Baking a loaf of bread, a batch of cinnamon rolls, or prepping pizza dough? While the methods and ingredients for these recipes vary, there’s one thing they all have in common — yeast. But it’s important to recognize that all yeasts are not created equal, and for many, active dry yeast reigns supreme.
“Active dry yeast is great to use in breads that can be made quickly in one day and for lean breads such as baguettes and rolls,” says Institute of Culinary Education pastry instructor Natsume Aoi. “Active dry yeast is convenient because it has a longer shelf life and is easier to store.”
Ready to learn the ins and outs of active dry yeast to help perfect your next bake? Below, you’ll find all the details you need, including steps for proofing and proper storage for prolonged freshness.
What is active dry yeast?
Active dry yeast is a fine, granulated substance found in packets or jars in the baking aisle at your grocery store. Because yeast is a living organism, active cells are dehydrated during production to halt the fermentation process and render the yeast dormant.
Proofing your active dry yeast, or reintroducing it to liquid, such as milk or water in a recipe, wakes it up to continue its job — converting sugar into carbon dioxide so your dough can rise.
Active dry yeast vs. instant yeast vs. fresh yeast
While active dry yeast is a go-to for most bakers, instant yeast is another popular option. According to Aoi, the two are very similar.
Instant yeast is dried and processed into finer granules, and it acts just as the name suggests. “Instant yeast does not need to be activated before it’s added to your recipe,” says Aoi. “Just add it straight in with the other ingredients.” Instant yeast will also make your dough rise faster due to its earlier integration into a recipe.
Like instant yeast, fresh yeast is already ready to go into a recipe as well. Sold in compressed cakes or blocks, fresh yeast has a high moisture content because it is made up of living cells. However, it is more perishable than instant or active dry because it is not preserved. If you buy fresh yeast, use it within a few weeks.
Active dry yeast, however, requires proofing to wake it up from its dormant, packaged state. It’s an extra step, but it lenghthens the shelf life of your yeast, so you’re less likely to be faced with a dough that won’t rise.
How to choose the best yeast
Choosing whether you should use active dry yeast, instant yeast, or fresh yeast all depends on your desired outcome and your comfort level. Because fresh yeast is made up of cells that were never dehydrated, it will result in a bigger, faster rise and often a richer flavor. Often, professional bakers choose fresh yeast for flavorful, robust breads.
Instant yeast is ideal for bread machine breads or quick rolls because of its express rise time. Active dry yeast is typically considered the most versatile of yeast options and can be used for breads, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, and more.
How to proof active dry yeast
Throwing a packet of active dry yeast into a dough without proofing it won’t get you very far. Proofing also tests to confirm the yeast is still fresh, alive and well, and ready to do its job.
- In a small bowl, add the amount of liquid your recipe calls for.
- Add in one teaspoon of sugar and stir. Add more if your recipe calls for it.
- Sprinkle the yeast over top of the liquid and allow the mixture to sit for five to ten minutes.
The yeast will wake up and start to feed on its fuel, the provided sugar. Carbon dioxide will be released as the yeast consumes the sugar, and the mixture will begin to foam.
“If there are no bubbles and the yeast is suspended at the surface of the water, then the yeast is no longer viable,” notes Aoi. It may have died from improper storage or temperature has affected it. At this point, it’s best to toss it and buy some new active dry yeast.
How to substitute yeast types
If you’re out of active dry yeast, you can utilize other yeast options in its place and vice versa. However, it’s not a one-to-one swap.
Quick tip: One packet of active dry yeast contains 2 ¼ teaspoons or ¼ ounce.
How to store active dry yeast
Yeast is very particular when it comes to its environment, but taking measures to store packets and jars properly will keep it fresh. “Store active dry yeast in a cupboard with the door shut to keep out moisture,” suggests Aoi. Yeast is best kept in a cool, dry cupboard or pantry in a spot that’s free of light.
If you’ve opened the jar, it’s also important to avoid any changes in air, temperature, and moisture. In this case, storing the jar in the fridge or freezer will keep it fresher for longer.
