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Okay, so the past few days I have been trying some new bread recipes. One for pizza dough and one for a loaf of whole wheat bread. Both of these require yeast and some time to rise before baking. So I follow the directions to a T, but my dough isn't rising hardly at all. The directions do say that you should put the dough in a 'warm' place to rise however.

Being that it's 35 degrees outside and not exactly 'warm' in my apartment, I don't know where they expect me to put the dough to rise. Is this my problem? Also, FYI I am using Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour...it says right on the front of the package 'Perfect for bread made with or without a bread machine' so I know I am using bread flour. I have been letting my bread rise in turned-off oven so far. I let it sit for the exact time that they say too.

Any body know why my bread won't rise?  

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Check the expiration date on the yeast. In the winter, I have actually turned on the oven for a few minutes to allow it to warm a bit. Not too hot, mind you, just a few minutes at the lowest setting to warm the air.

Also, be certain not to put salt directly into yeast as it kills the yeast.

Are you able to check the temp of the liquid in which you are dissolving the yeast? too hot or cold also effects the efficacy.
Ideally you want the yeast proofing at about 90* F.  Also, put a container of boiling water in your oven and turn to 200* F while you assemble the dough.  turn it off and let the dough proof in your oven. 

Another thing that works great (and what I use personally) is a heating pad set to low.  Put it in a large bowl then set the proofing bowl on top.

Finally, note that whole wheat flour has less gluten than AP flour.  It has a higher protein content.  It will not rise as much as using AP flour.
There could be a few different things going on here.  First, yeast is pretty temperature sensitive.  When you first combine the yeast with water, the water really should be between 105 and 115 degrees.  If it's colder, the yeast won't wake up.  If it's too warm, it kills the yeast.  I use a candy thermometer to make sure the water is the right temp.  Also, even if your recipe doesn't call for it, you should add a little pinch of sugar or dab of honey to the initial mixture of yeast and water so the yeast has something to eat.  This first mixture should form a foamy layer (like beer foam) on top after sitting for about ten minutes.  If that foam doesn't form, then your problem is either that the yeast is no longer active, or the water temperature was off.  If you get the foam, but the dough itself doesn't rise, then you're not keeping it at a warm enough temperature.  It is hard to raise dough in the winter. (Cruel, since winter is when you really want warm bread)  Some newer ovens have a setting called "proof" that keeps the oven at a good temperature for rising dough. If you don't have that, you can put the bowl somewhere near a heating vent, which is what I do.  Just make sure you cover it with a damp towel, because the heat from the vent can dry out the surface of the dough.  Good luck! (Also, sometimes it helps to use a mixture of regular whole wheat flour and white whole wheat flour (also made by Bob's Red Mill), which lightens the dough a little, and makes it rise higher. 
Thanks for the tips, everyone. Yes, I got the 'foam' on my yeast when I mixed it with water, I think the temperature and the whole-wheatiness of the bread (like medevitsa says) are the culprits. I will try heating up the oven and then turning it off, that sounds like a good idea...no my oven doesn't have the 'proof' setting on account of the fact that it was made in the 1960's. I can't set the dough by the heating vent either since my cats will eat it. I am going to check out the BRM whole wheat white too...the reason I am using the whole wheat is 'cause I like the high fiber content. Hmmm, interesting about the salt and yeast thing...yeah I added honey to the bread recipe. Here I go...let's hope this works.
#5  
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Original Post by jazzygal:

Okay, so the past few days I have been trying some new bread recipes. One for pizza dough and one for a loaf of whole wheat bread. Both of these require yeast and some time to rise before baking. So I follow the directions to a T, but my dough isn't rising hardly at all. The directions do say that you should put the dough in a 'warm' place to rise however.

Being that it's 35 degrees outside and not exactly 'warm' in my apartment, I don't know where they expect me to put the dough to rise. Is this my problem? Also, FYI I am using Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour...it says right on the front of the package 'Perfect for bread made with or without a bread machine' so I know I am using bread flour. I have been letting my bread rise in turned-off oven so far. I let it sit for the exact time that they say too.

Any body know why my bread won't rise?

 A "warm" place just helps the yeast grow (the yeast eat the sugar you are adding into your bread- at least, i hope you are adding sugar because your bread wont rise). Therefore, if it is really cold where you are, the yeast will not grow as fast. I make my dough the day before and let it sit in the fridge for the next day.

Also, another factor could be that when you mix the yeast in water&sugar solution, the water is too hot and kills the yeast and therefore the yeast can not eat the sugar and bud.

