A packet of dry yeast usually contains approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons, roughly 7 grams or 0.25 ounces. This amount of yeast is typically enough to make a standard loaf of bread.
How Can I Measure Yeast?
Measuring Spoons: Dry yeast can be measured using measuring spoons. One packet of yeast, about 2 1/4 teaspoons or 7 grams, is usually enough to leaven a standard loaf of bread.
Digital Kitchen Scale: For precision baking, a digital kitchen scale can be used to measure yeast. This method is especially useful for larger baking projects or recipes that specify yeast weight.
Volume-to-Weight Conversion: If only volume measurements are given, you can convert to weight using the fact that 1 teaspoon of dry yeast weighs about 3.1 grams. This conversion is helpful when adjusting recipes or using a scale.
Yeast, specifically Saccharomyces cerevisiae used in baking, produces carbon dioxide gas during fermentation. When kneaded into dough, this gas creates bubbles, causing the dough to rise and yielding a light, airy texture in the finished bread.
During fermentation, yeast also produces alcohol and other compounds that contribute to the complex flavors of bread and other fermented products. These flavors develop over time and contribute significantly to the final product’s taste.
Yeast is a rich source of B vitamins, proteins, and minerals. In baking and brewing, it not only aids in the fermentation process but also enhances the nutritional value of the end product.
In alcoholic fermentation, yeast consumes sugars and excretes alcohol and carbon dioxide. This is the fundamental process in brewing beer and producing wine and spirits.
Yeast, being a single-celled organism, can rapidly multiply under favorable conditions. This trait is used in industries to produce yeast biomass, which can be used as a protein-rich food supplement or for producing biofuels.
Genetically modified yeast strains are used in various biotechnological applications, such as producing insulin, bioethanol, vaccines, and other valuable products. It serves as a valuable tool in bioresearch due to its simple genetics and ease of manipulation.
Best Yeast Brands
Red Star is a reputable yeast brand widely used by both professional and home bakers. Their yeast is known for its reliability and consistency in leavening and flavor development.
One of the oldest yeast companies in the U.S., Fleischmann’s offers a range of yeasts, including active dry, instant, and fresh yeast. Their yeasts are known for their reliable rising power and versatility.
SAF, especially their Instant Yeast, is well-regarded in baking communities for its fast-acting and potent leavening capabilities. It’s also easy to use since it doesn’t require proofing.
Bob’s Red Mill
Known for its natural food products, Bob’s Red Mill offers active dry yeast. Their yeast is highly rated for its consistency and quality in bread baking.
This French company produces various yeast products, including the popular SAF line and specific yeasts for baking and brewing processes. Their yeasts are praised for their reliable performance and flavor profiles.
Lallemand offers a variety of yeasts for baking, brewing, and winemaking. They are recognized for their high-quality yeasts, particularly in brewing circles.
Types of Yeast
Active Dry Yeast
This yeast is granulated and has a larger particle size. It’s dried in a way that reduces its moisture content, allowing it to be stored for longer periods. It needs to be dissolved in warm water before use.
- Pros: Long shelf life, widely available
- Cons: Requires rehydration, slower to start the fermentation process
Fresh Yeast (also known as Compressed or Cake Yeast)
This is the most perishable type of yeast. It is moist, soft, and crumbly, and has a short shelf life. It needs to be dissolved in warm water before use.
- Pros: Provides excellent rise and flavor
- Cons: Short shelf life, not widely available, requires rehydration
This yeast is used in the brewing of beer. It is available in both active and inactive forms (for fermentation) (often used as a nutritional supplement).
- Pros: Great for brewing, high in nutrients when used as a supplement
- Cons: Specific to brewing use, active form can’t be used in baking
Instant Yeast (also known as Fast-Rising or Bread Machine Yeast)
It has a finer texture and can be mixed directly into dry ingredients without being dissolved in water first. It works faster than active dry yeast.
