The bread bible points out instant yeast as having a greater concentration of live yeast than the active. Other than that is there any reason to use one as opposed to the other?
My favourite soapbox topic!
In my opinion, the yeast industry in North America is shooting itself in the foot by having too many types of yeast and by different manufacturers not using the same names (or using the same names for different things).
In the brand I buy there is:
Cake (moist) - the traditional live yeast; needs to be dissolved in water
Active dry - the traditional dry yeast; needs to be dissolved usually with a bit of sugar
Instant - contains a bit of yeast enhancer (citric acid, maybe some other stuff?) and is possibly more concentrated than active dry; does not need to be dissolved
Bread Machine - exactly the same as instant in a different package
Rapid Rise - larger amount of yeast enhancers and other packaging changes to the granules. Does not have to be dissolved. Works very fast and is intended for straight doughs that you want to complete within an hour or so. Generally not used by artisan bakers who seek slower, not faster, rise.
The confusing part is that some manufacturers reverse the meaning of "instant" and "rapid rise", and vary on which they call "bread machine". Thus hurting the entire industry IMHO.
I agree!! Labeling is confusing..I have a jar..label says "Bread Machine Yeast also ideal for all Rapid Rise recipes". A newbie baker sees the label and according to your definitions might think Bread Machine = Instant (in a different package) = Rapid Rise. I'm feeling safe with SAF and sourdough!
as a retired pro baker the only type of yeast we used is cake. in bread doughs it DOES NOT neet to be disolved we just crumbled it into the floue which is what i still do in my home today.
even in sweet bun dough we crumbled it into the flour. the only time we put it into the water was for danish and other very soft doughs
Here in Canada, Fleishmanns labels their quick-acting yeast "quick acting" when in packets, "bread machine" when in jars, and "instant" when in bulk packs! They even admit on their website that they are all the same thing :-(
That's why I only use yeasts labelled "active dried" here - no matter what the brand, I find them consistent with each other. Except in emergencies, I get mine bulk from a health food store - much cheaper than in glass bottles, and I find it keeps better too since the package can be rolled down tight.
It looks more complicated than I thought. Thanks.
Don't stress about yeast types; they all pretty much work for home baking. Just avoid the "rapid rise"; otherwise use whatever looks good. I use Fleishman's Bread Machine myself.
Ditto not to worry, CountryBoy. It's good to know the technicalities but, I've been using active dry yeast purchased bulk from the co-op for years, and rising is generally the least of my concerns- it all works, instant and active dry are the easiest to store and use, and the discernible differences to me as a home baker are non-existent.
Do you proof your yeast every time? or mix it into the flour? I get active dry yeast from a bulk whole foods type store, and I've done both, and I am not sure if its safer/more reliable/ect to proof it, or if it really should be, or if thats unneccessary.
unless you think it may be too old and you want to check whether the yeast are still alive.
I've been using up a 2 lb bag of active dry, and I do take the precaution of adding it with the liquid to make sure that it gets hydrated, but I'm not even sure that is necessary. I certainly don't wait around to make sure it's working--it's extremely reliable.
My next bag of bulk yeast is SAF instant, and I'm told it's better to add that with the dry ingredients (can't remember the reasoning, though ;o). I'm eager to use it and see if there's any difference (not expecting much to be different).
I don't actually proof active dry yeast every time but I do rehydrate it before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. However, my husband just throws dry active dry yeast into the flour when he makes bread. It doesn't seem to make any difference.
I suspect it's only necessary to proof the yeast first if there is any doubt at all about its viability.
it might be interesting to note that Hamelman in his Bread book mentions that he uses Instant yeast almost exclusively due to its dependability.
So does Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads & Laurels kitchen bread book active Dry Yeast ?
if you're pregnant, you really don't need to worry about sperm count.
thanks for the clarification. I think I found the phrasing too sublime also. However, it might possibly be incorrect as well. After all, if there is greater potency with the Instant Yeast then it is necessary to measure less of it than with the Active Yeast. After all, one does not want to put more than the required amount of yeast into a recipe. Yes?
If you're converting from active dry to instant, you'll want to use about 75-80% of the yeast called for in the recipe. But I don't often bother, myself. The bread rises a bit faster than the recipe calls for, sometimes, but not much.
men...! ;-} --What I mean is, and I do not stand behind the science, lads, is that if you want a baby, you're in the process of making a baby, what difference does it make if there were 10,000 little buggers or 100,000, because you will have the desired result in the end, n'est pas? (Pardon my French...) Essentially yes SDG, one does not need more than enough. Gold star for you.:-) So. If your bread is rising...and you like how it bakes up...does it matter if on some uber-microscopic scale one type of yeast gives you more, er, sperm, than another? I don't believe that the standard yeasts available will give you too much, as such, by virtue of type alone. I can't believe this. You guys. But I did LOVE the part about sublime.
Or, if you have 10,000 little buggers, wait a while and you'll have 100,000. The bread will still rise by double with only a little more patience and all will be well in the end. You'll have buns in the oven as long as some buggers make it into the dough. Something like that...
