I have been using SAF Active Dry and Red Star Active Dry yeasts but recently purchased a 4.4 oz. package of SAF (Red) Instant
Yeast from (www.bakerscatalogue.com
I'm trying the SAF Instant based on Reinhart's recommendations in American Pie
. The instant yeast may be added directly to the flour (no need to hydrate first), has a longer shelf life, and requires about 25% less than active dry.
I've been quite pleased with this yeast, though I can't really tell any taste differences from using active dry.
I'm not clear on whether instant yeast is the same thing as rapid or fast-acting yeast. Consider the statements below.
James McNair indicates in his book, New Pizza
that instant yeast is NOT
the same as the quick-rising version of active dry yeast which "cuts the rising time of the dough by about 20 percent, but some commercial bakers complain that the dough develops less flavor."
McNair says that instant yeast is a more highly active strain of yeast that has been available to professional bakers for a long time but has just become available recently to home bakers through bread supply catalogs and some specialty markets.
In The Bread Baker's Apprentice
, Reinhart says that "instant yeast, even though it may be called rapid-rise or fast-rising yeast on some packaging, is actually a potent, but slow to awaken, yeast, which I find to be an advantage in many instances (slower is better..)."