loaf #1 looked pretty similar. I’m working off of J.D. Roth’s adaptation – the beer is a big improvement, plus it’s an excuse to drink half a beer! I’m troubleshooting the crumb now, still a little too dense (I think it needs a longer final rise, but the white wheat flour can’t be helping). However, the crust looks (and tastes) like a $6 artisan wonder!
    @RJ, I agree with PJ – it’s all about flour. I’d put off buying the dutch oven but now I may break down and get a proper scale for the flour, too.
    My first triple batch (raised overnight) is now in the fridge for the week… I may be poor, but I’ve got a ton of dough!

    Jake, I LOVE IT! I’m remembering that line – I’m lifting this to put in our company newsletter (internal…) Keep up the good work – bread is always a work in progress, and it’s the journey, as well as the destination… thanks for sharing. PJH

  13. Teresa

    Wow, I’ve not heard of the 5 minutes book before, but I think I must get it. I love the ‘rustic’ look of your son’s baguettes. I’m not a big sticky bun fan, but they do look fantastic!

  14. Julia

    Will definitely have to give a copy of this book to my busy niece in
    grad school who called me one Thanksgiving afternoon saying the
    bread she was baking for her Thanksgiving dinner with friends
    wasn’t rising. Turned out she proofed the yeast in boiling water!

    Keeping some bread dough ready to go in the refrigerator will
    be a big timesaver for her!

  15. RJ

    PJ – thanks for the tip! You are right…the dough was way too sticky and didn’t keep its shape. I had to keep adding flour to it to be able to shape it in any way. I know I didn’t scoop and sweep. Thanks so much!! Wish me luck….

    Bakers are always lucky! Go for it – PJH

  16. Terri A.

    Looks great, but I’m especially impressed by your son’s University of Maryland shirt (my alma mater). I keep saying I’m going to try to make cinnamon rolls/sticky buns – this might be the incentive I need!

    GO TERPS! He loved it… Hey, go for the sticky buns – they’re truly easy. Thanks for connecting, Terri – PJH

  17. C

    Nice video! (Who needs talking?) I’ll be sending this post to my just-graduated niece as encouragement to cook in her new apartment.

  18. Angela

    TALL SIDED PAN! TALL SIDED PAN!! These were the flaming cinnamon rolls of doom. Who knew my disposable cake pans had shorter than average sides? I didn’t until the bottom of my oven caught on fire with flaming sugary goodness

    Alas, Angela… I recommend setting your pan of sticky buns on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, if you have any inkling at all that your pan might not hold their ooey-gooeyness – PJH

  19. Carolyn

    The Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is a great book. I’m more of a whole-grain sandwich loaf (KAF Irish Porridge bread!!!) girl myself, but my husband loves crusty bread! Unfortunately, we live in South Carolina, where turning the oven on (to a v. hot temperature) every day is untenable in the summer, so this book only gets used between October and March!

  20. Rae Consigli

    We operate a bed and breakfast in Cooperstown NY, and I love the idea of offering my guests hot sticky buns for their breakfast. I’ve always hesitated, however, because of the timely preparation of my other breakfast specialties. Now I plan to use the refrigerated rising method, allowing me to prepare the sticky buns the night before. I also like the fact that I can divide the dough recipe into four batches and freeze 3/4 of it for another time. The number of guests at our breakfast table at any time will help me decide on the number of buns I will need.

    Good idea, Rae – I think this’ll work well for you. Thanks for joining the conversation – PJH

  21. tanya

    hi, kaf/pjh–just discovered your blog–loved the story about son and his baking bread! to offer encouragement to timid bread bakers: i’ve been baking nearly all of our bread since 1976, and my husband believes there has never been a failure! ( no dummy, he!) seriously, even bread with boiled yeast can be made into tortillas…when the bread is too crumbly for sandwiches, we just eat them with a fork! i am fascinated by the no-knead sticky bun recipe and intend to try them without the “sticky” as cinnamon rolls. also have ordered the “5 minutes a day” book. loved the video! thanks.