One advantage to my low protein flour is that I don't have to knead as long as y'all do! Yesterday, after mixing my dough with both kinds of yeasties, I fell asleep and took a long extended nap. Upon awakening, discovered my long overproofed sticky liquidy dough waiting to be kneaded. Bubbly Goo. I sprinkled it with lots of flour and proceeded to remove my spoon and plop eveything onto the counter top. Had to use my bench scraper to knead in the beginning and eventually got enough flour into it. When I thought I was finished kneading, I rolled it into "teflon" flour and put it into my warm glass casserole and let it proof. Since I had left it 8 hours, liquid, I decided to skip the bulk rise (though I had added a lot of flour) and hoped for a good second rise. Low and behold the little buggers were still working (they must have partied when I worked in more flour) and lifted my dough and I came out with a nice loaf. I could almost hear them cheering when I came back to the kitchen to check on 'em before baking. :)Mini Oven
I sighed about the same time ;-) I totally understood what you were saying!
Very interesting topic and questions I've asked myself often. Now, how 'bout this?
This week I picked up a few things for the kitchen and thought it would be handy to have another set of stainless measuring spoons. When I compared the new to the old I saw that these can't possibly be the same measure!
Weight vs Measure
Sure enough, tested using sugar and the digital scale, the new 1/4 tsp holds 1 gram; the old weighs 3 grams! That means that we are all over the board if we are trusting volume measurements rather than weights. That would affect the action of your yeast a lot more than the small percentage of difference between types of yeast.
So that's why I could taste the baking powder in those dumplings!
I checked my measuring spoons, too. Sure enough, the one that looks smaller holds much less. The interesting thing about the smaller set is the quantities that are stamped in the handles. The smallest says 1 ml., 1/4 tsp. According to the conversion table I checked, that's not right for teaspoon (metric), teaspoon (UK) or teaspoon (US). If anyone's curious, the teaspoons rank in size from metric, the smallest, to US, to UK, the largest.
you pay more, get less. has anyone else noticed shrinking package sizes and rising prices? i remember wnen supermarket ice cream came in 1/2 gallon containers; try finding one now!
I've been wanting to try fresh or 'cake' yeast - but it seems to be obsolete for home bakers. Does anyone know a source?
I think I've seen it at our Whole Foods Market here in Omaha. You might also be able to find it in health food stores?
Happy week-end all - bet there's some baking going on today!!
I normally find it wrapped in foil, 1 1/2" cubes between the eggs and the milk. Mini Oven
Does anyone have any experience with saving of unused portions of Fleischmans Yeast packets in the frig? Since I don't use all the packet at one time I am wondering if anyone has any experience with saving of the unused portions in the frig? My guess is that once I open the packet the rest of it will not be that useful for the next week's baking. Also do you ever buy Fleischman yeast in bulk from KA? Thank you.
I have bought a bag of SAF Instant from KA, and I put it in a canister they also sell there. I keep it in the refrigerator. It seems to work fine for very long periods of time, like a year or more. I believe you can freeze it, as well, although I have not tried that.
I have also used part of a Fleishman's packet, tightly rolled up the packet, and stored it in the refrigerator for weeks without any trouble, as MiniOven says.
Just to add a little to the ideas mentioned above, I don't know what the disadvantages of Rapid Rise would be in terms of any enhancers and such, but I have used it interchangeably with instant yeast or active yeast without much noticeable difference in practice. I agree that you shouldn't stress about yeast. If you put in too much, it may rise more quickly than you intended. If you use too little, it might take a few hours longer to get the rise you want. However, once you use the same kind of yeast repeatedly, you'll zero in on how much is needed for the rise you want.
I've read that the packaging and enhancers may change how quickly yeast will wake up, which can result in some differences in the bread making routine. However, you could easily account for that difference too, by just introducing the yeast earlier or later to the dough or proofing it first. In other words, if one yeast takes 1/2 hour to wake up and another wakes up the minute it hits the dough, you could substitute one for the other by mixing the yeast with the dough immediately for the first and doing a 1/2 hour autolyse with the second. Or, you could proof the yeast in warm water and flour for the first, then introduce it to the dough, so that it's all ready to go when it goes in the flour.
All of that is just a long way of saying that it's the same organism in all of them, so you should be able to get the same results by adjusting the amount used and by adjusting whether you do a proof or maybe an autolyse to adjust for how fast they become active. And, you can vary the recipe rise times if the amounts you used aren't comparable, which might change the bread flavor or texture somewhat but would result in similar bread, as long as the effective amount of organisms is not different by a big factor like 10 or more.
Many recipe books give estimates of the weight ratio to substitute between the various types of yeast. From what I can gather, 18 grams of fresh yeast = 7-10 grams of active dry yeast = about 4-6 grams of instant yeast. However, I've seen variations in the recommended substitution ratios from one book to another.
The only time I ever had an open package of yeast not work was when it got above 38°c or got wet. I crimp the tops and put a mini clothes pin on them and mine stand in the cupboard. You can stand them in the fridge as well. They seem to keep forever. I give them the sniff test too just to make sure, they should smell nutty and fresh yeasty, If a package smells like ammonia or you can't stand the smell, dump it. Same goes for cake yeast. (Cake yeast when old starts to run out of the package.) Mini Oven
Appreciate the quick and thorough answer on the question.
