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Yeast: Will the Challah Dough Rise to the Occasion?

WHY Don’t My Challahs Rise????

I attended one of your challah demonstrations which I thought was really good. It really inspired me to make challah in a bigger batch so that I can do the mitzva. I used your recipe that you gave out on a printed card and followed it meticulously but the dough didn’t rise, have you got any suggestions for me? My regular challah recipe which is smaller always works out fine…
Many thanks for your inspiring words and fascinating demonstration!

Thank you for your query and for your feedback! If you saw my demonstration then you know that Baruch Hashem the fact that your dough did not rise would have nothing to do with the recipe I showed since the dough I used at that demo most certainly did rise! So let’s analyze what could have happened.

Before anything else – you are sure you did put the yeast into your dough when you were creating it, correct? Don’t laugh – I’ve actually done that mistake before…

Okay, now that we’ve made sure you did, check these steps:

First of all, what kind of yeast did you use, fresh that you bought in the refrigerator section of your store, or dry that came in a closed packet?

Secondly, how old is your yeast? If you bought it fresh, is it past the date printed on the package?
If it was dry yeast, when did you open it?
In my experience, this is usually the problem. If it was one of those large vacuum packed containers of yeast and you opened it a bit ago, even as recently as just a week – when you first used it, it probably worked really amazingly, correct? But then, and here is the important point – where did you store it once it was opened?

I know the packet says you can store it in the cabinet or the refrigerator BUT if you do so, it will lose its original potency very quickly. Try what I say and see for yourself. Once you have opened the package, empty it out into a good quality plastic container with a tight lid. Then, immediately after using it, put it into your freezer, NOT your refrigerator or your cabinet. Every single time you use it after this point, remove it only when you need to use it, measure off your tablespoon or two that you are using and then, again, immediately after using it replace it in your freezer. This will keep the yeast’s potency at its highest for as long as you have it in your freezer and your challahs should once again rise beautifully, now and always!

This answer I have written here is especially important for those who tell me that for their recipe of just 2.25 kilos (17 cups) of flour they are using at least 4 (!!!!! That’s FAR too much!!!) tablespoons of yeast. Heavens!! Have rachmanus on your kishkes! If you need to use so much yeast in order for your challahs to rise, it’s a sign that the yeast is not working anymore. Throw it out and get a new package…and then follow the directions I’ve just listed for how to keep it in storage for future use.

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