Wet yeast vs dry yeast

Yeast

Yeast is a single-celled organism classified in the kingdom Fungi, and requires moisture, oxygen, food, and appropriate temperatures in order to survive. Under these suitable conditions, the yeast will reproduce and generate alcoholic fermentation. During fermentation, yeast and bacteria consume sugars, and the resulting products are alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Generally speaking, bread dough is an ideal environment for the yeast, providing all the necessary conditions for its needs.

  • Water is needed by the yeast, since the semipermeable yeast cell wall can only absorb small molecule nutrients in a dissolved state. It is well known by bakers that salt retards the activity of yeast fermentation, due to osmotic pressure exerted on the yeast cells by the salt. Salt, being hygroscopic (attracting moisture), draws water out of the yeast cell, reducing the amount available to the yeast, and this is why there is a decrease in fermentation from the presence of salt. Sugar acts the same way. It too is hygroscopic, and once a dough contains more than 10% sugar, a decrease is noted in the rate of fermentation.
  • Oxygen, obtained mostly by the mixing of the dough, enables the yeast to metabolize nutrients and to multiply. Although yeast requires oxygen for its reproduction, in reality there is almost no reproduction occurring in bread dough, and the rise we see is almost entirely due to gas production during fermentation. Available oxygen is used up within a matter of minutes after dough mixing, and fermentation occurs in an anaerobic environment.
  • Dough temperature is crucial for yeast activity. For commercial yeast, the optimum temperature for fermentation is 86° to 95°F or even higher. It is important to note, however, that a dough temperature in this range is inappropriate; although fermentation would be favored, it would occur at the expense of flavor development, which requires lower temperatures. Wild yeasts prefer a narrower temperature zone than commercial yeast, and in general perform better at slightly lower temperatures than commercial yeast.

During fermentation, food is provided to the yeast by the conversion of starches (by amylase enzymes) into sugar. The yeast ferments the sugar, and as a result of this fermentation, carbon dioxide gas and alcohol are produced. The CO2 is trapped by the gluten network in the dough, and provides volume to the baked loaf. The alcohol is largely evaporated during the baking of the bread. Another by-product of fermentation is heat.

Kinds of yeast

In nature, there are dozens of genera of yeast, hundreds of species, and thousands of subspecies or strains. Saccharomyces cerivisiae is the strain that has been chosen for commercial yeast, because it has characteristics that favor rapid gas production. Commercial yeast is available in a number of forms, from cream yeast (a liquid form of compressed yeast, it is usually delivered in tank trucks to storage bins, and is used in very large operations), to compressed yeast (also called cake yeast or fresh yeast), and finally, active dry yeast and instant yeast. There is also osmotolerant yeast, which is designed for enriched formulas with less water.

Conversions

When converting from fresh yeast to dry yeast, it is important to adjust the weight of the yeast. Although it is best to follow the conversion ratio provided by the manufacturer, there are general conversion guidelines that may prove helpful.

  • To convert from fresh yeast to active dry yeast, multiply the fresh quantity by 0.4. Active dry yeast must be hydrated in warm water before being incorporated into a dough.
  • To convert from fresh yeast to instant dry yeast, multiply the fresh quantity by 0.33. Instant yeast can be incorporated into the dough without first rehydrating it; however, it is sensitive to ice or ice-cold temperatures, and if the water temperature of the dough is cold, it is best to mix the dough for a minute or two before adding the yeast. In order to maintain dough yield, most manufacturers suggest making up the weight difference between dry yeast and fresh with additional water.

A symbiotic relationship

There is an interesting relationship in what we call San Francisco Sourdough between the wild yeast, Candida milleri, and the dominant lactobacillus strain, Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. C. milleri cannot utilize maltose during fermentation, while Lb. sanfranciscensis is happy to use it. And once it does, it excretes glucose. This is fortunate for C. milleri, because it is fond of glucose, and ferments this simple sugar readily. At the same time, competing bacterial species are inhibited by the presence of so much glucose, and this is to the benefit of Lb. sanfranciscensis, whose development is therefore favored. A last factor in this relationship pertains to acidity. Lb. sanfranciscensis produces a lot of acetic acid, which contributes significantly to the flavor we associate with sourdough bread. C. milleri is more tolerant of an acidic environment than many yeast varieties. The high level of acidity prevents competing yeasts from dominating the culture, much to the benefit of C. milleri.

Fresh yeast, also called baker’s yeast, cake yeast or compressed yeast is my preferred type of yeast when making bread. It should be kept in the fridge and lasts up to 4 weeks. Fresh yeast has no artificial additives. Although not widely available in Australian shops, it is possible to find it in some delis and bakeries.

To buy fresh yeast look for a nice creamy colour without any dark or dried out spots. It should smell pleasantly and crumble easily. Greyish yeast that is stretchy and gummy is past the required freshness and might produce unsatisfactory loaf. If in doubt, mix a small amount of yeast in some warm water with a tablespoon of flour. If it rises, it means it’s still active.

Dry yeast on the other hand can be kept for up to 2 years. This is especially handy if you don’t bake with yeast very often. However, dry yeast usually contains additive sorbitan monostearate (E491).

Common Yeast packaging

In recipes requiring yeast, different yeast types and amounts can be stated. That can be very confusing. Also, depending on the origin of the recipe the amount can be stated as a cube or a cake of yeast. Here are the most common yeast packaging sizes:

    • Dry yeast in small packs has most universal weight. One packet, one sachet or one envelope weighs 7 grams (0.25 oz or 2 teaspoons). 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of dry yeast equals 3.5 grams

  • Fresh yeast packaging differs significantly. In Australia it’s commonly produced in 1 kg blocks and then cut up into prepackaged small chunks or sold at the counter according to the customer’s requirements. US cake of fresh yeast is packed in 0.6 oz or 17 grams. If a recipe of European origin asks for a cube of fresh yeast, the required weight is 42 grams or 1.5 oz or 2.5 US cake portions.

Fresh yeast to dry yeast conversion and vice versa

The packaging types, sizes and measuring systems aren’t the only thing needing conversions. If you only have dry yeast and the recipe calls for fresh yeast, what do you do? Fresh yeast to dry yeast conversion and other way round is an easier one. Very often I read in different recipes suggestion to half or double the amount to change the type of yeast. That would result in too much of dry yeast of too little of fresh and longer proving time.