Active dry yeast is sold in packets and jars and can be used in a variety of bakes, from pastries and breads to pizza dough. Every type of yeast, including instant and fresh yeast, is different but can be substituted when needed. Just remember that active dry yeast will always need to be proofed before adding it to your dough. Once you’re done baking, storing yeast in a cool, dry place will help keep it fresh and ready for your next bake.
It’s a real disappointment when a bread recipe fails to rise. You’ve wasted both your time and ingredients and may need to find another solution if you really need a loaf of bread. Fortunately, you can avoid this mishap by proofing your yeast before you use it.
If you're a frequent baker, and your yeast isn't approaching its expiration date, you can probably get by without proofing your yeast. However, if you haven't used your yeast in a while, it's definitely worth delaying the start of your recipe by 10 minutes to make sure your yeast is still going to do its job.
What Is Proofing?
When it comes to yeast, proofing means testing your yeast to see that it’s still alive and able to start the fermentation process; the yeast needs to create the bubbles of gas that cause bread and other baked goods to rise. Yeast is a living organism, and if it is near its expiration date, or it hasn’t been kept in ideal conditions, there may not be enough living yeast cells to create the gas needed to make your bread rise.
Do All Yeasts Need Proofing?
Not every type of yeast needs to be proofed. The two kinds of yeast you may want to test are active dry yeast and fresh active yeast (also called compressed yeast or cake yeast). You shouldn’t proof rapid-rise yeast, instant yeast, or bread machine yeast. Those will lose their fast-rising ability if you dissolve them in liquid.
What Do You Need to Proof?
It is very simple to proof yeast, and the process only requires a few ingredients. You will need a packet of yeast plus 1/4 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. A bowl or 1-cup liquid measuring cup can be used to mix them together. The temperature of the warm water is crucial—it should feel lukewarm. If you want to measure its temperature, make sure it is between 100 to 110 F (40 C). If the water is too hot, it’ll kill your yeast.
What Do You Do to Proof?
Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a bowl or 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Let it sit for 10 minutes. During this time, if the yeast is alive, it will start eating the sugar and fermenting into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
After 10 minutes, you should see the yeast foaming up in the measuring cup to the half-cup line (doubling its height). If you used a bowl, you should see plenty of foam. Now you can add the yeast mixture to the rest of the ingredients, and continue with your recipe. It is important to check the amount of water and sugar called for in the recipe you are making before simply adding in the yeast mixture. Since you will be using 1/4 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of sugar to proof 1 packet of dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons), you will need to adjust the amount of water and sugar in the recipe accordingly. If your recipe doesn't call for sugar, add a small amount (1/8 teaspoon will do it) to the proofing mixture to give the yeast something to feed on.
If the mixture isn't bubbly, the yeast is no longer good. Dump out your mix, and start with fresh yeast. Unfortunately, there's no way to revive old yeast.
When you reach this point, use a microwave or stove top to heat 1 cup water (per gallon of wine) in a saucepan or microwave-safe cooking dish. Measure the temperature carefully with a kitchen thermometer. If the water is too cool, the yeast will not ferment properly; if it’s too hot, the yeast will die.
How long does it take for yeast to activate in wine?
First, it’s important to understand that it can take a wine yeast up to 36 hours to start showing signs of fermentation. On average, it takes a yeast about 8 hours, so if it hasn’t been this long, you may need to wait.
How do you activate yeast for fermentation?
Put 1 cup of warm (95-105F, 35-40C) boiled water into a sanitized jar and stir in the yeast. Cover with Saran Wrap and wait 15 minutes. 2. “Proof” the yeast by adding one teaspoon of extract or sugar that has been boiled in a small amount of water.
How much yeast do I add to wine?
Typical usage rate for yeast is 1 gm / gallon of juice, but being a little short or a little long is not a problem, as yeast reproduces to reach a number at which fermentation takes place. Being slightly long on usage amount simply gets the fermentation count up that much faster.
Can you make wine with active dry yeast?
Active baker’s yeast from grocery stores works ok, but the real winemaking yeast is formulated better for wine, doesn’t peter out as fast, and will add a few days to my “one week” method.
