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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs). Click on the question to view the answer. Use the FAQs search on the left to type in key words to help you find specific questions.. This web site is full of lots of information that I hope you will find useful. If you have a question that you can not find the answer for, or if you have any other comments or suggestions, please send me an email by clicking on the Contact tab at the top of the page. I'll be able to answer you directly.


Happy baking!

1. Is your yeast gluten free? »

Yes. All of our baker's yeast products are gluten free, and are produced in a dedicated facility. They do not contain wheat gluten or other cereal protein that cause allergic reactions in people with gluten intolerance. We have many wonderful gluten free recipes on our website:  Click on the Gluten Free Recipes in the left menu.

2. What is the difference between instant and active dry yeast? Can I use either one in my recipes? »

The difference between the two yeasts is the particle size. The instant yeast is sold to consumers as RED STAR Quick Rise and RED STAR Bread Machine Yeast.  The instant yeast is a 'fast rising' yeast, and is dried to a smaller particle than the 'regular' Active Dry Yeast, hence they activate faster and subsequently raise the dough faster.


In traditional baking (hand kneading or stand mixer), the two can be used interchangeably, one for one. The difference will be that with the 'fast rising' yeast, the rising times for the dough will be shorter, up to 50%. Visit our Lessons in Yeast in Baking section for information on rising and the 'ripe test'.


In a bread machine, it is necessary to make an adjustment in the level of yeast used. When using a regular active dry yeast, use 3/4 teaspoons of yeast for each cup of flour; when using a 'fast rising' yeast , use 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of flour.


We do not recommend using instant yeast in refrigerated doughs.

3. How long do I need to let my dough rise? »

The length of time it takes for the dough to rise depends on many factors--the recipe, the amount of yeast, the amount of sugar, the temperature of the dough, the temperature in the room, etc. Every recipe is different.


You should allow the dough to rise until it is 'ripe'. Click on the following link to learn about rising and the ‘ripe test’: 

Rising & Ripe Test (First Rise)


Our Lessons in Yeast & Baking / Baking Steps Guide has lots of great information on baking with yeast.

4. What is sorbitan monostearate? »

Sorbitan monostearate is an emulsifier. This material coats yeast cells and protects the cells from damage by oxygen and assists in the rehydration of the yeast.


Sorbitan monostearate is a mixture of partial stearic and palmitic acid esters of sorbitol and its mono- and dianhydrides. Source of the sorbitol in the sorbitan monostearate is unknown, however it is plant and may or may not be corn. Allergens are typically part of the protein structure of the organism, however the process used to produce sorbitol eliminates the plant protein.


Sorbitan monostearate is not considered an allergen. It is listed in the FDA GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list of ingredients for use in food products. Sorbitan monostearate is Kosher.


RED STAR® and bakipan® Active Dry Yeast packets in a strip of three ¼-ounce packets does not contain sorbitan monostearate. It is pure yeast.

5. What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour? Do I need to use bread flour when making bread? »

Bread flour is recommended when making yeast-raised doughs. Bread flour is milled from hard wheat that has a high protein content. When liquid is mixed with this flour, protein in the wheat flour becomes gluten. As the gluten is manipulated in the kneading process, it becomes elastic and forms the structure of the dough. Bread flour has a protein content of 12-14%.


All-purpose flour is milled from a combination of hard and soft wheats, thus lowering the percentage of protein in the flour. The gluten in all-purpose flour is weaker and does not always withstand the actions of a mixer or bread machine. All-purpose flour usually performs satisfactory when making yeast-raised doughs using the traditional by-hand bread making method.


See our Lessons in Yeast & Baking section for more on flour and other ingredients, as well as great baking tips.

6. I purchased a wonderful church ladies cookbook from a book sale with recipes from the past. The recipes call for a 7 cent (hard to believe isn't it?) cake of yeast or 1/2 cake of household yeast. Could you tell me what size these yeasts would be? »

It's always interesting to see how old recipes describe the amount of yeast to use! The fact is that cake yeast has been sold in many different sizes over the years, so we do not know for certain just what they mean when they say a "cake" of yeast. Currently we only sell our cake yeast in a 2 oz. package size. Visit the Yeast Conversion Table to determine your yeast requirements for your recipe.

Dry yeast can also be substituted in recipes for cake yeast. Recipes for cake yeast may have different water temperatures than what is necessary to activate dry yeast.  Use the Yeast Conversion Table to determine how much dry yeast is needed for your recipe.  Our Yeast Types & Usage will have more information on how to incorporate dry yeast into your dough, including proper liquid temperatures.

7. Do you sell instant yeast? What is instant yeast? »

Any dry yeast that states, 'fast rising', 'highly active', or 'fast acting' is an instant yeast. Instant yeast was developed to be added directly to the dry ingredients. Visit our section in Yeast Types & Usage / Instant Yeast for more information.

