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We are constantly trying to come up with new, innovative and original ideas to make our courses different and fun. 



Our improvised Chefs joined us for a cooking class to surprise their couples with a beautiful Valentine's dinner prepared by themselves. 

" What a spectacular experience! Pilar's kitchen transformed what would have been a typical Valentine's dinner date into a magical ride! Starting with six of us boys preparing a five star meal for our spouses to the most romantic candle light dinner. Pilar's attention to detail and her amazing cooking tips turned us into Micheline chefs over two hours. You should have seen the look on our surprised wives' faces when they walked in the room! Thank you Pilar's Pantry for the most memorable Valentine's date."        (Roland Salman)  



Woman  Empowerment Month 

YPO Gold organised a cooking event with us in order to celebrate Woman Empowerment Month.

This group of ladies prepared a full Spanish tapas buffet to celebrate the month of Women's Empower.  They also enjoyed a presentation and tasting of the most exclusive Spanish Virgin Olive Oils currently in the market. 



Teenager's Cooking Class  

The best way for young adults to learn how to cook while having fun and making new friends. They always leave the class with good food and big smile !

" I love cooking and Pilar's Pantry's courses helped my learn new and creative dishes"

                                           - Lucas, 13 years old


Maids Trainings Courses

Pilar's Pantry is well known for its Maid's Training Courses that we have divided into three levels: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. We provide a certificate of completion at the end of each level.


Article :


Pilar Bestué Cardiel

During these days of confinement, many interesting activities have emerged to make life more enjoyable for those of us at home, and one of the most common has been a love of cooking.

Many people have launched into cooking with greater or lesser fortune, but all of them have put their best disposition to prepare rich and healthy recipes to make their life and that of their loved ones more bearable.

One of the most recurring hobbies has been making confectionery: biscuits, muffins, cookies and homemade breads. It is curious to see the statistics on the tremendous increases in the use of flour, yeast, butter, baking paper, etc ... since the start of the pandemic, with digits never seen until now. And, with this, frequently asked questions have arisen in the different gastronomic forums about the types of yeast that can be found on the market and the use of each of them.

Since many of us who live in Dubai are not even familiar with this ingredient in our countries, I thought it would be useful in this article to try to answer questions such as: what type of yeast can I use to make bread or biscuits? Can I use chemical yeast, ie. baking powder, to make bread? Can I substitute baking powder for baking soda? Or, what are the differences between fresh and dry yeast? Also, I will try to illustrate through photographs the different types of yeasts and where to get them in the UAE, mainly in Dubai, which is where I live. In this way I intend that the unique world of yeast ceases to represent a problem for many of you. 

First thing first: What is yeast?.


Yeast is a living organism. It is made up of naturally origin fungi isolated and cultivated by man for centuries to make bread and alcoholic beverages. Being a living organism, it needs food and moisture to thrive. Yeast feeds on sugar and converts it to alcohol and carbon dioxide through fermentation. Alcohol is useful, for example, in beer making and carbon dioxide is responsible for stretching and expanding the dough. For thousands of years, yeast has been part of the bread making process, constituting, along with flour, water and salt, the four basic ingredients of this essential food in the Mediterranean diet. Therefore, its role in making bread is essential to cause the dough to increase in size and to form the soft, spongy structure of the crumb. In addition, it contributes to the flavor and aroma of the bread.


The properties provided by yeast come mainly from its proteins and carbohydrates. With hardly any fat added, and with very few calories, this ferment can significantly increase the nutritional interest of the dishes that incorporate it as an ingredient.


Once we know what yeast is, the next question is: How many types of yeast are there?


Bakers keep alive (and treasure) the yeasts they use every day to make their bread. They call "sourdough" a pasty mixture in which they keep their yeast fungus alive day after day by feeding it regularly by adding more flour and water. Every day, a part of that sourdough is removed and mixed with normal dough. It is left to rest for several hours so that the fungi of the sourdough invade the rest of the dough and a general fermentation begins. After this time the bread can be baked.


