From yeast how-tos to substitutions and adjustments — here are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive, with detailed answers and explanations to help bakers of all kinds. And if you’re not finding the information you’re looking for, be sure to visit our Baking Basics section for additional resources.
About 2-¼ teaspoons.
Store unopened yeast in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry (or refrigerator). Exposure to oxygen, heat or humidity decreases the activity of the yeast. After opening, store in an airtight container in the back of the refrigerator, away from drafts. Use within three to four months; freezing not recommended.
“Can I use expired yeast in my recipe?”
For best results, buy and use yeast before the expiration date. Yeast loses its potency as it ages, resulting in longer rising times. Proof Active Dry Yeast to determine whether it is still alive.
“How do I proof yeast to test for activity?”
To proof yeast, add 1 teaspoon sugar to ¼ cup warm water (100°–110°F). Stir in 1 packet of yeast (2-¼ teaspoons); let stand 10 minutes. If the yeast foams to the ½-cup mark, it is active and you may use it in your recipe. RapidRise® Instant Yeast loses its fast-rising capabilities if dissolved in liquid, and will require two complete rises.
“Can I rescue dough that does not rise?”
Dough can be ‘revitalized’ with a fresh sample of Active Dry or RapidRise® Instant Yeast. Follow these steps:
“Can RapidRise® and Bread Machine Yeast be used in Active Dry recipes?”
Yes. For best results, add undissolved RapidRise® or Bread Machine Yeast to dry ingredients first. Add liquids and fat heated to 120°–130°F. Replace the first rise with a 10-minute rest (the dough will not rise during this time). Then, shape dough into a loaf or rolls, or whatever the recipe directs. Now you are ready for the dough to rise. When using RapidRise® or Bread Machine Yeast, only ONE rise is needed! Once risen, bake according to recipe directions.
“Can Active Dry Yeast be used in RapidRise® recipes?”
Yes, but with limitations. The Active Dry has larger granules and it is necessary to dissolve it completely for the yeast to work. Therefore, Active Dry works best if dissolved in warm water (100°–110°F).
“What is the difference between Instant Yeast, Bread Machine Yeast and RapidRise® Instant Yeast?”
Mainly names, but these are all the same yeast! Use interchangeably.
“What is the difference between fast-rising yeast (RapidRise®/Bread Machine Yeast) and Active Dry Yeast?”
RapidRise® and Bread Machine Yeast are formulated and processed differently than Active Dry Yeast. RapidRise® and Bread Machine Yeast are grown with a higher level of nutrients and are dried to lower moisture content. The particle size of RapidRise® and Bread Machine Yeast are finely granulated to allow complete hydration of the yeast cells during the mixing process. The Active Dry Yeast’s larger-sized particles should be dissolved in water to achieve complete hydration prior to adding to the mixer. In addition, RapidRise® and Bread Machine Yeast contain ascorbic acid, resulting in increased loaf volumes.
"How do I use Fresh Active Yeast?”
Fresh Active Yeast is the product that Fleischmann’s® Yeast has been manufacturing for over 130 years. It is also traditionally known as compressed or cake yeast. It has not undergone the drying process, so it does not need to be dissolved before use: soften the cake in warm water first OR simply crumble the yeast into dry ingredients (if directed by recipe). Fresh yeast requires two rises. Yeast is available in two different sizes: 0.6-ounce and 2-ounce household cakes.
“How do I substitute dry yeast for Fresh Active Yeast?”
One 0.6-ounce cake is equivalent to 1 packet of dry yeast. One 2-ounce cake is equivalent to three packets of dry yeast. Follow the directions on the package recommended for the type of yeast you substitute.
“Can Active Dry Yeast be used in bread machines?”
Bread Machine Yeast is specially formulated for bread machines and recommended by most bread-machine manufacturers. It is finely granulated to hydrate easily when combined with the flour. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is added to promote good loaf volume and structure. Active Dry Yeast may be used but may not yield optimal results.
“Can any dough be refrigerated?”
Any dough can be refrigerated for a few hours to inhibit rising if the leavening process is interrupted. Long refrigeration is not recommended unless specified in the recipe. For best results, choose recipes specifically formulated for the refrigerator. Refrigerator doughs have more sugar and less salt than regular dough to keep the dough viable in the refrigerator. Refrigerator doughs are particularly good for rich, sweet doughs, as less flour is used. Refrigerator doughs are typically not kneaded. They become stiffer and easier to shape after refrigeration.
“Can I freeze my dough?”
