While alcohol is the best-known beverage that uses yeast, it is also a very important part of the pizza dough.
In my opinion, Caputo Yeast is the best yeast for pizza dough that you can use when making pizza dough at home.
Pizza dough is the first thing that you should make when cooking pizzas at home.
It takes longer than the cooking process itself so it sometimes needs to be made the day before cooking it.
You can make great pizzas by adding your favorite toppings and homemade pizza sauces but perhaps the biggest determining factor of whether the pizza is good or not is the crust that you have made.
The crust holds all the basic ingredients together and adds a little bit of flavor to the pizza.
Active Dry Yeast
It needs to be perfect or else the whole pie will be ruined if the crust is too soggy or overcooked.
This all starts with the dough as it involves important chemical reactions that you need to get that crispy finish on the crust.
This means that you need to make the dough properly.
To do that, you need good yeast to make sure that the dough develops, rises, and ferments properly.
So here, we will look at the best types of yeast that you can use for your pizza.
How Does Yeast Work?
Yeast works as a leavening agent during fermentation. Yeast breaks down the natural sugar in flour which causes it to release carbon dioxide and alcohol in the process.
Since the yeast is mixed into the flour, it creates bubbles as the carbon dioxide and alcohol are released. This is what creates the air pockets in your dough.
This process happens when you proof your dough. The longer you proof the dough, the more or the larger the air pockets in your dough will become.
Note that there is a point where all the sugar and yeast get exhausted at which point the bubbles will stop expanding and the dough will start to go down in volume.
At this point, you have a normal dough which will not rise because the yeast is exhausted.
Heat is the main factor that affects this process which is why proofing dough is faster when you leave it at room temperature compared to when the dough is proofing in the fridge.
Once the dough goes into the oven and on the pizza stone, the yeast will die and stop working because of the heat.
The bubbles will be expanded and will create a puffy and crispy texture on the pizza dough.
Different Types Of Yeast
1. Active DRY Yeast
Active yeast or Active Dry Yeast is the most common type of yeast that is used for baked goods. It is dried in order for it to have a longer shelf life.
Active dry yeast usually comes in granulated form and the most common ones that can be bought in grocery stores are in vacuumed packs or sealed jars.
It is easily accessible so there is no question as to why it is commonly used.
Active dry yeast is made by introducing wild yeast to starch and molasses. This sterilizes the yeast which is then dried and granulated midway through the process.
This pauses the fermentation process so when the time comes to use it, all you need to do is activate the yeast by mixing it with warm water.
A ‘live’ active dry yeast should produce froths or bubbles when mixed with warm water and releases an aromatic smell as it releases carbon dioxide.
2. Fresh Yeast
Fresh yeast is composed of fresh, living organisms that are compressed in ‘cakes’. That means that they are still wet and are active while in the package.
There is a lot of moisture (70%) in fresh yeast so they can easily activate your dough. However, you do need to dissolve fresh yeast in water first.
Just like active dry yeast, you will need to mix fresh yeast with warm water so that the yeast dissolves evenly into the water and then evenly into the dough mixture.
When using fresh yeast, you will need to add more of it into the dough since it is less reactive than active dry yeast.
It is not as concentrated and is not processed as much as active dry yeast so you need to use more of it to get the same fermentation results as active dry yeast.
3. Instant Yeast
Instant yeast, also known as ‘quick-rise yeast’ is almost the same as active dry yeast. It undergoes the same drying and sterilizing process.
The most noticeable difference is that instant yeast is milled to finer granules than active dry yeast and is mixed with additives such as ascorbic acid to make it more concentrated or reactive.
Since the granules are smaller, you do not need to activate them in water before mixing them with the dough. You can just sprinkle it into the dough mixture and let it do its job.
Can I Make Pizza Dough Without Yeast?
Yes, you can make pizza dough without yeast as there are alternatives to yeast that can also be your leavening agent during the fermentation process.
Baking powder is perhaps the most common alternative for yeast that you can use. Baking powder can cause baked goods to rise rapidly.
Note that baking powder is not as effective as yeast when it comes to making your dough rise so we still recommend using yeast for a more puffy and flavorful dough.
You can also use baking soda and acid(lemon juice, vinegar, etc.) for your baked goods but I do not recommend it with pizza dough as it will not have the same authentic taste.
You can also use Yogurt, if you want to avoid baking powder altogether as it works the best with pizza dough.
This is how 2 ingredient pizza dough is made- with flour and yogurt.
Yeast Conversion CHART
If your recipe calls for active dry yeast but you only have instant yeast, you can convert the recipe to instant yeast(or vice versa).
Just take note that instant yeast can be more reactive than active dry yeast so you will need to adjust accordingly.
Here is a simple chart to guide you when there is a need to convert your yeast into another type of yeast.
Sourdough Starter – A SUBStitute for YEAST?
Sourdough starter is a great alternative for yeast. It can also act as your leavening product in the dough that does not only allow the dough to rise but also add amazing flavors to it.
It is a cheap and gut-friendly option that you can make at home – since sourdough starter is not branded as a commercial type of yeast.
All you need is flour, water, and a lot of patience. It takes a while to make a sourdough starter but all the time you spend will be worth it!
Sourdough starter is filled with natural wild yeast that is present in the air. It also contains a bacteria called lactobacilli which is a really good bacteria for breaking down gluten.
So if you want a fermenting agent that can help with your gluten-sensitive gut, is inexpensive and is easy to make, then the sourdough starter is a go-to!
