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Are Bread Machine Yeast and Instant Yeast the Same?

A dough ball rising in a bread machineafrica-studio.com (Olga Yastremska and Leonid Yastremskiy)

Wondering whether you can substitute bread machine yeast with instant yeast, and vice-versa? We have it all for you.

For some of us, baking bread is a beloved pastime. Such is the case with Craig Britton, Home Cook World contributor and author of the column “Dirt to Food,” who recently wrote the guide to using a bread maker.

For others, it’s a necessity. I have a friend who lives far out in the Wyoming Rocky Mountains, and she tells me bread is almost impossible to find in the one store they have in town. So, a few years ago, she started making it herself.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to baking at home. Some mix, knead, and shape their loaves by hand, and savor the whole process. Others opt for the convenience of the best appliance since the invention of the oven—the bread-making machine.

Whichever of the two schools of thought you belong to, you’re here because you want to know one thing, and one thing only: If your usual type of yeast is nowhere to find, can you substitute it with the type of yeast that the other school uses?

Well, let’s just say you’re in the right place. Because we’re about to take a look at bread machine yeast, instant yeast, and answer the question if you can use them interchangeably or not.

Bread Machine Yeast

Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Yeast is a type of instant yeast made specifically for bread baking machines. It comes in a large jar (4 oz/113 g), enough for many loaves of bread, and is made of fine yeast granules that are activated more quickly without having to dissolve in the water first.

The properties of this yeast make it ideal for the short cycles of most bread makers; it ferments dough quickly and efficiently, producing fluffy, flavorful breads that not all other types of yeast can produce in the same amount of time.

But not all stores carry it. And, in some parts of the country, your only option is to order it online… when it’s in stock or doesn’t cost a small fortune!

Unopened, the jar can be kept in a cool and dry place, such as your pantry, a cupboard, or a closed cabinet. Keep away from sunlight, so not on the windowsill, and from appliances that generate heat such as the stove, the fridge, and the freezer.

Once opened, the yeast must be kept in the fridge, where it will keep for 4 months. (In case you’re wondering: You can bake with expired yeast, but there’s a chance that the cells will be dead and they won’t be able to make the bread rise.)

Instant Yeast

Fleischmann's Instant Yeast, which comes in small ¼-oz packets with about 2¼ teaspoons of yeast granules each, is also a fast-acting yeast for home baking from Fleischmann.

This type of yeast has the same RapidRise technology that Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Yeast does, meaning it’s made out of tiny granules that don’t need to dissolve fully in water to start fermenting the bread.

This one is carried by most stores, and it’s generally easier to find. Unopened packages can be stored at room temperature, in the pantry or cupboard, while opened packages must be refrigerated and will keep for up to 4 months.

Can You Use These Interchangeably?

Yes, you can use Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Yeast and Instant Yeast interchangeably. Both types of yeast have fine granules that don’t need to dissolve completely in water to ferment the dough, and will work wonders for machine-baked breads.

As far as I know, the key difference is the packaging. The bread machine yeast comes in a glass jar that equals 16 packets. The instant yeast comes in small, ¼-oz packets containing 2¼ teaspoons of yeast granules each.

The packets are ideal if you don’t bake often and want to keep the yeast for 1-2 years until you use it all up. The jars are better if you bake frequently and use up the equivalent of 16 packets in less than 4 months (as we already touched on, that’s how long the yeast keeps in the fridge for).


Jim is the former editor of Home Cook World. He is a career food writer who's been cooking and baking at home ever since he could see over the counter and put a chair by the stove.

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