Yeast Basics

What is Yeast?
The yeast strain most commonly used in baking is a living organism – yes, living! Its main purpose is to leaven the dough, develop the gluten and contribute delicious yeast flavor. Yeast feeds on the starches in flour, producing carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide expands the gluten proteins in the flour and causes the dough to expand and rise.
Is it hard to bake with yeast?
Baking with yeast is easy, even if you`ve never done it before. Yeast is a living microorganism that simply needs a little warmth, some food and time to "do its thing," namely, provide great flavor and leavening to baked goods. With our easy tips and simple short videos, you`ll be eating delicious creations and have fun making them! See resources on left to learn more.
How do I activate/"proof" Active Dry Yeast?
Yeast is a living organism. Proofing "wakes up" the yeast from its dormant state and ensures it is still alive and active. It is only necessary to proof Active Dry Yeast.

Start by dissolving one whole packet of yeast in ¼ cup warm (100° –110° F) water.
(TIP: No thermometer? The water should feel lukewarm. Hot water will kill the yeast.) Stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar and wait 10 minutes. If the yeast is alive, the mixture should bubble or foam and double in size.

I`ve heard you can "kill" yeast, what does that mean?
Caution! Yeast is a living organism that thrives in a warm, but not too hot, temperature. Liquids that are too hot (over 140°F) will kill your yeast, which means your dough will not rise. Heat your liquids just until it feels warm to the touch. If using a thermometer, 100°–110°F is the ideal temperature for Active Dry Yeast and 120°-130°F is the ideal temperature for RapidRise® and Bread Machine Yeast.
Something came up! Can I save my dough for later?
Yes, no problem! Cover your dough loosely with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Your dough will be fine for up to 24 hours. When ready, remove from the refrigerator and continue letting it rise. It may take a bit longer for your dough to rise since it needs to return to room temperature first.
Why does my dough need to "rise"? What does that mean?
Rising is the step where the yeast works its magic. During this time, the yeast will eat the starches in the flour and release carbon dioxide, which will make the dough inflate like a balloon. This process is important for giving the bread its delicious flavor and texture. To let your dough rise, place it in a bowl or pan and cover with a clean, dry towel.
Where should I put my dough while it`s rising?
No need to worry about finding the perfect location for your dough to rise. The kitchen counter will work fine. However, if you want your dough to rise a bit faster, look for a warm place like on top of a pre-heating oven. If your dough doesn`t appear to have doubled in size in the specified rise time, it`s fine to let it sit up to 1 hour longer.

How do I know if my dough has "doubled in size"?
To determine if your dough passes the “doubled in size” stage, press the tips of two fingers lightly and quickly about 1/2 inch into the dough. If the impression you made stays, the dough is doubled.

Active Dry Yeast

RapidRise® Yeast

Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm (100˚–110˚F) water before using. Always use a thermometer to check temperature.

Add yeast to dry ingredients.

“Proofing” (checking if yeast is active) is not needed; it’s nearly 100% active thanks to modern production and packaging.*

Proofing not needed.

Add dissolved yeast to other ingredients according to recipe instructions.

Add liquids heated to 120˚F-130˚F and follow recipe instructions. Always use a thermometer to check temperature.

For most doughs:

  1. Knead; let rise until double
  2. Shape; let rise until double
  3. Bake

For most doughs:

  1. Knead; let rest 10 minutes
  2. Shape; let rise until double
  3. Bake

Don’t use in recipes calling for RapidRise® Yeast. (Yeast won’t dissolve properly, and water is too hot.)

May use in recipes calling for Active Dry Yeast. (However, rise may be slightly less.)

This yeast may be substituted for the Fresh Cake Yeast. The small cake yeast (.6 oz) is equal to 1 packet of dry yeast. The large cake yeast (2-oz) is equal to 3 packets of dry yeast.

RapidRise® Yeast is the same as Bread Machine Yeast and Instant Yeast. (Instant Yeast is the a 1 pound package of Fleischmann’s® Yeast sold at Sam’s Club.)

Comes in both a packet and a jar. Active Dry Yeast has a red bar at the bottom of the label.

Comes in both a packet and a jar. RapidRise® Yeast has a blue bar at the bottom of the label.

*Proofing has traditionally been done by dissolving a packet of yeast in ¼ cup warm (100˚–110˚F) water, stirring in 1 teaspoon sugar and waiting 10 minutes. The mixture should foam and double in volume.