>> Saturday, June 21, 2008
Yeast can be tricky. If you don't handle it correctly, you can kill it.
The first tip is to make sure your yeast is room temperature before you begin. Pour what you need into a bowl, and let it sit out for about an hour or so. I'm speaking about using bulk yeast here, not the freezer kind. I know the directions for those packages are different than the bulk yeast, so keep that in mind.
You also need to make sure the liquid you're adding to the yeast isn't too hot OR too cold. Too hot, and your yeast will die. Too cold, and it won't activate the yeast at all. A good rule of thumb is to put your hand under the running water, and if it's a bit too hot for what you'd feel comfortable showering in, it's at about the right temperature. You really don't have to make it an exact science. I wouldn't bother busting out a thermometer or anything.
Lastly, let the yeast and water stand until the yeast is really foamy, about 5-10 minutes. That way, you know all the above steps worked and that your yeast is activated.