All your questions about yeast, answered
And can I use the decade-old yeast packet I found in the back of my pantry?
say that modern active dry yeast does not need to be proofed, and can be added directly to dry ingredients, but it’s probably still a good idea to check that the yeast is alive through proofing — especially if it’s been plundered from the forgotten depths of a pantry — before you go through all the trouble of baking something.
Active dry yeast, along with instant, can typically be found in the grocery store baking aisle, next to other dry ingredients like flour and baking powder.Instant yeast, sometimes called bread machine yeast, is another type of dry yeast. It is finer than active dry yeast and can be mixed right in with dry ingredients without having to undergo activation first, although
Delish’s June Xie notesthat she still prefers to bloom instant yeast “to ensure even distribution in the dough.”Instant yeast is more potent than active dry yeast, consisting of higher percentages of live cells, so when making substitutions,use about 25 percent less
instant yeast compared to active dry yeast, e.g., ¾ teaspoon of instant instead of 1 teaspoon of active dry. (The same is true in reverse: If a recipe calls for instant but you only have active dry, increase the amount by 25 percent.)Fresh yeast, sometimes called compressed or cake yeast, is also composed of 100 percent living cells, but has not been dehydrated. The result is a solid, soft, crumbly, perishable block that needs to be dissolved when using, and refrigerated when not (accordingly, fresh yeast is found in the refrigerated section of grocery stores, although not all stores carry it).
Professional bakers often prefer this type because of what some describe as a stronger, “distinct” flavor (although some bakers dispute claims that using fresh yeast makes bread taste better).Speaking to Epicurious, Susan Reid of King Arthur Flour calls fresh yeast a “special occasion yeast” best suited for baking-heavy times like holidays — or, dare I say, sheltering in place? — when you can use up all the fresh yeast within its shelf life of two to three weeks. When making substitutions, use
fresh to active dry, as measured by weight.Can I use this old dry yeast I found in the back of my cupboard?It’s usually a good idea to follow the “best by” date on the packaging, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Look for signs of life by doing a
yeast freshness test, a.k.a. proofing or blooming. This involves dissolving room-temperature dry yeast in warm water and sometimes a little bit of sugar; the water should not exceed a temperature of about 110°F, as going too hot can kill the yeast cells. After 10 minutes or so, the yeast mixture should have increased in size and become foamy.
Even if the expired yeast proves active, be aware that yeast “loses its potency as it ages, resulting in longer rising times,”per yeast manufacturer Fleischmann’s. Prepare to experiment with those times, as well as with increased yeast amounts to make up for higher numbers of dead cells. Don’t be too surprised if the flavor and/or the rise turn out different.
And just a note for future reference: When storing unused dry yeast, it’s best to keep it in airtight containers in the freezer. This puts the yeast cells “in a state of suspension” and extends the shelf life for months past its expiration date,.I can’t find any yeast in the store! Can I make my own?
The answer is yes, if you’re in possession of some time, patience, and flour (the last of which may be the hardest to find in this current climate). Entiresubcultures Read more: Eater »
Very helpful article, thanks! Yeast rhymes with beast. You guys are not beast. You suck. A minor correction: if you use 25% less instant yeast, then you need to use 33% more active dry yeast (not 25% as the article says). It's a small difference, but worth noting.
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