Bread Troubleshooting – Bread That Doesn’t Rise — 58 Comments

  1. Hi and thank you in advance. This is my second bread that I make in my new bread maker, the first loaf was perfect but the second one didn’t rise enough. Here is what I think “might” have caused it. First one I used a package of regular dry yeast and added just a little bit of “rapid rise yeast” to equal 1 TBSP. It was perfect and even rose a bit too much but just to say..

    I did almost the same recipe but made a some changes (used the same amount of flour, liquids, sugar and salt though).

    But instead of 2 1/2 cups of white bread flour I used 2 cups of it and 1/4 cup of wheat germ flour and 1/4 cup of ground flax seed. Everything else remained the same.

    Ha and a few things I made different.. I put salt in the liquids this time instead of with the flour. But thats it.

    Think using all rapid rise yeast vs one packet of regular yeast could have caused it? Or the wheat germ and ground flax seed made a difference?

    Thanks for the feedback! If I don’t get a reply I guess I’ll have to go by trial and error.. I think I’ll still be able to eat my second loaf though, just not as nice.

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Remy,

      Thanks so much for your comment. It points out that I really need to do a post on the differences between regular yeast and rapid rise yeast. In short, I wouldn’t advise mixing them. They need different amounts of time to do their work. That’s why most bread machines have different cycles for them. Just stick to one type of yeast per loaf of bread.

      Take care,


  2. Thank you, I will follow that advise for future breads. Another question if I may.

    I see a lot of recipes calling for 3 parts all purpose flour and 1 part whole wheat and ask to use white bread setting. When do you think I should choose whole wheat setting? When half or more of whole wheat is used perhaps? Will the longer time of whole wheat setting help to rise more because whole wheat is heavier then white?

    • Remi, I’d use the white setting for bread that’s made with mostly white flour. Like you, I tend to use the setting that goes with the majority of the flour. I’m not sure if that’s democracy in action or not, but it seems to work. 🙂

      I haven’t noticed any difference in the way the bread rises depending on the setting. Instead I’ve noticed, that it just takes heavier bread longer to cook thoroughly. I might be wrong about that, but that’s how it seems to me.

  3. Thanks for this it’ll help me a lot, I’ve really been struggling with my new bread machine, although I have been a bread machine addict for a year or so now!

    Thanks again,


  4. Hi! Thanks for the help. I have been using my bread machine for years with no problem but recently every single loaf I make barely rises. I got desperate and got some store-bought mixes. I followed the directions exactly and I set baking time in the 2 hour plus range just like the instructions said. They didn’t rise, either. Can it be the high humidity we have here? It’s always 90% humidity or higher. Or am I doing something really, really wrong?

    • Hi Carma, Humidity can change the way the bread rises or doesn’t rise. :-S Are you still having the problem? If so, I wonder if it’s a problem with your bread machine. How old is it? I think that they usually last four to six years.

  5. have a recipe from the Donna German bread book. It calls for 1 1/2 c bread flour, 3/4 c whole wheat flour, 1/c oats, 1/4 c wheat germ, 1/4 c nonfat dry milk. I use regular oats, not quick cooking. All of my ingredients are fresh. It tastes wonderful, but the bread rises beautifully and then falls in the center at the end of cooking. should I be using the white bread setting not wheat? I have tried reducing the flour and increasing the water. Thanks for your help.

  6. i have the same problem as Barbara Mitchell. Also, I have 2 breadmaking machines. Both bought @ my Goodwill, one had a manual. The Oster,recipes all add liquid first, the Breadman recipes, (got them on line) all add liquid last. What is the difference? Yeast first or last?

    • Hi Bonnie, Regarding the bread machines – follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to do things. Each machine can have different times for kneading, different temperatures, different rise times, etc. So it’s best just to follow their instructions.

      I believe most bread machines want you to add the yeast last. So if you don’t have instructions about the yeast, try adding it last.

      For bread that rises and then falls, making a Big Valley in the middle, try some of the troubleshooting methods on this page.

