Does salt kill yeast in the dough?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Does salt kill yeast in the dough” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not the addition of salt kills yeast in the dough. Moreover, we are going to discuss other factors that can potentially kill the yeast and how yeast works.

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

Does salt kill yeast in the dough?

So when it comes to the salt it decreases the rate at which yeast is performing its action, thus it retards the action of the yeast. But if salt is added in a high amount in the dough containing yeast then the salt can potentially kill the yeast. 

Thus, if you have added too much salt to the dough, be ready to get a flat and cakey bread loaf, as the yeast would have died and won’t be able to carry out its process of fermentation that otherwise results in the leavening of the bread or dough.


So the question arises why we add salt to our dough. So we add a little amount of salt to the dough to control the leavening effect of the yeast in order to get a bread that not only is leavened but is also smooth.

The irregular holes that you sometimes see on the top surface of your baked bread are due to the excessive production of carbon dioxide that when it gets out of the dough makes such holes, so salt is added to save the bread from excess carbon dioxide production. 

Because salt will hinder the activity of the yeast and yeast won’t be able to form excessive carbon dioxide, thus you will get what you want: a leavened bread but with a smooth top.

But as it is said that excess of everything is bad, so you should never use a large quantity of salt or else it will kill your yeast. 

One of the reasons that can be the potential cause of why salt kills yeast can be that salt is hygroscopic in nature. So when it comes in contact with the yeast, it draws out water from the body of the yeast, thereby induces osmotic stress on the yeast and ultimately kills it.


There are also some claims that the addition of too much sugar can also harm the yeast and can even kill it and the reason behind these claims is again the hygroscopic nature.


Another thing that you should consider while dealing with yeast is that yeast is temperature sensitive and when the temperature of the water that you are adding in the yeast increases by 120 degrees Fahrenheit the yeast begins to degrade. 

If the temperature of the water reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above, the yeast present in the solution fully gets killed. This means that if your hot water has a temperature of more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit then it can kill your yeast. 

Therefore care should be taken in this regard or else you will be left with dead yeast that won’t be able to carry out any function. 

How does yeast work?

When it comes to the yeast cells, they respire aerobically if there is sufficient oxygen supply. But in the event that there isn’t sufficient oxygen present, at that point the process of fermentation will occur as the yeast cells need to respire anaerobically.

Now when the process of fermentation takes place, what happens is that it makes energy that is utilized by the yeast for the growth and development of its cells.  At the point when yeast cells ferment they additionally produce ethanol (alcohol) as a by-product which plays an important role when it comes to the brewing industry. 

In order to carry out the process of fermentation, yeast needs sugar as without sugar, the yeast cells would not have the option to respire at all. 

So what happens is that yeast uses the sugar and breaks it down in the form of glucose during the process of fermentation.

Thus yeast is the item that is utilized to make the majority of your bread items rise. Pizza dough, cakes, and bread all include yeast for their plans, and you need to take extraordinary consideration of it to keep it alive. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Does salt kill yeast in the dough” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not the addition of salt kills yeast in the dough. Moreover, we discussed other factors that can potentially kill the yeast and how yeast works.



Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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