The rule of thumb is dividing or multiplying by 3:

  • from fresh yeast to dry – divide amount by 3, eg. instead of 30 grams of fresh yeast use 10 grams of dry
  • from dry yeast to fresh – multiply by 3, meaning 7 grams or dry yeast becomes 21 grams of fresh.

Another easy way to remember yeast conversion is:

10g of fresh yeast = 1 teaspoon of dry yeast

10 : 3 = 3.33 g

As you can see above, this is close to 3.5 g – the average weight of one level teaspoon of dry yeast. Teaspoon volume varies depending on the manufacturer and the shape. However, a few grams more or less of yeast won’t make a huge difference in your recipe.

Note:

The amount of dry yeast in recipes and on the packaging instruction is often exaggerated. As a result the dough rises too quickly and has a yeasty taste. Reduce the amount of yeast and allow the dough a bit of extra time if necessary.

Happy baking!

Our answer

There are 3 types of yeast commonly available, fresh yeast which comes in solid ‘cake’ form, active dry yeast and fast-acting or instant yeast (rapid rise). Fresh yeast will only last a couple of days in the fridge but can be frozen for up to 3 months (defrost before using and increase quantities slightly). Active dry and instant yeast can be stored in a cool dry place until the ‘best before’ date on the packaging. Fresh yeast and active dry yeast granules need to be dissolved in some warm liquid along with a little sugar or honey to get them working and should be left to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbles start to form on the surface of the yeast mixture, before adding to the other bread ingredients Instant yeast comes in the form of very fine granules so can just be added directly to the bread flour and mixed in along with the other ingredients.

You can substitute one type of yeast for another but the quantities need adjusting. For dry active yeast you generally need to use half the quantity of fresh yeast stated in the recipe and for instant yeast you need to use 1/4 of the quantity of fresh yeast. So if the recipe has 30g (1 ounce) fresh yeast then you can use 15g (1/2 ounce) active dry yeast or 7g (1/4 ounce) instant yeast instead. Most of the yeast packages give basic guides as to how much yeast you need to add to certain quantities of flour but if your recipe contains a lot of salt, egg, butter or other fats then you will need to use slightly more yeast, or allow a longer time for rising, as these will tend to slow down the action of the yeast.

The Science of Baking with Yeast

By David Joachim and Andrew Schloss
from Fine Cooking #127, pp. 24-25

Before domesticating cattle, pigs, chickens, and other animals, human beings harnessed a much smaller living organism: yeast. Without it, some of our earliest foods and beverages, such as bread, beer, and wine, wouldn’t exist. Here’s a closer look at how yeast works its magic so that you can make better breads, rolls, waffles, and more.

What exactly is yeast?

Yeast is a single-celled microorganism related to mushrooms. About 1,500 species exist, but in the kitchen, we use mostly just one, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (which means “sugar-eating fungi”). Used to make bread rise, it’s available in various forms, which differ mostly by moisture content.

Cake yeast (aka fresh yeast or compressed yeast) is made from a slurry of yeast and water with enough of its moisture removed so that the yeast can be compressed into blocks. Experienced bakers swear by its superior leavening and the nuanced, slightly sweet flavor it gives baked goods. Cake yeast is highly perishable and lasts only about two weeks in the refrigerator.

Active dry yeast was developed by the Fleischmann’s company during World War II so that the U.S. Army could make bread without keeping yeast refrigerated. Partially dehydrated and formed into granules, it contains dormant yeast cells that keep at room temperature for several months. To use active dry yeast, rehydrate it first in warm water (about 105°F) along with a pinch of sugar to feed the yeast. The resulting foam is confirmation that the yeast is still alive.

Instant yeast (aka quick-rise yeast) was first manufactured in the 1970s. It’s a smaller form of dry yeast that rehydrates faster and can be added directly to the dry ingredients without being soaked first. Some types of instant yeast, such as RapidRise yeast and bread machine yeast, dissolve faster than others and may include ascorbic acid or other dough conditioners (ingredients that help to strengthen the gluten or soften the crumb).

How does yeast make bread rise?

As bread dough is mixed and kneaded, millions of air bubbles are trapped and dispersed throughout the dough. Meanwhile, the yeast in the dough metabolizes the starches and sugars in the flour, turning them into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. This gas inflates the network of air bubbles, causing the bread to rise. During rising, the yeast divides and multiplies, producing more carbon dioxide. As long as there is ample air and food (carbohydrates) in the dough, the yeast will multiply until its activity is stopped by the oven’s heat.

Most homemade bread recipes call for an hour or two of rising. This will produce perfectly fine bread, but if you want more artisanal results, give your dough a long, slow rise by putting it in a cool spot, such as the refrigerator. This allows more time for fermentation, which creates desirable secondary flavors that counterbalance the yeast’s earthiness. Along with the yeast, bacteria are growing in the dough as it rises. The bacteria often include some of the same lactic-acid-producing bacteria that turn milk into yogurt, which gives slow-risen breads a delicious tang.

In most bread recipes, the dough rises twice, once before the loaf is formed, and once after. During the first rise, heat from fermentation builds up in the center of the dough ball, the multiplying yeast gets packed into clusters, and alcohol builds along with the carbon dioxide that is rising the dough. Punching down or stirring a dough at this point before forming it into a loaf refreshes the yeast’s environment, evening out the hot and cold spots in the dough, breaking up overcrowded yeast clusters, and releasing the buildup of alcohol, which would result in off flavors and could create a toxic environment that kills the yeast. With a fresh start, the yeast is better able to aerate the loaf during the second rise, just before baking.

What can go wrong?

When bread doesn’t rise, it can be for one or more of several reasons.

The yeast was dead before you used it. When you open a package of yeast, it should smell earthy and “yeasty.” If it doesn’t, you can test or “proof” the yeast’s liveliness by combining it with some of the warm water from the recipe and a pinch of sugar. If the yeast is active, it will produce a bubbly mass within 10 minutes.