    Welcome, Tanya – thanks for connecting with us. And congrats on being a 30+ year bread baker! I agree, if nothing else the birds can always have a feast… But I’ve mad e many a loaf into crumbs or croutons when I couldn’t figure out how to salvage it. Again, welcome – PJH

  22. J.B's Mom

    It’s good to know I’m not the only Mom that shops with her Son on the phone. I now just stay on the line as he searches for each item for a special recipe instead of the million calls for each item. He has just started baking and I can’t wait to send this to him,it might just get him to try bread. I purchased from KA a long time ago,No Need to Knead and love it. I was going to get him a copy but now I think I’ll check out 5 Min a Day before I do. As always I love your stories and recipes! Sue

    Thanks, Sue. I think he’ll love the 5 Minutes book; it’s so simple and basic and makes SUCH yummy bread… PJH

  23. Sue E. Conrad

    Hi, P.J.

    What an absolutely GREAT picture of you and your son………..and the recipes look good, too!!! My husband and I have four daughters who, even though three of them are married and have been out of the house for years, still manage a few phone calls to Mum every so often with a cooking/baking question. So nice to be needed, isn’t it??!!

    Indeed. Amazing how our kids believe we suddenly become “smart” again after years of being “out of it” as parents, huh? Thanks, Sue – PJH

  24. Poppy

    Try using dental floss to cut the individual buns, sliding it back and forth on the way down–I find it is less apt to squish the dough than scissors.

    Poppy, I have to admit the dental floss thing eludes me. SO much slower for me than scissors, and I never have any problem straightening the buns out after they’re cut… But the others in the test kitchen swear by dental floss, so I’m the odd man out! Thanks- PJH

    1. musicmaa

      PJH, the easiest way to use dental floss to cut the rolls is you wrap the dental floss all the way around the rolled up log of dough, then cross the ends over and switch hands and then pull right through the dough! It cuts clean. Cut the rest with the same piece of floss, toss when done, and no scissors to clean! This works better for me than trying to saw through the log with the floss.

  25. Lyna

    Glad to see you using a scraper to get all the ingredients, and the finished goodness. All the tv cooks dump-and-run, looks like they leave enough stuck to the little bowls to throw off the receipe. Is this video the first of many to come???

    Hope so, Lyna. We’ve got a “how to measure flour” video and a “lots of things to do with parchment” video in the wings… PJH

  26. Jamie Brooksher

    Your rolls look so delicious I am thinking about purchasing the specialty seasonings you mention in the blog as well as the King Arthur gorgeous bake and give away pans that you were highlighting over the holiday season.

    My question for you is, how long are the rolls good for before going stale? I’m thinking of when I would have to bake and quickly give to maintain maximum freshness, is that correct? (That has a side benefit of also being good for my diet. )

    They’d be OK for a couple of, Jamie. Definitely better the first day but easily rewarmed to tip-top shape via a quick 5-10 minutes, covered, in a 350°F oven. PJH

  27. Christine

    Thanks for this great looking recipe … I had not heard of the 5 Minutes book but I might have to try it out … in addition to being great for college-aged sons, this has a lot of appeal for me and my 6-month old son, whose attention span doesn’t allow me to bake standard yeast bread! I think I could do this!

    Someone in the comments section of the recipe mentioned letting the buns rise in the evening and then refrigerating them and baking in the morning … any thoughts on the success of that? Would you take them out of the fridge ahead of time, or straight from the fridge to the oven?

    Works great, Christine. Shape, put in pan, cover, and refrigerate. Next morning, take them out (they will have risen); preheat the oven to 350°F, put them in, and bake for about 5 minutes longer than the recipe says. I tried it – worked just fine. Good luck – PJH

  28. HMB

    My son moved out of the dorm after one quarter because he said he couldn’t stand the food and would rather cook … and bake. I’ve gotten the odd call from the grocery store or from the apartment when he realized he’d forgotten an ingredient and wanted some ideas on how to substitute/improvise. One of his first calls was about subbing chocolate for cocoa. I explained that could be tricky because he had to consider the sugar and fat content of the chocolate, when cocoa is unsweetened and nearly fat free. With all the confidence of youth, he said, “I’m good at chemistry; I’ll figure it out.” And I guess he did because he informed me later that his cake turned out. And he definitely knows to check out the blog and the KAF website for recipes!