For best results, use only specially developed freezer dough recipes. Freezer dough recipes are higher in yeast and low in salt, fat and sugar. Bread flour is recommended. Other flours do not hold up well. Lean dough, such as pizza, freezes better than rich dough.
“How is freezer dough prepared?”
After kneading, flatten dough into a disk and wrap airtight in a freezer-proof plastic bag for up to four weeks. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Once thawed, remove dough from bag; shape, let rise, and bake as directed. To shape before freezing, cover kneaded dough and let rest 20 minutes. Shape as desired and freeze as quickly as possible. Examples of freezer dough recipes include: Cheese Coffee Cake, Classic Cinnamon Rolls, Master Bread Dough and Freezer Pizza Dough.
“How is it possible for breads to knead themselves?”
When a slightly soft, moist yeast dough sits and rests for a number of hours, the natural bubbling from yeast fermentation continuously bounces and shifts dough particles around. The bubbling is barely visible but powerful! Given time, this “micro-kneading” action develops gluten just as effectively as traditional kneading. Actually, it may develop the gluten even more thoroughly, because human hands sometimes get tired and quit too soon! (Gluten is the stretchy protein that gives yeast breads structure.)
“Where did the idea of 'kneadless' breads come from?”
“Kneadless” bread was the completely natural way people first made bread thousands of years ago — before they discovered that by pulling, beating, stretching, stirring or otherwise “kneading” wheat doughs they could speed up gluten development. They just mixed the dough, then waited until it naturally kneaded itself. But over the many centuries, the original, kneadless way was mostly forgotten, except in some very remote areas where it is still used. Today, with so many people too busy to stay home and tend dough, the effortless, let-it-sit-and-ready-itself approach is ideal.
Yes. But there are no exact rules for adjusting yeast breads at high altitudes. Altitude affects the ingredients and the entire bread-making process. We suggest these general guidelines for baking above 3,000 feet:
Because atmospheric pressure is lower and leavening gases expand more quickly, yeast dough rises 25 to 50 percent faster at high altitudes. Begin checking the dough halfway through the rising time listed in the recipe. Continue to check frequently.
Flour tends to be drier and absorbs more liquid at high altitudes. Therefore, it is very important to store flour in an airtight container.
When mixing the dough, you may need less flour than called for in the recipe. To compensate, add flour slowly and work in just enough to make the dough easy to handle. Because recipes call for varying amounts of flour, there is no standard measurement for reducing flour.
If dough is slightly sticky during kneading, use greased instead of floured hands. This way, you won’t knead in too much flour.
Dough dries out faster at high altitudes. To prevent drying, grease or lightly oil the exposed part of dough (whether in a bowl, on a board or in a baking pan) and cover with greased plastic wrap instead of a towel.
Baking temperature and time should not change at high altitudes, but check for browning at the shorter time listed and use traditional doneness tests.
Just as dough dries out faster at high altitudes, so does the finished product. Store cooled bread in airtight plastic wrap, bags or containers.
If you are using a bread machine at high altitude, refer to the manufacturer’s instruction book. Since flour may dry out faster at high altitudes, you may need to adjust the ratio of liquid to flour. Experiment by reducing the amount of yeast, flour or sugar (yeast feeds on sugar), and/or adding liquid or a little gluten. Or try a shorter baking cycle, such as rapid bake, if available.
Yes! Just put the ingredients in the large mixer bowl, then mix in the liquid with the paddle while using on low speed. The second stirring is usually very brief (only long enough to deflate the dough) although you can do this with a heavy-duty mixer also. But remember to switch to the dough hook — after its first rise the dough will be rubbery (from the gluten development).
Your aunt’s breads were very likely made using the usual, more familiar, “direct” method. Breads prepared that way just don’t brown as deeply or quickly as those produced using the cool, slow-rise method. The long, slow rise allows more time for certain chemical changes that promote browning and rich, satisfying flavor. Deep browning is one hallmark of today’s artisan-style breads — artisan bakers feel fuller browning produces fuller flavor. Still, this is a matter of personal taste. If you like a slightly lighter color, just lower the baking temperature 25°F from what the recipe indicates, then bake a little longer. Also, cover the loaf top with foil (shiny side out) at the point you want to slow down the browning.
You can reduce the salt by one-third, but should not completely eliminate it. Salt not only improves texture and flavor, but also keeps the yeast from becoming too fizzy and overactive. This is true for all yeasted doughs. When reducing salt, keep in mind that the dough may rise faster than normal.
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