Bread is a staple of many meals. But the thing about bread is that it can take so long to make! Why can’t dough rise faster? This article will give you some tips and tricks to make your dough rise much quicker, so your family can enjoy fresh-baked bread in no time.
To make bread rise, yeast consumes sugars found in the flour to release carbon dioxide gas. Gluten, a protein found in flour, forms networks that trap the produced gas. As more gas is created, the air pockets expand which makes the dough rise into a light, fluffy loaf of bread.
Yeast is a living organism that needs food, warmth, and moisture to do its job. Providing more of these things to your yeast will accelerate its activity and make your dough rise faster.
Home bakers can use a few tricks to make the dough rise faster. Try these techniques for fast-rising yeast recipes if you want quick bread:
Dough rises faster in warmer environments—yeast activity peaks at around 38C (100F). You wouldn’t want to proof your dough any warmer than this, as gas retention and production will decrease (more on this later). Move your proofing dough to a warm spot in your house or use one of these proofing box suggestions.
The microwave can be your best friend. Place a cup of water in the microwave and set it for about two minutes on high power. The microwave will be warm and steamy now, so place your dough inside and close the door. The environment will help the dough rise faster. The water will eventually cool down, so you can replace it with water from a kettle or temporarily remove the dough and reheat the water again.
You can use your oven as a proofer by simply turning on the light to warm the chamber. To preheat your oven-proofer, turn the light on 30-45 minutes before your dough will be ready to go in.
Baking is all about temperature, so being able to control the exact temperature of your proofing environment will lead to you making better bread. One of the risks of the previous methods is that it can get too hot for your dough. A proofer provides the ultimate controls and also provides control over humidity. See the Brod & Taylor website to see the home proofer I recommend.
You can also buy a heat mat, thermostat, and a container to make your own proofing box! This proofing alternative is a great way to save money whilst achieving the same control as a Brod & Taylor.
To increase the temperature of your rising dough, you can also increase the temperature of the dough when you make it. The most common method to achieve this is to increase the water’s temperature before adding it to the flour.
Be careful only to use this method to add a gentle boast of warmth. Warm dough is harder to knead and often results in under-kneading and, therefore, a weaker gluten structure. Also, water temperatures above 68C (154F) will kill the yeast and slow the rise.
If you want to reduce the time for the dough to rise, cover your dough. Place plastic wrap or a bag over your bowl to trap moisture and warmth into the dough.
If you leave your dough uncovered, it to dry out and harden on the surface. Misting the top of the dough with a water bottle can help, although prevention by covering the dough or adding a cup of warm water to add steam to a closed environment (such as an oven) is necessary. Make sure not to over-moisturise as the dough can become too wet and sticky to work with.
Adding more yeast to a bread dough will significantly affect how quickly the dough rises. Don’t think of the amount of yeast as the volume control on a radio. Instead, think of it as a bass control on the equaliser. Bass provides warm tones and enhances the beat of the song but also increases distortion and, therefore, adds murkiness to the sound. Using more yeast in bread has a similar effect. It will speed up the rise but degrades its quality.
High yeast levels add a yeasty flavour to the bread. These flavours can become overpowering and most unwelcome. Also, as the dough rises so quickly, the taste of the bread will be weak, musky and less pleasant as the dough will be immature.
If using active dried yeast (most common), use 0.8-1.1% of the weight of the flour. That’s up to 7.15 grams of yeast for a loaf that uses 650 grams of flour. Any more than this will make your bread rise faster, but the yeasty flavour just mentioned is likely to take hold.
Read the baker’s percentages article for more on understanding baking percentages.
Adding more water or milk to the dough recipe will increase its rising speed. Because the transfer of molecules in and around the dough can occur faster when more water is available to carry the cells. The result is that yeast cells work more efficiently and produce more carbon dioxide.
Instead of focusing primarily on producing more gas, how about talking about capturing more of it? To do this, you’ll want to build a more-robust gluten structure that will stretch and contain more of the gas produced. This will require you to enhance the quality of the gluten in the dough. The simplest way to do this is to knead the dough more. Knead your dough using an effective hand kneading technique until it passes the windowpane test.
