Baking with yeast always seems to be an intimidating task until you learn all the secrets to working with yeast with ease.
Yeast comes in multiple varieties, including small packets of active dry yeast and instant yeast to make using them easy.
But how much yeast is in a packet? In general, a packet of yeast contains 7 grams of the product. A lot of recipes call for a packet of yeast without even mentioning the exact amount you need to add to the dough. If a recipe calls for a packet of yeast but all you have is yeast in a jar, measure and use 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast.
In this article, we covered everything you need to know about yeast, including yeast varieties, how they are used, what forms they come in, and how much product is in commonly used yeast packets.
What Is Yeast And How Does It Work?
If you are fond of baking, you surely know what yeast is and what its function is in baking. But anyone new to working with dough that calls for yeast can get confused because of this seemingly complicated ingredient.
So, what is yeast?
Yeast is a single-cell fungus that works as a leavener in baking. It makes dough rise through fermentation. Yeast works with the sugars in the flour. It feeds on them and releases carbon dioxide.
Trapped in the dough, the gas causes it to grow in size, creating all the little bubbles. This is what creates light and airy bread and other baked goods.
Aside from baking, yeast is also commonly used in wine and beer manufacturing.
Types of Yeast
There are 4 main categories of yeast: baker’s yeast, nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast, and wine yeast. Baker’s yeast is the yeast used in baking. There are 4 popular baker’s yeast varieties, which include:
Active Dry Yeast
To produce active dry yeast, manufacturers remove the water from live yeast. This makes the fine granular yeast that usually comes in small packets. You can also purchase active dry yeast that comes in jars.
Active dry yeast is dormant until you activate it. Many people think that to activate this type of yeast you need to first dissolve it in lukewarm water.
However, active dry yeast can also go right into the dough along with other dry ingredients.
Instant yeast is also a type of dry yeast. But it is finer than active dry yeast and dissolves and works faster. You may or may not proof instant yeast which is done by mixing it in warm water with a bit of sugar.
But instant yeast can be added mixed with the dried ingredients to save time which is exactly how the majority of people use it.
Cake yeast, also known as fresh yeast, is different from active dry yeast and instant yeast in terms of how it looks. It comes in a solid block that looks like clay.
This compressed yeast variety has a shorter shelf life and should always be refrigerated in order to preserve its leavening properties.
When using cake yeast, always dissolve it in warm liquid before adding to the rest of the ingredients of the dough.
The flavor of cake yeast is more intense than the flavor granular yeast varieties. This is why professional bakers prefer this yeast variety for bread.
Another popular yeast variety is RapidRise yeast. This yeast is produced by the brand Fleischmann’s and comes in small packets.
While RapidRise yeast is similar to instant yeast, the two are different. RapidRise works for recipes that require one quick rise.
How Much Yeast Is in a Packet?
Instant yeast and active dry yeast are usually sold in small packets also referred to as envelopes. It is common for these yeast packets to be sold in a set of three.
But how much yeast does a packet of yeast typically contain? A packet of yeast, be it instant yeast or active dry yeast, contains 7 grams of the product. A packet of RapidRise also contains 7 grams of yeast.
You may think that this is too little. However, it is only helpful for manufacturers to sell yeast in small amounts as opened yeast deteriorates quickly and yeast from a freshly opened packet always works better.
But 7-gram packets are not the only form granular yeast varieties come in. You can also buy yeast in jars and large bags.
But these are only good if you do a lot of bread baking. Otherwise, the yeast will lose its potency until you use up the entire jar.
Recipes usually call for a packet of yeast which means that you need to add 7 grams of yeast.
How Many Teaspoons Are In A Packet Of Yeast?
What if a recipe calls for a packet of active dry yeast and all you have is a big jar of yeast? How do you know how much yeast you should use?
For such cases, it is helpful to know how many teaspoons are in a packet of yeast. Seven grams of yeast equal to 2 1/4 teaspoons. Or 1/4 ounces if you are measuring in ounces.
How Many Tablespoons Are In A Packet Of Yeast?
If the yeast you have doesn’t come in packets and you don’t have a teaspoon at hand to measure 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, use a tablespoon.
A packet of instant yeast or dry yeast measures 3/4 tablespoons.
How Many Packets Of Yeast Do You Need For Baking?
One of the most popular questions regarding baking with yeast is what is the yeast-to-flour ratio. While it may differ from recipe to recipe, one packet (7 grams) of active dry yeast should be used with about 4 cups of flour.
The same is true for instant yeast too. If you are using fresh yeast, use 0.6 ounces (17 grams) of it for 4 cups of flour.
How much yeast you need to use for baking bread depends on the rising time too. However, the abovementioned yeast to flour ratio works well for nearly all recipes.
The yeast to flour ratio is different for pizza dough. For example, to make two standard-size pizza dough balls, you can use only 2 pinches of instant dry yeast for 500 grams of flour.
The latter equals 3 cups and 2 tablespoons. As for active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon of yeast for the same amount of flour.