As it is not possible for everyone to use “sourdough”, there are two types of yeast on the market that are more accessible: fresh yeast that is sold diced and dry yeast that is sold as instant and dry active yeast. In both cases, the yeast is made up of fungi that we can revive by adding warm water and flour.


Fresh yeast contains active and highly perishable live yeasts, so it must be stored in the fridge and has a shelf life of no more than 10 days (although it can be frozen). To use it, crumble over the dry ingredients or dissolve in the liquid used in the recipe. This type of yeast is not easy to come by in Dubai. The only place I have found it (and not always) is in the bakery section of Carrefour.

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Picture1. Fresh yeast.


Dry yeast, on the other hand, contains live yeasts at rest and has a longer shelf life because it has dried. It is granulated and sold in small packages. It is dormant and, if the package is not yet open, it can be stored at room temperature for a long time. Its reactivation occurs during kneading. This type of yeast is very easy to find in practically all the usual supermarkets in Dubai, both in individual doses (in sachets) and in larger sizes for those who use it more often. There are various brands and they all act similarly.

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Picture 2. Dry yeast.›

Purely chemical compounds that do not contain any fungus are also called "yeast". This is the yeast known as baking powder. It is basically a mixture of an acid and sodium bicarbonate that when mixed with water or another liquid and heat, its mineral compounds decompose into gas and act as gasifying agents causing an increase in volume to the batter. It perfectly fulfills the task of "lifting" a dough, but it lacks something very important: it does not give flavour. Yeasts from fungi have the additional characteristic of giving bread a special flavour, something that is not achieved if we use chemical gasifiers.

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Picture 3. Baking Powder.›

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Picture 4. Bicarbonate of Soda.›

Now, our third relevant question regarding yeast: How and what is each type of yeast used for?


Bakery yeasts, both fresh and dried, are used to make bread, pizza dough, pies and certain pastries that have a lot of fat and need more strength to grow, such as brioche, Roscón de Reyes or Panettone. These natural yeasts act before baking, they serve to ferment the dough before putting it in the oven, so it is necessary to leave enough time for the dough to rise. To use them it is better to dissolve them in a little warm water, but not hot because too high temperatures would kill the living organisms that are present in this type of yeast.


Chemical yeasts, on the other hand, are used for sponge cakes and muffins, making them spongy and act during cooking, so there is no need to let the dough rest before putting it in the oven. Usually they are mixed with the flour before incorporating them into the rest of the recipe.


Both baking soda and baking powder  help our sponge cakes, muffins, or cookies to be fluffy and grow in size when in the oven. The difference is in how they are activated.


Bicarbonate of soda is a chemical compound that is activated with a liquid and an acidic ingredient, and in the heat it decomposes into carbon dioxide, which is what makes the masses sponge. Bicarbonate of soda does not give good taste to our preparations unless it is neutralized with an acid, such as lemon or vinegar, which, in addition, is what also helps carbon dioxide to be released more quickly. In our Mediterranean pastry it is not used too much; It is more typical of Anglo-Saxon countries pastry.

With respect to baking powder, this is nothing more than sodium bicarbonate to which an acid has already been added, and also a starch, which is usually made from corn, and protects it from caking. To activate it, all you need to do is add a liquid or reach a certain temperature, depending on the type of chemical impeller.

Therefore, if we are told in a recipe that we have to add buttercream or some other acidic ingredient such as yogurt, lemon, honey, pure cocoa or vinegar, we should use bicarbonate of soda. In those recipes where there is no ingredient of an acidic nature, for example eggs, milk, flour and sugar, we would choose the baking powder as a driving agent.

With this explanation I hope I have been able to solve all your doubts about the different types of yeast and how and when to use them. Now, you can enjoy your pastry creations without any fear of failure. Enjoy!

Pilar Bestué Cardiel

Founder of Pilar´s Pantry


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