The method to Activate Yeast

The purpose of yeast is to begin the process of fermentation, which is the conversion of sugars into alcohol. Active yeast feeds on the sugars in flour and produces carbon dioxide gas in the process. The gases get trapped within the dough and cause it to rise…giving the finished pizza dough its light and airy texture.

Gluten is formed during the process of kneading the dough. High gluten flour makes a tighter layer of protein and traps more gas than low gluten flours…the result is a lighter texture for the high gluten dough’s, and a more dense texture for low gluten dough’s. I like to use high gluten flour for creating our pizzas because it gives a light, flaky crust.

I use Active Dry Yeast in most of our pizza formulas because it is handy and easy for using at home, and will not expire for one to two years. The yeast remains dormant in the package until ready for use until it is activated.

If you read bread or pizza crust recipes you may notice that some call for dissolving yeast in a warm liquid first and then adding to the flour…while others call for yeast added to flour and then warm liquid added.

Either of these alternatives is fine…do what is easy for you.

The method of dissolving yeast in a warm liquid is called Proofing. It is a method of "testing" whether the yeast is still active and alive by adding it to other ingredients. The technology of making yeast has improved and is very reliable that this process is not needed anymore. Feel free to add the yeast directly to the flour and then add the warm liquid.

we still proof the yeast…call me old fashioned. Actually, I do this not because I am worried with whether the yeast is still alive…but because I find it quick and easy. If I am going to make a batch of dough I can quickly grab a packet of yeast, pour warm H2O into a small container, add the yeast and a small amount of sugar, and begin the activation of the yeast. When the yeast is activating I go about gathering the other ingredients and getting the equipment I need together. Use the method that is easiest for you…

The yeast can be destroyed if the water is too cold or too hot. The water temperature should be between 105° F. and 115° F. Try an instant read thermometer if you own one, if not, test the water against the inside of your wrist by holding it below the faucet…it should feel very warm but not hot.

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About The Author, Sean Lannin
With more than 10 years experience both working and owning pizza restaurants. When he tried to find information about making pizza at home, he noticed that the information was either non-existent or lacked the information he felt was important. He now shares his passion for making pizza with readers of his website.