Can you add too much yeast to wine?
Your wine may end up tasting too much like yeast. Otherwise it will make very little difference. The yeast will die if the alcohol content get too high. And the yeast will become dormant if the sugar in the wine runs out.
Do you Stir wine while it is fermenting?
It is important to stir the ‘must’ during the primary fermentation. The yeast requires a good supply of oxygen during this ‘aerobic’ fermentation, meaning with air. It also helps keep the fruit in solution if you are fermenting on the fruit, grapes, or whatever kind of fruit. You don’t want a solid cap forming on top.
What happens if I add too much yeast?
Too much yeast could cause the dough to go flat by releasing gas before the flour is ready to expand. If you let the dough rise too long, it will start having a yeast or beer smell and taste and ultimately deflate or rise poorly in the oven and have a light crust.
Can you drink wine that is still fermenting?
Member. Yes, you can taste your wine while it is still fermenting and it is good to do. The reason it is good to taste while it is still fermenting is so you know what it taste like in every stage of fermentation.
What happens if you dont activate yeast?
The yeast won’t do you any harm. The yeast will eventually rehydrate from the liquid in the recipe, but it won’t be as active at the start of the rise as it should be. Your bread will rise more slowly than it should.
Do you need to activate active dry yeast?
Yes,active dry yeast need to be reactivated. Instant dry yeast don’t need it. Active dry yeast must be reactivated by proofing in warm water, or the bread won’t rise adequately. Once you‘ve “proved” the yeast is still alive, go ahead and add it to your recipe – reducing the water in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
What happens if yeast is not activated?
The two kinds of yeast you may want to test are active dry yeast and fresh active yeast (also called compressed yeast or cake yeast). You shouldn’t proof rapid-rise yeast, instant yeast, or bread machine yeast. Those will lose their fast-rising ability if you dissolve them in liquid.
How much yeast do I use for 6 gallons of wine?
When adding a packet of yeast to 5 or 6 gallons of wine, the yeast will typically multiply to around 100 to 150 times what you start with.
How much sugar do I add to wine?
You will need to add one to three pounds of sugar per gallon of wine desired. This will determine the alcohol strength of your wine. More is not always better. Using a hydrometer to measure sugar in your wine must is helpful and is recommended.
What is the best yeast for making wine?
The most common yeast associated with winemaking is Saccharomyces cerevisiae which has been favored due to its predictable and vigorous fermentation capabilities, tolerance of relatively high levels of alcohol and sulfur dioxide as well as its ability to thrive in normal wine pH between 2.8 and 4.
If you want to bake with confidence, learning how to activate yeast is the first step. For some reason, this terrifies about 99% of the people I know. Not just the activating, but the rising, kneading and baking that usually comes with it. But baking soft cinnamon rolls or a loaf of homemade bread won’t happen without it. This the part you don’t want to miss–let me show you how easy it is!
Maybe you’ve heard or lived the horror stories of trying to bake with yeast. You didn’t make bread. You made hockey pucks.
You didn’t make cinnamon rolls, you made petrified stone for your flower bed. Flat, hard, dry stuff that just didn’t do what you thought it would. What went wrong? It was something with your yeast which works as the leavening agent (the thing that makes bread rise).
There are only two things you can do to yeast: 1) not wake it up or 2) kill it. Both of which will make your bread flatter than a flitter. Because we all have absolutely no idea what a flitter is, but it sounds good.
Where do I get yeast?
You’ll find yeast in the baking aisle near the flour. It’s sold in a jar (way too much for most people to use) or in a three pack strip. Simply cut one or two packets from the strip to use as your recipe states. Each packet is about 2 1/4 teaspoons of the jarred kind.
Is there more than one kind of yeast?
Yep. You’ll probably see “fast acting” (sometimes called Rapid Rise) and regular. I just use regular. You aren’t going to save any time with the rapid rise kind really. There’s also fresh yeast, but it’s harder to find and not worth talking about right now.