The water used was too cold or too hot. Water below 70°F may not be warm enough to activate the yeast, but rising the dough in a warm room will activate it-it just might take several hours. Water that’s too hot can damage or kill yeast. The damage threshold is 100°F for cake yeast, 120°F for active dry, and 130°F for instant. All yeasts die at 138°F.

Too much salt was added or added too early. Adding salt before the yeast has had a chance to multiply can dehydrate it, starving it of the water it needs to survive.

The dough was not punched down or stirred enough. This allows alcohol to build up and poison the yeast.

Beyond Baking

Yeast is used for more than rising bread. It’s essential for brewing beer and making wine, as well as other food products, such as soy sauce and vinegar. Regardless of what it’s used for, all commercial yeasts are select strains of the same yeast used for bread. Here’s a look at what makes each strain different.

Brewer’s yeast comes in two basic types, top-fermenting and bottom-fermenting. Saccharomyces cerevisiae rises to the top of the brew during fermentation and is used for pale ales, stouts, and other top-fermented ales. Saccharomyces pastorianus settles at the bottom during fermentation and is preferred for lagers and pilsners.

Winemaker’s yeast contains strains of S. cerevisiae selected for their vigorous fermentation and tolerance of the 10% to 14% alcohol in most wine.

Yeast extract is a flavoring made from a salted slurry of S. cerevisiae and water. The salt encourages enzymes in the yeast to break down its own protein into its constituent amino acids. One of these is glutamic acid, which has a deep umami (savory) flavor and accounts for the primary taste of products like Vegemite and Marmite. Nutritional yeast is a mild-tasting strain of S. cerevisiae that’s been deactivated. The yeast is then rinsed, dried, and packaged as yellow flakes or powder. Popular among vegans, nutritional yeast has an umami flavor, is often fortified with vitamins, and is a good source of complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.

How much yeast do you really need?

Yeast has a fruity fragrance and an eggy hint of sulfur that’s pleasant in low concentration, but too much can lend a harsh, mushroomy aroma and unpleasant alcohol aftertaste to finished bread. For the best flavor, use a minimal amount of yeast and a long rising time in fairly low temperatures (below 70°F).

The exact amount of yeast needed to rise bread dough depends on three things:

The type of yeast used. You need about twice as much cake yeast as active dry or instant to rise the same weight of dough.

The temperature of the dough. A higher temperature makes the yeast more active, so you don’t need to use as much yeast in a warm environment. You also don’t need to use as much yeast in a cold environment if you’re doing a long, slow rise; the only time you’d need more yeast would be for a quick rise in a cold environment.

The length of rising time. The slower the rise, the less yeast you need. You can control rising times to fit your schedule by varying the amount of yeast and the temperature of the rise. For example, a recipe may call for 2 teaspoons of yeast and 2 hours of rising, but if you’re going to be out for the day, you can reduce the amount of yeast to ½teaspoon, rise the dough in the refrigerator overnight, and finish the bread the next day. The lower temperature and longer rising time will allow the yeast to multiply more gradually and create a more complex flavor.

Yeast

Season

available year-round

How to select

Active dry yeast comes in envelopes, jars or bulk and can be regular or quick rising. Quick rising will half the time needed for rising to occur. Because you are purchasing live organisms, please note the expiration date on the package when using (fresh yeast will only last 1 week).

How to store

Always store in a cool, dry place, preferably the refrigerator (a must for fresh yeast), but bring to room temperature before using. Fresh yeast is extremely perishable and should be used within 1-2 weeks or date on package.

How to prepare

Yeast needs both a warm environment and food to grow. The process is often called “proofing the yeast.” Yeast should be dissolved in warm water (100-110 degrees F), but not hot water or it will die. Sugar is usually added to “feed” and grow the yeast. You should see activity within 5 minutes, bubbling and expansion during yeast activation. If you see no activity, your yeast is too old, the water was too warm or too cold. Time to start over.

Substitutions

1 (1/4 oz) package dry active yeast = 2 1/4 teaspoons = 1 (1 oz) cake compressed fresh yeast
See Yeast Substitute Recipe 51462

All About Yeast

Tips

What’s the best way to store yeast?

We recommend transferring yeast to an airtight container (glass or acrylic), and storing it in the freezer for up to a year. If you buy yeast in bulk (e.g., a 1-pound vacuum-packed brick), open it up; divide it into 3 or 4 smaller portions, and store each in a tightly closed container. A zip-top freezer bag works well.

When you’re ready to use yeast, remove the bag or jar from the freezer, spoon out what you need, and quickly return it to the freezer. Yeast manufacturers say you should let frozen yeast rest at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before using; frankly, we’re usually too impatient to do that, and have never experienced any problem using yeast straight from the freezer.

Can I use active dry and instant yeasts interchangeably?

Yes, they can be substituted for one another 1:1. We’ve found that active dry yeast is a little bit slower off the mark than instant, as far as dough rising goes; but in a long (2- to 3-hour) rise, the active dry yeast catches up. If a recipe using instant yeast calls for the dough to “double in size, about 1 hour,” you may want to mentally add 15 to 20 minutes to this time if you’re using active dry yeast.

When dough is rising, you need to judge it by how much it’s risen, not how long it takes; cold weather, low barometric pressure, how often you bake, and a host of other factors affect dough rising times, so use them as a guide, not an unbreakable rule.

Remember, bread-baking involves living things (yeast), your own personal touch in kneading technique, and the atmosphere of your kitchen; there are so many variables that it’s impossible to say that “Dough X will double in size in 60 minutes.” Baking with yeast is a combination of art, science and a bit of magic; stay flexible, and your bread (and you!) will be just fine.

One time when you might not want to use instant and active dry yeasts interchangeably is when you’re baking bread in a bread machine. Since bread machines use a higher temperature to raise dough, substituting instant for active dry yeast 1:1 may cause bread to over-rise, then collapse. When baking in the bread machine, and substituting instant yeast for active dry, reduce the amount of instant yeast by 25%.

How much is a “packet” of yeast?

You may find older recipes calling for “1 packet active dry yeast.” A packet used to include 1 tablespoon of yeast; currently, it’s closer to 2 generous teaspoons, a tribute to improved manufacturing methods that produce stronger, more active yeast.

