The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yeast

mauiman's picture
mauiman

Yeast

I'm quite new to baking and my experience so far is limited to my attempts to create the perfect pizza dough.  This includes the use of bread flour, 00 flour and making my own sour dough starter. 


The internet seems to be awash in conflicting information and opinions. At first, every recipe I found had you mixing the yeast in water and sugar.  Then, I found several recipes that just suggest water and yeast only.  Now, I'm on the Fresh Loaf's "Your First Loaf - A Primer for the New Baker" page and the author says just mix all the dry ingredients together at once (no proofing).  There is no description of what kind of yeast he's using.  In a primer, you'd think he'd spell that out?  Does this suggest he's using instant yeast?

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Normally(and technically) instant yeast is just mixed with the dry ingredients. But really, people use any type yeast, in a variety of ways, in whatever works for them.


I also got into bread baking by way of seeking out great recipes for pizza crusts. The best site in the world for home pizza making is www.pizzamaking.com. All kinds of great recipes(hundreds) and advice in the forums there, and a fantastic, very involved and knowledgeable moderator.

proth5's picture
proth5

There are a few types of yeast easily avaialble to the US home baker:


Instant yeast (also packaged by the Fleischmann's Yeast Company as "Rapid Rise" and "Bread Machine" yeast.)  The drying methods used for this yeast a relatively gentle resulting in a high proportion of viable yeast cells.  This yeast can be added directly to the dry ingredients.  I believe the primer on these pages assumes you are using instant yeast.  Instant yeast has become the go to yeast for many "serious home bakers" - personally, when I use commercial yeast, that's what I use.   But I do think our old friend Active Dry Yeast has gotten somewhat of a bad rap.


Active Dry Yeast - the yeast companies recommend that this be dissolved in water prior to incorporation in a dough.  Active Dry yeast contains a fairly large number of dead yeast cells in comparison to the instant yeasts and dissolving it gets the viable cells in contact with water more easily to allow them to become active. When using baker's percentage formulas written for instant yeast, some recommend adding a certain percentage (which escapes me right now) more of Active Dry Yeast.


Active Dry Yeast has been with us since WWII.  In those early days, folks used to dissolve the yeast in water with sugar and wait until it foamed to prove that the yeast was still viable.  This practice persisted and is often written into modern recipes.  Here in the 21st century there is little need to "prove" the yeast, if it comes from a reputable company and has not passed its expiration date.  When in doubt, though, it does no harm.


There were also a number of recipes developed by the Fleischmann's Yeast Company (and others)  called "Rapid Mix" that incorporated the active dry yeast in the dry ingredients.  They actually worked just fine, but my personal take is that now we have instant yeast, so just use that.


There is a new "pizza crust" yeast that has been developed by the Fleischmann's yeast company that incorporates dough conditioners so that the dough can be mixed and shaped almost immediately - with no need to rest.  It has been reveiwed (actually favorably!) on these pages.


The treatment of fresh yeast has similarly evolved (from a method called "creaming" to the "add it when you add the liquid, but keep it away from the salt") but since I rarely use it (because it is difficult for me to find), I'll let that go for now.


Hope this helps.