If your dough is rising too fast or too much, your bread isn’t going to be as good as you might like.
A rise that’s too fast can lead to bread that has a boring flavor and bad texture.
These issues can lead to disappointing bread, so it’s important that you know what exactly is causing your bread to rise too fast or too much and act to stop it from happening again.
Your dough is rising too fast because it either has too much yeast in it or it’s too warm. Yeast produces gas to rise the dough, so too much of it will cause a very quick rise. Warm temperatures cause the yeast to work faster to produce more gas. A cooler proof with less yeast is best.
Although most amateur home bakers strive for quick proof times in order to make their bread faster, it’s neither necessary nor optimal for great tasting bread.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the issues and see what can be done to fix them.
The Two Main Causes Of Dough That Rises Too Fast
Unfortunately, certain problems during the bread-making process may not seem like problems at all until it’s too late. A dough that’s rising too fast is a prime example of this.
If your dough is rising much faster than you expected, it’s being caused by some kind of issue and will likely cause more issues during baking.
You can face an overproofed loaf, large tunneling holes around the loaf, or a bad/boring flavor to it. To minimize the risk of a bad loaf, it’s a good idea to take note of these problems and do what you can to stop them from happening next time.
The Dough Is Too Warm
Home bakers often look for warm areas of the house in order to proof their dough, but if it’s too warm, your dough will rise too quickly.
Almost all recipes call for dough to rise in 1-2 hours, so it’s no surprise that people want their dough to rise quickly.
Plenty of home bakers look for warm areas of their home for a fast rise. Many put their dough in a warm oven.
To put it very simply, dough will rise at any temperature at or above the temperature of your fridge, so it doesn’t matter if it’s in a cold room.
Warm environments are useful for a fast rise, but next time you’re proofing your dough, try leaving it out in a cool area. The rise will be slower and it will take longer for the dough to be fully proved, but it will show you that dough does in fact rise in colder temperatures.
You can know when the dough has finished proving by carrying out the poke test as described here.
There’s Too Much Yeast
Yeast is the most important component of most bread. It’s what’s used to rise them after all. With that said, too much of a good thing will just cause problems.
Whilst more yeast might sound like a good idea on paper, it’s not going to give you a better rise.
Adding extra yeast will cause the dough to rise too quickly and may ruin the bread. Since there will be so much gas being produced, you’ll find large pockets of air in the bread once it’s baked and it won’t be good bread. It will most likely have a yeasty taste too.
Try cutting back on the amount of yeast you’re using in the recipe. The amount you use doesn’t need to be exact since the yeast cells will be provided with enough food to produce plenty of gas in the dough. Just bear in mind that the proof will be slower overall when you use less yeast.
What To Do When Your Dough Is Rising Too Fast
Many people are under the impression that dough should rise in as little as an hour. Whilst this might be ideal in terms of making quick bread or pizza, it’s not great since it doesn’t leave you with a quality product.
You see, when the dough gets plenty of time to rise, the overall flavor of the finished product is considerably better. During a long proof, the yeast gets to work on the flour in the dough and improves the overall flavor significantly.
If you allow the dough to proof in the fridge for a day or two rather than a few hours in your kitchen, the improvement in flavor is extremely noticeable.
This is the reason I prefer to allow almost all my dough to proof in the fridge when making bread or pizza and it’s why you should avoid a fast rise.
Here are two great ways to slow down your dough’s proof:
Punch It Down
Providing you haven’t overproofed your dough too much, it’ll be able to be punched down and allowed to rise again until you’re ready to shape and bake it.
Fortunately, the yeast in the dough can continue to work its magic even after being knocked back a few times,
If you notice that your dough is proofing a bit faster than you’d like, all you have to do is gently push the dough to release the gas, give it a few folds to redistribute the flour and yeast, and allow it to rise once again.
This works because the yeast is being introduced to more flour to feed on in the dough and can therefore continue to rise the dough until it’s fully proofed.
Put It In The Fridge (Or Somewhere Cold)
A lot of inexperienced bakers think that dough needs a warm environment to rise. This isn’t quite right.
Although dough does proof faster in warmer temperatures, it doesn’t give you optimal results. A higher temperature increases the activity of the yeast, but it can increase it too much and cause it to produce gas too quickly
To counteract this, the dough simply needs to be cooled down in order to slow the yeast activity.
The easiest way to cool the dough down is to put it into the fridge. This will quickly drop the temperature of the dough and therefore slow the rise.
A lot of bakers like to allow their dough to proof in the fridge overnight or even longer. This long proof creates more complex flavors in the dough and leaves you with a better end product overall.
Alternatively, you can allow the dough to proof in a colder room or area to slow the rise.
Is Your Dough More Than Doubling In Size? It’s Overproofed
When proofing your dough, you’re aiming for it to be doubled in size or slightly less. If it’s at a point where it’s more than doubled in size, it’s most likely overproofed.
It may be because it’s risen faster than you expected it to so it’s risen too much or you might have forgotten about it for longer than you should have and given it too much time to rise. Either way, it’s important that you know what caused it and what you should do next time.
Dough that rises too much in a short period of time is also caused by too much yeast or temperatures that are too high.
When the dough rises too much and becomes overproofed, it means that it has produced too much gas, stretching the dough and weakening the gluten structure. This will therefore make the dough more prone to collapsing and it won’t be able to rise much in the oven.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix to this problem in most cases. If you see that your dough has risen too much, you should try knocking it back down, reshaping it, and allowing it to proof again.
If it’s just risen too much on the first rise, there’s not much of a problem. All you have to do is shape and proof it as normal.
This should allow the dough to rise again properly. Keep a careful eye on the dough this time to make sure that you know when it’s fully proofed.