Before you activate yeast
Before you properly activate your yeast with my method, do me a favor and check the expiration date on the package. Flip over the strip and make sure it’s still in date. Even if it expires that month, you should be fine. Just don’t use it if it’s out dated. It’s probably useless and there’s no point in risking in.
How to activate yeast step 1: Warm water
This is the part that usually gets people, but it’s easy. Yeast needs warm water to activate. How warm? Experts say about 110 degrees but who’s checking that? Here’s how I do it: run some tap water until it’s warm. Not hot. Just warm. Now bump the faucet till you can say “Well, that’s definitely hotter than warm. Not so hot I want to wash dishes in it or anything, but hot enough.”
That’s the temperature you want. Fill your cup with the amount of water called for in the recipe (usually a cup) and sprinkle your packet of yeast over the top of the water. You don’t even need to stir it in. That’s what I did in this picture:
How to activate yeast step 2: Add a little sugar
Once you get the yeast on the water, add about a teaspoon of granulated sugar. Yeast is fed by sugar and this will help it multiply and activate with a little snack in its belly. Basically it speeds up the process.
Drop in the sugar and give it a stir with a spoon. After a couple of minutes it will start to look cloudy and have a little bit of foam on top. Be patient. The time is not yet! It looks like this:
How to activate yeast step 3: Give it time
Depending on how warm your house is and how warm your water is, this step may take longer for some people. TV people say “five minutes” until your yeast starts to foam, but in my house where it’s cool right now, this step can take up to 15 minutes.
Sometimes I just stand there and watch my yeast like a nut case waiting to see something bubble to the top (and it will). When I see that, I just go ahead and throw it in my dough. But if you want to be totally sure, wait for this kind of foam or activity in the cup:
Once you see the foam, you’re ready to use your yeast in any recipe it calls for. If you DON’T see foam and you’ve been patient (given it 15 minutes or so), try again with another packet. If you made your water hot, try reducing that heat a bit and give it another try.
Just don’t go on and put it in your recipe like that. Lord knows nobody wants to waste hours baking something that is dead on arrival.
Still have questions? Watch me here:
Are you ready to bake? I knew it. 🙂
Still have questions about how to activate yeast or anything on this topic? Comment below and let me know–I’m glad to help!
Active Dry and Compressed Yeast both have many characteristics to try out in your home bakery.
Every now and then, the home baker will run into a recipe that requires compressed or cake yeast. Most of us are used to using what is known as active dry yeast, which usually comes in packets or jars in an almost granular-looking form. But compressed yeast, which most often comes in two ounce to one pound cakes, finds its way into lots of home applications too. It’s helpful to know how to use both, as well as how to substitute one for the other. Here’s a little information on each to help you get started.
Active Dry Yeast is one of the most common forms of yeast in home baking and in some countries (including the US) it’s far easier to find in stores than any other form. Part of its preference in the home bakery comes from its shelf life. Unlike compressed yeast, which must be used within a couple of weeks at most, active dry can keep for a very long time. While it keeps best under refrigeration, you can actually store dry active yeast at room temperature for several months before it loses potency. It usually comes in ¼ ounce packets or jars of varying amounts. As far as taste goes, it imparts a bit of a sharper and more fermented flavor to your baked products than does compressed yeast. It does require a bit of preparation to activate properly. The best method for this is to sprinkle it on top of water heated to 105-115 degrees. Once the water shows some foam forming (usually about 5-10 minutes), the yeast is active for use.
Compressed yeast, despite the downfall of its faster perishing time, is far superior to dry active yeast in the speed at which it becomes active and the length of time it stays active. It won’t keep nearly as long as dry active yeast in storage, but can be frozen for several months (it’s best to give it a full 24 hours of defrosting before use). While it does not need the same activation technique as the dry active does, some prefer to soften it in lukewarm water (70-80 degrees) before use. Its flavor tends to be a little milder than dry active yeast and tends to impart sweeter tastes (ideal for softer breads such as an Italian or French bread).
You can play around with using each kind as a substitute for the other when you want to try different characteristics of flavor and activity. The conversion rate for doing so is as follows:
1/4 oz, or 2 1/4 tsp, or 7 grams of Dry Active Yeast is equal to 2/3 oz, or 19 grams of Fresh Compressed Yeast.
