The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Active Yeast vs. Breadmaker Yeast

tchase65's picture

Active Yeast vs. Breadmaker Yeast

Hello there!

I just discovered your site and forum, and they are great! I have already found a lot of useful information.

I am very new to breadmaking, and after a lot of research, I purchased a Zojirushi breadmaker in November. I have to admit I do love it, and we've had some great tasting breads.

I've tried a variety of recipes from the manual, as well as ones I found on the King Arthur and Fleishman's sites. For the most part, our bread has turned out great. However, I've had a few that seemed smaller than expected and rather dense (as if they did not rise/bake properly). At the time, I thought perhaps it was just the type of recipe (one was cheese bread, and the other was an apple/raisin/oat loaf).

Well, last night I made the light rye bread from the Zojirushi manual for the 2nd time. The first time I used Breadmaker Yeast and this time I tried the Active Yeast option (both Fleishman's in the jar). The results using the active yeast were AWFUL. The loaf was small, dense, mishapen and barely edible. I went back through my other recipes that I'd had problems with, and noted that these had also called for the Active Yeast.

I checked my yeast, and the expiration date is June 2012. I also tried test proofing the yeast, and it seems just fine. I hate having to avoid recipes that do not have a rapid rise yeast option, but I also don't like having to throw my bread away.

I am following the recommended order for adding ingredients. I leave the preheat on, and I am sure I am selecting the correct program. It is very strange.

I am keeping my yeast refrigerated, so I am wondering if the active yeast is more finicky and needs more time to warm up than the breadmaker yeast (maybe it's not reaching room temperature as quickly). I am adding the water at room temp (as recommended; I use an instant read thermometer). Should I try warmer water for the active yeast? Should I proof the yeast in the pan, even though that is not recommended for my machine? Is there something else I should be doing?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...

Thanks for reading.  : )

Yumarama's picture

First, welcome to The fresh Loaf!

Active Dry Yeast will normally require to be activated before adding to the bread.

You will also need a little more Active Dry Yeast [ADY] - about 25% more - than you would Breadmaker or Instant Dry Yeast [IDY]. And note that they may sell Breadmaker and Instant Dry Yeast separately but they are in fact the same thing, just named differently to get people buying more.

To use ADY where IDY is required, use 1.25 times the IDY weight or 1 1/4 tsp ADY to each tsp IDY. Again, you want to activate this first in a little warm water.

To use IDY where ADY is required, use .67 times the ADY weight or 3/4 tsp IDY for each 1 tsp ADY. IDY goes directly into the dough ingredients and doesn't require activating.

Your yeast storing process is fine. 


Happy baking,


tchase65's picture

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the welcome!

Funny, I did accidentally buy a bottle of Instant, rather than Breadmaker yeast in addition to the Active (so now I have 3 bottles of yeast! LOL). Thankfully, the Fleishman's website was very helpful to let me know that their versions of Rapid Rise/Breadmaker/Instant are all pretty much the same. Just different marketing I guess...

I find your ratio suggestions interesting, as my recipes that came wth my breadmaker seem to suggest the opposite. When the recipe can use either Active or Rapid Rise, my recipes always call for more Rapid Rise than Active yeast (ex. 2 tsp ADY vs. 2 1/2 or 3 of Rapid Rise).

This yeast thing certainly requires a learning curve!

Thanks so much for all your replies, Tina

gary.turner's picture

You'll need to start your active dry yeast before adding it to the mix. Start with about 2oz or 56g of water at 95-105F or 35-40C, add 1tsp or 4-5g of sugar and the active dry yeast. Stir and let sit for 5-10min. It should get foamy which indicates it's ready to use. Steal the water and sugar from the recipe's amounts.  If there is no sugar in the recipe, don't worry about it as including that small an amount is not noticeable.

Instant dry yeast or bread machine yeast does not need to be proved.



tchase65's picture

Thanks for your reply Gary!

I know some breadmakers require this, but based on the manual and information available on my breadmaker, I was under the impression this was not necessary. The Zojirushi actually recommends all ingredients be room temp (as it has a preheat mode). It also mentioned that the yeast should never be touching the liquid.

