A simple guide on how to use instant yeast. Read this if you are new to yeast baking.
If you are new to bread making and have absolutely no idea how to use instant yeast, then keep reading. There are a basically two types of yeast for bread making, fresh yeast also known as cake or compressed yeast and instant dried yeast.
Fresh yeast is sold in tiny cakes and can’t be kept for long – two weeks at most and must be stored in the fridge.
Then there is instant yeast of which there are two types, regular active dry yeast and instant dried yeast also known as fast rising, rapid-rise, quick rise or bread machine yeast. The difference between active and instant dry yeast is the particle size.
Active dry yeast has larger particles than instant dry yeast. Due to the larger particle size of active dry yeast it requires proofing before use.
Instant dry yeast does not need proofing and it can be added directly into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients however, if there is any doubt as to its freshness, you can proof the yeast to see if it is active.
How Can You Tell If Yeast Is Still Active?
(This test can be used on any type of yeast used for bread making.)
In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup lukewarm water (or milk), 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon instant yeast. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes (you may need to leave it longer on cold days) if it starts to foam and bubble it’s active.
But what if it doesn’t foam and bubble what do you do?
What To Do If Yeast Doesn’t Foam?
If you find that the yeast is not foaming there could be for a number of reasons for this;
- The yeast could be way past the expiry date or, it may be dead due to incorrect storage. If this is the case ditch the yeast and buy fresh. Then store the new yeast in the fridge or freezer to ensure freshness.
- You may have used water that was too hot. Yeast is a living organism and can easily be killed by using water that is too hot. Most recipes call for the use of warm water up to 50°C (120°F) but it’s not necessary. Cold tap water or water at room temperature is perfectly okay to use – in fact this is my preferred method. It can take a little longer to activate the yeast, but then you don’t run the risk of killing the yeast with hot water.
- You may be activating the yeast in a cold room. Yeast thrives and works rather quickly in warm conditions. So, if the temperature in the kitchen is cold you will have to wait longer for the yeast to work. To speed things up, place the bowl in a warm area but, do avoid placing it in an area that is close to high heat, like an open fire as excessive heat could kill the yeast.
What Does Activated Yeast Look Like?
Activated yeast is bubbly and frothy in appearance, that grows on top of the liquid it was dissolved in.
Is your bread dense or not rising?
Homemade Bread Recipes With Instant Yeast
Now that you know how to use instant yeast, get baking! Listed below are just a few of many yeast bread recipes that you could make with instant yeast.
- Easy Focaccia Bread (No knead recipe)
- Soft Dinner Rolls (White bread and a no knead recipe)
- Sweet Potato Bread with Pecans and Raisins (No knead recipe)
- Pull Apart Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Crescent Roll Dough
- White Bread (Bread machine recipe)
- Easy No Knead Hot Cross Buns
- Naan Bread (Super soft and easy to make)
- Cheese Bread-sticks
- Pita Bread
- Cob Bread (Has a nice crispy crunch crust)
- Spinach Feta Bread (Dough is kneaded in the bread machine then shaped and oven baked)
- Fluffy Overnight Butter Milk Pancakes – by Mels Kitchen Cafe
- See more cooking tips and how to’s
Article first published December 31, 2018. Updated February 18, 2020 with new images.