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How To Proof Yeast

Learn how to proof yeast in just 10 quick minutes with these simple tips and tricks. Proofing yeast is the key to perfectly light and fluffy baked goods with an amazing flavor and texture!

yeast in a jar

What is Yeast and How Do We Use it?

Yeast is a fungus that consists of cells that reproduce and are able to convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This fermentation process helps your baked goods rise, creating enough air in the dough so that it’s super light and fluffy.

Whether you’re making yeast bread, rolls, doughnuts or your favorite pizza dough, the yeast will contribute to an amazing flavor and texture that elevates your baked goods to the next level.

Many people are intimidated to bake with yeast, but trust me, there’s no reason to be! Once you learn the basics of proofing yeast and which type to use, it couldn’t be more easy. And as with anything, the more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll get!

yeast packets on counter

What is the Difference Between Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast?

  • Active dry yeast: As the name states, this is a dry yeast that is dormant until rehydrated (or “proofed”). It must be mixed with water and sugar in order to liven it up before using.
  • Instant yeast: This is a rapid-rise variety that does not need to be rehydrated in water. It has finer granules than active dry and can be mixed in directly with the dry ingredients when baking.

Which variety to use?

Although instant yeast is quicker because there is no proofing time, I personally prefer active dry yeast because the proofing process helps to ensure that your yeast is alive (it will get bubbly and foamy). Using instant yeast is great in a pinch, but there’s always a chance that it has gone bad when mixing it in with the other ingredients.

bag of active dry yeast

Proofing Yeast for Baking

Before baking with active dry yeast, you will want to proof (aka bloom) the yeast to make sure it’s still active and alive. It’s very simple to proof and only takes a few ingredients. Follow the steps below.

  • Combine the yeast and sugar in a small bowl.
  • Pour the warm water (not too hot) over the mixture.
  • Let sit until nice and bubbly. If it doesn’t foam, start from the beginning and try again. Either the water was too hot or the yeast is not fresh.

Temperature to Proof Yeast

The key is to make sure you have the right temperature of water (around 105°F) and are using fresh yeast. If your water is too hot or your yeast is expired, it will not foam up. I like to use a thermometer to get the temperature just right.

yeast proof in glass cup

What Does Proofed Yeast Look Like?

The yeast activity is indicated by how foamy and bubbly the mixture on top is. Once it looks similar to the above picture, that means it’s active and is ready to be mixed in with your other ingredients.

Storing Yeast

I like to store my yeast in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. It usually stays fresh for about 6 month to 1 year after opening when stored in the refrigerator.

You can also store active dry yeast in the freezer. When stored in the freezer, it can last 1-2 years depending on expiration date.

yeast in a glass jar

Baked Goods That Need to be Proofed

These baked goods should be proofed prior to baking to make sure they have the air in them that will make them light and fluffy.

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