I use Fleischmans Instant yeast in 1lb. bulk bags. Once I'm done baking I just fold the top over and place a "Chip Clip" on the seam to seal. Then I toss in the fridge in back on the top shelf.
" ...I just fold the top over and place a "Chip Clip" on the seam to seal. Then I toss in the fridge.. "
tattoedtonka, I did a search on seam, looking for help with my dough seams. The above portion of your statement came up on the search page. I had to read about the person who sealed their dough with a chip clip!
I did find other posts that helped me, but yours really brought a smile to my face.
To everyone for their time, patience, and comprehensive answers. Very much appreciated.
I use Active Dry yeast. I'm under the impression that Instant is now preferred, but I bought in bulk and still have lots left. I keep it in the freezer, not trusting the cupboard or the fridge, and it's lasting for years.
Also, I don't always dissolve the yeast ahead of time. Sometimes I just throw it in the dry ingredients, like instant. It hasn't caused me any problems.
And, since I like long ferments, I usually use less yeast than the recipe calls for (unless the recipe is already for long fermentation). So imprecise measuring spoons don't matter too much to me as far as yeast goes.
But I've often looked at the spoons that also have ml markings and wondered about the "coincidence" that that spoon size should be exactly so many ml, and not a fraction thereof.
to water and ml is volume (as opposed to mg, weight) If you start getting into drops, you will drive yourself nuts so using a teaspoon which is a rounded off measurement is just a practical way to rapidly measure small units of volume. If you want to be precise, use a scale. Hope that helps you out. -- Mini Oven
Interesting topic, here...I have been pondering the same things lately. Mainly because there is so much misinformation out there. I recently took a few books out from the library. Amy's Bread says that instant yeast has to be "activated" by warm water, which we know isn't true (pain a l'ancienne, anyone?). And then another book I checked out (I think Ultimate Bread?) said that instant yeast is the same as rapid rise. However, I know from practice that this, too, is wrong. Rapid rise yeast raises a straight dough in about half the time of active dry or instant yeast. Conversely, my own experience has been that instant yeast and active dry act the same in dough, when you're looking at rise times and whatnot. I do, however, believe that it takes less instant yeast than active dry to raise dough, all other variables being equal. Of course, I read that in a book (probably BBA), and obviously we can't take the books as gospel, but I just remember to consider the source.
It's annoying that there are so many differing "facts" about yeast, isn't it?
Katie in SC
Some people have suggested that Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast may be kept in the fridge for a whole long time.
My suggestion is that people would be wise to Check carefully on the back for the very fine print that suggests an EXP date. I used one just now with an EXP date of Nov 24 and it was very active. Whereas the one I had in the fridge was a month over the EXP date and v e r y s l o w to go off.
Active Dry Yeast does not require sugar to be activated
I use Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast and have done for many years. I always activate it in water (baby bottle temperature) but don't usually wait til it starts bubbling to check to make sure it's viable. I add a little sugar only if the bread recipe calls for sugar. I would only check for viability if the jar was near the end and the date was close to expiry. Once the jar is opened, I keep the yeast in the fridge.
Generally, I activate the yeast in a small bowl with quarter cup of the babybottle temperature water. I then mix all the other ingredients together in the big mixing bowl and finally add the yeasted water at the end. (Sometimes I withhold the salt until kneading time....)
I have read (but of course, one can't believe everything one reads) that instant yeast is not so good for long slow cool rises - which is what I favour for all our bread.
This thread, Yeast: Dry vs Rapid Rise, begun Nov 4, 2007 and having many replies, covers many of the same points. Check it out.
ADY is best activated in water at 105-110°F. Are you using an instant-read thermometer?
cake yeast is the best to use for the following reasions]
1-most breads need to come out of the mixer between 75 and 80 degrees F
a colder ferment will uesult in the best flavor as a hoter ferment will cause the yeast to ferment faster and leave behind more ETOH resulting in a sour old tastiog bread or even a runned dough
when making danish or other sweet products the dough must not ferment on the bench while the fat is being folded in to the dough also it allows for long frezer life
i made about 4 pounds of danish let the dough set in the frdge ofer night then made the dough up into cheese and other types of indvidual pieces and put them in to the frezzer UNBAKED
THEY WILL LIVE ABOUT TWO MONTHS IN THE FREZZER
you can take out as much as you want and leave them out at a hot room temp about 80 degress for between 2 and 3 hours then bake them and they will be as good as the day them were made
dry yeast does not hold up as well in the frezzer and since it needs hot water to get started your dough comes out of the mixer to hot
also remember that you need 2 times the amount of cake yeast then powderd 1 ounce of dry means 2 ounces of cake
lastly cake yeast is the cheapest thing around. forget about buying it a the suppermarket. find a bakery supplyer and most will sell you one block which is 2 pounds of fresh cake yeast for about 2 dollers and if will live in your fridge for about 2 months or so just don't freez it
Chacun à son goût...
