The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why should I use one type of yeast over another?

Juergen's picture

Why should I use one type of yeast over another?

Whenever I make a yeasted bread,  I always use instant yeast because this is the only type of yeast most supermarkets here in Holland sell. As a result I've never used fresh yeast or active dry yeast at all. The brand of instant yeast I typically buy is Bruggeman because that is what my local supermarket sells.

As of recently though, my local supermarket has started selling small cubes of fresh yeast  as well. This got me wondering why I would want to use fresh yeast or active dry yeast over instant yeast. When it comes to ease of use, the instant stuff comes out on top so what would be the reason to use one of the other two types?

wally's picture

I put that question to Jeff Hamelman some months ago when our restaurant baking operation was moving into new digs and I was concerned about storage space for fresh yeast.  His reply was that given the sophistication of yeast technology nowadays, it's really a matter of personal preference.  For my own, I prefer IDY because it does not require refrigerated storage and can be added directly to flour without activiation in water (as with ADY).  If you use yeast frequently enough, however, fresh yeast might make sense (we, on  the other hand, were always throwing away partial cases because of mold).

So, bottom line: choose the type you're most comfortable using.


jcking's picture

Some info taken from the Bread Bakers Guild of America forum.

Active Dry Yeast;
gets to work sooner and releases less material that interferes with gluten formation when it is premixed with warm water. [Daniel Wing "The Bread Builders"]

Live active cells surrounded by dead cells with moisture removed. Possible plus; dead yeast cells produce a type of protein called glutathione, which can act as a natural relaxer..

Every package of dry yeast I've ever seen, both instant and active dry, has listed sorbitan monostearate as an ingredient. When an organic certification inspector noticed that, we were made to switch to fresh.

Instant Yeast;
    Adjusting for length of fermentation at 77°F
    3 - 4 Hours = .003 ( 0.3%)
    1 1/2 - 2 Hours = .004 ( 0.4 - 0.5%)
    1 Hour = .007 ( .7%)
    30 - 45 minutes = 0.01 ( 1%)
Short Mix; IDY = 0.3%
Improved Mix: IDY = 0.4%
Intensive Mix; IDY = 0.7%


If your dough process includes an autolyse, you may find it helpful to add the instant yeast during the first part of your mixing to allow it an opportunity to hydrate somewhat. If the autolyse is longer than 20 to 30 minutes, you may want to wait until you start the final mix so as not to get any excessive yeast activity causing over oxidation of the dough.

Yeast cells are extremely small with approximately 20,000,000,000 (20 billion) cells in one gram of yeast.

Dry yeast should not be placed in direct content with water that is below approximately 70°F. At these lower temperatures the yeast cells may release some of their contents (glutathione) producing a slack dough with less fermentation activity. If cold water is needed for the dough, it is a good practice to add the yeast to the bowl after the water and flour have been blended.


Juergen's picture

Thanks everyone, I'm happy to read there's no difference in pratical use. 

joyfulbaker's picture

I don't think I've ever seen these hints before, and I've been baking bread for a 7 years (all our household bread plus).  Thank you, Jim, for this information, which I'm going to print out and keep handy.