The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What kind of yeast?

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Kate's picture
Kate

What kind of yeast?

I'm contemplating switching from Active Dry Yeast to Instant Yeast. Any opinions? My preferred form of yeast is my sourdough starter, but for those things where a starter won't do I've always used Active Dry. My Active Dry jar has just run out and I've never used Instant Yeast, but it seems like it would be easier since it doesn't need time to soak in warm water. But there must be a catch, right? I mean, why use Active Dry if Instant is so much easier? Are there certain recipes where Instant wouldn't work? Oh, I've also been told to stay away from Rapid Rise, that the other two are better - is this true?

Thanks for your advice!

Kate 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Active dry yeast has a longer shelf life than instant yeast. That is the only compelling reason I know of to use it.

To the best of my knowledge, most professional bakers switched over years ago. I know the bakery I worked in almost 20 years ago used nothing but instant yeast. It is stronger, easier to use, less prone to failure.

I think the main reason active dry continues to be prominent is that so many older cookbooks list it, so consumers continue to look for it on the shelf.

Kate's picture
Kate

Good to know. I started using active dry because that's what my mom used and I was used to it, but I bake a lot, so I don't think I'll have a problem with the shelf life of the instant stuff. Another thing: many of my bread recipes call for fresh or cake yeast, but that requires a long drive over a bridge and through a busy city to get - any tips on converting fresh yeast recipes to instant yeast? Will the quality suffer dramatically?

Thanks! 

dasein668's picture
dasein668

I go with:

100% Fresh Yeast = 50% Active Dry = 33% Instant Yeast

Nathan Sanborn

dasein668.com

brushfiremedia.com

donnas4girls's picture
donnas4girls

According to the Fleischmann's website the Rapid Rise yeast and their Bread Machine yeast packaged in the jar are the same. They both contain Ascorbic acid as the only other additive.

I have switched over to instant yeast after reading Peter Reinhart's BBA.It is much easier to add the instant yeast directly into the dry ingredients.

Kate's picture
Kate

Arg. Looks like my decision has been made for me... My grocery stores in town AND the Whole Foods that's a hassle to get to do not carry instant yeast. They all carry Rapid Rise and Active Dry and that's it. =(

I'm not sure where else to look. Any ideas? Can one buy Instant yeast reliably online?

Thanks,

Kate 

socurly's picture
socurly

Try asking your local italian bakery for some yeast.  I buy mine from a small local bakery.  You can get large quantities.  Sometimes the cashier looks at me funny but the owner is a sweet italian man who understands my baking! It never hurts to ask. When I mentioned how my mother brought some cakes of yeast from Italy, and I had trouble getting it here in Toronto. He immediately gave me tips on bread making.  Italians really love and need their bread. He happily sold me a large vacuum packed brick of instant yeast.

demegrad's picture
demegrad

I'm pretty sure rapid rise yeast is simply fleischmann's brand name for instant yeast.  Like SAF has Active Dry Yeast, then they have Perfect Rise Yeast.  Perfect Rise yeast is just their brand name for instant yeast and so on.  Even if I'm wrong, it all works pretty much the same, and the conversions listed in one of the earlier posts are pretty standard and work well.

demegrad

http://www.demegrad.blogspot.com

gianfornaio's picture
gianfornaio

At the risk of echoing Demegrad, RapidRise and Instant Yeast are the same, from what I understand. I think I picked that up from Rose Levy Berenbaum's Bread Bible, on whose recommendation I changed to RapidRise/Instant/Bread Machine Yeast, and my breads have never lacked for flavor (at least not without some other grave error). I use less yeast than advised (much less, like a quarter, with a 20-24 hr. dryish sponge that I knead the CO2 out of 10-12 hrs. after mixing it and before making the dough), and the bread just smells and tastes like good bread, like its flours, and not so much like yeast or sour.

I guess what I like about instant is that its flavor is subtle enough and it works so quickly that it doesn't take too much tinkering to ferment your dough quickly and coax flavor from the flour without just tacking yeast flavor onto it.   

Also, I suspect from my grocery store shelves and from the package of my last jar that RAF (or is it Red Star?) and Fleischman are calling it bread machine yeast now-- grocery stores near me have pared back to Active Dry and Bread Machine, two brands of each. Fleischmann's label indicates that it is either (sorry, not at home, can't read the jar) interchangeable with RapidRise or should be used by adjusting Active Dry recipes in the same way one would for instant or RapidRise. Does anyone know more about this trend, if indeed it is one?

Also, how long does cake yeast keep?

Kate's picture
Kate

That's a great idea. Finding such a bakery will be a challenge in itself, but worth it if they will sell to me. =)

socurly's picture
socurly

Kate, where do you live?  I live in Toronto.  I just bought a 1 lb. (454 g) vacuum sealed pack of instant yeast for 6 dollars.

Kate's picture
Kate

Yowza, that's a great deal. Where did you get it?

