>From what I have read, there are several kinds of yeast: active dry, rapid
rise, and instant (I'm not too clear on what the difference is between rapid
rise and instant). I have also heard that Fleischmann's Bread Machine yeast
is the same as their Instant Yeast (yeast + ascorbic acid). The experts
(e.g., authors of Bread Machine Magic, Irwin, etc.) advocate using regular,
active dry yeast in the bread machine. (Except for SAF instant yeast, which
is apparently unlike any other yeast--but that's another story!) Rapid rise
and instant are similar (the same?) in that they both supposedly have
shorter lifespans and "die" in the long rising/baking cycles of the bread
machine. However, I have a Breadman bread machine. I have used
Fleischmann's instant yeast (aka Fleischmann's Bread Machine Yeast?) on the
whole wheat cycle (complete time = 4 hrs) with no problems.
In fact, after a recent conversation with Lois Conway (thanks, Lois!) about
different yeasts, I purchased some Red Star active dry yeast and did some
comparisons. I baked the exact same loaves of bread (1 plain whole wheat, 1
whole wheat-cinnamon raisin) on the same whole wheat cycle in my Breadman.
I let all the ingredients come to room temp for exactly the same amount of
time, and used the same measuring cups, etc. I baked 1 loaf of each bread
using the Red Star dry active yeast, and 1 loaf of each using the
Fleishmann's instant yeast. For yeast measurements, when using Red Star I
used the amount called for in the recipes (both recipes were from Bread
Machine Magic); for the Fleischmann's Instant (per conversations with Lois)
I used 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour.
My husband and I tried both versions of each bread, side by side, and they
tasted exactly the same--they were both great! Perhaps I have an
unsophisticated palate, but I could NOT tell a difference. And contrary to
what I had heard/read, the bread made with Fleischmann's instant yeast rose
perfectly (just as high as the Red Star bread) and was the exact same
texture as the Red Star bread. I saw no evidence that the "short life span"
of the yeast caused any problems. It did perfectly fine in my whole wheat
It may be that the ascorbic acid added to the Fleischmann's instant yeast
causes it to perform as well as the Red Star active dry yeast (which has no
additives). Ascorbic acid is supposed to help with rising. Perhaps that is
why Instant Yeast is marketed as "Bread Machine Yeast." I suppose that some
bread machines have quicker cycles (than, say, compared to hand-made bread)
so that is also why they are marketing the instant (faster rising) yeast as
better for bread machines. (Except for Red Star, which markets the REGULAR
active dry as *best* for bread machines). But my bread machine's cycles are
all at least 3 1/2 hrs long, so the faster performance isn't an issue.
I plan to do the yeast test using the 3 1/2 hr quick cycle (which I hardly
ever use) on my bread machine, the dough cycle, and maybe the French Bread
cycle (which is exactly the same amount of time as the whole wheat cycle).
I will see if I can find any differences between the Fleischmanns Instant
and the Red Star active dry on these cycles. Of course I'll keep you all
updated unless my husband and I explode from eating too much bread! FYI, I
bought 2 lbs of the Fleishmann's instant yeast for $3 at Price Club. The
Red Star (unavailable at Price Club) cost $6 for a 1/4 lb. jar at Safeway.
Unless I suddenly see a difference in taste or performance, I'm going to
keep using the Fleischmann's after I use up the Red Star.
So, the point of this long-winded post (sorry!) is that my advice is to try
the different yeasts you have bought using the same recipes and baking
cycles. See if there is a difference--if not, keep using what is
convenient, cheap, etc. Perhaps the fast-rising yeast will work better
using the "quick" baking cycle--if so, keep it around for just that cycle,
and use the dry active for longer cycles. Experimenting is fun, and you get
to eat a lot of yummy bread!
Anyway, hope this helps!