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Which is better instant yeast or active dry yeast?
Author:    Published on:2014-12-08 03:06:14    Writing:【Great】【In】【Small
Yeast is an essential part of baking. From the sharp flavors of sourdough to that nutty, chewy baguette used for your favorite sandwich, yeast is a key player in making those flavors come out. Without it, the dough would not rise or convert the sugars locked inside the flour into what we know as bread. Instead we would be left with a mush of water and flour which would not bake well. But if you are not a professional baker with your own tried and true strain of yeast, which type of yeast is right for your kitchen?
     Most recipes in baking books call for some type of baker's yeast, which comes in many different formats. The most common are fresh yeast, active dry yeast, and instant yeast. Each can easily be found at your local grocery store or natural foods store and both can be used in a variety of bread recipes. Many times they are even interchangeable. However, why do some bakers consider one or the other as the better alternative?
    Both active dry yeast and instant yeast get the job done, but active dry yeast has some significant advantages. One of the most important advantages is that, it has a longer shelf life than instant yeast or fresh yeast. Fresh yeast must be stored in the fridge if it is not being used immediately, and it begins to degrade after just one week. Any longer than that and it is essentially unusable and must be discarded. Active dry yeast lasts longer. It can keep at room temperature for up to two years. If you store it in an airtight container or jar in cool place, such as a refrigerator or a freezer, it will last as long as a decade. Instant yeast has a shorter shelf life, usually two years.
    One place where instant yeast outperforms active dry yeast is in volume of yeast cells per serving. While it looks very similar to active dry yeast, it has significantly more live cells. This makes it more robust and requires you use less of it in a recipe. As long as you are using it within two years this is a major advantage.
    Another advantage is that instant yeast requires no hydration before pitching into the recipe. That means if you are following a recipe which calls for little or no liquid, instant yeast is a much better bet. Active dry yeast needs to be hydrated before. This is not a huge deal, but if you are in a hurry or don't want to add an extra step instant yeast is more convenient.
    For most non-professional bakers, yeast preference comes down to whatever is more readily available and which you are more comfortable with. Both active dry yeast and instant yeast are essentially interchangeable. If you are more worried about longevity and don/t mind a little extra work active dry yeast is ideal. If you want to cut down on steps, and have a yeast which is more potent and requires a smaller amount to do the same work then instant yeast is a good choice.
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