Yeast is a living organism, so it is important to make sure that it is good before you bake with it. It is a single cell organism that is in the fungus family. It is related to mushrooms and molds that are used to make medicine and ripen cheese. If you do not store your yeast correctly, it can die. You need to keep it in the packaging it comes in and store it in a dry, cool location. Once you open it, it needs to be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
How to Test Yeast
It is important to test your yeast before you use it because you can’t tell just by looking at it. You can start with ½ cup of water warmed to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important because it needs to be warm enough to activate your yeast, but not much hotter because if it is too hot, it can kill the yeast. If you have a food thermometer, you can check the temperature.
Once you have your water, you can add 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast and one teaspoon of sugar. The sugar is an activator, while the hot water wakes the yeast up. You should combine the ingredients and stir them; then, leave it sitting for 10 minutes. You should see it begin to bubble.
After 10 minutes, you should be able to see the yeast double or triple in size. If it does, then your yeast is still alive and fresh, and you can go forward with your baking plans. If nothing happens, then you know that your yeast is dead, and you have no choice but to throw it out and get some fresh yeast.
Check the Date on the Bag
You can also check the date on the bag to find out if your yeast is alive. Dry yeast will usually have a date. You may still want to test it to make sure that nothing changed while it was being stored. If the yeast is past the expiration date and you have it stored in a pantry closet or in your refrigerator, you can still test it, but it is likely that it is no longer alive. Follow the steps to test it, but you will probably need to throw it away and get some new yeast.
Freeze Instant Yeast
If you have instant yeast and know that it is good, you can freeze it. It will last several years if you store it this way. As with the dried yeast, you might still want to test it to make sure that it is still good. If you begin baking without testing it, you may find out that it has gone bad the hard way. Storing your yeast in the freezer is always a good idea because it will help the yeast to live past its expiration date.
Yeast is a living organism that is important for many types of baked goods, and it is important that you make sure that it is still alive before you use it. If it has died, it will not do the job that you need it to do in making your baked goods rise.
No matter how you store the yeast, it is a good idea to test it before you use it. This is the only way to find out ahead of time whether it is still alive. You can make the concoction with sugar and hot water, but make sure that you can check the temperature or estimate accurately that it is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast, so you will need to start over again.
Once you check the yeast and make sure that it doubles or triples in size, you will be ready to move on to baking your food. Follow these steps to make sure that your yeast is still alive.