The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

what is the best way to store yeast to make it last

hlieboff59's picture

what is the best way to store yeast to make it last

I've been reading up on this. I bought yeast from costco on 8/13/11 and over the weekend had to throw it out because it lost all of its muster/strength after my dough failed to rise on several bakes. There was like over half left. I kept in a tupperware on the bottom shelf in my frig. And everytime I open it up condensation would enter the yeast, lessening it's strength. I've read where some people just keep it in a baggie in the freezer and just take out what you need for your bakes.

What does everyone here do in storing their yeast to preserve it to last more than one year. It's cheap enough to buy once a year, but still would like to know how everyone stores it.

thanks for your help. Howard

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

I buy the Fleischmann's Instant yeast from Sam's Club (2 lb for < $5). It comes in vacuum packed foil bags. I leave the bags on the shelf at room temperature until I open them.  Then I carefully open one so I can roll the top back down tight, put a rubber band on it and leave it in the freezer. I also have one of the small brown jars (4 oz)  that I once bought yeast in. I refill it from the bag out of the freezer and keep it in the fridge and use it from the jar as needed, then refill from freezer again.

I have done this for several years and never had a problem with yeast even though it lasts me a long time. Also never notice any difference if the yeast came out of the fridge or freezer in terms of rising speed. I always add the yeast to the dry ingedients (except salt) and mix before adding liquid.


Crider's picture

Kept it in the freezer, and last time I used it — nothing. It had passed the expiration date.

GAPOMA's picture

Like Wayne, I buy my Fleischmann's from Sam's Club in the vacuum packed bricks and leave it on the shelf at room temperature until I open it.  Once opened, I pour it into a 4-cup "Lock-n-Lock" plastic container and keep it in the freezer.  (It's one of those plastic containers that has a "clip" on each side and a rubber/vinyl o-ring in the lid.  I got it at either Target or my local grocery store, nothing special.  This container perfectly holds 1 lb of yeast and fits nicely in the door of my freezer.)  

I have kept this yeast for at least a year (or more) like this.  My only precaution is that when I remove it from the freezer I open it, use what I need, and close and refreeze it immediately.  I don't leave it open to gather excess moisture.

- Greg

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I bought a bag of Red Star ADY from Costco in 2009, store it in a Rubbermaid container in the freezer, and it's still working for me.

yy's picture

I buy 1 lb vacuumed foil packs of SAF yeast. Once I open a package, I split it into eight 2 oz portions and vacuum pack the portions in durable plastic bags using a foodsaver machine. I leave one portion in the fridge at a time in a tightly lidded glass jar, and stash the rest in the freezer.

jaywillie's picture

I keep my SAF yeast in the freezer, in stainless steel food containers with a solid seal and easy open. The containers I have are just the right size for a pound of yeast. I go through a pound of regular yeast (SAF Red) within a year, and it has never failed me. I don't worry at all about any condensation when opening the container, although I get what I need and close it up without lingering.

I also keep SAF Gold yeast (osmotolerant) in the freezer; it's probably at least three years old and it still works fine every time I use it. 

A freezer baggie is not going to work for yeast. Even the best allow oxygen and water vapor to infiltrate the contents within about three weeks, according to Cooks Illustrated's tests.

yy's picture

I looked up the Cook's Illustrated test. They looked only at zip-top bags marketed as freezer bags. The bags made for vacuum packaging are a thicker material with a different texture and are heat-sealed by the machine. I'm sure there is also variation in the vacuum bag materials that different companies use - do you know if Cook's Illustrated has looked specifically at vacuum bags? My experience has been that the vacuum sealing has been quite reliable. After several months, the packages of yeast are still rock hard, as they were when they arrived in the original SAF packaging. I don't see any signs of air infiltration or leakage.

yy's picture

They have done a review of vacuum sealers after all. They note that not all vacuum bags are of the same quality. Some are only 0.01 mm thicker than a regular zip-top bag, but can be up to 0.03 mm thicker. They also said that ice crystals can poke holes through the plastic. Maybe putting vacuumed bags inside another ziploc bag will provide an extra layer of protection against that? I haven't seen ice buildup on the outside of my packages, but the freezer I'm currently using seems to be one of the less frosty ones.


It turns out that jagged ice crystals can poke pinholes through plastic, letting air and moisture seep in. At 0.05 mm thick, the winning model’s bags were 0.02 mm thicker than the runner-up bags, and 0.03 mm thicker than a standard zipper-lock bag. Small as it may seem, that extra protective bulk made a lot of difference and pushed our winner to the top.

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

I bought a pound of SAF yeast at Whole Paycheck Foods and keep it in the freezer in the bag it came in within a square tupperware container. So far the yeast still works fine and has outlived its expiration date.

mrfrost's picture

Perfectly packaged as is(almost). Store in freezer or refrigerator.

I keep mine in the original packaging(the plasticized foil bag), carefully opened, clipped closed(remove as much air as possible),  then placed in a freezer bag.

This has lasted, stored in the freezer, well over 2 years, even without all the vacuum sealing. I take a few weeks worth out at a time, and store in the fridge in a little brown jar. Still great loaves and rolls with just about 1/4 tsp yeast.

Best to check the dates when you buy though, to ensure you purchase the "freshest" dates possible. It's not unheard of for the dates to be expired on the store shelf.

Cyberider's picture

I keep mine in the fridge in the foil bag it comes in with a plastic clip over the small opening I cut to pour it out from.  I just finished a bag that expired in 2008 and it was still fine.   It is instant yeast in a one-pound bag.  I don't expect my new bag will be that far out-of-date by the time I finish it!

clazar123's picture

I keep mine in the freezer and have used it for several years past it's freshness date. Works well. It was frozen well before the freshness date-I bought several containers so cheaply I couldn't pass it up. They were in a multipack so I had no choice on the quantity.


Clae's picture

I store mine In the original container in the freeze. I buy Lowens Instant yeast which is in what looks like a Pringles packet. If I cant get that then I buy the sachet or bagged ones and place them in this tub.

golfermd's picture

Like everyone else I buy it by the pound (from NY Bakers, btw Stan is great to work with), and put it in a Zip Lock container in the freezer. That quantity lasts approximately 7 months, and has worked just fine.


pezking7p's picture

I buy active dry (in the brown jar) and keep it in the freezer.  I've kept it this way for at least a year before without issue.