    GREAT – sounds like you’ve raised a “Gen Y” to be a “Gen B” – for baker! Thanks for sharing- PJH

  29. Hallie

    Carolyn in S.C., I used to live in Summerville,S.C. I sure do understand your problem with the heat! Here is what worked best for me. I bought a combination microwave/convection oven made by Sharp. Cool kitchen,been a baker in grocery stores 38 years and have to have homemade breads and everything else. All of my grandkids have been cooking and baking since they were 3years old. My 3 sons now in there 40s grew up in the kitchen too. So think about getting one of these ovens and build the best memories and share your knowlage.

  30. Lillian

    Just thought I’d pop in to say that I seriously love love love every single blog post you write. Inspirational, informative, funny, and sweet. I always enjoy reading what you write, whether it’s a blog entry (even if it’s about something I have no interest in baking) or the little blurbs in the catalog.

    Well, thank you so much, Lillian, for taking the time to let me know. Can you tell I love my job? I wish I could sit next to all of you and take your hand and say “Here, let’s bake together.” Writing is the next best thing. PJH

  31. SimplePleasure

    if i don’t have access to sticky bun sugar, do i use granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar as substitute?

    Just leave it out; your buns simply won’t be quite sticky, but just as luscious. PJH

  32. Cheryl

    Question: You think this dough would be suitable to make a mock-braided filled loaf, like the one described in the King Arthur 200th Anniverary Cookbook?
    Hi Cheryl,
    I haven’t made this dough yet, but it sounds reasonable for what you are describing. I’ll pop a note over to PJ and see what she thinks. ~ MaryJane

    Sure would, Cheryl – the only thing is, you might want to make the braid with fatter strands; as I mentioned earlier, as this dough warms up, it does become quite sticky and hard to work with. The last things you want to be doing is get midway through the braid, and all of a sudden it’s just too darned sticky to work with anymore. Maybe make two small braids, keeping the dough refrigerated right till you’re ready to go? Also, use plenty of flour on the board… Have fun – PJH

  33. Molly Johnson

    My prayers are answered . Artisian bread–I love it. My Mom used to make sticky buns but made her own filling and she was noted for her sticky buns. I have made them, too, but the syrup was only on the bottom of the pan and when the pan was turned over it spread down the sides.

    Thanks a bunch. Mej

    Enjoy, Molly – PJH

  34. Rhoda

    I have to tell you that the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Book has dramatically increased the amount of King Arthur Flour I buy (I would never buy any other kind) – I always have some in the fridge ready to be made into bread, pizza, pita, focaccia, calzone etc I will be trying the cinnamon rolls now —

    and to anyone who may still hesitate on the book – I got it when I broke my arm (really really broke my arm) and I was able to do the dough using one hand only (stirring with my left hand was the hardest part) – I did need hubby to put it in and take it out of the oven but I managed with some thought to do all the rest … So I swear by that book

    Great testimonial, Rhoda – indeed, that bread is so easy you can make it with one hand tied behind your back (or in a sling, whatever the case may be!) Hope you’re back to two-handed baking now- PJH

  35. Julia

    I used the sugar/cinnamon substitute for the filling but it came out
    way too liquid-y. Is the water amount correct? (I weighed out the
    water before pouring it in as it was such a small amount.) Guess I’ll
    have to try the KAF cinnamon filling–or maybe confectioner’s sugar
    instead of granulated (would the cornstarch thicken the filling a bit)?

    The aroma from the baking sticky buns was irresistable, and they were

    I may try rolling in more topping mixture with the cinnamon filling next
    batch–more gooey goodness!

    And I put a circle of baking parchment in the bottom of the pan–no
    problem turning out the buns from the pan.

    Last comment for the reader planning to freeze the dough; Once I
    put some unbaked bread dough in my deep freeze which is colder
    than the freezer compartment of my refrigerator. It killed the yeast,
    dough wouldn’t rise after thawing. Not sure what temp will kill
    yeast that’s been activated. (Yeast still in the package is dormant
    so I think unproofed yeast is more forgiving of low freezing temps.)
    Anyone with more info??

