dry yeast and instant yeast
Nearly all breads and pastries will perform equally well
with any of the available yeast products (fresh, active dry, quick rise, or
instant). Active dry yeast, developed about 150 years ago, is sold in sealed,
foil-lined packets. But in the packaging process, about 25% of the yeast cells
die off, releasing a small amount of glutathione, which causes relaxation of
gluten (this makes it a good yeast for pizza dough, but it’s not ideal for all
Instant yeast, also called quick rise or rapid rise, came
along about 30 years ago and has become more popular as its availability has
increased. Because none of the yeast cells die during packaging, it requires
25% less instant yeast than active dry yeast to leaven a loaf. The biggest
advantage of instant yeast is that it dissolves directly in dough without
having to be hydrated in warm water the way active dry yeast often does. (The
mini baguette recipe uses active dry yeast without first hydrating it, but it
works in this case because the dough is exceptionally wet.)
Fresh yeast, also called
compressed or cake yeast, is sold refrigerated in foil-wrapped blocks and
cubes. It’s a moist product and has a limited shelf life of about three weeks,
even if refrigerated. It is also harder to find for home baking. Professional
bakers have traditionally liked this type of yeast because it’s what they
learned to bake with, but many of them are now switching to instant yeast because
of its extended shelf life and ease of use.
What is the difference between
active dry yeast and instant yeast (also known as bread machine yeast)?
Instant yeast is a little more
potent than active dry yeast and can be mixed in with your dry ingredients
directly. I generally find it easier to work with. Active dry yeast works just
as well as instant yeast, but requires being activated in a little bit of warm
water before being added to the rest of the ingredients. Failure to properly
activate it will result in your loaf not rising adequately.
Can I substitute active dry
yeast for instant yeast in my recipe (or vice versa)?
Yes. If you are substituting
active dry yeast for instant yeast in a recipe, read the instructions on the
package to figure out how to activate the yeast before adding it to the recipe
and reduce the amount of water you add later in the recipe by the amount of
water you proof the yeast in (i.e., if you activate the yeast in a half a cup
of water, add a half a cup of water or milk less later so that you end up with
the same total amount of liquid in the recipe). You may also want to add about
20 percent more yeast to the recipe than what is called for, although using
less yeast and letting it rise more slowly will result in a more flavorful
loaf. If you are substituting instant yeast for active dry yeast, you can
reduce the amount of yeast you use in your recipe by approximately 20 percent.
Be sure not to forget to increase the amount of water you add to the dry
ingredients by the amount that you would proof the active dry yeast in, so that
you end up with the same total amount of liquid in the recipe.
What about fresh yeast?
Professional bakers often use
fresh yeast. If you encounter a recipe that uses fresh yeast, divide the weight
by 3 to calculate the proper amount of instant yeast to use.
Sometimes when I make bread
(especially brioche) I notice a very strong, unpleasant alcohol taste in the
finished loaf. What causes this and how can I avoid it?
What you are smelling is yeast fermentation—the conversion of sugars into
alcohol and carbon dioxide. When dough overferments, it gives off a stale beer
smell. Some of this alcohol will bake off, but some of it may remain in the
finished bread. Dough made with a high percentage of yeast and sugar, such as
brioche and other soft, rich bread products, are more vulnerable to
overfermentation than crusty breads such as French or Italian bread, which use
small percentages of yeast. If your bread is overfermenting it may be because
the dough is too warm or, if kept overnight in the refrigerator, it did not
cool down quickly enough to stop the fermentation. Try making the dough with
colder water or reduce the yeast by about 10%. Brioche, especially, should be
chilled immediately after mixing to control the fermentation.
Quick Instant Yeast
1 g = ¼ tsp
2 g = ½ tsp
3 g = ¼ tsp＋½ tsp
4 g = 1 tsp
5 g = 1 ¼ tsp
Cake (moist) - the traditional live yeast; needs to be dissolved in water
Active dry - the traditional dry yeast; needs to be dissolved usually with a bit
Instant - contains a bit of yeast enhancer (citric acid, maybe some other
stuff?) and is possibly more concentrated than active dry; does not need to be
Bread Machine - exactly the same as instant in a different package
Rapid Rise - larger amount of yeast enhancers and other packaging changes to the
granules. Does not have to be dissolved. Works very fast and is intended for
straight doughs that you want to complete within an hour or so. Generally not
used by artisan bakers who seek slower, not faster, rise.
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