What is Instant Dry Yeast & How Does It Differ From Active Yeast?
Instant yeast is a dry yeast that comes in smaller granules than active dry yeast, absorbs liquid rapidly, and does not need to be rehydrated or proofed before being mixed into flour. Active dry and instant yeasts can be substituted for one another at a 1:1 ratio. Active dry yeast will take about 15 to 20 minutes longer to rise than instant yeast. Professional bakers enjoy the ease of “instant” yeast, which can be added directly to your mix without “proofing.” Active yeast granules are covered with a small coating that “dissolves” when activated by warm water.
You can store an unopened, airtight package of yeast in your pantry for up to two years (but be sure to check the best by or expiration date). Once opened, keep it in the freezer for up to six months or the refrigerator for up to four months. These are simple guidelines and nothing magical in the timeframes. Bakers have kept yeast in the freezer for up to a year without difficulty. But you don’t have to guess. A simple test will tell you if your yeast is still viable.
Is My Yeast Still Viable?
If you suspect that your yeast might be past its prime, you can easily check this out: you’re going to “Proof” the yeast. Follow these instructions:
1. Place some warm water in a cup, say 1/4 cup. Aim for around 100–110 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid going above 120 degrees, as you’ll begin to damage the yeast at this point. At 140 degrees, you’ll kill the yeast.
2. Mix in yeast (2 1/4 tsp) and sugar (1 tsp) to the warm water. Give a little stir, a small whisk is helpful; this “action” agitates and helps the yeast react. Leave the mixture for 10 minutes. Upon return, if you have a foamy and creamy looking concoction on top, your yeast is still active and good to go (see image below).
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