To many, many people who enjoy sandwiches, toast, and other forms of bread, baking bread every so often is a fun and enjoyable experience. There are countless different recipes and ways that you can make bread.
However, if you are just getting started making bread, you may not know what to pay attention to or what you need to focus on.
There are several aspects to breadmaking that warrant your full attention. You will want to knead out the dough, you will want to use the right amount of flour, and you will need to make sure that you allow your bread to rise properly.
For beginner bakers, allowing bread to rise the right amount is often the most difficult aspect of breadmaking.
For your bread to rise, the conditions have to be just right. It has to be in a temperature and climate that allows the yeast to activate, but you also have to make sure that you aren’t letting the bread rise too much. There is a delicate balance between letting bread rise too little and letting bread rise too long that bakers need to work with.
If you have come to realize that a bread recipe you have started is not going to allow the dough to rise enough, then you may feel at a loss as to what you should do. While there is always the option of leaving the dough out until it eventually rises, there are a couple more things that you can do to try and fix the bread.
However, if you are someone who is a bit more curious, you might begin to wonder what would happen if you tried to bake bread that simply didn’t rise enough during the dough preparation.
There are a few different things that can happen to your dough, depending on the reason why it didn’t want to rise.
What Happens When the Dough Rises?
Before you can understand what happens to your bread if you do not let it rise enough, you need to understand what happens to the bread chemically during the rising process.
When bread rises, it isn’t just for looks or appearance, although some bread makers do put a lot of importance into this. Inside the bread, there is a fair bit that is happening on a chemical level.
The most important thing that is happening is that the yeast is “activated,” and it begins doing what yeast does. On a chemical level, the yeast is beginning to convert the sugars in the bread into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
The carbon dioxide is what allows the bread to rise up, turning into a plump loaf of bread that is ready to be shaped and baked.
There is also a step known as the “second rise,” which allows the shaped bread dough to rise even more, reaching its full potential as a loaf of bread before you begin to cook it. During this process, the yeast is doing the exact same thing as it was before, however, it happens in a more controlled environment.
During the second rise, the dough is placed onto an oven spring that will allow the bread to rise as the yeast moves faster, activated by the temperature.
Likewise, the rise in temperature will allow the gasses in the bread to expand, further allowing it to rise and take shape. This step also adds flavor from the active yeast.
To put things simply, when you do not allow your bread to rise, it is going to be dense and less flavorful. it will be more akin to a cake than anything else, given that it will be just dough and not the plethora of air bubbles that make bread into the fluffy loaves that everyone knows and loves.
What Does Bread That Doesn’t Rise Look Like?
Dough that hasn’t had the opportunity to rise enough, whether due to an impatient baker or a flaw in the recipe, will have several different properties compared to a typical bread recipe. The dough will be flatter, denser, and have a much different texture than it otherwise would.
As for a finished loaf, you can expect the bread to be short, dense, and particularly dry. Without any air bubbles in the bread to give it airy volume, the bread loaf will be a dense chunk with a mild flavor of bread.
More often than not, this is not the type of bread that people look for when they want to eat a snack.
What Can You Do with Bread That Won’t Rise?
If you have already cooked dough that didn’t rise enough, there isn’t really anything you can do to revert it back to its original state. However, there are a few things that you can do with the dough if you believe that there is no possibility that the bread will be able to rise.
Many people will often turn this type of dough into crackers by rolling it thinly and sprinkling herbs and salt onto it and then baking it. For people who are interested in creating their own crackers, this is one of the best ways to do it and learn how to work with texture there.
You can also consider stretching out the dough and turning it into flatbread. Flatbread, as its name might suggest, is bread that is extremely flat. It is commonly used for sandwiches and other recipes and it has its own unique texture and taste that many people love.
You can even consider turning it into a snack, even if it doesn’t seem as if it would taste good. Some people will consider baking the dough into bread, cubing the loaf, and covering those bread cubes with a variety of seasonings.
This turns your dense loaf of bread-adjacent into croutons that you could put onto a salad or eat as a tasty snack.
If you enjoy breading meats, you can consider baking the bread as you otherwise would, turning that bread into crumbs, toasting those crumbs, and then freezing them. This gives you your own homemade panko bread crumbs that you can use for creating breaded meats.
If worst comes to worst and you cannot think of an application for dough that didn’t rise, you can always cook the dough into bread and feed pieces of the bread to the birds during the winter season. No matter how your dough turns out, there will always be a use for it.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.