The yeast I can do: Baking tips

By easyFood

01 August 2018

Yeast is a biological raising agent from the fungi family. It produces carbon dioxide and this causes bread to rise.

What’s actually happening?

  • The dough is kneaded to give the bread its texture. The protein in the flour is stretched to make an elastic dough and pockets of gas are formed.
  • Whilst the dough is proving, bubbles of carbon dioxide are formed from the action of the yeast. These help to stretch the dough and make it rise.
  • The dough is then “knocked back.” This means it’s kneaded, reducing carbon dioxide bubbles in size and distributing evenly throughout the dough. (This step is optional.)
  • In the oven, the gas bubbles (carbon dioxide and air) expand with the heat. This makes the bread rise further
  • Eventually the heat sets the loaf, giving it a well-risen structure and a light and spongy texture.

Fresh yeast:

  • Has a soft, putty-like texture, compressed into blocks.
  • Creamy colour with a beer-like smell.
  • Must be blended with warm liquid before adding to flour.
  • Store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, or in the freezer for three months.   

Fast-action dried yeast:

  • A blend of dried yeast and improvers (vitamin C and enzymes).
  • Sold in airtight sachets.
  • May be added directly to flour.
  • Sealed sachets may be stored for up to one year.

Tips for baking with yeast

  • Make sure to weigh and measure all ingredients accurately.
  • Use good-quality yeast and always ensure it is in date.
  • Provide warmth ingredients and utensils should be warm in order to encourage the yeast to rise.
  • Knead dough thoroughly to enable the gluten in the strong flour to develop.
  • Allow the dough to prove for 1-2 hours. This gives the yeast cells an opportunity to produce carbon dioxide gas, which is what raises the dough.
  • During proving, the dough should be covered with a damp cloth, or placed in a greased bowl covered with greased cling film in order to prevent a skin from forming on the top.
  • Bake at 220˚C/200˚C fan/gas mark 7 to be sure that the yeast is destroyed.




To make the bread rise (act as a raising agent)

To add flavour

Strong flour

Essential in yeast baking as it has a greater gluten content than plain cream flour. This gives the product elasticity.

To give shape

To set when baked

To add nutrients

To give colour


Accuracy in weighing is essential, as too much sugar can kill the yeast.

To sweeten

To ‘feed’ the yeast

To colour the bread

To provide energy

To provide flavour


Accuracy in weighing is essential, as too much fat will stop the growth of the yeast.

Acts as a preservative

To provide colour

To provide flavour

To provide energy


Accuracy in weighing is essential, as too much salt can kill the yeast.

To bring out flavour

Controls the action of the yeast


Help entrap air thus contributing to a lighter product


Use a tepid liquid around 25-30˚C to activate the yeast. Water is most suitable, but milk will give a softer crust. Do not overheat as this will kill the yeast.

To add warmth

To help mix into a dough

To bind ingredients together


For more tips on baking with yeast, click here