The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fresh Yeast

andrew_l's picture

Fresh Yeast

Having used sourdough starter now for some years, and tinned dried yeast on my boat, I decided I wanted to try fresh yeast again. It is YEARS since I used this! Buying it was a problem - the local health food shop had none, or the local supermarkets.


Eventually I asked at a HUGE supermarket bakery, who said they didn't sell fresh yeast but they would GIVE me some! The man went off, and came back with a ball of yeast which I weighed when I got home. 8 ounces! 


I made a mixed grain loaf and loved the smell (so much nicer than dried yeast) and the way it behaved. But this took half an ounce! I'll make pizza this week, and more bread - I'll try ciabatta with it and probably foccaccia  - but how long does fresh yeast keep?


Any advice as to what else to make to use it up, and for storage in a fridge? Can I make a dough and keep that going, in the manner of a sourdough?





qahtan's picture


 I only ever use fresh yeast now, and do all my yeast baking with it....

 The old way was to cream it with a little sugar till it goes to a sort of syrup, only takes moments, but now I just crumple it in to my flour and water/ale adding the salt last.

A friend in Sussex UK usually gets a lump of yeast given to him by Sainsbury's, here in Canada I buy about 1/2 pound at a time, it's quite cheap.


Tulcat's picture

In the fridge fresh yeast lasts weeks at the most (but if it is already weeks old you might only have days). Once it starts going bad it will start to turn dark at the edges.

For longer storage, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then foil and freeze for 2-3 months. Be sure and thaw in the fridge before using.

nbicomputers's picture

actualy i have had fresy yeast last for about 2 month in the fridg.  when it dryes at the edge just cut the dry spots off and the rest will be fine  i
f stored in plastic wrap it will not dry at all. 

when fresh the gray clay looking stuff will crumble sharply

when the yeast is getting old it feels and presses like putty or modeling clay.

rossb's picture

I buy large blocks of fresh yeast from my local Whole Foods bakery dept. A pound costs $1.19. I'm never quite sure how much to use - all recipes these days call for dry yeast. Suggestions?

gaaarp's picture

Ross, I have a converter chart.  I won't be home until Saturday, but if no one else responds in the meantime, I'll post it.  Phyl

dougal's picture

I seem to be the FAQ !!


"Dry yeast" could mean instant-mix OR actively dried. 

They are NOT AT ALL the same thing, and NOT equivalent for usage.

10 weights of fresh is about equivalent to 3 of instant.

(or 4 of that other stuff)

So you need either 2.5 or 3.3 times the weight if using fresh (because fresh/compressed/cake yeast is mostly water), and that is dependant on which "dry" yeast your recipe specifies.


Note that at $3.49 per pound (from PleasantHillGrain) SAF Red (Instant) is actually cheaper per loaf than your price for fresh (because its equivanelt to over 3lb of 'fresh') -- and, kept in the fridge, in a closed jar, you'll probably never ever waste any.

umaier's picture

I have been baking for many years with dry yeast. All my bread baking books say that there is no difference between using dry yeast as compared to fresh yeast.

Recently I found a bakery where I bought fresh yeast. The fresh yeast is 10 times better! The difference is that the bread loaves(using fresh yeast) don't brown as fast when baking. Before using dry yeast the bread was browning so fast that the bread was not baked inside to the same degree.

The fresh yeast has also a very different smell and I would say it almost smells cheesy.

I also should mention that the bread using fresh yest has a better crumb, crustier crust and a superior taste in comparison to the bread I used to bake with rapid rise dry yeast

Now that I have used fresh yeast I will never use dry yeast again.

mysterysinc's picture

I have heard so much about fresh yeast, that I really want to try it, but where do I buy it.  I am on Long Island in NY.


I have been unsuccesful in finding it in the local bakery or food stores.  Are there online sites to purchase it?