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 do it. Keep reading.

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

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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.

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.

Happy Bakers Speak Up:

“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!!^_^–NINA

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 Is Already Mixed Up

dry yeast before dissolvingPin
1. 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 dissolvePin
2. 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 doughPin
3. 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.

4. Now restart your bread machine on the dough cycle and allow it to mix/knead.  If the dough is too sticky after you add 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.

5. 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 doughPin
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?

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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 questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at Hope to see you again soon! 

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  1. Adeeba Imran says:


  2. Oh MY Goodness! It worked! YES! My first time ever making hot cross buns and I messed up by leaving out the yeast. In all the many years of bread baking, this is only the second time. Truthfully? I was skeptical. Did what was suggested. Let the dough rise 2 times in the machine. Took it out. Had to add a little more flour. Shaped into buns. Covered and put in the warm oven to rise again. An hour later they had risen. I’ll know what to do next time. Thank you

    1. Hi Peggy,

      I’m so happy this method worked for you. Your testimony will hopefully give others confidence to try this. I think most of us bread machine users have forgotten to add yeast at least once.

  3. Nancy Pearsall says:

    Have you ever tried to make a loaf of Ezekiel type bread using sprouted wheat? I’d love to be able to make that type of bread.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      So nice to hear from you. I do not have a dupe for Ezekiel bread as sold commercially. The list of ingredients is practical for one or two loaves. However, I do have a recipe for a loaf that uses sprouted wheat flour (from King Arthur). It tastes fabulous and is one of my favorite bread recipes. See it here.Unique Sprouted Wheat Bread Machine Recipe with Seeds

  4. Julia Pomeroy says:

    I sought your advice on how to make bread in my machine when the temperature is in the 80s and beyond and so I thought I would take a chance. On your advice, I now keep all my bread flours in the fridge, in fact I bought a second hand cheap one just to use as a ‘larder’. Therefore I used water from the chilled section of my water dispenser (an essential item when you live in a hot climate) and the flour was used straight from the fridge. I did not adjust the yeast but used the same amount and both a plain white loaf and a fruit loaf using white and wholemeal flour have come out absolutely superb. Thank you, I would never have thought to use chilled ingredients because it is so impressed on us to keep everything warm but when it is 85+F in your kitchen, your advice made incredible sense but I would not have thought of it!

  5. 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!!^_^

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

  6. cristian micu says:

    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

    1. Hi Cristian,

      I hope it worked out for you.

  7. cristian micu says:

    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…

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

    1. 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.

  9. Christina says:

    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!

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

  10. It worked! Thank you so much!

  11. LeAnne Case says:

    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?

    1. 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.

      1. Julia Pomeroy says:

        By the way, talking about rye flour as you do, my recipe for rye bread goes something like this but be aware I use grammes:
        140g dark rye flour
        180g strong white flour
        180g strong wholemeal flour
        2 tabs honey
        3 tabs oil (living in Cyprus I use, of course, olive oil)
        1tsp salt
        1.5 tsp yeast
        250ml water or liquid of your choice
        We love this loaf so much, it is brilliant for sandwiches which, being English, we do eat every day! Obviously all the flours are bread flours.

        1. Glad the cool water worked for you. And thanks for the recipe. It took me a second to figure out “tabs,” but I think that is an abbreviation for tablespoons, right?

  12. E. RAMIREZ says:

    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!

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

  13. 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!

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

  14. 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

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

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Yep, this was me! Thanks for documenting on the blog because I’m sure it won’t be the last time I forget the yeast!

  18. This is one of the few mistakes I have not made (yet). I probably would have just started over, but this is a great fix. Thanks!

  19. Thanks for posting this tip. I would have had a mini tantrum and threw it out. Now I know.

    1. Randy Ritchie says:

      Thank you for all the tips! I have gone from a timid baker to a confident beginner, with your recipes and tips!
      I haven’t tried gluten-free bread-making because we don’t require it, but recall you mentioning needing a source, where to direct inquiries. I found a bread-baking site with gluten-free breads, written similarly to your how-to instructions. And, good to know, even the very budget-friendly Hamilton Beach bread machine I have has the gluten-free setting (a requirement per the gluten-free bread tester/recipe developer). Maybe look over her site?

      1. Thank you, Randy. I will take a look. Like you, we don’t require it, so I’m not motivated to experiment with it, especially since it is expensive and quite high in calories. Thanks again.