Yeast types explained…

When starting out making dough, you’ll quickly come to the subject of yeast and at first it can be a bit confusing. Here’s what you need to know to avoid proving problems as you need to adjust the quantities before switching between the different types.


Types of Yeast

There are 3 main types of shop-bought/commercial yeast…

Instant Active Dry (IDY) – also known as Easy Bake, this yeast is very easy to use, you simply add it in with the dry ingredients and mix away. Check the instructions on the packet, if it says dissolve in water before using, then its not instant yeast…

Active Dried Yeast (ADY) – this yeast needs to be activated in warm water for about 5 mins before using. Bear in mind, that you’ll also need to reduce the amount of water in the dough by the amount of water you use to activate it in, otherwise you’ll have additional water in the dough potentially making it too sticky to handle. Also be sure to follow the instructions, if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast, if its too cold it won’t work.

Fresh Yeast (CY) – also known as compressed yeast or cake yeast, fresh yeast can be a bit harder to get hold of as not all supermarkets stock it. The bakery section in supermarkets will often give you some for free so its worth asking. Also ask around at restaurants and bakeries as they will often sell/give you some. Fresh yeast is nice to work with, you just cut a bit off and drop it in to the recipe water to dissolve. Fresh yeast doesn’t last long unfortunately, its best to keep in an air tight container at the back of the fridge or freeze it – however it will only usually last a few months and will slowly degrade.


How do I convert from one to another…?

Convert CY to IDY: divide by 2.7
Convert CY to ADY: divide by 2

Convert ADY to IDY: divide by 1.35
Convert ADY to CY: multiply by 2

Convert IDY to ADY: multiply by 1.35
Convert IDY to CY: multiply by 2.7


What about sourdough, isn’t that yeast…?

Yes absolutely, however sourdough is made from natural yeast that forms when creating a sourdough starter using just flour & water. Sourdough isn’t classed as commercial yeast, typically you make this yourself over the course of a week or two. You can buy it online or get some from a friend/restaurant but its quite satisfying to make your own – click here for instructions on how to create one.

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