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Baking: The difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast.

Can you really replace one with the other?

Tips and Crafts

What is the difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast? Here is a full rundown on each type of yeast, their possible substitutions and more.

Any dough leavened with yeast is simply magical. A few simple ingredients come together and slowly transform into the most delicious, aromatic and heartwarming thing known to mankind… bread!

However, working with yeast can be intimidating. Although it takes practice, there is absolutely no reason to avoid it or be afraid of it. With the right information and a little work, you can bake fantastic homemade bread. 

Active dry yeast vs instant yeast: what's the difference?

Active dry yeast and instant yeast, also known as “fast rising” are much more similar than most people think. In fact, they can be used interchangeably in most recipes. These are two of the commercial products made from the drying of fresh granulated yeast.

Active dry yeast simply works a little slower than instant yeast.

That's why many recipes that require active dry yeast will read leavening instructions. It is simply when you mix active dry yeast with a hot liquid (110-115 ° F) and sugar to activate it, to restart the activity of the yeast.

Since Instant Yeast has a faster rate of action thanks to a special manufacturing process, many recipes will simply add the yeast directly with the other ingredients without raising it.

You can make them both rise, or you can skip the rise altogether for either type of yeast. The only difference will be the speed at which the dough will rise.

How to replace instant yeast with dry yeast, or vice versa

Both dry and instant active yeasts can be substituted for each other in a 1: 1 ratio. Active dry yeast will take about 15-20 minutes longer to rise than instant yeast. To encourage the active dry yeast to start working without having to rise, simply use very hot water in the dough mixture (120-130 ° F).

For any traditional dough making kneaded by hand or with a machine where the dough is allowed to rise, this 1: 1 ratio will work.

When not to replace yeast

Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast may not be interchangeable when using a bread maker, as these machines use higher temperatures to rise the dough. When baking in the bread machine and replacing instant yeast with active dry yeast, the amount of instant yeast should be reduced by 25%.

It is best to use the yeast specifically required in recipes with very long fermentation times.

Is one type of yeast better than another?

One yeast is not better than the other. It’s usually a matter of personal preference.

How to measure yeast

Since yeast comes in a variety of packaging, here's a quick conversion:



How to store yeast

Unopened yeast can be stored for up to 2 years. Once opened, it is really best to keep it in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 1 year. When cooking, let the amount of yeast you need come to room temperature before using it in a recipe.

How to test the freshness of yeast

If in doubt, here's how to test for yeast:

Most bread recipes rely entirely on active yeast to work. This yeast is very perishable when exposed to air, and although it should be used before the “best before” date, it can often deteriorate before that date. It may even arrive home "already dead" if it has been improperly stored at the store.

To test for freshness, mix 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar in a measuring cup with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water (110-120 ° F).

Add a packet of active dry yeast and stir until there are no more yeast granules floating above the water.

Within five minutes, the yeast should have absorbed enough water to activate.

After ten minutes, the yeast mixture should be very frothy and have reached at least 1 cup. If not, the yeast should be discarded.

Important note:

Modern manufacturers of home bread baking yeast have improved their production a lot to make it as easy to use and foolproof as possible. The old rules like "you have to prove your yeast" or "Salt will kill all the yeast" is not very true these days. Some things can slow the activity of the yeast (like adding salt directly next to the yeast), but most of the time, total yeast catastrophes are easy to avoid.