    Julia, here’s what our test kitchen director, Sue Gray, says about freezing yeast doughs:

    “Freezing does kill some of the yeast in dough, but it will usually still rise, depending on how many freeze-thaw cycles the dough goes through…It might be a bit slower to rise due to this. It’s best not to use a self-defrosting freezer, too, for this reason. One caveat–If the dough has been extensively fermented, it is more likely that the yeast will be killed by freezing–so I would not try to freeze dough after it has been refrigerated for several days, as the no-knead doughs are. If you are making dough to freeze, it is best to allow just one, shorter rise, shape and freeze.” – PJH

    Julia, sorry, I must not have been clear – if you use the sugar and cinnamon, you DON’T use the water – that’s only with the Bakers Cinnamon Filling. Sorry about that! PJH

  36. Katie

    I was inspired to try this out, after having the 5 Minute book for a few months. Just never worked up the courage to give a shot! My dough is resting in the fridge as I type this, and waiting for me to get home. Yeast is intimating for someone who grew up in a house without its use, but now I am excited. Nothing smells more amazing then fresh baked bread, and it will smell even better coming from MY oven.

  37. Rosalee Tibbits

    Does your company create a piece of equipment: no-knead whisk, for each different recipe–and expect customers to purchase these many and varied specialty items?? Just wondering. Actually, I am a huge fan of anything King Arthur. Rosalee, Minneapolis, KS

    Rosalee: it’s not designed for “no-knead” specifically, but the tool you saw in the video is called a Dough Whisk, and it’s particularly good for stirring sticky mixtures like flour, water, and yeast. It’s easy to clean, won’t overmix your pancake batter, and makes a terrific bubble wand when the kids get bored. Susan

  38. Joni M

    I had to giggle re you all using dental floss. Long long time ago I decided to try the floss with something or other I was making, but could only find mint floss and foolishly thought oh this will work just fine, and well, I STRONGLY suggest a person only use unflavored floss if you go that route, cause I could certainly taste the mint, and well, that just wasn’t so good…So now when I make rolls that need cutting, I just get out my trusty electric knife, press down lightly first to score all along the roll to be sure I have the correct number of even slices, and voila–job quickly done with lovely cut rolls just begging to be put in the pan to rise! Absolutely adore the blog–you all do such a wonderful job, gotta love it!

  39. Sandi

    I love your blog and KAF flour is a necessity in my household. I only started baking 1 1/2 years ago when I retired at the age of 57. I had some real *stinkers* at first but it all went into making me a better baker. I often take artisan bread or monkey bread and cinnamon rolls etc. to church when we have potluck. Its really great when the kids and half the adults line up by the door to see what Im bringing this time! Your website has really helped me develop baking skills. Thanks!

    Good show, Sandi – what a great “hobby” (passion?) to take up after retirement. Keep it up! PJH

  40. Ahna

    Are you supposed to punch the dough down after the 2 hours of rising, before putting it in the ‘fridge? I did and I hope I didn’t ruin it!

    No, you’re not supposed to punch it down, but don’t worry – you absolutely didn’t ruin it. Yeast dough is very forgiving. It would have sunk by itself eventually anyway. It’ll be just fine. PJH

  41. the inadvertent farmer

    I have 3 20 something sons and my 21 year old was given the 5 minute a day artisan bread book by me for his birthday. He bakes 3 or 4 time a week now and is seriously thinking of becoming a baker! Ohhh I can see the pounds piling on as I try each of his new creations!

    BTW…got my first order from King Arthur just today, I can’t wait to try out the white whole wheat flour! Kim That white whole wheat flour is terrific! Molly@KAF

  42. ChristinaP

    I love the Artisan book! I have a loaf on the cutting board and dough in the fridge all the time. One question though – I heard you snap the container shut in the video. I think they say not to close it completely but I have a hard time getting it to stay on if it’s not tightly closed. Does it matter?

    I close mine tightly – don’t see why not. The worst it can do is pop the lid off if it goes too wild and crazy, right??! I wouldn’t seal down a glass jar with a tight lid, but a snap-on plastic lid? Not a problem. PJH

  43. Sue

    I made these today and my whole family LOVED them!! Thanks for the inspiration and a great recipe!!
    I’ll write about them on my blog soon, and link back here.

    Thanks, Sue – I’ll look for your blogpost on my Google blog alert! PJH

  44. Gert Martel

    PJH – I don’t have a scale (yet) so how many cups is 2 lbs. of flour.

