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Frequently Asked Questions

Tips ImageQUESTION:

Should you mix salt and yeast together?

After a disaster with a bread recipe I wrote to the recipe author asking why...the answer was that there was a typo in the recipe and the salt and yeast should not have been added together as the salt would kill the yeast. Now I see in many recipes that the yeast and salt should be added at the same time. What is the answer here? Is it a "no-no" to add it together or is it okay?

ANSWER:

Recipes for bread can vary in what order the ingredients are used, including simply dumping all the ingredients at one time into a bread machine and the end result is a decent loaf of bread. However, when using a recipe that requires dissolving the yeast in a warm liquid, salt should never be added to the liquid mixture because it will inhibit the fermentation of the yeast. Instead, salt should be added with the flour.

But, don't get the idea a better loaf of bread can be made without salt! Unless a bread recipe is created specifically to be salt-free, salt should never be omitted, Salt is an important ingredient in bread baking because it:

  • Slows rising time, allowing the flavor of the dough to develop.
  • Adds structure to the dough by strengthening the gluten, which keeps the carbon dioxide bubbles from expanding too rapidly.

Lastly, never take a chance when there is a doubt about the freshness of yeast. When in doubt, test it and save yourself the frustration of a failed loaf of bread.

Here's a standard test for determining if yeast is still alive and active: Measure 1 teaspoon granulated sugar into a 1/2 cup of warm water (110°F to 115°F | 45°C) stirring to dissolve the sugar.Then add 1 (0,25-ounce) packet of yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons). After 5 to 10 minutes the yeast mixture should begin to form a foam on the surface of the water. If there is no foam, the yeast is dead and it is time to buy more.

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