- Pros: Fast acting, doesn’t require rehydration, suitable for bread machines
- Cons: May not provide as much depth of flavor as other types
This yeast is deactivated, meaning it doesn’t have leavening abilities. It is used as a flavoring agent or nutritional supplement because of its cheesy, nutty flavor and high vitamin B content.
- Pros: High in nutrients, adds cheesy flavor to foods
- Cons: Doesn’t have leavening properties, flavor may not be liked by all
Wild yeast isn’t commercially sold but is found in the environment, including on the surfaces of grains and fruits. It is often used in sourdough bread to provide a unique flavor.
- Pros: Can create unique flavors, especially in sourdough
- Cons: Unpredictable, can be difficult to control in baking
Yeast vs. Sourdough Starter
Yeast, typically available in dry or fresh form, is a single organism used as a leavening agent in bread baking. It’s commercially produced and causes the dough to rise through fermentation, producing carbon dioxide gas and ethyl alcohol.
On the other hand, a Sourdough starter is a mix of flour and water fermented with wild yeast and bacteria. It also leavens bread but adds a distinct tangy flavor characteristic of sourdough bread. Unlike commercial yeast, a sourdough starter is often maintained and propagated by the baker.
Yeast vs. Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda
Yeast is a living organism that ferments the sugar in the dough, producing carbon dioxide gas that makes the dough rise. It also imparts a characteristic taste and texture to the bread. Baking powder and baking soda, on the other hand, are chemical leavening agents. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) reacts with acidic ingredients in a recipe to produce carbon dioxide.
Baking powder contains baking soda and an acid (usually cream of tartar), and it reacts to produce carbon dioxide when mixed with liquid. These chemical leaveners are typically used in quick breads, cakes, and cookies, where a faster rise is needed, and the yeast flavor isn’t desired.
Dough isn’t Rising – Probable Causes
Old Yeast: Yeast that is beyond its expiration date or improperly stored may lose its potency, leading to poor or no rising.
Incorrect Temperature: Yeast is temperature-sensitive. If the dough is too cold, yeast activity will be slow; if it’s too hot, the yeast may be killed.
Insufficient Rising Time: Dough may need more time to rise, especially in colder environments. Patience can be key!
Too Much Salt or Sugar: Salt and sugar are common dough ingredients. They can dehydrate and kill the yeast if used excessively, impeding dough rise.
Over-kneading: Over-kneading can result in tough, dense dough as it can break down the gluten structure necessary for trapping gases produced by the yeast.
Yeast Purchasing & Storage Tips
Check the Expiration Date: Always ensure that the yeast you’re buying isn’t near its expiration date to guarantee its potency.
Buy in Bulk for Regular Baking: If you bake frequently, consider buying in bulk for cost-effectiveness, but ensure you can use it before the expiry date.
Choose the Right Type: Be sure to buy the right type of yeast (active dry, instant, or fresh) for your specific recipe or baking style.
Refrigerate After Opening: The yeast should be stored in the refrigerator to prolong its lifespan.
Airtight Storage: Store yeast in an airtight container to protect it from moisture and oxygen, which can reduce its potency.
Freeze for Long-Term Storage: If you won’t use the yeast within a few months, you can freeze it for longer shelf life.
Recipes Using Yeast
Classic French Baguette: This recipe uses yeast to create the iconic long, thin crusty loaves known for their soft, chewy interior and crisp, golden crust.
Cinnamon Rolls: Yeast is used in the dough of this sweet, fluffy treat. The dough is rolled around a cinnamon-sugar filling, baked, and typically topped with sweet icing.
Pizza Dough: Yeast helps pizza dough rise, creating a crust that’s crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It provides the base for a variety of pizza toppings.
Soft Pretzels: Yeast makes the dough for soft pretzels, yielding a dense, chewy texture. The pretzels are typically boiled before baking, which gives them their characteristic shiny crust.
Challah Bread: This traditional Jewish bread uses yeast to create its characteristic light, airy texture. It’s often braided and has a slightly sweet flavor.
