Yeast conversion

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      Hello bakers, I am baking honey oat whole wheat bread today and the recipe calls for 2.5 ounces (7 grams) of instant yeast. I don't have instant, only active dry. I looked up the conversion online and it said to use twice the amount of active dry as you would use instant. I've never heard of a recipe using 5 ounces of active dry yeast. What is a better conversion? Thank you! (Due to my being easily confused with technology as I get older, I somehow signed up with two user names: blanche and chandos. Mike very kindly got me straightened out and now blanche is gone and chandos has taken her place. Sorry for the confusion.)

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        I have always just used them interchangeably.

        But based on what Mr. Reinhart says below you might need a little more Active Dry than Instant because more of the Instant yeast is alive. The conversion you found sounds more like AD to fresh.

        My searches say you need about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp more of AD.

        Peter Reinhart quoted in Epicurious:

        Active dry yeast consists of dehydrated granules that must be rehydrated and activated in warm liquid prior to being used--that's called proofing. Peter Reinhart, author of Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day, says, "Active dry yeast has about 6 to 7 percent moisture, and about 25 percent of the yeast cells are inactive (dead) due to processing during drying." This yeast is unstable and inconsistent, so you should always proof it to ensure it's still alive before using. If the yeast is alive it will begin to foam after a few minutes in water--if not, throw it out. On the upside, active dry is the most common type of commercial yeast--and when it is alive, it works great in almost any recipe that requires yeast.

        Instant yeast consists of superfine granules, and is the "most concentrated and driest of the yeast varieties, containing about 3 percent moisture," says Reinhart. Because of the way it's processed, all of the yeast cells are alive and viable--so there's no need to proof prior to using. Additionally, the fine grain size means it easily dissolves and does not need to be rehydrated; you can add it directly to your dry ingredients. This yeast is stable and has a shelf life of at least six months when kept dry, or even longer if kept in the freezer. (Note: Fleischmann's RapidRise is a common brand of instant yeast; you might also see this yeast with a label saying it's for bread machines.)

        Mike Nolan

          An ounce is over 28 grams, I think you misread the recipe and it calls for 0.25 ounces of instant dry yeast, which would be around 7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons.

          Generally, yeast companies tell you to use 25% more active dry yeast than instant dry yeast, but these days there are many baking sites that will tell you to just use the same amount, and the comments on these sites seem to indicate that a 1-1 replacement does not affect how the recipe performs.

          There are also sites that will tell you that active dry yeast doesn't need to be proofed, but that advice seems dubious to me.

          Peter Reinhart, among others, has often written that many recipes use far more yeast than they really need. This may be a holdover from recipes developed many years ago, both active dry yeast and instant dry yeast have improved over the years and a higher percentage of the yeast stays alive, meaning you need less yeast to get the job done.

          Personally, I haven't used active dry yeast for several years, I buy 1 pound packages of Fleischmann's instant dry yeast and keep it in the freezer. It takes me anywhere from 2 to 8 months to use up that much yeast.

          I do have some SAF Gold osmotolerant instant dry yeast, and I've been using it a bit more lately, and not just on sweet doughs. For example, I've seen several sites that recommend using osmotolerant yeast for laminated dough, like for croissants. I know several professional bakers who only use osmotolerant yeast these days.

          Joan Simpson

            I have always used both yeasts the same...I do mix the active dry with water and a little sugar to make sure it's proofed and when the pandemic came I did as some said use less yeast but you had to wait longer on a rise.That's fine with me and I keep my yeast as Mike does in the freezer in a glass jar with tight lid.No more old yeast.


              I always buy active dry yeast and use the same amount as any recipe that calls for instant. I suspect that the substitution would only be an issue if you are baking very large batches of bread, which we home bakers do not do. I like proofing the yeast. The one time I had a fail was with the special gold yeast, and I mixed it in as King Arthur advised. Never again. I proof both. I also get a kick out of seeing the bubbling.

              When baking older recipes, as in Bernard Clayton's bread book, I cut back on the yeast for the reason Mike says: yeast today is more powerful than what we were baking with thirty or forty years ago.

              I buy 2-lb. bags of yeast, split it between two containers and keep it in the freezer, along with my 1 lb. container of special gold. It takes perhaps 15 months to go through the regular yeast.

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