How to Succeed With Yeast: Using the Right Kind

How to Succeed With Yeast

My first time attempting to bake with yeast was very discouraging to say the least. I didn’t know what the difference was between instant or active dry and I thought it was easy to swap out for a different kind. You know, like when a recipe calls for a specific brand of butter. You can usually use a different brand and it should turn out the same, but as we know yeast is different.

I never knew this and I wish someone was there to slap the yeast packet out of my hand and tell me why. Maybe not literally. That would be rude.

If you haven’t been successful with your bread baking adventures, this could very well be one of the reasons.

Active Dry vs. Instant

Do you remember my Facebook page updates about Red Star’s Platinum yeast? I promised that I would post about the results of my little experiment and today I make good on that promise.

I bake a lot of breads and I’ve tried baguettes, boules, sandwich breads and breads with tang zhong. Dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, savory pinwheels and hamburger buns. In all of my bread baking adventures, I have always used active dry yeast. I plan on it taking a few hours or more unless I am using a bread machine recipe. Some days I get so busy that the dough sits most of the day before I get a chance to shape it and bake it. That’s just how life goes.

Red Star offered to send me their Platinum yeast and I couldn’t wait to use it, but once I had it in my hands I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Fairly set in my ways, I kept adapting recipes to fit my active dry addiction. I kept hearing that little voice (I like to call it my culinary conscience) asking what the heck was wrong with me! I love to try new things. Just do it already.

The Experiment

I mixed two batches of dough using the same recipe but adapting the process to fit the yeast. The batch with Platinum was doubled in size within 30 minutes. I shaped the loaf and set it in a warm place to rise a bit and it was ready in less than 15 minutes.

The other loaf took its sweet time as usual. Even with my method for rising dough in a cold kitchen it took 3 hours to double. If that day had not gotten away from me I would have posted photos of that first experiment, but I decided to try it again. This time with rolls.

Buttery Dinner Rolls

I baked two batches of dinner rolls and set a timer. The first set of photos you will see is the dough made with active dry at the beginning, 2 hours and 4 hours.

Yeast roll dough using active dry yeast after 2 hours and 4 hours.

Next you will see the dough made with Platinum instant yeast at the beginning and 30 minutes.

Yeast roll dough with Red Star's Platinum yeast.

Needless to say, the Platinum yeast doesn’t take long at all. So I decided that I love Platinum. I can have dinner rolls in the oven in less than an hour and that is soooo neat!

After I shaped the rolls made with the instant yeast, I let them rise for 15 minutes. I could have baked them right away. They turned out beautiful, fluffy and moist just like they always do.

I recommend Platinum yeast for a shorter rise time, that’s for sure. I’ll be using it often.

You can read more about Red Star’s Platinum yeast here.

Butter Top Dinner Rolls made with Red Star's Platinum yeast,

Note: I have read recent articles saying that active dry yeast can now be mixed into the dry ingredients and no longer needs to be added to the wet ingredients and given 5-10 minutes to “foam up” before proceeding. I have tried this with different brands of yeast and this new advice has not worked for me.

Have you ever baked with instant yeast?


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  1. Yes, I love Red Star’s Platinum yeast! I’m still a little wary about using it when the recipe calls for dry active yeast, but after reading your post, I think I will :)

    • Dionne BaldwinDionne Baldwin04-08-2014

      Yay! So you know how awesome it can be. I am excited that I can make rolls while something is cooking in pan. I can’t wait to try more recipes with it. :)

  2. I don’t have the patience to use dry active yeast. I love to bake yeast breads for my family, though I bake less now that I am not eating them, too. (poor family!).

    • Dionne BaldwinDionne Baldwin04-09-2014

      I don’t think I will either. On occassion it’s good to do it in stages, depending on the day, but I am hooked. Totally hooked.

  3. Can I be honest – yeast and I – we don’t get along. It’s like a battle – it never rises, I muck it up – bread making and I are estranged. However, after reading this, I think I need to give Red Star a go and try it :)

    • Dionne BaldwinDionne Baldwin04-09-2014

      Yes I totally would! I’ll post the recipe for the rolls tomorrow. It’s so easy. When you use the right kind of yeast and you don’t add liquids that are too hot, your chances for success are very very good!

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