Sourdough Bread: While often made with a sourdough starter, this bread can also be made with commercial yeast to help control the rise. The result is a crusty loaf with a slightly sour, complex flavor.
Health Risks Associated with Yeast
Yeast Allergy: Some people can be allergic to yeast, causing itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and other allergy symptoms. In severe cases, it can lead to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Gastrointestinal Upset: Consuming too much yeast, especially active yeast, can lead to bloating, gas, and other digestive discomforts due to its fermentation properties.
Baker’s Lung: Also known as “Baker’s Asthma,” this is a respiratory condition common among people working in bakeries or mill factories. It’s caused by inhaling flour or yeast particles in the air, leading to respiratory difficulties and allergic reactions.
Candidiasis: This is a fungal infection caused by Candida, a type of yeast that lives harmlessly on the skin and in the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina. However, it can become problematic if it grows out of control, leading to infections.
Potential Interaction with Medications: Yeast, especially in supplement form, might interact with certain medications, such as those for fungal infections. If you’re on any medications, you must check with a healthcare provider before starting a yeast supplement.
Yeast Infections in People with Weakened Immune Systems: In people with weakened immune systems, like those with HIV/AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy, yeast can cause severe systemic infections as their bodies struggle to keep yeast growth in check.
Gout: Brewer’s yeast is high in purines, which can be broken down into uric acid in the body. For people susceptible to gout, excessive intake can lead to gout attacks.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you activate dry yeast?
To activate dry yeast, dissolve it in warm water (around 110°F/43°C) with a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. If the yeast is good, it will start to froth and bubble as it begins to ferment the sugar.
How much is 7g in teaspoons?
7 grams of dry yeast is approximately equivalent to 2 1/4 teaspoons.
How many tablespoons are in a packet of yeast?
A packet of yeast contains about 2 1/4 teaspoons, roughly 3/4 of a tablespoon.
How long does an open packet of yeast last?
Once opened, a packet of yeast stored in the refrigerator can last 4-6 months. If stored in the freezer, it can last longer.
Can you substitute yeast with baking powder?
Yes, yeast can be substituted with baking powder in recipes, particularly in recipes for quick breads. However, the resulting flavor and texture will differ, and the substitution ratios will vary based on the recipe.
How many packets of yeast do I need to make a standard-sized bread?
Typically, one packet of yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons or 7 grams) is enough to make a standard loaf of bread.
How can I convert between different types of yeast?
If a recipe calls for fresh yeast and you have active dry yeast, use half amount of active dry yeast. So if a recipe calls for 1 ounce of fresh yeast, use 0.5 ounces of active dry yeast. If using instant yeast, use a 1/3 amount of instant yeast. So for 1 ounce of fresh yeast, use 0.33 ounces of instant yeast.
Is yeast a living thing?
Yes, yeast is a type of fungus, and it is a living organism. It consumes sugars and releases carbon dioxide and alcohol through fermentation.
What to do if you add too much yeast to a recipe?
If you add too much yeast to a recipe, the dough might rise too quickly and collapse. The flavor can also become overly yeasty. If you realize the mistake before baking, you can reduce the excess yeast by adding more flour and other recipe ingredients in proportion.
How to tell if the yeast has gone bad?
You can test yeast by dissolving it in warm water with a pinch of sugar. If it’s active, it will start to froth and bubble within about 5-10 minutes. If it doesn’t, the yeast has likely gone bad.
Can I freeze yeast?
Yes, yeast can be frozen to extend its shelf life. It should be stored in an airtight container to protect it from moisture and freezer burn.
What is the best water temperature to use yeast?
The best water temperature for activating yeast is warm but not hot, typically between 105°F to 115°F (40°C to 46°C).
How much water do I need to activate one packet of yeast?
You’ll typically need about 1/4 to 1/2 cups of warm water to activate one packet of yeast, but this can vary depending on the specific recipe.