Journeying into the world of bread-making is like diving into a swirling vortex of culinary artistry. The ritual begins with mixing, leads to kneading, takes a pause with resting, and then dives right back into proving. And just when you think you’re done, there’s more kneading, some masterful shaping, another round of proving, and finally, the grand finale of baking.
Whew, even jotting down the sequence feels like running a mile! Indeed, it’s a gratifying symphony of dough and time, but it can easily whisk away the better part of your day.
If you’re already part of the elite bread maker owners’ club or just about to invest in one, you’re in for a real treat. Toss in the ingredients, hit that ‘on’ button, and voila! In just two hours, you’ll be savoring a loaf of delightful, warm bread.
However, there’s a twist in the plot – the yeast! Special yeast, regular yeast, which one is the hero of our bread machine? And is bread machine yeast different? Trust me, I was in your shoes when I first welcomed my very own bread machine.
So, if you’re cradling your new bread machine, eager to unlock its mysteries, then join the club! We’re about to unravel the secret and answer the burning question – what is the best yeast for a bread machine? Let the quest for the best yeast for bread machine commence!
Types of Yeast
There are many different types of yeast for baking bread and most types are readily available at the grocery store. There is no right or wrong yeast type and all types can be used to make bread. The only thing that changes between yeasts is how they are activated.
Instant yeast is by far the most popular type of yeast. It comes in sachets or jars and the best thing about is that it’s instant. This means there is no need to activate or ‘bloom’ it in water. Instant yeast is the best yeast for bread machine and the type that I always reach for.
Active Dry Yeast
Active dry yeast comes in sachets or jars, similarly to instant yeast. This type of yeast generally needs to be bloomed in water before adding it to your floury mixture. Blooming yeast takes 10 to 15 minutes. One teaspoon of instant yeast equals to one teaspoon of active dry yeast. So if you have one over the other in your cupboard, you can use them interchangeably.
Fresh yeast is a different beast completely and can be a little bit harder to find. It is usually found in the refrigerated section and only lasts a couple of days once opened. Dedicated bread makers swear by fresh yeast. I personally like taking the easier route of instant yeast. Fresh yeast has to be activated like active dry yeast but the measurements aren’t a 1:1 ratio to active dry or instant yeast.
Bread Maker Yeast vs Instant Yeast
There is no real specific yeast for bread makers. The types of yeast you are more likely to use is active dry yeast and instant yeast. They can both be used for bread makers and other yeasted recipes in general. The problem is this – recipes often stipulate which of the two they would like you to use. So, what’s the difference between bread machine yeast vs instant yeast?
The difference comes in the way you use these types of yeast. Active dry yeast must be dissolved before use, while instant yeast can be mixed in with the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl.
You could think of the difference between these two types of yeast as similar to the difference between granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar. They’re the same base ingredient, but the confectioner’s sugar is milled more finely. This is the case with the yeasts. Instant yeast is milled more finely, which allows it to dissolve and become active much more quickly.
This distinction was mostly important before industrialization made active dry yeast reliably effective. Using active dry yeast in that situation would add a short proofing time for the yeast into the recipe. When you use instant yeast, though, you don’t need to do this step.
Having said that though, active dry yeast will reliably work whether you dissolve it or not, which means that both yeasts essentially function the same way in most cases. So if you forget to bloom your active dry yeast and add it straight to the bread machine, the yeast will still activate just fine.
If you were to choose between the two though, I would always recommend using instant yeast. There’s very little difference between the two when you consider modern production techniques, but you can be virtually guaranteed that instant yeast will work every time.
What is Bread Machine Yeast?
Are you wondering what kind of yeast to use in bread machines? As you have probably gathered by now, the best bread maker yeast is whichever one you can get your hands on. Both instant yeast and active dry yeast will work well in a bread machine as they can both be added directly to the bread machine.
Yeast that is packaged and sold as bread machine yeast is typically instant yeast for the bread machine. So, if you are wondering ‘Is bread machine yeast different’, no it’s not. Companies will just market it like that, but in reality, it’s instant yeast which has been milled very, very finely, and will disperse through the dough quickly and effectively.
