The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Used Active instead of Rapid Yeast... what does that mean for me?

fncll's picture

Used Active instead of Rapid Yeast... what does that mean for me?

I'm making the basic "Classic French Bread" from Reinhart's Artisan Bread Every Day and realized that I used Red Star Active yeast instead of Rapid yeast. Does this just mean a longer proofing time or ??

Paddyscake's picture

Active yeast needs to be activated by putting it into warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Rapid rise can be added directly in with the flour.


fncll's picture

So, since I added it in with the flour as the recipe called for, that dough is pretty much dead (to me)? Darn it!!

mrfrost's picture

Yes, you will probably have a considerably longer wait for the first rise. Much longer than the times mentioned in a recipe for instant yeast and especially if no warm liquids are specified.

Active dry yeast needs to be activated in warm liquids and even then, all things being equal, is not as fast as instant. Especially on the front end.

Since it sounds like you have already completed the dough, just try being patient. The active dry will eventually get there.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

... and the bread will probably taste better for the longer time it has to develop.

I use cold water for that reason, that is if I'm not using a starter or poolish ... :-) A Russian baker taught me that slow fermentation is better than fast fermentation decades ago, every authority I've read/heard has said the same since then.

sphealey's picture

Having worked for several consumer products companies in the past 5 years, I personally wonder if there is any significant difference between the various types of supermarket dry yeast.  Or if there once was a difference and now isn't, but the manufacturers keep the two different labels on same product to get more shelf space (a very common tactic in consumer goods, esp when there are two dominant players that want to lock up all the shelf space for themselves and not allow new competitiors). 

In any case, given the variation in yeast measurement and other variations in home breadbaking you probably won't see any perceptable difference.


AndyM's picture

It's long been my experience that active dry yeast does not need to be activated in water before it is used in a dough.  I've done it hundreds of times, and never once have I had a yeast failure.  My impression had been that the step of activating the yeast (which is often referred to as "proofing" the yeast, though it is not the same as the step of "proofing" a dough right before baking) was recommended because active dry yeast was unreliable - the manufacturing process led to occasional "dud" batches in which the yeast was dead, and it was up to the consumer to test the product.  I had also heard that manufacturers got a lot better at making a consistently reliable product about 15 or so years ago, and that the old advice of using a "proofing the yeast" step was no longer necessary.  That's when I stopped proofing, and as mentioned earlier, I have never once had a problem with the yeast (except the one time I used too-hot water, but that was a temperature problem, not a yeast problem).

Instant yeast has been marketed as more convenient because it does not need to be proofed before using - but what if this is just marketing talk, and in fact the old active dry yeast doesn't have to be proofed either?  It would make sense from a marketing standpoint to double your shelf-space and perhaps be able to charge a premium price for a more "convenient" product...

One other difference that is commonly cited between instant and active dry yeast is concentration - instant yeast contains more yeast cells per ounce than active dry yeast does.  Therefore, recipes should use less instant yeast than they would active dry yeast.  I believe there is some scientific data that supports this difference between the two products, but then again, some of the cereal chemists who publish scientific data on bread products are employed by the yeast manufacturing companies...

So, as it relates to the original question - a dough made with active dry yeast instead of instant yeast should be just fine.  The biggest difference, if there is any difference, should be that the dough might rise more slowly.  But if you have enough time to let it rise on its own schedule, it should turn out just as well as it would have with instant yeast.

Dancing Bear's picture
Dancing Bear

Basically, the only difference between the two is that Active Dry yeast has a bigger grain size (the reason most people pre-dissolve it), and 25% of it is dead.  You can throw it right in the dough without proofing, it just takes a little longer as those big grains have to melt down before it can get to work.


Also, from a manufacturing standpoint, it's cheaper to produce.  Since we usually pay about the same for either kind, instant yeast is a better deal.  If you have a really cheap source of active dry, and a little patience, go for it :)

Ryeblossom's picture

If the dough is wet somewhat, I don't think you should have a problem, though only time can tell. 

Watch for the rise. I used it many times mixed with the flour and add enough water to make a wet or somewhat wet dough (I think it was about 1.6 cups water for 3.5 cups flour or so), and it didn't take long to rise. Now that I think of it- I guess it also depends on the amount of yeast you put there... 

I wouldn't worry too much anyway. 

(Edited to fix my explanation of the method of using the yeast)

flournwater's picture

I buy my ADY in two pound bags and I use it exclusively.  Don't use Instant/Rapid Rise Yeast in any form.

I was initially instructed to "proof" my ADY but I have learned that it is only necessary to proof it if I want to test the veracity of my yeast supply.  I simply add my ADY directly to the flour, whisk it in, add the salt and repeat, then the water.  However, I do try to remember to bring the ADY I intend to use in a formula to room temperature before using it.  It does work a bit faster using that method than it would if I used it directly from the refrigerator.  Only other adjustment I make using ADY is to use 1.5 times as much as the Instant Yeast formula I might be using for a particular publlished procedure suggests.

Paddyscake's picture

what difference did you see?


mrfrost's picture

Just realized that Artisan Breads.. are long fermentation recipes, so I have to jump in with the camp that there should not be much difference. Because of the long fermentation, the active dry yeast will have had plenty of time to catch up, so there will be little, if any signifigant difference in the final proofing times.

JoeV's picture

I have had failures using ADY, and threw it all in the garbage can 20 months ago, I buy SAF Instant Yeast at Sams Club or GFS in 1# vacuum packed bricks, which is good for just under 100 loaves of bread. I keep a 4oz jar of Instant in the fridge and the rest in a sealed glass jar in the freezer. I pay under $3 per pound in bulk.

If I want a long fermentation process, I also  CUT BACK on the amount of yeast I use. My no-knead recipes uses just 1/4 tsp. of Instant yeast or 1/4 C of fresh starter, and I get magnificient structure in the 12-20 hours I allow the dough to ferment.

fncll's picture

Thanks for all the notes-- the dough turned out quite well, though it did take a bit longer to rise. Then disaster came from another direction: I proofed in an improvised banneton: a stainless steel bowl with a cotton cloth dusted with flour... and the dough stuck mightily to the couche and I ended up making cannonball-ish loaves. 

After some reading I think I will try rubbing in and dusting the cloth with rice flour next time!