Just two comments:
i am sure i could give you an address of a bakerie supply house where you could get a block of cake yeast cheap
here in new york i can get it for about 1.25 per pound
I'm sorry if this is redundant... I'm new to baking-bread-from-scratch but trying to learn...
I just moved to a rural area in China where they don't sell bread. My husband misses it a lot, so I'm trying to learn to make it. However, what I'm reading on here sounds a bit intimidating. I've baked yeast breads in the states, but I had any ingredient I could want and just did step by step recipe instructions, without trouble. Here, I just have the basics.
I'm posting some questions in other, more relevant forums, but mine for here is: when I buy yeast here, it comes in a small packet. What kind of yeast is that? And if it's one particular kind (active dry yeast, perhaps?) then do I need to do something special if a recipe calls for a different kind of yeast? I'm pretty sure this is all they sell here - it's meant for steamed buns, "bao zi".
If the yeast is like little granules, it's either active dry or instant.
Instant yeast can be added directly to a recipe but active dry has to be rehydrated. Just to be sure, all you have to do is stir the yeast into a bit of water (not hotter than "baby bottle" temperature) to rehydrate it. Stir it until it looks like cream and the yeast has dissolved. Then add the yeasted water to whatever recipe you are using. This way, if it's active dry, it will work and if it's instant, it will work just as well.
Some people say to use a little less instant yeast than active dry but you can exchange them in recipes measure for measure.
Hope that helps!
Thank you - this does help - I did what you said (in the process of my first real loaf of bread) and it reacted just the way you described, looking like cream and dissolving.
Glad to be of service. I do hope your bread turns out the way you want it to!
should one be concerned if it doesn't bubble or froth much?
when I first got some yeast where I get it, experimenting and all, it seemed to get really enthusiastically frothy and foamy. .... nowadays, not so much. it still seems to work, but I am not sure if I'm being paranoid or not.
If your bread is still rising, then there's no need to worry that your rehydrated yeast doesn't bubble and foam before being added to the dough.
I guess I didn't realize that active dry yeast was always supposed to be hydrated, until reading it hear. I have never used instant yeast until a month ago. I have been baking bread since I was a teenager.
If a recipe calls for hydrating, and I mix by hand, I do. If I am mixing bread in a machine, I just dump my active dry yeast on top of the flour. During the past month I have used instant the same way and I have noticed absolutely NO difference in the breads, whether I hydrate first or not, whether I use instant or active or not.
I really think bread dough is USUALLY more forgiving than we give it credit for being.
I gather that active dry yeast will work if it hasn't been rehydrated before being added to the bread dough. But it's such a short step that isn't that difficult to do.
I really think bread dough is USUALLY more forgiving than we give it credit for being.
Absolutely! I'm learning this over and over as I flagrantly measure by volume rather than weight (via expensive digital scale), add more or less yeast to a recipe, add more or less or different kinds of flour. Sometimes I think that bread WANTS to be bread.
(Having said that, I have had my major failures with home captured yeast. I'm just about to go an make focaccia dough with it. Wish me luck....)
P.S. I have zero experience with bread machines.
Why does Instant Yeast have to be mixed with the dry ingredients first before adding the liquid/wet ingredients? Does it always have to be this way? Or can we dissolve the Instant Yeast in water first before mixing with the flour, just like when using Active Dry Yeast?
You don't need to dissolve the Instant yeast but by mixing it in with the dry flour it gets dispersed well throughout. If you drop it into the wet stuff, you might get large clumps of it, since it floats and will be more likely to stick together. By stirring it into the flour, it gets spread around more evenly before it all gets mixed with the wet stuff.
I'm assuming it's simply a way to help avoid the small chance of excess yeats clumpage. And it just removes that whole "hydrate first" step.
Rainbowz, big help indeed. Thanks.
I can't say I've ever had a problem with yeast clumpage (I use active dry yeast that I always rehydrate in about 1/4 c water first). As long as the bread is kneaded enough, everything gets interspersed evenly. I've even kneaded in salt after everything else is mixed in and have not had any clumps of salt in the final bread.
Offhand, I can't imagine that anything bad would happen if instant yeast were rehydrated first. In fact, as I recall, Maggie Glezer calls for doing just that in her recipe for Acme's baguettes in "Artisan Baking" in order to reduce the amount of yeast actually going into the preferment.
P.S. I have heard that there are people who don't bother rehydrating active dry yeast though and I would be wary of doing that. I would worry about yeast clumps in THAT situation.
Elizabeth, you said that you'd worry about yeast clumps if you don't re-hydrate ADY before adding it to a recipe. I'm one of those people who don't bother with that step. I add my yeast directly to the dry ingredients, just like with instant. There's no danger of clumping because I whisk it into the flour.
(But please note that I also like long refrigerator rises, and that may be why I have success with that approach.)
Well, there you go! The rises in our kitchen are pretty long too because of the temperature of the kitchen (around 15C in winter). I should try skipping the rehydration step too, Rosalie. Although... it might be a hard habit to break.
