The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole wheat bread not rising enough with Instant Yeast

Subh's picture

Whole wheat bread not rising enough with Instant Yeast


I'm new to bread making and I am making breads successfully since last 6-7 days (thanks to TFL). I used to use active dry yeast, but started to use instant dry yeast since yesterday, to save time in rising. But, my breads are not rising enough.

Here's my recipe:

2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp milk powder
1 cup water
1/2 tsp gluten
1/4 cup vegetable oil

After mixing all dry items (including instant yeast), I add warm water (approx 50 degree C) and oil. Kneading for 10-15 mins and keeping it aside for 10 mins, I put them in the loaf pans to rise. I wait for more than 4 hours but the raising stops after 2 hours. It doesn't even fill up the the pan.

While using active dry yeast, the process of first rising takes around 30-45 mins and loaf pan rising around an hour or so. Then bake it for 30-35 mins at 175 degree C in my OTG.

As far as my little knowledge goes, many bakers use instant dry yeast for its fast rising quality. Can't understand exactly where am I making mistakes.

Please help!


Crider's picture

Whole wheat bread generally needs more water than refined flour. When your loaf isn't hydrated enough, your rise can be inhibited.

clazar123's picture

Do you actually have a first rise before you shape and pan the dough? Or is it just a mix and rise in the loafpan?

I concur that you need more water in this recipe.Whole Wheat not only soaks up more water than AP or bread flour but it takes a lot more time for the bran to do that. Once whole wheat dough is mixed,the dough should still feel a little sticky (at the least).Allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes to allow the bran to soak up the water and then either use stretch and folds or put in a bowl for a rise-to-double before shaping and panning.The dough will no longer be as sticky and if you have the proportion right, it will be a perfect handling dough. You will also notice more yeast activity(yeast needs moisture to activate),a less crumbly crumb in the finished dough and a better taste.

My favorite whole wheat sandwich bread is mixed up in the evening in the usual manner,put in an oiled container and refrigerated overnight.Next day,allow it to warm up a few hours, shape,rise (in a bowl to double,if it hasn't overnight),shaped and baked. It has the best taste and texture.That recipe/technique rose out of necessity one week and I just keep doing it.Works great.

Have fun!


Zenith's picture

Your recipe calls for 3 cups of flour which is only enough for one loaf pan if it is 9 inches x 5 inches -- but you said you put your dough in "loaf pans."  Was each pan at least half full before the final rise?  If not, you need more dough in the loaf pan to make a full-sized loaf after baking.

Subh's picture

We have loaves of 400gms and 200gms sizes. I can't tell you the exact pan sizes right now, coz, I'm writing from somewhere else. The dough weighed about 800 gms. So, I divided the dough in two 200gms and one 400gms sizes and placed in the pans accordingly. However, they were max 1/4th filled.

clazar123's picture

If your pan is only 1/4 filled, the dough has to quadruple itself to fill the pan and even quintuple itself to rise above the edge of the pan. That usually doesn't happen.

As Zenith said-fill each pan half-full-no matter the size of the pan. You may need smaller pans, you can make a freeform loaf  or just make 1 panned loaf.



Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

I think you might be confusing instant yeast and rapid rise yeast.  In this case, "instant" doesn't mean the yeast rises instantly... it means it doesn't have to be proofed in warm water first, and you can just mix the  yeast in with the flour directly.

After mixing the dough, I let my whole wheat bread sit for 10-30 minutes, called an 'autolyse,' which gives the gluten time to start organizing itself into strands.  Then I knead, etc.  

Another idea is to use less yeast (perhaps 1 1/2 teaspoons in this case), but have two rises before shaping instead of just one.  This makes a better textured and better tasting bread, but it does take some more time : )

Mary Clare in MO

jennyloh's picture

As what clazar123 pointed out, the loaf size is small to fill the pan. I also noticed that you mentioned the water is 50 degree C.  That's pretty hot for yeast.  Yeast  activates well in temp of about 27 degree C,  I believe anymore than that kills the yeast.  Usually a room temperature water will do fine.

