If you have never used fresh yeast before, you may be wondering if you need to activate it. Yeast is a living organism that helps bread to rise, and it is vital to the baking process. In addition, it is a key ingredient in making beer, wine, and many other gluten goods.
There are two types of yeast – active dry and instant. Both require proofing to ensure that it is alive. The process of proofing is important to ensure that your recipe is able to rise. You can also find fresh yeast at many supermarkets. However, it is best to find fresh yeast in the original package for maximum protection.
Active dry yeast can be found in jars or in packets. It is the most popular type of yeast for home bakers. While it can be used directly in a recipe, it needs to be dissolved in a warm liquid first. Some home bakers prefer to mix active dry yeast with warm water before adding it to the recipe. This method is a good way to save time.
Instant yeast is a fast-action type of yeast that dissolves immediately when wet. When it is combined with warm water, the yeast cells start to break down, and the mixture rises. Instant yeast can be used in place of active dry yeast, and is a convenient option.
Activating fresh yeast can take a few minutes, depending on the type of yeast you are using. Ideally, you should make a well in the dry ingredients, crumble the yeast into it, and stir the liquids into the mixture. Once the ingredients are mixed, the yeast should be distributed evenly and bubble and foam in a matter of minutes.
Having a small amount of lukewarm liquid, such as a glass of milk, will also help to activate the yeast. It is essential to measure the temperature of the water. Typically, a temperature of 105 (40) to 115 (46) degrees is recommended. Your best bet is to use a kitchen thermometer.
If you are in a cold climate, it is helpful to keep the measuring cup in the warmest part of your kitchen. Once the water has reached the desired temperature, add the yeast. Be careful not to overheat the water, as this will kill the yeast.
Once the yeast has dissolved in the warm liquid, you will need to store it in a warm, airtight container. You can then freeze the liquid for up to three months, or store it in a cool, dry place. Unopened packages can also be stored for up to four months in a freezer.
You should test your fresh yeast for freshness. This is the best way to tell if the yeast you are using is still alive. To do this, take a half teaspoon and add it to a small portion of lukewarm liquid. After ten minutes, the yeast should begin to bubble and foam. Doing this will indicate that the yeast is ready to be used.