I am not only passionate about preparing tasty, deliciously rich in nutrients and healthy food items but also love to share my experiences.
As of now, I have created a variety of dishes using a wide range of recipes. This makes me superior in realizing how to store dry active yeast to enrich the flavor of different food items.
When I Visited My Friend’s House
Last week, my family had an invitation to one of my friend’s house. We visited there, started with bread sandwiches (homemade) and ended with a great appetizing dinner.
Surprisingly, the fact was that my husband didn’t love those homemade sandwiches what I read by looking at his face.
In the meanwhile, I asked my friend how she did prepare them and what ingredients were present in bread sandwiches.
During the conversation, it was a bit challenging for me to make her realize the importance of storing yeast and the preparation of dough.
Somehow I manage to dominate the situation in a friendly manner and explain her everything.
How To Store Dry Active Yeast?
Let’s start from the beginning-
For making sandwich bread using a bread maker, it is important to pick all necessary ingredients for the recipe.
Apart from flour, sugar, oil and rest of ingredients, yeast plays an essential role that causes the dough to rise. But there are a few things that make you disappointed.
You might realize in the halfway through your dough preparation that your stored yeast is ruined or you have used expired yeast.
Oh No! Not Again!
I know how it feels.
Certainly, you have to opt for better-storing methods.
Once you have opened the yeast package, you should keep it in an air-tight best yeast container. If it is exposed to air or moisture or heat, then it is likely to perish soon.
- Fold the package tightly
- Seal with tape or clip
It is advised to remove extra air from the package. If you have a large pack of dry active yeast, you can use multiple zipper bags to store them.
Should Yeast Be Refrigerated?
This is often asked by people and my friend too asked the same question.
Of Course! Yeast can be refrigerated. Surprisingly, freezing yeast extends the lifespan to a great extent.
She asked me, “How long does active dry yeast last?”
Well, dry active yeast has a good shelf life. It also depends on the environmental conditions of how it is stored.
The advantage of refrigerating yeast is that you can use the same package for the next 4 months after it is opened (remember to check the expiry date).
Freezing yeast can be used for up to 6 months after the package is opened (don’t use if it is expired at room temperature).
It is advised to keep the amount of yeast required for the preparation of staple foods at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before mixing it with water.
And, store the rest of the yeast in a similar way explained above.
How To Keep Yeast Alive?
Now she takes more interest in yeast storage and comes with this next question.
Keep in mind that unpacked packages of yeast perish them within quick time.
Refrigeration and freezing are the only two best methods of keeping the dry active yeast alive and you don’t require frequent purchasing from the shops.
And, the rest I have already mentioned in the above section.
Does Active Dry Yeast Go Bad?
Yes! It is possible.
Particularly, I have tested expired yeast (by looking at the expiry date). What I have experienced is that there is a requirement for more amount of yeast for the dough to rise.
After bread preparation, there is not much difference in its taste. But I realize that expiration date is conservative and it definitely affects the density of bread.
I continued the testing for a month or two and threw the rest of the yeast. This is because the amount of yeast was getting increased every time.
It is advised to store yeast in a better environment and consider expiry date as an important factor for having the best taste of freshly baked sandwich bread.
Can I Test Yeast To See If It Is Good To Use?
Sure! It is possible to test and verify whether your stored yeast is still active or not.
For this, you have to follow the step-by-step procedure-
- Take ½ cup warm water
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in it
- Sprinkle active dry yeast
- Stir it properly
Now, keep it for 10 minutes in an idle state.
- If it is activated, you can notice it begins to rise after 3 – 4 minutes
- It then produces a foamy layer on the surface after 10 minutes
Luckily, you can use this for the preparation of dough and make freshly baked, rich in taste, delicious bread at the comfort of your kitchen.
The instant and active dry yeast you use for baking is actually a living microorganism (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). This organism is very sensitive and can die if kept in the wrong storage conditions.