    Go ahead and follow the recipe, Gert – you’ll find all the info. you need there. Two pounds of flour will vary in volume, depending on how you measure… PJH

  45. Phyllis

    I need explicit instructions…..sooo confused about freezing these buns….at what point can I prepare these and place in the freezer for future baking……I have just received all I need from King Arthur but since we are a “two” only household i would like to know how to proceed without losing the prepared dough. Thanks much~

    Hi Phyllis: You can freeze the initial dough, once it’s risen for 2 hours. Wrap in 14-16 ounce balls and freeze for up to 2 months. You can roll, fill, and cut the buns, put them in the pan, cover, and and freeze for up to 2 months. To bake, remove from the freezer, thaw and let rise (with the cover on, albeit loosened up a bit to allow the buns room to rise), then bake. Hope this has allayed your confusion! PJH

  46. Mary from Missouri

    The sticky buns were great! It is wonderful that it can be made ahead and kept in the frig. However, didn’t put the dough in a large enough container and woke the next day to a mess.

    One third of the dough actually kept nicely for 5 days. My other “learning” experience was that I used deep dish glass pie pans which bubbled over in the oven. This is a definite “keeper” in my recipe file.

    Live and learn, Mary – so long as you learn, “disasters” are a plus. Well, kind of… :) PJH

  47. Renee

    I’m not sold on the 5 Minutes a Day book yet. I know a few people who use it, and IMO the bread doesn’t have much depth of flavor. Does it improve over time the way a sourdough starter does?

    But to the person who asked about that dough whisk? It’s worth every penny. I’ve had mine over ten years and it has served long and well. I’ve ended up buying quite a few of them for friends and family who kept eyeballing mine with a plaintive, “Could I just borrow it….”

    Renee, actually it does develop depth of flavor after several days in the fridge. The flavor improves as the cool fermentation continues – particularly the acidic notes, as acetic acid starts to predominate in a cool environment. PJH

  48. Nickolina

    This brought back memories of my oldest son calling….”Mom, how do you make biscuits?” “You look up a recipe on the internet” “NO, Mom, how do you make YOUR biscuits?”

    And trying to explain baking powder, cutting shortening into flour, not kneading much because of gluten, and why my biscuits are always square (I’m lazy, I just pat it into a square & cut it into smaller squares with a big knife) all on my cell phone while driving.

    I’m chuckling at your word picture here, Nickolina – they’re not exactly learning at Mom’s side in the kitchen, but they’re learning! PJH

  49. flourchild

    I blogged earlier that I had trouble with the filling, first adding water to the cinnamon/sugar before the recipe was corrected which all ran out, then having trouble a second time using NO water (filling felt out when cut into buns). I found that a paste made with 1 TBS. of water adhered to the dough and yet wasn’t runny enough to leak out. I now have made these every week for farmers market and they are a success and fly off my table!

    Thanks for sharing your modification – and helping your fellow readers. Glad those buns grew wings! PJH

  50. Renee

    Made the dough yesterday and rolled out a pan last night. I kept them in the refrigerator and this morning took them out about 1 hour before baking. Delicious. These were very easy to make. I used honey in the dough and topping and I ordered the sticky sugar and cinnamon filling mix from King Arthur. Can’t wait to try more recipes…….

  51. Sue

    For many years, I’ve used brown sugar & cinnamon for the filling in sticky buns. The moistness (due to the molasses in the sugar) helps the sugar/cinnamon mixture adhere to the dough. Or when using granulated sugar/cinnamon mixture I first spread dough with softened butter or brush with melted butter before adding sugar mixture. Either way has worked well for me.
    Am looking forward to trying the 5 Minutes a Day book!!

  52. billi

    I grew up with “cinnamon rolls” very often, as Mom was a good baker. She spread the dough with butter, then sprinkled granulated sugar and cinnamon over that and rolled. As these were always ready to eat by the time I came home from school, I have been searching for ways to duplicate these. I know she used THICK cream, poured over the top after they raised and just before popping them into the oven. I think she must have also put sugar, cinnamon &/or nuts in the bottom of the grased baking dish, but am never quite able to duplicate what I have in my memory bank! (We had our own milk cows and used a separator, so our cream had to be spooned out of the container!) YUMMY!

