Looking for tips to boost your confidence with yeast breads and other yeast baking recipes? You’ve come to the right place. If you don’t see an answer to your questions, leave me a comment below or send me an email and I’d be happy to answer your questions.
How to Bake Bread: Baking Bread and Other Yeast Recipes
I looooove making my own bread and rolls. Ever given it a try? You’re in the right place if you’d like to know how to bake bread or need a little confidence boost before you dive right in. Below you’ll find some of the most popular questions I receive about baking with yeast and links to other post with answers to frequently asked questions.
At the very bottom of this post you’ll find a few popular bread recipes.
Alright. Let’s get to it. Here are some popular frustrations and questions with yeast breads:
My dough will not rise no matter how long I wait or how warm my kitchen is.
There can be a few reasons why dough will not rise. Here are a few of the most common problems.
Yeast Type: First, check your recipe and be sure you are using the same kind of yeast that the recipe calls for and also the expiration date. All yeasts are not the same. For example, instant yeast can be added to the dry ingredients in your bread recipe while active dry yeast prefers to be dissolved first in warm water or milk. Some sources say active dry yeast can now be added to dry ingredients just like instant yeast but I haven’t had success with this. There are other yeasts available (you can even make your own!) and you can read about them here. I have made this mistake numerous times and I never quite understood what was wrong until I read this source.
Water/ Liquid Temperature: Second, make sure the water, milk or other liquid you are adding to your recipe is not too hot. Hot temperatures will kill your yeast and sadly your dough will never rise. Cold temperatures will cause your yeast to go dormant and can take your dough longer to rise. I use room temperature water and lukewarm milk in my bread baking and the warmest I like my liquids is 90 degrees F. You can find a temperature recommendation here. I always thought the hotter the better. I boiled my water (eek) and scratched my head wondering why on earth my dough wouldn’t rise. I killed my poor yeast. Fixing this mistake changed my life!
I heard that salt kills yeast but most bread recipes call for salt. Explain?
Apparently salt can hinder yeast from doing its job, but in smaller amounts it is harmless to our precious yeast. I’ve heard this from several sources, but one of them you can find here. I used to leave the salt out of bread recipes attempting to minimize added salt in our food. In my experience, adding salt to bread gives it so much FLAVOR that I regret ever leaving salt out of my bread recipes in the past. My favorite salt to use in my bread is Hawaiian sea salt or Alaea Hawaiian sea salt.
If cold temperatures are supposed to make the yeast go dormant why does my bread dough rise in the fridge?
The cold is supposed to rise the dough slower than it would in a warm environment. A slow rise can help the dough develop more flavor. One of my sources for this information can be found here. My brioche dough appeared to be in total hibernation (like a bear) when I set it in the fridge overnight, but that may also be a result of using cold water as the recipe called for. When I use room temperature ingredients and then stick my dough in the fridge it does rise and sometimes it doesn’t appear to be slow about it!
Why does my dough have to rise twice? If I’m in a hurry can’t I just rise it once and bake it?
The rising process allows the dough to develop and create those delicious complex flavors that we all love in our bread but there are some recipes only calling for one rise before forming a loaf and rising for a short time in a pan. I’ve heard that the longer the better. I’ve also been told that if you slow down the fermentation (like for example allowing the dough to rise in the fridge) it can allow the flavor to develop even more, sort of like the “low and slow” technique. You can find information on this subject here. If the recipe calls for 2 rising sessions I would stick to it, but if you would like to experiment a little go ahead and let it rise just once. I did try this once and I must say that we all noticed a difference in the flavors of the bread. It did not seem as rich and flavorful as when I followed the instructions provided.
My dough didn’t double in size. 🙁
If your kitchen is drafty or your dough takes a long time to rise, consider placing a bowl of boiling water in your cold oven. Let the dough rise in the oven next to the water. The boiling water creates a warm place for your dough to rise and this works very well for me. I always sort of eyeball my dough and if it looks near doubled in size and it’s been just over the alotted time I usually call it good. Hey, at least I didn’t kill the yeast!
Here is a helpful link I found explaining in every day terms why bread dough rises. This is quite basic but I never knew the details before I started this bread baking adventure and to be honest it didn’t really matter why as long as it did. This is good to know because it helps us understand the whole process better. Read why bread dough rises here.
More Tips (these links will take you to a separate blog post.)
- How to Rise Your Yeast Dough
- How to Make Flavorful Bread
- Using the Right Kind of Yeast
- Soften the Top of Your Homemade Bread