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Salt and yeast

Keywords for this post:YeastSaltBakingContactLegend
Salt and yeast
Let's take a look at an old baker's legend: You may have already read that somewhere in a recipe that uses baker's yeast(bread, pastries, leavened doughs in general) it is often specified "Don't put salt in contact with the yeast, you'll kill it (the yeast)"!

Well, that's a belief, and there are many in the kitchen, pastry shop or bakery, but is it true?
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Last modified on: March 15th 2019

Salt and yeast

Let's look at the participants:

- On the one hand, yeast, tiny fungi "Saccharomyces cerevisiae", living beings indeed that will attack the starch of the flour (I simplify) and produce CO2, this is fermentation.

levure de boulanger



- On the other hand, the salt

sel




Do they react if you put them in contact? Yes, a little: the salt and its hygroscopic side "pumps" the water contained in the yeast and thus softens it a little.

And then the salt will kill the mushrooms? No, not at all, even a little softened, it will keep most of its fermentation power.

In good bakery or pastry training courses, the myth is broken by mixing salt + yeast in a small bowl and letting it rest for a good hour, and you can then see that you get a kind of salty yeast, a little softened, but yeast nonetheless.

levure seulelevure avec sellevure avec sel + 1 heure
Yeast aloneYeast with saltYeast with salt, 1 hour later

All this to tell you that no, the contact of yeast with salt is not dangerous for the yeast, don't be afraid of this, it's just a legend.

However, nothing prevents you from doing what bakers do when you pour your ingredients before kneading: they always manage to avoid putting sugar, salt and yeast in contact with each other, but this is especially in case, at the last moment, you detect a weighing error and try to correct it in a hurry!

To sum up: salt and yeast can be put together in a recipe, it won't prevent your future dough from rising.

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