The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Active Yeast activation

Lemonie's picture
Lemonie

Active Yeast activation

Sometimes when baking my white sandwich loaf I've noticed it takes forever to rise.  I currently use active yeast which I mix in the flour and then add my warmed wet ingredients.  I've now read I should be activating the yeast in warm water first.  If I do this can I then add my other wet ingredients cold or should they be warm as well?  I bought the active yeast as it said it was just for hand baking which is all I do but is the instant yeast better?

Mlynn217's picture
Mlynn217

I used to have this same problem about a year ago. I was going through the book The Bread Bible (by Rose Levy Beranbaum) and using active dry yeast. My dough would not rise in the times she would state in the recipe. I finally found a page in her book that showed conversion factors for different types of yeast. Below is the link to her site which has the same.

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/blog/2005/12/15/yeast_conversion

I ended up swapping to instant yeast and getting better results. My loaves would be closer to what they were in the book. Now I know to watch the dough instead of following the times in the book but starting out there is nothing wrong with watching the time as a guideline to help to know what to look for. When I was using the active dry yeast I never activated it either so I can't really answer that question.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

I've been using ADY because that's what they carry.  A 2-pound brick for $5-6 bucks is hard to say "No" to.

So, I routinely hydrate the yeast in whatever liquid there is in the bread before proceeding with the rest of the steps.  If there's an autolyse involved, I'll set aside some of the liquid for use with the yeast after the autolyse. 

While I hear that ADY and IDY are closer in their properties today than they were some years back, a quick soak for the ADY still seems like a good bet.  I can see that ADY granules are much smaller than they used to be but I have had freckled bread on a couple of occasions when the yeast didn't hydrate fully.  Giving the yeast a quick soak ensures that it is activated and ready to go to work without posing any real hardship for me.  As for leavening power, ADY works just fine.

Paul

kendalm's picture
kendalm

it's interesting you mention how ady and idy are similar actually after doing some reading I believe you'll find that fresh is closer to instant sjmve the medium that hold the fresh stuff together supposedly contains some acids such as ascorbic. Furthermore if you hydrate ady and idy you may notice that ady is not as sweet smelling and that the instant smells much more like the fresh stuff (pleasant that is and slightly sweet)

 

albacore's picture
albacore

It's important to hydrate dried yeast at the right temperature. This temperature is higher than many people might think.

Redstar for example recommend a water temperature of 110 - 115F.

If instant yeast is added to the liquid instead of the flour, this should also be done at a similar temperature.

Of course lower temperatures will work, but may give poor mixing of the yeast and lower activity resulting in slower fermentations.

Lance

Lemonie's picture
Lemonie

Thanks for the replies.  I usually heat my liquids to 110f so today I used the water to activate the yeast before adding to the other ingredients.  I got a really good dough, the best I've ever had.  I would almost say perfect.  Then when it was in the tin for it's final proof I decided to go to the gym so left hubs to cut the slits in the top after an hour and put in the oven.  I won't letting him anywhere near my precious bread again :O :O :O

kendalm's picture
kendalm

it sounds a little crazy right - they call it active but many tutorials suggest activating it first. So long as there's warmth and food and the yeast isn't dead you should get rise and the activation that many suggest is just a way of checking the yeast first to ensure it's not dead or diminished. With whatever quantity / percentage you are using eventually it will begin to multiply and if too slow then a little more time is usually all that's needed. The important thing is getting predictability and if you prefer a faster rise then adding more ady or switching to idy may be better for your schedule but to the point above where nothing much seems to be happening, I'm sure giving it more time would solve the problem.  it's probably not a matter of an activation process being a critical step. It will activate in the dough especially if using warm water. Just saying 'activating' ady seems to be more a ritual that necessary step. If you've had yeast sitting around for extended periods of time then sure otherwise it can usually be trusted if purchased recently (thank modern science for the stuff it's rather amazing)

BreadScience's picture
BreadScience

Haha! I can relate. I once asked my boyfriend to put the bread in the oven when it doubles, in about an hour. Also I told him to put it on a rack to cool after it bakes. Then I went to bed full of optimism and hope completly confident in my ability to explain new concepts to him.

The next morning I saw a way too small loaf still on a pan, which he had put on a rack XD

Even though the loaf turned out to be a brick with a pale chrust, I ate it and told him that it wasn't bad because I didn't want to discourage him =) 

albacore's picture
albacore

 Agreed - activating the active sound a little strange. Perhaps better to think of it as rehydration!

BTW, did you active yeast users ever see this? https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2016/01/29/yeast-use/

 

Lance

kendalm's picture
kendalm

I remember reading that a while back - as with many things where there's a tiny difference I always tend to think that people get caught up in over analysis of what's best. When it comes to baker's yeast I think the most important thing is to simply discover for yourself which one you prefer and beyond risong times etc, they all rise up and som take longer - if a race to the top is performed and say Fleischman's day looses then 50 bucks says another 30 minutes and it would have hit the same mark. And btw sometimes slower is what you want. Most importantly with yeast is predictability and they are predictable - remarkably predictable infact (thanks science) so in reality the 'best' yeast is the one you like the 'best'

BobBoule's picture
BobBoule

ADY and IDY I found the, both to be completely reliable. Although in theory IDY is supposed to be more reliable because its an engineered product, I couch not find and reliability difference in my baking nor in any of my friends baking.

IDY is engineered by having a different granule size (to allow for longer theoretical survivability) and there are dough conditioners added. The most common dough conditioner I have seen is Ascorbic Acid which makes the dough softer, allowing for a theoretically better rise and a more controlled pH. For me the dough conditioners make my dough runny so it Maes my life noticeably more difficult.

Ultimately I switched to ADY years ago because it works reliably, I never hydrate the ADY since I have no problems with it whatsoever.

Temperature is definitely a factor, since I know control my room temperature very well and rely on a long fermentation period, I don't worry about temperature anymore however I do suggest that you check out the Rule of 240 to see if it does anything for you. https://wp.me/P3QqUs-2jJ