I guess I could just try doing this and see what happens... although I did have a recipe that recommended this and I think it rose too much. It actually stuck to the glass window when it baked! OOPS!

I am starting to think that the Active yeast is just not reaching room temperture before I add it. Yeast can be quite finicky, I am finding...

Thanks again, Tina

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

Just use less instant (bread machine) yeast than active yeast as pointed out in other reply and add it to the flour and other dry ingredients.

I have done this with many (often older) recipes with no problem. I buy the Fleishmann's instant yeast at Sam's Club in the 2 x 1 lb pack. Once open I keep the bag in the freezer, but fill one of the old little brown jars and keep it in the fridge for regular use and then refill it as needed. Good luck.


tchase65's picture

Hi Wayne, Thanks for your reply!

My breadmaker actually recommends what you mentioned; the yeast is always the last ingredient to be added (in a small well in the flour).

I'd rather just use instant/breadmaker yeast if possible, since it (obviously) reduces the time to make the bread. I also would not have to keep both kinds of yeast on hand.

So, if the recipe calls for ADY, do you just increase the amount and use IDY instead? If so, that would make life a lot easier.

We don't have Sam's Clubs around here, but I will check out a store that might have something like this next time I am in that town. Great suggestion to keep the jars and refill from the bulk.


Chuck's picture

[This post was later determined to be "off", see instead my revised post further down this thread.]

There are all kinds of exceptions, and you can make a whole lot of different things work with enough tweaking, but the simple rule for bread machines is "only use yeast that explicitly says 'for bread machines' right on its label; the older style 'active dry' yeast will not work well in bread machines no matter how it's stored or used".

Some details:

"Bread machine" yeast is made with a newer process; this forum often calls it "instant" yeast or abbreviates it "IDY". The grains are smaller, so they dissolve quicker. And the proportion of "live" cells is higher. And -depending on the brand- it may also have some trace chemicals added to increase its activity even more. You probably can't tell the difference visually.

This newer yeast works so well it can and should be used dry, mixed in or added with the dry ingredients (your bread machine instructions though probably caution to be careful not to let it touch salt).

This kind of yeast is central to the operation of bread machines. In fact the invention of this newer process for drying yeast is what enabled the spread of bread machines.

This forum often calls the older style of yeast "active dry" or abbreviates it "ADY". Because it doesn't dissolve so quickly, general practice is to dissolve (often called "proof") the yeast yourself in a bit of warmish water, then add the yeasty water with the wet ingredients. (There are exceptions where the older kind of yeast can be used dry without pre-dissolving it  ...but that's an "advanced" topic.)


sphealey's picture

Having worked for several consumer products manufacturers, and having baked with whatever yeasts were on sale for some time now, I have to question this conventional wisdom.  It is quite common for consumer products companies to sell the exact same product in different packaging to segment the market and capture more shelf space.  Is there a difference among active dry, instant, and bread machine yeast?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  The yeast companies aren't going to tell us, but based on personal observation IMHO the differences if any are small.

I am pretty certain, however, that the "proofing" technique for active dry yeast was a pure marketing invention created to allow dry yeast to compete better with cake yeast.  Cake yeast does foam on contact with water, and dry yeast does not, so I'll bet a big sum that an intrepid door-to-door salesman for a dry yeast company, facing difficultly convincing the homemaker that his product was equal in every way to fresh yeast, came up with "proof your yeast to /prove/ it works!" line.  Is it necessary?  Again, who knows.  And maybe it was at one point; I remember my mother having about 1 out of 10 packets of dry yeast fail to work back, well, a few decades ago.  But in the last 6 years of intensive baking I have had only one jar of yeast that I suspected might be a bit less active than it should have been.  I think dry yeast has long since been perfected and proofing is just a remnent of a bygone era.


