The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

some newbie questions

zoe34's picture

some newbie questions

Hi I am new here,  I've introduced myself on the intro forum.  Got a couple of questions. 

I've used some fresh yeast which I got from my supermarket this morning. It looks like a block of fresh yeast.  Said that because I seem to think that not all fresh yeast is the same?

1) do you know how long I can keep this in my fridge?

2)I think it might be worth freezing it.  I have read a few posts which say this is possible.  I did ask the supermarket baker and he said no I can't?

3) I have bought Richard Bertinet book and really starting with that.  I have seen on youtube some ways of making bread which I have never heard before.  A no knead method. I did this the other day and I would have been quite good I think if I hadn't used 100% brown flour.  Too heavy.  Whats the verdict on this method in terms of taste and texture etc.  I need to try this again with some white flour to really understand.  I seem to feel that there must be a trade off somewhere.  I have also seen a book which seems to use a poolish of dough which is kept in the fridge for a week - bread in five minutes a day or something.  I am intreeged but again this that there is trade off. 


My first real yeast bread is nearly ready can't wait...

regards Zoe

xaipete's picture

I don't think you can freeze it. How long you can keep it in your refrigerator depends, probably, on its expiration date. I think this stuff is usually good for a couple of weeks. A lot of people prefer "instant yeast". Yeast is a big subject. Every brand and type is different and works differently. Active dry yeast needs to be activated or proofed in warm water before using. Yeast types have evolved a lot over the years, especially since the early 1980s (if I recall correctly). I use SAF instant red yeast purchased from King Arthur Flour online. It gives me great, consistent results and is very easy to use and store.

This site has a FAQ on yeast.



xaipete's picture

Published September 1, 2004.

Can you sort out yeast label confusion? And can they be substituted for each other?

Despite indications to the contrary—created by the commercial largesse of the yeast companies—there are only three types of yeast: fresh, active dry, and instant. All are derived from the powerful brewer's yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but each is processed from a slightly different strain of this protypical yeast.

Types Fresh Yeast: The original commercial yeast, known as fresh, compressed, or cake yeast is about 70 percent water by weight and is composed of 100 percent living cells. It is soft and crumbly and requires no proofing—fresh yeast will dissolve if it is simply rubbed into sugar or dropped into warm liquid. Owing to qualities associated with its strain, fresh yeast will produce the most carbon dioxide of all three types of yeasts during fermentation. Fresh yeast is considered fast, potent, and reliable, but it has a drawback: it is highly perishable and must be refrigerated and used before its expiry date.

Active Dry: Active dry yeasts arrive at their granular state by undergoing processes that reduce them to 95 percent dry matter. Traditional active dry yeast is exposed to heat so high that many of its cells are destroyed in the process. Because the spent outer cells encapsulate living centers, active dry yeast must first be dissolved in a relatively hot liquid (proofed) to slough off dead cells and reach the living centers.

Instant Yeasts: Also called "Instant," "Rapid Rise," or "Bread" instant yeasts are also processed to 95 percent dry matter, but are subjected to a gentler drying process than active dry. As a result, every dried particle is living, or active. This means the yeast can be mixed directly with recipe ingredients without first being dissolved in water or proofed. It is in this context that the yeast is characterized as "instant." We prefer instant yeast in the test kitchen. It combines the potency of fresh yeast with the convenience of active dry, and it is considered by some to have a cleaner flavor than active dry because it contains no dead cells. (In our months of testing, we found this to be true when we made a lean baguette dough but could detect no difference in flavor when using the two yeasts in doughs made with milk, sugar, and butter.)

Substitution Formulas
To substitute active dry for instant (or rapid rise) yeast: Use 25 percent more active dry. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of instant yeast, use 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry. And don't forget to "prove" the yeast, i.e. dissolving it in a portion of the water from the recipe, heated to 105 degrees. 

To substitute instant (or rapid rise) yeast for active dry: Use about 25 percent less. For example if the recipe calls for 1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast, use 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant yeast. And you do not need to prove the yeast, just add it to the dry ingredients.

To substitute fresh yeast for active dry yeast, use a ratio of roughly 2:1, i.e. use one small cake (0.6 ounce) of compressed fresh yeast in lieu of 1 packet (.25 ounces) of active dry yeast.

Note a packet of active dry or instant yeast contains about 2 1/4 teaspoons (.25 ounces) of yeast.


Mel2's picture

I get fresh yeast free from the bakery in Tesco and it tends to last for a good month in the fridge. I keep it in a little tuppaware box.

flournwater's picture

I have no experience with fresh yeast and, because I assume your super market baker may have given you specific advice for fresh yeast and not yeast in general, I won't contradict what he told you.  I use active dry yeast and I freeze it routinely without difficulty.  In your place I might try freezing some of the fresh yeast for a month or two and doing a side by side comparison with the frozen and newly acquired fresh at some future point to determine for myself what actually does and does not work.

zoe34's picture

thanks I didn't realise that fresh yeast could last that long.  zoe