Yeast – tutorial

I love making bread. In a perfect world homemade fresh bread and chocolate cheesecake would have 0 calories, 0 fats and 0 carbs.
I made my very first bread a little over a year and half ago. If you were thinking by the amount of baking I’ve been doing on this blog that I learned how to turn the oven on before I start walking you were wrong.
I didn’t get along with yeast for the very first time either.

I remember my first attempt in making dinner rolls. The recipe was calling for 25 gr of yeast. At that time I did not know that the recipe was actually calling for fresh yeast so I used dry yeast instead.
If only that would be the only mistake I made. I boiled yeast, I microwaved it – little did I know.
But I didn’t give up, I kept trying and trying and after countless mistakes I start reading more about it.
I wanted to write a post about some butter buns but after reading your yeast-phobia comments I thought sharing my knowledge might help you a little.
What I’m about to write in this post is from my own experience. I have never attended a cooking/baking class. 
In US are are several types of yeast : active dry yeast, rapid rise yeast, instant yeast, bread machine dry yeast and fresh yeast.
I’ve never used fresh yeast. It’s not as widely available as dry yeast and the shell life is way shorter. A cake/package of fresh yeast is usually used to 4 cups of flour.
Active dry yeast, Rapid rise dry yeast and Instant dry yeast.

 yeast tutorial

When working with yeast it is important to proof it first. And by that I mean to make sure it’s still good.
In a bowl pour 1/4 cup lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir.
The water used to proof the yeast should be around 100 – 110F. Above 120F the yeast dies.
To be on the safe side you can use water that is a little colder (80-90F). It will take a little longer to dissolve.
For the rapid and instant yeast you can mix it with the flour, but I prefer to mix it with water first.

Instant dry yeast does not make any bubbles, it just dissolves when combined with warm water

The rapid rise yeast will foam a little

Active dry yeast takes longer to proof, somewhere around 5-10 minutes.
It starts with little bubbles, then it foams and almost doubles in volume.

Most of the recipe when calling for dry yeast refer to active dry one but you can easily use rapid rise or instant yeast, the only thing different will be the time for rising.
Artisan breads or some other dough that need longer or overnight rise periods have to be made with active dry yeast, otherwise the flavors will not develop properly.

This time I used 4 cups all purpose flour mixed with 4 tbsp melted butter, 2 egg yolks and a pinch of salt (always mix salt with flour!!). Pour the yeast and add enough water (about 3/4 to 1 cup) and mix until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl. (each dough will weight around 14 oz after the first rise)

Instant dry yeast

Rapid rise yeast

It took 55 minutes for the dough using instant yeast to rise and only 42 minutes for the dough using rapid rise yeast.

Usually after shaping the bread/rolls/buns you have to leave the dough to rise again until double, which might take again about 1 hour. When using instant or rapid rise, the second rising time is reduced to 15-20 minutes.
Active dry yeast

Although it took 55 minutes for the first rise, just like the dough using instant yeast, the second rise took around 45 minutes.

Always grease the bowls you let the dough rise and cover with clear plastic.
I find it creates a better environment for the yeast then when covering with a tea towel, plus the top doesn’t dry out.

If you have more questions about yeast please leave them in your comments or email me. I’d be more than happy to help you.

As usual,


red dotted line

    Hello! My name is Roxana and I'm a self-taught baker, wanna-be photographer and the writer behind Roxana's Home Baking, where I share original and adapted scratch recipes. 

Here you'll find no fuss, no hassle easy recipes with ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen.  Read more ....


red dotted line


  1. Jean says

    Roxana, I made sourdough bread this weekend and took some notes of my own. It was a good 2nd experience but I admit that I'm not as well versed about yeast as you are. Thanks for explaining it all so well here. Based on my experience, you're on the mark with all your tips. :-)

    Great tip about the lukewarm water. I use 105ºF water so I'm right in the middle of your range! :-)

  2. Kankana says

    Did you hear me girl .. my thoughts ??? You have no idea since when i am prepping myself to bake my first bread .. even bought the yeast .. yet i am not able to pull myself to do this. This post will help and I might shoot you emails with doubts .. i have to bake my first bread and soon! Thanks so much for sharing this post with us .. it's huge huge help for people like me :)

  3. Sweet U C says

    That is so cool Roxana! I wish you'd talk about the fresh Yeast bit, I haven't seen it around too often, much less used it :)) the buns look beautiful, make me feel like baking too..

  4. Alina---Explora Cuisine says

    Now this is very useful for people like me who have no idea how to use dry yeast, well ok, you can read the instructions but it's still confusing :)) I find fresh yeast to be the best, I don't know why I like it so much, it's probably the smell; You can keep it frozen and when you need to make a bread, you just have to defrost it, works great every time!

