Common Causes for Pizza Dough Not Rising (and How To Fix!)

Common Causes for Pizza Dough Not Rising (and How To Fix!)
Common Causes for Pizza Dough Not Rising (and How To Fix!)

Imagine this. You check your go-to recipe, make your pizza dough, and let it proof. You have done it a hundred times before. But when you come back this time, your dough hasn’t risen. Tears well up in your eyes, the world spins as if… ok, maybe I am going a little overboard, however here are the most common causes for pizza dough not rising, and what we can do to fix the issue.

Perfect pizza dough is the result of three main factors; the right combination of ingredients, a great environment and the right preparation.

Your homemade pizza dough won’t rise to the occasion if any or all of these ingredients are used in an excessive amount or insufficient amount.

The environment makes a huge difference too; temperature and the like.

Finally, how you prepare the dough, and have you given it the right amount of kneading, etc.

Why is my pizza dough not rising?

As we’ve just covered, there are several factors might cause your pizza dough to remain flat. Now let’s go through and discuss the common reasons why is your pizza dough not rising, and how we can go about rectifying it.


Besides flour, the next most important ingredient has to be yeast. The dough of a pizza rises as a result of the action of yeast. Fermentation happens as a consequence of the yeast fungus feeding on the sugars in the flour. We all enjoy sugar, right? After that, alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2), which are fermentation byproducts, make the dough rise.

Old yeast

Your dough won’t rise if your yeast is having any issues. First, make sure your yeast is still fresh. The shelf life of fresh yeast is just three weeks.

Despite having a shelf life of 12 months, dried yeast won’t function as effectively if stored for so long. New yeast, or at the very least, yeast that is just a few days old, will provide superior results. In general, the likelihood that your pizza dough won’t rise increases with the age of the yeast.

Additionally, you need to be cautious about how you keep your yeast stored. Store yeast away from direct heat in a temperature range of 43 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit for the best freshness.

You should get in the habit of keeping your yeast either in the fridge or in your pantry in a dark place.

Dead yeast

The largest yeast killer, besides ageing, is hot water. Activating yeast with hot water is a typical error made by amateur bakers. The idea behind this is that warmer conditions will cause the dough to rise quickly. But since yeast fungi are living things, they will perish in very hot or cold environments.

It’s not a good idea to activate your yeast with ice-cold water, either. Because the yeast won’t work correctly, your dough won’t rise as much as it should. For your dough to reach the ideal rising temperature, it is preferable to start with lukewarm water or room-temperature water.

The best way to test this, is to always pour a little water on your inner wrist. If it’s much more than warm room temperature, it’s too hot.

Insufficient yeast

The lack of yeast is another factor that prevents pizza dough from rising. The quantity of yeast your dough needs to rise will depend on the temperature where you are and how long the dough has been proofing.

In addition to the temperature, how long the dough is allowed to rise will also affect how much yeast is required. Most recipes for homemade pizza include a proofing time of one to two hours.

Your dough could not be rising because you employed too little yeast in relation to the ambient temperature.


Dough kneading requires skill. It is advised that you thoroughly knead your dough for up to 20 minutes.

However, why is kneading so crucial? It is entirely related to the gluten protein found in wheat flour. When hydrated, gluten aids in the dough’s structure, among other things.

Gluten begins to build a network of walls as you knead. The network spreads out, and the dough develops and acquires form as you continue to knead it.

The network of walls structures the dough while also capturing CO2 released as yeast consumes flour’s carbohydrates. The dough becomes inflated and expands in bulk as a result of the trapped gas. The dough doesn’t rise when the gluten network isn’t fully established since the CO2 may readily escape.

Therefore, there is a considerable probability that your dough won’t rise if you don’t knead it correctly. You may learn the kneading method to ensure that your dough rises consistently for the ideal pizza foundation.


The appropriate conditions are necessary for proofing, which simply refers to letting your dough rise at room temperature. Low proofing temperatures are a frequent cause of pizza dough not rising.

For example, I always leave the dough to proof longer in winter than in warmer months.

You shouldn’t anticipate your dough to rise if you put it in the refrigerator since the low temperatures are insufficient to activate the yeast that gives the dough its rising ability.

The dough may rise slowly or not rise at all if the space where you keep it is cold or insufficiently heated. Homemade pizza dough should rise at a temperature range of 73 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Packet of Dry Yeast
Packet of Dry Yeast

What should I do if my pizza dough not rising?

As we’ve learned, yeast, temperature, and kneading technique are the key causes of pizza dough that doesn’t rise.

Fortunately, the majority of these issues may be quickly fixed with a few simple methods. When you notice that your pizza dough not rising, we recommend that you follow these instructions:

Put the dough in a warmer environment

Warmth and moisture are essential for yeast growth. Usually, increasing the volume of the dough just requires leaving it at room temperature on the tabletop. You will need to raise the temperature to activate the yeast if the dough is still flat after doing this. An excellent place to start is the oven.

Put the covered pizza dough on the center rack of the oven. After that, put a cup of hot water below this rack and shut the oven. This will generate heat and turn into a temporary oven without actually cooking the dough. The dough should now start to rise if the yeast was used correctly and you kneaded it properly.

Add yeast

To avoid pizza dough not rising, always make sure the yeast you use is fresh. One teaspoon of yeast and one cup of room-temperature water should be combined to test. A 1-inch layer of foam ought to have formed on top of the mixture after 10 minutes. If this doesn’t happen, you’ll know that the yeast has to be changed and is the source of the issue.

Once the yeast has been effectively proofed, you should knead it into the dough to make sure there is enough yeast present for the dough to rise.

However, it would be ideal if you didn’t add the yeast mixture to the dough right away. Instead, make a little amount of water and flour, whisk in the yeast mixture, and then stir in the flat dough.

Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes or until it becomes smooth and firm. After that, be sure to put it somewhere warm. The dough ought to rise in about an hour.

Thoroughly knead the dough

Under-kneading may sometimes cause pizza dough to remain flat. The dough may just need a little bit more kneading for it to rise.

Pizza dough should ideally be worked for up to 20 minutes. In order for the dough to catch enough air to rise, it is also crucial to knead it properly. Not enough kneading can play a part in pizza dough not rising.

Other solutions

There are a few actions you may do going forward to prevent a situation where the pizza dough does not rise. First, each time you prepare the dough, attempt to use a new packet of freshly purchased yeast. To prepare the yeast and dough, use warm water that is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you controlled the salt as well, it would be beneficial since too much salt would kill the yeast. Additionally, make sure all of your components are of the highest caliber, including the flour and water you need to make pizza dough since impurities might interfere with the proving process.

Additionally, ensure the basin you are using to hold the dough is the appropriate size. Choose a medium-sized basin to enclose the dough and promote its upward rise. Last but not least, strive for a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit while proving your dough.


Being disappointed that your “perfectly” prepared dough won’t rise is the worst feeling in the world. Sometimes, outside influences like air pressure or humidity may be to blame for this.

Don’t freak out if you see your pizza dough not rising. Most likely, your yeast is just dead or was accidentally destroyed. By mixing some new, fresh yeast into your dough, you may correct this. Oh, and be sure to give your best effort and knead for at least 15 minutes!