Why The Yeast-To-Flour Ratio Is Important
Maintaining the proper yeast-to-flour ratio is important if you want to make sure that your efforts produce good results.
And we recommend you don’t make any changes in the amount of yeast the recipe calls for if you are not an experienced baker.
In general, though, adding less yeast to the dough is better than adding too much of it.
When you add too much yeast to the dough, a lot of gas is created in it within a short period of time. This makes it hard to work with the dough and causes multiple quality issues.
The bread may turn out having irregular holes all throughout it. It may taste or smell a lot like yeast, or expand massively in the oven.
Another issue too much yeast may cause is the collapsing of the bread. So, we recommend you never use more yeast than the recipe calls for just to make the process of proofing the dough faster.
It is certainly better to wait longer but end up with a light and airy loaf of bread.
Using less yeast doesn’t cause as many problems as using more of it. So long as you are not using an insufficient amount, using less yeast only means that you have to wait longer for the dough to develop.
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Moreover, bakers claim that slowly developed dough tastes better.
The slower the fermentation process, the stronger the gluten network of the dough. This produces bread with a better texture and crust.
Yeast Conversions: Using Instant Yeast Instead Of Active Dry Yeast
So, now you know that a packet of active dry yeast is 7 grams (or 2 ¼ teaspoons). What if a recipe calls for a packet of active dry yeast and all you have at home is instant yeast?
Luckily, you can easily substitute dry yeast with instant yeast as the two are interchangeable.
And the best part is that instant yeast also comes in 7-gram packets. So, all you have to do is to use a packet of instant yeast instead of one envelope of active dry yeast.
The same goes for RapidRise yeast. It also comes in 7-gram envelopes and can be used instead of active dry yeast in the same amounts.
When using instant yeast or Rapidrise yeast instead of active dry yeast, consider the specifics of their uses and remember that they work faster than active dry yeast.
You can also use fresh yeast instead of active dry yeast. A block of US cake yeast equals 3 packets of granular yeast. Divide it into 3 parts and use 1 per packet of dry yeast.
How To Measure Yeast
You don’t have to worry about measurements if a recipe calls for a packet of yeast and that is exactly what you have at hand. But what if your yeast comes in a jar or bag? And you have a half-full packet of yeast that you need to use up?
As mentioned above, a packet of yeast measures 2 1/4 teaspoons and 3/4 tablespoons of product. Keep these measurements in mind if you bake with yeast often.
But what if the recipe calls for such small amounts of yeast as 1 or 2 grams? Even the smallest kitchen scales won’t work for such small tasks. This is when electronic measuring spoons come in handy.
Tiny measuring spoons are also a good investment if you are someone that often comes across such tasks as measuring a few grams of yeast.
But if you don’t have any special tools, know that a 1/5 of a teaspoon equals a gram, and go from there.
When measuring yeast, remember that it is better to use less of it than add more trying to err on the safe side.
How To Store Yeast
Unopened packets of yeast should be stored in a cool and dry place, away from sunlight and temperature fluctuations.
Once you open the packet of yeast, store it either in the fridge or in the freezer.
Wrap the open packet of the yeast with cling wrap or transfer it into an airtight container. Otherwise, the yeast will soon lose its potency and simply won’t work.
Cake yeast, on the other hand, requires constant refrigeration. And if you use some of it, make sure to put the remaining part of the block in an airtight container.
How Long Do Yeast Packets Last?
Yeast in packets keeps well for 12 months or longer. You can check the expiration date of the yeast on the packet.
An opened packet of yeast is good for 3-4 months. It may maintain its leavening properties longer. But this is only if you keep it refrigerated.
In any case, if you are using granular yeast from an opened packet, check to see if the yeast is good or not before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
How To Check If Yeast Is Still Good
The biggest mistake you can make when baking with yeast is not checking whether it is still good or not. Expired yeast won’t make the dough rise.
Thus, in order to prevent your products from going to waste and your efforts being in vain we recommend you always check if the yeast is still good or not before using it.
First and foremost, check the expiration date on the packet. If the yeast is still good according to the printed date and the packet is still unopened, you have nothing to worry about.
But if you have an opened packet of yeast, check if it is still active or not using this simple trick.
Sprinkle some yeast and sugar into 125 milliliters of lukewarm water, mix, and wait. If the yeast dissolves in the liquid and starts bubbling after a few minutes, then it is still good and working.
If your yeast is good but the dough didn’t expand, it means you have done something wrong while letting the dough rise.
You need to cover the bowl with the dough with cling wrap or a towel and leave it in a warm environment. Ideally, the temperature of the room where the dough rises should be 80 to 90 degrees.
What Happens If You Use Expired Yeast?
Yeast in packets comes with an expiration date and it is best to use it when it is still good. You can use yeast that is past the printed date. However, as yeast expires, it loses its potency.
Expired yeast may work slower than good yeast, or it may not work at all. This is why it is important to test the yeast before using it.
And even if the yeast from an expired packet still works, we recommend you don’t use it for dough that contains eggs and a lot of sugar.
This is because these types of dough require potent yeast to rise and yeast that is active but already expired may not be powerful enough for them.