  5. Alina---Explora Cuisine says

    In Toronto there are only a few stores that sell fresh yeast, I haven't tried too many bakeries, they probably sell some, but I usually buy it from a Jewish bakery, or Russian store, maybe this is useful for some of you.

  6. thecompletecookbook says

    Roxana what a brilliant post explaining all the difference types of yeast. I am also very new to using yeast. Thanks for the great post.
    :-) Mandy

  7. The Harried Cook says

    I have also never understood why people are afraid of yeast! I love working with yeast! :) This is a nice, comprehensive write-up! Thank you for sharing…

  8. Parsley Sage says

    Scary! But this will definitely help when I finally pluck up the courage to give it a go. I love fresh bread. So does my husband…if I can master baking bread I will be the Queen of the House! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  9. Amy says

    I just turned my brother on to the wonders of yeast and he's OBSSESSED with it now. He made two batches of bagels and a french loaf in 3 days! It's so fun.

    I like to add a smidge of sugar when I proof my yeast also, just as added insurance that the yeast is still good.

  10. Wendy Irene says

    Thanks so much for the information on yeast Roxana! I hope you are having a lovely trip with lots of sunny days :)

  11. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says

    Thanks so much for all of the great tips! I love baking bread. I wanted to let you know that I have hit a milestone on my blog and am having an all natural organic giveaway and would love for you to enter.

  12. Memória says

    I can comfortably say that I'm quite experienced with basic breads not involving starters, but I still wanted to read your post. It was very informative and very appropriate for beginners. I use only active yeast because it's the most accessible (for me), and I like that it makes bread rise a bit slower so I don't have to watch it as much. I would like to work with fresh yeast one day, though. I heard that it yields a better flavor. Fresh yeast is very common in Europe.

  13. Magic of Spice says

    What a great post and I will be saving this…I am a yeast chicken :( I am not a big baker and have not made bread since my restaurant days (and then I supervises, lol). I have been wanting to give it a go, and when I do you will hear my screams for help :)

  14. cakewhiz says

    this is such a helpful post… i will deifnitely be referring to this post when i make bread again. so far… i have only made 4 breads so i am still fairly new to the bread world!

  15. baking.serendipity says

    I love this post! And I love the smell of freshly baking bread in the kitchen…nothing better :)

  16. Nico says

    be careful 1 tbsp of instant active dry is not equal to 1 1 tbsp of active dry, take a look

    to convert fresh cake yeast to instant yeast, for 1 packed tablespoon/0.75 ounce cake yeast use 2 teaspoons instant yeast or 2-1/2 teaspoons active dry

    1 teaspoon instant aka instant active dry=1-1/4 teaspoons active dry or 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh cake yeast

  17. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much. I started baking bread maybe a year ago. I had no idea about Yeast. I ruined a few things. I really wanted to know more about yeast, But I never got answers. Thank you, Thank you, For posting this its Wonderful. And I just happened on this from another blog.What a blessing Ryane

  18. Anonymous says

    If you go to the web site you will find the easiest method in the world to make bread. And you don't have to knead it. AND….you don't have to worry about the yeast either. I have been having a lot of fun making bread since I found the web site and I also bought their book.

  19. Ginnette says

    I have one question… should i use the same amount on yeast? or it changes with type of yeast? thank you so much for this!

  20. Roxana GreenGirl says

    @ Ginnette – I use the same amount of yeast no matter if it's active, rapid rise or instant. If you're going to use fresh yeast a cake it's good for 4 cups of flour.

  21. M and M plus 3 says

    I can't believe I found you and your writing about Yeast! I have tried now on and off for over 15 years to get a good bread recipe (I'm sure it's the maker who is the problem) not the recipe. I'm going to test my yeast I have in the refrig, see if it proofs and make some bread this week. I'll be back to let you know how I did. My family loves fresh bread!

  22. A happy heart at home says

    So you need to use a cooking thermometer to get the right temperature water for the yeast? Thanks for any advice.

  23. Roxana GreenGirl says

    @A happy heart at home – I used to check the water temperature with a thermometer. In time I learned how to test it with my hands. If it's hot on the inside on my hand, it's gonna kill the yeast.

  24. says

    Great post Roxana! I have just started getting the hang of bread baking about 6 months ago (right around Thanksgiving) Before that I was like you… I made millions of mistakes! And I’m still learning…slowly!

  25. says

    Thank you SO much! I couldn’t figure out why my yeast wasn’t bubbling! I kept poking at it and staring at it expecting little bubbles to appear.

    Thank you again.

  26. Anita says

    Hi Roxana,
    What a great tutorial! Does it matter where the dry yeast is stored, cubbard or fridge?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *