The Easy Trick To Test Yeast Before Baking Bread

Piping hot homemade sandwich bread fresh out of the oven is both delicious and satisfying. It's also not as difficult to make as it seems — at least according to Food Network. It simply requires a different mindset and an understanding of yeast. Yeast is, after all, a key ingredient when baking bread. But what exactly is it? Per the Online Pastry School, yeast is a single cell microorganism that plays two roles when creating the perfect loaf of bread.

The first part yeast plays is rather important. In bread making, yeast is a rising agent. Yeast causes your loaf to rise, making it soft and fluffy. Kitchn explains that this is a result of the yeast consuming sugars from the flour and breaking them down into carbon dioxide and alcohol. But that is not all that yeast does. The Online Pastry School says it also serves as a building block to strengthen the structure of your loaf of bread. 

Regardless if you are a new baker or just the occasional bread baker, you've probably wondered how you can tell if yeast tucked away in your cabinet or fridge still works. Luckily, there is a simple test for that.

Two minutes and a little water

According to MasterClass, most bread recipes call for active dry yeast or instant yeast. What's the difference between the two? Food Network explains that active dry yeast needs a bath in a little warm water before you can use it and is less concentrated than instant yeast, which is ready to use with no water required. While active dry yeast requires an extra step before you can use it, it also has a longer shelf life compared to the instant variety. That said, MasterClass recommends always testing your yeast before using it to ensure it is still viable.

To test either your instant or active dry yeast, MasterClass discloses it is as easy as taking a tablespoon of warm water and mixing it with your ingredient. Give it a couple of minutes to perk-up and then whisk it a bit more. If you see foam, you and your yeast are in business. However, if this has you pondering how long yeast is good for, wonder no more. The Spruce Eats shares both types of yeast that can be kept in the fridge for up to four months. And per Market Basket, if your yeast is unopened, you can keep it in the freezer for up to two years.