What is Dry Yeast? (INSTANT OR ACTIVE) – Production, Uses, FDA Approval

What is Dry Yeast?

Yeast is a living microscopic organism which converts sugar or starch into alcohol and carbon dioxide, by the process called fermentation. Baker’s yeast is of the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Active dry yeast

It is the form of yeast most commonly available to non-commercial bakers in the United States. It consists of coarse oblong granules of yeast, with live yeast cells encapsulated in a thick jacket of dry, dead cells with some growth medium.

Under most conditions, active dry yeast must first be proofed or rehydrated. It can be stored at room temperature for a year, or frozen for more than a decade, which means that it has better keeping qualities.

Instant yeast

It appears similar to active dry yeast, but has smaller granules with substantially higher percentages of live cells per comparable unit volumes. It is fresher than active dry yeast. In general, instant yeast has a small amount of ascorbic acid added as a preservative. Some producers provide specific variants for doughs with high sugar contents, and such yeasts are more generally known as osmotolerant yeasts.

Synonyms:Brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast

History & Origin of Dry yeast

Until the 1850s we could not see yeast.  It was then, in a lab, that clever scientists cultured yeast so that we could actually see it.  Until then, therefore, all bread was baked with a sourdough culture which is no more and no less than yeast trapped in a paste of flour and water. (virtuousbread)

Commercial Preparation of Yeast 

Yeast needs both a warm environment and food to grow. The process is often called “proofing the yeast.” Yeast should be dissolved in warm water (100-110°F), but not hot water or it will die. Sugar is usually added to “feed” and grow the yeast. Activity is seen within 5 minutes, i.e. bubbling and expansion during yeast activation. If there will be no activity, that yeast is too old, the water was too warm or too cold, any of the 3 conditions will be responsible.

Uses of Dry yeast:

  • Yeast is used in food industry by beer brewers due to property of yeast to convert sugar into alcohol.
  • Yeast finds its use in making wine.
  • It is used in bakery, to bake breads.
  • It can be eaten as food supplement.
  • It is used as leavening agent (cause batter or dough to become lighter and smooth).
  • It matures the cakes.
  • It is used as flavouring agent.


  • Dry & Active yeast is a good source of Vitamins.
  • It is also a good source of proteins.
  • It is simple & convenient in use.
  • It causes rapid rising of cakes, biscuits and other product in bakeries.
  • It dries rapidly, thus used in the formulation of various bakery products.


  • Yeast activity may decrease if it comes into direct contact with salt or sugar.

Side effects:

Excess amount of yeast can increase the bacteria count in intestine.

FDA Approval:

Dry yeast is regarded as safe by FDA under GRAS status (21CFR136.110).



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