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99b05d0e ff77 40e7 886d bfeeebe9f1ed  the scream

I would so appreciate a quick and easy way to remember the difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast. I know SAF Gold is for sweet doughs and SAF red for the rest, but I know there are some applications are better suited for active, and some instant.

I am more of a bread baker than sweets maker and do use my sourdough starter, Otis, and cheat a bit with packaged yeast. I use SAF and Red Star--Red Star seems to perform better. Any other yeast favorites? .

Has fresh yeast disappeared from your markets, as well?

asked by marynn almost 6 years ago
11 answers 1769 views
397bc6d3 46e8 4d02 8a39 ce4a087eb481  2015 0609 amanda portrait 135
Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 6 years ago

This is not a direct answer to your question but .... in general, I'd never recommend instant (or rapid rise) yeast because you don't want any dough to rise quickly. Ideally, you want to use the least amount of yeast possible and you want to let dough proof slowly at cooler temperatures, so the flavor has time to develop. P.S. like the image you attached -- have felt like that in the kitchen many times!

22b9ddc9 fc61 48a3 949e dee341974288  liz and dad
added almost 6 years ago

I still find Fleischmann's fresh yeast in the dairy aisle, but don't ever use it. Some bakeries will sell it to you. I like Red star active dry yeast, because that's all I've ever used. As far as I know, with active dry, it requires a longer rise time. And with instant, less. Hopefully someone could illuminate us both!

2269774e 64e7 47ec 8fb3 d6fb03cce199  debbykalk photo
added almost 6 years ago

James Beard stresses the importance of freshness with any yeast. And fresh yeast, in particular, only works when it's fresh - so unless there are a lot of bakers at your market, they probably don't sell enough of it to warrant carrying it. I wonder if there are other sources available to the home baker?

3639eee1 5e0d 4861 b1ed 149bd0559f64  gator cake
hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added almost 6 years ago

Basically active yeast particles are live yeast encapsulated by dead yeast, so must be dissolved in water (proofed) before use to activate the yeast. Instant yeast (aka rapid rise or bread yeast) is all live, so doesn't need to have the outer coating dissolved in water. Substitution wise rapid rise is about 25% more potent than active.
A good way to remember is that active yeast needs activation. Hope this helps.

B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 6 years ago

According to some fairly knowledgeable people (well, they appear to be so) in The Fresh Loaf forums, instant and rapid rise are two different types of yeast, but they are similar in that both have "enhancers" and the granules are larger. If that's all you have, just use less of it. And, if you were to make the English Country Bread someone posted on food52 some time ago, instant would be a great choice. It's not coated, like active dry yeast, so it doesn't need to be dissolved, as others have noted. That said, I believed for many years that the only reason to proof yeast is to make sure it's good (this advice from Julia Child), but I always knew my yeast was fresh because I buy it from the same company that provides flour and other baking ingredients to the best (read, household name) restaurants in the East Bay. So, for the longest time, I didn't bother to proof, just stirring the yeast in with the liquid ingredients and going on my merry way, i.e., dumping the dry ingredients in immediately. Frankly, it doesn't make a bit of difference, in terms of the performance of the yeast, whether you proof or not, as long as the yeast comes into contact with something wet. James Beard says it gives the bread a better flavor. In my kitchen, the jury is still out on that one. (My bread tastes great, either way.) ;o)

A1102b32 3986 4d62 8080 d8c370e5706c  fb avatar
added almost 6 years ago

Thanks, all! HLA, your "active yeast needs activation" will remind me to slough off those dead yeast cells *ick*.
Amanda, I agree, a long, cool rise yields best results, particularly with baguette. But sometimes it feels like the "oomph" has left the dough and I love those big holes in the final product.
AntoniaJames, you are brave to pick through the minutiae of thefreshloaf. I do use it but find it overwhelming. I'm taking your word for it (and it's why I spend more time in food52!). >;)

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 6 years ago

Amanda, reading the CI article excerpted, if it is accurate, I did not get the idea that instant yeast is faster rising. Do you think this is the case? It seems to me to be more the case with the amount of yeast used. I agree with you on long slow cool rising. No Knead bread rocks!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 6 years ago

marynn I get big chewy holes in my no knead bread which is left to rise on the counter overnight. It uses a tiny bit of yeast. But I do usualy enhance it with a nugget or even cup of 'old dough'.

B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 6 years ago

nutcakes, I'm no expert, by any means, and the amount of research I've done is next to none, but I have heard from reliable sources that world-class bakers agree that it really doesn't matter what kind you use . . what matters is how much you use, the temperature of your liquids, and the temperature of the environment in which the dough rises. That's perfectly consistent with my experience (again, not much, only 200 - 300 loaves a year, each baked one at a time + I haven't any professional training or experience, and very little time to read books or blogs on the subject).

A1102b32 3986 4d62 8080 d8c370e5706c  fb avatar
added almost 6 years ago

nutcakes, I have read this advice in several folks-who-know places and I always forget to do so. The old "clean the plate club" thinking. From now on, I resolve so to do!

And all of you, that Bon Appetit post on yeast ain't got nuthin' on y'all! This is the place to go.