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Differences Between Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast

When it comes to baking, the trick lies in knowing what ingredients should be used, accurately measuring ingredients, while also using the right yeast to bring out those soft, flavorful and delicious foods. Yeast, being among the major components in baking, can either make or break a recipe. There are many types of yeasts including mainly dry, instant and fresh yeast. While it may seem like an easy concept, understanding how each type of yeast works for a specific food item is important, not only for commercial use but also domestic use.


What is Active Dry Yeast?

This was the most common yeast till late 20th century. Due to the large size of its granules, it must be rehydrated in water before being added into the dough. Once rehydrated, the yeast eats on the starch or sugar in a dough, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol that gives baked products the airy rise and flavor.

A major  issue with this yeast is that it is quite unstable in the sense that any given packet may be dead, due to its high perishability rate, hence the importance to verify whether it’s alive or not before use. It is also time consuming, as it has to be diluted before use. Another downside is that it produces inconsistent results, and is easily damaged by liquids above a certain boiling point. It is, however, suitable for cold-proofed dough and recipes that require more than on rise.


What is Instant Yeast?

Also known as rapid-rise, quick rise or fast-rising yeast, instant yeast absorbs water faster, hence can be added to the dry ingredients without proofing or rehydrating. It has fine granules, hence easily dissolves in dough, and is guaranteed to be active.  Despite its expensive nature, it is safe to buy in bulk as it is extremely stable. It is suitable for cold-proofed dough and also recipes that require more than one rise. 


Similarities between Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast

  • Both are suitable for cold-proofed dough
  • Both are suitable for recipes that require more than one rise
  • Both should be stored in cool and dry places, or refrigerated once opened


Differences between Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast

Granules size

Active dry yeast has large granules that must be dissolved before use. On the other hand, instant yeast has fine granules that easily dissolve.


While active dry yeast is time consuming due to the process of dissolving it, instant yeast is time saving as it eliminates the process of dissolving the yeast.


Active dry yeast is less expensive in comparison to instant yeast.


While active dry yeast is highly perishable and unstable, instant yeast is durable and stable.

Active Dry Yeast vs. Instant Yeast: Comparison Table


Summary of Active Dry Yeast vs. Instant Yeast

Each type of yeast reacts differently and produces different baking results. A person using active dry yeast may have to add additional time frame for the rise time. The two, however, work the same way, and either may be used unless a recipe specifies a specific type of yeast.


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1 Comment

  1. Thank you! I didn’t know if you could use for cinnamon rolls- either one-now I know! Karen

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References :

[0]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dry_yeast.jpg

[1]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfryer/4593575747

[2]Gisslen Wayne. Professional Baking. John Wiley & Sons Publishers, 2008. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=sgvW97aAmAMC&pg=PA84&dq=Difference+between+active+dry+yeast+and+instant+yeast&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwil6Yz13MzhAhUFxYUKHTHEBOEQ6AEIMTAC#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20active%20dry%20yeast%20and%20instant%20yeast&f=false

[3]Mushet Cindy. The Art and Soul of Baking. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=7O5YpNRnpNoC&pg=PA35&dq=Difference+between+active+dry+yeast+and+instant+yeast&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwil6Yz13MzhAhUFxYUKHTHEBOEQ6AEIPjAE#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20active%20dry%20yeast%20and%20instant%20yeast&f=false

[4]America's Test Kitchen. The America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Great Cook. America's Test Kitchen, 2013. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=m4ZKCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA44&dq=Difference+between+active+dry+yeast+and+instant+yeast&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwil6Yz13MzhAhUFxYUKHTHEBOEQ6AEIVzAI#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20active%20dry%20yeast%20and%20instant%20yeast&f=false

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