Active Dry Yeast just purchased (nowhere near expiration date) failed to proof


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I always used ADY for baking, but have been reading that instant (non-fast rising) is better for breads. I have 6 new packets of ADY to use before I attempt instant yeast so I opened a brand new packet of ADY (Walmart brand nowhere near the expiration date) and tried to proof it in room temp milk. No reaction but foolishly I used it anyway since it was "fresh." Here I sit 2 hours later with a dough ball that hasn't risen one bit.
No, the milk wasn't too hot, No, the yeast didn't come in contact with salt, I attempted the rise in an oven with a pan of hot water underneath as I usually do. The more I read about yeast, the more contradictory information I get.

Seems there is no standard as to what to call different types and information online is contradictory and confusing: ADY MUST be proofed first/ ADY can be added dry to dry ingredients. Instant is the same as bread yeast,/they are NOT the same. Fast rising is fine to use/fast rising is poor as it doesn't allow for long-rise flavor.
I need some experienced advice as most advice I'm seeing online is contradictory. I did read that ADY is very unpredictable in its proofing, even "fresh" packaged.
 
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I always used ADY for baking, but have been reading that instant (non-fast rising) is better for breads. I have 6 new packets of ADY to use before I attempt instant yeast so I opened a brand new packet of ADY (Walmart brand nowhere near the expiration date) and tried to proof it in room temp milk. No reaction but foolishly I used it anyway since it was "fresh." Here I sit 2 hours later with a dough ball that hasn't risen one bit.
No, the milk wasn't too hot, No, the yeast didn't come in contact with salt, I attempted the rise in an oven with a pan of hot water underneath as I usually do. The more I read about yeast, the more contradictory information I get.

Seems there is no standard as to what to call different types and information online is contradictory and confusing: ADY MUST be proofed first/ ADY can be added dry to dry ingredients. Instant is the same as bread yeast,/they are NOT the same. Fast rising is fine to use/fast rising is poor as it doesn't allow for long-rise flavor.
I need some experienced advice as most advice I'm seeing online is contradictory. I did read that ADY is very unpredictable in its proofing, even "fresh" packaged.

Water not milk. Milk contains enzymes and whey proteins inhibit yeast development. That is why recipes used to instruct bakers to scald the milk—to destroy the proteins and enzymes, so as not to interfere with the yeast.

Even though milk is pasteurized, the difference in temperature between pasteurization and scalding is significant, 160°F versus 185°F.

So it’s best to proof yeast in water. Use a thermometer to ensure the temperature of the water does not exceed 100°F

Also, just because the yeast is within its expiration date does not mean it’s alive. That’s the whole point of proofing the yeast—to test its viability. In transit, in storage any number of conditions could have caused the yeast to die.
 
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Thanks, Norcalbaker. I've seen many recipes that call for milk only, and even proofing ADY in warm milk. My understanding is that it may take longer due to the slower dissolving of the ADY in milk, and the higher PH of milk. I tried an experiment and divided a pack of ADY between a bowl of warm water and a pinch of sugar, and a bowl of warm milk (pasteurized but not scalded). The milk yeast took longer to proof but it ended up fine.

I think as you suggested that the first packet of yeast was dead. The next pack in the strip proofed fine. As I said, I think I'm going to begin using instant yeast.
 
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Thanks, Norcalbaker. I've seen many recipes that call for milk only, and even proofing ADY in warm milk. My understanding is that it may take longer due to the slower dissolving of the ADY in milk, and the higher PH of milk. I tried an experiment and divided a pack of ADY between a bowl of warm water and a pinch of sugar, and a bowl of warm milk (pasteurized but not scalded). The milk yeast took longer to proof but it ended up fine.

I think as you suggested that the first packet of yeast was dead. The next pack in the strip proofed fine. As I said, I think I'm going to begin using instant yeast.

It's not the pH of milk, which is 6.7 - 6.9 almost neutral, and a fraction off of water which is 7.

Milk contains fatty acids and enzymes; water does not. Those molecules bind with and interfere with the yeast, which is a living organism.

That's why milk was scalded in the past before pasteurization, to destroy the proteins. If it wasn't, the bread had little to no rise.
 
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I always used ADY for baking, but have been reading that instant (non-fast rising) is better for breads. I have 6 new packets of ADY to use before I attempt instant yeast so I opened a brand new packet of ADY (Walmart brand nowhere near the expiration date) and tried to proof it in room temp milk. No reaction but foolishly I used it anyway since it was "fresh." Here I sit 2 hours later with a dough ball that hasn't risen one bit.
No, the milk wasn't too hot, No, the yeast didn't come in contact with salt, I attempted the rise in an oven with a pan of hot water underneath as I usually do. The more I read about yeast, the more contradictory information I get.

Seems there is no standard as to what to call different types and information online is contradictory and confusing: ADY MUST be proofed first/ ADY can be added dry to dry ingredients. Instant is the same as bread yeast,/they are NOT the same. Fast rising is fine to use/fast rising is poor as it doesn't allow for long-rise flavor.
I need some experienced advice as most advice I'm seeing online is contradictory. I did read that ADY is very unpredictable in its proofing, even "fresh" packaged.
cold milk put it to sleep, in future you can test the dough by immersing a small thumb sized chunk of dough in a cup of hot water, keep it warm, if the water goes cold exchange with more hot tap water, if it doesn't pop to the top of the water in 15 minutes its kaput and you don't need to waste any more time on it. But I highly doubt the yeast is bad.
You'll find the yeast wasn't dead and the milk didn't kill it, it was just sleeping.

We make brioche with icy cold milk, it only slows the proof down (which doesn't matter because it gets slow proofed in the cooler overnite). But the dry yeast must be activated in warm milk or tap water before using.
 
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Thanks retired baker. I used the same lot of yeast yesterday for Thanksgiving dinner milk rolls. This time I proofed the yeast first in 20mls of 105-degree water and it foamed up wonderfully. I then deducted 20mls of milk from my total and warmed the milk up to about 100 degrees. Mixed everything together and let it rise in about 75-80 degree area. The recipe said 1 hour or until doubled, but it took 3 hours to double. They turned out wonderfully but didn't get come out of the oven until we were well into the Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone loved them but in the future, I guess I must allow a long rise time for whatever reason.
 
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Thanks retired baker. I used the same lot of yeast yesterday for Thanksgiving dinner milk rolls. This time I proofed the yeast first in 20mls of 105-degree water and it foamed up wonderfully. I then deducted 20mls of milk from my total and warmed the milk up to about 100 degrees. Mixed everything together and let it rise in about 75-80 degree area. The recipe said 1 hour or until doubled, but it took 3 hours to double. They turned out wonderfully but didn't get come out of the oven until we were well into the Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone loved them but in the future, I guess I must allow a long rise time for whatever reason.
Couple of things,
Scald all the milk first and let it come down to safe temp for yeast.
Proof at higher temp.
Small home batches will tend to go cold, big commercial batches are proofed in the mixer because the larger dough mass insulates it from going cold.
Next time stick a food thermometer in the dough when it stops mixing, take a reading and again after 30 minutes, see if its going up or down, it should be going up.
Don't put the dough to proof in a big heavy cold bowl, that will just suck the life out of the dough.
 
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You may have hit the nail on the head...I tend to use large steel mixing bowls which are not only at 67 degrees (my room temp) but also great heat conductors drawing the heat from my dough. Come to think of it, my grandmother and mother used glass bowls (poor heat conductors). Perhaps if I warm up a glass bowl to 110 in the oven, then drape it with a cloth that would help. I'm attempting hamburger buns today and will try that.
 

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