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Yeast: Rapid Rise v. Regular

I bought some rapid rise yeast to make what I call "Easter Bread" -- a rich, eggy, stollen recipe with ground almonds and candied fruit kneaded in. I love this yeast and think it makes a much better bread product than regular yeast, but I'm curious what other people think.

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  1. I love instant yeast that you can even add with the dry ingredients (I don't). I buy it in one pound bags at William Sonoma and keep it in the freezer.

    Most of my bread recipes use long slow rises. The Almost No Knead uses just 1/4 tsp of yeast and an almost 24 hour rise. I have a hamburger bun recipe from Julia that involves about five rises and makes the finest crumb.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dutchdot

      Just to be sure I'm tracking, you use the regular yeast for the slow rises? (Like the NYTimes Bittman bread or the Artisian Bread in 5 minutes a day?

      I am constantly getting mixed up about what yeast to use.

    2. heh? so it DOES make a difference! Who knew?

      what does the recipes usually call for? and can i use one in lieu of another?

      1. It does what it says which is rises the dough faster but I like a slower rise for taste/texture. I use either, depending on how much time I have. Instant/rapid rise is easier to use.

        1. That's interesting that you like the regular yeast for slow rise and better texture. I think I get a better texture out of the rapid rise yeast, but you know, it's been so long since I've used regular yeast, that maybe it's just because I'm a better baker. Hmmm.

          3 Replies
          1. re: rememberme

            Generally I use rapid rise if I'm making dough to be baked the day of (often with the type the bread you're making, w/ egg, milk, etc additions) but if I have time to plan ahead, I'll start the day before and then use regular yeast. Leaving it overnight develops the flavor better but you can also use rapid rise with it, just less of it. It's not the yeast as much as the length of the rise.

            1. re: chowser

              Hmmm. Good point. This is the only bread I have time to make these days, and it does rise and bake the same day. So if I decide to make the dough the day before, which I think is actually a brilliant suggestion, should I use regular yeast? And it should rise in the fridge to preclude awful discoveries on the floor in the morning?

              1. re: rememberme

                If I make it the day before and use instant yeast, I use about 1/4 tsp and let it rise for at least half an hour room temperature (longer is fine but obviously not too long so that it finishes rising) and then put it in the refrigerator for it to finish rising. You can then wake up, bring the dough to room temp and bake and have fresh rolls or whatever you want in the morning. For regular yeast, though, I usually proof it in warm liquid first but am thinking about what todao has said below. I'll have to give that a try.

          2. I still don't understand all this specialized yeast bugaboo. I'm told I have to proof active dry yeast. I don't; I simply drop it in with all the other dry ingredients at room temperature and mix as usual. Never had a problem. The rapid/quick/instant etc. yeasts do work faster but if I wanted fast I' just run out to the store and buy a loaf of whatever it was I might want to eat or serve. I do find that using active dry yeast, because it requires a bit longer to get a good rise, improves the flavor somewhat. But beyond that factor I don't usually get too picky about yeast categories in my baking. If the results are a good texture and good flavor I'm pretty satisfied.

            1 Reply
            1. re: todao

              This all started because I feel like I get a better texture with the rapid rise yeast than I do with the regular yeast, which seems counterintuitive.