Yeast and BakingLessons


Yeast Types & Usage

Click here for information on Nutritional Yeast.

Click here for information on Brewer’s Yeast.

Yeast: The Essential Baking Ingredient

Yeast is a living organism.  It is a tiny, single-celled fungus that can only be seen under a microscope. In fact, yeast is so small there are hundreds of billions of healthy yeast cells in each packet of dry yeast. It’s hard to believe that something so small can have such a large impact in baking! Yeast used for baking, sometimes called Baker’s yeast, is derived from the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The Role of Yeast in Baking

Sometimes the little guy gets stuck doing most of the work. This is very true in breadmaking, where the tiny yeast cells have very big jobs.

Yeast fermentation happens when the yeast cells “eat” sugar, the food of choice for yeast. Yeast fermentation in a dough has three functions in breadmaking:

Rising the dough – yeast fermentation makes carbon dioxide, a gas responsible for stretching and expanding the dough like a balloon.

Dough development – other compounds formed during yeast fermentation make the flour stronger so it can capture and hold the carbon dioxide gas that the yeast produces.

Flavor, aroma and texture – yeast fermentation also provides these wonderful sensory and physical attributes that you expect from yeast-raised products.

Whew! That’s a lot of work! You can see why it is so important to use and store your yeast properly. Remember, yeast is alive and needs to be handled with care!

Baker’s yeast for consumers

Two forms of yeast are available:

Wet yeast – also known as cake, compressed or fresh yeast

  • RED STAR® Cake Yeast in 2 oz. package
  • Available in limited markets

Dry yeast  – includes Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast