Here at Stover & Company, we provide our customers with some of the finest ingredients for baking and confectionery that the market can offer. As these culinary arts are storied and well-refined, there are some legendary names in the industry.
Among the well-known names in the baking industry is Le Saffre, which is well known for the yeast they produce. Yeast, unlike most baking ingredients, is a very interesting component of bread and other baked goods - read on to learn more.
What Is Yeast
Most other ingredients that are used in baking come from animals or crops. Consider that butter is a dairy product, and so is milk. These are produced by livestock. The rest of the ingredients that go into baked goods are typically grown; being other sugar, flour, cornmeal, or something else of that nature.
Yeast is different from these, being a living organism that is neither a plant nor an animal. Yeast is actually a living microorganism - a fungus - that is one of the most important agricultural staples of the history of man. For thousands of years, humans have used yeast for baking and brewing. Yeast has played a central role in culture and the history of food since long before written records were kept.
Though there are hundreds of different species of yeast, when brewers or bakers talk about yeast, as we are in this article, they are almost invariably referring to one of the - Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
The key to mankind’s use of yeast lies in the name. Generally, brewers and bakers both use yeast, for the fermentation of alcoholic beverages and in the production of baked goods. The yeast in the wort of a beer or the dough of baked goods feeds on the sugars therein, producing both alcohol and gas, respectively. Saccharomyces, interestingly enough, means “sugar mushroom” or “sugar fungus,” both of which translations are a nod to its use.
All of this is very important to how yeast has been used throughout the centuries, which we will detail below. As one of the most important agricultural products of all time, yeast finds its way into the corners of many different foodstuffs.
How Is Yeast Used
Throughout the centuries, yeast has been primarily used in the production of baked goods and in fermented beverages. As some distilled beverages begin as a fermented liquid that is then distilled, several of these are made with yeast as well. Some of the different types of foods and drinks that require the use of yeast are as follows:
●Fermented drinks including beers, ales, porters, stouts, and cider.
●Wine is also made using yeast; this may actually be the first use of yeast by humans.
●Some brandies, whiskeys, rum, and other distilled beverages start with a fermented liquid that is then distilled to create the final product.
Yeast is also used to make a huge range of baked goods including but not limited to the following:
●Bread, including rolls, buns, sourdough bread, ciabatta, baguettes, brown bread, rye bread, and many others.
●Pizza dough is typically made with yeast.
●Bagels contain yeast.
●Soft pretzels owe much of their doughy texture to the presence of yeast in the mix.
●Many sweet baked goods do not contain yeast, containing instead baking powder. However, there are a few that do contain yeast, including cinnamon rolls, donuts, panettone, and a few others.
There are other foods that contain yeast, and some foods contain nutritional yeast, a type of yeast that is no longer active and cannot be used for fermentation or baking but is used rather for its flavor and nutritional value.
Still, in order to use yeast effectively, you need to have an understanding of the different types of yeast and what makes them unique and useful.
The Different Types of Yeast
-Fresh yeast - Sometimes fresh yeast is called compressed yeast because it is typically stored and sold in large, compressed blocks that need to be refrigerated in order to remain viable.
This is the only form of yeast that is not sold in a dehydrated form; the cakes in the form it is sold are semi-hydrated and crumbly, something like a paste or a dry dough. Because it contains more moisture, it needs to be used soon after purchase in order to ensure that it is safe to use. The reason that some bakers prefer this type of yeast is because it imparts a stronger flavor to the baked goods it is used to produce.
-Active dry yeast - Active dry yeast is another form of viable yeast, but unlike fresh yeast, it is dehydrated and ground into a finer form that can be easily measured out, somewhat like a powder.
Because it is partially dehydrated, it is shelf-stable for much longer, especially when it is protected against moisture and kept cool. It is fairly common for people that use yeast to keep their active dry yeast tightly sealed and frozen, in which case it can be kept viable for a few years.
Active dry yeast will become sensitive to higher temperatures; this is one form of yeast that can be “proofed” in order to ensure its viability; for details on proofing, see below.
-Instant yeast - Instant yeast is another form of partially dehydrated yeast that is often more reliable and easier to store (more shelf-stable) than active dry yeast. It is ground into a finer consistency than active dry yeast and often can be added to recipes without first proofing it.
Among the different kinds of instant yeast we offer at Stover & Company are Saf Instant Yeast and Fleischmann’s Instant Yeast, both of which can be stored for a fairly long time and can be added to baking recipes without testing first for viability. Both of these brands, along with other instant yeasts, are very popular among bakers for their shelf-stability, long lifespan, ease of use, and consistent performance.
