So how is it that I have been baking (cakes, cookies, quick breads) and writing recipes for the better part of 25 years and I’ve not had more than one or two attempts at working with yeast breads? I was intimidated, plain and simple. Turns out it’s not that scary. After watching the James Beard Award winning Nancy Silverton’s episode of The Chef’s Table on Netflix I was instantly inspired to dive into the yeast bread game.
Here are a couple of interesting facts regarding the types of yeast to keep in mind before you get started:
Active Dry Yeast – This is a dormant form of yeast. It needs to be rehydrated prior to use. Ideally, the yeast is dissolved in warm water that is approximately 110 degrees F. Tip: a pinch of sugar helps with the activation of the yeast. Look for the yeast/water/sugar mixture to bubble and foam after a few minutes. I used active dry yeast in both of the recipes presented in this blog post.
Instant Yeast: There is no need to dissolve in water prior to use in a recipe. The yeast granules are smaller that those in active dry yeast.
Both varieties of yeast can be frozen in a covered container. The yeast can be used right from the freezer, there is no need to bring it to room temperature prior to incorporating it. I bought the yeast used in my recipes in packets but it is available in bulk at many grocers, big box stores and online at amazon.com.