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Asked by:

Photo by Mike Harvey, daPITA

Cooking Level: Intermediate

Living In: Battle Creek, Michigan, USA
Mike Harvey, daPITA is asking: (5 answers)
I am very good at killing yeast in any bread recipe. However, I am only proofing the yeast and it has failed to show any life. Last Sunday, my wife had a huge failure with her bread not rising. This has happened before, even with careful attention to instructions. This is the third bag this past year to have the failure. The only common connection (that I know of) to the failures is storage. We keep the yeast in the fridge (top shelf) so that it stays dry. What do you believe the problem to be?

Share your thoughts

Last updated: Mar. 29, 2013 1:49 pm
Posted: Mar. 27, 2013 11:53 am
Answered by: covergirl
Mar. 27, 2013 11:57 am
I keep mine on the door of the refrig. I check the exp. dates periodically. I buy the sealed packets not the jars. Never have a problem.
Mar. 27, 2013 12:00 pm
no help here either. I am still on my first jar but do keep it in the fridge and it proofs fine. I've not seen bags.
Baking Nana
Mar. 27, 2013 12:19 pm
Mike I keep my yeast in a jar on the pantry shelf. Never have had a problem. Take a tsp of yeast + a spoon of sugar and a spoon of flour and room temp water. Just mix it up and you should see it growing and getting foamy pretty quickly. I am thinking your yeast might just be cold and needs to wake up.
Answered by: Paula
Mar. 27, 2013 11:58 am
I had inconsistent experiences with bread making...until I bought King Arthur SAF instant yeast (in the red package). I keep it in the freezer and haven't had a fail since.
Mar. 27, 2013 12:00 pm
Here's what I bought and am glad I did - - -
Answered by: manella
Mar. 27, 2013 11:59 am
Hi Mike, I have always kept the yeast in the cupboard,been making bread for a lot of years and never had a problem.Hope you solve yours,nothing worse then wasting all that good stuff.
Answered by: sueb
Mar. 27, 2013 12:01 pm
I store my jar of yeast in the refrigerator. If you have a yeast problem, try using room temperature water to proof with, don't even try to get it warm. That might help! To proof, mix 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup flour and the yeast. If using whole grain flour, you don't need sugar when proofing, but add about 1/2 tsp of your called for sugar if only using all purpose or bread flour. When that mixture has doubled in size, add that with the rest of your ingredients, and your bread will continue to rise!
Mar. 27, 2013 12:12 pm
Couple of other things before you use the yeast try taking out just what you need and let it come up to room temperature. Check your water tempature it should be between 94 and 100 degrees. Also fluffy your flour with a fork before you measure it. I did all these things and the oatmeal molasses bread came up the best it ever did.
Answered by: Linda
Mar. 27, 2013 12:16 pm
How old is your yeast? Active yeast only had a shelve life of 1 week after it is opened. Instant Yeast has a 1 year shelve life after it is opened. Fresh Yeast has a 3 day shelve life. Active Yeast and fresh Yeast needs to be mixed with warm water, sugar & salt prior to adding the water. This is very important because the sugar and salt feed the yeast and starts the levening process. Instant can be added directly to the flour without mixing the water in it first. Make sure to add the sugar and salt as well to your flour or the yeast will not work. I hope this helps you. Linda Filomena's Italian Kitchen Costa Mesa, CA
Mar. 27, 2013 12:42 pm
I buy a big batch of yeast from Costco, and I Foodsaver the bulk of it for the freezer, leaving the rest in the fridge. I haven't had a problem with it. I always try to get the water or milk at 105 to get it to foam. Maybe your thermometer is wrong and you are killing it off?
Mike Harvey, daPITA
Mar. 27, 2013 12:59 pm
Well, I'm learning a lot about yeast. We are using active dry yeast (Red Star) and my wife bought it two weeks ago and it's expiration date is October, 2014. So far so good! We have been using tap water at 110 degrees but I have not considered it's accuracy. I have not added flour to the proofing. I'll try warming the yeast to room temp, then the water, proofing cup and mixing bowl as well as the flour to only warm to the touch. I'll tell my wife about storing the yeast on a shelf outside the fridge. ... THANK YOU ALL FOR THIS GREAT RESPONSE!! (Caps intended.)
Cindy Young-Johnson
Mar. 27, 2013 1:21 pm
As others have mentioned yeast does expire. I do use jar yeast and try to use it up in about four months or I toss it. It begins to go down hill after that. The other two things that might kill yeast are liquids that are too hot and salt or spices. The temp best for yeast is 80 degrees. Too much salt causes the yeast to stop raising.
Cindy Young-Johnson
Mar. 27, 2013 1:23 pm
Oh, and I keep my yeast in the refrigerator.
PAMELA D. aPROpos of nothing
Mar. 27, 2013 1:40 pm
I've been using the same 2 lb bag of yeast for at least 2 years. I keep a small jar in fridge door and the rest in regular pkging in a ziplock in deep freeze. It still works perfectly. I open the hot and cold tap and use that water, never take the temp. In winter I'll pre-warm the KA bowlwith the same water but that is all. I put full amt of water in bowl add sugar and yeast, stir. Let sit till it gets foamy, 10 mins. Don't add salt until you have most of the flour in as salt added directly to yeast and water will the action of the yeastie beasties.
PAMELA D. aPROpos of nothing
Mar. 27, 2013 1:42 pm
baking term got bleeped. Salt will "hinder" the yeast and enough will kill it, thou not generally enough salt in any bread recipe to totally render the yeast useless..
Mike Harvey, daPITA
Mar. 27, 2013 1:54 pm
Thank you, CinderAngelkc! I believe my pst problems mat be with too high temperature of the water.
Mike Harvey, daPITA
Mar. 27, 2013 1:58 pm
Hi, Pamela! Jars and zip locs seem to be the favored storage. Maybe I can get my wife to try something different. And, Pamela, be careful about those bleeping bleeping words! ;)
Mike Harvey, daPITA
Mar. 27, 2013 3:13 pm
I applied a lot of what I learned here and ... WOW!!! That pizza crust was alive and wanting to grow even more! It's in the oven, now but I bet it will be amazing when it comes out! Thank you everybody!
Mar. 27, 2013 4:26 pm
Yay! I love what all these people can teach us!
Baking Nana
Mar. 27, 2013 5:31 pm
Yippee! I love success stories!
Mar. 27, 2013 6:19 pm
Water too hot would be my first guess. Yeast in the grocery store is stored at room temp, so even once opened (the jar type) will last a relatively long time in the refrig. Only fresh/cake yeast goes bad in 1 week, but most stores no longer even sell that due to the short shelf-life. Even cool water will make yeast proof when added with a bit of sugar. After 10-15 mintues it foam and be bubbly. If you mix with cool water and it still doesn't foam, toss and buy fresh yeast.
Mar. 28, 2013 5:43 am
i agree - water is too hot- i miss being able to find the yeast "cakes"- they always taste more "yeasty" to me
Mike Harvey, daPITA
Mar. 28, 2013 7:26 pm
Goodfood and nanny129 STAR!, too hot was a culprit, for sure! There were other much smaller issues, too. Thanks for your input!
Mar. 29, 2013 1:49 pm
:) glad to help. There are only a few basic things to make yeast breads successful. If you proof yeast with water and nothing happnes, there can only be 2 issues and water too hot seems the most likely from your description.
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