Is it safe to let yeast dough made with warm milk rise at room temperature?

Cinnamon-Bun Breadenlarge
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Fonda Shaia

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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"Is it safe to let a dough made with warm milk and yeast rise at room temperature for an hour and a half, or will the milk go bad and make us sick?"

My source for all the “why’s” behind good food safety practices, Donald Schaffner, Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University and podcaster at explains, “When we mix yeast with warm milk and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours, we are deliberately causing “spoilage” by a desirable organism—yeast.” He likens the process to making yogurt from milk by “spoiling” it with lactic acid.

So, to answer your question:Yes, it is safe.  No worries.

Recipe: Cinnamon-Bun Bread 


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