The other week, we went over to a friend’s house for dinner. It’s becoming more of a weekly thing, taking Sunday Nights to go over and have brunch, or a pizza, or something along the lines of a meal shared with people who you’re excited to have an evening with. This night, it was pizza.

The last time we had them over, I made a couple different versions to try, one with potatoes, one with fresh chevre, walnuts, and the last ramps of the season. When we went there, we had about four different pies, a roasted pepper pizza, one with rosemary and potato, a margherita, and one with caramelized onions and mushrooms. The thing that stood out, though, was the crust. Where my standby Jamie Oliver recipe has served me well, I never have the patience with baking to form any sort of uniformity among the different batches of dough that I produce. It turns out well, but oftentimes, it will be more pillowy than I’d like, or more dense than I’d expect. The dough over here was thin, crisp, and a crackled tan on the underside.

This could have been for a number of reasons. They have heavy duty pans over there, as well as a well-appointed professional range/oven combo. What was most different was that they used instant yeast for the dough.

I know next to nothing about yeast. The container of Red Star in my freezer serves me well for most purposes, and I’ve found a conversion factor if all I have is Active Dry yeast and not instant. Still, the more recipes I find, the more recipes call for the instant.

The easy recipe for the Sullivan Street No-Knead bread? Instant yeast. This pizza dough? Instant yeast. I had a desire to make pita this morning on my day off. Also instant yeast. What is it about the instant that makes it a preferred ingredient in all of these recipes?

I’m going to try it out, eventually. Maybe not today, as for the pita I need to get a baking stone, but soon. Once I get a baking stone, I may have to admit that I’m a baker.

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