Can I vary the amount of yeast in a recipe to quicken or slow down how my dough rises?

The amount of yeast you use in your bread dough has a significant bearing on how quickly it’ll rise, and thus on your own schedule. By reducing the yeast, you ensure a long, slow rise, one more likely to produce a strong dough able to withstand the rigors of baking.

The more yeast in a recipe initially, the quicker it produces CO2, alcohol, and organic acids. Alcohol, being acidic, weakens the gluten in the dough, and eventually the dough becomes “porous,” and won’t rise; or won’t rise very well.

By starting with a smaller amount of yeast, you slow down the amount of CO2, alcohol, and organic acids being released into the dough, thus ensuring the gluten remains strong and the bread rises well—from its initial rise in the bowl, to its final rise in the oven.

Remember that this slow rise extends to the shaped loaf, as well as dough in the bowl. Once you’ve shaped your loaf, covered it, and set it aside to rise again, it may take 2 hours or more, rather than the usual 1 to 1 1/2, to rise fully and be ready for the oven.

Keep in mind, also, the characteristics of your own kitchen. If you bake bread all the time, your kitchen is full of wild yeast, and any dough you make there will rise vigorously. If you seldom bake bread, or are just beginning, your kitchen will be quite “sterile;” your dough won’t be aided by wild yeast, and will rise more slowly than it would in a more “active” kitchen.

Here are some guidelines to get you started. If you’re an occasional bread baker, cut back the usual 2 to 2 1/2; teaspoons of instant yeast to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, depending on how long you want to let the dough ferment before the final shape-rise-bake process. 1/2 teaspoon would give you lots of flexibility, such as letting the dough “rest” for 16 to 20 hours; 1 teaspoon would be a good amount for an all-day or overnight rise (10 hours or so, at cool room temperature).

If you’re using active dry yeast, which isn’t as vigorous as instant yeast, we’d up the range to 3/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

We’ve found that here in our King Arthur kitchen, where we bake bread every day, we can cut the yeast all the way back to 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon in a 3-cup-of-flour recipe, and get a good overnight or all-day rise.

Use your judgment in rating your own kitchen as to “yeast friendliness.”

What about long, slow rises for sweet dough, or dough including perishable ingredients, e.g., milk or eggs?

Basic flour-water-yeast-salt doughs (which may also contain a bit of oil and/or sugar), such as those for baguettes, focaccia, and pizza, are the best candidates for an all-day countertop rise. Doughs that contain dairy products (and shouldn’t, for food safety reasons, be left at room temperature all day) should be refrigerated if you want to slow them down.

Sweet doughs are notoriously slow risers, anyway; by cutting back on the yeast, you’re just slowing them down even more. Sweet doughs are best slowed down by refrigeration, rather than by reducing the amount of yeast.

And what about whole-grain dough? That rises slowly anyway, doesn’t it?

Whole-grain doughs are naturally slow rising, due to the bran in the grain, which interferes with gluten development. If you’d like to slow down a familiar whole-grain recipe, cut back on the yeast; but if you’re making a particular whole-grain recipe for the first time, we recommend using the amount of yeast indicated, and seeing just how long it takes the dough to rise fully. Often it takes longer than the directions say, and there’s probably no need to slow things down even more.

Troubleshooting

My yeast didn’t work!

There are all kinds of reasons why bread fails to rise; weak or dead yeast is one of them. In spite of the fact you may have just purchased your yeast, it may not have been stored or rotated correctly prior to your purchasing it so that it isn’t, in fact, as new as you think it is.

A vacuum-sealed bag of yeast stored at room temperature will remain fresh indefinitely. Once the seal is broken, it should go into the freezer for optimum shelf life.

A vacuum-sealed bag of yeast stored at high temperatures, however—e.g., in a hot kitchen over the summer, or in a hot warehouse before delivery—will fairly quickly lose its effectiveness. After awhile, if stored improperly, yeast cells will die. And if you use dead (or dying) yeast in your bread, it won’t rise.

Another reason yeast might not work—you may have killed it by using overly hot water in your recipe; water hotter than 139°F will kill yeast. But don’t stress too much about temperature; 139°F is WAY hotter than is comfortable. If you stepped into a bathtub of 139°F water, you’d leap out fast. So long as the water you combine with your yeast feels comfortable to you, it’ll be comfortable for the yeast, too.

I’ve heard that when you’re doubling a recipe, you shouldn’t double the yeast, too. Is that true?

You can increase the size of most bread recipes by simply doubling, tripling, etc. all of the ingredients, including the yeast. Depending on the recipe and rising time, you may use as little as 1 teaspoon, or up to 2 1/4 teaspoons (sometimes more) of instant yeast per pound (about 4 cups) of flour.

That being said, many home recipes, particularly older ones, use more yeast than this; so when you double or triple the yeast, you may find that your dough is rising too fast—faster than you can comfortably deal with it. In addition, if you’ve increased your recipe by 5 times or more, and also increased the yeast by 5 times, keep in mind the time it will take you to shape the dough. You may find the rising dough outpaces your ability to get it shaped and baked. If that’s the case, make a note to reduce the amount of yeast next time.

What factors affect how well yeast works?

If you’ve ever baked bread, you’ll have noticed that sometimes yeast seems to work more quickly than other times. Yeast, like any living organism, is happiest when it’s in a comfortable environment. For yeast, this means plenty of food and moisture; the right pH (acid balance); and the right amount of warmth. Yeast prefers temperatures between 70°F and 100°F; for convenience’s sake, and to produce the most flavorful loaf, it’s best to keep rising conditions cooler, rather than warmer.

Salt and sugar can both slow down yeast activity. Each of them are osmotic, meaning they can pull moisture out of yeast cells, thus adversely affecting how the yeast functions. We add salt to yeast dough both for flavor, and to moderate yeast’s work; we don’t want our loaves rising TOO fast. Sugar is optional; a little bit makes yeast happy, but too much—generally, more than 1/4 cup per 3 cups of flour—slows yeast down.

How Yeast Works

What does yeast do?

