Yeast is an essential ingredient for making bread. There are basically two categories of yeast: dry yeast and fresh yeast.
Because fresh yeast is highly perishable, many stores have a hard time handling them properly which is why they don’t bother selling them. As a result, fresh yeast is mainly used by professionals and you will rarely find it at your local store. On the other hand, dry yeast has a long shelf life so it’s the most common form of yeast for home use.
There are 3 types of dry yeast: active dry yeast, instant yeast, and rapid-rise yeast. Although all three of them are used interchangeably for bread baking, we’re going to take a look at each of them and show you what is a good bread machine yeast.
Active Dry Yeast
Active dry yeast is the most common for home use. As the name suggests, it is an “active” yeast but remains dormant until it comes into contact with liquid. This is why bread machine recipes will tell you to use flour as the barrier between the liquid and yeast so that the yeast doesn’t activate prematurely.
Active dry yeast are granules of live yeast cells wrapped in dry dead cells, which allows it to be stored at room temperate for one year and frozen for decades. To use, it must be proofed or rehydrated. When you make bread with active dry yeast, you’ll basically need to give time for your dough to rise. Bakers usually give the dough “two rises”.
Instant yeast is the same as active dry yeast, only its granules are much smaller. This makes it more perishable than active dry yeast, but it doesn’t require rehydration so it’s typically used for dry doughs. It gets the name “instant” for its ability to act faster than active dry yeast because it has a larger number of live cells and it dissolves faster.
Rapid-Rise Yeast (aka Bread Machine Yeast)
Rapid-rise yeast has even smaller granules than instant yeast. This allows bread to rise faster. Rapid-rise yeast is typically marketed for bread machines because it can help bake bread faster (using the “rapid bake” cycle on bread machines you can bake bread in under an hour). However, critics say that bread made using rapid-rise yeast has an inferior taste because flavors aren’t allowed to develop when dough rises too quickly.
What yeast to use for bread machine?
You can use all 3 types of dry yeast in a bread machine. However, we would rank instant yeast first, active dry yeast second, and rapid-rise yeast third.
Instant yeast is perfect for bread machines because it’s a stronger and faster yeast than active dry yeast, which typically takes two rises to develop flavor, and produces a more flavorful bread than rapid-rise yeast.
A good quality active dry yeast is our second choice. The longer you allow bread to rise, the better the flavor. In line with this principle of baking, we prefer to work with active dry yeast over rapid-rise yeast.
Which leads us rapid-rise yeast, our last choice. We really don’t recommend using it unless you’re REALLY in a hurry and need to bake bread using the “rapid-bake” cycle.
Hope this helps!