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YEAST BAKING Frequently Asked

Below are some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Red Star Yeast® products, baking substitutions and more.

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The difference between instant yeast and active dry yeast is the rate of action. The instant yeast is a faster-acting yeast while the rate of action of the active dry yeast is more moderate. Our instant yeast products include Red Star Quick Rise, Platinum Yeast, Platinum Instant Sourdough and Red Star Organic Instant Yeast. Our active dry yeast products include Red Star Active Dry Yeast and Red Star All-Natural Active Dry Yeast.

In traditional dough making methods (kneading by hand or in a stand mixer), you may use instant yeast and active dry yeast interchangeably, one for one. You may incorporate either type of yeast using either of these two methods: rehydrating the yeast in warm water with sugar first, or blending the yeast with the dry ingredients prior to adding warm liquids. With instant yeast, the dough may rise faster; with active dry yeast, the same dough may rise more slowly. Simply monitor how the dough is rising and adjust the time accordingly.

Visit our Baking Steps Guide for information.

In a bread machine, it is necessary to make an adjustment in the level of yeast used. When using a regular active dry yeast, use 3/4 teaspoons of yeast for each cup of flour; when using a ‘fast rising’ instant yeast , use 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of flour.

For Red Star Quick-Rise, Active Dry and Platinum Yeast:

One standard (1/4-ounce or 7-gram) packet of dry yeast contains approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast.

For Platinum Instant Sourdough:

Use one full (0.63-ounce or 18-gram) packet in place of one standard (1/4-ounce or 7-gram) packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of instant or active dry yeast.

For Red Star Organic Instant Yeast:

Use one full (0.32-ounce or 9-gram) packet in place of one standard (1/4-ounce or 7-gram) packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of instant or active dry yeast.

Our Active Dry Yeast (strips and bulk), Quick Rise Yeast, and Fresh Cake Yeast products are gluten free and produced in a dedicated facility. They do not contain wheat gluten or other cereal proteins that cause allergic reactions in people with gluten intolerance. We have many wonderful gluten free recipes on our website.

Our PlatinumPlatinum Instant Sourdough and Organic Instant Yeast are NOT gluten free.

The length of time it takes for the dough to rise depends on many factors–the recipe, the amount of yeast, ingredients (brand, type, etc.), the amount of sugar, the temperature of the dough, the temperature in the room, how well the dough has been kneaded, and many more. Every recipe and every kitchen is different. Our Baking Steps Guide has information on rising (bulk and final) and the ‘ripe’ test, which helps determine when dough has properly risen.

Bread flour is recommended when making yeast-raised doughs. Bread flour is milled from hard wheat that has a high protein content. When liquid is mixed with this flour, protein in the wheat flour becomes gluten. As the gluten is manipulated in the kneading process, it becomes elastic and forms the structure of the dough. Bread flour has a protein content of 12-14%.

All-purpose flour is milled from a combination of hard and soft wheats, thus lowering the percentage of protein in the flour. The gluten in all-purpose flour is weaker and does not always withstand the actions of a mixer or bread machine. All-purpose flour usually performs satisfactory when making yeast-raised doughs using the traditional by-hand bread making method.

The low atmospheric pressure at high altitudes allows yeasted doughs to rise faster causing the dough to over proof. Recipes need to be adapted for lower quantities of yeast as altitude increases. This will slow down the rising time so that the dough has time to develop a good flavor and texture.

When baking at higher altitudes, use regular active dry yeast and use 1/2 teaspoon for each cup of flour, though this will vary from one location to the next. You will have to experiment with what works best for your area.

In dry climates, flour is drier, causing dough to require slightly more liquid. In addition, liquids evaporate faster at higher altitudes. When using a bread machine, it is extremely important that the dough be checked about 5 minutes into the kneading cycle. Without stopping the machine, raise the lid and touch the dough ball. Look for a soft, slightly tacky dough. Correct a dry, stiff dough by adding more liquid, a teaspoon at a time.

The addition of gluten to bread recipes at high altitude will protect cell structure of the dough from stretching too much and giving a coarse texture to the finished bread product.  Use 1 teaspoon of gluten for each cup of flour in the recipe.

Colorado State University has recently revised Making Yeast Breads at High Altitudes, to include bread machine and knead-your-own bread recipes and trouble shooting tips. Visit or call 877.692.9358 for more information.

The answer to this question varies, depending on the type of yeast and whether the package is opened or not. Visit our Products page, then click on the product you want learn more about.

Sorbitan monostearate is an emulsifier. This material coats yeast cells and protects the cells from damage by oxygen and assists in the rehydration of the yeast.

Sorbitan monostearate is a mixture of partial stearic and palmitic acid esters of sorbitol and its mono- and dianhydrides. The source of sorbitol in sorbitan monostearate is unknown, however it is plant-based and may or may not be sourced from corn. Allergens are typically part of the protein structure of the organism, however the process used to produce sorbitol eliminates the plant protein.

Sorbitan monostearate is not considered an allergen. It is listed in the FDA GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list of ingredients for use in food products. Sorbitan monostearate is Kosher.

Red Star All-Natural Active Dry Yeast in a strip of three (¼-ounce) packets, Red Star Organic Instant Yeast, and Red Star Fresh Cake Yeast does not contain sorbitan monostearate. It is pure yeast.

It’s always interesting to see how old recipes describe the amount of yeast to use. The fact is that cake yeast has been sold in many different sizes over the years, so we do not know for certain the amount called for when they say a “cake” of yeast. Currently we only sell our fresh cake yeast in a 2 oz. package size.

Dry yeast can also be substituted in recipes for cake yeast.

Use the Yeast Conversion Table to determine how much yeast is needed for your recipe.