The packaging of instant yeast as bread machine yeast can increase the price tag a little, even though you’re only really paying for the same ingredient in a different container. Don’t be fooled. Always reach for normal active dry or instant yeast.
How To Use Bread Machine Yeast
Using bread machine yeast is easy. Instead of adding the yeast to the mixing bowl along with all the ingredients, you add it to the bread machine pan instead.
The order in which you add the ingredients is not dissimilar to how you would add it to a mixing bowl either. Water first, then flour, sugar, salt, oil and yeast in a small well in the center. You can omit the sugar and salt, but they contribute to the rise and crust color of the loaf. Not to mention that sugar feeds yeast and helps rise the dough faster.
If you are using active dry yeast and want to bloom your yeast first, you can do that by adding the water and yeast directly to the bread pan. Alternatively, you can bloom your yeast in a bowl and once activated, just pour the yeasty mixture to the bread pan.
There are bread makers with yeast dispensers, but I wouldn’t waste your hard-earned cash on them when adding the yeast manually is just as easy.
Best Bread Maker Yeast Brands
If you are looking to get a good quality yeast for your bread maker, take a look at some of the best bread maker yeasts I think you should try.
SAF Instant Yeast
SAF instant yeast is an industry and hobbyist favorite, the main reason for that being that it’s a strong yeast with a good rise to it. The reason for this is that SAF instant yeast is said to contain a high proportion of yeast cells per gram.
If you do choose to opt for this instant yeast even though your recipe calls for active dry yeast, it’s a good idea to reduce the amount of yeast you’re using. Use three-quarters as much SAF instant yeast as called for active dry yeast, and you should get a comparable rise.
Red Star Active Dry Yeast
Red star active dry yeast is a clear example of the lack of difference between instant and active dry yeast when considering which yeast for bread machine – it’s an active dry that can be added to bread machines without needing to be dissolved, and you’ll get great bread every time.
Red star branded yeast is another hobbyist favorite since the brand is well-established and has long been making bread rise very effectively. If you can’t get along with instant yeast, and would rather dissolve the yeast and have a slightly slower breadmaking process, then red star active dry is a great choice.
Fleischmann’s Instant Yeast
Fleischmann’s instant yeast is a great example of instant yeast for the bread maker. It’s so effective that Zojirushi, a bread maker brand and an absolute favorite of mine, refers to Fleischmann’s yeast as their favorite type of yeast to use in their bread makers.
If you’re really hung up on getting a yeast that says ‘for bread machines’ on the package, then Fleischmann’s yeast for bread machines is a good option. It’s designed to be milled very finely to optimize dissolving in the bread dough and will yield good bread.
With that said, though, Fleischmann’s has increased the price of this yeast compared to comparable options, and considering you won’t be getting anything extra for your money, it’s not a purchase I could wholeheartedly endorse. Stick to your regular store-brand instant yeast instead.
Bread Machine Yeast Substitute
When considering a substitute for bread machine yeast, there is not much out there. You could use a sourdough starter, but that is a different process altogether. The reason for this is that while a sourdough starter is a live, fresh yeast that can give you incredible results, it takes a long time to rise.
Having said that, it is possible to use your bread maker to make sourdough, you just need a bread maker with specific settings and adjustable cycles. Just take a look at my article on the best bread makers for sourdough to find out more.
I could go as far and say baking powder, baking soda or self-raising flour can be a substitute for bread machine yeast. It will work to a certain extent, but your slice of bread won’t transport you to heaven with one bite.
So, What is the Best Yeast For Bread Machine?
I think you know my answer to that. Instant yeast all the way! It’s easy to work with and forgiving.
Active dry yeast is also easy to work and even though you can use it just like instant yeast, blooming it is recommended to make sure it definitely activates. Instant yeast eliminates that step altogether.
You could go all out and buy the more expensive brands like SAF and Fleischmann’s, but a cheap brand from the grocery store will work equally as well.