But I'll still rehydrate when making Glezer's Acme bread or Beranbaum's baguettes. I have no idea exactly how much yeast actually goes into the preferments. For Beranbaum's baguettes: 1/8 tsp dry yeast whisked into 1/4c (60gm) water first and then add a scant 3Tbsp (~40gm) yeasted mixture along with 58gm flour (~1/3c) to one of the preferments and 1/2Tbsp (~8gm) yeasted mixture along with 68gm (~1/4c) water and 75gm (~1/2c) flour to the other. (Any extra yeasted water is discarded.)
What sort of brand of yeast is more quality? Does different brand's yeast effect the taste of breads? It is hard to find fresh or cake yeast. Some people have suggested me to use dry active yeast or instant yeast to subsitute fresh yeast. Which one is better instant yeast better or dry active yeast? If I would see fresh yeast in a recipe, I was told to do a conversion of cake yeast to dry active yeast. I have noticed the portion of dry active yeast is almost half of fresh yeast. I was wondering if the fermented time for dough should be cut down to half as well.
There are really only two major yeast manufacturers supplying the US market, Fleischmann's and LeSaffre, which produces both Red Star and SAF. A third company, Fermipan, also supplies the US market, but with limited distribution.
Generally, it's less the brand or type of yeast than the quantity of yeast you add that affects taste, largely because of the growing medium that contains the yeast cells. Obviously, there's a greater percentage of growing medium and moisture in fresh yeast because the colony is active, whereas it's dormant in the dry types. When yeast grows naturally in dough, it uses the nutrients provided by the flour and other carbohydrate/sugar containing ingredients, so you're not going to get any non-native tastes.
There's an ongoing argument about whether fresh yeast performs better than dry. I myself use fresh almost exclusively because it seems far more active than either active dry or instant. I understand that's because there's a higher concentration of live cells in fresh than in dry, but again, the debate is ongoing.
As for proportions, rule of thumb is that 33% of instant yeast and 50% of active dry yeast equal 100% of fresh yeast. A good rule of thumb is 2% fresh yeast equivalent of flour weight for direct lean doughs, 1/3 to 1/2% for retarded doughs and/or preferments, and 5% for heavily enriched doughs (>10% fat). Incidentally, SAF Instant Gold is a special formulation for highly enriched doughs.
Store any and all of them in the refrigerator at between 30-40F -- dry in an airtight container and fresh compressed loosely wrapped so the colony can breathe and get rid of excess moisture without drying out.
Active dry yeast is not popular with professional bakers. One reason is the need to rehydrate in warm water before use. Time is money in commercial settings. But the other, more important issue is that it has a high percentage of dead and damaged yeast cells due to the harsh spray-drying process used in its production. The dead cells release a substance that is detrimental to gluten development, and this tends to result in a sticky, dense product.
Sorry if this has already been covered. I was alerted to this thread by someone visiting my blog entry on Montreal-style bagels. They, like another poster before them, had experienced problems with sticky dough using active dry instead of the instant called for in the formula. As I said to her, there does not seem to me to be any upside to using active dry .
I was leery myself about instant yeast initially. So many of the instant products developed in the last 60 years have meant loss rather than gain in quality. But not in this case! The production process for instant yeast is gentler and far superior. I'm a total convert. Fresh is good, too - especially for longer fermentation times.
Do I need to let the dough rise a 2nd time when I use instant yeast? I can't seem to get it rise enough to get the bubbly holes that I see in most breads. Mine seems to turn out usually dense and heavy.
the second rise (proofing) should be as vigorous as, or even moreso, than the first rise, since healthy yeast will reproduce geometrically. it seems like your yeast has lost potency, or you're not using enough relative to the amount of flour. the standard ratio of instant yeast to flour is around 0.8% to 1.0% by weight. you may want to try getting another batch of yeast (and check the date stamp on the package to make sure it's less than 6 months old, ideally), then try it out to see if it works.
Stan - thanks for the advise. I realised that I should leave the dough to proof longer than needed as I took it out from the fridge (a overnight 1st rise), as I thought I could have a freshly baked bread within 1 hour after I woke up. Well, I was wrong. After 2 hours, it rose about 11/2 times but did not rise as much as I expected, I sent it in for baking, rose further, more than 2x bigger in the oven, together with preheating the oven, but the bread still turns out a little heavy. could it be the flour that I used? I'm going to try a starter in my next experiment, as I see from the discussions that starters will give a different texture, well, lets see how it turns out.
I've read most posts here with varying opinions about one yeast vs another. I have used all three types; fresh, active and instant, all with great succss. I have been baking most of my life, spent 2 years in Culinary school focusing on baking and owned my own deli bakery for 5 years. Also, I am a third generation professional baker in my family. I used instant yeast exclusively with excellent results in my business. Understanding how to use all different types of yeast is more important than what type you are using. Generally, for whatever weight of fresh yeast is called for, use 40% active dry and 33% instant. Volume measurements are not accurate for baking period! There are many more issues to address here. I will try to address them one at a time.
I've been using Red Star Active Dry (big vacuum-packed brick that I buy from Costco, stored in the freezer) for 5 years now. I rarely re-hydrate or proof. I've used it very successfully in PR's BBA, WG and ABE recipes which call for scant amounts of instant.
Honestly, if I could find bulk instant offline and locally, I'd buy it. Since RS is so readily available here I am sticking with it until I can find bulk instant.
