The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

freezing yeast

rayel's picture
rayel

freezing yeast

I know this topic has been discussed to death, but I am getting mixed information regarding the efficacy of freezing instant yeast. I had been using the remains of a one pound block of instant yeast stored in my freezer, in one large mouthed container, for several months. The use by date is somewhere in 2011. Gradually my bread has become ever smaller, and on a hunch that it might be the yeast i was using, I switched to fresher, active dry in small foil packets. The rise seems to be back for the last couple of bakes. Has anyone had a similar experience? Should I have frozen it in smaller containers, where the exposure to moisture would have affected only the smaller qty?


Thanks, Ray

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I store my larger yeast varieties wrapped in the freezer. Smaller jars labeled with about a months supply in my refrigerator. No problems so far. I think opening and closing it for use from the freezer lets to much moisture in on the yeast.
Sylvia

radanko's picture
radanko

I feel that Ray (original message about this subject) may have allowed moisture to enter the yeast he stored in a “wide mouth jar”. The best way to store bulk IDY (1# or 2#) is to close the container (a foil laminated bag) tightly after each use and store in the freezer.


I've used IDY that was over 1 year old that was stored this way, and it worked just like the day I purchased it.


In storage - AIR is the problem, because air also contains moisture, especially the air in a refrigerator.


Try increasing the amount of yeast in your recipes with this yeast. You can easily double the recommended amount without effecting the flavor of the product baked.


 


 

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

I keep my yeast in the freezer and haven't noticed a drop in its rising power. I would recommend changing it out every year or so, and making sure it doesn't get too much temp fluxuations (if you open and close the door 50 times a day it'll have more issues tan if you only do it a few times a day). 


Sometimes a batch of yeast just loses it's power, the freezer or fridge is still good for storing yeast. 

Newfieguy's picture
Newfieguy

If you do store yeast in the freezer, when can you use it after taking it out?  Should you let it go up to room temp or can you just put it in right away?  Will the coldness of the yeast coming from the freezer mess up any of the process?


 


Thanks

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi sylvia, for freezer storage, small jars with one month's worth of yeast sounds like the best idea. When the large foil pak, is parcelled out, that would be the only exposure to air, for the most part, except per jar as the need arises to use it. When you say wrapped, is that in addition to small jars? Please explain wrapped. Thanks


Maggie Glezer, in one of her beautiful books, said once the yeast packet has been opened, it has a relatively short life. I wish I could remember the amt. of time she gave it. I believe she was against freezing it for some reason.


Regarding using yeast right out of the freezer, that is what I have read to do. Put it with dry ingredients, and go from there. My flours are kept in the freezer, (at least the whole grain flours) others are refrigerated, as I usually bake every two weeks, more often, only rarely. I find both the flour and yeast become warmed up in a short time, especially in summertime. Thanks all for your tips,  Ray

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Glezer, in Artisan Baking Across America, p. 7, says that, once a large package of dry yeast is opened, it is viable for only 2 to 3 months when stored in the coldest part of the fridge.  She advises against freezing yeast because the yeast cells are damaged.  She goes on to say that, if you buy the yeast in large blocks for the sake of economy, you'll end up throwing most of it away.  I tend to believe her, as I've had decreasing performance as the yeast ages.  I have stored the yeast I think I'll use in a month in a jar in the fridge and at the same time I did freeze the bulk of it, tightly wrapped in a tin for good measure.  But it's not very good now, after several months after I opened it (probably 4 months or so), and I just bought another block from Costco.  However, I have stored compressed fresh yeast, well-wrapped in small, 3/4-oz. portions, in the freezer for about a month, and, although I used one and a quarter times as much as when it was fresh, it remained viable and worked well.


As for sourdough starter or "wild" yeast, I learned how to store it in dried flakes from Eric at Breadtopia on his video.  I learned my lesson there when I tried to freeze a batch of starter without drying it first into flakes.  It died.  So . . . I made a new batch of starter; this was two years ago (after having three years with the first batch); I have not resuscitated the flakes; that will be another episode.


