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Culinary Tips #4 - Dry Yeast

May 11, 2020

When it comes to dry yeast, name confusion is universal.

Despite the fact that there are only two basic types of dry yeast, manufacturers have managed to coin more than enough names, including:

 - active dry yeast
 - instant dry yeast
 - bread machine yeast
 - fast rising yeast
 - rapid rise yeast
 - quick rise yeast
 - and so on...

In short, the two main types of dry yeast to be aware of include active dry yeast and instant dry yeast.  We've broken down the differences below to clear up some confusion.


Active dry yeast is its own thing.

Instant dry yeast = bread machine yeast = fast rising yeast = rapid rise yeast = quick rise yeast


Although both types of yeast are similar in color and are both granular, active dry yeast granules are larger than instant dry yeast granules when they're compared side by side.


If you're used to proofing your yeast with warm water and sugar before using it in a recipe, you've been using active dry yeast.  The reason for proofing is to essentially wake up your yeast, since the outer coating of active dry yeast granules are not alive due to the drying process that is used.  Generally speaking, all you need to do is add twice the yeast's volume of warm water (115° F) with a pinch of sugar, and wait for 10 minutes.  If a decent number of bubbles form, your yeast is alive and well.  If not, it means your yeast has been sitting on the shelf too long and should be tossed.

Instant dry yeast on the other hand, does not require (and should not undergo) proofing (hence the word 'instant').  Instead, just make sure to mix it in with your flour before adding any liquids.


If your recipe calls for the kind of dry yeast that you don't have at home, one can easily be substituted for the other using the fact that 100% fresh yeast = 40% active dry yeast = 33% instant dry yeast.  In other words...

(instant dry yeast amount) * (1.2) = (active dry yeast amount)
(active dry yeast amount) * (0.8) = (instant dry yeast amount)

Note that less instant dry yeast is needed to equal the leavening power of active dry yeast  This is because instant dry yeast is a bit more powerful than active dry yeast, because it's not coated in anything.

We hope this clears up some confusion when it comes to dry yeast.  Please leave any additional questions in the comment section below, or feel free to e-mail us anytime!

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