Bread machine yeast is a very finely granulated yeast, so that the yeast hydrates and springs into action quickly.
Bread machine yeast is essential for the quick loaves (the ones that many bread machines have a setting for, which takes about an hour.) With such quick loaves, the active dry yeast just isn’t active enough, and will come out as little chewy granules throughout the sad, heavy loaf and all over the outside. Only bread machine yeast seems to be able to actually dissolve and raise the bread in the allotted time.
If you are using this yeast in a bread recipe, whether a machine one or a manual recipe, you don’t need to activate it with water, just toss it into the dry ingredients.
If you are making bread by hand, you can certainly use bread machine yeast — don’t be put off by the name. You are supposed to be able to get away with only one rising because the yeast is so energetic the first time round.
In North America, bread machine yeast is usually sold in three separate but attached little sachets, about 8 grams each, with each package enough for one loaf of bread; or in small brown glass jars, or in tins with resealable plastic tops.
In the UK, there doesn’t yet appear to be made a bread machine yeast with granules as fine as North American bread machine yeast.
In terms of speed with dried yeasts:
- Active dry yeast (slower)
- Instant yeast (fast)
- bread machine yeast (faster yet)
While you can use bread machine yeast in all recipes calling for fresh yeast, you cannot do the opposite, which is use fresh yeast in bread machine recipes.
You can store this yeast in the cupboard until the expiration date or until 4 months after opening. The expiration date is for room temperature storage: if you keep the yeast in the fridge or freezer, it will last for up to a year after being opened.