What Kind of Yeast Should You Use in a Bread Machine?
To make the most delicious bread that rises and bakes to perfection, you will need to use yeast that was specifically developed to be used in bread machines. If you run out then you can use rapid-rise yeast as a substitute.
Fresh yeast is perishable and has a very short shelf life and needs to be handled in a certain way to prevent it from deteriorating. For this reason, it is mostly only used by professional bakers. Dry yeast or packet yeast on the other hand is very easy to use and has a long shelf life.
There are 3 main varieties of dry yeast: Active dry yeast, instant yeast and rapid-rise yeast.
Active Dry Yeast
Active dry yeast is an active yeast that remains in a dormant state until it comes into contact with the liquid. Most bread machine recipes will advise you to use flour as a barrier between the liquid and the yeast so that it doesn’t activate before it needs to.
Active dry yeast comes in the form of granules of live yeast cells which allows them to still be stored at room temperature for an entire year or to even be frozen. When you want to use them, simply proof and rehydrate them.
To ensure that the dough rises correctly you will need to give the yeast time activate and allow the dough to rise. The dough should be left to have “two rises” before it is baked.
Instant yeast works much the same as active dry yeast, the only difference is that the granules are much smaller, making this yeast a lot more perishable than active dry yeast. Instant yeast does not need to be rehydrated and is normally used in dry doughs.
Instant yeast gets its name from its ability to rise faster and act quicker than active dry yeast because of its large number of active dry yeast cells and the fact that it dissolves a lot faster.
Rapid Rise Yeast / Bread Machine Yeast
Rapid rise yeast has the smallest granules of all which allows it to rise faster. This type of yeast is perfect to use in bread machines and will ensure that your loaf rises to perfection every time.
On the rapid bake cycle on your bread machine you will be able to bake delicious fresh bread in as little as an hour. Some bakers argue that bread machine yeast affects the taste of your bread as it rises too quickly and the flavors don’t have enough time to develop.
All three types of yeast can be used in most bread machines but in order of preference and ease of use we would recommend using instant yeast, then active dry yeast and finally rapid-rise yeast.
Instant yeast is by far the best yeast to use in your bread machine in order to get the most out of it and ensure an even rise throughout the loaf. It will also save you time as you do not have to wait for the dough to rise twice before baking your bread. Instant yeast is a much stronger and faster activating yeast that produces a much better flavored bread than if you use rapid-rise yeast.
If you don’t have instant yeast available the next best option would be using an active dry yeast. With this type of yeast, you must allow the bread to rise. The longer you let it rise, the better the flavour will become.
If you have no other option available, rapid-rise yeast can be used although the flavour of your bread might be affected. You will need to bake on the rapid bake cycle for this type of yeast to be able to work correctly.
You will notice that some recipes call for different types of yeast to be used. This can sometime become very confusing as there are a lot of different options such as cake yeast, active dry yeast, bread machine yeast, rapid rise yeast, instant yeast and even pizza yeast.
There are small differences between the yeasts but it is not necessary to buy all the different varieties as they are similar enough to substitute for one another.
Bread machine yeast has a small amount of dough conditioner added to the mixture and the yeast granules are a lot smaller, making dough to rise more evenly.
If you use instant yeast you will need to allow your dough to rise twice before you will be able to shape it. If you are in a big hurry this could be problematic for some people.
If you prefer making bread by hand but only have bread machine yeast on hand you can use bread machine yeast as a substitute.