Food Guide

Why is Bread Dough Hard? Expert Tips to Soften it Up

Have you ever noticed that when you’re kneading bread dough, it sometimes feels a little hard and difficult to work with? If so, you’re not alone.

Many people have wondered why is bread dough hard, and there are a few reasons why this might be the case.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the possible explanations and offer tips for working with hard dough.

1. Too much flour

If you use too much flour when you make bread dough, it will be hard.

This is because flour is a drying agent, and it will cause the dough to become dry and hard.

As a result, the bread will be dense and difficult to eat.

In order to avoid this, you should use the right amount of flour when you make bread dough.

2. Too little liquid

When there is too little liquid in a bread dough, it will be hard.

This is because the liquid is what makes the dough soft and allows it to rise.

If there is not enough liquid, the dough will be tough and won’t rise as much.

Too little liquid can also cause the bread to be dense and hard.

3. Old or expired yeast

Sometimes, if yeast is left for a long time, it will lose its potency and become ineffective.

This is more likely if the yeast was stored improperly or expired.

If you try to use yeast that has expired or been stored improperly, your bread dough will likely be hard and flat, and it may not rise at all.

You should always check the expiration date on your yeast package and make sure that it hasn’t expired.

If it has expired, or if you’re not sure if it’s still good, it’s best to purchase new yeast.

Yeast is relatively inexpensive, so it’s not worth taking the risk of using expired yeast.

If you’re not sure if your yeast is expired, you can test it by adding it to warm water and sugar.

If the yeast begins to foam and make bubbles, it’s still good.

If it does not, it’s best to discard it and purchase new yeast.

4. The dough is too cold

When bread dough is too cold, it can be hard to work with and may not rise properly.

This is because the dough needs to be at a certain temperature in order for the yeast to work properly.

If the dough is too cold, the yeast may not be able to do its job of rising the dough.

In addition, if the dough is too cold, it may be hard to shape into loaves or other forms.

This can make it more difficult to bake the bread and may result in a less than optimal final product.

5. The dough has overproofed

Dough can overproof, which means it has proofed for too long and can result in hard, dense bread.

Overproofing can be caused by high temperatures, too much yeast, or over mixing the dough.

If the dough has overproofed, there is no way to undo it.

You can however, make the dough into something else such as rolls or focaccia.

When dough has overproofed, the yeast has produced too much carbon dioxide and the dough has become unstable.

It will then take on a sour flavor and will be tough and chewy when baked.

Overproofing can also lead to an uneven rise, which means that some areas of the dough will be higher than others and could lead to holes in the bread after baking.


So, as you can see, there are a few reasons why your dough might be feeling a little hard, but the good news is that there are ways to fix it. So, don’t give up on your baking dreams just yet!

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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