Subh's picture

Thanks, Mary, for defining 'instant' clearly. I actually understood 'rapid' as instant. :)

I have identified my two mistakes:

(1) I kneaded first and then let it sit to autolyse. So I will do the reverse.

(2) As jennyloh pointed out, 50°C is too hot for yeast, I will try to use room temperature water. It's already very warm in India.

I will also try adding up 1/4 cup more water while mixing the dough as clazar123 suggested. I will post back the results.

Love you TFL!

hanseata's picture

Yeast cells die, if they are exposed to more than 40 C. You're safe with lukewarm water.

Instant yeast, Rapid Rise Yeast or Breadmachine Yeast are all the same, whereas Active Dry Yeast has less yeast cells per volume.

I would also recommend refrigerating the dough overnight, and you definitely need less yeast. Peter Reinhart suggests in "Whole Grain Breads" to use 8 g (3 tsp.) for 510 g flour, for my bakery I found that 6 g instant yeast per 510 g of flour is quite sufficient. You took 2 1/4 tsp. (= 7 g instant yeast) for only ca. 387 g of flour, that should have been way more than enough.

The extra gluten is not really necessary - whole wheat and all-purpose flour contain enough gluten to rise a bread, and, also, gluten can effect the taste negatively. I would use it, if at all, only for 100% rye breads, since rye does not have very much gluten.

So too high temperature and not enough hydration are most likely the culprits.




Subh's picture

Hi all!

This is what I made out of the teachings of you guys...

and inside...

The taste is yummy. I used active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. I added 1/4 cup more water and allowed to sit for 30 mins before kneading.

Today, I am making again with instant yeast, with 1 1/4 tsp and without gluten as suggested by hanseata.

I'm impressed with the outcome. What you guys say?

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

Congratulations!  Bread baking is SO satisfying, isn't it?

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

You may need to actually use cold water. How warm is your room? Depending on the temperature in your room it may get warm enough that you need ice water as it gets warmer outside.

I use a lot of whole wheat flour in my baking. It takes up so much water compared to regular. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the way your bread tastes as you start to incorporate changes such as autolyse, slower rising, stretches and other suggestions on here.

I have two other suggestions. Consider soaking your dough without salt for about an hour, then adding the salt and proceeding with your gluten develpment. You'll find the dough is ready to work and hardly needs any kneading. Stretching/folding every 20 minutes seem to do the trick as they don't tear the delicate gluten strands with all that bran.

The other suggestion is to try putting your dough in the refridgerator for the bulk rise overnight.

Finally, I think you can continue to add more water. If you can get a scale, work the formula until you get your hydration up to about 72-75%. This seems about perfect for whole wheat.

Now it's time to start getting that sourdough culture going while it's so warm over there!


hanseata's picture

Looks nice. What kind of interesting shape did you give it, just twisted it?

Subh's picture

Hi again...

Thanks for your posts and encouragements.

Here's the newly baked couple...

It looks flat in the pic, but it's not that flat... Have put them to cool down.

I cannot manage kneading by adding 1 1/4 cup of water, while Doc Tracy suggests to add more water. It becomes too sticky and it's a mess. It takes lot of my energy and time to make it manageable. I do not want to keep on adding flour to make it manageable, but have to. Any suggestions?


Subh's picture

Hey friends!!!

Look at looks so beautiful !!!



I have followed the instructions of Doc Tracy. Mixed everything except salt and refridgerated overnight. Excluded gluten.

This time I managed to knead well by adding oil at the last.

The flavour is too good! I live in a 3rd floor flat and the flavour could be smelt even from ground floor!!

Tonight (your morning), I will go for 100% whole wheat bread (without any white flour). That's what I want to do.

Love you TFL !!

Subh's picture

Hi again...

Result-4 was a disaster. I forgot to put the salt and kept the oven switched off for 10 mins by mistake. So, I had to throw the loaf away.

And, this is Result-5. This is 100% Whole Wheat Bread!


Please comment.

Thanks a lot!


leocwa's picture

That loaf looks good, I can smell it  clear over in Utah; Leocwa