9 Yeast, Active Dry or Instant?

What yeast should I use?
Can yeasts be used interchangeably?
Which is better?
How do I store yeast?

These are questions I get asked OFTEN.
Basically, there are 2 types of yeast:

Active Dry Yeast
Instant Yeast (aka Bread Machine, Rapid Rise, Quick Rise)

I have always used Active Dry Yeast (ADY).
Red Star and Fleischmann's are two common brands. They are both the same.

ADY is also known as Baker's yeast. It needs moisture and at least 2 rises (fermenting and proofing). I add this yeast to HALF of my dry ingredients, add my liquids (110-115 degrees) stir, and let sit (sponge) for 10-15 minutes.

This is a close up of ADY. The granules are larger than Instant Yeast.

It is dried at a higher temperature than Instant Yeast.

This is a close up of Instant Yeast. The granules are much smaller.

It is dried at a lower temperature.

I haven't used Instant Yeast (IY) until I made No Knead Bread. I tried both ADY and IY with No Knead Bread and got different results. The bread with the ADY was flatter and more dense.

IY does NOT need water...you can add it directly to your flour. If you add IY to water, the yeast will clump together. Breads made with IY only need ONE
rise.** You make your bread dough, let it 'rest' for 10 minutes (to
allow the dough to relax for shaping), shape the dough, let it rise ONE time, and then bake.

**Correction: Many readers have noted that they can get more than one rise on Instant Yeast. Rapid Rise is only good for ONE rise. Rapid Rise has recipes specifically formulated for its yeast. You CAN use Instant Yeast on one rise, if you prefer.

Can you use substitute ADY for IY and vice versa?
Yes, but you need to use less IY (25% less) if the recipe calls for ADY.
If the recipe calls for IY (i.e No Knead Bread), you need to use more 25% ADY.

1 Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast = 2 1/4 teaspoons Instant Yeast
1 teaspoon Instant Yeast = 1 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry

Now, which is better? I am not sure. Many users of IY like it because it saves them time. I am lucky that I have time to bake bread. I am also lucky to live at a high altitude that requires a shorter rise time (25-50% faster). I usually allow at least 2-3 hours of staying at home to make my bread with ADY. If you use IY, you can make most breads in less than an hour. I have tasted bread with IY and have found it to have a good texture, softness and great taste.

Proponents of ADY say that shorter rise times do not allow the dough to develop flavor and bakers that use ADY get more consistent results. A second, even third rise for breads rise more quickly with each subsequent rise. Personally, I like ADY.

What is in Instant Yeast? I am not sure. After searching the Internet, I have found these words associated with IY and possible ingredients in IY:

genetically engineered
ascorbic acid (a dough conditioner to increase loaf volume)
monostearate (assists in dissolving)
Vitamin C (added to promote good loaf volume and structure)
dough enhancer

How do I store yeast? (there is no storage difference between ADY and IY)
Unopened in original vacuum packed container: up to 4 years
Opened: in freezer safe container = 1 year
Rubbermaid/Ziploc container in fridge = 6 months
Room temperature in cupboard=2 months

If you have any questions, feel free to email me or respond to this post!

Sources: BreadWorld.com (Fleischmanns Yeast)
RedStarYeast.com(Saf Yeast)


  1. Thank you so much - i was going to attempt a recipe that called for ADY this weekend, but only had IY on hand. My husband stopped me - and now i can tell him how right he was. At least I didn't 'wait' around for the instant yeast to ruin a project!

  2. I always wonder about yeast! I'm a big chicken and never know which to choose, and end up buying bread or using the bread machine. This helps so much...if I can just wrap my brain around it and make myself remember! Thanks :)

  3. Scate, isn't is great when our husbands are right?

    Girlichef, you CAN make bread! Give it a try!

  4. That's bizarre. I've always let my IY go for a second rise (or even third when called for, but that's rare) and it's always worked. I shall have to try only one rise, and see if that works, too. Heck, if I can save myself some time... LOL

  5. Violet, IY can 'rest' in your dough for 10 min, and some people count that as a first rise. Try letting it rest for 10 min, shape and give it one rise. You will save a lot of time!

  6. My wife cares for a holocaust survivor and she says she misses stollen very much over the Christmas holiday and hasn't had it in over 20 years.I contacted a baker in her hometown in Germany for a recipe.It calls for 2 ounces of fresh yeast and its unavailable where I live.What is the conversion to ADY?Any help would be appreciated.

  7. Em, I have not had experience working with a recipe calling for fresh yeast. After some research, this is what I have found:

    Substitutes: active dry yeast (Substitute one package or 2 1/4 teaspoons for each .6-ounce cake of compressed yeast) OR instant yeast (Substitute one package or 2 1/4 teaspoons for each cake of compressed yeast) OR bread machine yeast (Substitute 2 1/4 teaspoons for each cake of compressed yeast)
    (from Cook's Thesaurus)

    Hope this helps you make a fantastic stollen!

  8. Thank you for such a fast reply.I will do the conversion and give it a try.I will let you know how it turns out,I think I will do a practice run soon so I can fix my mistakes before I give her the real stollen.

  9. Em, I wish you the best on your Stollen adventure ~ I would love to know how it turns out!


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