Cider is low in nutrients ... so you might consdier a yeast that does not need much nutrient/nitrogen.
I would stay away from montrachet which is notorious for producing hydrogen sulfide odor particularly if used with low nutrient/higher’ish temperature ferments. I've had more issues with montrachet with H2S than any other.
There’s lots of yeast choices out there but just to pick one ... you might consider Lalvin K1-V1116.
K1-V1116 has low nitrogen needs, has a strong "competitive factor" to fight off other rogue yeasts and organisms, is a low H2S (hydrogen sulfide) producer - sometimes a problem in cider; and 1116 tends to promote the development of esters which can provide fruity and floral notes in the cider. 1116 also preserves natural fruit aroma as well.
If you use this yeast and want to get the most from it as far as ester production, you should carefully keep the ferment at 55 to 58 degrees ... do that *primary* fermentation in an open top bucket fermenter, not a carboy or jug (1116 has higher oxygen needs) ... and tho it has low nutrient needs, you should still use some yeast nutrients (DAP in specific) in a lighter than standard dose (maybe a half dose or so) adding half of the nutrient at the beginning and the other half 2 days after the first signs that the ferment is working.
Because 1116 is a fairly fast fermenter and cider does not have far to go ... and even tho the lower temp will slow the ferment just a bit, make sure you don’t wait longer than 48 hours for that second half of the nutrients to assure they will be used up.
Originally Posted by nufad
If possible, I'd rather avoid back sweetening and stove pasteurizing for my first batch...
As far as avoiding backsweetening or pasteurizing but still having a sweet cider ... I’d say just stick it in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf and that will stop the yeast before it uses up all the sugars.
While you could stabilize the cider with sorbate, this is not typical for ciders.
Another possibility would be to use a yeast with *high* nitrogen needs ... not moderate needs but high needs ... so that the yeast craps out from a lack of nutrients before it uses up all the sugar. (obviously do not use any additional nutrients in the cider with this method)
However most apples grown in modern fertilized orchards have a bit too much nutrient in them for their juice to stall out in ferment without “keeving” which is a method of removing nutrients from the cider ... but if you were going to try it anyway, you might try a wheat yeast, for instance wy3333.
Trying to get the yeast to reliably give it up due to low nutrients is probably not very promising without keeving.
Personally, like I say I’d just put it in the icebox to stop the ferment.