Yeast

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We recommend fast action dried yeast because it is easier to obtain, but if you prefer to use fresh yeast you can find advice on how to convert our recipes below.

Dried yeasts are good

Paul Hollywood, Britain's best known baker, is quite clear: since converting to using instant yeast he has found no difference in the quality of his breads.  If it is good enough for Paul it is certainly good enough for me. In any case, for those of us living in the UK it is often very hard to buy fresh yeast. All the recipes on this site therefore use fast action dried yeast rather than fresh yeast because: 

• it is easier to buy,
• it is easier to store,
• it is less temperature sensitive,
• it keeps longer.

Fast action dried yeasts

Allison-Easy-Bake-Yeast-140

"Quick", "Instant", "Easy bake" and "Fast action" yeasts: these are really all the same thing, but the manufacturers choose different names.

Simply add to flour

All the fast action dried yeasts are simply added to the flour and other dry ingredients. They don't need to be activated with water before use.

Sachets v. Packets

Some of the instant dried yeasts are sold in 7g (¼ oz) sachets. One sachet is normally sufficient for one large loaf. However, one disadvantage of using the sachets is that once opened they should be used within 48 hours.

If you bake a lot of yeast bread then Doves Farm's Quick Yeast is worth considering because then you can measure out exactly what you need, rather than using a sachet.

How much?

For most breads you need 7 g for 500 g flour (2¼ tsp for 1 lb flour), but this does vary according to the recipe.

By the teaspoon

1 teaspoon of dried yeast = 3.1 g.

Storing instant dried yeast

Instant dried yeast should be stored somewhere dry at room temperature. It should NOT be stored in a fridge.

Mixing

Always add the quick/instant/fast/easy-bake yeast to the dry ingredients, not to the liquid.

Salt and dried yeast

For most recipes the flour and salt should be added to the bowl first and mixed before adding the yeast. This is important because the salt can kill the yeast if it comes into immediate contact with it.

Temperature of the liquid

Once the yeast has been mixed with the other dry ingredients then the liquid is gradually added. Normally the liquid is at a temperature of about 40°C (105°F).

If you are using water then you can, if you prefer, use cool tap water (15°C, 60°F). This is a lower temperature than many recipes suggest and it will mean that the dough will rise more slowly, but on the other hand it will have more flavour.

However, if you have to add milk to a dough then it is necessary to warm it a little bit first because milk contains fat which actually retards the action of the yeast slightly and warming it up a bit first helps to counteract this.

Don't use a temperature of more than 45°C (115°F) with dried yeast as it will kill the yeast. (Fresh yeast is killed if the temperature is over 37°C (98°F).)

Fresh yeast in Sweden

fresh-yeastfresh-yeast-sweet

In Sweden there are two types of fresh yeast widely sold: bread yeast and sweet dough yeast.

Using fresh yeast instead

If you can get fresh yeast you can use it instead if you prefer. With fresh yeast you mix it with the liquid and then add the yeasty mixture to the dry ingredients. However, the liquid must be not be more than 37°C (98°F) or it will kill the yeast.

Conversions

1 g of instant/fast/quick/easy-bake dried yeast is equivalent to 3.4 g of fresh yeast. However, for practical purposes the conversions below are near enough.

Quick or easy-bake Fresh
 1 g  3 g
 7 g  25 g
 10 g  34 g
 15 g 50 g 

 

Quick or easy-bake Fresh
½ tsp 5 g
1 tsp 10 g
2 tsp 20 g
2½ tsp 25 g
5 tsp 50 g


Remember: dried yeast must be added to the dry ingredients first, whereas fresh yeast must be dissolved in lukewarm liquid first.

John Duxbury

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