With the exception of flat breads, all bread dough needs rising time to increase in volume. You cannot simply mix flour and water together and expect it to rise; the bread needs some help from yeast. Yeast wakes up in warm liquid and consumes the sugar added to it. As the yeast digests the sugar, it emits carbon dioxide, which gives the bread lift and causes the dough to rise. As a living organism, you need to treat yeast carefully. Bakers whose bread does not rise might have killed the yeast by using an old product, adding too much salt, not enough sugar, or using water at an incorrect temperature.

Things You'll Need

Measure the liquid and sugar for the recipe and add to a large mixing bowl.

Take the temperature of the warm liquid. Look for a temperature between 110 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sprinkle the yeast over the water and wait five minutes for the yeast to dissolve and begin to eat the sugar. Watch for bubbling in the liquid, indicating that the yeast has been activated. If you do not see bubbling, discard the mixture and start over with another package of yeast; your yeast might have been too old.

Add the remaining ingredients to the yeast, stirring to combine until the dough forms a ball.

Turn the mixed dough ball out onto a surface and knead for eight to ten minutes, or until smooth.

Place the kneaded dough into the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel.

Set the covered bowl containing the bread dough in a warm place (between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit) without drafts and let rise for one to two hours, until the dough appears twice as large as beforehand. Do not let the dough rise more than this because it will collapse, making the bread sour-tasting and flat in appearance.

Test the bread dough for a proper rise by pressing a finger ½ inch deep into the dough. You are ready for the next step if the bread retains the indentation rather than springing back immediately.

Gently push your fist into the center of the dough to release excess carbon-dioxide gas.

Shape the dough to fit into the loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap or a towel.

Set the loaf pan into the same warm spot used for the first rise, and wait one hour until the bread dough doubles in size.

Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake as directed by the recipe in a preheated oven.

Let the bread cool completely in the pan before removing, cutting and serving.