Substituting Raw Unfiltered Honey for Sugar in Pizza Dough

I recently made some pizza dough using raw unfiltered honey instead of sugar and it didn't rise very well. Is there some sort of negative reaction that occurs between the raw honey and yeast that causes this?

Scott Donwerth


Smaug February 19, 2019
This is sort of an interesting question, as raw honey is often promoted as a homeopathic remedy for yeast infections, and there seems to be some truth behind it. Most people add sugars to bread doughs as a boost in feeding the yeast (which I generally find wholly unnecessary), and in those cases the small amount should be wholly consumed by the yeast. However, if you were adding large quantities to sweeten the dough it's conceivable, at least, that it might adversely affect the yeast.
Stephanie B. February 17, 2019
The amount of sugar/honey used in something like pizza dough is usually so small that I doubt it would interfere with the rise. I would also argue that the same goes for salt. If you mixed in your dry salt and yeast into the flour before adding water, it's unlikely the salt would kill the yeast, unless you added way too much salt. My guess would be your yeast isn't as active as it should be.
Lori T. February 17, 2019
I use honey as a sweetener for dough all the time, and I also only use raw wildflower honey. Any sweetener can retard yeast development and dough rise, but that's generally more of a problem with sweet doughs than with pizza doughs. I think your trouble might lie with when the salt was added, and how. Salt does kill yeast, and if too much salt came into contact with the yeast before it had a chance to build numbers, that would cause a poor or very slow rise. If you want to add salt in at the start, be sure it is well whisked into the flour before you add in the yeast and liquids. Otherwise, add the salt after the dough rests post first knead for about 15 minutes, so the yeast has a chance to build numbers. Then the salt will help regulate the rise without risking killing off too much of it.
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