That being said, perhaps I'll have a baking epiphany the first time I use instant and eat all of the words above. Until then, I'm happy to remain blissfully ignorant. LOL
At GFS. Recently switched to instant & plan on staying there.
What is GFS?
They provide food service supplies and equipment, primarily to commercial customers (bakeries, restaurants, caterers, etc.), although some of their locations include a cash and carry retail store. I was familiar with them when I lived in Michigan. I don't know the full extent of their market area, but have the impression it is mostly in the Great Lakes or upper Midwest region.
I know that some people are very loyal to specific brands, but I bought most of my IDY at Sam's; Fleischmann's, I think. Great price and a reliable product. If you happen to have a Costco membership instead, you can probably find something similar there.
Since I use many of the recipes from Charles Van Over's Best Bread Ever (making bread with a food processor), I decided to get a 1 lb package of SAF instant yeast. I keep it in a vacuum sealed container in the refrigerator and it lasts forever.
I agree that the multitude of package label terms is too confusing. Seems like all the brands want to have anything that sets them apart from others. Even after reading a ton about it in numerous books and here on the web, I'm still as confused as ever. I was hoping that Harold McGee would set things straight in his cooking science book, but he barely touches on the subject. Before I got the SAF instant, I just bought whatever was cheapest. Buying cake yeast wasn't a good idea because it could possibly go bad before I used it.
Look at any German recipe, and you will almost always find fresh yeast as ingredient. I baked for many years with fresh yeast, since nothing else was available. Though I never experienced too many problems with it, fresh yeast is notoriously fickle, and many of my friends would not dare baking yeasted pastry because they had tried before and their dough had failed to rise. After instant yeast came on the market, I started using it - and never looked back!
I cannot say that I, an avid and regular baker, noticed a difference in taste, but with instant yeast I achieve a very reliable proof, and don't have to worry about draft, a too cold environment, etc. - always a consideration when using fresh yeast.
From the discussions I read in German food magazines, using "natural" fresh yeast (does it grow on a tree?) instead of "commercial" dry yeast has not much to do with real knowledge but appears to be purely "faith based".
By the way, in "Artisan Bread Every Day" Peter Reinhart suggests dissolving even instant yeast in 95 F warm water - supposedly to give the yeast cells a boost before they go into the fridge overnight. I don't think this is really necessary - I didn't notice a difference.
Happy yeast baking,
fresh yeast is notoriously fickle,
I’ve been using fresh yeast for the past 18 years and would say the opposite. IMO, fresh yeast is notoriously *reliable*. I bake bread almost every day – always (unless I’m demonstrating, or testing) using fresh yeast.
...and many of my friends would not dare baking yeasted pastry because they had tried before and their dough had failed to rise.!
I have taught breadmaking to many different groups – of all ages, from reception class children to 80-year-old care home residents; in classes ranging from 1 to over 20. I can count the failures on the fingers of one hand. (And those failures have never been a problem with the yeast – salt instead of sugar, lemon juice that had gone bad – those sorts of things.)
I have to say that if your friends’ bread dough did not rise, it would more likely to be the fault of something they did, rather than the fault of the yeast.
with instant yeast I achieve a very reliable proof, and don't have to worry about draft, a too cold environment, etc. - always a consideration when using fresh yeast.
Why are these things a consideration only with fresh yeast? Once a bread dough has been made, using whatever yeast, it behaves just as any other bread dough. All bread doughs need to be covered; all bread doughs need an appropriate environment – I don’t understand the distinction.
I tell my students that there are only three rules to remember when making bread:
Use bread flour (although other wheat flours will work – just not as well)
Keep the yeast alive by using lukewarm water and keeping their dough away from anywhere too hot whilst proving
And always give the yeast time to do its work before placing their bread in the oven.
There are a couple of other things they should do to get the best out of their bread, but I wouldn’t call them rules as such:
Make sure the dough is soft and squishy – so as the CO2 increases, it can push out the dough and create bigger holes
And, finally, if you’re at all concerned your bread isn’t cooked properly, never be afraid to put it back in the oven.
Apologies for the soapbox there - I just want to get over to any lurkers or browsers that breadmaking is an easy, everyday activity - whatever yeast is used! :-D
Though fresh yeast is everywhere available in Germany, it's not here in Maine, where I live. And you may be lucky, and the yeast you can buy is always fresh - I cannot say the same from my experiences in Germany.
And though those people who complained that their doughs sometimes wouldn't rise might have done something wrong - the fact remains that is much easier to do something wrong with fresh yeast than with instant yeast. Instant yeast contains about 3 x more yeast cells/g than fresh yeast, and rises nearly under all circumstances - unless it's frozen, or killed by too much heat.
Do you limit your baking to white breads? I bake mostly whole grain breads that I sell to our local natural food store, so I use pre-doughs and overnight refrigeration, and a little addition of instant yeast to my sourdoughs makes the rising (and delivery) times more predictable.
Some of my high altitude cookbooks say that yeast doughs perform better at high altitude using active dry yeast rather than instant yeast. What do you TFLers say.
I should have said in my last post that I always tell my students “:…whatever works for you!”
