While shopping for yeast one can find at least two different options: rapid raise instant yeast and active yeast. As a beginner baker I was curious to understand what was the difference. So, I researched and experimented a bit.
So, according to http://www.breadworld.com/products:
- Also known as instant yeast
- Saves time – only requires one rise
- Simply add to dry ingredients, then follow your recipe – no need to hydrate in water
- Works great in bread machines
Active Dry Yeast
- The original dry yeast
- Highly stable and valued for its reliable performance
- Simply dissolve in warm liquid (100°–110° F), then follow your recipe
- Not recommended for recipes that call for instant or Rapid Rise Yeast
The difference between these types of dry yeast is simple: active dry yeast has a larger granule and needs to be dissolved in water before using, while instant yeast has a more fine texture and can be mixed right into dry ingredients. (http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-active-dry-yeast-and-instant-yeast-54252)
According to http://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/yeast.html, the difference is minimal, and the two can be used interchangeably—with slightly different results. Active dry yeast compared to instant yeast, is considered more “moderate.” It gets going more slowly, but eventually catches up to instant—think of the tortoise and the hare. Many bread-bakers appreciate the longer rise times Active dry yeast encourages; it’s during fermentation of its dough that bread develops flavor.
Lately I have been using only rapid raise instant yeast. This is bread that I made recently.
- Ensure your yeast is fresh by checking its expiration date. Once a package or jar of yeast is opened, it is important that the remaining contents be immediately resealed and refrigerated or frozen for future use. Often dough that fails to rise is due to stale yeast.
- The following test can be used to determine if your yeast is stale and inactive.
Place 1⁄2 cup of lukewarm (110º F to 115º F/43º C to 46º C) water into a liquid measuring cup. Stir 1 teaspoon of sugar into the water and then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of yeast over the surface. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes undisturbed.
The mixture should foam and rise to the 1 cup mark. If this does not occur, discard this yeast and purchase fresh yeast.