Joyful

rayel's picture
rayel

Thanks joyfulbaker, for refreshing my memory. Nice to hear that someone else experienced this phenomenon at first the difference in rise was subtle, then not so. A little like failng eyesight. Thanks for your input. Ray

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Yes, Ray, also a little like failing hearing, stamina, and so on.  I know what you mean!  (-:


Joyful

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi radanko, of course you're right, re. the wide mouth jar. I don't see how unrolling the foil pak however is any better protection against moisture entering. Using more yeast, well, while the difference might be hard to notice, I think it will make enough difference to throw things off. Flavor being only one of them. Thanks for responding,  Ray

rayel's picture
rayel

I Think it has been close to a year, so tossing it sounds like a good idea. There are things I could probably use it for, like really long, or overnight no kneads, or pizza, where rise is mabey not as important. I think every time it comes out of the freezer, there will be a temperature change. And once moisture gets to it, layer after layer, with each use, the damage is compounded. Thanks for your response.  Ray

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi radanko, I re-read your post, and your method has some merit, by lessening the amt. of air space at the top of the pak. Thanks again, Ray

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi


I'm a new member from the UK. 


 


I purchase fresh artisan yeast (l'hirondelle) in a large block and scale this off into 15g pieces that I then wrap in cling film and freeze in another heavy freezer bag.  I place the number of packets I need into the fridge the night before I bake, to defrost, and use it as normal.  There is no apparent degradation in the 3 or 4 months it takes me to get through one large block.  The 15g packets I prepare are 50% larger than the recipes that I use suggest for fresh yeast but the results are good and the cost is about 15p (20c US) per loaf.

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Hi Ruralidle,


Welcome to TFL!


Thanks for your description of handling fresh yeast.  I've stored it in pretty much the same way, double wrapped in usable packets.  I still have a lot of it in the freezer, so it's helpful hearing how long yours has lasted.  Of course, as time goes by, the amount will increase to ensure the "good results" you mention.


Joyful

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hello joyfulbaker


 


Thanks for the welcome.  The forum seems really friendly and full of people who are far more knowledgeable and experienced in bread baking than I am so I hope I can contribute something whilst learning a lot.  I just need to get my head around the differences between baking in North America and the UK, particularly the use of "cups" as measurement rather than grammes or ounces.


Ruralidle


 

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Ruralidle, the measurements for breads in all my bread recipes are in ounces and grams (note Yankee spelling!).  I derive recipes mostly from authors such as Maggie Glezer, Jeffrey Hamelman, Peter Reinhart, and, just recently, Don Lepard (one of your countrymen, correct?).  I often use a basic recipe for multigrain sourdough bread from my cousin, who owns a bake shop in Marin County, Northern California.  I only use cups when precision is not quite so important (as in a cookie or cake recipe) and cups, teaspoons and tablespoons do just fine.  So the differences in the two countries may not be so great after all!  Isn't the world getting smaller all the time?


Joyful

skiburg's picture
skiburg

I'm currently using Red Star bread machine yeast (don't have machine but store was going out of business and bought it for a song) with a "Best By" date of March 2003.  I've kept if frozen for the whole 9 years and it still works great.  I do start it up in warm water with a touch of sugar, or I just mix it in with the flour, water, and salt and let the whole thing proof in the fridge for 3 to 5 days for a great tasting bagette.  I use to run a small frozen bread dough factory in Denver and the frozen dough (read frozen yeast in the dough) had a shelf life of 3 months, but if handled properly and reworked it would go much longer. 

Anyway the frozen instant yeast is at 9.5 years and still working.

koka2@comcast.net's picture
koka2@comcast.net

   I buy my yeast in 2 lb packages at Costco, put it in pint jars and store in the freezer, keeping out a 4 oz jar of it which I store in the refridgerator, to work from.The last batch lasted over two years,working fine.The  2 lb package that I am using now , handled the same way is over four months old and has given me no problems.I use active dry yeast instead of quick yeast but don't think that would make a differance. I take the 4 oz bottle from the refridgerator and don't bother to let it warm up before I proof it for use.