Visit our Store Finder to find a store near you that carries our products.

Learn more about our Products here.

If you’re looking to add more whole grains to your breads, you can substitute up to 50% of bread flour with the whole grain flour. Start substituting in whole grain flours with a lower percentage (25-30%), working your way up as you make more breads and get a feel for how the recipe performs.

If your recipe is using all-purpose flour, we recommend adding in 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten per cup of flour in your recipe to give your dough the added strength for a nice rise. If your recipe is using bread flour, vital wheat gluten may not be needed; experiment with the recipe and add it in if needed for your next batch.

More information on flour can be found here.

No. Yeast does not metabolize artificial sweeteners so they cannot be used in breads to perform the same function as sugar; however, you may choose to reduce the sugar called for in a recipe by two-thirds, then add an artificial sweetener to provide sweetness to your baked goods. Keep in mind that your dough consistency may change when modifying the sugar level, and you may need to adjust the amount of liquids needed, and mixing/kneading/rising times.

In doughs containing no sugar or minimal sugar, yeast will convert flour starches to sugar.

Heating milk to scalding–just under its boiling point where milk forms a “skin” is recommended in many older yeast recipes.

Fresh-from-the-cow fluid milk contains a serum protein/enzyme that has a weakening effect upon the gluten protein in wheat flour, producing a soft dough and bread with poor flavor and texture. This protein is destroyed by heat.

For bakers using pasteurized milk, scalding the milk is not necessary. The pasteurization process destroys the protein that causes the weakening effect in the dough.

The role of salt in yeast recipes:

In yeasted doughs, salt plays an important role in controlling the rate of action of the yeast, in order to allow the yeast to develop the characteristic bread flavor. Salt also strengthens the gluten structure of the dough, so that the leavening gas bubbles don’t expand too quicky in order to produce bread with a fine grain and crumb texture.

Issues that occur when salt is eliminated:

Traditional method/oven baking: Completely eliminating salt may result in a dough that rises too quickly and too much or expands too much in the oven and results in an oversized loaf OR collapses in the oven or right after it is removed from the oven.

Bread Machine baking method: In bread machine baking, if you completely eliminate the salt, the dough is likely to collapse before it bakes, due to weakness and stress on the dough caused by over rising/fermentation due to lack of salt. Then when it bakes it is dense and dry.


In any recipe, traditional or bread machine, you may reduce the salt to ½ teaspoon in order to maintain the important yeast action-regulating functionality of salt in yeasted doughs. In addition, you may add some salt substitute if needed to enhance the flavor of the finished baked good.

Salt-free recipe:

Here’s a salt-free recipe you might enjoy.

Sugar (glucose) provides “food” for yeast, which converts it to carbon dioxide and alcohol. Sugar enhances bread flavor, gives the crust a golden color, improves the crumb texture, and helps retain moisture in bread.

Types of sugar suited for yeast baking include granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, and maple syrup.

View more information on sweeteners and other baking ingredients.

Some of our yeast products contain sorbitan monostearate, which may be derived from corn. People with allergies or sensitivity to corn will avoid this ingredient. Sorbitan monostearate is an emulsifier. It is a mixture of partial stearic and palmitic acid esters of sorbitol and its mono- and dianhydrides. This material coats yeast cells to assist in the rehydration of the yeast and protect the cells from damage by oxygen. Sorbitan monostearate is always in Instant type yeast, such as Quick Rise, Platinum and any multi-use jar or package of Active Dry Yeast.

However, the Red Star All-Natural Active Dry Yeast sold in the small packets, three-to-a-strip is pure yeast with no sorbitan monostearate or any other ingredients added and is likely the best choice for you.

No, we have not changed the yeast. But in many recipes the process has been shortened. For example, when our grandmothers and great-grandmothers made bread, it was an ALL-DAY process with multiple risings/punch downs before shaping. Over the years, many people (and recipes) have dropped to only one rise before shaping causing less flavor development in the dough. The more ‘time’ the yeast works on the dough (from the time it is activated and incorporated in the dough to the time it is ‘killed’ when the dough is baked) the more flavor is developed. To increase the flavor, punch the dough down after the first rise in the bowl and let it rise a second time before you shape the dough for the last rise before baking.

Visit our Baking Steps Guide for more bread baking tips.

1. The time-tested method of determining if the bread has baked sufficiently is to tap the crust lightly and listen for a hollow sound.
2. A more accurate method is to insert an instant-read thermometer (available in most house wares departments) into the center of the bread. When the thermometer registers 190°F, remove the bread from the oven. If the crust is browning too quickly, cover the top with a tented sheet of foil. Note that this is a general final temperature, and can vary based on your recipe; follow the recipe guidelines.
To avoid soggy bread, remove your bread from the pan immediately after baking and place on a wire rack to cool.

Check our store finder to see if there is a store near you. If a store is on the list, we recommend calling them to make sure it is in stock.

If you don’t see a store near you, shop our online store.

Absolutely! Platinum Instant Sourdough yeast & dried sourdough culture can be used in a bread machine.

Please note that since the full (18-gram) packet of Platinum Instant Sourdough must be used, recipes for that calls for a full standard packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons or 1/4-ounce/7 grams) must be chosen. Simply replace the standard packet of yeast called for in the recipe with the full (18-gram) packet of the Platinum Instant Sourdough. Below are some suggestions from our Bread Machine Recipes collection:

Basic White Bread: Use ‘Medium 1.5 lb. loaf’

Bread Bowls

New York Rye Bread: Use ‘Medium 1.5 lb. loaf’

Whole Wheat Honey Bread: Use ‘Medium 1.5 lb. loaf’

Visit our Bread Machine category for more recipes.

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