The Scotty's Everyday Team
Avoid These Mistakes When Baking With Yeast
When it comes to making any bread, working with yeast can be a little tricky. And while Scotty’s Everyday is incredibly easy to make, if your yeast doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, your dough may have difficulty rising. We’ve put together this helpful guide to troubleshooting your yeast so you won’t have any issues when it comes time to bake your Keto Bread Mix.
First off, a little science behind what yeast is and why it helps baked goods rise!
What is yeast?
It’s easy to think of yeast as just another dry ingredient like flour or baking soda. But don’t forget that yeast is a living organism—a single-celled fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to be exact. It requires food, water, and warmth in order to thrive. The type of yeast often used in baking recipes is active dry yeast, which remains dormant until you wake it up with warm water of between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. When you combine yeast to your baking ingredients, it produces carbon dioxide as a result. And it’s this carbon dioxide gas that causes your dough to rise.
Reasons your dough may not be rising
Your yeast is past its expiration date
Sadly, dead yeast won’t work. Check the date of expiry on the package. Unopened active dry yeast can have a shelf life of about two years, stored in the pantry. But once you open it and introduce air, you’ll want to be sure you’re keeping that stored correctly as well (below!).
Your yeast hasn’t been stored properly
Once you’ve opened your yeast, you’ve exposed it to oxygen, so it needs to be refrigerated. Already-opened yeast can last in the fridge for about three to four months (or you can even freeze your yeast to keep it good for years!). If you have doubts about whether or not your yeast is still active, try testing your yeast out by doing a simple proofing test:
Fill a bowl with ¼ cup warm (95 F - 110 F) water. Mix in a pinch of sugar and one packet (or 2 ¼ teaspoons) of your yeast.
Wait about 10 minutes and check the mixture. It should be foamy with bubbles and give off a yeasty aroma. If this step doesn’t work, you may need to get some new yeast.
Your water was too hot or too cold
Too hot and you could kill the yeast, preventing it from doing its thing. Too cold and this can prevent your yeast from activating. You want your water to be around that optimum 110 degrees for the best results.
Extra tip: If you don’t have a thermometer, not to worry! There’s a trick for approximating the temperature of your water. From Food52:
This may vary by person, but I have found that this is what works for me: I tweak the water temperature from my kitchen faucet so that when I put my hand in the stream, I get the sting of hot water, but I am able to leave my hand in the water. More than 115º F and I have to jerk my hand away, less than 105º F and the water feels warm but I don't get that bite of hot water. This "sting but can stay" temperature seems to be right at 110º F. But others may have different sensitivities to temperature, so the first time you find this spot, I'd check it to make sure it's close to 110º F.
Use this “sting but stay” rule with water from your kitchen faucet—no need to use a hot water heater or heat water on the stove.
Your dough isn’t rising in a warm or humid enough place
As with most bread making, room temperature does matter. If your yeast was fine in the water mixing stage, but your dough is still being slow to rise, your kitchen temp could be to blame.
Dough needs a little warmth and humidity in order to rise. Set your kitchen thermostat higher. The optimum temperature for dough to rise is between 75-80 degrees. You can also try setting your dough on top of the fridge, where it tends to be a little warmer.
You also don’t want to let your dough rise in a place that’s too airy or drafty—it needs a little moisture so that it doesn’t dry out. Boiling some water close by should help do the trick. Also remember to cover it loosely with greased plastic wrap or parchment paper.
Your pan is the wrong size
We recommend letting your dough rise in a standard 8.5” x 4.5” loaf pan. That’s because the sides of the pan provide support while the dough is proofing. If you use a pan that’s too large, the dough could spread out and settle lower, resulting in a much flatter loaf.
This should cover any problem that might arise (pun intended) from temperatures or yeast. But if you have extra time, you can always let the dough rise an additional hour for even fluffier bread!
Don’t let stale yeast or slightly off temps put a damper on your baking experience. We hope you enjoyed these tips! For more tricks, nutritional information, recipes, and product launches, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social!