Osmotolerant Yeast

saf-goldEspecially during the holiday season when sweet breads abound, you may run across recipes that call for osmotolerant yeast (also called SAF Gold, as it comes in a gold-colored package; SAF is the brand.)

Osmotolerant yeast is a special strain of instant dry yeast that performs better in high-sugar doughs than other yeasts do. In small amounts, sugar enhances fermentation, but when the amount of sugar exceeds about 5% of the flour weight, it impedes fermentation by pulling water away from the yeast. (If you’re a science geek, you probably know that sugar creates osmotic pressure, and if you’re not, you probably don’t care.)

SAF Gold is available from a number of online sources. However, if you can’t get it and have recipe that calls for it, you can use regular instant yeast (SAF Red, for example), and just increase the amount by about 30%.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    I seriously just learned that little fact about sugar in Advanced Bread and Pastry (thanks to you!) this weekend. I knew that a lot of sugar would create a dense bread, but didn’t really understand it.

  2. mlaiuppa says

    Thanks for the resources. Kings Flour is becoming my go-to website.

    Please moderate my comment for the Pandoro post. I put in some links for molds that may work for you. I’ll know better when mine arrive.

  3. Jo says

    After Christmas I am going to investigate uk suppliers of this sort of yeast. DCL does brown osmo tolerant yeast, but I am not sure if they supply home bakers. I will let you know, or if someone else knows maybe they could comment. My panettones (following your method as close as can be) did rise quite well in the end . I used fresh commercial yeast from my local breadstore. I wondered if there would be any value in adding another bit of fresh yeast to the second dough when that was mixed? Merry Christmas!

  4. says

    You can also purchase SAF yeast at Sam’s Club as well as BJ’s. A two pack costs about $4. It is readily available around the holidays but recently, they have been carrying it year-round. The price can’t be beat.

  5. Alex says

    Hi gurus.. I couldn’t find the answer to my question anywhere.
    I live in Canada and I’m willing to spend some $$ for shipping to try SAF gold for my sweet breads. Nonetheless, I would like first to know, how long will the yeast last after opening the vacuumed packaging ?

    It would take a long time for me to bake 96 loaves !!! :)

  6. says

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  7. mohsen says

    Hi,that’s really interesting.i have a question.who know what is different between Osmotolerant Yeast fermentation process and usual baker’s yeast for normal dough?

  8. martin granaldi says

    I’ve become accustomed to using fresh yeast due to the fact that many percentage-based recipies call for it. I haven’t had a problem with brioche or other high-fat/sugar breads using fresh yeast. Should I expect better results using osmotolerant yeast?


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