I live near San Francisco - one would think this would be easier to find around here! -  I just need to pack the babies in the car and take the drive into a bigger city and buy a nice big chunk like that so I don't need to do it very often...

mattie405's picture
mattie405

If you have a Sams Wholesale Club store near you then you can probably get the 2 lb pack of instant yeast there, it runs about $5. I also use Bobs Redmill Yeast from the refridgerator section of the local health food store so you might also try the health food stores in your area.

demegrad's picture
demegrad

I think all the wholesale stores carry bulk vacuum packed yeast.  Like the earlier post sam's has it, I remember seeing something at bj's I can't remember if it was active dry or instant, but I'm a costco member and they carry active dry yeast 2lbs for $2.99 and since I work a lot with sourdough, that will probably last the rest of my life.  I keep a small portion in one of those little brown jars of yeast that I used up and rest of the yeast I vacuum sealed using my new food saver I got for christmas and I keep it in the freezer.

 

demegrad

http://www.demegrad.blogspot.com

MissSpoon's picture
MissSpoon

Socurly, I don't know if you'll get this, you're still on here, or that they'll even still be selling that yeast but it's worth a shot......I've been going crazy trying to find the huge packs of vaccuum sealed yeast, and live in Toronto! Wondering where it is you were/are getting it?

sewwhatsports's picture
sewwhatsports

You can also go on line to The Baker's Catalogue, the store for King Arthur flour and order yeast there.  That is what I did until I got up there.  I will be going again in a month and plan to stock up on some basic supplies that will store well.  They are very good about sending things out very rapidly. 

Rena in Delaware

sadears's picture
sadears

Instant yeast is bread machine yeast, right?  I thought it was just for bread machines...go figure.

Kate's picture
Kate

I checked out the rapid rise stuff and the bread machine stuff and both of those still need very warm liquids added to them - the active dry needs to be proofed in 105 degree water and the rapid rise and bread machine yeasts need 120 degree water added to the mix...

The true instant yeast doesn't need this warm water treatment, right? You just add it to the flour and go about your day, right? Or am I wrong? Since I can't find any I can't read the package! =)

Kate 

demegrad's picture
demegrad

I'm still convinced that rapid rise is bread machine yeast and both are exactly the same as instant yeast and do not need to be dissolved in water first.   Check out this website it might clarify things!

http://www.breadworld.com/sciencehistory/yeast.asp 

 

demegrad

http://www.demegrad.blogspot.com

sphealey's picture
sphealey

> I checked out the rapid rise stuff and the bread machine stuff

> and both of those still need very warm liquids added to them

> - the active dry needs to be proofed in 105 degree water and

> the rapid rise and bread machine yeasts need 120 degree

> water added to the mix...

 

For yeast sold in retail stores in the United States, I have not found this to be the case. I have tried all types of dried yeast and they all seem to work fine, particularly with a slow preferment.

 

I normally buy "instant" or "bread machine" yeast in bulk. I avoid "rapid rise" as some (but not all) manufacturers put extra chemicals in the rapid rise formula to speed up rising and allow a bread to be made with only one rise. I am not trying to speed up the rising, and if I do want a fast rise I use a little sugar and warmer temperature. Works fine.

 

This is a prime example to me of how the yeast industry is confusing people and hurting their own sales by having too many confusing names for yeast.

 

sPh

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

I concur - I have used the jar of Fleischmann's "Bread Machine" yeast sold in most supermarkets - it is simply instant yeast, you do not need to use a warm liquid to proof it. You just add the "Bread Machine" or instant yeast to the flour in your recipe, as you would need to do if you were also using a bread machine. I have never had any problem getting my dough to rise using the "Bread Machine" yeast as an instant yeast. I now use the larger package of SAF instant yeast from the King Arthur Baker's catalog, which I also have noticed is available at Sam's Club, so is also probably available at the other wholesale clubs (BJ's, Costco).

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Yeah, I found a 1 pound package of SAF yeast at Winco (which is like Food 4 Less) for... 6 bucks, I think. Good yeast and a great deal.

Kate's picture
Kate

Yes, way too confusing! The Costco near me doesn't sell yeast in any form, but I am going to pick up some "bread machine" yeast at the grocery store and I'm going to add it straight to my flour and I'm not going to add hot liquids... We'll see!

Thanks for all your help!

Kate 

Lorraineb76's picture
Lorraineb76

My grandma taught me how to make bread nearly 40 years ago. We used Cake yeast back then, The large rectangular  Fleishman's  brand. She always told me that 3 packages of Active Dry Yeast equals a large cake of yeast, and I went by that. The recipe makes 5 loaves of bread.. Of course I would use cake yeast until I found a few moldy ones and decided to switch to Active Dry.  The last couple of years I switched to Instant Yeast because my sister would buy me those one pound packages from SAM"S CLUB. I use them just like I did Active Dry. They do rise a second time you know? I proof the yeast with a tsp of sugar in the water. It takes a good hour or two to double in bulk. It rises fine a second time just like the AD yeast.Now my daughter is a Family and Consumer Science teacher and she's telling me I should make a sponge the night before to improve the flavor of the bread with Instant Yeast. Well I used to do that when I was on on Sourdough kick, and I admit my bread IS kind of neutral tasting. Maybe I should start making a sponge like I used to. Maybe even a 3 day sponge like I used to for my Jewish Rye which I stopped making last year (It just didn't taste like store bought, even when I added raw onion to the sponge.) So I'm going to start using a 24 hour sponge for my bread, using half the recipe's liquid for the sponge, and see if that doesn't help