Many people are getting into the home baking trend, and baking your own bread is an important part of it. However, as with most skills, there can be a steep learning curve, and that can mean you sometimes end up with unrisen bread dough.
There’s not much point in baking dough that hasn’t risen, as the end product will be firm and inedible. You may be able to set the dough or roll it into flatbreads if you’d like, but there’s little point in baking the unrisen dough into a regular loaf. You just won’t get anything nice out of it!
However, there are many things you can do to deal with unrisen bread dough, so let’s start exploring these things to save your baking!
What to do with unrisen dough?
There are many things you can do with unrisen dough so you don’t have to waste all those ingredients and the time you put into making the dough. Some of the steps you can take include:
- Add more yeast
- Turn it into flatbread
- Turn it into pizza
- Wait longer for it to rise
Each of these can help you use the dough even when it’s flat, so let’s take a closer look at them.
Add some active yeast
As you probably already know, yeast is what makes your bread dough rise so effectively and if you don’t use enough or old yeast you will end up with unleavened dough. Yeast doesn’t last forever and can be affected by improper storage conditions, exposure to salt, moisture, and other issues. If your yeast isn’t good, your dough just won’t rise.
The fix for this is to add a little more yeast to your dough, but you need to activate it first. To do this, you should take a small amount of warm water and put a little more yeast in a bowl. Stir the water into the yeast with a pinch of sugar and allow to dissolve completely.
Once the yeast has dissolved, you can wait about 10 minutes and then look in the bowl to make sure the yeast is active. If bubbles appear all over the surface, the yeast is active, but if few or no bubbles appear, use a different source of yeast.
When your active yeast is ready, place your batter in a bowl and pour the water over it. Next, knead the water into the dough, pressing and folding the dough to absorb the moisture. You may need to add a little more flour, otherwise the extra water could make the dough sticky.
Don’t add a lot of extra flour – a small amount should be fine. When you’re done kneading the dough, cover and set in a warm place to double in size. You can then bake it as usual and have a perfect bread. If your yeast has failed, this method is worth trying.
Turn it into flatbread
If you don’t have any other yeast available and your yeast is dead, you might be wondering if there are other ways to salvage your ingredients and avoid wasting your unrisen dough. The answer might be turning it into flatbread.
Flatbreads don’t need to rise, so the lack of starch in your yeast won’t matter in most cases. However, you should avoid making the thicker flatbreads as they will become too firm. Pitta bread and naan bread are both out, but you can’t use risen dough to make tortillas or chapatis.
To do this, you need to cut the dough into portions and roll each portion into a ball. Take a ball of dough, place it on a floured surface and roll it out as thinly as possible without breaking the dough. Take the time to do this well or you will end up with a dense result.
Keep in mind that they cook very quickly when they’re thin, and if you’re making thin tortillas you can toss them in a pan instead of putting them in an oven. Thicker loaves must be placed in the oven on the hottest setting.
Preheat your oven, place your flatbread on a round baking sheet or pizza pan and pop it in the oven for a few minutes. Keep a close eye on it; thin bread cooks very quickly. A thin flatbread can be ready in as little as 2 minutes in a hot oven, while thicker ones will likely take between 5 and 6 minutes.
If you prefer to make your flatbread in a pan, heat the pan over medium-high heat, then lightly oil the pan and toss in the flattened dough. Let the bottom cook for a minute, then flip and let the other side cook. Turn it back and forth a few times until sufficiently browned, then remove and serve.
See also: Best bread for french toast
Turn it into a pizza
Similar to flatbread, you can use unrisen dough to make a pizza crust as long as you like a thin crust. It won’t make a big thick crust because it won’t rise and is too chewy, so don’t try a stuffed crust or anything like that.
Even with thin crusts, unrisened dough isn’t the best for pizza, but it’s definitely still an option. To do this, divide your dough again into smaller balls and then roll them out nice and thin. Aim for a thickness of about 1/4″ and then slide the base onto a suitable tray.
Next you can add your toppings. Top with a thin layer of tomato sauce, then sprinkle cheese on top, plus any other toppings you like. Preheat your oven to the maximum temperature and then place the pizza in the oven and let it cook.
It usually only lasts around 3 to 5 minutes but can be a little shorter or longer. If you like a crispier crust, heat it a little longer. The cheese should melt on top and the edges of the pizza should turn golden brown.
It’s also possible to cook the crust by gently tossing it into the pan and then grilling the pizza to melt the cheese and lightly cook the other toppings.
If you’re generally an impatient person, you might be looking at your dough too soon—even if you’re following the recipe. Bread rising isn’t usually a very precise science, so make sure you’re patient enough.
Your recipe might say the dough should rise within an hour, but if your yeast is a bit old or your kitchen is cool, it could take 2 hours or even longer. If you think your dough isn’t rising, wait at least another hour past the suggested time to check. You might be surprised!
If you’ve never made dough before, take extra care not to rush the process—you could unnecessarily ruin your bread by assuming that when it does rise, it won’t rise.
There are also a few things you can do to make the dough rise faster if you’re impatient. The most effective option is to put it in a warm place. If you don’t have a warm place, turn your oven so the light is on. This should provide some warmth and speed up the rise.
Alternatively, you can set the oven to the lowest setting for a few minutes and then put in the unrisen dough. The residual heat helps the dough rise. Make sure the oven is turned off before putting the dough in, otherwise it will start baking instead and won’t make good bread.
frequently asked Questions
What Prevents Yeast from Working?
Age and improper storage aside, your yeast may not work if you pour it directly onto the salt in your bread dough. The salt kills the yeast before it can activate and help the dough rise. Always stir the yeast into the flour before adding the salt.
Shouldn’t you be throwing out risen dough?
Unrisen dough works well for flatbread or pizza crusts, so don’t throw it away.
Does dry yeast work?
You need enough water in your dough to activate the yeast or your bread won’t rise properly. If your dough is dry and crumbly, work in a little more water to ensure the yeast is active.
You can’t turn risen bread dough into flatbread or add more yeast to make it rise, but don’t bake it as is. You won’t get tasty bread if it hasn’t risen, and there’s no point in wasting energy baking it. You get a dense, inedible bread. Instead, combine some more activated yeast with the dough or turn it into a flatbread recipe.