The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Killed the yeast?

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Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Killed the yeast?

I opened a bag of SAF Red instant yeast two weeks ago. Divided it into two vacuum-sealed bags, and stashed it into the freezer. 

Then I read Maggie Glezer's book. She said that freezing damages the yeast, while refrigerating will preserve it for only 3 to 4 months. Still, many of you have frozen yeast successfully.

My yeast may not have survived. Last night I started a poolish that was mixed and immediately refrigerated overnight. Unlike the other times I made this recipe, the poolish was not ready in the morning. Sank like a stone when I tried the float test. 

 Was it the vacuum that hurt the yeast?  Janet
Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

While Ms Glezer discourages the storage of yeast in a freezer, there are quite a few people who post here on TFL that have personal experience that conflicts with her statement. My own experience is that back in August 2009 I bought a 1# bag of Red Star active dry yeast at a nearby Costco.  Ever since, it has been stored in a Rubbermaid container in a freezer and it still works for me. BTW, the container certainly isn't airtight though it may be considered snug. Others here on TFL have suggested putting the bulk of a large yeast purchase in an airtight container in a freezer and keeping a small but practical amount in a lidded container in the fridge.I don't have the qualifications to challenge or question Ms Glezer on matters about baking but I have successfully used yeast from the bag I bought for more than four years.

The next time you start a poolish, let it sit at room temperature for a while before you put it in your fridge. Usually one hour will work out just fine.

 

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Glad to know that the yeast is still alive, and it makes sense that the poolish would need to sit awhile to compensate for freezer chill. Thanks for the advice!

Guess I should break the vacuum seal on the freezer bags, in case it harms the yeast. No point in messing with the success that you and Antilope have freezing yeast at normal pressure.  

Janet

Janet

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Don't worry about those sealed bags.The vacuum seal for the freezer bags is actually a good thing. It keeps moisture out. Open as needed if you haven't already gone to work on them.

Janet Yang's picture
Janet Yang

Fortunately, I haven't broken the seal yet.

There's another factor I hadn't anticipated. When I take the bag out of the freezer, it fogs up because of condensation. So, the freezer is probably not good for a bag of yeast that will be opened frequently. I'll move it to the refrigerator. 

Janet

Antilope's picture
Antilope

in my freezer in the garage for over 5-years (accidentally) and it still baked great bread. The 1-lb foil package was opened and partially used, then stored in a zip lock bag inside of Tupperware. It was pushed behind things in the freezer and had a 2006 expiration date. I found it in 2012 and used up the package. It worked fine to the last tablespoon, making bread machine loaves, French bread, dinner rolls, cinnamon swirl bread, etc. It was Fleishmann's Instant Yeast.

I buy 1-lb packages of Fleishmann's Yeast from Sam's Club (Two 1-lb packs for $4) and store them in the freezer today. Just store them airtight in Tupperware type plastic containers or glass jars. I keep a small jar (1/4 cup) of yeast in the kitchen, at room temperature, for immediate use and replenish it from the freezer stock. The yeast always works and never fails me.

Interloper Mike's picture
Interloper Mike

If my yeast is not dead, I would like to know how to wake it up. About two weeks ago, I also bought 2 pounds of Red Star Active Dry Yeast at Costco. I haven't baked bread for years. I followed lesson 1 but calculated the grams of flour wrong so I got ciabatta rolls but the yeast seemed fine. After this first attempt, I put the yeast in the freezer. Days later When the grand kids got here we mixed up another batch. It didn't rise. A few days later, after reading way to much about the correct temperatures for proofing yeast and the optimal temperature for letting bread rise, I made another batch. Still no good. I went to the grocery store and bought a triple pack of Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast. I split some 105 degree sugar water between two teacups. I added a pinch of Red Star yeast in one cup and a pinch of Fleishmann's yeast in the other. After 10 minutes, the Fleischmann's yeast was foamy and the Red Star yeast looked the same as when I put it in the water. I then proceeded to make two really good loaves of bread with the new yeast. This thread is the first clue I have found as to what happened to my yeast. I had read several places that it is OK to freeze the yeast but I now have my doubts.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You have no way of knowing how the yeast was stored before you got it.  You also might not be the only one with this problem.  Contact Costco.

If it was exposed to too much heat, it could have killed some or most of the yeast.  Freezing would not do what you just described.  I don't know your location, but yeast does need to be protected from sunshine and hot cars in the summer (warm seasons) especially during transportation.