Can you substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast?”, how many grams of yeast is in a packet, What things do you need to consider before tweaking the amount of yeast in a recipe, and How to slow rise sweet doughs, whole-grain doughs, or those with perishable ingredients rise.

Can you substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast?

Yes, you can substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast. Estimate a 1:1 ratio for substitution. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind. 

For one, instant yeast will make your dough rise a little earlier than the active dry yeast. The difference is usually only 15-20 minutes, which becomes insignificant when the bread undergoes a 2-3 hour long proofing.

Next, you must understand that there are several factors influencing the bread rising at once. Not all of these factors are under your control so you might as well not worry about them. 

If a recipe says your bread should be doubled in size in X minutes, you must not rely on it too much and only use it as a cue to check how much the beard has risen. Based on the volume of the bread, you may improvise. 

The suggested time is not a carved line on the stone as the bread rising time can change depending on the surrounding temperature and pressure, level of dough kneading, and the activity of the yeast.

So stay calm, trust the process, and use your bread volume as the only reliable guide. Your bread may take longer or shorter than expected and it is totally fine.

Last but not the least, cut the amount of instant yeast by a quarter when substituting it for active dry yeast in a bread machine recipe. The elevated temperatures inside a bread machine compel your bread to rise earlier, so even a less amount of instant yeast would suffice.

How many grams of yeast is in a packet?

Most recipes would call for 1 packet of active dry yeast instead of giving you a specific measurement in grams. This can be a vague suggestion especially if you are new to breadmaking.

But it is no rocket science. Yeast comes in standard packets that weigh about 7 grams. This equates to approx 2 heaping teaspoons of yeast.

What things do you need to consider before tweaking the amount of yeast in a recipe?

The secret of the slow rise 

You can control the bread rising time by playing with the amount of yeast that goes into it. A long and slow rise with a small amount of yeast is ideal. This results in a stronger gluten network in the dough, leading to a more stable structure.

The more yeast you put in the flour, the shorter it takes for the yeast to deplete all the sugars. In this case, the flour has had little time to become fully oxidized. So, the bread rises quickly producing CO2 but producing a greater content of alcohol. 

This gives you little autonomy over your bread turns out and presents a greater risk for the bread to become over-proofed. 

The alcohol that accumulates quickly in the dough starts to dissolve the gluten strands, rendering them weak. A poor gluten structure results in dense bread with poor structure. 

Wild yeasts 

The presence of wild yeasts in the surrounding is common for kitchens that have experienced frequent breadmaking. If you are a beginner, you are in the clear.

How to make recipe adjustments for a long or an overnight rise?

The longer the bread rises, the more complex its flavor gets. If a recipe calls for 2 to 2 ½ teaspoons of yeast, use about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of yeast instead for a 16 to 20-hour-long rise.

Use 1 teaspoon to safely leave your dough to rise overnight. If the outside temperature is cool, 1 10-hour-long rise would be sufficient, no need to leave it overnight. 

How to slow rise sweet doughs, whole-grain doughs, or those with perishable ingredients rise?

Dough that contains all-purpose flour, sugar, oil, yeast, and water is ideal for a countertop rise. If the dough contains milk, butter, or any other dairy ingredient, opt for refrigeration.

Keeping such a dough at a stable 40F temperature or below would eliminate food safety risks. A low temperature will also slow down yeast activity. 

Sweet doughs rise slowly, so reducing the amount of yeast would be unnecessary. If you want to further reduce the rising time of sweet doughs, refrigeration is the answer.

The whole grain flour is milled from whole grains, which means it also contains the ground husk. The fiber in the husk, now present in the whole-grain flour, impedes gluten development. 

Consequently, the bread will rise very slowly. In this case, reducing the amount of yeast would not be needed. If you wish to slow down the rising anyway, refrigerate the dough.

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “Can you substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast?”, how many grams of yeast is in a packet, What things do you need to consider before tweaking the amount of yeast in a recipe, and How to slow rise sweet doughs, whole-grain doughs, or those with perishable ingredients rise.

References 

https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/resources/yeast#:~:text=Can%20I%20use%20active%20dry,active%20dry%20yeast%20catches%20up

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