Yeast makes bread rise. Just as baking soda and baking powder make your muffins and cakes rise, yeast makes breads of all kinds rise—sandwich loaves, rolls, pizza crust, artisan hearth breads, and more.

How does yeast work?

Since yeast doesn’t reproduce without a good supply of oxygen, it stops reproducing once it’s in bread dough. Instead, it starts to eat: sugar (sucrose and fructose) is its favorite food. If there is sugar in the dough, that’s what the yeast eats first; once that’s gone, yeast converts the starch in flour into sugar; thus flour is capable of providing yeast with a continuous food source.

The byproducts of feeding yeast are CO2, alcohol, and organic acids. CO2 released by yeast is trapped in bread dough’s elastic web of gluten; think of blowing up a balloon. Alcohol and organic acids disperse throughout the dough, enhancing baked bread’s flavor.

As long as moisture and food are available, yeast will continue to eat and produce CO2, alcohol, and organic acids. If your bread stops rising, it’s usually not because the yeast isn’t working (or has died); it’s because the gluten has somehow become “leaky,” failing to retain CO2.

What is yeast, and how is it made?

Yeast is a single-cell organism, part of the fungi kingdom. The yeast we use most often today, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is one of the oldest domesticated organisms known to mankind: it’s been helping humans bake bread and brew alcohol for thousands of years. Fittingly, the Latin translation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is “sweet fungi of beer.”

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is just one strain of the more than 1,500 identified species of yeast. 1,500 strains of yeast? But wait, there’s more—literally. Those 1,500 identified yeasts are just an estimated 1% of the yeast population in the world; most species remain as yet unnamed.

In order to have a reliable supply of yeast on hand for all of our baking needs, it’s necessary for manufacturers to “domesticate” wild yeast—stabilizing it, and in the process making it 200 times stronger than its wild counterpart.

Plant scientists working with a yeast manufacturer identify certain characteristics of wild yeast that they decide are desirable; isolate them, and then replicate them. The resulting yeast is given a “training” diet to make it reproduce. Formerly based on molasses, most manufacturers now feed their growing yeast with corn syrup. Once the cells have replicated to a critical mass—a process that generally takes about a week—they’re filtered, dried, packaged, and sent off to the market.

Comparison

What’s the difference between active dry yeast (ADY) and instant yeast?

In days gone by there was a significant difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast. Today, the difference is minimal, and the two can be used interchangeably—with slightly different results. Let’s look at ADY first.

Active dry yeast: The classic ADY manufacturing process dried live yeast cells quickly, at a high temperature. The result? Only about 30% of the cells survived. Dead cells “cocooned” around the live ones, making it necessary to “proof” the yeast—dissolve it in warm water—before using.

These days, ADY is manufactured using a much gentler process, resulting in many more live cells. Thus, it’s no longer necessary to dissolve ADY in warm water before using—feel free to mix it with the dry ingredients, just as you do instant yeast.

However, if you want to make sure that your ADY is alive and ready to work in your bread dough, proof it first, as follows:

Place ½ cup of 110°F water (slightly warmer than lukewarm) in a 1-cup liquid (glass or plastic) measure. Add the yeast called for in the recipe, plus 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Wait 10 minutes; the yeast is active and healthy if the foam has risen to the 1-cup mark. If you don’t see any activity, buy a fresh supply of yeast. Once you’re sure the yeast is active, continue with your recipe.

ADY, compared to instant yeast, is considered more “moderate.” It gets going more slowly, but eventually catches up to instant—think of the tortoise and the hare. Many bread-bakers appreciate the longer rise times ADY encourages; it’s during fermentation of its dough that bread develops flavor.

Fleischmann’s and Red Star are the two brands of active dry yeasts you’re most likely to see in your supermarket.

Instant yeast is manufactured to a smaller granule size than ADY. Thus, with more surface area exposed to the liquid in a recipe, it dissolves more quickly, and gets going faster than ADY. While you can proof it if you like, it’s not necessary; like ADY, simply mixing it into your bread dough along with the rest of the dry ingredients works just fine.

One caveat: in dough that’s high in sugar (generally, more than ¼ cup sugar per 3 cups of flour), the sugar evens things out, and instant yeast and ADY will perform the same.

SAF instant yeast, produced by France’s LeSaffre company, leads the way among instant yeast brands, with Red Star also commanding a good percentage of the market. LeSaffre is the largest yeast producer in the world, responsible for fully one-third of the total amount of yeast manufactured yearly.

SAF Red

SAF Red is an all-purpose instant yeast widely used by professionals everywhere—including the bakers in the King Arthur Bakery and test kitchens.

SAF Gold

SAF Gold, another SAF variety, is an “osmotolerant” yeast, perfect for sweet breads, and any dough with a high amount of sugar. SAF Gold works best when the amount of sugar is between 10% and 30% of the amount of the flour, by weight (this is called a “baker’s percentage”). So, for a 3-cup-flour loaf (12 3/4 ounces flour), you’d choose SAF Gold if the sugar is greater than 3 tablespoons, or up to about a heaping 1/2 cup. Understand that the greater the amount of sugar, the more slowly your dough will rise.

How does SAF Gold work? Sugar likes to absorb water; and when sugar’s in bread dough, it pulls water away from yeast, leaving the yeast thirsty. The yeast cells in SAF Gold are bred to require less liquid to function; so they’re better able to withstand sugar’s greedy ways with water.

SAF Gold is best used in sweet breads; it won’t do well in “lean” doughs (low in sugar and fat).

RapidRise, instant, bread machine yeast… is there truly any difference?

Bread machine yeast and instant yeast are the same yeast. RapidRise, Flesichmann’s branded instant yeast, is also an instant yeast, but a different strain than SAF or Red Star.

Personally, we find RapidRise is faster out of the gate than SAF or Red Star, but gives out sooner. And since we like to give our loaves leisurely rises (a long rise brings out bread’s flavor), we like SAF/Red Star.

Yeast Conversion Table

Fresh cake yeast is only sold in a limited number of stores in the Upper Midwest and Northeastern US in that choose to stock it based on demand for the product. Even in those regions the availability is ‘spotty’ and the stores will generally only stock it during the holiday baking season. Since cake yeast is so perishable and requires constant refrigeration, we only sell it through supermarkets and it is not available through online sources.