But not only does more kneading produce a better gluten structure to retain more gas, it also incorporates oxygen into the dough. When yeast has oxygen available it can respire which produces almost double the amount of carbon dioxide that yeast fermentation produces. This ensures your bread rises faster than a lightly kneaded dough.
Flour needs time to mature its gluten structure and retain gas effectively. But if you want your bread to rise quickly, the natural maturity that occurs is dramatically reduced. To mitigate this, use high-protein bread flour with a minimum 12.5% of protein content. This will form a more enhanced gluten network that will capture most of the gas, so your dough rises fast. If you can’t find bread flour, add vital gluten powder to your existing flour.
If you can’t get bread flour or want to boost the properties of your dough network further, you can add extra enhancements to the recipe. Eggs, ascorbic acid (often found in easy-bake yeast), vinegar and vegetable oil can provide further gas trapping benefits to make your dough rise faster.
If your recipe doesn’t already contain sugar, you can add a little sugar or honey to the dough. This provides the yeast with extra sugars to feed on. This can frantically speed up the rate of gas production, so be careful not to over-proof!
Another solution is to add malt flour to your recipe. Malt flour adds the enzyme amylase, which breaks down starch into simpler sugars. Use with caution, as it’s easy to add too much and end up with a gummy crumb.
If your dough is rising particularly slowly, you should consider the quality of your yeast. If it’s approaching or has past its expiry date, it may be sensible to ditch it and replace it with new.
Gas production and gas retention are two core elements in bread making. Getting this wrong leads to hard, dry or dense bread that’s lacking in flavour. Long rising times unlock flavour in the dough. This extra flavour comes from more sugars unlocked by the breakdown of starch, and the yeast has more time to ferment.
Yeast fermentation occurs when the oxygen levels are depleted in the dough. It takes the same sugars used in yeast respiration to produce organic acids, ethanol, as well as carbon dioxide. These extra products create bread with more appealing textures and enhanced flavours when compared to quickly risen bread. There are ways to mitigate the features of quickly made bread using dough improvers, but it’s an advanced topic!
Organic acids produced through fermentation also enhance the gluten structure. The gluten structure will be less mature if the dough has a short rise. This means your dough won’t be able to trap gas effectively, and the bread is denser and less fluffy.
As dough rises, it grows slowly at first. The rate of rising roughly doubles each hour on the hour before. The result is in a 2-hour rise, 33% of its height is gained in the first hour, and 66% in the second. This element of baking science is always worth considering when wondering if you should adjust the proofing temperature of your dough in the middle of proofing, as the rise will speed up without any intervention.
If you are proofing your dough above 25C (77F), it’s sufficiently warm enough to proof dough. Even temperatures a few degrees below are warm enough too. Patience is probably all you need, but if your dough doesn’t rise at all, see my why doesn’t my bread rise article.
If you split proofing into a first (bulk fermentation) and a second (final) rise, it’s common for your dough to run out of steam and stop rising in the second rise. This is often because too much gas was created during the first rise and the dough is damaged or exhausted its sugar supply. Similar issues can occur when rising bread once, though.
If dough is proofed too warm in any situation, the following issues can occur:
The result of all of these is essentially that your bread is dense, dull and horrible.
Bread rises in the oven as the warmth increases the rate of yeast activity. Gas is produced at a rapid pace, making the dough spring up. Oven spring, as it’s known, occurs during the first 12-15 minutes of baking. The oven spring ends when either the crust sets or the dough temperature passes 68C (154F), killing the yeast.
So, if you make the dough rise faster during the early stages of baking before the oven spring must end, you’ll get a bigger oven rise and a more aerated bread. To increase the amount of the oven spring, you can:
On the oven spring page, you can learn more about the science of the oven rise and more tips on how to increase it.
So, there you have it! A few tips on how to make your dough rise faster. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your dough rises quickly, and how to avoid it rising too quickly. Let me know in the comments if its helps. Enjoy!