The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Roger A Hoffman's picture
Roger A Hoffman


Hi to all again. Yeast hospital needed!

I have in hand a very old yeast cake which is probably older than me. My daughter brought it back from The Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, NY, about 50 miles away. Its been in my freezer now for a couple of years, but having read of yeast longevity, I have no doubt that with TLC, vigorous life could be coached back into it. This could date back into the late eighteen hundreds to the 1920's or thirties. I just don't know. I'm sure the folks at this museum would be pleased to offer any information they have re: this yeast. I would be more pleased to hear that one of you might be interested enough to act as a life savior. It's yours for the asking. If more than one of you speak up, I'll do my best to guide it's path. 

will slick's picture
will slick

Just curious you called it a yeast cake. Is it just plain old cake yeast or a specimen of of a culture of wild yeast? I'm not the one to revive it I have enough trouble keeping myself healthy. Ha! I love when i make myself crack up

Bwana B's picture
Bwana B

07 Jan 2009


Howdy Roger:


Technically, the yeast must have food (sugars) and anything that old isn't going to contain any original occupants or their offspring.  Sorry.


It may be possible to moisten it, introduce some flour which may entice some wild, party-animal-type yeast to occupy that once priceless, but for historical and all other intents and purposes, now worthless old piece of junk yeast residence. 


Hey, maybe that's the prehistoric yeast cake that's missing from some museum back east somewhere? There could be a rewared! 


"Well, ladies and gentlemen, guess who just walked into the Rainbow Room high atop the beautiful Plaza Hotel in downtown Blue Eye, Missouri!!! It's 'Old Ned', who use to be 'Just Ned', and before that was called 'Young Ned'. He's Blue Eye's world renound yeast expert - if somebody has a yeast infesction, they call "Old Ned. Since there's no phones in Historic Blue Eye, they just open a door or window and yell for Old Ned, and he comes a limping."


"Hey, OLd Ned, come over here for minute."

"Old Ned, you know Roger - he lives down the road apiece in some place called  NY. Well, Old Ned,  he's come up with this really, really, realy old piece of 'Yeast Cake' and he needs your expert  advice. He needs to know whether or not he should toss this bad looking 'thing' into New York Harbor or Tony Saprano's front yard or, OLd Ned, you'd better sit down for this; or should he try to revive back-to-life the old dead yeast mummy remains.  What say you Old Ned?"

"Hey, Bwana, do you think that's the old yeast cake that went missing from some museum back east?" I wounder if there's a reward? You can tell Roger that OLd Ned said that he should hang on to that old yeast cake - it can't do anything but increase in value."

"Hey, OLd Ned, your a traveling man, I mean you get around, what's NY?"

"I've been all the way up to Gainsville, MO and that's gotta be a fur piece, but that don't matter cause I know all about NY. Thems initials that stand for 'No Yeast'."


 "Well, there you have it ladies and gentlemen and Roger, straight from Old Ned himself.  And we gotta be be signing off now - So, from the Rainbow Room high atop the beautiful Plaza Hotel in dowtown Blye Eye, Missouri, and we wish you and yours good health, calm seas, and trailing winds."