How to Proof Yeast Before You Start to Bake

This quick, easy step could save you loads of time and wasted bread.

Few things are as wonderful as homemade bread. Crusty loaves elevate the humble sandwich, while fluffy dinner rolls prove irresistible on the supper table. Don't even get us started on the magic of a homemade cinnamon roll dripping in icing. The key to the success of all these recipes (and more)? Yeast. Without good yeast, your breads won't rise, yielding instead a dense, decidedly less tasty result.

You can easily avoid this kitchen mishap by testing to see if your yeast is alive through a process called proofing. It's easy, quick, and will save you time in the event that the yeast is no longer good. And, the good news is that you don't have to be an expert bread baker to do it.

Follow these simple steps on how to proof yeast, and you'll be well on your way to hot, fresh bread in no time.

active dry yeast
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How to Proof Yeast

We like to use active dry yeast because it needs to be proofed. Proofing your yeast is the best way to find out if it's dead or alive.

  1. Always check the expiration date on the package.
  2. Add the yeast to warm water. Water should be between 100 and 110 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, use your wrist to test the water temperature. If it feels very warm on your wrist, it's ready.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top of the water and stir. The sugar helps activate and feed the yeast.
  4. After a few minutes, your yeast should be bubbly. If your water was too hot or your yeast was too old, your yeast mixture will look cloudy and flat. If this is the case, start over again to confirm your outcome.
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