One of the reasons I make a lot of soda-based breads is the time and effort required to make “proper” bread with yeast. This is not to say I do not make the lighter, fluffier, yeast varieties, but I don’t always have the time to. This creates a bit of a problem when I do get around to making yeast based loaves. Has my yeast gone past its best?
Rather than going just by the dates on the packaging (which are okay, but sometimes are a bit off) and potentially wasting good yeast by throwing it away, or worst still ruining an entire baking session, it is far easier to “proof” the yeast.
So how do you proof yeast? It actually is easy. Add your yeast to 3-4 tablespoons of hot milk (39 C or 102 F) and a teaspoon of sugar to a glass bowl and cover for 10 minutes. If it goes bubbly at 10 minutes it is fine. If it hasn’t then your yeast has not activated, and is probably best to move on to another yeast source as it may well be dead or at least not up to the job.