Due to the limited availability of the cake yeast, many bakers do successfully substitute dry yeast in place of cake yeast, even in their traditional family recipes. Since dry yeast is essentially cake yeast that has been dried, using the proper conversion and given a little extra time to fully activate, dry yeast will yield the same results. Keep in mind that cake yeast has been sold in many different sizes over the years; therefore, if a recipe doesn’t specify the weight of the yeast cake, it is best to determine the amount of dry yeast you’ll need based on the amount of flour in your recipe.

Using the chart below, determine your yeast requirements based on the total amount of flour in your recipe.

* One pound of flour is approximately equal to 4 cups of flour.

TIPS

  • If the ratio of sugar to flour is more than 1/2 cup sugar to 4 cups flour, an additional packet of yeast (2+1/4 tsp) per recipe is needed. An excessive amount of sugar slows down yeast fermentation.
  • When changing your bread recipe from cake yeast to dry yeast, any of the dry yeast types (Active Dry Yeast, Instant Yeast or Bread Machine Yeast) may be substituted. See Yeast Types & Usage for additional information. Dry yeast requires different water/liquid temperatures than cake yeast. See Prepare Your Yeast for more information.
  • If your recipe does not contain milk or water in the ingredients to hydrate the dry yeast, you can hydrate the dry yeast in a small amount of warm water to re-constitute it into cake yeast. Work it into a paste-like consistency with your fingers using about 1 tablespoon or less of warm water. Once it becomes like a paste, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then you can crumble it into your other ingredients like you would the cake yeast.

What will you bake today?

90-Minute Buttercrust Bread

Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Fluffy No-Knead Refrigerator Rolls

Steps for most Bread Recipes

If you’ve never made bread before, here is the basic formula for making your own at home. My recipe below follows this perfectly. It’s so much easier and trust me, the scent of fresh bread baking will make everyone really, really excited for dinner!

Step 1: Assemble Bread Ingredients

You’ll need warm water, granulated sugar, instant OR active dry yeast, salt, vegetable or canola oil and flour. That’s it!

Step 2: Dissolve the yeast and activate it by Proofing

This is a simple process that takes about 5 minutes. You can see a picture below what yeast looks like when it’s proofed. It’s possible to kill yeast if you use too hot of water, so aim for slightly warmer than luke-warm, or about 105°F. Combine warm water, yeast and 1 TBSP of the granulated sugar in your mixing bowl. Give it a quick stir and then let it sit for 5 minutes. You’ll begin to see the yeast puff up until it covers the entire surface of the water.

Step 3: Add remaining ingredients and mix

Add the rest of the sugar, the oil, salt and flour, then mix using an electric mixer until it’s well combined, about 2 minutes. You can mix by hand but it will take longer.

Step 4: Knead the Bread

You might be thinking, “Wait! It’s already mixed!” Ha! Not so fast! Going through the process of kneading bread dough is crucial for bread with great texture. Kneading dough allows gluten to form which enables dough to rise better, be lighter and fluffier. you can knead by hand or with a mixer. I use the dough hook on my mixer and knead for 7 minutes. If you knead by hand, you’ll want to knead for 10-11 minutes, depending on how consistent you are.

Step 5: First Rise

Place your lovely smooth, elastic bread dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a clean towel. I think plastic wrap works better because it traps hot air inside and thus, my dough requires a shorter first rise. Be sure to spray the side of the plastic wrap that will touch the dough with oil!

If your house is cool, your bread will take longer to rise. In the wintertime when my house is cooler than normal, I like to turn the oven on for 2-3 minutes, then turn it off and let the bowl of dough rise in there. The oven traps the heat for a longtime and it’s the perfect atmosphere for rising dough.

Step 6: Punch Dough and Shape it

Punching the dough down quickly releases any air pockets that have developed and helps your bread have a more consistent rise and texture. Shape your dough by rolling it gently into a ball and rolling it 2 or 3 times on the countertop so that the ball is more oblong. I usually punch down and shape the dough quickly, then place in a greased bread pan.

Step 7: Second Rise

I like to do my second rise in a warm oven that’s not turned on. I turn the oven on just before I punch my dough down, then turn it off once I place the dough in the oven for the 2nd rise. It’s really only on for a minute or two, which is fine! The second rise will help shape your loaf of bread and takes about 30 minutes.

Step 8: Bake the Bread

You’re nearly there! Bread bakes for about 30-40 minutes. You know what I do to make sure my bread is perfectly cooked? I use a digital cooking thermometer! Fully cooked bread will be 190-200 degrees F. Bread recipes that include milk will need to cook until 200 degrees, but since this one doesn’t, I take it out once it reaches 190 degrees. The top will be golden brown.

Step 9: Cool the Bread

Cool baked bread in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then overturn pan and turn loaf out onto a cooling rack or folded towel to finish cooling. If you leave the bread in the pan for much longer than that, you’ll steam it, which may cause some parts of your loaf to go soggy. No one likes soggy bread!

Instant or Active Dry Yeast for Making Bread

If you use instant yeast, you can add it directly to your other dry ingredients when making bread. If you use active dry yeast, you’ll need to first dissolve it in warm water before using it in a recipe. For the sake of ease, I just always buy instant yeast. BUT, this recipe works for both!

Which bread pan is the best?

I bake a lot of bread and the pans I prefer are either aluminized steel or ceramic. Both types of pans will bake bread more evenly and release the bread more easily after baking. I’ve used glass pans in the past and it seems like my bread sinks too often when using them, so I stopped. I also don’t like using dark or nonstick pans because the bread cooks unevenly. It darkens on the outside before the bread is cooked on the inside, so it’s easier to burn.

How to Make Bread

If you’ve never baked homemade bread before, here are a few tips:

Remember to fully knead

The recipe below kneads for 7 minutes and it’s worth it! Kneading dough helps to develop the flavor and texture of the bread, so don’t skimp on kneading time.

