A lot of people are getting into the trend of home baking, and making your own bread is a key part of that. However, as with most skills, there can be a steep learning curve, and that might mean you end up with unrisen bread dough at times.
There isn’t much point in baking dough that has failed to rise, because the final product will be dense and inedible. You may be able to fix the dough, or you can roll it into flatbread if you prefer, but there’s little point in baking the unrisen dough into a standard loaf. You simply won’t get anything enjoyable from it!
There are plenty of things you can do to deal with unrisen bread dough, however, so let’s start exploring these things to rescue your baking!
What Should You Do With Dough That Hasn’t Risen?
There are plenty of things you can do with dough that hasn’t risen, so you don’t have to just waste all those ingredients and the time you put into making the dough. Some of the steps you can take include:
- Adding more yeast
- Turning it into flatbread
- Turning it into pizza
- Waiting longer for it to rise
Any of these can help you to use the dough even if it’s flat, so let’s look at them in more detail.
Add Some Active Yeast
As you are probably already aware, yeast is what makes your bread dough rise so effectively, and not using enough or using old yeast will result in unrisen dough. Yeast doesn’t last forever, and it can be affected by improper storage conditions, exposure to salt, dampness, and other issues. If your yeast is no good, your dough simply won’t rise.
The solution to this is to add some more yeast to your dough, but you need to activate it first. To do this, you should get a small quantity of warm water, and put a little more yeast into a bowl. Stir the water into the yeast with a pinch of sugar, and then leave it to fully dissolve.
When the yeast has dissolved, you can wait about 10 minutes, and then look at the bowl to make sure the yeast is active. If there are bubbles all over the surface, the yeast is active, but if there are only a few bubbles or no bubbles, use a different source of yeast.
When your active yeast is ready, put your dough into a bowl, and pour the water over the top of it. Next, begin kneading the water into the dough, squeezing the dough back and forth and folding it to incorporate the moisture. You will probably need to add a little extra flour, as the extra water may otherwise make the dough sticky.
Don’t add a lot of extra flour – a small amount should be fine. When you have finished kneading the dough, cover it and put it somewhere warm to double in size. You can then cook it as normal, and you’ll have perfectly good bread. If your yeast has failed, it’s well worth trying this method.
Turn It Into Flatbread
If you don’t have any other yeast to use and your yeast is dead, you might be wondering if there are any other ways to save your ingredients and avoid wasting your unrisen dough. The answer may be to turn it into flatbread.
Flatbreads don’t need to rise, so the lack of strength in your yeast will not matter for them in most cases. You should avoid making the thicker flatbreads, however, because they will be too dense. Pitta breads and naan breads are both out, but you can use unrisen dough to make tortillas or chapati.
To do this, you will need to cut the dough into portions and roll each portion into a ball. Take a ball of dough, set it on a floured surface, and roll it out as thin as you can without the dough breaking. Take the time to do this well, otherwise you’ll get a dense result.
Remember that they will cook very quickly if they are thin, and if you’re cooking thin tortillas, you can toss them in a pan, rather than putting them in an oven. Thicker breads will need to go in the oven at the hottest possible setting.
Preheat your oven, place your flatbread on a round tray or pizza tray, and stick it in the oven for a couple of minutes. Keep a close eye on it; thin bread cooks very quickly. A thin flatbread might be ready in as little as 2 minutes in a hot oven, while thicker ones will probably take between 5 and 6 minutes.
If you’d rather cook your flatbread in a skillet, warm the skillet over a medium heat, and then lightly oil the pan and toss the flattened dough into it. Allow the underside to cook for a minute, and then flip it and let the other side cook. Toss it back and forth a few times until it is sufficiently browned, and then take it out and serve it.
See Also: Best bread for French toast
Turn It Into A Pizza
Similar to the flatbread option, you can use unrisen dough to create a pizza base, as long as you like a thin crust. It won’t make a great thick crust, because it won’t rise and will be too chewy, so don’t attempt a stuffed crust or anything similar.
Even with thin crusts, unrisen dough isn’t the best for pizza, but it’s definitely still an option. To do this, again split your dough into smaller balls, and then roll each one out so it’s nice and thin. Aim for around 0.5 cm or so in thickness, and then slide the base onto a suitable tray.
Next, you can add your toppings. Put on a thin layer of tomato sauce and then sprinkle cheese on top, plus any other toppings you like. Heat your oven to the maximum temperature, and then place the pizza in the oven and allow it to cook.
It will usually only take about 3 to 5 minutes, but may be slightly less or more. If you like a crispier crust, heat it for slightly longer. The cheese should melt across the top, and the edges of the pizza should turn golden brown.
It is also possible to cook the base by tossing it in the skillet gently and then broiling the pizza to melt the cheese and lightly cook the other toppings.
Wait For Longer
If you’re generally an impatient person, you might be checking on your dough too early – and that’s the case even if you’re following the recipe. Bread rising doesn’t tend to be a very accurate science, so make sure you are being patient enough.
Your recipe might say that the dough should rise within an hour, but if your yeast is slightly old or your kitchen is cool, it might take 2 hours or even longer. If you think your dough isn’t rising, wait at least another hour after the suggested time to check. You might be surprised!
If you’ve never made dough before, be particularly careful about not rushing the process – you might ruin your bread unnecessarily by assuming it isn’t rising when it is.
There are also a couple of things you can do that will make the dough rise more quickly if you’re feeling impatient. The most effective option involves putting it somewhere warm. If you haven’t got a warm spot, turn your oven so that the light is on. This should provide some warmth, and will speed up the rising process.
Alternatively, you can put the oven on its lowest setting for a couple of minutes, and then place the unrisen dough in there. The residual warmth will help the dough to rise. Make sure the oven is off before you put the dough in, or it will start to cook instead, and won’t result in good bread.
What stops yeast from working?
Apart from age and improper storage, your yeast may not work if you pour it directly onto the salt in your bread dough. The salt will kill the yeast before it can activate and help the dough rise. Always stir the yeast into the flour before adding the salt.
Should you throw away unrisen dough?
Unrisen dough is fine to use for flatbread or pizza bases, so don’t throw it away.
Will dry yeast work?
You need enough water in your dough to make the yeast activate, or your bread will not rise properly. If your dough is dry and crumbly, work a little more water into it to ensure the yeast is active.
You can turn unrisen bread dough into flatbread or add more yeast to make it rise, but don’t bake it as it is. It won’t give you enjoyable bread if it hasn’t risen, and there’s no point putting energy into cooking it. You’ll get a dense, inedible loaf. Instead, combine some more activated yeast with the dough, or turn it into a flatbread recipe.