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How To Rescue Bread Dough When You Forgot the Yeast

Wait! Don’t throw your dough out! 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?

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.

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 Didn’t Rise:


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

FREE “Make Fabulous Bread with Your Bread Machine” quick-start email course:  Sign up to learn how to use your bread machine to make extraordinary bread in 6 email lessons. 

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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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.


Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Hi Paula, I found this article yesterday, looking for a solution to dough that didn't rise. I must say you're my saving grace! I'm glad I found you're website. Like you I love using bread maker. I don't fancy kneading the bread so I leave that part to my bread maker. Anyway, I've been making bread for the last 4 years. However I only make 5"×9" loaf pan. Until my husband bought me a 41/2"×101/2"(base). This is the time I struggle. To make my story short, yesterday my dough didn't rise. So I followed your instructions. It rose on the bowl but didn't rise on the loaf pan. So I repeated the same process and put it straight to the loaf pan and it rose beautifully! So thank you so so much!


Thursday 23rd of January 2020

So happy you were able to rescue your dough, Anne.


Monday 19th of November 2018

Thanks so much for this post! I made a batch of my award-winning Challah dough for Thanksgiving dinner, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. My friends have been wanting to try my chalk, and have been drooling at the pictures on Facebook.

I proofed the yeast after a planned rise in the fridge, and it was good. But it didn’t rise.

A trip to Zkroger/Ralph’s was upsetting because they discontinued my tried and true vegan margarine! I really don’t want to experiment before Thanksgiving!

I hate to throw it out, so I will try it.

Thanks again, Judy


Tuesday 20th of November 2018

I know what you mean about experimenting at Thanksgiving. Hope your bread dough turned out good. It's worth a try.


Monday 19th of November 2018

Oops. Challah, not chalk. And it’s Kroger


Monday 2nd of May 2016

Just for anyone's information: I forgot the yeast in a rye and wholewheat recipe using the breadmachine. Luckily I realised before the bake cycle. I just added the yeast, dry, straight from the packet, set it on the dough setting for 20 minutes, then popped it into a baking tin, left it to rise for an hour and in the oven for 50 minutes. It turned out perfectly. I'm sure it would have worked in the machine too.


Wednesday 6th of January 2016

It's good to know that this is a mistake that can be remedied, even though I haven't made it . . . yet. I made three batches of cinnamon rolls over Christmas and they all turned out a bit different. Dough is funny that way.