The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using Fresh Yeast?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Using Fresh Yeast?

I have been reading the historical threads on fresh yeast, trying to get a handle on how best to convert my recipes and how best to measure the proper amount. The old school seems to be to cream the yeast with a small amount of sugar and a bit of the water from the recipe. Then It seems like some crumble it into the flour with the fingers which is my practice using instant.

Then the question of should I try to scoop into a teaspoon? I'm inclined to think it would be better to weigh the grams with the scale. With dry, it is easier for me to use a measure. I understand it is a 3:1 ratio for fresh over IDY and if you want to be picky, you need to hold back a few grams of liquid due to the water in the fresh yeast. My IDY weighs about 3g per tsp so an equivalent in fresh would be 9g.

For all of you who have been using fresh yeast please jump in here and tell me if I have the right idea on using fresh. My plan is to stop as of now with the IDY in the freezer and not look back. Most of my breads have some SD component in them but I am looking forward to this change. I'm also hoping that I too will experience the better crust and crumb that I have read so much about. Wish me luck!

Eric

rick.c's picture
rick.c

Hi Eric,

I really hadn't thought there was a difference.  Yeast is yeast right?  I mean, the yeast companies have hired people way smarter than us to develop the dry, and instant yeast to give us the best that yeast has to offer with the convenience of shelf life, not to mention instantness.

I do hope you are right though!  Please point me at or towards testamonials that fresh yeast is best.  And/ or let us know the results of your experimentation, as I am sure you will.  Heck, it will probably be a year from now that all TFLers will have a fresh yeast culture growing right next to the sourdough starter.

Again, Good Luck and I look forward to hearing of your results!

Rick

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Eric,

I'm only using fresh yeast.

Over here, cubes of fresh yeast weighing 50gr. are available in any grocery store, and they cost next to nothing. I think both Hamelman and Suas suggest a 3:1 substitution ratio between fresh and IDY, so you've got that down. When using fresh yeast, weigh it! Best of luck :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And have to say I like fresh but instant sure is convenient.  I wouldn't throw the instant away just yet and keep it as a back up if the fresh goes bad or you run out in the middle of a project.  It can happen.  You might be back to instant in a few months.   I tend to go back and forth.

Weigh it.  Just cut with a knife.  If it comes in cubes, a little practice and you will soon know if you need half a cube, a fourth, what ever.  If you have a bigger block, take a ruler and just drag the knife across making light markings so you can cut off roughly as needed.  You might want to list weights for amount equiv.  on a 3x5 card inside your baking cupboard.  

I have frozen the cubes, might check into that.

I use a postal scale in Linz when I have to. 

Good luck,   Mini

ehanner's picture
ehanner

hansjoakim-Mini, do you find the strength varies with age as the remainder sits in the cooler? One of the great things with IDY is that it stores so well in the freezer it's about the same today as it would be a year from now. Is it fair to say the performance doesn't change much in 60  days if stored at 40F?

Eric

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi Eric,

I think you should treat fresh yeast as a "fresh" ingredient to your doughs. Most of the fresh yeast I buy at my local grocery store carries a "best before" date which is usually 2 to 3 weeks from date of purchase. I guess you can still use it beyond that date, but its leavening power (live yeast cell count) will be reduced as time goes by. I haven't thought about long-time storage in the freezer, since fresh yeast is so readily obtainable and cheap around here. I've read that you can freeze fresh yeast for 3 to 4 months just fine. Simply cut the yeast into smaller block size bits, and seal 'em and freeze 'em. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using! :)

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks hansjoakim,

I think I'll follow that advice and freeze half of this until I get the feel for handling it.

Eric

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

NO!

and use twice as much fresh as dried no more!

suave's picture
suave

In the olden times my grandmother used to buy yeast in 4 oz sticks which she kept in a low drawer right under the freezer - she had one of those very old fridges where the freezer was not a separate compartment but a metal box inside the fridge.  Her yeast never gone bad.  I'm just saying.

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

If in doubt, do a google search! "Freezing fresh yeast" turns up lots of hits, and they're all pretty much unanimous. YES, you can freeze fresh yeast. Just make sure you wrap it properly first. Defrost before use, and use preferrably within 24 hours after removing from the freezer.

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

for all the birds to be flying in the wrong direction

25 plus years of expirence has taught me that you do not frezze fresh yeast since it will last 2 months at 40 F and at 35 F it will last longer

frezing will cause the contence ( the guts) to freez and expand breaking the cell wall when it is is unfrozen the guts pour out resulting in dead cells.

ever see a frozen glass milk bottle

Nathan's picture
Nathan

Hi Eric,

I, like Hansjoakim, only use fresh yeast. 20-gram cubes are available here in the supermarkets, though I tend to get mine from a local baker because it's higher quality. According to Hamelman, the fresh to dry yeast ratio is 3.3:1. Although I have not frozen any fresh yeast, I do have friends that do. Just make sure you store it properly (I'm thinking tupperware or somethign similar) before doing so.

Depending on the recipe and since I only mix by hand, I either rub the fresh yeast into the flour before adding any liquid or dissolve it in some liquid before adding it to the flour/dry ingredients. If you use a mixer, you probably don't need to do that and can just chuck it in while mixing.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks Nathan, I appreciate hearing from you. Having used IDY for so long, I have come to be quite casual about how I use it. In general,  try to mix all my dry ingredients well before getting them wet. Even the salt goes in with the other dry items. When I see swirls in the crumb after having added WW or rye to a white mix, it reminds me that I need to do a better job of mixing the dry items. That in mind, I'm doubtful that salt added after autolyse is really fully incorporated, especially now that kneading is at a minimum and most every loaf is hand mixed.

I'm about to mix a double batch of Black Pepper Rye and plan to try out my fresh yeast crumble skills. When I have time, I want to make a side by side comparison of an Italian mix with a biga to see 1.)If they look the same, 2.)See if they taste the same and 3.) determine the correct ratio for converting this particular fresh yeast product compared to the IDY I used in the other batch.

Eric

Nathan's picture
Nathan

If there's a combination of different flours being used in the formula, I've gotten into the habit of mixing my flour with a whisk before adding liquid. I'm not sure that this is necessary but I don't think it can hurt. In my hand-mixing experience, I've noticed that the salt is fully incorporated in the dough after about 30 seconds to a minute of active mixing. I suppose this depends on your hand-mixing technique and speed. I use a 'low-flying' adaptation of Richard Bertinet's method. I don't really lift the dough high and slap it down. Instead, I lift the dough enough to give it a quarter turn and use the friction on my work surface to pull the dough towards me and fold it over, at which point I repeat the entire process. When I add the salt to the dough after the autolyse period the first thing I notice is that it immediately pulls water out of the dough -this really threw me when I first started baking, but thanks to Hamleman's and Dimuzio's I've learned that salt, like sugar, are hygroscopic. Once I start mixing the dough wants to pull apart, though after a few 'turns' the salt seems to work its way in.

The side-by-side experiment sounds interesting. I look forward to the results.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Anything with water in it is subject to the same destruction when it freezes. There are a few other things I can think of that will work after freezing but not as well. Thanks Norm.

Eric