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Old 11-02-2004, 09:05 PM   #11
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I'm gonna settle this right now. I've dissolved about 1 TBSP of AD yeast in about 1.5 cups of cold tap water and about 1/2 tsp of sugar. If it foams up, then I'm wrong, if it stays inert (as I expect) then that proves that AD yeast cannot activate in cold water.
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Old 11-03-2004, 10:13 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone! I bookmarked that table, and will refer back to it a needed. I'm planning on making my Onion Bread formulation tomorrow, to show my DW what real bread is like :)
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Old 11-03-2004, 04:02 PM   #13
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My, my, this thread has taken an interesting turn.

Most of what I'm going to say is irrelevant to the initial question and already known to the participants but I'm powerless to resist.

re Active Dry vs. Instant yeast

The basic distinction is how the yeast is intended to be used, given the processing techniques of the producer. Active dry is intended to be added to wet ingredients. Instant yeast is intended to be added to dry ingredients.

Instant yeast is a great boon for a professional bakery since the time (and labor) required to dissolve yeast is eliminated and we all know that "time is money". It is a convenience for the home baker.

If bakers always did things according to other's intentions, that would be the end of the story. Before we go there, here is a bit of info on "intentions" culled from rec.food.baking
Quote:
Active dry yeast is a yeast which is developed to be dissolved prior to use. It will work without dissolving but if you were doing laboratory tests with all vaiables tightly controlled you would see that for optimum yeast activity and gas production, this yeast does best when dissloved in some water (About 1/4 cup per package - or 2 1/4 teaspoons - is a good amount to use.)...

With instant types of yeast optimum gas production is achieved when the yeast is mixed into the dough with the flour as part of the dry ingredients. However, instant yeasts can also be dissolved but again if you were doing laboratory tests you would find that best results, as far as gas production goes, are achieved by mixing the yeast in as a dry ingredient. When instant yeasts are dissloved, the water has the potential to damage the yeast cell due to osmotic pressure.
Obsessed home bakers are notorious for breaking the rules - rec.food.baking has threads where bakers report adding AD to dry ingredients, Instant to wet ingredients with no adverse results. The bias, however, is to report successes, not failures.

re Dissolving vs Proofing Active Dry yeast

Dissolving a solid in a liquid is exactly what it says. Does the temperature of the liquid matter? Sure - yeast is killed at a temp of about 130F. "Warm" (100-125F) water probably helps the yeast dissolve slightly more quickly - cool water will do the trick.

Dissolving is not proofing. Proofing is exactly what it says; you're looking for "proof" that the yeast can multiply. Adequate "proof" is visible bubbles (a by-product of yeast multiplication) or a "yeasty" smell or some other criterion easily accessible to humans without microscopes :? To proof yeast, you dissolve it and give it some food - a little sugar or flour is most common b/c they're so convenient.

If you just dissolve yeast in water but don't give it some food you're not "proofing" it. You don't know whether the yeast is dead or alive or how robust (on the average) all those zillions of yeast cells actually are. On the other hand, companies that sell AD yeast would go out of business pretty quickly if their product didn't work or needed expensive storage conditions to survive. The commerical manufacture and sale of AD yeast started around 1870 (in the US) so they've had lots of practice.

Morale: want to proof your AD yeast? Go ahead. But it's probably unnecessary.
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Old 11-03-2004, 04:36 PM   #14
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The AD yeast would not do anything in the cold sugar water. I really think you need warm water to use AD yeast, as opposed to say, fresh compressed yeast, which I have used with cold liquid to no ill effect.
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:13 PM   #15
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I did have a senior moment and used the wrong word when I said yeast was either "active" or dead - I should have said alive or dead. Obviously, yeast can be dormant (not active) but very much alive. :oops:

I must admit that this culinary school textbook I have is about 32 years old - so maybe they didn't have bread machine, RapidRise or Instant yeasts back in 1972 - which prompted the author (instructor at the CIA for 22 years at the time of the first publication) to state that there were only two forms of yeast - compressed and active dry? But, the dough temperature is stressed - there are about 5 pages devoted to having the dough at 76-80-F at the end of mixing/kneading - calculating the heat generated by the machine and friction, taking into consideration the temp of the flour, room, and water, and adjusting the water temp to get the dough to the right temp.

Now, having "seemingly" advocated a haphazard straight "mix it all together in one step" method - that is not how I do it, whether using AD or RapidRise yeast. I warm my mixer bowl under hot water, put it on my machine, add 105-F water, sugar, and the yeast and let it dissolve/proof while I measure out everything else. Aside from the text book - the other books that I have that advocate the straight method do so for new bakers so they don't have to worry so much about using too hot of water.

Thanks, sub! Good info.

Maybe someday I'll break down and pay the $12 S&H to get a $4 box of SAF-Instant and give it a try.
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:59 PM   #16
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Although I have read that instant is superior to AD, I am convinced that this difference is nominal. Don't waste your time with instant; it doesn't keep as well as AD, and I have noticed no substantial difference in quality between instant and AD. I use either active dry or fresh compressed.
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Old 11-04-2004, 10:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonr
The AD yeast would not do anything in the cold sugar water. I really think you need warm water to use AD yeast, as opposed to say, fresh compressed yeast, which I have used with cold liquid to no ill effect.
That's odd b/c it worked for me - 1 tsp sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup cold tap water - added 1/2 tsp AD yeast straight from the freezer and stirred. I marked the level of the liquid. After 15-20 min it looked like this (sorry the pix isn't better but the stuff above the line is kinda foamy)
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Old 11-06-2004, 07:16 PM   #18
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For what it's worth [probably not much! :D ] I have made plain white bread both ways: "proofing" the yeast first in warm water, and tossing it in dry with all the other dry ingredients (flour & salt]. Also I have done it the latter way using cold lliqids.

I have been unable to detect any difference.


In reading "explanations" in various tomes, I find many are merely opinions of the writer and have little or no basis in fact. For that reason I am a little skeptical of most of the instructions I read that don't initially make sense to me. Occasionally I'm right - most of the time I get in troyble!

BTW, I have found questions posed to the yeast manufactreres - Fleischmann's, Red Star, SAF - have been answered courteously and promptly. Seems like they oughta know, doesn't it?
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Old 11-15-2004, 07:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonr
Although I have read that instant is superior to AD, I am convinced that this difference is nominal. Don't waste your time with instant; it doesn't keep as well as AD, and I have noticed no substantial difference in quality between instant and AD. I use either active dry or fresh compressed.
It doesn't keep well?

If SAF-Rapid Rise qualifies as "instant", do you want to hear about my 11 year old yeast? Still going strong. I have taken good care of it. Stored in the freezer, with only a small amount, 1/4 to 1/2 cup, stored up-side down in a jar, in the frige.
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