For decades active dry yeast was the most popular type around. However, as the community of home bakers grows, so does the need for easy-to-use yeast. During quarantine, many things changed, and as things are slowly returning to normal, one thing remains the same. More individuals have discovered a love for baking and cooking meals at home. If you added bread making to your list of quarantine skills or have been creating great-tasting loaves for years, dry yeast is undoubtedly an essential ingredient in your kitchen. Unlike active dry yeast, instant yeast doesn't require proofing or rehydration before adding to the dough. This one-step method makes baking up a tasty loaf of bread easier than ever. Take your baking skills to the next level and continue reading to learn more about instant yeast and its many uses.
Types of Yeast
There are two main types of yeast for baking: fresh yeast and dried yeast. Fresh yeast comes in small blocks and can be found in the refrigerated section at most grocery stores. Its short shelf-life and high flavor quality make it a valued ingredient at bakeries but limited for at-home bakers.
Most bakers turn to active dry yeast and instant yeast for yeast with a longer shelf-life. Though the two produce nearly identical results, the main difference is the size of the granules. The granules in active dry yeast are larger and require proofing before use. Instant yeast comprises much smaller granules and does not need proofing to be effective.
How to Activate Instant Yeast
If stored correctly, instant yeast should remain fresh until its expiration date and can be added directly to dry ingredients when used to create doughs and baked goods. If you're unsure whether or not your instant yeast is still fresh, it can be tested through proofing before being added to the recipe.
How to Proof Instant Dry Yeast
Do you have a batch of instant dry yeast that you'd like to test for freshness? Proofing yeast involves combining the yeast with liquid, allowing it to sit for a while, and waiting to see if it creates a frothy, foamy top.
If, after a few minutes, foam is produced, it's a good indicator that the yeast is still alive. Follow the steps below to correctly proof instant dry yeast.
- In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup of the liquid called for in the recipe you're following with the amount of yeast on the ingredient list.
- Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. After 15 minutes, you should begin to see foam on the surface of the liquid.
- If the mixture is foaming, the yeast is still alive, and you can continue with the recipe. If, after 15 minutes, no foam has been produced, then the yeast is no longer active, and you'll need to use a new batch.
Instant Dry Yeast Frequently Asked Questions
If you're new to baking with instant yeast, you may have some questions about it. To help you on your baking journey, we've rounded up a list of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.
Does Instant Yeast Require Sugar?
Instant yeast does not require sugar to work properly. However, yeast does feed off of sugar, and mixing in an extra ½ tsp of sugar or honey can help speed up the proofing process.
What if Yeast Doesn't Foam?
If the yeast does not foam after proofing, there could be a few reasons why. The most common is that the yeast has either expired or was not stored properly. If you're working with yeast that does not foam, you'll need to discard the yeast and buy a fresh batch before continuing the recipe.
Should Yeast Be Stored in the Refrigerator?
While yeast can be stored at room temperature, keeping dried yeast in the refrigerator or freezer will further ensure freshness and extend its shelf-life even longer.
Can You Use Instant Yeast in a Bread Machine?
Instant yeast is ideal when baking bread in a bread machine. To use instant dry yeast, add it to the recipe at any time, and begin to make the bread right away. However, if you're filling the bread machine beforehand and plan to make the bread hours later, we recommend adding the yeast last. Doing so will keep the yeast inactive while it's in the bread machine and cause it to activate once the ingredients have been mixed and kneaded.
What Temperature Should the Water Be When Using Yeast?
The temperature of water used depends on the type of yeast you use. Yeast is a living organism, and water that is too hot can damage or kill it. When working with active dry yeast, warm water that is comfortable to the touch works best. Instant yeast is a little more flexible as it’s mixed directly into the dry ingredients of a recipe. When working with instant yeast, relatively hot water can be used as it will combine with the other ingredients and cool off before damaging the yeast. Coldwater can also be used when baking with yeast. Using cold water will avoid the risk of killing the yeast. However, it will also take the yeast a bit longer to activate.
How to Use Instant Yeast In Baking
Unlike active dry yeast, instant yeast can be added straight into the dry ingredients of a recipe. Though you can proof it beforehand, this is not a required step, and doing so will not impact the activation process. When working with instant yeast, the yeast will become active shortly after coming in contact with the wet ingredients in the recipe.
Our Favorite Instant Yeast Based Recipes
Ready to begin cooking with instant yeast? The recipes below are a delicious way to start. From cinnamon rolls to chia bagels, there's sure to be something on this list that catches your attention.
Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch
Baking up a sweet homemade dessert is one of our favorite pastimes. Not only is the dish itself sweet, but so are the moments spent with family around the table. A treat children and adults will get excited about, making these Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch is the perfect way to sweeten up your mornings. They're made with ingredients like Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, milk and ground cinnamon and use instant yeast to create the ideal rise. Prepare a batch of these cinnamon rolls to enjoy before heading out for the morning, or bite into one as an after-dinner treat. They taste great when paired alongside coffee, milk and tea.
Baked Chia Bagels
If you prefer a savory breakfast over a sweet one, you're sure to enjoy these Baked Chia Bagels. Made with wholesome and healthy ingredients like Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour and Organic Chia Seed, they're loaded with a satisfying flavor and texture that will outshine the average store-bought version. In this recipe, instant yeast gives these bagels the perfect amount of lift while also staying true to their chewy, dough-like nature. Top these bagels with cream cheese, or take them to the next level by turning them into an avocado and egg breakfast sandwich.
Herbed Yam Bread
Looking for the perfect bread to pair with the main course during family dinner night? You've found it. This Herbed Yam Bread is a delicious and flavorful recipe that pairs well with sweet and savory dishes. Enjoy it as a side, dip it into your favorite soup recipe, or combine it with leftovers to turn into a sandwich. Loaded with good-for-you ingredients, this bread recipe is one that you won't feel guilty biting into.
Gluten Free Apple Cider Maple Coffee Cake
Take brunch to the next level by serving a delicious homemade coffee cake alongside your favorite tea or coffee. This Gluten Free Apple Cider Maple Coffee Cake recipe will excite everyone at the table, mainly because even people with celiac disease can enjoy it. Gluten free and overflowing with sweet flavors, it's made with Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour to keep its gluten free integrity. In this recipe, the instant yeast works alongside Baking Powder to provide the same rise that you'd typically find in gluten-containing cakes. The perfect dessert to create the next time you're baking for people with food allergies, even those who eat gluten will enjoy it.
We hope this article has helped you discover more about instant yeast and its uses. Whether you choose to create a flavorful bread or sweet coffee cake, instant yeast is an excellent way to ensure that the texture is everything you've dreamed of. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, happy baking!
Do you have a preferred type of yeast? We'd love to hear more about the recipes you create with dried yeast. Share your favorites with us in the comments below.