  7. Hi, am getting a bit desperate, so I’m really hoping you’ll have a solution 🙂 My breadmaker worked like a dream for two weeks. Over yesterday and today, three loaves have flopped — they barely rose, were misshapen and underbaked and could only be chucked in the bin. I thought it could be the yeast and tried a fresh sachet today but it didn’t make a difference. Everything else remains the same from previous loaves — flour, oils, leavens, salt, sugar. I follow recipes to the T. What do you think could be the problem? And how do I solve it? Thanks SO much.

  8. I’ve read your reviews and thoughts and tips on bread machines and I have a question. I have a Sunbeam 5891 and 3 out of 4 loaves I try to bake never rise, they end up as thick hard blocks in the bottom of the holder. It also seams the recipes from the booklet that came with the Sunbeam never rise. I got a book “Great Bread Machine Recipes” by Norman A. Garrett and the recipes from that book do a little better. So why doesn’t my bread rise and bake correctly? I’m very accurate with all instructions.

    • How does the proofing look for ActiveDryYeast vs. BreadMachine/Instant Yeast?
      I presume it does, but the article does not indicate.

      I did a bread and proofed with ADY, and all I got was a thin layer of tiny bubbles.
      The bread rose, but I don’t know if it should have rose more.

      I’m still very new to making bread.

  9. Hiya,

    I’ve got a bread machine, for bout 1 month now. When I bake white bread, it’s all good, my bread rises fine, and is nice to eat, even when putting the crust on white, it works well, deosn’t rise so high, but enough.

    Now I’ve tried making a whole wheat bread for 5 times, and they all look like a brick. As hard as stone, I’m following the process adding the yeast in a hole as the booklet tells me from the machine. But still the whole weat bread doesn’t seem to rise. I’ve put the setting on 2lb wholemeal, which it also states on the flour package.. Pls help me!! getting desperate here…


    • Hi Mike – When you say the white bread “doesn’t rise so high but enough” it makes me wonder if maybe your yeast is old. That’s just a guess. At any rate, I’d suggest working through the items I’ve listed on this page. One of them (old yeast, old flour, etc.) may be your culprit.

  10. I have used Krusteaz bread mix and both times it reses then goes flat before done baking. Is it the mix and should I make bread from scratch?
    Linda from Kalamazoo

      • Yes,I did and it had not expired. I bought some bread flour and made a recipe from scratch and the same thing happened. It was good but very big, just does not rise. I am getting discouraged.

  11. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve had a couple loaves of bread coming out flat (they taste awesome though, they’re just very …uhmm… dense). I’m sure it’s the yeast. I feel bad, though, because I still have a lot of yeast, which isn’t cheap (and dollars aren’t abounding lately). So my question is: can I double (or triple) the amount of yeast to make my bread rise? Or do I just need to toss it and get new one?
    I also discovered that I have some soy flour that I should probably use up soon. I’ve read somewhere that if added to bread (at a 1/16th ratio), it won’t rise as much. Also in that case, then, should I increase the amount of yeast?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Patricia, A dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to go. That’s for sure. If the bread coming out of your machine tastes OK, I wonder if you should try and use it up. Maybe it would be good for hearty sandwiches or pizza dough. As for the soy flour, I’ve never worked with that. Can anyone else comment on that issue?

  12. For everyone who is saying their bread isn’t rising, even though to yeast is still fresh, I’ve got a trick for you.

    I followed all directions exactly, and still my bread wasn’t rising. My yeast was brand new. Then I read in another forum that you should TOTALLY ignore the bread machine instructions saying to add the yeast last.

    Add the sugar to the water, and pour it in the bread machine first. The water should be 80-95 degrees. Then add the yeast directly to the water. Wait for a couple of minutes – you’ll start to see the yeast bubbling and reacting as it starts working on the sugar. After it gets all frothy, then add your flour. LAST things you should put in are the oil and salt.

    Ever since I’ve followed these steps, every loaf has turned out PERFECT!

