During one of my recent online bread making classes, a student asked what were the most common mistakes that people make when baking bread at home. And not leaving your dough to rise long enough is certainly one that comes up quite regularly. So how long should your dough take to rise?

Watch the video or read on to find out more:

Why do I need to let my dough rise anyway?

Good question! Once mixed and kneaded, the yeast in your bread dough begins to break down the starch in the flour to form sugars and organic acids. The yeast feed on the sugars and produce gas, carbon dioxide, that rises your dough. Breaking down the flour also produces flavour in your dough. The best thing you can do is to give this process time – but how much?

Two factors that affect how quickly your dough rises

There isn’t an exact time that you should leave your dough to rise. In fact, the time is likely to change a little for each bread that you bake. This is because how quickly your dough rises depends on two things.

Firstly, the amount of yeast that you put in. The more yeast, the more gas is produced and the more quickly your dough rises. You may therefore think it best to add more yeast if you’d like to get your dough to rise as quickly as possible. However, whilst your dough may rise quickly, the dough will likely have less flavour and may even taste slightly of yeast.

Secondly, yeast work more quickly at warmer temperatures up to 37C. On warmer day, or if your kitchen is usually relatively warm, dough will therefore rise faster. However, it’s not necessary to find a warm spot to rise your dough. Yeast will still work at cooler temperatures, they will just take longer to do so.

So how long should my dough take to rise?

You’ll need to bear in mind the factors above when leaving your dough to rise, and adjust the time accordingly.

As a guide, for a kitchen where the temperature is 20C and you added yeast at 1% of the flour weight (eg 5g dried yeast in 500g flour), you should still leave your dough to rise for around an hour and a half to two hours after kneading it.

Leaving your dough to rise for a longer time helps develop flavour in your finished bread too, so there are benefits to giving your dough plenty of time to rise.

Want to learn more about baking great bread at home?

If you’d like to learn more about baking great bread at home, do check out some of my other resources. There are plenty of bread making tips and recipes on my blog. You can also join my free live bakealongs on Facebook each Saturday morning at 10am.

Ready to get baking some new, delicious loaves? Join one of my online bread making classes. Learn step-by-step how to bake a range of breads from ciabatta to brioche, baguettes to cinnamon buns and more. You can find out more here: https://www.theepsombakehouse.co.uk/learn-to-bake-bread/