Instant Yeast vs. Active Dry Yeast

Instant yeast, which is also known as rapid rise yeast or bread machine yeast, has become the type of yeast I always use. Why? It makes bread baking easier and the results are just as good as with active dry yeast.

With instant yeast, you skip the step of dissolving the yeast in warm water.  It is more finely ground than active dry yeast and therefore absorbs moisture much faster. As the name implies, instant yeast also works more quickly than its counterpart.

Another difference is that when using instant yeast with gluten bread, only one rise time is needed and the dough is not punched down. That’s not significant to us gluten-free bread bakers because our dough only requires one rise time anyway.

If you are following a recipe that calls for active dry yeast, use about 25% less of instant yeast. Mix the yeast in with the dry ingredients and combine the wet and dry ingredients according to the instructions.

Bread machine yeast is easily found at grocery stores. I buy vacuum packed instant yeast from BJ’s wholesale club. SAF Instant Yeast is one brand I have used. Once I open the pack, I put some into a small container I keep in the refrigerator and the rest of the package I close, put it in a zip lock bag, and store it in the freezer.

You’ll notice that my recipes use instant yeast. If you don’t have instant, you will have to dissolve the yeast in the warm liquid. You may also want to increase the amount of yeast a little. If you haven’t given instant yeast a try yet, I hope you will soon. I think it will quickly become your preferred type of yeast.

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  1. Loni says

    Thank you! I would never have looked at instant yeast, not knowing how to use it. Now I will probably pick it up over active dry yeast the next time I need some.

  2. For the Love Of My Bugs! says

    I was just at Whole Foods the other day and thought…should I buy it or should I not. I thought oh, maybe I better not how do I know its “safe”? So, any bread machine yeast is safe for this diet? And so are you saying I don’t need to worry about the temp of the liquids?

  3. Linda says

    Good questions. Yes, the yeast is gluten-free. No, I’m not saying don’t worry about the liquid temperature. It still needs to be between 105-115 degrees to activate the yeast. Instant yeast makes things easier, but not that easy. :)

  4. says

    What is your experience using instant dry yeast for gluten free bread recipes in a solar over. I have a friend that makes gluten bread that way and asked if I could also use a solar oven for gluten free bread?

  5. Linda says

    I'm sorry, I don't have any experience with solar ovens. I don't see why instant yeast would be a problem though.

  6. Iris says

    Thanks for explaining the difference! I really want to make your french rolls one of these days!

  7. Anonymous says

    According to the Chowhound discussion board, instant and rapid rise are not the same.

    "The three common dessicated types are active dry, rapid rise, and instant.

    Use less of the instant yeast if the recipe calls for rapid rise. Instant is a more potent form because the drying process kills fewer of the buggers. The dry particles are also smaller than active dry form, which means instant doesn't need to be prehydrated before kneading into dough. It can be mixed in with the dry ingredients, hence its name.

    Rapid rise also should be added directly to your dry ingredients, but for a different reason. The yeast strain used grows so rapidly when hydrated, that you'd lose much of the outgassing action if you're in the habit of proofing your yeast for 5-10 minutes.

    In any case, follow the directions on whichever brand you have. If it says not to proof, there's a reason.

  8. Anonymous says

    thank you so much for the information, i love your recipies and i am happy to find your site,
    questions please about your recipies using a yeast (like french bread,Cinnamon Rolls…)i don't need the dought to rise a bit in a warm place before baking?

  9. Linda says

    Anonymous ~ Hi. In those particular recipes you don't need to let it rise. The cinnamon rolls have baking soda and powder to help them rise. The yeast adds flavor. With the French bread, the dough is placed in a cold oven and rises as the oven warms up.

If you have a question about a recipe (especially substitutions and nutritional information), please read my FAQ page before asking the question in a comment.

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