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instant yeast screw up??

I know pretty much nothing about baking, but I've been reading through the boards about pizza dough, and have been trying to improve my dough. I had been using the small fleishmann's packets of Active Dry Yeast at the store and then decided to buy my yeast in bulk at BJs instead. Without realizing it, I bought Instant Dry Yeast instead of Active Dry Yeast. So I continued to pre-hydrate or proof it before adding it to the dry ingredients just like you do with Active Dry. And since I've been doing that my dough hasn't risen at all. I am wondering if proofing IDY actually messes something up (since you don't have to proof IDY), or if the yeast is actually dead (which is what I assumed in the beginning).

Can anyone tell me how exactly IDY is supposed to function from start to finish? Absolutely no proofing? Can I expect any rise? Any difference in dough texture/quality?

Thanks.

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  1. No proofing needed. Just mix it with the dry ingredients. Since I started using instant (influenced by Peter Reinhart's book, Bread Bakers Apprentice in which he only uses instant), I haven't gone back to active. Store it in the refrigerator.

    1. I made the same mistake the first time, and had a horrid loaf of rosemary country loaf!

      Don't proof it first. Just add it to your dry ingredients and then proceed. It'll be fine. I will still use regular yeast when I have time, but for pizza or if I decide some bread would be nice with a soup I'm making, but dinner is in an hour, then I'll use it.

      I am sure there's a scientific explanation that I don't know, but I just assume that adding the water too early makes it activate too early, and there's not enough strength left in it by the time your bread is ready to rise.

      1. So, can I still do an overnight rise with instant yeast? And will the dough still rise using instant, if left set on the counter for an hour or two?

        2 Replies
        1. re: bachlava

          Yes, I do this all the time, at room temp and in the fridge. There shouldn't be a problem unless your yeast is bad to begin with.

          1. re: bachlava

            You are going to love working with instant yeast. It saves steps. Do remember, however, if the original recipe called for proofing the yeast in x amount of water, or other liquid, that you mush add that much liquid to the rest you will be using.
            Do not confuse it with rapid rise yeast. Rising rapidly is not the way to get good tasteing breads. Instant yeast is another thing altogether.

          2. I only do instant yeast and I proof it when called for and make the almost no knead bread out of it --- no problems. You may have gotten some bad yeast or could your water be too hot? I did that for a long time. I do keep mine in the freezer and it's still good after a looooonnnnngggg time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dutchdot

              I tend to keep on active dry yeast in the y house and I can add it to a recipe w/o proofing and the recipe turns out just fine, but the initial ferment may need a extra hour.

              I agree with Dutchdot that you may be using water that it too hot or you may have purchased yeast that was out of date. I store the majority of my yeast in a small glass jar in the freezer, with 1/2 C in the fridge door in a small spice jar. I seldom use liquids that is over 85° and never use them over 100° as it will kill the yeast.

              If you must use hotter liquids, pour them down the side of the work-bowl, instead of directly into the mixture, as the bowl will absorb some of the heat before it can kill the yeast.

            2. I just read that active dry yeast has more flavor than instant is that so?

              4 Replies
              1. re: bakerboyz

                I have made the best almost no knead bread I can imagine with instant yeast.

                I think the most flavor comes from the longest rise.

                1. re: dutchdot

                  Hi, so I was just wondering... there are some recipes that calls for active dry yeast, can i replace that with instant dry yeast? I went to the baking shop and the lady told me they are both the SAME! I'm not so sure about that.

                  1. re: vonnnie82

                    Yes, you can replace active dry with instant yeast at equal amounts. Proofing the yeast in warm(under 100°F) liquid is recommended but not necessary.

                    1. re: Kelli2006

                      Here's what I recently found out: when using instant yeast when the recipe calls for active dry, cut the amount of yeast by 25%, and just proceed with the original recipe.. (In addition, of course, you can skip the proofing, but sometimes it's hard to know exactly which steps to skip...) The reason why some say active dry has "more flavor" is only because it takes longer to rise (thus dutchdot's and bakerboyz comments can be reconciled). By cutting the amount of instant yeast by one-quarter, it will take longer to rise (about as long as it would take if you were using active dry), and therefore produce equivalent flavor.

                      If you are using instant yeast to save time, don't cut the amount of yeast, and the rise time will be shorter, but you *will* sacrifice some flavor.

                      There are some websites where people discuss this stuff extensively. Just do a google search on instant yeast.