Last Updated: Sep 8, 2020 @ 2:04 pm.

What's the best yeast for baking? For bread machines? What about nutritional yeast? We fired up the bread machine and tried out different yeasts to find the best bets. Here's what we recommend.

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Best for French Breads

No preservatives and no refrigeration
This active yeast is made of all natural ingredients and is our favorite for French or crusty breads. Better for oven recipes versus bread machines, in our opinion.
$3.00 ($2.00 / Ounce)

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Best for French Breads: Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast 

Here’s a brief Yeast 101.

Yes, there are several different kinds of yeast—it’s important to understand the basic differences.

The terms “active dry yeast” and “instant yeast” are often used interchangeably. They basically do the same thing, just in a slightly different way:

• Active dry yeast must be added to a liquid (usually water) to “proof” before it is added to dry ingredients.

• Instant yeast is added to dry ingredients before liquids are added. This leaves out the proofing test (yes, it is faster, but there is one drawback: if yeast fails, you have to throw out all the ingredients and start again).

• Nutritional yeast. This is NOT used for bread. A dry inactive yeast, nutritional yeast is used as a substitute for salt or seasoning on popcorn, salads, etc. It is also used as a vegan alternative for Parmesan cheese.

As the best yeast for French bread, we’d recommend Fleischmann’s active dry yeast.

What We Liked

• Very good rise especially for french breads.

• Available in various package sizes. You can buy it in individual packets, small jars or in bulk in one pound packages.

• No refrigeration required. It lasts about a year.

• All natural ingredients.

• No preservatives.

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Best for Bread Machines

Last for 6 months at room temperature
Fast acting, high potency yeast doesn't have to be activated in water before added to dry ingredients. Vacuum-packed, professional grade.
$2.99 ($0.19 / Ounce)

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Best Nutritional Yeast: Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Nutritional yeast has one major difference with the yeasts recommended above—it is inactivated. That is, it doesn’t make bread rise.

Instead, this yeast is used as a seasoning. We tried out different nutritional yeasts and sprinkled them on popcorn and salads as a vegan cheese alternative. In the end, we thought Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes is the best of the best.

What We Liked

• Nice, cheesy flavor. We liked the texture of this yeast, which provided a cheese texture . . . without the dairy!

• Great for vegan mac and cheese.

• Gluten-free.

• No GMO’s.

• Not fortified = no synthetic vitamins. 

• Doesn’t have to be refrigerated. 

• Affordable. Yep, some nutritional yeast can get rather pricey—this brand is easier on the wallet.

What Needs Work

• More like a powder than flakes, in our opinion. That was fine with us, but we know some folks would prefer flakes.

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Best Nutritional Yeast

Vegan seasoning for popcorn, salads
Excellent quality yeast is our favorite for breads and baking—from sweet rolls to pizza dough. All natural, vacuum packed.
$12.99 ($0.81 / Ounce)

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Best for Bread Machines: SAF Instant Yeast 

This is our favorite yeast for use in bread machine recipes—reliable, excellent quality and easy on the wallet.

What We Liked

 Lasts for 1 year in the freezer or six months at room temperature in a pantry.

• Simple ingredients. 

• Vacuum packed.

• Flexible use—besides bread machines, we also like for pizza dough, rolls, bagels and more.

• Makes about 96 loaves of bread. Yes, this yeast goes a long way!

• Affordable.

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Best for Sandwich Breads

Great for highly sweetened breads too
Excellent quality yeast is our favorite for breads and baking—from sweet rolls to pizza dough. All natural, vacuum packed.
$5.07 ($0.16 / Ounce)

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Best for Sandwich Breads: Red Star Active Dry Yeast 

This active yeast must be proofed first before use—that is, you add warm water first, before adding dry ingredients.

We like Red Star Active Dry Yeast, especially for sandwich breads. Very yummy!

What We Liked

• Vacuum packed.

• Simple ingredients.

• Works well in all yeasts doughs, from highly sweetened breads to low sugar options.

• Great for focaccia!

• In bread machine baking, liquids should be used at 80°F. Works well in regular cycle bread machines.

What Needs Work

• Not recommended for one-hour or express bread machine cycles.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home, families and kids since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported.

Photo credit: Geoffroy Delobel

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here's another key point: we don't take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no "partnerships." Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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