Yeast testing is key to baking quality bread at home. Learn how to certify yeast so you can start your bread baking project.
Do you want to bake homemade bread? First and foremost: good for you! Baking bread at home is one of the most satisfying kitchen projects. The taste of baking, the good butter on the first slice – it doesn’t get any better than this! However, testing the yeast before you start mixing the batter is an important step you shouldn’t skip.
Why Test for Yeast?
Yeast is a microorganism that, when activated by liquid and feeding sugar, creates air bubbles that give bread its rise and texture. The yeast must be tested to ensure it is alive and ready to perform as intended in the recipe.
Active and readily available yeast makes great bread. Yeast past its prime can leave dense bread that you may not want to eat.
Why is yeast important in baking?
Combined with the liquid and sugar, the yeast leavens the dough. Yeast not only provides flavor, but also creates carbon dioxide in the dough. This stretches and expands it. Yeast thrives in warm temperatures, which is why warm liquids are added to the dough.
How do I know if my yeast is good for baking?
There is an easy way to check this, Test if your yeast is still active by adding 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (a salve) to 1/4 cup warm water. Then wait 10 minutes. If the mixture foams and develops a yeasty aroma, the yeast is still good.
How to Test for Yeast
The easiest way to test yeast (sometimes called fermenting yeast) is to add the yeast shell and a teaspoon of sugar to 1/2 cup warm water and stir. The liquid activates the yeast, and the sugar provides nutrients to the yeast. You can also use some honey or agave syrup if you don’t want to use sugar.
You know your yeast is good, and it’s ready to bake when it’s bubbly and bubbly after it’s been sitting for five to ten minutes.
Test Kitchen Tip: Make sure the water you use is no higher than 115ºF. Any more heat and you’ll kill the yeast and do you no good.
How to store yeast
Properly stored yeast will last longer – which means you don’t have to run to the store to buy a pack of yeast. Store yeast in a cool, dry, dark place. Use the best date if possible, although you can always test yeast slightly after that date.
If you buy yeast in bulk (like the jars you see at the supermarket), you can store them in the refrigerator or freezer to extend their shelf life.
Can expired yeast be used?
You can use expired yeast, as long as some of it is still valid. Yeast past its prime takes longer to grow and ferment the dough, so it should only be used with egg-free and high-sugar breads (these bread recipes require very strong evidence that weak yeast cannot provide canning) ).
Be sure to test your expired yeast. If it bubbling, feel free to use it (learn how to use yeast!). If it doesn’t create a lot of foam, it’s better to skip it and make a good quick bread instead.