Our instant yeast products include: RED STAR Quick Rise, RED STAR Bread Machine Yeast, SAF Gourmet Perfect Rise Yeast, SAF Bread Machine Yeast, Bakipan Fast-Rising Yeast and Bakipan Bread Machine Yeast.

8. I live at high altitude. What adjustments do I need to make in my bread recipes? »

The low atmospheric pressure at high altitudes allows yeasted doughs to rise faster causing the dough to over proof. Recipes need to be adapted for lower quantities of yeast as altitude increases. This will slow down the rising time so that the dough has time to develop a good flavor and texture.


When baking at higher altitudes, use regular active dry yeast and use 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of flour, though this will vary from one location to the next. You will have to experiment with what works best for your area.


In dry climates, flour is drier, causing dough to require slightly more liquid. In addition, liquids evaporate faster at higher altitudes. When using a bread machine, it is extremely important that the dough be checked about 5 minutes into the kneading cycle. Without stopping the machine, raise the lid and touch the dough ball. Look for a soft, slightly tacky dough. Correct a dry, stiff dough by adding more liquid, a teaspoon at a time.


The addition of gluten to bread recipes at high altitude will protect cell structure of the dough from stretching too much and giving a coarse texture to the finished bread product.  Use 1 teaspoon of gluten for each cup of flour in the recipe.


Colorado State University has recently revised Making Yeast Breads at High Altitudes, to include bread machine and knead-your-own bread recipes and trouble shooting tips. Visit for call 877.692.9358 for more information.

9. Can I store my yeast in the freezer? »

Dry Yeast
Dry yeast can be stored in the freezer – it is actually a very good method of storage. The downside is if the yeast is exposed to multiple cycles of freezing and thawing, the activity of the yeast could be compromised. This could even happen in a self-defrosting refrigerator freezer. Anytime the yeast is stored in the freezer it is important to only measure out the amount needed and only allow this amount to sit out for about an hour before using. Temperature means everything to the yeast; if it is cold to start, it will take longer to 'get going'.  Visit our section on Yeast Shelf Life & Storage/Dry Yeast for more information.


Cake Yeast
We do not generally recommend freezing the cake yeast. However, some home bakers have been successful in doing so. It is most important to wrap the yeast well and keep it airtight. You'll have better luck in a deep freeze rather than a self-defrosting refrigerator freezer. Freezing the yeast can change its texture to be more 'paste-y', but this is not an indication that the yeast has been damaged. However, if the yeast appears dry and the edges are brown, it has most likely been damaged and will not be active.  Visit our section on Yeast Shelf Life & Storage/Cake Yeast for more information.

10. Why must I refrigerate or freeze my yeast after opening? »

Yeast is very perishable when exposed to air, moisture and/or heat. Once your package is opened the yeast must be refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container. Under these conditions, we recommend using the Dry Yeast within 4 months after opening if refrigerated, or within 6 months after opening if frozen.  Visit our section on Yeast Shelf Life & Storage/Dry Yeast for more information.

Dry Yeast should be at room temperature before using. When you are ready to bake, take out only the amount of yeast needed for your recipe and put the remaining yeast back into storage.  If you are unsure of activity of your yeast, test it using the Yeast Freshness Test before using.

11. Some stores sell the dry yeast in the refrigerated section, and others sell it in the baking aisle? What is the best way to store yeast? »

Unopened packages of Dry Yeast have a shelf life of 2 years and should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard. Unopened packages of Dry Yeast can also be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Yeast is very perishable when exposed to air, moisture and/or heat. Once your package is open the yeast must be refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container. Under these conditions, we recommend using the Dry Yeast within 4 months after opening if refrigerated, or within 6 months after opening if frozen. Visit our section on Yeast Shelf Life & Storage / Dry Yeast for more information.

Dry Yeast should be at room temperature before using. When you are ready to bake, take out only the amount of yeast needed for your recipe and put the remaining yeast back into storage.  If you are unsure of the activity of your yeast, test it using the Yeast Freshness Test before using.

12. I learned to bake bread from my grandmother and have been baking for many years. Lately my loaves are small, heavy and compact. I've used the activity test from your Web site and tested the yeast. It seems to be active so I don't think the yeast is the pr »

There are a couple of possibilities of what could be happening with your bread dough. One is that you may be working too much flour into your dough. If dough is too stiff, it will not stretch enough. A soft dough will expand easily. Another probable reason could be that you may not have allowed the dough to rise high enough before being shaped. To check the first rise in the bowl, press 2 fingers deep into the dough when it seems to have doubled. It is often hard to decide if the dough is actually double in size. I suggest that you start checking with your fingers about 40 minutes into the rising time. If the holes remain, the dough is ready to punch down and rise, rest or shape according to the recipe. To check if shaped loaves, rolls etc. have risen enough, press with your finger on the side of the dough. If the dough springs back, the loaves must rise a little longer. When the imprint remains, it is time to bake. This could be as early as 30 minutes after shaping. I'm sure if you check yourself in these areas of your baking procedure you'll be experiencing a beautifully textured bread.


