Yeast measurement for bread machines

Table of Contents

Yeast for a Panasonic machine

Low salt

I had tried, with the machine I had before the Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine (acquired in 2016), to use less salt than the recipe says. For a reduction of salt by 50%, I followed the rule of thumb of reducing salt and yeast equally by weight. For low sodium I cut yeast in equal proportions by weight1This is a rule of thumb which has be adjusted based on the recipe and the machine, according to experience!. The principle is to reduce yeast by the same percentage as salt as suggested in The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (“BLBMC“) at p. 290 and by the May 2016 post on the Please Don’t Pass the Salt bread page

I used 50% of salt and 50% of the instant yeast for SAF instant yeast in a BLBMC recipe. If the recipe says 1.5 tsp salt, as many recipes did, I calculated salt by weight as 1.5 x 5.7 g. = 8.6 g, and I used 4.3 grams salt. If the recipe said 2 tsp. instant yeast, as many recipes did, which weighs 6.2 g. I would use 3.1 g.

There has to be a lower limit to this method – even unsalted bread needs some yeast to rise.

Problem

When I started to bake in the Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine, I had a problem. Medium loaves (1.5 lb.), both low sodium and regular recipe, based on the BLBMC filled the  pan, and had airy, weak crumb; some ballooned or cratered/collapsed/imploded. The fermentation was excessive for the amount of dough

Panasonic Manual Recipes

Panasonic’s recipes (in the manual; see its online recipe resource pages) call for 3.1 g. instant yeast (1 tsp.) to 417 g total flour weight for a medium (1.5 lb.) loaf; in baker percentage 0.7%. This is half the amount of yeast for loaves that size in BLBMC recipes:

  • 1 tsp (instead of 2 tsp or more ) for 3 cups of flour for a medium loaf;
  • 1.5 tsp. for 4.375 cups of flour for extra large loaves.

Another clue – the Panasonic SD-YD250 will bake an extra large (2.5 lb) loaf that may take more than 4 cups of flour but the yeast dispenser does not hold much more that a tablespoon. And an observation – set for medium loaves, basic bake and whole wheat cycles, the Panasonic SD-YD250 mixes for 3 minutes, kneads and rests to rise before baking. The knead time of 20-30 minutes is a little longer than for many machines. The rise phase is 2 hours, more or less, depending on the size of the loaf. The rise is longer by about 25-30 minutes than the rise in other machines.

Bread baked in the Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine does not need as much yeast as recipes from sources other than the Panasonic manual. The main differences between the Panasonic and machine and older bread machines are:

  • Gluten formation, and
  • Fermentation:
    • longer “rise” periods,
    • programmed heating during fermentation periods – the baking pan is warmed by the element, turning the baking space into a warm proofing box.

The long rise in a warm space allows the yeast to produce more gas. A small amount of yeast, given time and good conditions, leavens more dough,

Less yeast

I was able to use BLBMC formulas for white, whole wheat, and multigrain formulas requiring 2 tsp. instant yeast (6.2 g.) for a medium loaf (a formula with 3 cups or 15 oz. flour +/- by weight) by adjusting the yeast to 1 tsp. (3.12 g.). This produced loaves that were properly inflated.

This adjustment works for almost any recipe not specifically written for a Panasonic machine:

  • (BLBMC formulas have different amounts of SAF instant yeast and “bread machine yeast”. Ignore the amount of “bread machine yeast” in a BLBMC formula and use the amount for SAF instant yeast);
  • Weigh the yeast and salt; know the correct conversion factors:
    • 1 tsp of instant yeast weighs 3.12 or 3.15 grams, and
    • A recipe refers to conventionally ground table salt; 1 tsp weighs 5.7 grams;

I note the BLBMC/recipe amount of instant yeast. I calculate a “Panasonic” adjustment by halving the yeast stated in the BLBMC. For my Panasonic, this became the amount of yeast for the recipe. This reduction prevented the overflow/balloon problem and mixed dough that baked into bread. I did not change salt from the recipe in testing this adjustment in yeast.

I was not able to determine that 50% is absolutely the right conversion factor. It leavened the dough and prevented the ballooning loaves.

Other machines

Bread machines differ. Recipes for bread machine loaves cannot necessarily be used in different machines without making adjustments.

Salt and Yeast

I continued to bake with 50% of the salt in a recipe. As noted, my approach had been to halve both salt and yeast.

Where I had cut yeast to the low instant Panasonic number, I would cut this again to match the salt reduction. This meant I would use only 25% of the BLBMC or recipe yeast to bake 50% salt bread in the Panasonic. This worked cutting salt and cutting yeast that much, but began to affect results.

The rule of cutting yeast for the machine and cutting again by half when I reduce salt by half works reasonably well if I leave more than 1.4 g (half a teaspoon) of instant yeast for 3 cups of bread flour. If I cut salt more, I will have experiment to find the amount of instant yeast that will ferment and make a dough that flows and rises. I will have to adjust yeast differently when I eventually replace the Panasonic machine.

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