Yeast Dough Not Rising

yeast dough not rising

What types of yeast exist, how to handle them, why yeast may not work, why yeast dough not rising, and what recipes you can practice on – all this in this post, as always, is simple and clear.

First, let’s figure out what kinds of yeast are available. You can find three types of yeast in store: fresh, active dry and instant.

What is the difference between active dry, instant and fresh yeast?

Fresh yeast

  • should be mixed with the liquid ingredients (or part of them) of the dough, and then kneaded into a dough. If the live yeast is fresh (and other conditions for working with yeast dough are not violated), baking success is virtually guaranteed.

Dry active yeast

  • should be soaked for 10-15 minutes in a small part of the liquid that is part of the dough to activate them. During this time, a foam forms on the surface, which means that the yeast has started to work and can be used. The rest of the process is the same as with live yeast. If no foam appears, then the yeast is bad and cannot be used, unfortunately.

Instant yeast

  • should be added directly to the dough, they do not require additional activation, and this is their main trick, so it is impossible to see in advance whether this yeast works.

In fact, it doesn’t matter what kind of yeast you use, the main thing is that it should be fresh and work.

Why yeast dough not rising

1. The expiration date has passed or is almost passed.

I’ve had yeast fail at the end of its shelf life, even though it was of high quality and from a well-known manufacturer. Choose the freshest yeast possible (both fresh and dry).

2. The quality of the yeast.

Rarely, but still, there are low-quality ones. Choose proven and/or well-known manufacturers.

3. Yeast storage conditions.

Keep in mind that fresh yeast can be stored at room temperature for a maximum of 1 day, longer in the refrigerator. Store them in an airtight container to prevent airborne contamination. An opened pack of dry yeast should be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of one week, with the package also sealed tightly.

4. Dough proofing temperature.

Too low (less than 5°C) or too high (more than 45°C). At these temperatures, yeast activity stops. At temperatures below 20°C, the dough will rise slowly, and the colder it is, the slower it will rise. The ideal temperature for proofing yeast dough is about 27-32°C.

5. Drafts.

In order to avoid drafts, put the dough in a turned off, unheated oven or cabinet, covering the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap.

6. The dough is too salty or too sweet.

This point is difficult to fulfill, because you need a lot of salt or sugar to prevent the yeast from working. If you do everything according to the recipe, this shouldn’t happen.

7. Too tight dough, too much flour.

Add ⅔ of the flour to the dough according to the recipe, add the rest of the flour gradually. The yeast dough should be soft and airy. In the process of kneading, gluten develops in it, thanks to which the dough stretches and does not break under the influence of carbon dioxide bubbles formed by yeast.

8. Strong alcohol has been added to the dough.

A large amount of strong alcohol in the dough can stop the activity of the yeast. In some recipes, we add, for example, dried fruit that has been soaked in strong alcohol. This doesn’t stop the yeast from working, but it does slow it down. To avoid this, you can dilute the alcohol in which you will soak the dried fruit with water, and be sure to drain the liquid thoroughly after soaking and preferably pat the dried fruit dry with paper towels.

How to check yeast activity?

In order to check yeast activity, mix some yeast + some flour + some warm water + a pinch of sugar.

If the yeast mix foams up in half an hour or so and it begins to increase in size, the yeast is active and working well.

If the dough hasn’t changed its appearance in any way during this time, don’t give up and try to change the conditions in which it stands: move it to a warmer place, check for a draft near the bowl. After that, check the dough in another hour.

What to do with dough that doesn’t rise?

First, find out the cause, try to eliminate it, and see what happens. If everything is hopeless, then, unfortunately, nothing good will come of such dough. If you bake it, it will be so stiff that you won’t even be able to dry it and grind it into breadcrumbs.

Personally, I find it convenient to work with live yeast or active dry yeast, the work of which can be seen at the stage of its activation in the liquid or proofing of the dough. If they don’t work, it’s not a pity to throw them away and start over, at least without wasting all the dough products.

For practice, I suggest you try out a few simple but very cool recipes with yeast dough:

Write in the comments what problems you had with the yeast dough, and let’s think together about their causes.

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