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Did I Kill My Yeast? What To Do Now?

You might be expecting the fluffiest dough to make your pizza. Or you want to impress your friends with artisanal bread.

Behind every successful pizza or bread, there’s perfectly activated yeast. That’s the reason you put a lot of effort into activating the yeast. But after waiting for a long time you see no difference in it.

The situation now is that you’re running out of time. And the dough needs an agent to rise. Quite frustrating, isn’t it?

Now you’re thinking “Did I kill my yeast?”

Well, to know it for sure first you have to check for the expiry date. If it’s already not expired then see if the yeast mixture is bubbling or not. If not, then be sure that the yeast is dead. Or you can check if the yeast is rising. Wait for 30 minutes. If it still hasn’t doubled, the yeast has been killed.

 This was just a glimpse of what’s in store. Find out why the yeast is not working and its alternatives, scroll through our segment.

How To Know If The Yeast Is Killed? 3 Ways To Identify

Well, first thing first. You may fix it if the chili tastes too tomatoey but you can’t revive the dead yeast.

Whether you’re trying to bake bread or make wine, yeast needs to be activated. Otherwise, the dish you’re trying to make won’t be fermented or risen. So whatever your purpose is, yeast activation is a must.

But while activating the yeast, you can kill it instead without even knowing. But there are certain signs you can look for to know if you’ve killed the yeast.

So just go through the pointers that we mentioned below to know if the yeast is actually killed.

Check For The Expiry Date

We often forget to notice the most basic things. Such as the expiry date. This is the simplest way to know if the yeast is killed. Just check for the expiry date on the yeast packet and see if the date has already passed or not.

If yes, then be sure that this yeast won’t work at all.

Look For Bubbles

Another way to see if the yeast is killed is to look for the bubbles. So after you let the yeast sit, wait for 15-30 minutes. See if the yeast mixture is bubbling or not.  


If it’s not bubbling after 30 minutes, just know that the yeast has died. And it’s no good.

See If It’s Rising

The main function of the yeast is to rise. So that when you put it on your dish, it helps the dish become fluffy.

You’ve seen the yeast not doubled or tripled on within the given time. Then know that it’s the yeast that has gone bad. Or you’ve killed the yeast while processing it.              


Now you know what signs to check for to know if you’ve killed. Let’s introduce you to the reasons that killed the yeast.

What Could Have Gone Wrong With Yeast? Factors To Check

Now you know the answer to “did I kill my yeast?”. So it’s important to know what killed the yeast. Apart from the expiry date, it’s your deed that killed the yeast. So let’s see what you did wrong.

High Temperature

To activate the yeast, one of the main factors is the temperature. You’ll need a warm temperature for milk. The exact temperature should be 185 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you’re using water to activate it, you’ll need to be more specific. The water temperature should be 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It is the basic temperature for your yeast to mix with the water and activate. If you’ve poured boiling water then that’s the reason behind your yeast not working.

Yeast-Water Ratio

If you put too much yeast in a small batch, it won’t be activated. And you’ll end up killing it. So it’s important that you put the right amount of yeast with water. Always maintain the perfect ratio of yeast and water.

For half cup water, take 2 and ¼ teaspoon of instant yeast. You can add 1 teaspoon of sugar with it. 

So if you’re increasing the water amount to 1 cup, add 2.5 teaspoons of yeast. No matter what the recipe is, always try to maintain this ratio.

You might have put too little or much yeast in accordance with the water. That can be the reason why the yeast hasn’t activated.

Added Salt To Yeast

You might have added salt to your yeast mixture instead of sugar. If yes, then that’s the reason why the yeast is killed. 

Because from our experience, we’ve seen salt kills yeast. So, you’ve definitely messed up there.

Put Sugar Alternatives

You might have used sugar alternatives while making the yeast mixture. And that can be the reason why your yeast is killed. Because apart from water or milk, sugar can help you to activate the yeast.

But if you’ve used alternatives like maple syrup, raisins, or simple syrup, the yeast will be killed. You can only use honey instead of sugar. But still, sugar is the best option. Other than that, anything else will just simply kill the yeast.

Used a Beater

Every dessert we could think of needs beating. Even to thicken ranch dressing, beating is what we suggest. But not for yeast activation. 

We repeat, do not put your yeast mixture under electric beaters. You can gently mix it by stirring with a spoon. And don’t worry about dissolving. Because the warmth of the water will help in dissolving the yeast. 

Yeast Alternatives

You might be pretty upset that you’ve killed the yeast unknowingly. But trust me it’s not the end of the world. Because we’ve listed few alternatives to help you with the rising or fermenting process. So bear with us while we reveal the secrets.

Baking Soda/Powder

So baking soda is the most commonly available household item. You might be trying to fix a chili that tastes too tomatoey or searching for a yeast alternative. In any case, baking soda is there for you.

Use 2 tablespoons of baking with 2 cups of flour if you want to make bread. And the bread will rise eventually. But you’ll need to let the bread mixture sit for 30-45 minutes. Then bake it. And you’ll have fluffy bread.

