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Yeast: Types, Use, Storage, Conversions (instant<>active, US<>UK, etc.)

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Am hoping for some help here. Have found an old Margaret Costa recipe I want to try, but it gives a weight for fresh yeast (something mad sounding like 1 oz - but will double check!). However - I tend to work with those packets of fast action dried yeast you can buy in UK supermakrets - about 7g each - so my question is - how do I convert fresh into dried equivalent?

I don't have scales to measure such minute amounts so I guess I'm looking for answers in the form of teaspoon measures perhaps? Or am I being hopelessly optimistic?

With grateful thanks


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Acording to the "Cake Bible", you will need .41 times the amount of dry yeast to equal the fresh yeast called for in a recipe. So if the recipe calls for 10 grams of fresh yeast, you would use 4.1 grams of dry. Obviously this will be a bit trickier if you have to use fractions of an ounce, but maybe you can convert to grams?

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If your recipe is actually based on 1 oz. of fresh then I would use about 1 Tablespoon of the instant (or 1 Tablespoon +2 teaspoons regular dry yeast).

Personally I would use even less (2 - 2 1/2 teaspoons instant) as most recipes are way to generous in their use of yeast just to speed up the process. Remember that your recipe will never fail if you have a lttle less yeast than is called for. It will just take a bit longer to rise and most likely have a better flavour.

A gram/oz. scale is a great thing to have in the kitchen as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi there,

I'm hoping someone can help me convert recipes using Instant Yeast to Active Dried Yeast.

Now, I get and understand I need to multiple the Instant Yeast amount by 1.25. Hence, 1 tsp of Instant would be 1 1/4 tsp of Active.

However, what happens when the conversion is using fractions. For example 3/8 tsp of Instant.

Perhaps I'm just slow today but this conversion is baffling me. Any advice?

Edited by yorkshirepud (log)
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Try to convert using weight instead of volume by weighting 3/8 of dry yeast on a digital scale.Weight is the most accurate way to measure ingredients.

I prefer the taste of instant over the regular active. Dont know why though but it just seems sweeter and more complex to me.

Edited by blueapron (log)
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Hi Blueapron,

I plan to start using the Instant Yeast once my Active is gone. Not much left.

I did try converting using the weight and the same formula. The problem is my scales. It weighs in grams and ounces, but not decimals over on the gram option. Or do I really need to be THAT accurate? Perhaps I'm being anal - it's been known before! :raz:

Edited by yorkshirepud (log)
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Accurace pays in baking because you involve so many levels of physics and science in it.

That is not really a problem- just simple grams is enough or is that too little of an amount to even weight a gram.

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Dahomechef, that site is actually where I went first thing this morning. However, the measurements where different to the authors (i.e. how much 1/2 tsp weighs in grams). But, I just went with it anyway using the closest number. It's on it's first rise now (I'm doing the Basic Hearth Bread), so time will tell.

Curious - how do you get .375 as 3/8? And to think - Math was one of my stronger topics in school. Jeez ... my brain has withered some!

Blueapron, the weights weren't too small. My problem was that the recipe wanted say 2.4 grams and I can only measure 2 or 3 grams. Not inbetween. But I don't think that will make much difference in the case of bread. To be honest, it's probably much easier than I thought and I just confused myself and the ball started to roll getting me deeper into confusion.

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Yorkshire, I have those "anal" moments in the kitchen too, but then I slap myself upside the head and try to come back to reality. "Will .3 of a gram of yeast (or whatever I'm obsessing about) really make or break this recipe?" And of course, it won't.

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Just a quick question. How long will you hold the different types of yeast before pitching them? Being safe verse sorry.

I used some instant active yesterday that proofed o.k. but I think that was all it really had to give. I know it's been here over a year sitting on a shelf, not in a cooler or freezer. I'm ready to pitch it, but having never used "instant" I thought I would double check before doing so.

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I use a lot of instant yeast, but I keep it in the freezer in air-tight containers. (Under those conditions, I've used 2+ year-old yeast with no noticable decrease in quality.)