Fresh yeast works for me and instant works for you, really! And that’s fine.
However, for anyone wishing to make bread with fresh yeast I would like to defend its properties.
You say that it’s “much easier to do something wrong with fresh yeast than with instant yeast”?
I have to ask, where’s the evidence for this?
I just don’t see it. Surely, once a dough is made – with whatever yeast – it behaves like any other yeast-risen dough?
Do you limit your baking to white breads?
No, at home I make wholemeal bread for myself and family (in the proportion 600:100 wholemeal to white – here’s my standard recipe, using method B):
I also make bread using spelt flour.
Maybe I've been spoilt in always having a good source of fresh yeast - but I used dried active yeast for 18 years before I found a regular supply of fresh yeast, and I always found that to be reliable.
Apart from the fact that fast-action yeast is expensive in comparison to fresh, it's the fact that it contains additives that puts me off. And I never liked the fact that, as you knead a dough made with fast-action yeast, you can still see the individual yeast granules in the dough. So I always hydrate this yeast before using it (and I must admit it has come in handy in emergencies!)
Which reminds me that the last time I used it was in a Family Learning session at a Somerset primary school. I brought everything along to the session - apart from yeast! Luckily one of the students knew that a friend who lived near the school had a bread machine - a quick phone call ascertained that she did indeed have a packet of yeast to spare, so the student went to collect it. Phew!
Best wishes - and, as you say, happy baking!
Apart from the fact that fast-action yeast is expensive in comparison to fresh, it's the fact that it contains additives that puts me off.
Apart from ascorbic acid, there are are no additives in any of the yeast products available that should be off-putting to anyone. If you don't care for ascorbic acid, you must not like oranges or vitamin C.
If you don't bake bread on a daily basis, it's practically impossible to justify using fresh yeast, aside from finding a decent place to buy it, and it's not nearly as cheap as you make it sound. Buying instant by the pound, vacuum sealing it in a canister and storing it in the fridge is more than adequate.
I must confess that I find this a bit confusing...
And I never liked the fact that, as you knead a dough made with fast-action yeast, you can still see the individual yeast granules in the dough.
Do you also do this for salt? Nuts? Oats? I say salt, because as I and many do, we add salt after the autolyse, so we're adding it to the dough. If you use a kosher or a sea salt, the granules are very visible for a few minutes while you knead it or fold it in. I just don't really get how 'seeing' something for a few minutes until it's incorporated makes that ingredient a temporary eyesore.
As it boils down to, and as I've said before, neither product is superior in the final product. You use whatever you use out of preference or convenience, because that's all that seperates the two. As Billybob states, for someone who does not bake daily, the instants (and I include active dry) are too convenient to dismiss. Cost for a product has to be figured by dividing how many items you can produce from that product by the price. If you buy fresh and only make one or two items, that's more expensive per item than someone who bakes often and can make twenty items. The instant yeasts can be frozen. It will last at least 1 year beyond its expiration when frozen. I am currently using a bag of SAF Active Dry that expired in Jan of this year (2011), yet it is still producing excellent results. I think I paid less than $6 for that whole bag, and honestly, I have lost count long ago how many items I have made with it, and still have a good solid 6 months left to go. That's cheap, and for the same results. The frozen yeast (and yes, it's Active Dry yeast) can be used straight from the freezer into the dry flour. No need to either bring to room temp or to hydrate/proof it. I take out the bag, pour into my hopper on my scale, and put back in the freezer. I dump the hopper into flour and move onto the next recipe step. It's simple and I don't even have to really think about it. The convenience factor(s) are not preferences, they are very real and factual.
Just for fun, here's a breakdown on suggestions and tips for handling fresh yeast, taken from www.dakotayeast.com/product_compressed.html a manufacturer and distributor of fresh compressed yeast:
Most of these tips are of course for storage of large industrial quantites, but still, it underscores that fact that compressed yeast DOES require at least a modicum of careful storage and handling for the best results. None of this is necessary for commercial yeast. It's as easy to store and use as your salt or flour, once we get rid of this persistent wive's tale of needing to hydrate and proof it. And to that end, let me reiterate:
When using commercially available yeasts, whether active dry, fast-acting, breadmaker, whatever, there is no need to hydrate and proof it by adding it to a portion of warm water and/or adding a pinch of sugar. This is a wasted recipe step from an era long gone, and an extra kitchen vessel that no longer needs to be washed.
If you do not believe me, I'll go an extra step for proof. Mix up a simple dough.. can be pizza dough, whatever.. do NOT add any yeast. Combine all ingredients and autolyse for 10 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and stretch out on work area. Sprinkle your measured Active Dry or Fast-Acting across your dough. Fold it up a few times, and knead it gently for about 2-3 minutes. Place back in bowl and autolyse another 20 minutes. Proceed to usual kneading or stretch/fold intervals. Round up when finished kneading, and set for bulk fermentation.
Tell me it doesn't rise. Beautifully.
No arguing here, just facts, and proof.
