The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Free Yeast in England

ClaireC's picture

Free Yeast in England

I've always heard rumours that if you went to a big supermarket in the UK and asked for fresh yeast, they would give you some for free.  I'd always dismissed this as an urban myth - and a fairly unlikely one at that, until I heard it mentionned as fact on BBC Radio 4 (and everything I ever learnt comes from Radio 4).

I was too shy to try it myself, so I sent my husband in and he came out triumphant with about 100g of fresh yeast in a little bag which a member of staff from the in-store bakery had happily given him.  Is this unique to Tesco's or do other places do it to?

What I'd really like to know is - Why?  Why do they give it away free, rather than sell it?  Or just say, "No, get your own yeast?"

I would speculate it might go back to some ancient bakery-related law, but I've got nothing to base that on, except guess work.  Can anyone throw any light on this very pleasant mystery?

Syd's picture

My guess is that they give it away because it is ridiculously cheap and there isn't a high demand for it.  You can buy it here in Taiwan from baker specialist shops in 500g blocks for next to nothing.  With such a low demand I can't imagine much of a profit can be made from it unless it was marked it up by a few hundred percent.  The fact that it doesn't  have a great shelf life doesn't help matters, either.  With such little profit made from it, it will hardly do to have most of it expiring on the shelf before it is bought.   

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

fresh yeast in the local grocery stores here. When I asked the owner of our local bakery a question about one of his sweet doughs, he volunteered to give me fresh yeast "anytime I want." I haven't had the need to take him up on his offer as yet.



GaryJ's picture

Thanks for the tip. I may well try that next time I'm in Tescos.

However, if you do ever need some fresh yeast and your local Tesco isn't so generous/obliging - Morrisons supermarkets here in the UK sell it. I think it is around 39p for a pack of 4 foil wrapped 30g blocks. You can usually find it near the butter.