The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Should I use Instant or active dry in my dough

Mundus33's picture

Should I use Instant or active dry in my dough

I have been making whole wheat pizza dough in my bread machine and I usually proof my yeast before I make the dough which ends up turning out pretty good. I have been trying to reduce the amount of time I have to wait on the bread which includes putting water/salt covering with flour and yeast on top and setting the bread machine to delay they cycle until later. this method allows me to have the dough done when I come home from work. I tried it today and it seemed like my dough didn't rise as much.

I was wondering if this might be caused by me not proofing the active dry yeast and if so would instant yeast solve this problem.

Also if I switch to instant yeast does it die off faster than active dry the dough cycle is 1hr 30min (2min mix/3min knead/5 min rest/ 20 min knead/ 1hr rise) would this be to long and cause the yeast to die off or does instant have the same lifespan as active dry.

Thank you in advance for your help.

bottleny's picture

In fact, in the bread machine it is recommended to use instant dry yeast (IDY). Place IDY on the top, not touching the salt. I had done the delayed cycle like this many times (when I had a bread machine), and got the bread done just slighty after I came home.

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Proofing ADY is only necessary to ensure it hasn't expired. If ADY is stored at room temps, heed the actual expiration date. If refrigerated, it will last about 4-6 mos beyond that date. If frozen, add 1 yr to the expiration. As long as you're within a reasonable 'window' of expiration (based on storage), there is no real need to proof this product each and every time you use it.

That being said, IDY is recommended for bread machine use. I have found no practical differences between the two products for manual use (besides the slight difference in rise times), but I have never used a bread machine, and so cannot comment on whether or not this would cause cause a 'lack of rise' period. There's a chance it might, and since it's just as easy to get IDY, I'd probably prefer that product if I was going to use a machine.

Note that if your recipe calls for ADY, you can reduce the substituted IDY amount by approx. 25%. If your recipe called for IDY and you're substituting ADY, you'd increase the amount by the same percentage. If you didn't (for the latter), you might find a 'lack of rise' inside of the recommended rising time, but it would achieve the full rise eventually if you waited (for a single recipe, this difference would not be much more than maybe 10-15 mins extra).

Bread machines rely on precise heating elements and timing cycles. We have run into a few situations where bread machine performance started degrading, and the most likely culprit was the bread machine itself starting to go south, as most machines do with age and use. Again, I'd recommend switching to IDY, ensuring your yeast amount is correct for the recipe, and if that doesn't fix the problem, the machine might not be performing 100%.

- Keith

copyu's picture
copyu sometimes called "Bread Machine Yeast" for good reasons. It just means that you can add all of the 'dry' ingredients to the machine *at the same time*. No "proofing" of the yeast is required.

Nevertheless, you should probably follow the manufacturer's instructions concerning whether to put the dry or wet ingredients in first, or at least try to comply with the recommended order. (Sometimes they're important, but often they are completely arbitrary.) You've already made good bread or pizza with your machine...[Congratulations!] it's up to you, now to vary the instructions. You're the 'expert'!

Try the 'instant yeast' on 2-3 different recipes in your machine and, if you're happy, your problem is solved.

Very best wishes,


[EDIT for] PS: Please let us know if you have any problems or improvements in your dough. copyu

Carol Stevens's picture
Carol Stevens

So glad you are enjoying your bread machine. Being able to save time is always a great thing! You can use the timer on the bread machine for any recipe unless otherwise stated in the recipe.  The first recommendation I have is to not let the salt come in contact with the yeast, as it will inhibit the activity of the yeast.  Make a well in the flour using the back of a spoon, and add the yeast there.  You can use either type of yeast with the bread machine.  The instant yeast is faster acting, so less is needed in the bread machine.  We recommend using 1/2 tsp instant yeast per cup of flour in your recipe (and 3/4 tsp active dry yeast per cup of flour in your recipe).  More info and tips on bread machine baking can be found at this link to our website: