I read that you can make a dough without yeast and have it sit at room temperature for 12 hours and it will rise due to bacteria found in the air.

It didn't rise after 12 hrs, so I was wondering if I could let it sit for another 12 hrs to see if it eventually rises? Would 24 hrs be ok or that's too long?

  • 3
    It depends on the amount of natural yeast in your environment. You'll have a lot of it if you bake leavened breads a lot (e.g. a commercial kitchen), or next to nothing if you never bake or ventilate the area well. Some breads you can keep the starter for days or even weeks (think sourdough) but you still need a rising agent, whether added or the aforementioned environmental yeast. Curious as to where you heard this and why you'd want to try to have leavened bread without yeast?
    – kettultim
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 17:34
  • 3
    It sounds like there is miss understanding. Can you tell us where you heard this. When building a sourdough starter from scratch (flour and water ) you have to let it set for many days and you need to feed it daily until the natural yeast starts to grow.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 17:54
  • 1
    Ok, I misread it, I missed the word starter. "I make ciabatta loaves in a wood fired oven using a formula with 84% hydration, 2% salt, 1.5% olive oil, no yeast. I mix the flour, water and oil in a spiral mixer for 5 mins til stringy threads pull off the spiral, add salt and starter, mix a further 3ish mins til the threads reappear. After a ferment of 12 hours at about 14ish deg C (winter nighttime kitchen temp) I turn it out onto a floured tray and cut the shapes at the ovendoor, transfer them to a floured peel and slide them onto the hearth. " Commented May 25, 2017 at 18:00
  • 3
    Huh, well it looks like you've answered your own question here, lol. That said, I've done this before too. What you might do is put your dough in the fridge for a few days--maybe even a week. Eventually it will do something, but as kettultim mentions, it depends entirely on your environment whether it rises and becomes delicious or turns purple and frightening.Or you can make a start and beat that in. It's annoying, but can be done.
    – kitukwfyer
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


I am not sure where you read this and it is a reasonable expectation that it would work. This is however a classic example of recipes authored by someone that worked in a certain climate, season, location and other specifics that are not always going to work everywhere else.

As already pointed out by @kettultim, natural yeast count in your environment is not something you can take for granted. It is entirely feasible for a dough to sit around for a couple of weeks, get moldy and not rise even though you had tried the exact recipe before at another time or place.

If you had it working before and you liked what you had, keeping a bit of the fermented dough and nurturing that as a starter for later use is always worthwhile.


I made a basic bread dough and let it sit covered for 24 hours. It might have been a little longer, actually. The temperature in my kitchen was around 75 that whole time. It raised nicely and I used it as a pizza crust. I personally liked it better than the yeasted dough I made to compare with it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.