Troubleshooting: Sourdough Bread Which Is not Rising 

Sourdough bread is a delicious and hearty treat, but it can be a challenge to get it to rise correctly.

If you’ve ever had a loaf of sourdough that just didn’t seem to puff up as it should, you’re not alone.

Here are reasons why your dough may not be rising, plus tips on how to fix the problem. 


Why My Sourdough Bread Is Not Rising?

Troubleshooting Sourdough Bread That Won’t Rise:

1. Your Yeast Is Too Weak or Old. 

Yeast is the key ingredient in any bread recipe, and if the yeast is too weak or old, your dough won’t rise properly.

Make sure you’re using fresh yeast; check the expiration date on your package before baking. 

If your yeast has expired, don’t try to use it anyway; buy a new package and start over with a fresh batch of dough. 

sourdough bread in a pan

Also, make sure you add the right amount of yeast for your recipe—too much will kill off the yeast cells, while too little won’t provide enough leavening power for your bread to rise properly. 

2. Your Water Is Too Hot or Cold.

The temperature of the water used to make your sourdough can have an effect on its rising as well—if it’s too hot (over 120°F) or too cold (below 98°F), it can kill off the yeast cells and prevent proper leavening of your bread dough.

A good rule of thumb is to use lukewarm water between 100-110°F when preparing dough for rising.  

3. You Didn’t Let It Rise Long Enough.

To ensure that your bread rises properly, give it plenty of time (at least 8 hours) at room temperature before baking so that each loaf has time to develop its flavor and texture fully before going into the oven.

Also, be aware that some recipes require two rises—one at room temperature and one in the refrigerator overnight—so be sure to read through all instructions before beginning so that you know what kind of timeline you’re dealing with for each loaf! 

4. You Overworked The Dough.

Kneading helps activate the gluten in dough which helps give structure and shape to loaves during baking.

But kneading too much can actually prevent your sourdough from rising correctly due to the over-development of gluten strands that become too tight and compacted together preventing them from expanding during the rise period.

For best results, knead only until all ingredients are incorporated into a cohesive ball then allow it rest undisturbed until doubled in size (at least 8 hours).  

What to Do When My Sourdough Bread Is Not Rising?

Here are a few tips for making sure your sourdough bread rises properly every time. 

1. Check Your Yeast 

The most common reason why dough won’t rise is because of dead yeast. If your dough has been sitting out for more than an hour or two, it may be that the yeast has died off and no longer has any energy to make your dough rise.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you use fresh yeast and store it in a cool place until you are ready to use it.

Additionally, always make sure you activate your yeast with warm water before adding it to the rest of the ingredients—this will ensure that your yeast is still alive and working correctly when added to the mix. 

2. Monitor Temperature and Humidity 

Another major factor in successful baking is temperature and humidity. If it’s too hot or humid in your kitchen, the dough can become over-hydrated which will stop it from rising properly.

On the other hand, if it’s too cold, then the yeast will not have enough energy to make your dough rise which will also cause problems.

To avoid this issue altogether, try using a thermometer while baking so that you can accurately monitor both temperature and humidity levels in real time while baking.

This way you can better control how much moisture is absorbed into the dough during each stage of baking as well as how quickly or slowly it rises over time.                              

3. Check Your Measurements 

Lastly, always double-check that you have measured out all of your ingredients correctly before adding them together into one bowl or pan for baking—especially when dealing with dry ingredients like flour or sugar!

Even a small difference in measurement can affect how well (or poorly) your bread rises during baking so take extra care here!

If possible, use a kitchen scale or measuring cups/spoons specifically designed for baking instead of traditional measuring tools as these tend to be more accurate overall when measuring dry ingredients for recipes such as sourdough bread. 

How Can I Get My Sourdough Bread to Rise More?

When it comes to getting your sourdough bread to rise more, there are a few key steps you can take.

  • First, make sure that your yeast is still alive and active by activating it with warm water before mixing it with the other ingredients.
  • Secondly, monitor the temperature and humidity levels in your kitchen while baking as these two factors play a major role in how well the dough rises.
  • Finally, double-check your measurements to ensure that all of your ingredients are correctly measured out before baking—this is especially important for dry ingredients like flour.

By following these simple steps, you should be able to get your sourdough bread rising properly every time.

Can I Let My Sourdough Bread Rise in the Fridge?

Yes, you can let your sourdough bread rise in the fridge if you’re short on time.

However, it is important to note that this will slow down the rising process significantly and could potentially affect the final texture of your bread.

To get the most out of this method, make sure to allow the dough to rest undisturbed in the fridge for at least 12 hours before baking.

Now that you know a few tips and tricks for making sure your sourdough bread rise properly every time, it’s time to get baking!

How Long Should a Final Rise Be On Sourdough Bread?

The final rise on sourdough bread should typically last for about 2-4 hours. This time frame will vary depending on the temperature and humidity in your kitchen, as well as the type of dough you’re working with.

For example, if it is hot or humid outside, your dough may rise faster than usual so you should keep an eye on it during this time and adjust as needed.

Additionally, if you are working with a dough that is more dense or sticky, then the final rise may need to be extended in order for it to properly puff up and become light and airy.

How Long Can You Let Sourdough Rise at Room Temperature?

Sourdough bread can be left to rise at room temperature for up to 8 hours in total.

It is important to note that this time frame will vary depending on the type of dough you’re working with, as well as the temperature and humidity levels in your kitchen.

To achieve optimal results, it is best to monitor the dough closely during this time and adjust as needed.


If you’re having trouble getting your sourdough bread to rise correctly there could be several causes behind it – from expired yeast or incorrect water temperatures to overworking or under kneading the dough itself.

But by following these simple rules above you’ll ensure success every time!

Remember – patience is key when working with sourdough; give each loaf plenty of time at room temperature before baking for best results! Good luck!

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About the author

Natalie is a food enthusiast who spends all of her time trying out new recipes, testing out new appliances, and making her kitchen as awesome as possible. She is a professional writer and blogs here about her love of food & kitchen.

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