Caputo makes the best pizza flours in the world, so when I found Caputo Lievito Active Dry Yeast, I just had to try it!
You may think the yeast in pizza doesn’t matter all that much, but you would actually be wrong. Many people, myself included, think that all yeast is more or less the same. Different types of yeast gives the dough different characteristic, rise and flavor. Traditionally fresh yeast is used to bake Neapolitan, but can dry active yeast re-create the same texture and flavor?
I’ve tried many types of flour and yeast for pizza, and even though they can all make great pizza with the right technique, I’m always looking for the best ingredients to make authentic Neapolitan at home. So I’m very excited to see how Caputo’s pizza yeast holds up!
What Is Caputo Yeast?
Caputo Lievito is a traditional Italian-made dry active yeast made from the yeast species Saccharomyces cerevisiae, that has been used for pizza baking for 100’s of years.
A Traditional Brewer’s Yeast Used Since Ancient Times
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a type of brewer’s yeast, that has been used since ancient times. The species is most commonly used for winemaking and beer brewing, in addition to baking. The name Saccharomyces cerevisiae means “sugar-mold” or “sugar-fungus”, and originated from grape skin. The yeast has been used in the Naples region for a very long time. It’s the most common type of yeast for pizza baking in the region, and has been since the pizza came about a few hundred years ago.
How Caputo Yeast Is Made
The way Caputo Lievito is made by growing yeast cells by feeding them local, Italian molasses. Yeast is a living organism that multiplies, and is therefore 100% natural. Something that also makes it gluten and lactose free. The molasses is later removed, leaving clean yeast, that’s then dried and packaged. The use of the molasses in the yeast production is important for giving it it’s characteristic flavor.
Fresh vs Dried Yeast
Many people swears by fresh yeast, but dry active yeast actually have several benefits over fresh yeast.
Advantages of Fresh Yeast
Some of the benefits of fresh yeast is that it’s often considered to give the dough a richer, better flavor. The rise is also often better with fresh yeast, at least for shorter leaves.
The main disadvantage of fresh yest is that it doesn’t last very long, and therefore has to be used pretty quick.
Advantages of Dried Yeast
The main benefit of dried yeast is that it has a much longer shelf life. Caputo Lievito can be stored up to 24 months (2 years), according to Caputo. Dried yeast also require less space, since all moisture is removed from the yeast. And you only need 1/3 of the amount (by weight) compared to fresh yeast. This means that a 100g (3.5oz) container of Caputo Lievito should bake around 1000 Neapolitan pizzas!
Another benefit of dry yeast is that it’s more stable than fresh yeast. This means that the yeast works slower, but more constant over a longer period of time. Where fresh yeast is most active the first 2 hours of the rising process, dry yeast is active throughout the whole rising time.
Caputo Yeast in Use
I’ve tried many types of yeast for pizza, bot fresh and dried yeast. So I was really excited to try Caput Lievito, a traditional Neapolitan Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast for the first time.
Caput Lievito coms in a 100g (3.5oz) aluminum container, with a convinient re-attachable plastic lid. When I first opened the container, it didn’t look or smell very different from other types of yeast, but let’s see how it is in use.
Caputo Yeast Recipe
Caputo yeast can be used for any kind of pizza, but since this is a traditional Neapolitan pizza yeast, I used: Authentic Neapolitan Pizza Dough Recipe for testing it.
I made the pizza dough using the flour Caputo Nuvola. Caputo Nuvola is a great Neapolitan Typo 0 flour that gives a nice rise to the dough. I often use this for my home pizza, because it always makes a nice, light pizza crust. If you want to read more about pizza flours, check out this article.
I did a 4 hour bulk fermentation, followed by 20 hours second rise of dough balls.
I bulk fermented (first rise) the pizza dough for 4 hours in room temperature. The rise was consistent throughout the whole 4 hours.
Next step was fermentation in dough balls. This was done over night (20 hours) in a slightly lower temperature than room temperature, at 65°F (18.5°C) to slow down the fermentation a little bit. During the remaining 20 hours consistent rise continued. And I ended up with nice elastic dough balls that was easy to stretch out.
The Pizza Crust
The pizza was then baked at 575°F (300°C) on a pizza steel for about 6 minutes. This is my preferred method of baking pizza at home, and I recommend investing in a pizza steel if you’re serious about baking pizza. Read more about pizza steels vs pizza stones here.
The crust puffed up during baking, and the result was a pizza crust with a crispy, slightly charred exterior and a soft inside with air bubbles.
The flavor of the pizza crust was great! The result is less “yeasty” than regular bread yeast. This is probably due to the molasses the yeast is fed, that give it different characteristics.
Caputo Yeast Price
The price of a can of Caputo Lievito is around 8-10 dollars. Considering the amount (100g), this might first glance seem like a steep price. I was honestly, hesitating for a moment because of the price. Is it really worth paying that much for pizza yeast? But the 100g of pizza yeast is actually a lot when you’re baking Neapolitan pizza.
With some simple math, I found that you can make around 1000 pizzas with 100g of yeast. So if you pay 10 dollars for the yeast, that comes out at 1 cent pr pizza. That’s actually incredibly cheap!
I’m really happy with the result I got using Caputo Lievito. The rise of the dough was consistent, even over a 24 hour period, and the dough ended up nice and crispy on the outside and soft and filled with air bubbles inside. The flavor was alos great, considerably better than regular bread yeast. All in all, I’m very happy with Caputo Lievito, and will continue using this yeast in the future!
If you’re baking long rise pizza dough, regular bread yeast is not ideal, as the dough can collapse for 24-48 hour leaving. Caputo Lievito is a natural yeast, that handles longer rising times better. In addition to that it can handle higher temperatures. The yeast also comes in a convenient aluminum container with lid, and has a long shelf-life of 2 years. With all of that, combined with great flavor, and the low cost of 1 cent pr pizza, I strongly recommend Caputo Lievito for pizza baking.