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Testing Yeast for Baking

Learn how to test dry yeast and move one step closer to perfectly baked bread.

Testing Yeast for Baking
Testing Yeast for Baking
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There's nothing worse than going to the trouble of making fresh bread, only for the finished loaf to turn out flat. It's disappointing because of the work you put in, and it's also disappointing because fresh bread is one of the best things that can come out of your home oven.

So, let's cover a few tips for using yeast when you make bread. By getting this step right, you're so much closer to making delicious bread that you and your whole family will enjoy!

Tips for Working with Yeast

Assuming you are a home baker, you're probably using either instant yeast (rapid-rise) or active dry yeast. The good news is that you can use these interchangeably in your bread recipes.

These days, both types of yeast can be mixed right into most bread recipes. There's no need to dissolve active dry yeast before using it in your bread recipe, although some bakers do still recommend it. You might notice instructions for doing just that on the back of your yeast packet.

However, King Arthur Flour did a test with some homemade rolls and found no difference between dissolved and undissolved active dry yeast. So, once you know whether your yeast is fresh or not, you can mix either type right into your bread recipe.

How to Test if Yeast is Still Active

  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water (about 110 degrees F). Sprinkle with 1 packet of active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons of instant yeast.

  2. Let this sit for 10 minutes. It should start to become slightly bubbly and frothy.

  3. Let it sit for another 10 minutes, and it should become quite bubbly, light, and frothy. This means your yeast is ready to use!

  4. Use the yeast and water mixture directly in your bread recipe. Subtract 1/2 cup of water from the amount of liquid in the recipe to compensate for the water added in this testing process.

  5. If your yeast doesn't become bubbly? Unfortunately, you'll need to throw it out and buy fresh. The good news is that your bread isn't ruined by using weak or dead yeast!

Some of our Favorite Bread Recipes

Once you know that your yeast is ready to go, you can proceed to a yummy bread recipe! These are some of our RecipeLion favorites. Just remember to reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/2 cup after you have tested the yeast for freshness.

Focaccia Bread Recipe

Crisp and perfectly seasoned, this focaccia loaf is a must-make. Serve it drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, or use it to make a delicious flatbread. You and your family will absolutely love it.

Homemade Milk Rolls

If you're looking for a simple dinner roll recipe that will go with every meal, then you have to give these milk rolls a try. They're light, fluffy, and just delicious. Serve with a smear of butter (or herb butter!) and enjoy.

Best Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

If you're trying to eat more whole grains, then this is a great bread recipe for you. Making it at home means that you can control the quality of all the ingredients, and you can feel extra good about digging into the finished product.

Marmalade Rolls

These yummy rolls will make your brunch the envy of everyone! They'll make your house smell amazing, and everyone will fight over the last warm roll smeared with orange jam and a little butter.

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