Yeast is yeast, right? It’s just a kind of fungus used to make bread. If you can use it for one type of bread product, you should be able to use it on another? Well, yes, but not exactly. Pizza yeast isn’t called “pizza yeast” without reason. This is yeast intended for making pizzas, not regular bread, but can it be used to make bread?
Let’s say, you have some pizza yeast taking up space in your cupboard, and you fancy making a delicious homemade loaf. Can you do it? The short answer is yes, you can use pizza yeast to bake regular bread, so why does the jar tell you not to?
The cynic in us would believe that yeast manufacturers are telling us they are different so we buy two yeast products. But is only one type of yeast needed? We’re bakers, not biologists, the same species of yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae) are listed in both. So it’s not immediately obvious from the packaging what the difference is. That said, there is a difference in the finished product.
Pizza yeast contains dough conditioners that make the dough easier to stretch and shape for an iconic pizza base shape.
And that is essentially the difference between the two types of yeast. Dough made with regular yeast will pull itself back after being stretched, whereas pizza dough will not. Or at least, not nearly as much.
The difference between Fleischmann’s pizza yeast and regular yeast is how quickly pizza yeast rises, how it combines the dough ingredients, and how the dough stretches. Shaping into pizza discs is easy with this yeast as it’s not just yeast. It’s a dough conditioning yeast that makes pizza easy to make. It can still be used to make bread providing there is not a double rise. Actually, once it goes in the oven you’ll likely get a larger oven spring than you would with normal yeast!
Due to the additives in the pizza yeast, the dough is certainly easier to shape into pizzas, especially when you are following a “same day pizza recipe”. But is using pizza yeast essential for making pizza?
While you get a much more relaxed dough with pizza yeast, it is possible to let it rest for ten minutes before shaping. This gives the gluten a chance to relax and makes it easier to stretch out. The extensibility of the dough will also improve by using a long 2-day fermentation recipe. This is how authentic pizzas are made in Italy. For more ideas and information, view the why won’t my pizza stretch article.
Active dry yeast is the most common yeast used by home bakers. The main difference between the two is the additives. Specifically, the conditioners that help to hold the dough together in a mass, and the relaxers that allow it to stretch. You can use pizza yeast to make bread, and you can certainly use active dry yeast to make pizza bases. Just let the dough sit for a little while before you start rolling your base.
If you do have pizza yeast lying around, you can use that for your bread. If you are making something complicated, you may struggle with the shape.
A pizza yeast made bread dough will relax far easier. You might find it better to use a loaf pan to give the dough some support when rising. Pizza yeast is a type of instant yeast, so a conversion should be made if a recipe requests active dried yeast. Use my yeast conversion table to learn more.
To finish where we started; yeast is yeast. Manufacturers add a little extra something to pizza yeast to make it easier to get those pizza bases rolled. But the advantages it brings are more time-saving than anything else. You can get the same benefits from leaving your regular (active dry) yeast-based dough to rest. View my post on how to make a pizza to stretch to find out more.
Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baker, bread baking coach and college lecturer. I’m here to help you make better bread and learn about the baking industry.
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