The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cake Yeast

dragonLady's picture

Cake Yeast

I found a recipe book from 1955 that has some bread recipes in it. There are a few that I would like to try but they call for "cake yeast". I cannot find a cake of yeast would someone please tell me how much granulated yeast to use as a replacement for 1 cake yeast?

LindyD's picture

I did a quick search here and found a link to Wild-Yeast's blog

Hope this helps you out.  

dghdctr's picture

If you're using the old-fashioned "active dry yeast" (which works just fine), use about 50% of the weight called for with cake yeast (otherwise known as compressed yeast, or just fresh yeast).  Active dry yeast is the one that works best when you revive it first in warm water.

If you're using instant dry yeast (sometimes called bread machine yeast or rapid-rise yeast) you might try anywhere from 33% to 40% of the fresh or "cake" weight.  Instant yeast is the kind of dry yeast that you add directly to the flour, with no prior resuscitation in warm water.  You can often find it sold in jars, as well as the usual envelopes.

The reason I'm specifying a range for instant instead of just saying "33%" (as the manufacturer recommends) is because instant was originally designed for loaves in high-production scenarios where the dough is proofed at temperatures like 85 degrees F or higher.  If your room temperature is significantly lower than that, and you want the same rate of fermentation as you get with cake yeast, you might find that 40% is a better conversion.  Testing (by Didier Rosada) of artisanal-oriented loaves proofed at only 78-80 degrees or so resulted in the 40% conversion as a recommendation for those conditions.

Your bread will turn out fine in either case, but you might find that the 33% conversion to instant yeast leaves you with a slightly slower fermentation and final proof.  Nothing wrong with that, as long as you know what to expect.

--Dan DiMuzio