You might be trying to make a batter. You want it to rise when you fry it. In this case, just sprinkle 1 teaspoon of baking powder into the batter. 

And anything that you’re trying to make fluffy will be fluffier. Just after you deep fry it with almost less effort. 


Another ingredient that helps with the rising is yogurt. You are allowed to be surprised by hearing this. But we guarantee you that yogurt has rising properties. And quite popular for its health benefits as well.

So using yogurt will ensure health benefits. On top of that, you can use this to rise any dough, even pizza dough.

For 4 cups flour add 1 cup of yogurt to help with the rising process. Marinate the dough with other ingredients and rest for an hour. After that roll the dough again. Now you can make the pizza bread. 

Instant Dough Starter 

Your yeast has gone bad and you’re in a rush. Or you might have expecting guests and the damn yeast has expired. And the situation can’t be any worse.                                     


But worry not, if you bake quite often, you might have used an instant dough starter. If yes, look around your kitchen and bring out the dough starter.

Now, look into the packet where specific directions are given on how to use it. Just follow the instructions and your dough will be ready in no time.

But it’s important that you follow specific measurement requirements. It’ll help to have the desired fluffiness. 

What if you don’t have a dough starter in your home, just go to your nearby grocery store. Or you can ask for some from your nearest bakery shop. Because they’ll surely have some. But if you’re buying it, then why not check our favorite dough starters.

  1. San Francisco Sourdough Style Starter Culture

  2. Breadtopia Sourdough Starter (Live)

Chili Stem

If you were about to ferment with the yeast that you’ve killed, stop worrying. Because we’ve got a unique solution. If it’s some dairy product, you can take one green chili. Then dip the chili stem on that dairy product. For example, you’re trying to ferment the milk.

So boil the milk and make it thick according to your preference. Then rest it for a while. And when the milk is warm, put the chili stem inside. Now put the milk jar in a place where you don’t move it accidentally.

Then let it sit overnight. The next morning you’ll see that the milk has fermented. So if you need fermentation for a dairy-based product, go for chili stem.

Lemon Juice

We all know that lemon juice is a quick fermenter. So the yeast of yours is not helping you with fermentation. Then instead of water use milk to marinate the dough. But before you mix other ingredients to make the dough just wait. And add 2 teaspoon lemon juice to 1 cup of milk.

Here’s a catch, you don’t need to stir after adding the lemon juice to your milk. All you need to do is wait for 45-60 minutes. Between this time, don’t move the pot from its place.

Then after the mentioned time, you’ll see that the milk has been fermented. There will be little bumps on the liquid milk. Now you can give it a little stir.

Now that your milk’s fermented you can add other ingredients to it. And make the dough. To your surprise, this will also make the dough rise. For that, you’ll have to wait for 30 minutes. And the dough will be almost double in its size by the time.

We’ve shared all probable ingredients that you can have handy as well as used instead of yeast. Now for your ease, we’ve mentioned the preferred method depending on your purpose.

Yeast AlternativePurposePreferred Dishes
Baking Soda/PowderRisingBatter for fried dishes, bread
YogurtRisingPizza dough, other doughs
Instant Dough StarterRisingDough, Bread
Chili StemFermentingDairy products 
Lemon JuiceFermenting/Rising  Dairy products 

Now you know which alternative to go for so just go for it. 

Tips To Avoid Killing Yeast From Next Time

You already know how annoying is to find out that the yeast has gone bad. After much hard work, it’s actually annoying. You can avoid this fortune from next on. For that, look at the next tips.

Tip 1: Use A Thermometer

While checking the water temperature, use a thermometer to have the perfect temperature. First, put the water on the heat. And put the thermometer on the pot. When the water reaches 115 degrees Fahrenheit, put it down. 

Now pour it into the bowl. Again measure the temperature and see if it’s still between 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit. If yes then add yeast to it.

Tip 2: Use A Handwhisk

While mixing sugar, water, and yeast you can use a hand whisk. But do not beat it in a motion how you beat egg whites. Because usually, we beat eggs in a faster motion. Just gently push the hand whisk lower so that it touches the bowl bottom.

Then stir it in a circular motion. But keep the pressure while stirring. After 3-5 mins. The water, sugar, and yeast will be all mixed. And the pressure will make sure that no sugar granules remain to enact.


Can dead yeast still be used?

The main reason behind using yeast is to risen the dough or to ferment it. But when the yeast is dead, it won’t be able to do any good to your dough.

How long I should wait for the yeast to rise?

For the yeast to rise, you can wait from 15-30 minutes. But if you’re checking if it’s rising or not, then check after 10minutes. 

Is there any chance that dead yeast will smell bad?

the smell of yeast itself is quite disgusting. And there’s no way it will smell different when goon bad. So, you won’t be able to identify by the smell.


By now you know the answer to “did I kill my yeast?”. Also how to be sure and what you’ve done to kill the yeast. With that, we’ve given 5 handy alternative options that you can use instead.

So, we believe that you’ll be able to identify if the yeast is killed. And without overstressing, you can use any one of the alternatives.

Let us know which alternative you choose by commenting.

Thank you & good luck!

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