That Beast Called Yeast
Yeast is a very important part of the whole process because it kinda makes or breaks your dough. It makes it rise or not rise. And it also affects the texture of your crust and that flavor, that yeasty, bready flavor. Every time I would go down the baking aisle and look for yeast, I don’t know about you, but I never know the difference between like all the different types of yeast available.So I thought I would educate myself and in turn, educate you.
I’m going to be talking about the three most common forms of yeast that you can buy and use in your pizza dough.
By definition, yeast is a single-cell microorganism related to mushrooms actually, so it’s part of the fungi family. Yeast has been used for thousands and thousands of years, going all the way back to the Egyptians. They would make bread and wine and all kinds of stuff with yeast. So, it’s not a new thing. It’s been around for a long, long time. The three types of yeast that we’re going to be talking about today are: instant yeast, active dry yeast, and fresh yeast. The main difference between these yeasts are the moisture content and how you prepare them to go into your mixture, your flour mixture. The most popular brands out there, I feel like are, Fleischmann’s and Red Star, as far as yeast goes.There’s also a brand called SAF-Instant, that is pretty popular with the baking community but I’ve never used it, I’ve never seen it, so I don’t know if it’s like one of those I need to order online kind of things but that’s another one. Instant, also known as quick rise. So this is the yeast that does not need to be re hydrated with water or sugar or anything. You can literally just pour it into your flour mixture and be done with it. A lot of people like this because they don’t have to deal with the mixing and waiting and all that. I’ve never used it so I don’t know how well it works. I’m sure it works just as well. Active dry yeast is probably the most common kind of yeast, or at least the one that I’m most familiar with and that I’ve used in my pizza dough. It’s the yeast that you have to hydrate and kind of activate and bring alive.
So to do that, all you need to do is take a bowl, put the yeast in there, and then I take some sugar because the yeast will actually feed on the sugar and get all gassy, and then you add some warm water to it. You need to make sure that the water is not too hot, otherwise you’ll kill the yeast, and that’ll be sad. You’ll know if the yeast is not alive. That takes about 10 minutes and then after 10 minutes, you’ll have this big, frothy, delicious mess. And then you can add that to your dry mixture. Fresh yeast, also known as cake yeast, is probably the least used yeast for the every day baker. It’s kind of hard to find and it’s very perishable.
So, the dry yeast is the better alternative because it keeps better and it keeps longer. Cake yeast is basically a beige, soft block of, it feels like Play-Doh, and it like crumbles.All you have to do to activate that is just mix it in some water and then you’re good to go. I remember back when I was working with my dad, as a pizzeria owner, he would obviously buy them in bulk, so he’d buy these huge bricks of fresh yeast. I distinctly remember having to measure it out and then crumble it into the mixing bowl. And that smell of yeast, if you want to know what yeast smells like, go buy some cake yeast and take a big ol’ wiff because that’s, that’s yeast. Also, you can substitute fresh yeast for dry yeast and vice versa.It’s just a ratio.
You’ll want to use more fresh yeast versus instant yeast or active dry yeast because it’s more concentrated so just remember that ratio. I also wanted to kind of mention the wild and natural yeast, which is like a starter kind of thing. I’m not gonna get into it too much but its basically where you mix flour and water and then you let the yeast– There’s actually yeast in the air all around us, at all times, which is a weird fun fact I guess, then that kind of like ferments it. It’s a really cool process. I don’t know how many people actually use that method but it’s an expensive way to get yeast into your baked goods. So I hope that quick explanation of yeasts was informative and I hope you learned something. I know in my research, I was like, “Oh wow, I never knew that.” So I’m just passing it along to you. So there you go, yeast, who knew? Thank you guys for watching as always. Don’t forget, again, to subscribe.It means a lot to me. And until next time. Ciao for now.
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