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Can You Add Yeast after the Dough is Mixed? Here’s How!

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Preview: Can You Add Yeast After the Dough is Mixed? Yes! I’ll show you how to give it the old college try. Keep reading…

Wait! There’s hope for that bread dough that’s sitting in your bread pan like a bump on a log doing nothing! Here’s a simple solution for how to rescue bread dough when you forgot to add the yeast.

How to Rescue Bread Dough When You Forgot To Add The Yeast-- showing dough without yeast

Has this ever happened to you?

On Christmas Eve afternoon, a family member texted me in desperation.

Her: “Help! I just realized I forgot to add the yeast to my cinnamon roll dough now that the dough cycle on my bread machine has completed. The dough hasn’t risen at all. I’ve got too many things going on around here.”

Me: “YIKES! When were you planning to serve them?”

Her: “Tomorrow morning.”

Me: “Whew! We’ve got time. I’ve done the same thing several times myself, so call me, and I’ll walk you through it. We can probably save it.”

Have you made these mistakes?

Besides forgetting to add the yeast, I’ve also left out the salt (tastes boring), the sugar (not the worst thing), and miscounted the cups of flour I put into the bread machine (correctable).

Leaving out the flour is easy to remedy when you open the lid to check. (See video below.) Add more flour one tablespoon at a time until it looks right. The dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.

How to add yeast to bread dough that’s already mixed up:


dry yeast before dissolving
Measure the amount of yeast called for in the recipe and place it in a small bowl. You can use active-dry yeast, instant or bread-machine yeast.


yeast after water has been added to make it dissolve
Add enough warm (but not hot) water (3-4 teaspoons) to dissolve the yeast. At this point, you must dissolve the yeast in liquid (water or milk) whether it is instant or dry active yeast.


adding dissolved yeast to "already-mixed) bread dough
Add dissolved yeast to kneaded-but-unproofed bread dough. Whether you are using a bread machine or a large stand mixer, the directions are the same.


Now restart your bread machine on the dough cycle and allow to mix/knead.  If the dough is too sticky after you added the yeast/liquid, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Do this while the dough mixes until the dough sticks to the side, then pulls away.

Keep mixing/kneading the dough until the yeast mixture disappears and is completely incorporated into the bread dough. It is not necessary to redo the entire kneading process.


At this point, you can unplug the machine and remove the bread dough from the bread machine pan into a large mixing bowl. Cover loosely with a tea towel or shower cap and set in a cozy warm place to rise until double. Proceed with the original recipe.

rescued bread dough
Bread dough after the yeast was added and allowed to rise.

Are you positive you forgot to add the yeast?

Three other possibilities why your bread dough didn’t rise:


Has the date on your yeast expired?

If your yeast is out of date, it may not work. Buy new yeast and try again using the solution given above.


Did you kill your yeast?

You may have killed your yeast if the liquid you added was too hot when the yeast contacted it. Proceed with the solution above and try again.


Is the ambient temperature too cool?

The room where your bread is proofing may be so cold that your yeast is sluggish. Move the dough to a warmer place and give the dough more time.

What would you like to read next about bread machines?

If you have a question or problem you need help with, please write it in the comment section below so I can respond back. You can also email me privately: paula at

Thank you for visiting!

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Saturday 13th of February 2021

I forgot to cover my dough on the 2nd rising. Can I fix it?


Saturday 13th of February 2021

Maybe. Move your dough to a warmer location and see if that will help it rise. You can use temperature just like a gas pedal for yeast. Raising the temperature increases the activity of yeast. If it's too cold the yeast will go into hibernation.

I just thought of something else. Did the dough develop a "skin" over it because of no cover? If so, you might try pulling that skin off and proceed with the slightly smaller amount of dough.


Friday 15th of January 2021

Thank you so much for this post! First, I am so glad that I am not the only person who has forgotten to add the yeast. And second, you saved my dough! Thank you! Thank you! You and your blog are awesome!


Saturday 16th of January 2021

High Five, Tina! Good job. Thanks for taking the time to write.


Saturday 24th of October 2020

It worked! Thank you so much!


Sunday 25th of October 2020


LeAnne Case

Tuesday 13th of October 2020

I had about given up on bread making. Your web site has been so helpful and fun to read. I would like to make a really hearty, dense, chewy, flavorful whole wheat bread. Any suggestions?


Tuesday 13th of October 2020

Hi LeAnne,

Unfortunately, I don't have a recipe like this on the website, yet. Hopefully, I will put one up in the next year. For now, the closest thing would by the Hearty Rye Bread. Replacing the bread flour with whole wheat flour should yield a loaf similar to wheat you describe, but I haven't tested it yet.


Wednesday 27th of May 2020

You saved my bread! I forgot to put the yeast in and I hate to waste the flour as it is so hard to come by these days. But I ran through the start of the dough cycle again with the added yeast and it came out just fine. Whew!


Thursday 28th of May 2020

Fantastic. I know what you mean about wasting flour. Never good.