I think your mail problem is the temperature.  If you have a gas stove it should be ok to just put it on the open door.  If you use electric, I would turn it on the the lowest temp and try putting the dough in a bowl on the open door.  Another thing is to use warm water to activate the years. It gets it going much faster than cold water.  Hope this helps.  Good for you to try to make more healthy food for yourself.  Fresh bread from the oven is a real treat.  Also if you are afraid of eating too much at one time, you can make individual rolls in a cake pan. 
the yeast has been dormant.  it needs some heat to wake it up.  my grandmother used to put her bread dough in the car in the sun to rise.  this was in the okanagan region of BC in the summer where it could easily top 100 F.

if your oven has a warming setting, that's probably perfect.
Since my apartment is usually below freezing, dough is a tricky thing.  I turn my oven on 450'F for 40 seconds, and put the dough in there. Every 15 minutes or so I'll put it at 450 for another 25-30 seconds, so that it stays warm. It rises really nicely. Your oven should be a comfy warm temperature, not hot.

Has anyone tried putting the dough on an electric heating pad to rise, and of course, you need to lightly oil the crust so it expands, not cracks, and.. cover the bowl (pottery works best) with a warm cloth... hand towel works great.

I have found that the newer flours rarely have enough gluten particularly if I am making wheat breads, and I usually find that I have to add a tablespoon of gluten (available at health food stores.)

I remember my grandmas always putting the bread on top of the stove and usually were baking other things so the heat generated from the oven would be just enough to rise the dough.

I've always just put it in the oven on warm

Original Post by fransen:

I have found that the newer flours rarely have enough gluten particularly if I am making wheat breads, and I usually find that I have to add a tablespoon of gluten (available at health food stores.)

Walmart superstores have gluten available too its right in the same aisle as bread and near the milled flax seed

One trick I found works is to  put the bread to be raised in the microwave at 10% power for 10 to15 minutes. (mine was a 700 watt small microwave but I have also done 20% without problems so a more powerful one at 10% should work too) If I'm not using the microwave for anything else I usually leave it in the microwave to finish proofing. Its such a small tight space I do not need to cover to keep the top from drying.  Got the tip from a cookbook called Speedbread. 

 Needless to say after that I read a cookbook that went on about the wonders of a slow long raising.   

 then there was this  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mi ni.html. which

1. Uses a very hydrated dough

2. Uses only a small amount of yeast, 1/4 teaspoon

3. Has no kneading

4. Rises at cool room temperature for 18 hours

5. Proofs for a few hours

6. Lastly put into a preheated Dutch oven (Best a wrought iron or cast iron pot with a cover) at 450F, cover, and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and let finish.

Hi,

I know that it is a problem that nearly everybody will face it at the beginning. I had this problem for one year and I was making bricks not breads. But the solution is very simple: YOU ARE NOT MIXING and kneading THE INGREDIENTS ENOUGH. It means that you have to use more time to knead the bread by hand or to use a kitchen mixer and mix the dry ingredients and water about 10 minutes.The dough will be slipping off the bowl when it is ready. Or if you use your hands to knead it must not stick to your hands. You will see that the texture of the dough will be different also. I suggest to use a kitchen mixer. It is easy and also you will see the result better. Use the following ingredients and instruction to start to make a good simple bread:

 

Whole wheat flour: 250 gr.

White wheat flour: 250 gr. 

Yeast: 25 gr fresh yeast or 2 1/2 (two and a half) tea spoon dried yeast.I use dry yeast.

salt: 2 tea spoon.

sugar (sweetener): 2 tea spoon.

Sunflower seeds or flax seed or sesame seed: 2-3 Table spoon.

Oil: 1-2  Table spoon (any oil that you use to cook or butter).

Water (lukewarm): 300 ml.

Mix all the dry ingredients and then add the water. Mix them well and then knead with hands at least for 10 minutes. Using kitchen mixer will lead to a better result. After kneading put the dough in a bread form and cover it with a dried towel. Put it in a warm place. During winter or in cold places you can turn on the oven for 5 minutes at 50 C  and put dough  in it for about 50 minutes. Take out the dough from the oven. Turn on the oven at 200 C. When it get warm put the dough in the lowest part of the oven. Let it bake for 45 minutes until the top of the bread becomes brown gold. Take the bread out the form and let it cool down at least for 2 hours. Cut it and enjoy eating the fresh bread with butter or cream cheese. Enjoy it. ;-)

I'll be glad to help you if there will be any problem...but the problem is only KNEADING not enough!.

 

:-)

#15  
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Per Julia Child, 75 degrees is right for rising bread.

I let my bread dough rise overnight in the fridge. Works just fine.

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