Yeast has a place of choice in our kitchen, and for good reason, it is found everywhere. Breads, brioches and other pastries that must rise: nothing escapes. Except that it’s not always easy to find fresh baker’s yeast. So, inevitably, you have asked yourself THE question: can I replace the baker’s yeast in a recipe with baking powder? The answer is no. We explain the differences between all the yeasts, and therefore the interest of using the right yeast in the right recipe.
Baker’s yeast: fresh or dry?
Revelation of the day: baker’s yeast is alive. At least, the mushrooms that compose it … We know, it doesn’t make you want to say that. These mushrooms (saccharomyces cerevisiae for die-hard Latinists) ferment the dough by transforming the sugar in the flour into carbon dioxide. This CO2 is trapped in the dough. Result? It doubles or even triples in volume. But for that, you have to be patient. Because producing all this gas does not happen in a snap, far from it. The dough must be allowed time to rise before placing it in the oven because, once exposed to heat above 50 ° C, the baker’s yeast fungi die. It is therefore impossible to resuscitate them and swell our brioche once in the oven.
Well, for the practical aspect, fresh baker’s yeast can be stored in the fridge and used within 2 weeks. Have you (finally) managed to get your hands on a cube of baker’s yeast? Use it in this recipe for brioche, of grandmother or a baguette.
But you can also find dehydrated baker’s flour that can be kept for several months in the cupboard, just like baking powder. A little lukewarm water is enough to reactivate it. As for instant baker’s yeast, no need to reactivate it with water. For quantities, use 3 times less dry baker’s yeast compared to the fresh version.
However, no matter which one you choose, be careful not to put your yeast in contact with the pinch of salt in your preparation. It could cancel the fermentation of the yeast… goodbye honeycomb bread, soft brioches and light pastries.
Baking powder: what is it?
Nothing to do with baker’s yeast. Here there is no fungus to ferment the dough. Instead, a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar and cornstarch. A good basic-acid mixture that will keep for a long time in the cupboard. But the main difference is that baking powder needs moisture and heat to make the dough swell. Without liquid, there is no reaction between the ingredients, so no CO2 gas produced… and no airy and soft cake. Tick tock, tick tock: Every minute wasted out of the oven is a little leavening action that goes to waste. In short, like a race against time, we hurry to bake the cake as soon as we have incorporated the baking powder. Quick, quick, gluttony doesn’t wait!
A little advice from Mercotte : as we said, baking powder plays its role under the effect of heat. Suddenly, let your melted butter or any other hot ingredient cool before incorporating it into your dough (max. 20 ° C), at the risk of seeing your cake rise before putting it in the oven… and that it no longer swells a times in the oven. You don’t want a Yogurt cake everything flattened, if?