3 main reasons why your pizza dough isn’t rising

Getting perfect pizza dough bread is certainly something of a challenge. Getting that all-important dough rise, is even more of an art. But you shouldn’t let this stop you from making it – it simply requires a little pizza knowledge, a good recipe and the right conditions, with temperature playing a major role.

There are three main reasons why your pizza dough isn’t rising. These are not enough yeast, incorrect temperature and incorrect activation.

In this article, we will be looking at how to go from recipe to kitchen to oven with dough that rises perfectly every time as well as exploring some of the things that may be contributing to your dough not rising

Why Is Dough Rising Important?

One of the most talked-about aspects of a pizza recipe is the dough rise yet many people find that their homemade pizza dough didn t rise, despite their best efforts. Following even the most intricate pizza recipes and using all of the correct ingredients just isn’t enough and to get your dough to rise.

One of the most important things as to why you want your dough to rise correctly is that this can make your crust far more fluffy and light. What’s more, after you knead your dough and let it rise – whether at room temperature or in the fridge, this prevents it from being too chewy once you pop it in the oven for baking.

What Causes Pizza Dough To Rise?

If you want to make, pizza dough like the professionals do, then it is important to understand how dough rise works We now understand why allowing the ingredients to rise after kneading is important, but what about the how?

When you knead your pizza dough, you are compacting the wet and dry ingredients together, and this causes a build-up of gluten. Gluten essentially eats the carbon dioxide within the pizza dough mix, whereas, in contrast, the yeast creates it.

To get that fluffy crust that a fresh pizza, carbon dioxide air bubbles are essential. Furthermore, the east will consume any sugar in the recipe, even though a lot of recipes will suggest adding sugar, this is usually to help with the rising process.

If you are using gluten-free flour, then you will notice that, even in the oven, this type of flour can prevent a good rise. This is because this flour is far denser and won’t deliver the best results. However, there is plenty of gluten and wheat-free breads that rise very well, and there are many excellent recipes using flour without gluten and can make all the difference.

Why Is My Dough Not Rising?

No matter how hard you try to stick to the recipe, when you bake a pizza, things may not always go to plan. It is a learning process, and each batch of fresh dough you make will improve over time. However, it is important to learn from your mistakes and look at how you can keep your texture perfect and your crust superior.

3 things usually prevent the dough from rising, and as you follow each step of your recipe, it is imperative to keep these things in mind.

1 The Yeast Is Not Activated Properly

Before you start any of your favourite pizza recipes, you first need to ensure that that you have activated your yeast – this is the most important step in any pizza recipe. Not doing this can mean the difference between a very challenging time and pizza baking that is easy and enjoyable.

If you are using a pre-prepared yeast, you may add this directly to the pizza flour and not worry. However, if you are using active dry yeast, then you must let this activate.

This is simple to do and should be done before getting to work on your other ingredients. You need to put the yeast into a bowl with a little warm water and also use a little sugar. The water temperature is important here – water that is too hot may kill the yeast, but if the water is too cold will not give you the reaction you are looking for.

Leave the bowl on the kitchen side while you mix the rest of the pizza ingredients – flour water, salt and olive oil – although some people may alter their recipes to include other ingredients including herbs and spices.

For example, did you know that there other many other recipes that use pizza dough, including cinnamon pizza dough buns and garlic knots? If you have some pizza bread dough leftover, you may like to experiment with baking a new recipe.

After you have left the dry yeast in the bowl of warm water for the right amount of time – normally 10-15 minutes will be enough, you need to check it. Yeast that now looks frothy and as though it has expanded is a good result and can be used in the dough. In contrast, there may be times that the yeast has not behaved in this way, and you will need to repeat the process. If you add this to the dough, it will not rise, yeast like this should be discarded.

Make sure to clean the bowl and add the ingredients again. This time, you may want to try altering the temperature of the water; this could make a much-needed difference. If you used water that was too cold last time, make it just a little more hot this time. But do keep in mind that it should only ever be warm as hot water can be detrimental to the final outcome of the bread. As we mentioned, this is a learning process, and trial and error in the kitchen is unavoidable.

