Why Yeast Dough Doesn’t Rise: Major Mistakes

Yeast dough is unique in itself. Tender and fluffy, it goes with absolutely any kind of filling and easily decorates any table. Believe me, if you learn how to make yeast dough, you will easily master the preparation of both sweet pastries and snack cakes.

Yeast dough is the foundation of delicious homemade baked goods. Only yeast will make the dough puffy, airy, and soft. Preparing the such dough is easy enough, the main thing is to know a few important rules and not to violate them.

Why the yeast dough does not rise

Yeast dough can fail to rise for several reasons. One of them is poor-quality yeast. While dry yeast has a long shelf life, fresh yeast has a very limited shelf life and if you use old yeast, the dough will not rise.

Also, yeast dough will not rise if you add less yeast than the recipe calls for.

Also, the dough will not rise if you leave it out in the cold. If we talk about what yeast dough doesn’t like, the first thing is low temperatures. Yeast does not like cold environments, so if you want a puffy, airy dough – put it in a warm place, but by no means in the refrigerator.

Another reason the dough may not rise is that the milk is too hot. If you dilute the yeast with boiling or hot milk, you will simply kill it and the dough will not come out. You can only pour the yeast with warm room-temperature milk. Using cold or hot milk is categorically not allowed.

Also, the dough will not rise if you add too much flour. Excess flour will clog the dough and it will become rubbery.

How to speed up the process of rising yeast dough

Place the bowl of dough on the stove, cover the dough with a towel, and turn the adjacent burners to a minimum. Never turn on the burner with the bowl of dough on it. The heat will come from the working burners and the dough will rise faster.

You can also turn on the oven, open the door and put a bowl of dough near the oven. The heat from the oven will make the yeast work faster and the dough will begin to rise.

If it is very cold in the kitchen, you can put a pot of water on the stove. Let the water come to a boil and place a bowl of dough on top of the pan. The hot water will make the yeast work faster.

Also, keep in mind that yeast likes sugar. If you want the yeast to start working quickly – be sure to add some sugar to the starter. A teaspoon of sugar won’t make the dough sweet and you can make baked goods with any filling, but the yeast will start working much faster.

How to save yeast dough that won’t rise

If the dough won’t rise, you can try to save it. Prepare a new starter, let the new yeast kick in, and pour it into the dough. Knead the dough and leave it in a warm place for an hour and a half. But keep in mind that if you are using low-quality yeast, a second round of leavening will not save the situation.

You can also put the dough in the oven, placing a tray with hot water underneath. The steam and heat from the hot water will make the yeast work faster.

Can yeast dough that has not risen to be used?

Yes, you can. If the yeast dough has not risen, you can bake it. Of course, the dough won’t be as fluffy as you’d like it to be, but you can definitely use it.

If the dough doesn’t rise, you can change the original plan and use a skillet instead of the oven. In this case, the patties cooked in the pan will be more tender than in the oven.

Why yeast dough does not rise after the fridge

Yeast dough will not rise if you store it in the refrigerator incorrectly or for too long.

Yeast dough should be stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator, but not in the freezer. Also, note that yeast culture fermentation in the refrigerator slows but does not stop. This is why yeast dough should not be kept in the refrigerator for too long. Yeast dough can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 15-16 hours. Longer storage will cause the dough to over-acidify and fall off.

Also, note that only dough that has not fully risen can be stored in the refrigerator. The optimum refrigerator storage time for dough that has begun to rise is no more than 4-5 hours. However, it is strictly forbidden to put in the refrigerator dough that has already risen completely and is ready for baking. If exposed to a cold environment, the such dough will fall off and it will be impossible to save it.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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