Dead yeast won’t work so it’s important that you store yeast in a way which keeps it alive.
Shelf Life of Yeast
Fresh yeast has a very short shelf life of just about 3 weeks in the fridge. By contrast, active dry yeast and instant yeast are freeze-dried. Freeze-drying puts the yeast in a sort of hibernation so it lasts much longer. Unopened, packets of instant and active dry yeast should last 2 years.
Red Star yeast, for example, puts the “Best If Used By Date” for their dry yeast at two years from the date the yeast was packaged. Once opening dry yeast, they recommend using the yeast within 4 months if it was kept in the fridge or 6 months if it was kept in the freezer.
Can You Use Expired Yeast?
Yeast generally doesn’t go bad in the sense that it becomes dangerous to eat. Rather, when yeast goes bad, it means that the microorganisms have died and will no longer help dough rise.
It varies depending on the storage conditions and strain of the yeast, but you can expect yeast to lose 10-25% of its viability per year at 68 degrees F (20C). At higher temperatures, the yeast will die even faster.
However, there are plenty of accounts of expired yeast still working years after it expired. I even heard one story of dry yeast working fine 13 years after its best-by date.
Tips for Using Expired Yeast:
- Perform a yeast test before using: Dissolve 1tsp of sugar in ¼ cup of warm water (105-115F). Add one packet of yeast. Within 10 minutes, the mixture should foam up to twice its volume. If it doesn’t, the yeast has lost some of its potency.
- Feed the yeast some sugar first: Put the yeast in a bowl with some sugar and warm water. The yeast will activate, start to eat the sugars, and have a chance to multiply before you add the other dough ingredients.
- Use more yeast: Depending on how old the yeast is, you might need to use much more to get the same rising effect.
How to Store Dry Yeast Long-Term
The key to storing yeast is to keep it away from moisture, heat, and air. These are the elements which could “wake up” the yeast and cause it to start dying off.
Unopened packets of dry yeast can last approximately 5 years in the refrigerator. Once the yeast pack or jar has been opened, it should be good for approximately 2 years in the fridge.
The important thing to know about storing yeast in the refrigerator is that the air inside can be very moist. Don’t just put the open yeast packets directly in the fridge: they will start to absorb moisture and die off faster. Instead, put the open yeast packets in an air-tight container first.
Storing yeast in the freezer is even better than keeping it in the fridge. The low temperature keeps the yeast cells in “hibernation” mode so they live much longer. It’s not clear how long frozen yeast will last but it should be much longer than 5 years.
Dry yeast is usually packaged in a metallic-type material which keeps out moisture. Air is usually removed from the package with a process called nitrogen flushing. So, yeast packets are already mostly safe from air and moisture. However, the packaging doesn’t protect the yeast from high temperatures.
If you want your instant or active dry yeast packets to last more than 2 years without keeping it in the fridge or freezer, you’ll need to keep it as cool as possible. Don’t keep it near the stove (which tends to get much warmer than other areas of your home), heating vents, or other warm areas.
If you can’t keep your dry yeast in the fridge or freezer after opening the package, then you can keep it in a sealed container. These containers will help protect from the elements. For example, you can put the opened yeast in:
- Mason jars
- Buckets with gamma lids
- Air-tight plastic containers
- Sealed Mylar bags
Should I Use Oxygen Absorbers when Storing Dry Yeast?
Yeast will deteriorate faster in the presence of oxygen. Steps should be taken to keep air away from your opened yeast, such as keeping the opened yeast in small air-tight containers without a lot of headroom.
However, you do NOT want to store yeast with oxygen absorbers. The reason for this recommendation seems to be related to how yeast respires differently in the presence or absence of oxygen.
Best Yeast for Long Term Storage
If you want to store yeast long-term for emergency preparedness, it’s really important that you pay attention to the way the yeast is packaged.
I recommend getting yeast which is:
- In smaller packets: While this is ultimately more expensive than buying bulk packages of yeast, it is easier to store because you don’t have to worry about repackaging the yeast once you open it.
