How To Know When Yeast Is Ready

How to Test Yeast to see if it's still Good Jessica in the Kitchen


Baking with yeast can be intimidating, especially for beginners. One of the most important things to know when working with yeast is when it’s ready to use. In this article, we’ll discuss how to tell when yeast is ready and share some tips for successful baking.

What is Yeast?

Yeast is a living organism that is used to leaven bread and other baked goods. It feeds on sugar and releases carbon dioxide, which causes the dough to rise. There are two main types of yeast: active dry yeast and instant yeast. Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before use, while instant yeast can be added directly to the dough.

How to Activate Yeast

Before using yeast in a recipe, it needs to be activated. This involves mixing the yeast with warm water and a small amount of sugar. The water should be between 105°F and 115°F to activate the yeast. If the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast. If it’s too cold, the yeast will not activate.

Signs that Yeast is Active

Once the yeast is activated, it will start to bubble and foam. This is a sign that the yeast is alive and working. You may also notice a yeasty smell. If the yeast does not bubble and foam, it may be dead or inactive. In this case, you’ll need to start over with fresh yeast.

Testing Yeast

If you’re unsure whether your yeast is active, you can do a simple test. Mix a teaspoon of yeast with a teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of warm water and stir. After a few minutes, the mixture should be foamy. If it’s not, your yeast may be inactive.

Using Yeast in Recipes

Once your yeast is activated and ready to use, you can add it to your recipe. Be sure to follow the recipe carefully, as the amount of yeast needed can vary depending on the type of recipe. Too much yeast can cause the dough to rise too quickly and collapse, while too little yeast can result in a dense, heavy loaf.

Proofing Dough

After the yeast has been added to the dough, it needs time to proof. This involves letting the dough rest and rise before baking. The amount of time needed for proofing can vary depending on the recipe and the temperature of your kitchen.

Signs that Dough is Ready

When the dough is ready to bake, it should have doubled in size and be puffy and soft to the touch. You may also notice small bubbles on the surface of the dough. If the dough hasn’t risen enough, it may be underproofed. If it has risen too much, it may be overproofed.

Storing Yeast

To ensure that your yeast stays fresh and active, it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Yeast can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 months and in the freezer for up to 6 months.


Knowing when yeast is ready is essential for successful baking. By following these tips, you’ll be able to activate your yeast, proof your dough, and bake delicious bread and other baked goods. Remember to always follow the recipe carefully and be patient with the proofing process. Happy baking!