Janknitz's picture

I don't often use a bread machine any more, but many years ago I did and I had no problem using ADY.  ADY must be hydrated, as the others point out, but personally I don't find it needs to be "proofed" per se (IMHO).  Just add it with the liquid ingredients--that usually does the trick.  If you are time delaying your bread, you will be better off using Instant/Breadmachine yeast.  And increasing it by 25% will work within the time parameters of a bread machine's program.  When using it for non ABM purposes, I just give it a little more time to rise. 

Instant yeast is better overall for the machine, but you don't have to throw away your jar of ADY.  When you've used it up, follow Wayne's suggestion to buy Instant yeast in bulk--it's so inexpensive.  You can also find it at Costco and Smart and Final and restaurant supply stores in 1- 2 lb bags that will last you a LOOOOONG time. 


tchase65's picture

Thanks for the suggestions. I don't time delay my bread, but will keep that in mind.

If the recipe says I can use Rpaid Rise yeast, I always do. However, several of the recipes that came with my Zojirushi manual only have "Active Dry Yeast" in the recipes (as opposed to others where it lists either yeast as an option).

So, do you think I can just try increasing it anyway and try those recipes with the Instant/Breadmaker yeast?

Thanks for the information about bulk yeast. Sadly, the closest Costco is an hour away from us, so I don't have a membership. We don't have those other stores you listed up here in Canada. I will look around for a restaurant supply store though. Thanks!

Chuck's picture

Well I spouted off too soon with advice appropriate to most bread machines, which is to not even try to use "active dry yeast" but look specifically for "bread machine" yeast.

On checking more carefully after I'd already posted (ready, fire, aim?-), I discovered that indeed the Zojirushi is different. Unlike most bread machines, It says using "active dry yeast" is fine (in fact recommended), so long as it's at room temperature (it makes a big point of this).

My new guess is that your "bread machine" yeast never really came to room temperature either, but you never realized it because that yeast worked well anyway. Then using that same too-short "come to temperature" time with active dry yeast resulted in a failure.

So my new guess is any of these would work (I don't own a Zojirushi myself so I'm not sure:-)--

  • measure the yeast out of the refrigerator several hours ahead to be sure it comes to room temperature
  • as suggested by Janknitz above, add the yeast along with the water instead of along with the flour
  • just use "instant" ("bread machine") yeast
tchase65's picture

Thanks so much for everyone's replies.

Yes, the Zojirushi manual actually recommends you add liquids, flour, other ingredients and then the yeast is to sit in a well in the flour (not touching anything else) - regardless of which type of yeast you are using.

All of their recipes have the "Active Dry Yeast" measurement, and they are colour coded if you can use also Rapid Rise yeast instead (it does use more as suggested in some earlier comments).

I will have to try everyone's suggestions. Perhaps the active yeast does take longer to warm to room temp, as I think the granules are a bit larger.

I tried one recipe that suggested adding the yeast to the water and letting it activate for about 10 minutes. While the bread did turn out fine, it did rise right to the top of the breadmaker (actually stuck to the glass window when baking. LOL).

I guess this is just a learning process. I cook and bake a lot, but baking with yeast is very new to me. I was always kind of intimidated by it to be honest... I don't mind experimenting, but I hate having to throw away something that is a total disaster!

Thanks again to everyone for your replies.

Tina's picture

I have a 15 year old Zo and it ONLY uses Breadmachine or Rapid Rise yeast. Any other type, and i have tried them all, fails miserably. It is because of the short time between the last rise and the baking time. ADY will be a risk but Rapid Rise will always work. I have not used any other type yeast than RR or Breadmachine. 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I've been having trouble with my Zojirushi too.  I had a bread machine years ago that wasn't nearly as sophisticated and never had any real problem with it.  It's true the bread tended to be a bit denser but it was eminently edible and very tasty, even the whole wheat came out fine.

With the Zoj, though, the bread doesn't rise nearly enough.  I've got it to the place where the top at least looks ok, but the sides are hard and dark and very thick.