Visit our Baking Steps Guide in the left menu of the Lessons in Yeast & Baking section for additional information that you might find useful.

13. I never know for sure how long to knead the dough. Is it possible to knead dough too much? »

Yes, you can over-knead dough. Over-kneaded dough is soft and sticky and no longer able to be stretched, much like worn-out elastic. In yeast bread making, gases produced during fermentation of sugars and starches are trapped within the dough. Well- kneaded dough has developed an elastic network of gluten strands that stretch and expand allowing the dough to rise. Over-kneaded dough cannot stretch; dough will not rise. If you have a very strong hand, you could easily over-knead your dough. In hand kneading, when dough is smooth and little bubbles are visible beneath the surface, it is time to stop. When using a heavy-duty mixer with a dough hook(s), knead for a maximum of 5 to 7 minutes until dough ball is smooth and elastic. Another check is to pinch off a small ball of dough. Hold the dough with both hands between the thumb and forefinger and begin stretching it out, much like stretching a balloon before blowing it up. When the dough is kneaded enough, it will not tear easily and a translucent membrane will be visible. This is called a gluten window.  Visit our Baking Steps Guide under the Kneading section in the left menu for more information as well as pictures of the gluten window.

14. I accidentally picked up a bag of self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour. Can I use it for yeast breads? »

Self- rising flour is great for biscuits and pancakes but is not recommended for yeast breads primarily because it has a low protein content. In your bread dough you need a higher level of protein in the flour to make a gluten structure that will expand easily. With low protein flour you will end up with small compact breads. Also, there are salt and chemical leavenings added to self-rising flour that could inhibit yeast activity. For best results, use either all-purpose or bread flour for yeast breads. So enjoy some dumplings with your self-rising flour and buy bread flour or all-purpose flour to make your yeast breads.


For additional information, visit our Common Baking Ingredients section in the left menu under the Lessons in Yeast & Baking tab.

15. What is RED STAR Nutritional Yeast? »

RED STAR Nutritional Yeast is a primary grown pure culture strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a powdered yeast without leavening power, marketed for its protein and vitamin content. This type of yeast is available in both powder and pill form.

Nutritional Yeast is an excellent source of protein, rich in many of the essential amino acids that complement proteins available from other sources such as corn, wheat, and soy. RED STAR Nutritional Yeast contains an average of 50% protein by weight.

RED STAR Nutritional Yeast is also a rich source of B-complex vitamins that are important for normal and healthy body functions.

Visit our Nutritional Yeast site at to learn more information on our Nutritional Yeast products.

16. What is Brewer's Yeast? »

Brewer's yeast is a by-product of the brewing industry. After 5-10 succeeding beer fermentations, the yeast, due to increasing contamination, loses its viability and activity and is no longer acceptable for making beer. The yeast then becomes surplus and can be used for the production of food flavors, feed formulations or as nutritional yeast food. Brewer's Yeast is a dried, inactive yeast that has no fermenting power. It is sold for its nutritional qualities as it is very high in at least 10 separate B-vitamin factors.



17. My mother used to always dissolve her dry yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar. Some recipes say to just blend the yeast with the flour. Isn't it necessary to dissolve the yeast in warm water before using it? I'm confused! »

It is not necessary to dissolve the dry yeast before using it. Some bakers like to do this, because it gives the yeast a "good start" - the yeast feeds on the sugar allowing it to become very active and ready to work in your dough.Yeast is a living organism, and the correct water temperature is critical for it to be activated properly. Using a thermometer is the most accurate way to determine the correct liquid temperature. Any thermometer will work as long as it measures temperatures between 75°F and 130°F. If you are dissolving, or proofing your yeast, use liquid temperatures of 110°F-115°F water. If you are adding the yeast directly to the other dry ingredients, use liquid temperatures of 120°F-130°F. When using a bread machine, liquid temperatures should be 80°F. Visit our Lessons in Yeast & Baking under the Yeast Types and Usage in the left menu for more information.

18. What if my recipe has no liquids to dissolve the yeast? »

Dissolve the yeast in about 1/4 cup of warm tap water, 110°F-115°F, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the water to give the yeast a good start. Since you will be adding the extra liquid, you may have to work in a small amount of additional flour to achieve the appropriate dough consistency.