Weather can affect your ingredients

If you live in a moist climate, chances are you’ll need at least the recommended amount of flour, maybe even 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup more. Bread dough should be sticky, but still manageable, especially after the first rise. While you’re kneading, the dough should come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl, leaving the bowl mostly clean. I usually aim to have the very bottom of the dough still attached to the bowl. Try not to add too much flour because your bread will be more dense. When you pick the dough up, some will stick to your fingers. After the first rise, it will be easier to handle!

Temperature affects how long your bread takes to rise

If your house is cool, your bread will take longer to rise. In the wintertime when my house is cooler than normal, I like to turn the oven on for 2-3 minutes, then turn it off and let the bowl of dough rise in there. The oven traps the heat for a longtime and it’s the perfect atmosphere for rising dough.

Don’t overwork the dough

Try not to go crazy kneading your bread after the first rise. I usually knead and shape my dough in about 1 minute, then it’s back in the pan to rest, for the 2nd rise. I like to have the pan rise in the oven for this second rise so that I don’t have to worry about moving risen dough. When it’s fully risen, I just turn the oven on and set the timer to bake!

How can you tell if bread is fully baked?

I like to use a food thermometer. Mine is digital, so it’s very easy to use. Fully cooked bread will be 190-200 degrees F. Bread recipes that include milk will need to cook until 200 degrees, but since this one doesn’t, I take it out once it reaches 190 degrees. The top will be golden brown.

Easy Homemade Bread Recipe

This is the recipe you should follow for making homemade bread in the oven:

  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 5-6 cups flour
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam, about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time.
  3. Knead dough for 7 minutes. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch dough down. Knead for 1 minute and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into two greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Cool, brush with butter and enjoy!

EASY HOMEMADE BREAD RECIPE

Easy Bread recipe made with simple ingredients & detailed instructions showing how to make bread! Best homemade bread recipe for both beginners and expert bakers. 4.86 from 68 votes Pin Course: bread Cuisine: American Keyword: homemade bread, white bread Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Rise time: 1 hour 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour Servings: 24 Calories: 131kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water 110 degrees F/45 degrees C
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 5-6 cups flour

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam, about 5 minutes.
  • Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time.
  • Knead dough for 7 minutes. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down. Knead for 1 minute and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into two greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30-40 minutes.
  • Cool, brush with butter and enjoy!

Notes

Recipe yields 2 standard loaves of bread

Nutrition

Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 30mg | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1.2mg Tried this recipe?Mention @jessicalovesbutter or tag #jessicalovesbutter!

I’ve found this recipe works really well in a bread machine! I just had the halve the ingredients so it would fit. You can see and print out the recipe below.

Loaf of Bread in a Bread Machine

  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour
  1. Add the ingredients to the bread pan of your machine in the following order: water, oil, flour, sugar and salt. Make a small well in the dry ingredients and add yeast.
  2. Place bread pan in machine. Close lid and set bread machine to bake a loaf of basic white bread.
  3. Let bread cool when bread machine has completed the full cycle. (Mine takes 3.5 hours.) Remove from machine & pan. Brush with butter and enjoy!

Easy Bread Recipe for a Bread Machine

Homemade Bread made easy with simple ingredients & detailed instructions with photos. Make our best homemade bread recipe in your bread machine and enjoy the great flavor & texture!
4.86 from 68 votes Pin Course: bread Cuisine: American Keyword: bread machine bread recipe Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 3 hours 20 minutes Resting time: 20 minutes Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes Servings: 10 Calories: 182kcal

  • 1 cup warm water 110 degrees F/45 degrees C
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • Add the ingredients to the bread pan of your machine in the following order: water, oil, flour, sugar and salt. Make a small well in the dry ingredients and add yeast.
  • Place bread pan in machine. Close lid and set bread machine to bake a loaf of basic white bread.
  • Let bread cool when bread machine has completed the full cycle. (Mine takes 3.5 hours.) Remove from machine & pan. Brush with butter and enjoy!

Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 176mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1.8mg Tried this recipe?Mention @jessicalovesbutter or tag #jessicalovesbutter!

**Note: In the pics above, I was only making 1 loaf in the oven. The full recipe yields 2 loaves, so plan accordingly!

Enjoy this bread recipe? Here are even more recipes for homemade bread to try:

Yeast Bread Recipes:

  • Homemade Buttermilk Bread recipe
  • Homemade Hawaiian Bread
  • Honey Oat Bread recipe
  • Cinnamon Raisin Bread
  • Parmesan Garlic Dinner Rolls
  • Fabulous French Bread
  • Sweet Orange Dinner Rolls
  • Homemade Hawaiian Bread
  • Easy Homemade Cheesy Breadsticks
  • Tomato Parmesan Flatbread
  • Potato Bread Recipe
  • Soft Cornmeal Dinner Rolls
  • Honey Wheat Bread
  • Soft White Sandwich Bread

Quick Bread Recipes:

  • Best Zucchini Bread
  • Pineapple Bread
  • Sweet Coconut Bread
  • Easy Banana Bread
  • Caramel Banana Nut Bread
  • Best Pumpkin Bread

Easy Bread recipe made with simple ingredients & detailed instructions showing how to make bread! Best homemade bread recipe for both beginners and expert bakers.

Active Dry Yeast

  • Active Dry Yeast is the original all-natural yeast that has been used by generations of bread bakers. Active Dry Yeast provides ultimate baking activity in all yeast doughs, from low sugar to highly sweetened breads.
  • Active Dry Products include RED STAR® Active Dry Yeast, SAF® Traditional Active Dry Yeast and bakipan® Active Dry Yeast.
  • All dry yeast types are suitable for recipes using traditional and bread machine baking methods.

Using Active Dry Yeast

Tip for Successful Baking: Using a thermometer is the most accurate way to determine the correct liquid temperature. Any thermometer will work as long as it measures temperatures between 75°F and 130°F.

