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How long should I let my bread dough rise the second time?

I am really having trouble with a lack of rising after the first rise. The finished product is fairly flat and a bit on the dense side.
Any ideas are appreciated.

I'm using a rich recipe:

  • 2oz. butter,
  • 2 egg yolks,
  • 1/3 cup of sugar,
  • and 1 cup of whole milk.
  • No water at all.

Maybe use less or fewer rich ingredients?

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    You are not giving the full recipe: How much flour, how much yeast? How do you process it? And of course a picture wouldn't hurt either. – Stephie Dec 8 '16 at 18:44
  • A second rise is optional; as @Stephie says, more detail is required, but options include only rising once, giving more time for a second rise, and altering the ratio of ingredients and/or how you process / handle / form the dough. Presumably you are going for a very sweet bread with that ratio of sugar to liquid; but that's no bar to the bread rising. – Ecnerwal Dec 8 '16 at 19:11
  • @Ecnerwal : or reducing the time of the first rise, if the sugars were exhausted (not likely the case in this one). Or making sure you're only punching down and not fully deflating the dough between rises. – Joe Dec 8 '16 at 19:24
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    Unless you are doing this as a way to use up egg yolks when using the whites for something else, whole eggs (and a bit less milk if you want the same volume; or use one egg rather than 2 yolks) would be fine, most likely. – Ecnerwal Dec 8 '16 at 19:30
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Since you didn't say you have a problem with the first rise, I will assume that your yeast weren't simply dead.

There are a few factors that go into rise times:

  • How much yeast?
  • How much water is available to the yeast?
  • How much of yeast-inhibiting ingredients such as salt and sugar?
    If there isn't enough water in the recipe or if the water is tied up by salt and sugar the yeast will only be able to divide slowly.
  • How warm is the dough?
    Yeast, like everything else, work faster in a warm space.

Therefore, to increase the rising speed, you could make a wetter dough, add more yeast, use warm milk, put the dough in warm oven, reduce the sugar, etc.

It may be that your recipe just takes longer to rise.
Alton Brown's cinnamon roll recipe has a lot of fat and sugar and not as much water. The recipe recommends making them the night before and letting them rise overnight. Dough that rises longer generally tastes better.

I would recommend letting the dough go in a warm place and see how long it takes to reach the fluffiness you like. If that takes too long you could start tweaking the variables above.

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