The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


sandrasfibre's picture


Hello.  I am new to a "blog" and not sure how all of this works.   I have a question about yeast.  I am presently using SAF instant yeast.  When a recipe tells me to disolve my yeast in warm water to proof I have to do this with instant yeast?  Now, when I return to this blog, where do I go to find any responses.  Sorry for any dumb questions.  Sandy in Fl

PaddyL's picture

I don't dissolve the instant yeast, even when a recipe calls for it.  I just mix it up with a cup of the flour, then add it to the liquid.  I'm not sure you're blogging here, though you could, I gather.  You'll see the answers to your questions in with the "latest comments".

Floydm's picture

No, instant yeast doesn't need to be dissolved in liquid first (though it won't hurt it to do so).

suave's picture

There's one case in which you do need to dissolve even instant yeast in water - when very small amount of yeast, say 1/8 of a teaspoon, is used dissolving it in water ensures even distribution of the yeast.


JIP's picture

If a recipe says to "proof" your yeast I would imagine it is asking for regular yeast not instant.  I just went through this in a post I put up similar to this but as Suave said certain recipes like the baguette recipe in ABAA will call for you to dissolve a small amount of instant in water to use an even tinier amount and spread it between 2 things but it says nothing about proofing it.

dougal's picture

I am presently using SAF instant yeast. When a recipe tells me to disolve my yeast in warm water to proof I have to do this with instant yeast?

No, as others have said, you don't need to "proof" instant yeast.

That's why its called "instant" - no proofing needed, instantly ready for action.


However, there is another aspect.

If the recipe asks you to "proof" the yeast, it is thinking of a different form of the yeast. (All bread yeasts are basically the same or very similar beasties but compressed "fresh", acively dried and "instant" are different preparations of the stuff.)

No question, "instant" is ideal for home use, with its LONG storage life and ease of use.

Commercially, its cost comes into things. And actively dried yeast was the standard convenience product for many years. But the newer style is better, especially for the starting home bread baker.

Trouble is these different preparations of yeast have different concentrations/strength/potency.

If the recipe is talking about proofing, then its talking about either crumbly "fresh" compressed yeast or granular "actively dried" yeast.

So, if you are using (the more concentrated) instant, you need to use less yeast than the recipe says!

How much less? Its well known by weight...

If the recipe is talking about "fresh" then use 1/3 of the weight when using instant.

If the recipe is talking about "actively dried" then use about 2/3 of the weight when using instant.

Trouble is, your recipe probably gives volume measures, like teaspoons, for yeast.

I'm told that 1 packed tablespoon of "fresh" is equivalent to 2 level US teaspoons of instant. But I haven't personally audited that.)

And I calculate that a teaspoon of active dry means between half and 2/3 of a teaspoon of instant*...

But don't worry too much about yeast quantity exactness, because you can adjust the rise time, depending on how fast its rising. (Flour water and salt are more critical.)

Close is all you need at home. So just try and get close.




* This result is based on my measurements of my own instant and the active dry pack labelling reportedly stating that the 1/4 oz pack measures at 2.25 US teaspoons. So, converting with Google Calculator, 7g of active dry is 11 ml.

The equivalent of 7g active dry would be (2/3 the weight thus) 4.6g of instant.

I measured 15 ml of my stock instant (UK Doves Farm) as being about 10.4g (average of 3 scoops on a 0.01g scale).

so 4.6g would occupy 4.6/10.4 of 15 ml which is 6.64 ml

so 11ml of active dry is equivalent to 6.64ml of instant.

So one volume (spoonful) active dry should be replaced by 60% of the volume (spoonful) of instant (hence my saying between 2/3, 66%, and half, 50%).

I find this surprising given the different grain sizes. But the loosely packing big grains of actively dried are quite solid, whereas the tiny grains of instant are actually microscopically porous, like tiny grains of freeze dried coffee or popcorn... and it all almost balances out to make the potency difference by volume almost the same as the potency difference by weight ...

Thanks for giving me a new angle to think about something routine.