- Nitrogen-flushed packaging: Nitrogen flushing removes oxygen from the packaging. This is usually only done on smaller packets or jars of yeast. For example, Red Star’s 3-pack strips and 4oz jars are nitrogen-flushed but their 2lb bags of yeast are not. Fleishmann’s doesn’t give any info about whether their yeast is nitrogen-flushed or not.
- Sturdy packaging: Ideally you get the small packets of dry yeast which are packaged in metal-like materials which keep out moisture. If you must go with a vacuum-sealed package, make sure the material is thicker and has a strong seal.
Below are some recommendations for dry yeast in small packets which have been nitrogen-flushed.
(pack of 3) (4oz)
Alternatives to Yeast
Instead of worrying about long-term storage of yeast for emergencies, you can also look at yeast alternatives. Check out these posts for more info:
Just like any other living organism, yeast has a shelf-life and dies. Normally, this duration depends on its type and the prevailing environmental conditions at the point of storage. Without proper care, yeast can untimely die. All you will see is flatbread that doesn’t rise. However, it is painstaking to throw treasures like a baker’s yeast.
So, how to revive dead yeast? To be concise, yeast cannot be revived. Once it is dead, it cannot have a second life. But this doesn’t mean that the yeast is useless once its “Best If Used By” date is long gone. There are several ways that you can maximize on the yeast’s use.
*This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please take that into account.
Extra (nice to have):
- Kitchen scale
- Dough scraper and bowl scraper (yes, they are different)
- Cooling rack
- Baking stone (you don’t need a dutch oven if you use this)
👉Learn how to make bread and pizza with this awesome book.
But first, how do you know that your yeast is dead?
Just as aforementioned, yeast is just like any other living organism. It requires some basic things to grow. These include warmth, food, and moisture. By exposing the yeast to these three basic needs, you can know whether it is alive or not.
The main yeast’s food supplement is sugary products. Molasses or any other type of processed simple sugar can work best in this process. Warm water provides both the moisture and warmth required for this process.
Fill a glass with ¼ cup of warm water. Using a thermometer, maintain the temperature of the water at about 100oF. Remember, low temperature will not activate the yeast fully if alive and high temperature will automatically kill it.
Into the water, add 1 teaspoonful of the simple sugar and stir to dissolve. Then, add 2 teaspoonfuls of yeast and leave it to rest for some time in a warm place. In about five minutes, you should be having bubbly or foamy, beer smelling yeasty water! If you don’t see anything, look out for your shopping bag for new yeast.
Uses of dead yeast
Normally, you will be hit with a thought of tossing the dead yeast immediately in the garbage for collection. It frustrates! But, what if you have a whole bag of dead yeast? Will you still toss it?
Here are some of the effective ways you can opt for to maximize the use of your dead treasures:
1. Add the yeast into your septic tank
Sure enough, you have come across the benefits of adding at least 1 teaspoonful of instant yeast into “homestead gut” once in four months.
The yeast keeps bacteria in the septic lively. It also aids in the breaking down of the solid wastes into tiny particles. However, this happens where the yeast is alive. Then, why should you add the dead yeast instead?
In large amounts, the yeast granules take a varying number of months to die. And, since dry yeast takes good months to die, chances are that a portion of it is still alive during this critical moment.
Therefore, by adding the yeast into your septic system, you will be maximizing on the use of the few viable granules. So far it is the best way to toss the dead yeast down the drain.
2. Sprinkle into soups
Did you know that it is the same fungi (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae) that is behind both bakers and nutritional yeast? In baker’s yeast, the fungus is alive, while in the nutritional yeast, it is dead.
Dead baker’s yeast is fully packed with nutrients such as folic acids, zinc, protein, selenium, and B-vitamins. It has low-fat content and 100% gluten-free.
Additionally, it doesn’t contain any type of sugar. The best way to consume all these nutrients into your body system is through adding the dead yeast into your soup. It forms a creamy soup even without additives such as milk contents.
But look, before adding the yeast into the soup, make sure that it is 100% dead. Viable yeast cells can be detrimental to your health when ingested into the body system. Heat the yeast at a temperature of about 180-210oF to make sure that it is all dead.