Fresh Vs Dried Yeast
There are many different types of yeast that you can use when making pizza dough.
Perhaps the two most common types are fresh yeast and dry yeast and they are good yeasts for pizza dough but they also have some differences you need to know.
Fresh yeast is usually wet or moist which means that it is already starting to be activated.
Compared to dry yeast, fresh yeast is more easily perishable, which needs to be stored right away.
It also needs to be proofed before using which means it takes more time.
Dry yeast is fresh yeast that has been pressed and dried to remove all the moisture in it which makes it a good yeast for pizza dough as you get to test whether it is active or not.
It has a longer shelf life but that does not mean that it is not easily perishable.
You need to make sure that you store it in an air tight jar right after opening and using it to keep it active and usable.
You need to store it in a dark, dry, and cold place such as the refrigerator.
When using dry yeast, you need to activate it first by mixing it in warm water before you add it into the dough.
Instant Dry Yeast Vs Active Dry Yeast
You can use another pair of yeasts that you can use when making pizza dough with instant dry yeast and active dry yeast for pizza dough.
These are quite similar but they do have some important differences.
Instant yeast in general, is a type of yeast that allows the dough to rise quickly. It is a good yeast for pizza dough and is also the best yeast for Neapolitan pizza dough.
This is often used on pizza doughs especially if you want to cook your pizza right after you made the dough.
Active dry yeast is a type of yeast that needs to be mixed with water first to activate it. It is a good yeast for pizza dough since you can make sure that it is effective before mixing it in the dough.
That way, it will use the gluten in the flour and make it rise as soon as it is mixed.
One benefit that you can get from active dry yeast for pizza dough is that you will surely know whether it is still alive or not.
You can determine it by letting it bloom or activate in warm water beforehand.
Instant yeast might seem fast-acting and ready to use, but the disadvantage is that there is no sure way to tell whether it is alive once it mixes into the dough.
Advantages Of Fresh Yeast
The first thing that comes to mind when using fresh yeast is flavor and texture, two of the most important features that you need to look for in the pizza dough to see if it will be crispy.
The main advantage of using fresh yeast is that it reduces the carbon dioxide in the dough.
It also activates the gluten in the flour slowly to develop better flavors and texture in the dough.
Fresh yeast is active for longer periods than dry yeast, which means that you can let your pizza dough rise longer to get the flavors you want to put into your pizza.
Advantages Of Instant Dry Yeast
Instant yeast is something that you can use in recipes other than pizza. However, the advantage you get from using it on your pizza dough is that you get to manage it right away.
It does not need a lot of time to rise and the dough requires a lot less instant yeast than dry yeast.
About 25% less instant yeast is needed to make the dough rise properly.
Since instant yeast is already activated, you can also put it directly into the dough.
There is no need to waste time trying to bloom the yeast in water before mixing it with the other ingredients.
Advantages Of Active Dry Yeast
The main advantage of active dry yeast is buying it in bulk as it has a longer shelf life.
You can store it in the fridge for months compared to fresh yeast that only lasts a couple of weeks.
You also get to determine whether you are using yeast that is alive or not.
When using active dry yeast for pizza dough, it needs to be activated in warm water to see if it can still activate before mixing it in.
Although it takes more time to activate and use, it is one way to ensure that your pizza dough will rise properly while it is resting and create that crispy crust with an airy interior.
Which Is The Best Yeast For Pizza Dough?
You can use any type of yeast that you want when making pizza dough.
There are not many differences between the results as long as you use the yeast properly and leaven the dough.
In my opinion, active dry yeast is the best type of yeast that you can use for your pizza dough as it is easier to manage.
You can also see whether it is still good or not before putting it in the mixture.
It is also good for beginners so you can see how it works.
It is hard to adjust when you use fresh yeast as it will dissolve with the dough right away which means you need to wait.
If you cook Ooni pizza dough, I recommend yeast that rises easily. Pizza dough cooked in Ooni pizza ovens need to have enough dough moisture to rise quickly but not dry out during the cooking process.
Best Yeast For Neapolitan Pizza Dough
It is crucial to choose the right Neapolitan yeast to create the authentic taste and texture of the dough. Fleischmann’s yeast or Caputo Yeast is one of the best active and instant yeast that you can use.
According to STG guidelines, you need a solid type of yeast with low levels of acidity and biologically produced to make authentic Neapolitan pizzas.
Technically, Neapolitan pizzas use fresh yeast, but if you cannot get there then Active dry yeast is your best choice for that as it is the closest to the guidelines for making Neapolitan pizzas.
Of course, there are other guidelines for making Neapolitan pizzas such as using Italian 00 flour so make sure that you have all the right ingredients.
My Favorite Yeast For Pizza Dough
They are also known for the best yeast for Neapolitan pizza dough that can make the best crusts as well.
Caputo sells active dry yeast for pizza dough that you can find on Amazon and it is the best yeast for Neapolitan pizza douh.
The yeast they sell is truly one of the best yeast for Neapolitan pizza dough as it activates properly and uses up as much gluten without overworking the dough.
The yeast is specialized for long proofing periods.
That means that it is the best yeast for Neapolitan pizza dough by making the dough healthier
It will give your pizza dough more flavor and improve the texture to make it crispy and airy. It is a really good yeast for pizza dough if you want your pizza to be crispy and full of flavor.
My tip is to use this special yeast for pizza dough if you use Caputo’s own Tipo 00 flour so you can get the right balance of gluten and yeast in the pizza dough.
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