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

Sneak 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.

bread machine crash course sign-up

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.

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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 maker 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?

1. Has the date on your yeast expired?

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 If your yeast is out of date, it may not work.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

2. Did you kill the 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.

3. 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?

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If you have any questions or suggestions, email me privately: Paula at

Hope to see you again soon!

How Does Instant Yeast Work? – Sarahjocrawford

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

[…] You can use active-dry yeast, instant or bread-machine yeast. 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. via […]


Sunday 17th of October 2021

You saved my hokkaido milk bread! Accidentally added very warm tangzhong roux and killed my yeast! I had already kneaded it for ages and was super sad to have to start over but your genius idea saved my milk bread!! Now my espresso won't be lonely.. thanks so much for making my morning!!^_^


Monday 18th of October 2021

Oh, how I love your story. Thanks for sharing with me.

cristian micu

Friday 14th of May 2021

few minutes after i posted it it started kneading again and i took the opportunity to open the lid and add the yeast( powder while machine kneaded it, it absorbed all the yeast i had to insert under normal circumstances.. now lets see after 2 + hours..... i also inserted my email for bread recipe emails ;) ty


Saturday 15th of May 2021

Hi Cristian,

I hope it worked out for you.

cristian micu

Friday 14th of May 2021

i put all the ingredients except yeast, and the machine has made the dough without yeast and now is pausing ( 3 hour cycle) :( im in first hour...


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.