Can you get sick from eating expired yeast?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating expired yeast” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired yeast. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store yeast.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you get sick from eating expired yeast?

When it comes to yeast, you do not get sick from using expired yeast. The difference that you will notice by using the expired yeast is that it would have a very weakened leavening effect or the baking good you are using it into, won’t rise.

Yeast is a biological leavening agent and the usage of old or expired yeast does not pose any health implications. The only thing that will happen is that it no longer will be able to produce its leavening action and you will get flat and dense baked goods. But who wants that to happen, no one, right?

So it is better to just discard the expired yeast owing to the fact that it won’t have the same leavening potential as the fresh yeast, but if you are okay with weakly leavened bread or cakes, you can use the old yeast.

It is worth mentioning that it is the “best by” or “ best before” date that is written on the packet of yeast instead of the expiration date. 

The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the package of yeast refers to the quality rather than safety so the yeast doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date.

This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality of yeast but you can still use yeast that is past this date as long as it was stored properly.

Commercially packaged dry, unopened yeast (active/ instant) lasts for about 12-18 months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight, heat, and humidity. Thus, you can store an unopened pack of dry yeast in a cool and dry corner of your pantry

Dry active yeast lasts for about 4 months when properly stored in the fridge once it gets opened. While in the case of fresh yeast, it is better to stick by the “use-by” date to enjoy the peak quality of the fresh yeast.

It is worth mentioning that the figures discussed above are the estimated shelf life of the yeast and during this time you can enjoy the best quality of yeast.

Checking the effectiveness of yeast

It is worth mentioning that it is better to check the effectiveness of the yeast before actually using it in your baked goods. 

Active dry yeast

Take a saucepan and add ¼  cup of water to it. Now warm the water till its temperature reaches 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 to 43 degrees celsius. 

Once the water has warmed to this temperature, turn off the heat and 1 tsp of sugar in it. Mix it with the help of a spatula.

Now the reason behind the addition of sugar is that yeast uses the sugar to carry out the process of fermentation that results in the formation of ethanol and carbon dioxide and this carbon dioxide is the one responsible for leavening the loaf of bread in which yeast is added.

Add 2 ¼ tsp or a packet of active dry yeast in this warm sugared water and stir it for about 30 to 90 seconds. Now let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes.

If the yeast that you added in the warm water with sugar was active and fresh then you will see a lot of froth or foam formation on the top of the solution which is the indication of the liberation of carbon dioxide that is the result of the fermentation process carried out by the yeast.

On the other hand, if you observe that there is weak foam formation or the foam does not form at all then it is an indication that your yeast is dead and you should not add it to the dough.

Fresh yeast

Take a saucepan and add ¼  cup of water to it. Now warm the water till its temperature reaches 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 to 32 degrees celsius. 

Once the water has warmed to this temperature, turn off the heat and 1 tsp of sugar in it. Mix it with the help of a spatula. 

Add a cube (0.6 oz) of fresh yeast (fresh compressed yeast or cake yeast) in this warm sugared water. Now let this mixture sit for about 5 to10 minutes.

If the yeast that you added in the warm water with sugar was active and fresh then you will see a lot of froth or foam formation on the top of the solution which is the indication of the liberation of carbon dioxide that is the result of the fermentation process carried out by the yeast.

On the other hand, if you observe that there is weak foam formation or the foam does not form at all then it is an indication that your yeast is dead and you should not add it to the dough.

You can read how to make soft dinner rolls here.

Tips to properly store yeast

  1. Moisture is an enemy of the freshness and quality of the dry yeast therefore yeast should be kept in air-tight containers or air-tight jars to reduce its exposure to air.
  1. Do not store your dry yeast in a humid environment.
  1. You should store yeast away from direct sunlight.
  1. Unopened dry yeast should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. A cool and dry corner of your pantry can serve this purpose nicely.
  1. Do not unnecessarily open the lid of the dry yeast jar or container and seal it again as soon as possible after scooping out the yeast that you need.
  1. Once you have opened the package of yeast, it is recommended to transfer the rest of the yeast to an air-tight container.
  1. You should always store the opened yeast in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag at or below 40°F in the refrigerator.
  1. You should never use a wet spoon to scoop out the dry yeast from the container.
  1. Always use a dry and clean spoon to scoop out dry yeast from its container.
  1. Close the lid of the dry yeast container as soon as you are done scooping out the amount of dry yeast that you need.
  1. In the case of fresh yeast, it is recommended to refrigerate the unopened as well as opened fresh yeast.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating expired yeast” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired yeast. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store yeast.

Citations

https://www.wikihow.com/Bloom-Yeast

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18712

https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-yeast-go-bad/

https://www.quora.com/Is-expired-yeast-still-okay-to-use#:~:text=Expired%20yeast%20won’t%20make,it’s%20too%20old%20to%20use.

http://www.russcooks.com/breadtrouble.html

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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