The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My stollen dough just won't rise

StephMS's picture

My stollen dough just won't rise

Hi there,

So i've been bread-making (and lurking) for all of two weeks, with mixed results, but lots of fun. My latest newbie dilemma has been attempting Delia's stollen recipe - my dough just doesn't want to rise. My yeast was fine - i'm using Allison's active dried yeast & it frothed up OK - and I followed the recipe to a T but no movement, no joy.

Any tips for a pleb? 

Many many thanks


yy's picture

Hi StephMS. It's possible that the lack of rise is due to the high sugar content of the stollen dough. This is an easy fix - just use osmotolerant yeast. If you search "osmotolerant yeast" on the forums there are a number of discussions and explanations on the topic. Long story short, for a sweet bread like stollen, it'll probably help to use something like SAF gold label yeast, which is available through online sources such as king arthur flour baker's catalogue. It's not too expensive - around 6 bucks for a one pound package.

arlo's picture

Well I do know that sometimes yeast is inhibited by sugar and will slow to a crawl because of it. Since that happens SAF has created a special kind of yeast, called SAF Gold to lots of us. SAF Gold is meant for doughs that have lots of sugar and or butter.

If your yeast is fine, though I recommend instant dry yeast instead of active dry yeast for baking at home, and you have made this before with no problem, perhaps you dough temperature was off, or maybe your room is a bit cold.

Those are the bits of insight I can help with at the moment. Try instant yeast or SAF Gold, or adjust the dough temp.

StephMS's picture

Thanks very much. I've just realised that I used extra strong flour - I didn't notice the "extra" bit when I took it out of the cupboard. Could this have been the problem?

Also, I think the dough might have been too cold - it's been chilly today but I didn't pay much attention.

SAF Gold sounds very interesting indeed, i'll have to try to get hold of some.

mrfrost's picture

Since the recipe was developed with active dry yeast, it should work with the yeast you used. I suspect the cool temperatures had a little something to do with it. How long did you wait(if you are not still waiting)? Did you warm the milk to the degree instructed?

Not sure about your flours over there, but the recipe was written for strong bread flour. If your flour was even stronger, it likely may have required a little more liquid than was called for. If the dough was too dry, it would be even more difficult to rise.

Kneading could also be a factor. May have required a little more than described(especially for the not so experienced).

Good luck.

clazar123's picture

Did it ever rise for you?

Sweet doughs take longer, as mentioned, but still rise in a reasonable time-at least some activity should have been seen. The flour, also, would influence but not stop the rising, unless it was in dry lumps. Was the dough smooth and elastic when you were done kneading? If not, add some warm water and squish it in until the dough is the right consistency-messy but savable.

Providing a warmer environment (such as in the oven after it has been warmed SLIGHTLY and turned off or with the door propped open so the light bulb is on) would be helpful.

If there is NO activity, I would think you may have used overheated liquid and poss killed the yeast. Yeast is like people-they like a warm bath but not hot.Dissolve another 2 tsp instant yeast in a tablespoon of warm water and mix well into the dough. Rise and proceed.

Or it is just too cold and the little buggers are asleep/dormant.Warm it up, make sure it doesn't dry out and proceed.

David Zersen's picture
David Zersen

This year my stollen didn't rise either and based on some comments in a forum, I think that too much remaining liquid rum in the candied fruit/almonds killed the yeast. The solution proposed was to added the rum-soaked ingredients at the second rise. Too late for this year when I've actually made "Christmas biscotti" instead of Stollen, but next year I will make sure to remove remaining alcohol before inserting the fruit and nuts.