3. Make it into salads
You can ground the yeast into powder. Then, add it as a savory seasoning to dishes such as pasta, vegetables, and salads.
4. Sprinkle on popcorns
The fact that the “hippie dust” doesn’t leaven anymore makes it usable for a variety of options. The most popular one is sprinkling on the popcorn.
Though the yeast will not make the popcorn tastier or bring the cheese-like flavor, it forms a nutritious snack for any time of the day.
5. Use the yeast in the dough
Without much expectation on rising, you can add the deactivated yeast on different types of dough for its various nutrients.
Additional, with the dead yeast, you will realize that the dough formed kneads smoothly and faster. It is flexible and does not tear easily even stretched into a windowpane. It is ideal for wafers, pizzas, and biscuits.
6. As an alternative to the dairies
Dead yeast has a cheesy taste. When you ground the grains and add warm water, salt, pepper, and drops of olive oil, you will form a creamy cheese-like liquid.
Some of the meals that can be replaced with this advanced version include; grated parmesan and melted cheese.
Cashew yeast cheese spread is another gem you can make out of the deactivated grains. You can use the yeast spread on scrambled tofu as an alternative to cream cheese.
Lastly, vegans can use this yeast spread in place of the egg products for their baked goods.
Since once the yeast is dead there is no turning back, it is better to take precautionary measures to avoid unnecessary wastage.
Know the type of yeast you are working with and its expiration date. Before moving away from the point of purchase, read the guidelines of the yeast’s storage. Instant yeast requires refrigeration.
Therefore, don’t purchase extra quantities that you will not store where there is no fridge. Otherwise, the best way to avoid incidences of dead yeast is by regulating your purchasing power relative to your monthly baking timetable.
This week I take a look at the proper method for hydrating dry yeast for beer brewing to maximize your viability and produce a healthy fermentation.
Dry Yeast for Home Brewing
While dry yeast does not offer quite the selection of liquid yeast, it does have some significant advantages as it is much easier to store, can be stored much longer, and is easier to prepare. I like to keep several packets in my fridge for the times when my schedule changes to let me brew, but I may not have several days in advance to prepare a yeast starter.
Though you don’t usually need a starter when working with dry yeast, proper hydration is important and there is a process I use every time to get the best results from my dry beer yeast.
Hydrating Dry Yeast
When hydrating dry yeast, I like to use GoFerm, which is a yeast nutrient from Scott Laboratories specifically designed to aid in the hydration of dry yeast. GoFerm has micronutrients that the yeast cells soak up that will aid in re-hydration and also the viability of the cells.
Scott Labs recommends adding GoFerm at the rate of 1.25 parts GoFerm per 1.0 part of yeast. This works out to 14.4 grams of GoFerm for a 11.5 g brewing yeast packet or 6.25 g of GoFerm for the smaller 5 g packets often used for wine. They recommend using 20x by weight of water to hydrate the GoFerm. If you do the math this is about 280 ml (9.5 oz) of water for the 11.5 g packet of yeast or 125 ml (4.2 oz) of water for the smaller 5 g yeast packets.
The process I use is as follow with all amounts scaled to fit a typical 11.5 g yeast packet. If you are using smaller packets or a multiple packets you may need to scale the numbers as outlined above.
- Add 280 ml (9.5 oz) of luke-warm water (for 11.5 g yeast packet) at 104 F (40C) to a sanitized bowl or beaker. Mix in the 14.5 g of GoFerm until it is well blended.
- Next add the dry yeast packet and mix well.
- Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, then add small amounts of wort to slowly bring the temperature down.
- I will repeat this process every 5-10 minutes or so – mixing in small amounts of wort to being the temperature of the mixture down. However you want to avoid changing the temperature by more than 10 degrees F within a single 5 minute period.
- During these breaks, I will aerate my wort thoroughly with an oxygen wand.
- Once the temperature is within 10 degrees F (5 C) of the temperature of the wort, you can pitch the yeast-GoFerm mixture and begin fermentation.
The above process will give you the best results when working with dry yeast. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.