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Jan 1, 2010 06:47 AM

Advantages of Active Yeast?

I had use the normal active yeast a few times and they took a long time. Since then I have only used rapid rise yeast (aka instinct yeast) and am happy with the results. Clearly, we know the advantages of rapid rise yeast over active yeast. So what are the advantages of active yeast? Thanks.

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  1. Slower rise times leads to better flavor. In fact, I often do the first rise in the refrigerator to allow the bread to develop as much flavor as possible.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smtucker

      That is what I heard/read too. A slow rise in the refrigerator allows more of the yeast favor to transfer to the dough, which some people like and some don't.

    2. "Rapid" is a bit of a misnomer. You can do slow rises with "rapid" rise yeast just as easily as with active dry. Rapid rise yeast merely does not need to be proofed, and it tends to have a higher yield of active yeasts than regular active dry yeast, so you can use a bit less.

      Slow rising is more about how much yeast you use and the temperature at which the rising occurs, rather than the type of yeast. Not all breads will benefit from a slow rise in a cold place; the yeasts produce different flavors in cold, cool, tepid and warm environments, and the appropriateness of each will depend on the bread being made. Slow and cold is not necessarily always better.

      When rapid rise yeasts became more commercially available, there were mutterings in the artisinal bread movement that its use would result in flabbier tasting breads. It appears in hindsight that the fears were based on a misunderstanding of the product.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Karl S

        I know the rapid rise yeast also went through different generations -- as in today's active yeast is like the ~4th generators and is not the same as the very first strain. Not sure. Something I heard. Nevertheless, I see stores sell as much active yeast (regular) as the rapid rise yeast, if not more. So clearly many people prefer the regular yeast. Thanks.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          That's because people will buy what their recipes state, and many recipes of yore only had active dry yeast as an option.

      2. What "rapid" actually means is that it will dissolve in the dough and doesn't require warm water to dissolve and become active. That said, I always n\mix my conventional yeast with the dry ingredients and let it dissolve in the dough.

        The advice to not shorten your rise in any way is spot on. Lots of time to develop all the yeasts' sugars and alcohols is the single best thing you can do for your bread.

        1. This is all very helpful. I baked Mark Bittman's sandwich bread recipe yesterday, and it didn't come out well at all. The recipe called for instant yeast + a 2 hr rise time. Is instant yeast the same as rapid-rise? (I used rapid-rise). Next time I'll try a slow rise in the fridge. Meanwhile, does anyone need a brick?

          1 Reply
          1. re: suby

            To best of my knowledge, instant yeast is the same as rapid-rise yeast.

          2. Just browsed through my latest Saveur magazine and found this article, which might be of interest here:

            2 Replies
            1. re: weem

              Thanks Weem. That is helpful and everything make sense.

              1. re: weem

                Thanks, weem. That was a great explanation. I definitely did not use liquid that was warm enough to activate the yeast.