    • Jen, I’m glad you found something that worked for you. It all depends a lot on your bread machine. I have a Zojirushi and the instructions that came with the machine work great. What type of machine do you have? And does it have a preheat cycle?

      • I just got a West Bend machine for a wedding present – prior to this I was using my sister in law’s machine, and I can’t remember the brand. I just made my first batch on this new machine, and it turned out great. I don’t believe it has a preheat cycle. I think it’s mainly “Knead, Rise, Knead, Rise, Bake.”

    • I can verify that doing this (proofing the yeast) does work.

      I am puzzled about the 2 methods; and why the proofing with ADY gives me about 2x rise vs. using instant/bread machine yeast as the last ingredient.

      I tend to follow the recipe, cuz I’m still new at this bread machine stuff.

  13. I have an old machine, a Westbend from 1994. My bread just doesn’t seem to rise anymore. I have never had a problem unless the yeast was old. I bought new yeast and it still doesn’t rise. I no longer use bread machine flour though but I really don’t think that’s it. Is it possible that the machine is just old and isn’t malfunctioning?

    • Janice, I wonder if the machine’s heating element isn’t working quite right. Why don’t you buy a bread mix and see what happens. If that doesn’t work then my guess would be that there’s a problem with the machine. The good news is that it sounds like you certainly got your money’s worth out of the machine!

  14. I just received a Moulinex Uno machine (French brand) and every bread is a disaster. Before that I had a borrowed no-name one from Tesco and it worked awesome. Now the same recipes just yield brick-like breads. I put in ingredients according to the instructions, but even the “basic bread” recipe provided with the machine did not turn out edible. I am at my wits end. The thing is three weeks old and I have not had one loaf of bread out of there that was decent. I feel like I am wasting money buying more flour and yeast, only to end up with miserable results. I do not know what the issue might be. The dough just does not rise. I’ve had to literally babysit the machine, stare at it while it is mixing, fiddle with water quantities, scrape the sides etc. The dough looks great when it is mixed, seemingly the right proportion of everything but just would not rise. Please help…

    • Gabriella, How frustrating! You’ve used a bread machine before so the problem isn’t you. It sounds like the problem is the machine. I’d recommend taking it back. Using a bread machine should be a happy thing, not a chore.

      • Thanks Marsha. For reasons that are too long to explain, I cannot take it back. My husband finally managed to get a decent loaf out of it, but only by first putting the yeast into some lukewarm water with some molasses and adding 1.5 times the yeast recommended by the recipe book provided with the machine. There is *some*hope, but it is still very finicky… If you have any other recommendations, they would be most welcome… Thank you. 🙂

        • Gabriella, I have two thoughts. My machine brings the liquids to the proper temperature before starting to make the dough. Maybe your machine doesn’t do that. Most recipes I’ve read say that the liquid should be at 80 degrees. So try heating the liquid to 80 degrees before adding it to the bread pan. A second idea is that maybe your machine can make the dough, but can’t really cook the bread. If that’s the case, try setting the machine on the dough cycle and then bake the bread in the oven. Good luck with this!!

  15. Just read these tips. I just made a sweet bread that I had made before (successfully) but I had no milk so used yoghurt and a little water. Bread is like a brick and under cooked. Could the yoghurt have had an effect on the yeast? The yeast I used was purchased about a month ago and still stored in foil packet in jar.
    Not sure what went wrong 🙁

    • Hi Trish, I’m sorry your bread didn’t turn out. I hate it when that happens! I think that some yoghurt has salt. That might have killed the yeast in the bread. I’m also wondering if the acid in the yeast relaxed the dough too much.

