What To Do If The Yeast Doesn’t Foam? How to Proof Yeast

The big question of “What to do if the yeast doesn’t foam?” still makes many home chefs confused a lot. It prevents your exciting baking process. Also, that bad ingredient could affect the bread’s taste …

What To Do If The Yeast Doesn't Foam

The big question of “What to do if the yeast doesn’t foam?” still makes many home chefs confused a lot. It prevents your exciting baking process. Also, that bad ingredient could affect the bread’s taste if you keep using it.

In this guide, we would like to help you learn about several reasons why there is no bubble with your yeast. Besides, we will also provide useful information related to ways of proofing and storing this type of product. 

Do not wait any longer; it is time to dive into our big questions and tips for longer use!

What To Do If The Yeast Doesn’t Foam?

If you do not find any bubble appearing with the yeast, there is a possible answer for this trouble. This ingredient could no longer work its magic – dead yeast cannot make your dough rise. 

Indications Of Bad Yeast

As for the weakened or dead yeast, several indications may come as below.

  • Indication 1: There is a little or no bubbling/foam formation after you add yeast into a mixture of sugar and water. The result indicates that the yeast goes to die.  
  • Indication 2: After baking, the bread loaf seems to have a flat top (instead of rising). In other words, the dead yeast could be useless before you start the process
  • Indication 3: A dense, cakey, or chewy bread loaf is a typical indication or use of dead yeast. Since the prime age passed, the leavening agent or yeast is no longer helpful for any leavening purpose


As one of the most common solutions, we suggest not adding the bad yeast into your mixture. You should throw it away and replace it with the new one. 

Another choice for you is to make a dough (like tortillas, cookies, etc.) that does not require preparing yeast. Instead, using baking powder or soda is not a bad idea for leaven purposes. 

How To Proof Yeast?

In the market, three common yeast types are active dry yeast, fresh compressed yeast, and instant yeast. Each of them needs a different way of proofing. 

With Active Dry Yeast

Step 1: Adding Water

You pour ¼ cup of water into a saucepan. This amount of water needs to get warm at 40 – 43°C. In this step, we suggest using a food thermometer. That said, it is also possible to check the water temperature without a tool. One note is that a too high temperature will kill your yeast. 

Step 2: Adding Sugar

When the water reaches the desired temperature, it is time to turn off the heat. Then, let the water combine with 1 tsp of sugar and mix the liquid with a spatula.

Why do you need to add sugar?

The main reason is to carry out a fermenting process. To put it simply, proofing the yeast always requires a process of fermentation, generating carbon dioxide and ethanol. Consequently, they help leaven the bread loaf after adding the yeast into the mixture. 

Step 3: Adding Yeast

Add a packet of the active dry yeast (about 2 tsp) into the warm water and sugar mixture. Stirring for 30 – 90 will help the liquid get well mixed. Then, the mixture must sit for 10 minutes before seeing the final result. 


The proofing process gets done when you see foam or bubbly formation on top of the liquid you have already mixed. This result indicates that the carbon dioxide liberation manages to carry out the fermentation with the yeast addition. 

How To Proof Yeast

On the other hand, you can see only a weak bubble formation or even nothing. It means that the yeast is not active – it would help if you used that leavening agent for the mixture. 

With Fresh Compressed Yeast

Step 1: Adding Water

Like the active dry yeast, you use a saucepan to warm ¼ cup of water. Yet, the heat should reach only around the range of 27 to 32°C. 

It is worth noting that the fresh compressed yeast is already get activated. Thus, the temperature needs to be lower than the one for the active dry yeast. It would be better to prepare a food thermometer for an accurate check.

Step 2: Adding Sugar

Turn off the heat when the water has reached the required temperature. Then, mix that warm water with 1 tsp of sugar using a spatula.

As a biological leavening agent, the yeast feasts on sugar for a process of fermentation. At that point, carbon dioxide is free to rise in the dough. Also, it is a typical explanation for adding yeast into sugared warm water.

Step 3: Adding Yeast

It is time to add a cube of fresh compressed yeast into your prepared mixture. Following that, let’s wait for it to sit 5 – 10 minutes. 


It is similar to the result of the process with the active dry yeast. 

As long as the yeast added into the sugared warm water is fresh and active, you will see a foam or bubble formation. They are often visible on top of the getting-done solution. 

It is a result of the carbon dioxide liberating process for a better understanding. With the yeast, it boosts the fermentation.  

By contrast, a weak formation or an absence of foam indicates the dead yeast. It means you should try to make the solution again with the new replacement for that bad yeast. 

With Instant Yeast

Indeed, you do not have to prove or activate the instant yeast. Unlike the active dry yeast or fresh compressed yeast, the instant one is more stable with greater live cells. In other words, it is a type of fast-acting leavening agent. Hence, the proofing/activating process is unnecessary. 

Now, the yeast does not require sugar and warm water to get activated. The step is to mix the instant yeast, salt, water, and flour only. It is such a piece of cake and time-saving for any home chef. 

How to Store Yeast?

Buying products in a big quantity always comes with a good price. It is why most of us buy the yeast in a big package. For example, this leavening agent is often available in a 1-lb packet. 

However, the fact shows that many of us only use yeast for baking once in a while. 

Yeast’s Shelf Life 

Different types of yeast with different package sizes do not hit the same when it comes to the product shelf life. 

  • Newly purchased yeast: It can stay the good quality for up to two years. But it would be best if you stored it in the cool condition (cabinet, pantry, etc.), the refrigerated, or frozen condition.
  • Opened yeast packet: It can perform well within four months and six months in the refrigerator and freezer, respectively.


For the large quantity of yeast, we suggest storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. Once the ideal period time for storage passes, it is a must to proof the yeast to see whether it is active. 

That being said, unopened packets are always the best option for storage. You will not have to keep them in the fridge. Instead, places like a cupboard are also fine. 


1. Why does instant yeast not foam?

Like other types of yeast, the instant one does not foam since it is dead. The failure lets you know it is time to get a new yeast packet. 

2. Does cold water activate yeast?

The answer could be YES or No. Too hot or too cold water cannot help the process of activation for sure. But there is a difference in water temperature applied to proof different types of yeast.

For example, the active dry yeast needs warm water at 40 – 43°C. On the other hand, 27 to 32°C will be suitable for the fresh compressed yeast

3. Do I have to activate instant yeast?

No, you don’t need to activate the instant dry yeast before adding it to the warm water and sugar to make the dough; instead, you can use it right away.


So now, you have already known what to do if the yeast does not foam. The best solution is to discard it and replace it with the new leavening agent. 

Still, this knowledge is not everything. Your baking experience would be greater with more useful tips related to the yeast used. 

Overall, our guide suggests several ways of proofing and storing this baking ingredient. We hope that our guideline is helpful for your preference! Thank you!