Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dead or Alive - Proofing Yeast

A couple posts ago I was in phase two of making my own yeast.  It looked right, smelled right, but when I went to bake bread sticks, it just didn't raise right.  Now this being a homemade yeast, I didn't really know how much yeast to use or if it was even still alive.  Because yeast is a living organism, it can and does die if not stored or handled properly.  Dead yeast will not produce the carbon dioxide gas that acts as a leavening agent.  To test if yeast is still alive you need to proof it.  Proofing rapid rise or instant yeast is not recommended.

 You will need:

1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. sugar or other natural sweetener.  Don't use artificial sweeteners, yeast doesn't like it and will turn it's nose up at them (warm temperature, moisture, food, it's a picky organism).

1)  Heat water to a temperature about 100 degrees.  I start with cold water because there are less impurities and heat it up in my tea kettle.

2)   Add sugar to water and mix well.

3)  Once sugar is completely dissolved, add yeast.  I added a 1/3 cup of my homemade yeast.  Please ignore the clumps, it needs to be put through a grinder, but why bother if its dead.

4)  Stir it all up and let it set for 5-10 minutes.  What should happen is the yeast, when fed the sugar, will create alcohol and carbon dioxide.

5)  Times up!  It should have white foam on the surface of the water.  If not, make more yeast or try another packet.  Luckily my yeast is alive and well, I am guessing that my failed attempt a bread sticks had something to do with the amount of yeast I used.   Next time I will increase the amount of homemade yeast I use.

Don't throw this mix out, you can continue to add your flour and other ingredients as your recipe calls for.  Happy Baking!


  1. Very interesting! I didn't know it was possible to make your own yeast.

  2. Very informative. I would love to know how you did your homemade yeast.

  3. Hmmm... yes, I'm intrigued over the homemade yeast as well! I have a sourdough starter, which is kind of "homemade" yeast, but yours looks much different than that. Thanks for sharing this helpful post at the Homestead Barn Hop!

  4. is this similar to cake or bakers yeast? if so you usually take about 42g (1 cake yeast) per 500g flour. Depening on the recipe this could be halved. how much did you actually use?

  5. Wow! That is awesome! I have often wondered what people did way back when...but never looked into it! I'm impressed!

    Looking forward to following your blog!

  6. YEAST.


    Bum bum dum.....


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