The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rapid Rise. vs. instant yeast

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robadar's picture
robadar

Rapid Rise. vs. instant yeast

Carol Field ("The Italian Baker", revised) says that Rapid Rise and instant yeast are not the same.  That's a new one on me.   I always thought Rapid Rise was Fleischman's instant yeast  as opposed to "active dry yeast".  ???

 

RB

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I always think of them as being the same thing, except for perhaps marketing speak.

They behave the same too. 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

If there's any difference at all I've never noticed it.  I tend to use them interchangeably.  I notice that she suggests there is a difference in flavor between Instant and Rapid Rise yeast in breads but I've never been aware of any such difference and I don't use enough yeast in my bread to qualify if as a "flavoring" anyway.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Making "instant" yeast requires different equipment. When the process was first invented, everybody wanted to get on the bandwagon, but nobody wanted to throw their old machinery away because it wasn't amortised yet. So various people came up with the "solution" of packaging the old-style yeast with a lot of weird chemicals that made it act sort of like new-style, and calling it "Rapid Rise".

Two things to be aware of:

  • I doubt you'll find such comments in either much older or much newer recipe books than "The Italian Baker". The comment doesn't really apply to yeast in 201x; it's outdated.
  • "Rapid Rise" still occasionally indicates some variation of the old funky game being played  ...but only for a few brands of yeast. Yeast terms are fortunately approximately (but still not exactly) the same across all brands.
booch221's picture
booch221

As I understand it, Rapid Rise and Active Dry Yeast are the same yeast. Active Dry has a hard outer shell on it (to keep the yeast fresh) that must be dissolved in water before you add it to the flour. Rapid Rise can be added directly to the dry ingredients. It has no outer shell to dissolve.  Some recipes say you can add Active Dry directly. I tried this one time. There were little brown hulls left in my no-knead bread dough. It was still OK--kneading made most of them disappear. But, it's not something I'd want to repeat. Taste wise, there's no difference, IMHO.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

At least, for the Fleischman product.  The problem is, there *are* 'rapid rise' yeasts out there that combine yeast with additives to reduce rise time.  Fleischman rapid rise yeast is, in fact, "instant" yeast, ie normal bakers yeast dried and formed into a finer granule, so that it can be incorporated directly into dry ingredients.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

There have been designations for "active dry yeast" such as "instant active dry yeast", which would confuse anyone.  I can only speculate, but I think Ms. Field may have been referencing the the latter when she compared it to "Rapid Rise" yeast.

There was also some negative reaction to the home-targeted Rapid Rise (instant) yeast when it first came out, since it was intended to make rising times shorter if the same weight was used as for "active dry" yeast.  Artisans were trying to encourage the adaptation of LONGER rising times for better flavor development, so, at least initially, instant yeast seemed like a bad idea for making great bread.   Only later did these same artisans realize that by just using less of the instant variety, they could keep their long fermentations.  That's a great thing, since you can just mix it in with the flour, instead of having to resuscitate it with warm water beforehand.

In any case, I've seen more use of "instant" in describing dry yeast meant to be added directly to flour.  Any dry yeast added this way requires less quantity than for active dry yeast, and is considered instant yeast by professional artisans.  Many of them use it exclusively, since it is just as easy to use as fresh compressed yeast while having a much longer shelf life.  When an appropriate quantity is used, there is no discernable difference in flavor for most people.  If there IS a difference in flavor, it is quite possible that the baker uses too much yeast.

-- Dan DiMuzio

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I suggest that you use "rapid rise vs. instant yeast" in the search box to see what other's have said.  This is one of those questions that comes up often and hence has been answered before.

robadar's picture
robadar

Ah, the complexities of bakiing!    Thank you all for your input.

RB

flournwater's picture
flournwater

You won't find a better source of information than -- Dan DiMuzio (above)

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I like Dimuzio's Bread Baking as a text book for newbies.  I recommend it all the time on this site.  Now I know I'm not alone in liking it.