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Home ยป What Type of Yeast for Pizza Dough?

What Type of Yeast for Pizza Dough?

The most common yeast used for making homemade pizza dough is active dry yeast, with instant and fresh yeast also usable in many pizza recipes.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the wonderful world of yeast and help you discern which yeast may be best for your pizza dough.

Several types of yeast on a counter.

Unlocking the Secret Behind Perfect Pizza Dough: The Essential Rising Agent

Yeast is a very important ingredient in the pizza-making process. It’s a rising agent, which means it is what’s responsible for giving our pizzas those fluffy, airy crusts we love so much.

Yeast isn’t only responsible for rising. It also plays a role in how long fresh pizza dough is good for and the flavor development of the crust. Here are the three types of yeast people use for baking:

Active Dry Yeast

Active dry yeast is a highly-favored choice due to its affordability and availability. Its long shelf life also makes it an attractive option for those who aim to freeze homemade pizza.

Before use, activate the yeast in warm water and sugar at around one hundred to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This process leads to air bubbles within the dough, resulting in a fluffy crust.

Instant Yeast

Instant yeast is an option for those who prefer skipping the step of activating the yeast. Instant dry yeast doesn’t require any activation and can be directly added to the ingredients, saving time and effort during the pizza-making process.

Instant yeast is arguably the most efficient of the choices. It can be added directly to the dry ingredients, skipping the activation step required for active dry yeast. This makes the preparation process smoother and more straightforward. While it doesn’t necessarily speed up the rising time compared to active dry yeast, it does simplify the process.

Pizza dough resting after kneading by hand.

A Sub-Category for A Quicker Rise

Fast Acting Instant Yeast

There’s a specialized subcategory known as fast-acting yeast, such as RapidRise or Quick-Rise. These yeasts are designed to act quicker and let your dough rise as quickly as 10 minutes. However, they’re not suitable for recipes that need a slow, refrigerated rise or a second proof. 

Pizza Crust Yeast

Pizza crust yeast, often marketed specifically for making pizza dough, is another form of fast acting instant yeast that has been tailored to produce a quick rise in pizza dough recipes. Here are some of the key differences and characteristics:

  1. Formulated for Pizza Dough: Pizza yeast often includes dough conditioners and relaxers, which are added to make the dough easier to shape and stretch. These additives help prevent the dough from snapping back when you’re trying to shape it, making it more manageable, especially for thinner crusts.
  2. No Need for Proofing: Like instant yeast, pizza crust yeast does not require proofing or activation in warm water before use. It can be mixed directly into the flour and other dry ingredients, simplifying the dough-making process.
  3. Quick Rising Time: Pizza dough yeast is designed to rise faster than traditional yeast, reducing the overall time needed for dough preparation. This makes it a convenient option for those looking to make pizza dough quickly.
  4. Flavor and Texture: The additives can affect the flavor and texture of the dough slightly differently than traditional yeast. Some people may find that dough made with pizza yeast lacks some of the depth of flavor developed with longer fermentation times associated with other yeast types.
Ingredients used to make pizza dough.

Fresh Yeast

Fresh yeast is more popular in professional bakeries and outside of the States. It has a higher moisture content compared to dry yeast and a much shorter shelf life than dry yeast. Unlike active dry or instant yeast, fresh cake yeast must be stored in a refrigerator at thirty-nine degrees Fahrenheit.

Before incorporating it into the dough, it needs to be crumbled and mixed with warm water and sugar in order to activate it.

Choosing the Right Leavening for Your Pizza Dough

Each of these yeast varieties are great to use in pizza dough and, like anything, come with their own pros and cons. There are many different factors that can determine the type of yeast you’ll use.

Some might argue on behalf of the convenience and shelf life of active dry yeast while others prefer the convenience of instant yeast. Then, you have people who will argue that the taste of pizza dough made with fresh compressed yeast is what makes it the best. 

Whether you prefer active dry, instant, or fresh, each type of yeast has its own unique characteristics. When selecting your yeast, consider factors such as convenience, rise time, and desired texture. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create fresh homemade pizzas that will impress even the most discerning pizza lovers.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, what kind of yeast you choose comes down to what is important to you. There is no right or wrong yeast to use for your homemade pizza. All of these yeasts, when used properly, will leave you with a delicious, fluffy pizza to enjoy.

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