How to Cut Yeast Rising Time

Yeast Sponge
Yeast Sponge. © Barbara Rolek

Rising time if often a deterrent to making items that require a yeast dough, typically 50 to 60 minutes per rise. For a two-rise baked good, that would mean up to two hours of waiting time. And some recipes require three rises-- up to a whopping three hours.

While we're all pressed for time, we still want that homemade taste, especially with baked goods like bread and coffee cakes. You might fill those two hours by multitasking, but perhaps you want results now.

Microwave Dough

By using a microwave, you can lop off 1 1/2 hours of rising time for a food product that requires two (1-hour) rises and 2 1/4 hours for three rises. With these tips, you can have your cake and eat it, too!

First Rise Before Shaping

Use the microwave to cut 45 minutes off the first rise of yeast doughs.

  • Mix and knead the dough according to the recipe's instructions. Place the dough in a large, greased microwave-safe bowl. Turn dough upside down to grease the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Place glass pie pan or other shallow microwave-safe plate in microwave oven. Pour 1 cup very hot water in pan. Place plastic-covered bowl with dough in the pan.
  • Cook covered on low (10% power) 10 to 14 minutes or until dough has doubled. Make sure the microwave is set to low power, otherwise the dough will cook from the inside out and will never rise. Proceed to shape the dough as recipe directs unless it requires another rise before baking (see Optional Third Rise, below).

    Second Rise Before Baking

    Use the microwave to cut 45 minutes off the second rise of yeast doughs.

    • After shaping the dough per your recipe directions, place it in glass loaf pan(s) or on nonmetal baking pan(s) that fit in your microwave oven.
    • Cook covered loosely with greased plastic wrap on low (10% power) for 5 minutes. Let stand in microwave 10 to 15 minutes or until doubled. Proceed to bake the dough as recipe directs.

      Optional Third Rise

      Some Old-World recipes require three rises. Once the dough has risen for the first time, it is punched down and allowed to rise again. Then the dough is shaped as directed and risen again (see Second Rise Before Baking, above) before baking.

      This Polish cheese babka recipe (Babka Serowa) is an example of a dough that requires three rises to make a very light crumb. This Ukrainian babka recipe also requires three rises plus about 10 minutes for the sponge to become bubbly.