Pizza dough not rising? Save it easily with this simple method
Leavening can be quite a mysterious process. We put so much love and care in the whole pizza making thing, but sometimes the unexpected happens!
We give a quick look to our dough and it seems to be still. We wait another 30 minutes, then check again but...EEEK… it didn't move at all! And now you’re seriously worried about your dinner 🍕
All is not lost! In this article I will describe how to recover your dough when it's not rising. There is an emergency trick that works really well, assuming you have some alive yeast.
In fact, one of the reasons why your dough didn't rise is that your yeast was too old or maybe expired, hence it wasn't active anymore. If that's the case you will need to quickly visit the cornershop and buy some new yeast. If you want to know the other five reasons why your dough didn't rise, please read this post.
The Magic Potion
The emergency move includes adding some yeast to the dough we made previously - the one that didn't rise. The kind of yeast you have in the pantry doesn’t really matter: it can be active, instant or fresh/cake yeast.
Then we will need a little bit of warm water, let’s say around 50 grams.
When I say warm, I mean around 36°C (96.8°F). Yeast liles temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees Celsius (69 to 104 Fahrenheit) so we want to offer it the ideal conditions to duplicate itself quickly.
To check the temperature, I use a cheap thermometer like THIS. Please note, it's an affiliate link, I get a small commission if you buy it.
For the same reason we will also use some sugar, because we want to feed the yeast. One teaspoon will be enough, around 4 or 5 grams.
These three ingredients, yeast, water and sugar, will be enough to make the magic potion that will save our dough 🧙🏻♂️
Let’s sprinkle the sugar and the yeast into the warm water and stir well until everything is dissolved.
The mixture should now rest for around 10-15 minutes. It will soon start bubbling and the surface of the water will be covered in froth. You're probably familiar with this, if you’re one of those people who likes to see their yeast “blooming” before using it in the actual dough.
We’re not gonna use the whole mixture, we only need the foam!
That foam is none other than new yeast and especially is already very active as it has found a friendly environment in our mixture. We can now add it to the and give a nice boost to the rising.
Important: we don’t use the whole mixture because it contains (relatively) a lot of water. Therefore, we should also add a certain amount of flour, something around 75-80 grams. Our original recipe and plans would be altered, although eating more pizza shouldn't be too bad!
Besides, since we use only the surface of our mixture, which is basically just yeast with a little bit of water, it's going to be easier to incorporate in the original dough.
A tiny amount of flour might be needed, though. But we’re literally talking 3 or 4 grams, just to avoid excessive stickiness.
The process of incorporating the “new” yeast to the dough should only take a few minutes. Once done, the dough can go back to its container and finally start rising. If you’re in a hurry, you might also want to keep the container into the oven with the little light on. This will increase the temperature and the speed.
My friend at Simplistic Delicious blog tried this trick successfully, so much so it's now linked on a beautiful recipe: The Twisted Cheese Bread 👌🏻
That’s it, now you only have to wait!
Congrats, you have a new trick in your collection!
However, although this procedure works, it is still an emergency procedure! Try to be careful, especially if you’re not sure how old your yeast is. If that’s the case, then test it before you start kneading!
Also, remember that yeast should never stay in direct contact with salt for too long.
Finally, use room temperature water so yeast will stay in the “comfort zone” I mentioned, 20-40°. Above that, it’s easy to lose track of the temperature and reach the ~55°C that will KILL the yeast.
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