On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

The highs and lows of baking with Yeast


The other weekend I made a Lemon Pullapart bread. It ended badly, but I’m not one to go down without a fight. I was determined to give it another go, and succeed. I did, I’ll post later.

In order to gain a better understanding of why the bread didn’t turn out as expected I set about understanding the different types of yeast available in our supermarkets.

By far the Edmonds brand is the most popular (so says I). There’s two varieties of it.

I have the red top yeast at home. I bake bread each weekend in the breadmaker, and that’s the type of yeast I use.

But there’s yellow top yeast too. More on that later.

First of all I decided to make sure the yeast had life in it still. Was it still “active”. It was a brand new jar, but it wouldn’t have been the first time a new jar, within it’s expiry date, ended up being a dud.

I found several websites describing how to tell if the yeast was still good (proofing).

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
  • Still in the yeast
  • In 10 minutes the yeast should have risen to 1/2 cup.

So how did it go?

Excuse the photos, these were taken on my phone, and rushed a little. As per usual these brainwaves comes to me when I’m expected to be out the door on 10.5 minutes (no lie).


2012-10-12 07.46.59


This was already at 10 minutes, and not looking like I expected.

2012-10-12 07.48.41

At a pinch you could say it “passed”. The mound in the middle exceeded 1/2 cup. But it took more like 12 minutes.

I wasn’t totally convinced this was the best type of yeast to use for the recipe I had found. On a mission I headed to the supermarket and bought the yellow top yeast.

For a start it looked more like the yeast used in the recipe. The yeast was little balls. The red top yeast is more like flakes with a very fine powder. The yeast includes improvers for assisting bread machine bread.

2012-10-12 22.47.12

In less than 10 minutes the yeast looked like this. Even though all the yeast balls still looked like they were hanging out down the bottom of the measuring jug.

2012-10-12 22.48.22

It was definitely “doing” stuff.



The yellow top yeast is on the left (with the round balls) and the red top yeast on the right (flakes/powder).


To complete my experiment I made my bread machine bread once using the yellow top yeast. It was a reluctant riser and the bread was more dense. I made the same recipe (as I have for the past 5+ years) with the red top yeast and it was spot on.

Then I made the crusty no knead bread with the yellow top yeast. Up until now I’ve made it with the same yeast (red) I’ve had on hand.

The bread was much better. It rose more, it wasn’t quite so “soupy” when it was ready to be turned out and shaped into a ball. And the texture of the bread was more light and airy.

So my conclusion: If you’re making bread for the bread machine, stick with the Edmonds Red top yeast. If you’re making bread for baking in the oven, use the Edmonds Yellow top yeast.

Here’s a picture of the Crusty No Knead Bread using the red top yeast.


And a picture of the same bread using the yellow top yeast.


And to re-cap. The Lemon Pullapart loaf I made with the red top yeast had to be thrown, even though we tried to pretend it was edible. The same recipe using the yellow top yeast was near perfect. It did all the right things and baked up correctly (except the very centre of the middle of the loaf). Stay tuned for that post.


2 thoughts on “The highs and lows of baking with Yeast

  1. Admiring the hard work you put into your website and in
    depth information you provide. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information.

    Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m
    adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s