When you proofed your yeast, did you proof it in plain water? I ask because I've read (and I cannot recall where) that when they first introduced instant yeasts to the general public, people were proofing them as they were accustomed to and then getting poor results. It turns out the yeast were starving during the proofing, even in periods as short as ten minutes. The process of making yeast "instant" means they wake up much more quickly, are quite hungry and will eat through small amounts of food suprisingly quickly.

If you feel the need to proof (which is a good idea in your particular circumstance), it is a good idea to proof with some flour added to the liquid. However, with new or carefully stored (i.e., cold, in sealed containers) instant yeast, I never proof -- just mix the yeast with the dry ingredients and then add the liquid.

Lastly, if there is any activity at all from the yeast (instant or not), with time and enough food, they will multiply and become quite robust. Then the question is if you want to bother waiting for than to happen. It may be easier to toss the old stuff and buy new.

My 2-cents... I'm not a professional baker, but I am a biochemist and got to play with yeast long before my interest in bread baking. :biggrin:

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I'm sure the test is the same for instant yeast as it is for the old fashioned kind. Just put a bit of yeast say 1/2 teaspoon in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water add a pinch of sugar and the yeast should go to town in short order munching away and foaming up. This should happen in a few minutes.

If no noticable foaming then pitch it, otherwise you're good to go with a regular amount of yeast.

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I did proof in plain h20, just to see if it was alive still. Perhap's I "starved" them alittle................After I made my dough and let it proof, it took longer then I'd expect in the enviroment it was in. Then when I rolled out and shaped, they didn't want to proof. I gave up.... and excepted a small amount of proof (in a long time period), then baked.

I just hate going thru the effort of making bulk amounts of danish with yeast I'm not familar with.

BUT since they did proof in h20, that means it's o.k. and it's user error! Thanks.

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Sorry to hear about your danish. :sad:

If your dough is very sweet (or sour), that can also slow down the growth of some strains of yeast. SAF makes a yeast called "Nevada Gold" that is designed for sweet/sour doughs. I use it for sweet breads & pastries and it really does work noticeably better than regular yeast. The only drawback I've noticed is that the flavor is not quite as "yeasty" (probably due to the fast rise times). However, with the additions to most sweet doughs and/or the fillings, I don't find the lack of flavor very noticable in the finished product.

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Hello Wendy,

Completely agree with mktye, once dry yeast is opened it does keep very well in an airtight container in the freezer (very good for nuts, too).

One new trick I have been taught, by the folks at DCL yeast in the UK - when using osmotolent yeast, they recommend that you stir the dry yeast into 100g very warm water, at an amazingly high 38C, with a tablespoon of flour and a teaspoon of sugar stirred in. Leave this for 10 - 20 minutes, then use the bubbling mix in the dough. I would have thought the temperature was too high, but apparently not. I've tried the trick with ordinary dry yeast if it is a bit sluggish, and it works well. But I must confess to being a fresh yeast fan.



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My first venture with this older yeast was with a sweet roll recipe. Yesterday I make 8 batches of danish dough............so I'm praying hard this stuff still has it.

I've got some new stuff coming in....so hopefully this will be the only risky project I have to do with this older yeast.

I hope to do more yeast baking in the future, so I hope you'll all be here to bail me out again..........Thanks everyone!

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Well I just had to add this.....my danish has never looked better....I didn't proof the yeast, just added it in with the flour and it worked great. So I bet I did starve the yeast the first time I proofed it in straight h20...........GOOD TO KNOW. Thanks again!

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  • 6 months later...

I recently took a half teaspoon from a brick of yeast that I had been storing in the freezer for a few months. Anyway, the yeast was dead. I placed it in warm water, waited 15 minutes, and nothing happened. It was totally dead. I next tried a small packet of yeast that I had also stored in the freezer and once again it was dead.

I thought that it was ok to store yeast in the freezer. I believe I heard Alton Brown say so, but all my yeast is dead although it was all well within the expiration date, and none of it had been stored in the freezer for more than a few months.

What happened?

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Wull, I've been looking for fresh yeast (in cake form) in my area of the world and not even pizza places or anything use it around here that I can find. Fresh yeast is really awesome in baked stuff and no can find. Red Star doesn't even send it to Tennessee anymore according to their web site.


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