Instant Yeast Vs. Active Dry Yeast; Know The Difference
Image Credit: Bread, Cakes And Ale

Yeast, the common leavening agent used in most bread-making recipes and a few baked goods like cinnamon rolls and doughnuts, is an interesting ingredient to work with. In most cases, it is often perceived to be complicated and tricky to work with, considering various external factors like temperature and time duration. The key ingredient behind bread getting its light and airy texture and getting its beautiful crumb, yeast is, in fact, a fairly simple ingredient, provided you are familiar with the basics of how to use it correctly. Two of the most common types of yeast – instant and active dry – are both a common feature in baking. However, both have marked differences and purposes which might often overlap due to the lack of knowing that they are different from one another. Here’s how you can tell the difference.

Active Dry Yeast

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One of the most commonly found types of yeast that is sold in grocery stores, active dry yeast is used across almost all kinds of bread recipes. In appearance, active dry yeast consists of coarse, oblong granules that can easily be stored at room temperature for at least a year or frozen for more than ten years. This type of yeast is a dormant living organism that needs to be rehydrated and proofed before using. Active dry yeast is relatively more shelf-stable than most other yeast types but can change its composition due to the fluctuation in temperature. Active dry yeast can be used once it is dissolved in lukewarm water and mixed with other ingredients.

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Instant Yeast

Image Credits: Homemade Pizza School

Also known as quick rise or fast rising yeast, instant yeast is similar in appearance to active dry yeast, but with smaller granules. Due to its fine texture and the presence of other additives, instant yeast is activated almost immediately when used in a recipe. Best used for quick baking tasks, instant yeast is ideal to use when you need bread to be made with a single rise. Compared to active dry yeast, instant yeast has more live cells and unlike its counterpart, instant yeast does not require rehydration or proofing to work for a recipe. That being said, swapping active dry yeast for instant yeast might mean that your rise time for the dough to proof might increase slightly, depending on the external temperatures.