From time to time I get questions in from blog readers and book readers asking me to help them out with a situation or clarify something in one of my recipes or in Your Daily Homemade Bread. And since my teachers always told me not to be afraid to ask because if I had a question, chances are someone else does, too, sharing those questions and answers seems to make a lot of sense.
And so, today we start with the first and probably one of the most common questions asked about the stand mixer and KitchenAid bread recipes I’ve published:
Does the Instant Yeast REALLY Get Mixed in With the Dry Ingredients?
Here’s a question from reader BB:
I came across your website and want to try the homemade white bread using my Kitchenaid mixer. My question is this…do I mix the yeast in the water or add it in with “all” dry ingredients? I have baked enough to know that usually the yeast gets mixed with the water first but recipe does not specify so I thought I would ask. Thank you for your time and I can’t wait to try this recipe.
(I believe this question refers to the recipe originally published on the site here, although the recipe is also included in the more comprehensive book along with additional ways to use the white bread dough…like for bread bowls, etc. There is a more complete discussion regarding the use and ease of Instant Yeast, which is used in most all of my stand mixer bread recipes, in my book: Your Daily Homemade Bread: Easy Stand Mixer Bread Recipes: Best Basics.)
This is a completely understandable question because regular active dry yeast does certainly require a period of proofing in liquid to activate it before you can add it to your bread recipe – more measuring, more waiting, more steps. Instant Yeast is a wonderful product because it lets you cut out all that fuss and also cuts out the first long rise and punching down. It literally makes it possible to throw all your ingredients together, knead (preferably with the mixer), and make a virtually hands-free bread, a REAL loaf of bread, with about a quarter of the work and waiting.
My response to the very kind and inquisitive BB was this:
The yeast does not get mixed in with the water. It does not need to proof like regular yeast does. It is correct to mix it in with the dry ingredients and fat, and then add the water to the mix. The reason is that this recipe is using a faster acting yeast (instant yeast, bread machine yeast, or rapid rise versions are all the same and all fine to use). It is specifically designed to cut the time and kneading and to be an easier bread to make.
So while it can be tough for us more traditional cooks to buck something our mothers or grandmothers (maybe your father or grandfather!) taught us, in this case it is most definitely the right thing to do! Embrace the change and this great product and enjoy this easier way to make it possible to eat well traditionally while keeping up in this busy modern world!