-Nutritional or inactive yeast - Nutritional yeast is a form of yeast - the same species as those described above, that has been inactivated by heat. It is essentially cooked until it is no longer viable. However, cooks and bakers still sometimes add it to foodstuffs because it contains the same nutrient profile as viable yeast, but a zesty flavor. Because of this latter attribute, nutritional or inactivated yeast can also be used as a seasoning, and it often is!
About Saf Instant Yeast
Saf Instant Yeast, made by Le Saffre, is one of the most popular instant yeasts in the world, is beloved by bakers all around for its performance and consistency. This yeast is a free-flowing yeast with a long shelf life that can be used in many of the baking applications listed in the sections above.
Bakers have commented not only on the long shelf life of this brand of instant yeast but also on the fact that it takes less to encourage this yeast to get started in a dough. Some other instant yeasts are more difficult to coax to “life” than active dry yeasts which are quick starting. Le Saffre’s instant yeast is one of the most reliable starters out there.
Because Saf’s instant rises so much more reliably, it is one of the better instant yeasts you can buy although there are many other instant yeasts you can try. The sugar content in the dough will also affect the overall performance of the yeast, so ultimately, you might want to take it upon yourself to do your own experimentation before you make a decision one way or the other about what instant yeast is your favorite. You might prefer Saf Instant for some applications and doughs, and keep a reserve active dry yeast for other baking ventures.
Either way, there is no shortage of articles, reviews, trials, and testimonials on the internet that you can consult for experiences using Saf yeasts and others; you can rely on the counsel of some of these before making your own choices, or you can get in touch with us.
Our customer service team would be more than happy to put together our years of experience to help you create your best bread and other baked goods yet. Plus, we can always lend you some insight into which yeasts sell the best and why customers love them. Without a doubt, Le Saffre products are some of the best, and best-selling, baking ingredients in the world, not just here at Stover & Company.
What Saf Instant Yeast Can Be Used to Make
Le Saffre Instant Yeast can be used to make many of the baked goods described in previous sections, and you won’t need to look very far to learn more about what recipes you can use with their yeast. In fact, while you are at it scouring the internet looking for inspiration, you can actually search for recipes that call specifically for it. As one of the best-selling yeasts in the world, you’ll have no trouble finding a little help getting started. Don’t be surprised if you come up with a load of recipes you want to try, all calling for this customer-favorite yeast.
A Note on Proofing Yeast
There are two types of proofing that we’ll touch on briefly in this article - proofing dough and proofing yeast, which is also called “blooming yeast.”
Some bakers first take the yeast that they intend to bake into their dough and suspend it in a solution of warm water and sugars, in the process called blooming or proofing yeast, described above. This is done by bakers to check to see if the yeast is still alive and can be used to bake dough as a practical leavening agent. If the yeast is alive, it will feed on the sugars in the water, creating a thin layer of foam from the fermentation taking place in the water.
By contrast, proofing dough is done by allowing the dough to rest after the yeast has been added and allowing the dough to rise before it is placed in the oven. This gives the dough some time to develop before it is exposed to heat.
It’s important to note that while some bakers still proof their yeast, either as a guarantee or as a nod to tradition, Le Saffre Instant Yeast does not need to be proofed or bloomed before you use it. If it is kept sealed and cooled, away from humidity, it should remain viable for as long as indicated on the original packaging.
Call Us with Questions!
There’s a lot to take in from this article, but this is still a very brief overview of the history and uses of yeast, as well as the different types of yeast you might come across as a baker. If there’s one thing we’re great at here at Stover & Company, it’s putting our customers in touch with the products they need to be effective in the pursuit and perfection of their craft.
In our collection of brands and yeasts, you’re going to come across much more than Le Saffre products, which on one hand means you’ll find the product you’re going to need. However, it might also be confusing.
So, if there’s another thing we’re good at, it’s being a consultative partner to our customers. We know that there are many brands and products to choose from, and while first-hand experience is the best teacher, you need to get there to know it. That’s why having the help of an experienced partner is the next best thing, and it’s where our customer service team comes in handy.
Don’t be shy about reaching out to us to ask for a little help. That’s why we’re here. Naturally, you can read our blog to learn more, but if you still have questions about what yeast to use or why give us a call at 724-274-6314 and we would be delighted to help. We’ve been doing so proudly since 1948, and we’re proud to be a useful partner for our customers. Don’t go it alone - reach out and let us know what you need - we’ll help you get there.