I've tried baking with active dry yeast AND instant yeast. I follow all of the directions and use the type of yeast the recipe tells me to use.
Most recipes tell me to put the dry-active yeast with flour, add lukewarm liquid, knead, and proof at room temp and that has been largely unsuccessful. I've tried mixing the yeast with a little bit of the liquid with a pinch of sugar to activate it before mixing it with flour but that also hasn't been working.
So my questions:
1. How can I ensure my yeast is fresh when I buy it? Should I buy it online vs in a grocery store?
2. When using dry-active yeast, should I mix it with a little bit of the lukewarm liquid BEFORE adding it to the flour regardless of what the recipe says?
3. Am I storing my yeast incorrectly?
Any advice would be helpful!!