I'm using ADY, which is what I've always used, and the Zoj says that should be fine.  But I'm not getting enough rise.  I don't know where the problem is.  I've called the KA baking hotline several times and they've given up.  The hydration seems ok, KA told me to turn off the preheat and proof the yeast, that seems to work ok and it did improve the loaf from something totally inedible to something you might actually eat if you were starving.  The top crust looks ok now (it used to be hard and nasty) but the sides are still hard and dark, and the bread doesn't rise enough.  I end up with a loaf about 3.5" tall and it should be about twice as tall as that.

I'm at my wits end.  KA thinks the machine is broken but it's 2 years old and there's no way I'm going to get a replacement for it now (I bought it while caring for my father, he got sick right after I bought it, then he died, then I got sick, and I'm just now recovering from surgery and trying to figure out how to make it work).

So any advice from anyone who has got their Zoj to work would be very much appreciated.

I've tried a bunch of different recipes, including these:


Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Never mind.

I think the problem is with the flour.  All AP flour is NOT the same, even when its a national brand.  The AP flour I've been working with is 9.2% protein, which is pastry flour, not AP!  Yet it is labeled AP.

So I'll switch to the ConAgra Harvest Bread flour, which is 11.6% protein (comparable to the 11.7% protein the recipes I have been using were designed for)

There's a thread about this - regional differences in Costco ConAgra flour - in the General thread.  I had thought this AP flour was at least 11% going by the few reports on it I could find, but those people are living in a different part of the country.  Here in the SE, the CA Harvest AP is only 9.2% protein, far too low to make the bread I'm trying to make.

I'll try these recipes with the bread flour and see what happens.

sarafina's picture

I buy the big bag of red star dry active yeast at Costco and use it for a year or more. I store it in the refridgerator in a glass mason jar.

I haven't ever bother with the instant or bread machine varieties. Works fine for me. I would guess that your doughs might need hydration and longer rise times. Sometime I just let it sit after the dough cycle is done before I shape the loaf and bake it.

I rarely bake the loaf in the machine. The results are much better if after the dough is done you remove it from the Zo and let it rise in a pan and bake it in the oven. The bread likes it better being put into a nice hot pre heated oven. You will see a MUCH better rise in your loaf just by doing that.

Have fun learning!

SCruz's picture

The Costco where I live no longer carries the one pound bag of instant dry yeast, it has switched to active dry in two lb bags. I no longer have a local source for instant, and ordering it online doubles the price because of s/h. I've switched to fresh yeast from my bakery which will happily sell it to me for $1.50/lb. Not quite as convenient as IDY, but it pushes me into new territory.


tabasco's picture

FYI I've gotten lucky once or twice with shipping costs when ordering from King Arthur~~once in a while they have special promotions on shipping, so I try to save up my order for SAF Instant yeast and other things until I get an e-mail announcement about it. (I'm on their Listserv).   Last time I even had  a 25 pound bag of flour delivered and made out like a bandit compared to buying at our Kroger! 

Also, I was just looking on the Zojirushi site and noticed the FAQ page mentions that if you are having some trouble with uneven bread loaves or heavy bread that weighing your dry ingredients (rather than using cups and tablespoons) may help remedy the matter. 

I switched to weighing the flour (I still use teaspoons for the small stuff) and it helped a lot.  And somewhere on the Zoj site (I can't find it now)  it tells how many ounces make up a 'cup' of flour when they are developing their specific recipes.  If I find it later I'll post it.

peppermint999's picture

I noticed this, too. I first bought active dry yeast and the loaf didn't rise much. Next loaf I bought rapid rise yeast - so much better! I suppose I can use up the bottle of active dry yeast by mixing with liquid before adding to the breadmaker. Only trouble is, this Zojirushi breadmaker "sits" for 20 minutes before it actually begins to mix the recipe so I am not sure how to use the activated yeast.

peppermint999's picture

I noticed this, too. I first bought active dry yeast and the loaf didn't rise much. Next loaf I bought rapid rise yeast - so much better! I suppose I can use up the bottle of active dry yeast by mixing with liquid before adding to the breadmaker. Only trouble is, this Zojirushi breadmaker "sits" for 20 minutes before it actually begins to mix the recipe so I am not sure how to use the activated yeast.