"Fast Action" yeast is one of those marketing terms with no exact meaning; it's about as descriptive (and as maddeningly vague) as the term "bread flour":-(
For one brand it will be active dry plus something like ascorbic acid. For the next brand it will be nothing more than another name for plain old instant yeast. For yet another brand it will be instant yeast plus something like ascorbic acid. And sometimes it's a sort of "halfway" improvement: better than plain old active dry, yet not quite the same as instant. Confusing, huh?
Excuse me for chiming in so late on this argument. I use active dry yeast almost exclusively and have done for years. This is because it is the most cost effective kind of yeast for me to get. I habitually rehydrate active dry yeast because that's what my mother taught me to do. I don't always rehydrate it with lukewarm water though. In the summer, I use cold water from the tap. My husband, however, simply throws active dry yeast into the dry ingredients. All of our bread turns out just fine.
However, I have used fresh yeast - it's readily available in smallish blocks from a nearby deli. Its only disadvantage is that it's expensive. Bread made with fresh yeast rose equally well as same kind of bread made with active dry yeast.
I've also captured yeast and made sourdough. That too got to be rather expensive (so much feeding, burping, babying and tossing away) and one day, I "accidentally" used all of the starter without refreshing it. But that yeast, too, did in fact work.
Now excuse me while I go to shape boules from dough that rose overnight in the fridge. (The dough was made with a very small amount of rehydrated - in cold water - active dry yeast.)
I haven't tried using instant yeast because I'm prejudiced against new-fangled things. (snicker)
The difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast is that there are more living yeast cells in the instant yeast than in the active dry - therefore you need more of the active dry than the instant. And both are commercially made - instant yeast is just a bit more practical.
I'm sorry to hear about your exhausting experience with sourdough. I know there are two camps of believers out there, the ones that keep their starter on the countertop, and feed (and "burp and diaper") it daily, discarding most of it on a regular base, because they produce way too much to use up for the average homebaker.
But there are also the other ones, like me, who keep their starters in the fridge, where they can't grow so fast that they need daily "babying". I bake once or twice a week for a local store, so I have a regular turnover of my sourdoughs every two weeks (the rye sourdough only every 3 weeks) - and they are just fine (and deliver great breads) without any feedings in between.
Sourdough breads taste different, and some doughs you can't rise without the help of sourdough. It's a bit of a pity to limit yourself to breads that rise with commercial yeast alone, and never try one of the darker ryes, for example.
I've found that using less active dry yeast than is called for in a recipe generally offers better results. I often do long cold rises and had read (can't remember where) that instant yeast is not as good for that. I have no idea if that is indeed the case. But I'm unlikely to experiment with it.
As for the sourdough, I kept my starter in the fridge. It produced very sour bread. Except when I took it with me to the west coast and baked with it there while we were on holiday. It worked fabulously on the west coast. I made all kinds of bread while we were there - as I recall, naan was particularly brilliant.
And you're right - sourdough is different. I loved the smell of our wild yeast bread as I was kneading it and while it was baking - it was much preferable to the smell of bread made with commercial yeast. Alas, in general, the flavour of the wild yeast bread produced far too much grief to make it worth my while to keep a starter going.
-Elizabeth, in sour Toronto
Since I accidentally on purpose murdered my wild yeast, this is the closest I've come to making wild yeast bread: Brunkans Långa – Brunkeberg’s Bakery Long Brown Bread (this is a link) - made with some natural starter and some commercial yeast was brilliant bread.
... had read (can't remember where) that instant yeast is not as good for ... long cold rises ...
I suspect this is either a case of mis-remembering, or a case of mis-understanding the writer's intention. There may indeed be differences in "wake up time" (dissolved vs. not, fairly vs. highly active, warm vs. cool water, etc.), but once awake they're the same strain of yeast organisms and so will respond the same way to retarding.
(If you have a fairly small batch [which equalizes temperature quickly], use cool water for your mixing, and put the dough in the fridge right away, the Instant yeast --not having been dissolved-- may not "wake up" very well before the dough is too cold for the yeast to grow very much. That could lead to the dough never rising much at all ...which could then be described as some sort of "retard" problem. Could that be what the writer meant? In any case the solution is simple: just one way or another give whatever yeast you use the chance to "wake up" before the whole batch of dough gets clear down to refrigerator temperature.)
Sounds like a nice bread, Elizabeth.
I can reassure you, instant yeast doughs can be retarded in the fridge as well as active dry yeast doughs - I do it all the time.
Thank you, Chuck and Karin, for the assurance that instant yeast works just fine for long rises. (I'm still unlikely to use it though, being a creature of habit.)
Brunkans Långa is indeed delicious bread, Karin. Do give it a try.
P.S. I just given Chad Robertson's book Tartine Bread and after reading that he searched and searched for a NONsour wild yeast bread, am very close to trying to capture yeast again. I'm just not sure if I'm ready to have another pet....
Chuck, I make Pain a l'Ancienne every week - the dough is made with ice cold water, mixed just for 5 minutes at medium speed, and put in the refrigerator right away. When I take it out in the morning, it has risen, (and while it comes to room temperature, it rises more).
My regular doughs I make with water at room temperature, often not very warm, and then, after a brief mix, they go into the refrigerator. I assure you - the instant yeast wakes up just fine!