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I was pretty sure I had my recipe and method nailed, done tens of pizzas with it but it failed me now for the third time in a row. It's driving me nuts, I had to throw away dough worth 15 pizzas.

The problem is it won't rise as it should.

First the recipe, which I took from popular Italian website and translated. I let it proof for 2 hours.

1/2 kg unbleached all purpose flour 
4g dry yeast, half sachet, or 12g normal.
1tsp sugar
11g sea salt, 1tbsp 
300 ml Warm water
3tbsp Olive oil

So, why it wouldn't rise is beyond me. What might be the factor?

1) Is it the brand of the yeast? Now I use Red Star, but I used some European before.Both fry yeast in sachets.

2) Too cold or too hot water to let the yeast soak (proof)?

3) Kneading for too long or not long enough?

4) Room temperature for proofing too low? It is winter now, and all the previous attempts were in summer. Although I did place it near the heat source.

Last thing I'm going to do now is I'm going to increase the amount of yeast by 2x, to see what happens. But originally I had to reduce by half from all the US recipes when I found an Italian and it worked much better. I still have to know what has changed in the overall conditions for such a huge difference.


UPDATE

Left it overnight and the dough seems perfect. It just needed more time it looks like.

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3  
1tbsp salt seems like an awful lot for 4g of yeast... –  ElendilTheTall Dec 23 '13 at 9:34
    
So long as you don't do something like poison the yeast with too much salt, or use "dead" yeast, then yeast doughs like this basically have to work. It's inevitable. Don't be hasty. It's much better to start your dough a few days in advance anyway; it'll taste better. –  Pointy Dec 25 '13 at 1:22

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There is not enough information here to give you a solid answer.

There are two things to consider:

  1. Have you proofed your yeast? Active dry yeast needs to be proofed, and while instant yeast does not, it cannot hurt. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water (about 105 - 110 F, 40 - 43 C). After 10 to 15 minutes, it should be quite foamy.

    This demonstrates that your yeast is alive and well, and will be ready to raise your bread or dough.

  2. In the winter, rising will be slower, possibly by a lot, depending on how much cooler your kitchen is. You may wish to create a friendly proofing box for the rise, with a warm hand humid environment.

    My favorite way to do so is to boil a microwave safe container of water (a couple of cups or a liter) in the microwave, and then push it to the back of the cavity. Then use the microwave as a place to let your dough rise. The microwave has to be turned off while proofing, if you turn it on, the dough will fail.

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1  
Actually, there are yeasts where proofing can hurt a lot, due to overfeeding. I think they are not much around any more, but who knows where the OP got the yeast from. –  rumtscho Dec 23 '13 at 12:11
1  
First of all check the update, for the dough left overnight it worked great, wow! 1 - this might have been a mistake, I read more on proofing yeast and I wasn't following the temp guidance. 2 - Thanks for the tip. Will try to experiment more, now I know where to look for mistakes. –  Ska Dec 23 '13 at 13:53
    
I never proof active dry yeast, unless it is "suspect". Even then, since I buy yeast in Sam's Club bulk, I only proof it to "prove" that it is alive. Then I toss out the proofed yeast and make my bread from unproofed yeast from the same package (since it is now "proven") :) Granted, I am pretty married to 5 or 6 recipes that I make all the time. If a recipe were to specifically call for proofed yeast, then I'd do it - at least the first time I make the recipe. –  Jolenealaska Dec 23 '13 at 13:56
2  
Something I find helpful is to turn the oven on it's lowest setting for a short time (10-15 minutes) while mixing/kneading the dough and then turn it off and put the dough in the oven while rising. This creates a good 'warm-dark' place. –  Cos Callis Dec 23 '13 at 14:21
1  
@CosCallis : this time of year, I just set it on my radiator. (old-fashioned hot-water/cast-iron, so it's no so hot to kill things, and large enough to set bowls on top of) –  Joe Dec 23 '13 at 19:23

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