Other Ingredients Can Make A Difference

In addition to placing a focus on the yeast, you should also think about the other ingredients that use when dough is being made.

First of all, you will want to think about any moisture that is containing within the flour; yeast will not react in the same way if the flour is too wet. Frequently, people make the mistake of thinking that flour is a dry ingredient, but the moisture level will depend on the type you use – it is widely accepted that when pizza flour is the top choice for bread like this.

2 Not Enough Yeast

If you are going to leave your yeast to rise at room temperature, then you won’t want to use as much. However, the amount that is used will change significantly when proofing the yeast at a cold temperature. This is thanks to the slower process. Dought that is left to rise in the fridge can take up to 3 days to be fit for baking into pizza bread. In contrast, when it the proofing process is used in a warm environment this makes the yeast react far more quickly, and as such, it will only take around 2 hours for the bread dough to rise fully.

You should only ever leave your dough to proof after kneading it intensely. Whilst this does cause the fibres to compact, kneading is essential for creating a stretchy dough that has an excellent texture. Furthermore, you can feel confident that when you knead the dough properly, you will have made enough gluten which is important for the rising process.

3 Temperature

One of the most common issues for dough no rising is as much to do with the temp as anything else. How hot or cold the room is when you are preparing and kneading the dough is just as important as when you put the loaf or pizza into the oven.

The perfect conditions for when fresh dough is made and proofed are warm and not humid. You can spend years following each step to the letter but thanks to incorrect conditions, you could find that your dough isn’t rising and you aren’t getting that crispy and light pizza crust that numerous home chefs strive for.

To get a good result, you could put your dough near to a heat source, such as a heater or cooker top, however, do be sure that it isn’t too hot as too much heat can hinder the process. If there is not anywhere in your kitchen suitable to place the bread dough, then you could put it the bowl into warm water which will encourage it to rise. Once again, it is imperative that you do not put your dough in hot water.

Something that a lot of people who are new to pizza is that yeast is actually alive! This means that yeast needs certain conditions to thrive and activate – without this, your yeast will not rise, and you won’t achieve the perfect pizza crust.

You should also remember that yeast doesn’t have a long shelf life and should not be kept any longer than four months – again it must be kept at the right temperature as being exposed to hot or very cold conditions is one of the things that makes the yeast deteriorate quickly. It is best to store it in a cool, dry place.

More problems might arise where temperature is concerned is the dough is not baked correctly. Putting your pizza dough onto a pan ready for baking seems like a relatively simple task, however, if the oven is not set just right – not only will the dough not rise, but you won’t achieve such a sweet taste and crispy crust.

It is a common misconception that pizza dough should be cooked in very hot ovens, but unless you are trying to achieve a thin pizza without a crust, this is not necessary. For deep pan pizzas, around 200ºc is sufficient. A quick Google search will yield article after article that give varying pieces of advice, but over-heating your oven can prove to be disastrous.

Can I Cook Dough That Didn't Rise?

Whether you have chosen pre-prepared yeast or yeast that needs to be activated first, there could be a time that it doesn’t rise, but there is no reason that you cannot cook it.

If the yeast has not reacted correctly, you can bake the dough, but it will not rise during cooking – this is something that happens when cooking pizza dough that has effectively risen during proofing. It will continue to rise in the oven, and this is where that crust really comes into its own.


Anyone looking to bake their own pizza at home certainly has something of a challenge ahead of them – this is a process that requires practice and just the right amount of each ingredient. This amount could vary depending on how you intend to rise the dough. For example, more yeast will be needed if you are going to put the dough into the refrigerator since the yeast will react differently to when you proof the dough at room temperature.

Three things could affect whether your dough rises, the amount of yeast, the temperature and the activation of the yeast. However, other, smaller things can make a difference, including the type and amount of the other ingredients such as salt, water and flour. Additionally, if the yeast has exceeded its shelf life, this could cause a problem.

To achieve a pizzeria-like crust and a nice texture, the dough needs to rise both during proofing and in the oven. It takes some work and experimentation but is ultimately worth it when you learn how to craft the perfect pizza dough.

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