TRADITIONAL BAKING

  • One 1/4 oz. packet (7g) or 2 1/4 tsp of Active Dry Yeast will rise up to 4 cups of flour.
  • See Yeast Conversion Table to convert between Dry Yeast and Cake Yeast or to determine your yeast requirements for your recipe.
  • If your yeast is stored in the refrigerator or freezer, we recommend allowing the dry yeast come to room temperature before using. See Yeast Shelf Life & Storage for more information.
  • In traditional dough making, (kneading by hand or in a stand mixer), you may use Instant (Platinum or Quick Rise) Yeast and Active Dry Yeast interchangeably, one for one. You may incorporate either type of yeast by rehydrating the yeast in warm water with sugar first or blending the yeast with the dry ingredients prior to adding warm liquids. With faster-acting instant yeast, the dough may rise faster; with moderate-acting active dry yeast, the same dough may rise more slowly. Simply monitor how the dough is rising and adjust the time accordingly.

Active Dry Yeast can be added directly to dry ingredients:

  • Use liquid temperatures of 120°F-130°F.
  • Yeast activity may decrease if it comes into direct contact with salt or sugar.

Active Dry Yeast can be dissolved in liquids before using:

  • Rehydrating Dry Yeast before using gives it a “good start” – the yeast feeds on the sugar allowing it to become very active and ready to work in your dough.
  • Water is recommended for dissolving yeast.
  • Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup 110°F-115°F water.
  • Add up to 3 packets of yeast, depending on your recipe, to the sugar solution.
  • Stir in yeast until completely dissolved.
  • Let mixture stand until yeast begins to foam vigorously (5 – 10 minutes).
  • Add mixture to remaining ingredients.
  • Remember to decrease the total liquids in your recipe by 1/2 cup to adjust for the liquid used to dissolve the yeast.

BREAD MACHINE BAKING

  • In bread machine baking, liquids should be used at 80°F.
  • For regular cycle bread machines – use 3/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast for each cup of flour in your recipe.
  • Active Dry Yeast is not recommended for use in one-hour or express bread machine cycles.

See Yeast Conversion Table to convert between Dry Yeast and Cake Yeast or to determine yeast requirements for your recipe.

Need cake yeast conversion quickly please!!

Ohhhhh I hope I’m doing this right! Making pizza dough and it sure seems like alot of yeast to me but I’ll give it a try.
Recipe calls for: 3 1/2 c flour, 2 T yeast, 2 T honey, 1 c warm water, 1/4 c olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. It’s mixing in the breadmaker now. Here’s a conversion I found. Instead of using the full 2 oz cake, I cut a little off:
How Much Yeast Does An Envelope (or packet) of Yeast Contain? (USA)
1 envelope or packet of Active Dry Yeast, Instant Yeast, Rapid Rise Yeast, Fast Rising Yeast or Bread Machine Yeast weighs 1/4 ounce or 7 grams which equals 2 1/4 teaspoons (11 mL).
Yeast Substitution Guide:
One (0.6 ounce) cube of Fresh Compressed/Cake Yeast equals 1 envelope (or packet) of Active Dry Yeast, Instant Yeast, Rapid Rise Yeast, Fast Rising or Bread Machine Yeast, which equals 2 1/4 teaspoons or 7 grams (11 mL).
If a recipe calls for 1 envelope (or packet) of Active Dry Yeast, Instant Yeast, Rapid Rise Yeast, Fast Rising Yeast or Bread Machine Yeast, then you would use 0.6 ounce Fresh Compressed/Cake Yeast.
2 ounces of Fresh Compressed/Cake Yeast equals a strip of 3 envelopes or packets (21 grams total), or 6 3/4 teaspoons approximately of Active Dry Yeast or Instant Yeast.
Shelf life of Compressed/Cake Yeast
Compressed/Cake Yeast only has a shelf life of 4 to 6 weeks. It is highly perishable. The “sell by” date on the package is the “expiration date” also.

Yeast Types

Despite indications to the contrary—created by the commercial largesse of the yeast companies—there are only three types of yeast: fresh, active dry, and instant. All are derived from the powerful brewer’s yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but each is processed from a slightly different strain of this protypical yeast.

Fresh, Compressed, or Cake Yeast

The original commercial yeast, known as fresh, compressed, or cake yeast is about 70 percent water by weight and is composed of 100 percent living cells. It is soft and crumbly and requires no proofing—fresh yeast will dissolve if it is simply rubbed into sugar or dropped into warm liquid. Owing to qualities associated with its strain, fresh yeast will produce the most carbon dioxide of all three types of yeasts during fermentation. Fresh yeast is considered fast, potent, and reliable, but it has a drawback: it is highly perishable and must be refrigerated and used before its expiry date.

Active Dry

Active dry yeasts arrive at their granular state by undergoing processes that reduce them to 95 percent dry matter. Traditional active dry yeast is exposed to heat so high that many of its cells are destroyed in the process. Because the spent outer cells encapsulate living centers, active dry yeast must first be dissolved in a relatively hot liquid (proofed) to slough off dead cells and reach the living centers.

Instant Yeasts (called “Instant,” “Rapid Rise,” or “Bread”)

Instant yeasts are also processed to 95 percent dry matter, but are subjected to a gentler drying process than active dry. As a result, every dried particle is living, or active. This means the yeast can be mixed directly with recipe ingredients without first being dissolved in water or proofed. It is in this context that the yeast is characterized as “instant.” We prefer instant yeast in the test kitchen. It combines the potency of fresh yeast with the convenience of active dry, and it is considered by some to have a cleaner flavor than active dry because it contains no dead cells. (In our months of testing, we found this to be true when we made a lean baguette dough but could detect no difference in flavor when using the two yeasts in doughs made with milk, sugar, and butter.)

Substitution Formulas

To substitute active dry for instant (or rapid rise) yeast: Use 25 percent more active dry. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of instant yeast, use 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry. And don’t forget to “prove” the yeast, i.e. dissolving it in a portion of the water from the recipe, heated to 105 degrees.

To substitute instant (or rapid rise) yeast for active dry: Use about 25 percent less. For example if the recipe calls for 1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast, use 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant yeast. And you do not need to prove the yeast, just add it to the dry ingredients.

To substitute fresh yeast for active dry yeast, use a ratio of roughly 2:1, i.e. use one small cake (0.6 ounce) of compressed fresh yeast in lieu of 1 packet (.25 ounces) of active dry yeast.

Note a packet of active dry or instant yeast contains about 2 1/4 teaspoons (.25 ounces) of yeast.