19. I bought fresh cake yeast, and can't use it all. Can I freeze it? »

In general, I do not recommend freezing the fresh cake yeast. However, some home bakers are able to freeze the yeast with success. The yeast must be wrapped in plastic wrap and/or foil and kept as airtight as possible. If you have a deep freeze, that would be better than a self-defrosting refrigerator freezer that may go through several freeze/thaw cycles daily. Freezing can alter the texture of the yeast, making it a bit more 'paste-y'; if the edges are severely dried out or brown, the yeast is most likely damaged. Thaw yeast to refrigerated temperatures before using.

20. My recipe calls for one package of yeast. I purchased your Active Dry Yeast with three packets to a strip. Do I use the all three packets or just one? »

The strip contains three packets; each packet in the strip is considered one package.  Each package contains 1/4 oz. or 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast.

21. I just purchased a 1 pound bulk package of dry yeast. How do I use this when the recipe calls for one packet of yeast? »

One packet of yeast contains 1/4 ounce or approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast.

22. We have a child that is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. What is your labeling policy for your products that may contain peanuts and/or tree nuts due to cross-contamination? »

None of our consumer yeast products contain any peanuts or tree nuts or any other products derived from these sources. All of our consumer yeast products are produced in a dedicated plant where there is no source of peanuts, tree nuts or any other products derived from these sources present so there is no risk of cross contamination.

23. How many teaspoons of yeast are in one packet? »

Each 1/4 oz. packet contains approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. Note: Yeast is packaged by weight. The measure may vary slightly between 2 and 2 1/4 teaspoons depending upon the particle size of the yeast.

24. How do I decipher the expiration date on your yeast packets? »

All of our consumer yeast products are stamped with a 'Best if used by' date that is designated by the month and year. The other numbers are manufacturing tracking numbers and have nothing to do with the expiration date. Eg: JULY 2009 07 08 The 'Best if used by' date is July 2009. The 07 and 08 have nothing to do with the expiration date for the yeast. Visit our Lessons in Yeast & Baking section for more information, including how to test your yeast activity using the Yeast Freshness Test.

25. I want to make one loaf of bread, how much yeast do I need? I am not using a bread machine. »

One packet (1/4 oz.) of yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, will raise up to 4 cups of flour. Visit our Yeast Conversion Table for more information.

26. What is the best way to activate (or proof) dry yeast? »

Using a 1-cup measuring cup, dissolve 1 tsp. sugar in 1/2 cup water at 110-115°F. Add up to 3 packets (each packet is 1/4 oz. or 2 1/4 tsp) of yeast, depending on your recipe, and stir until completely dissolved. Let mixture stand until yeast begins to foam vigorously (usually 5-10 minutes). You can now add this to remaining ingredients. Remember to decrease the total liquid in your recipe by 1/2 cup to adjust for the water used in activating (proofing) the yeast!Using a thermometer is the best way to get the most accurate water temperature. Any thermometer will work as long as it can read between 70-130°F. If you don't have a thermometer, make sure the water is warm, but not hot to the touch. Water that is too hot can kill the yeast, and water that is too cold will slow down or stop yeast activity.  The Yeast Types & Usage section has additional information on how to incorporate yeast into your dough.  Visit our Lessons in Yeast & Baking section for more information on yeast.

27. I found an unopened jar of yeast in my cupboard. The expiration date shows it was expired two months ago. Can I still use it to make my bread? »

Yeast is a living organism and it loses leavening power over time. The date on the package is our recommended Use By date. Depending on how the yeast is stored, it may lose its activity before this date, or it might still be active after this date. The only way to know for certain if your yeast is active is to test it using the Yeast Freshness Test in our Lessons in Yeast & Baking section under Yeast Shelf Life & Storage in the left menu. 


28. Can I use your yeast in our septic tank? »

Yeast has been used for this purpose in septic tanks for many years.  In fact, there is a product on the market that is made with our yeast called Meadow Springs.  The product is an environmentally friendly replacement for Rid-X.  It is sold in home improvement and hardware stores.  More information about Meadow Springs can be found at


As for the baker’s yeast, how much and how often to add yeast varies.  The size of the tank, the number of people using the system and the amount of detergents that go through the septic system all play a significant role in determining the amount to use and the frequency necessary.  It is believed that one 7 gram package or 2 ¼ teaspoons flushed down the toilet once a week will take care of the average family’s requirements.  Reduce the frequency to once every two to three weeks if there are only two people or fewer using the system.  For a seasonal residence with a 500 gallon tank, ½ pound of yeast flushed into the system early in the season will probably be adequate to stimulate the bacteria present.  If use of the septic system is excessive, more yeast may be added later in the season.


Yeast will not harm a septic system.