    Thanks for your blog, I have enjoyed reading everyone’s input, and wish them all well in their endeavors!

  53. Marcy

    I love the artisan bread in 5 minutes a day book…it makes life so easy I have never had a flop and what I like is when I go visit it is nice to be able to something nice to share

  54. mari

    I am attempting to make this tonight…actually, I’ve already made the dough and froze it. Last night took it down to thaw it out in the fridge. I am really greatful that you have shared all this no-knead breads. It’s like heaven for me… now, are you going to try to do a no-knead brioche too?


    No-knead brioche – it’s on p. 189 in Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day, Mari. YUM – PJH

  55. Mari


    I just baked the sticky buns…they looked good. My only problem, it didn’t rise as much as what you have in the pic. Don’t know what I did wrong…is it because I rolled it a little bigger than what you said? I should’ve used a smaller pan. Hopefully the buns are a success…

    Thanks again.

    Hi Mari – Lots of reasons your rise might be different. Rolling bigger shouldn’t have made a difference, so long as you put the specified number of buns in the specified size pan. Do you think they rose well, but spread more rather than going vertical? That would definitely be the pan. Not to fear – I’m SURE they’ll taste good! PJH

  56. Maritick with it, Mari :) PJH


    The sticky buns were all gone! As I read my post above, I meant flattened out the dough too big. I did cut them into 8 pcs. and there were still big spaces in between. Next time I will try it right after it rises… I used a 9″ round pan as you indicated… after putting the filling, I let the dough rise overnight because I ran out of time that night. Brought it out the next morning and tried to let it poof more…but it really didn’t poof anymore. So there were big gaps in between rolls but got hidden when I turned it over because I really had a lot of the topping. Anyway, will not give up.

    Stick with it, Mari :) PJH

  57. Sue

    Would you mind giving me some advice? I made these once and they were terrific. This time I want to make them for brunch for twelve friends at an event that is about 4 hours from my home. I have the option to totally make them there, starting the afternoon before I want to serve them. Or I can make the dough here form into rolls and then freeze them. Then pack them in a cooler and bake them the next morning once I’m there, or I could make the dough and pack it in a cooler and then form the rolls and proceed as usual once I’m there. The first time I made them with what I had on hand. This time I will make them with the sticky bun sugar and filling you suggested. It should arrive from KA flour today. They were GREAT the first time I made them and no doubt they will be better with the stuff I ordered from KA
    Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.
    Sue you can use any of the methods you suggested with great results. Choose the method you feel will be easiest and go with it! Joan@bakershotline

  58. Reuben Morningchilde

    Thanks so much for sharing that story about your son, it really made my day. I haven’t got kids yet, but I’m currently going through that cellphone-teaching phase with my parents learning how to use the internet, so I can really relate to the feeling. I just hope my kids will call and ask me for help one day as well…

    Reuben, I hope someday you DO have older “kids” who call you for help – they eventually get past the phase where they think you’re a total idiot, and realize, hey, maybe Mom and Dad DO know something! :) PJH

  59. OLIVE

    YAAH GOOD ONE , BUT THE STOVE I put it in what? the fire from up or down???? “the stove” tell me about it?

    Bake the bread in a hot oven (425°F-450°F), Olive – middle or lower (not lowest) rack. Should turn out fine – PJH

  60. linda d. davison

    wondering if you could par baked the rolls, freeze and bake later? Isn’t it a long time to bake rolls? It looks like they are overly brown. Just wondering.
    Thankyou for being here.

    Linda, bake till they’re as brown as you like. I usually bake mine about 24 minutes, so I’d probably parbake for 15-18 minutes or so, then finish browning later… PJH

  61. Janice

    Hi PJ, Really enjoyed the blog about Nik’s new found interest in baking. It made me smile as my son (age 29) also started learning to bake yeast doughs about a year ago. We shared the same experiences…shopping together via cell phone and text, email recipes and lots of pictures of doughs in progress and final products. It has been such fun and I am so proud, I know how you feel. Kevin jumped right in too….white and whole grain breads and rolls; cinnamon rolls, pizza (baked on a stone) and he’s now ready to try Grandma’s nut rolls. All his co-workers in the OR love his efforts!
    How wonderful for you Janice, and for Kevin’s friends. Everyone loves a baker, and it’s a great life skill. Good job Mom!

