The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

observations on fresh yeast

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

observations on fresh yeast

In my neighborhood, fresh yeast is available in supermarkets only during the Christmas holiday season. I bought a couple of the 2 ounce packages this past season and have been using the yeast to bake my bread and pizza. The two packages I bought have a date of 12/25/2013 stamped on the bottom. I bake pizza once a week and generally bake a couple of loaves of bread each week as well.  I still have exactly 1.5 oz. of the second cake remaining in my fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, sitting in the butter saver.

I generally use the no knead method for my pizza, so less yeast is needed, but even so, I find the miniscule amount of this fresh yeast required amazing! I don't even bother proofing it any more. I just cut off a tiny chunk with a paring knife, dissolve it along with a teaspoon of sugar in water, and add the requisite amount of flour. The photo is pizza dough made with 2.5 cups of water, 5 cups of AP flour, and about 1/8th ounce of fresh yeast. Dough was mixed 5 hours ago and stirred down three times during that time to prevent it escaping the bowl. It was last stirred down about 15 minutes ago.

I'll generally keep a batch of dough anywhere from a day to four days in the fridge before baking. The taste of bread and pizza made from this dough is wonderful. I use the same technique with instant yeast with good results, but not quite as good as with the fresh.

I am curious to know other's experience with this type of yeast.

Breadandwine's picture

Hi Granpa Larry

I always use fresh yeast - I teach, in 2-hour sessions, and fresh yeast just works faster than the instant stuff for my purposes.

I've done some experimenting on the keeping qualities of this yeast, and I've found that it will keep for at least 3 months, tightly wrapped in foil, at the bottom of the fridge. My suspicion is that it'll keep even longer than that, but I doubt anyone would need to keep it for more than three months!

I currently have some yeast in the fridge which is getting on for 5 months old - it spent 3 months in foil as described, and it's now in a tub of water, in the fridge (after a fridge/freezer mishap). I have blogged about it here:

I'm just leaving it there to see how long it'll still be OK. It seems obvious to me that exclusion of air, however that is achieved, is the secret.

As for it being better than instant yeast, I'd probably agree with you. Dried active yeast is pretty good, but you'd have to do a blind tasting to discover which is best, I reckon!




timmytwo's picture

When you buy fresh yeast what do you buy? Is they a specific strain?

Grandpa Larry's picture
Grandpa Larry

It's just 2 ounce blocks of Red Star fresh yeast. I got the remainder of a package out of the fridge day before yesterday and noticed it had developed mold. I tossed it. I guess I'll go back to instant yeast since the fresh likely won't be found around here until next Christmas.

I was really enjoying working with it, too.