Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yeast Basics

I have been blogging for the past 1 year now. No, it is not an anniversary today. I do not get a lot of comments to my posts even though I do have many silent visitors. I do not know the reason behind it, but I do get a lot of emails asking questions about my recipes or when someone is troubleshooting bread baking. The best part is when someone contacts me while troubleshooting some one else's recipe. I answer them to the best of my knowledge and as time permits. The reason for this post is - a lot of people have questions about yeast. I use instant yeast that is suggested for bread machines. I make dough most of the times using the bread machine and hence the use of this type of yeast. I do suggest you to proof the yeast thinking you might not be using the instant yeast like me. It doesn't hurt if you proof the instant yeast. It hurts if you don't the active dry yeast.

In a nut shell,  Instant yeast and active dry yeast can be interchanged with the same quantity. You will have to proof the active dry yeast by sprinkling on warm liquid whereas instant yeast can be mixed right away with flour. Dough made with instant yeast rises faster (when you use same quantity of yeast) compared to the dough made with active dry yeast or compressed yeast. It absorbs liquid faster and starts growing faster. Another type of yeast which is called 'fresh yeast' or 'compressed yeast' or 'cake yeast' has to be refrigerated and the life span of this type of yeast is very less.

Substitutions: Source -
1 tsp of active dry yeast = 3/4 tsp of bread machine yeast or instant yeast (If you use less, it will just take longer to double in volume. So, you need not use more, but should know to wait till it rises)
One cube (0.6 Oz) of cake yeast = 1 1/2 - 2 tsp instant yeast = 2 - 21/4 tsp active dry yeast.

Even though 1 tsp of active dry yeast = 3/4 tsp of instant yeast, I have used both interchangeably using the same amount and have not noticed any change in the end product.

I am pasting some information from here about different types of yeast. Source:

Active Dry Yeastis the most commonly available form for home bakers. It is available in ¼-oz packets or jars. The yeast is dormant, and is best used after proofing and rehydrating. Sprinkle the yeast over warm water (105-115 degrees F) and a pinch of sugar, and let it stand for 10 minutes until creamy and bubbly. It can be stored in a cool dry place and in unopened packages for up to 15 months, but do not use it after the expiration date. Store open containers in the refrigerator.

Instant Yeast is a dry yeast developed in the past thirty years. It comes in smaller granules than active dry yeast, absorbs liquid rapidly, and doesn't need to be hydrated or "proofed" before being mixed into flour.
Bread Machine Yeast and Rapid Rise Yeast is instant yeast that may include ascorbic acid, a dough conditioner. Less rising time is required, allowing home bakers to bake a loaf of bread fairly quickly. To develop more flavor--such as for artisan-style breads--a long, slow fermentation is best: store the shaped loaves overnight in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and to a full rise. Store instant yeast in a cool dry place, or in the refrigerator once the package has been opened. Do not use yeast after the expiration date.

Fresh Yeast, also known as compressed or cake yeast, is active yeast. It has good rising qualities and produces excellent-tasting bread, croissants and Danish pastries. It is sold in tiny cakes in the refrigerated section of many supermarkets. Fresh yeast does not keep well; it will last about two weeks if refrigerated. The yeast should be pale gray-brown, fragrant, soft and crumbly, not hard, dark brown and crusty. Any mold growing on the surface is an indication that the yeast should be discarded. Fresh yeast should be proofed in tepid water (80-90 degrees F) without contact with salt or sugar. This yeast type is a good choice for breads requiring a long cool rise, or for breads made using the sponge method.

Want to know more about bread baking, check out this post.

Enjoy!! Pin It


  1. Thanks a ton Champa!! Novice bread bakers will appreciate this post very much!! Keep more like these coming...

    If I have understood this right, instant yeast dough may double well within the time specified for the rise of the dough and we can carry on with the process?? That's fantastic!! Hope the new yeast I have found 'proofs' its worth:-)

  2. Hi champa ,
    its a gr8 post,thankq somuch for sharing ur experience with us to know so many tip about yeast ..


  3. Wat a wonderful explanation...very useful post dear...happy blogging...

    Tasty Appetite

  4. Good job champa. Its important someone who has more knowledge on yeast to blog and make it easier. It helps when we run into problems. I will book mark and refer to when needed instead of roaming all through the internet to get an answer to the question.

  5. oh dear... i was longing for this kind of post for a very long time... i want to try the bread or cakes, but it never turns out well.... the bread always becomes so hard.... i am using the instant yeast only. but in most of the recipes which i want to try, they use the active yeast and i do not know how much quantity i need to add.

    your post is really very very helpful for the learners in baking recipes.....

    thank you so much for sharing with us dear.....

    i bookmarked your page for my future reference....

  6. yes dear i too hv many many silent visitors nt commenting.i leave it on them if they like my space and want sumthing specific to ask i m sure they wil come back...still a big Q why???
    great useful info on yeast...very good for new learners...lovely post champa..keep the good work up

  7. Thanks for share.
    Nice post keep post latest updates.

  8. Great and very informative for many of us..

    thanks for sharing with us..

  9. thats indeed a very useful post champa ! appreciate ur hardwork in this research and explaining it in very clear terms. Thank you :)

  10. Hi Champa,
    It is nice to have someone like you who has years of experience and the willingness to help one with any problem.Actually I am scarred to handle yeast. We all know,when bread is cooked the yeast is killed.I wash my hand with soap and water when Iknead the dough or touch the yeast related vessel or thing.I also wash the vessels with hotwater and soap used for kneading dough or fermenting yeast fearing that it may have live yeast cells.We all love to have bread but the yeast handling part is a little scarry.Could you give your valuable comments pls.

  11. Sita,
    There is yeast everywhere around us. Not all of them are harmful. Definitely not the ones we use for baking bread. Please don't be scared of it. It is nothing but good bacteria. I really don't understand why you have to be so scared of handling it. Since I use extra fine granulated yeast, if I touch it with hand, it will stick to it. But once I am done kneading, I just wash my hands and that's it. I don't even have to use soap. I hope this helps.


If you have a question and you leave it as a comment, I'll surely answer the question to the best of my knowledge. Thanks for visiting.