  62. Karen from Poquoson

    Now this is going to sound so funny but from a very new, although almost 58 years old, home baker, these came out just like the ones from a commercial bakery, only better. Of course I still like Cinnamon buns over sticky buns, more sweet gooey stuff inside and outside (could eat cream cheese frosing with a spoon). This is the best place for recipes, retail, etc, I am so glad I googled looking for something and found KAF. I am going to visit some day and maybe take a baker’s class some day.

  63. KJ

    I have some SAF Instant yeast that has been around awhile. Is there a good way to “test” it before I waste a whole lot of time and ingredients just to find out that the yeast had had it? Do I proof it to see if it’s still active?

    A long time ago I used cake yeast and you can tell by looking when it’s beyond the pale. Regular (active) yeast shows its value every time I proof it. Now, what about instant yeast?
    Any time you are uncertain about your instant yeast you may check it by proofing it the same way you would proof your active dry yeast. Joan D@bakershotline

  64. Jessi

    I know this is an old post, but I just have to know: can I make and assemble everything and then refrigerate these overnight so that they can be taken out first thing in the morning and baked? After a little resting/rising time, that is. How would I do that, if it is possible?

    Jessi, I think you should let them rise about 3/4 of the way, then cover and refrigerate. Next day, take them out of the fridge early – at least an hour, preferably more, before you want to bake them. (Maybe you could just take them out, and go back to bed?) Bake them once they’ve lost their chill. I think this should work just fine- PJH

  65. chinchillalover

    They turned out great,except for the fact that i put all the dough in one pan.It was not that clear to me in the recipe or the blog. Though my gluten-free brother was throwing a fit because they smelled and looked REALLY good.

    One pan is correct, for about 22 ounces of dough (about 1/3 the recipe). GF cinnamon rolls are a challenge, as you can’t roll the dough (it’s too slack); but you might try spooning this GF sandwich bread dough into a pan and sprinkling with sugar and cinnamon. Go really decadent by putting sticky bun ingredients (sugar, butter, syrup, nuts) in the bottom of the pan first. They might not be classic cinnamon rolls, but I’ll bet your brother would enjoy them. PJH

  66. chinchillalover

    I forget to say this in my other comment i.I put ALL the dough in the pan. Not 1/3.

    WOW. Can’t imagine how it all fit in one pan… Must have overflowed, eh? Or risen REALLLLY high… :) PJH

  67. GirlG

    I’m kinda confused.Do you divide up the topping ingredients that are listed on the recipe between the pans or are the ingredients listed for one pan?

    The amount of topping listed is for one pan… PJH

  68. ohbegrey

    hi, pjh–i so love the interaction of you and your son nik doing the virtual shopping for ingredients for bread and the recipe you gave him for the “baguette”–priceless, indeed and forever!

    and he did a wonderful job of making the bread, too.

    i see that irene actually gave a blogger a substitute recipe for the “sticky bun sugar” kaf sells–amazing… people at kaf are a great example of how we all would do well to behave to each other, and a good example of what America used to be. keep on!

  69. ezonezoff

    boy, I have been having such trouble with my artisan Bread in 5 Min A Day – was doing great all summer and now am getting tough chewy crumb and soft crusts……so sad have moved on to breads that require more time …any suggestions?

    Yes, cut back on your flour and/or increase your liquid a bit. The same recipe you made on a hot, humid summer day will perform very differently on a cold, dry winter one. How about this: try increasing you liquid by 1/2 ounce of water for every 8 ounces used, and see what happens. Don’t give up! I know we’ll figure this out – together. PJH

  70. Nutrilisa

    Dear PJH,
    I followed your directions and reviewed the video. The blog was a terrific help, too! The first pan is in the oven as I write this, and smelling heavenly! I am always a little shy about working with yeast doughs, but this was sooooo easy! If it tastes have as good as it smells and looks, I will be thrilled! Thanks for your help!

