Types of Yeast For Bread

If you are new to baking yeasted bread then you may be wondering, what is the difference between the types of yeast for bread? Today’s short tutorial will clearly explain the kinds of bread yeast you can use for baking at home.

Don’t tell flour we said so, but when you’re making homemade bread, there is only one star of the show – Yeast! This tutorial will walk you through What is Baker’s Yeast, where to buy it, how to store it and most importantly what are the different kinds of yeast for baking.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Yeast For Baking

Active Dry Yeast

Larger granules that need to be dissolved or bloomed in water before being usedThe water must be lukewarm (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit) in order to active the yeast from it’s dormant stateIf the water is below 105 degrees the yeast will not activate and if the water is above 115 degrees it could kill the yeast and the bread will not riseOnce mixed with lukewarm water it usually takes about 5 minutes for foamy bubbles to appearThese bubbles indicate that the yeast is ready to be added to the rest of the ingredients

Instant Yeast

Sometimes called “Bread Machine Yeast”Smaller granules that can be mixed directly into the dry ingredientsBecause of these finer particles, it dissolves faster and activates quickerIt can be used 1:1 in recipes that call for active dry yeast (and will likely rise more quickly)

Rapid-Rise or Quick-Rise Yeast

Very similar to instant yeast with smaller granules that do not need to be dissolved in waterEnzymes and other additives haven been included to make the dough rise fasterWith this yeast it is possible to shape the dough right after kneading and skip the first rise

Fresh Yeast

Also called compressed yeast or cake yeastPreferred in restaurants and by professional bakersComes in small foil wrapped square cakes and is found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store and has a shorter shelf life than the dry yeasts aboveIt has a crumbly spongey texture and must be weighed for use in baking as it is not easily measured by volumeNeeds to be softened in warm water before useBest for bread that requires long rise timesIf you have a recipe that calls for Fresh Yeast, but you only have instant yeast, use 1/3 as much by weight. source.

Wild Yeast

Wild yeast is invisible atmospheric yeast that is all around usSourdough bread is made with a starter which is made from wild yeastYou can make your own sourdough starter at home without any commercial bakers yeastMaking a sourdough starter takes about 6 or 7 days and only requires flour, water and atmospheric or wild yeast Learn how to make a starter hereYou can also buy sourdough starters or grab a little sourdough discard from a baking friend like I didWild yeast varies by location and is said to give baked goods terroir or a taste of place

What Is Baker’s Yeast?

It is a microscopic fungus… similar to an edible mushroomThe scientific name is really long, but basically means sugar-eating fungusYeast cells digest sugar in order to growThis growth is called fermentation and produces carbon dioxide gas and ethyl alcohol, which are released into the doughThe gas gets trapped in the elastic and stretchy dough, which causes the dough to inflate or rise and the ethyl alcohol gives the bread it’s typical flavor and aromaThe resulting product is called a yeast-leavened bread

Where To Buy Baking Yeast

Most dry yeast is shelf stable because it has been freeze-dried into dormancy (but don’t forget to check the expiration date) and sold in small envelopes or jars. Its usually located in the baking aisle of the grocery store near the baking soda and baking powder. Fresh yeast on the other hand is usually wrapped in paper or foil and found in the refrigerator section.

Check out Red Star Yeast’s product page for even more information.

How To Store Baker’s Yeast

Yeast can go bad, so make sure you store it properly.

Keep fresh yeast in the refrigerator wrapped in original packaging or parchment and in a resealable container to prevent moisture loss, up to 1 month.

Keep all other yeasts including instant yeast, rapid yeast, quick yeast and active dry yeast in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 1 year. Keep in original sealed packages or in an airtight container. Keep dry.

FAQs and Pro Tips For Baking With Yeast

Do you need to proof instant yeast before making dough?

No you do not need to proof or rehydrate instant yeast before using it. It can be mixed into the dough without proofing it beforehand. However, we recommend testing a small amount of the yeast you are using to make sure it is still alive. To do so follow the steps to test your yeast.

How do I test yeast?

Yeast is a living organism and can die if it’s too old or has not been stored properly. To test yeast and make sure it’s still viable add it to warm water with a little sugar and within a few minutes a bubbly foam should appear on the surface. If you see this foam, the yeast is good to go.

How do I proof dough?

After mixing the dough you have to give the yeast time to do its job. This is called proofing the dough and letting it rise. Most recipes require two rise times… the first right after mixing and the second after you shape the dough.

Our 3 Favorite Yeasted Bread Recipes

By now you’ve tried our favorite soft and delicious Homemade Wheat Bread recipe. And if not, stop what you’re doing and mix up a batch. It takes just over an hour, start-to-finish! These are our favorite special occasion soft dinner rolls. Try this intensely flavored Honey Wheat Black Bread. It can be made into rolls or a loaf.

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