Personally, I don’t think anyone dislikes the taste of freshly baked bread, especially when they smell the warm yeast scent in their home. However, although most people want to bake a hot, fragrant bread themselves, many people are still afraid of baking with yeast.
In the process of baking food, the type and amount of yeast used can make a big difference. From the heavy cream cake that ruined your weekend to the hard braided bread you dumped in the corner of the kitchen, to avoid these tragedies, you need to understand how yeast works and how to use it properly. In this way, you will find that baking is not as difficult as it seems! Choose between fresh and ready-to-eat yeast? Should I use active dry yeast or nutritional yeast? What is the difference between them, or can they replace each other? It’s time to face the fluffy cinnamon rolls and homemade bread you fear, come on!
What is Yeast?
Yeast is a single-celled microorganism in the fungus kingdom, just like mushrooms and molds. Although there are thousands of types of yeast, we only use one type when baking, namely Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as Baker's Yeast or "sugar yeast". The name is appropriate because it clearly points out how this yeast accomplishes its job-eating sugar and starch in the dough and converting them into carbon dioxide gas, which in turn causes the bread to expand, thereby producing a A light and fluffy texture. When the dough is baked, this expansion process stops and is complete.
So why are there so many different forms of the same yeast? Yeast once appeared in a single form-the fresh state, but due to technological advances, food companies were able to dehydrate the yeast around 1941, thereby creating a product that can be stored stably for the public.
How is yeast made?
Yeast is naturally produced, but the commercial baker's yeast used today is highly selected, cultivated and processed specifically for baking. From the small growth tube to the culture tank, and then to the fermentation tank, the yeast will undergo a multi-stage culture process in the liquid containing molasses, nutrient salts and B vitamins. Finally, it will be put into a large storage tank, and then the fresh yeast is filtered, squeezed, and then put into the small square tanks you will see in the supermarket. Both active dry yeast and instant yeast are dried fresh yeast, and the ratio of live yeast to dead yeast in active dry yeast is lower than that in instant yeast.
Can yeast be frozen?
certainly! You can store fresh yeast in the refrigerator for months (sometimes even years). Before use, give it enough time to thaw and rise to room temperature, wrap it tightly with plastic film, then transfer it to a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Before using, be sure to let the yeast completely melt in the fresh-keeping layer of the refrigerator. If it looks dry, throw it away to save yourself trouble, and remember to pack it tightly next time. Dry yeast can be stored for longer and can be kept in the refrigerator for more than one year.
Fresh yeast is a broken solid mass made by mixing yeast and water. Fresh yeast is very popular with experienced bakers because it can provide a richer, slightly sweeter taste than dry yeast, and can make bread better ferment and expand. Although it looks scary, once you master the method, fresh yeast is actually very easy to use. First crush the fresh yeast, put it in warm water, and let it melt. Once the fresh yeast starts to foam, stir the yeast liquid into the other dry ingredients for making the bread. When buying, look for fresh yeast in the dairy section or cold storage section of the supermarket. Because this is a very perishable product, you can purchase it on demand, not too much. Then if it is stored in a cold storage, these yeasts can be used for about 2 weeks, or they can be stored frozen as mentioned above.
When to use fresh yeast?
Fresh yeast is very suitable for breads that need to be slowly fermented and expanded for a long time, because their active reaction lasts longer than that of dry yeast. When a bread needs to be fermented many times, it is better to use fresh yeast, such as this herb braided bread or this homemade flat bread. This method is also suitable for other sweet recipes, if you want to make the baked bread super fluffy and soft, like a jelly doughnut or cinnamon roll. Believe us, although the time waiting for the bread to bake is difficult, it is totally worth it in the end.
Active dry yeast
Active Dry Yeast is a dehydrated yeast powder. It is the most common form of yeast in home bakeries and the most common form in grocery stores. During the Second World War, people developed active dry yeast to overcome the lack of refrigeration conditions. It contains a "dormant" yeast that can be stored at room temperature for several months before use. You can also store the active dry yeast in the refrigerator or freezer for 4 to 6 months or a year. Contrary to popular belief, active dry yeast does not need to be activated before being added to the dough, and can be directly added to dry ingredients to make dough. However, some home bakers still like to mix it with a small amount of warm water before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. For safety, please check the package instructions carefully before using this yeast. If you are not sure whether your dry yeast is still active (that is, it is still active and can work normally), add half a teaspoon of warm water and a pinch of sugar to it. Yeast that is still viable will bubble and foam within ten minutes.
When to use active dry yeast?
Although active dry yeast is the favorite yeast of most home bakers, there are still some people who refuse to use it. Maybe it's because the word "fresh" makes fresh yeast more attractive? In any case, if used correctly, the results of these two yeasts are similar. So, even if you prefer fresh yeast, it is good to prepare some active dry yeast at home.
Since you don't need to activate it, active dry yeast is the most suitable choice when you want to save some time. So, why not try these homemade breakfast cherry rolls, the lovely almond marshmallow hedgehog white bread, or this delicious fig walnut bread!
Instant Yeast is finer than active dry yeast. As a yeast that dissolves and activates faster (so it is said to be "ready to eat"), it is almost the same as active dry yeast. Sometimes referred to as "baker's yeast" or "quick-fermenting yeast".
Sometimes you will find that they also contain additional enzymes to make the dough expand faster-that is, when a recipe requires you to ferment the dough twice, if you use instant yeast, then only ferment once is enough. Knead the dough directly into a bread shape. Like active dry yeast, you should add instant yeast directly to the dry ingredients without mixing it with water first.
Can different yeasts be replaced with each other?
You may have discovered that there is no problem in substituting different types of yeast, because they all work in a similar way, but the packaging and form are different. If you want to replace it effectively, you only need to pay attention to the following items: Instant yeast and active dry yeast: Instant and active dry yeast can be used interchangeably. If a recipe requires instant yeast and you want to use active dry yeast instead, just make sure to give more time to the fermentation time required by the recipe. Fresh yeast and active dry yeast: When using fresh yeast instead of dry yeast in a recipe, use twice the amount required by the recipe, and vice versa. Don't forget, fresh yeast needs to be mixed with water first, and then added to the remaining ingredients. If you replace the dry yeast with fresh yeast, you can skip the mixing step and add it directly to the flour.