    I’m betting these will be just as good as you hope – let us know, OK? PJH

  71. Nutrilisa

    PJH, They came out delicious! Easy and exactly as shown! Thanks for another fantastic dessert! The blog and video helped greatly! Regards Nutrilisa

    So glad to hear it, Nutrilisa – enjoy! PJH

  72. JoeleenAchurch

    What fun to find a no-knead bread! I would love to try these sticky buns with whole wheat flour. Can you recommend weights for the flour… how much and if any other ingredients need to be changed? Thank you so much. Your blogs are so much fun to follow… great ideas from you and all the blog followers:)

    Joeleen, scroll down to the second part of this no-knead blog post, and you’ll find a recipe for no-knead whole wheat bread. I think it would be excellent for sticky buns or cinnamon rolls. Enjoy – PJH

  73. kathleen

    I use an oversized pizza wheel to cut my dough. Doesn’t seem to squish it as badly as scissors do.

    Good idea, Kathleen – I’ll have to remember that. Thanks! PJH

  74. Karen B

    I LOVE this recipe, it is easy and makes terrific Christmas gifts especially in the bake and give paper pans. The dough is marvelously soft and easy to roll out with very little pressure, which is great this year as I am recovering from carpal tunnel surgery. I make 12 pans at a time, freeze them as per the directions in your “Freeze!” blog post, and give them to the lucky recipients along with the thawing and baking instructions. Do spring for the Cinnamon Filling Mix and Sticky Bun Sugar — those ingredients really put these rolls over the top! The only substitution I make is using walnuts instead of pecans, because a friend is a walnut grower in CA and gives me 20 lbs of shelled meats every year!

  75. Karen B

    A couple of other notes: I cut parchment circles to line the bake-and-give pans, because boy do they leak the butter. Since I make so many pans at once, I combine all the topping ingredients in a big bowl, and use a tablespoon scoop to plop the filling into the pans (5-6 of my scoops).

  76. Gambles

    I made this dough in the same bucket shown (it was sprayed w/ Pam lightly), and it rose exactly the correct amount before it went in the fridge. By the next day, the dough had sunk back down to almost the original height! I didn’t check it in between so I don’t know if it rose in the hours immediately in the fridge or if it just fell immediately. It does look somewhat gluteny. Should I continue or just trash it? I’ve never done a no knead before.

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Yes, that’s absolutely fine – it’s supposed to rise and then fall. It won’t rise again for the remainder of its time in the fridge, so just go ahead and keep following the recipe. I’m sure you’ll end up with some delicious bread! PJH

    2. Gambles

      Thanks for the quick response, PJ! I needed that since my time was growing short…..

      I did complete the recipe, but it left me with a few questions. Since I assume there are others like me that read through the blog questions looking for my answers before I bother you all again, I decided to just ask here instead of calling.

      As I started putting together my sticky buns, I realized I wasn’t clear as to whether the filling and sugars listed in the original recipe were intended to be used for each pan or each full 3 pan recipe?? I went with the concept of 1/3 of the filling recipe for each pan since 1/3 of the dough went in each pan, but it was VERY thin with lots of gaps so I made more and continued on. With the sticky pan prep, I decided to use 1/2 of what was printed for each pan – assuming it was supposed to be 1/3 since I was trying to have a little extra sticky stuff.

      With my extra added cinnamon filling, it was perfect. As for the sticky, it seemed to be very little to me making me wonder if it was actually supposed to be per pan???

      I feel stupid to be so confused, but the dough makes 3 pans so shouldn’t the other parts of the recipe also? But with that assumption, I didn’t have good luck.

      Question #1: Which was it supposed to be?

      And most importantly to my future sticky bun attempts: I really wanted gooey syrupy topping so to achieve that, (question #2) which ingredients would I increase and which would I decrease? Also, I don’t use nuts for my own buns. Does extra sticky bun syrup bind up the gooeyness?

      I hope that made sense and will help others also.
      Thanks so much, as usual, for these blogs. They have given me successes that surprise even me! – and I KNOW I owe that to KAF owners/employees! You ALL rock!

    3. MaryJane Robbins

      HI Suzanne,
      Sorry for the confusion with the printed recipe. If you check out the video on the blog, it seems a little clearer. The recipe CAN make 3 batches of rolls, but because you don’t have to make 3 batches at once, the filling/sticky measures are for a single batch.

      If you want to make more sticky, try upping the sticky bun sugar, or using a little corn syrup or golden syrup as well. Those invert syrups help keep things liquid and gooey. ~ MJ

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