  16. Thanks for replying Marsha, the yoghurt was a plain low fat and home made but by a pre-packaged dry mix product – I will check the label for contents. I will try the same yeast again this weekend with a plain bread mix and see how it goes. Yes I was so disappointed as it usually is a great sweet bread! Oh well, win some, loose some 🙂
    thanks again,

  17. You guys are so close that you actually deserve the proverbial cigar! I have been making bread in my Salton bread machine for years. I seldom have a failure now. The BIG secret as noted above is to get the yeast active in water and a little sugar. Add the
    WARM water (not hot) to the bread makers pan then add sugar and yeast and leave for about 10-15 mins. This mixture must become a little frothy. If it does not, then your yeast is dead. You have not wasted much. Then simply add all the other ingredients and press bake. Enjoy your lovely loaf of bread. Much nicer than shop bought bread. G’luck,

  18. Jen-thanks for your bread making tip. I had made 2 loaves of bread exactly like the booklet said. They were bad. Anyway,after reading your post,I tried putting ingredients in your way and yes! Success! Thank you again.

  19. I have tried numerous times to make Pumpernickel bread in my Panasonic machine and it never rises. I madea loaf of cinnamon raisin that rose beautifully–so I don’t think the problem is with my flour, yeast–it’s just the Pumpernickel.

    The recipe calls for 2 tsp. regular yeast–would increasing the yeast help?

    Please help!

  20. hi, I have been using my machine since 3 years without any problem. today, i did the usual. Put in all ingrediants pressed start for program 2, nicely mixed, it riced, but did not bake ? can i still only press a backing program ?
    or do i need to trash this now?

  21. I’ve been trying to figure out why my bread won’t mix all the way. when it’s done there is flour in the corners of the bread that havent been mixed. any help would be appreciated. thanks!

  22. I have a Breadman Ultimate machine. Frustration does not even describe my mood. I’ve had it for years, It was in storage for about 5, So lets make some bread right? Not a chance. Well… The first 3 loaves were fine. Basic white bread,1.5 lb loaves. Now they are flat and dense, collapsed flat. I proofed the yeast. Nuclear scientists would be proud of my measuring. I’ve followed the layering instructions. I’ve mixed it all in a bowl and scooped it in there. I’ve just not cared and put ingredients in however they came to hand…not really but you get the idea. Flat loaves are my bane it seems, More yeast? sure. More sugar yep. So now I’m on my seventh failed loaf and it is the same thing. About two inches tall in the middle,two and a half on the edges. I really don’t want to throw it away. I might as well buy 10 loaves of bread instead of flour the way I’m not having any luck. APF,Flieschmann’s yeast. Any help/suggestions?

    • EDIT: The consistency is correct,tacky,slightly firm,well positioned. The loaves are all full pan. I’m getting no rising. There are three rises. I can feel the heat of the dough,there is no heat in the machine during. Is that the problem?

      • Steve, I’m so sorry you’re having this problem. You’ve tried most of the same things that I would.

        What I find interesting about your situation is that you had 3 loaves that turned out fine. I’m also puzzled by the fact that you’re not feeling any heat during the rise cycle. The rise cycle shouldn’t be like the bake cycle, but the dough does need to be warm in order to rise. So I wonder if your machine has quit working.

        To test it, I’d buy a bread mix and see if it turns out. That removes measuring and old ingredients as a cause of the problem.

        Let me know what happens.

    • Steve, I have the same machine I bought in 1996 & it has been in storage for at least 10 years. I took it out & d/l the manual & read it several times. I have made several loaves & they have been fine. I suggest downloading he manual & follow instructions, hopefully that will work!

  23. Hi, I’ve been baking bread in my machine for years at work. Following the same formula. I have only been getting a 3/4 rise…not to the top like in the past. I have fresh flour and yeast, all the same. Could it be my machine? Maybe the heating element isn’t as hot? Just curious what you think. Thanks!

    • You use your bread machine at work? You must be VERY popular!

      I do suspect that it’s the heating element, but I’ve got two tests that you can try first.

      Test #1 would be to buy a bread mix and see if you get the same results. That would totally eliminate all the ingredients as the cause of the problem with the exception of water.

      Test #2 is to make a loaf of milk bread. That would eliminate any changes to your water supply as being the root of the problem.

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