The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fresh Cake Yeast vs Commercial Dry Yeast

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Fresh Cake Yeast vs Commercial Dry Yeast

My most recent endeavor , which was spurred during our most recent Community Bake has been authentic French Traditional Baguettes. With the help of KendalM, T65 french flour that is milled from french grown grain was sourced.

Now, fresh cake yeast is being considered. I think I’ve found a good source for the yeast, but how necessary, if at all, is fresh yeast necessary for authentic baguettes. After reading an  article from the San Francisco Baking Institute it may not be a necessity. The short shelf life and fragile handling is a consideration.

Hopefully those with Fresh Yeast experience will share their opinions.

Thanks,
Danny

bottleny's picture
bottleny

Modernist Cuisine said the same thing in "Is Fresh Yeast Best?" article:

"You might have heard that “fresh is best,” but in truth, yeast is yeast is yeast—Saccharomyces cerevisiae to be specific."

People tend to have bias, thinking "Fresh is more natural and is the best". Even think the dried yeast is not natural.

It's like canned tomato. Many people think canned tomatoes is not as fresh as fresh ones and is bad for you. However, it's not.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

If you were a winemaker I doubt you'd share that "yeast is yeast" view.

All yeast intended for baking are indeed of the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae but in the commercial production of bakers yeast different strains are selected for depending upon the usage scenario. Strains that have good tolerance to dehydration would be ideally selected for in the production of a dried yeast products for example. Also you may have heard of osmotolerant yeast.

With baking, yeast is used mostly for leavening rather than flavour, so in the end there might not be much difference, however there may be some subtle differences in terms of flavour profile.

It's not uncommon for some instant yeast products to include flour treatment agents while fresh yeast doesn't include such additives. Fresh yeast will include a higher dose of bacteria living on and within the block including LAB which may influence the final flavour of the product. Also fresh yeast may contain a greater dose of dead cells which can affect dough handling and flavour too.

As for bias, do you not think the authors of these texts are susceptible to bias...?! 

A fresh tomato is still metabolically alive, canned are not! And canned toms typically include acidity regulators to help prevent spoilage.

I'm not strongly for or against I'm just saying there is a difference where differences exist. 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks, Michael. I really don’t suspect SFBI to have a bias. It they were, I’d venture to guess they’d be inclinded to go with fresh cake yeast, though.

Were it not for spoilage, I go (in a heart beat) for fresh yeast. Delivered, it would cost me $24.59 a pound. 

How long does it remain in tip top condition under proper packaging in the fridge or freezer? I recently learned to that Instant Dry Yeast stored in the freezer will lose potency over time, but still raise raise the dough. And unless tested it will continue to raise bread, but not as efficiently and you’ll never know that it is in the process of weakening. This is important when working with a new formula where time and temperature are controlled to determine fermentation.

Too bad I am unable to source it locally. It would be a “no brainer”...

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

In Indy, some restaurant suppliers are now selling to the general public because so many of their customers are going out of business.

Might be worth it to check some of your locals and see.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Don't worry I hold the SFBI in high regard, just making a point.

Unfortunately that is the obvious downside with fresh - the high perishability. If kept refrigerated well (1-4°C) it should be good for about 4 weeks. Apparently lasts 3-4 months frozen (-18°C) although from personal experience the singular occasion where I tried freezing the results were not optimal and the cake liquified upon defrosting.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Danny I prefer fresh yeast for baking.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

My understanding is:

- fresh yeast is hydrated.

- IDY is dehydrated, and needs hydrated before it can do work, but can be hydrated easily by the dough.

- ADY is dehydrated, and need hydrated before it can do work, but is coated with something that slows the hydration process, so it needs a wetter dough up front, or needs to be soaked in water before added to a less-wet dough.

Is my above understanding correct?  Please correct, if wrong.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If I have fresh yeast, I prefer it to instant dry yeast.  I usually have both on hand, the dry being the "back-up" for the fresh yeast.  I like the aroma of fresh yeast more when adding it to the dough ingredients.  Fresh yeast sets my mood to bake, hard to explain.

Mini

By the way... I keep my fresh yeast wrapped and sitting in a jar with a thin bed of baking soda on the bottom of the jar.  Don't know how it works but doing this keeps the shelf life longer, way longer than without it when stored in the fridge. Lid is screwed on but not tightly. I happened upon this when a yeast cube accidently fell into the open soda dish kept to absorb odors. I found it months later still looking fresh and doing its job to raise bread dough.  I'm small scale home baking so not dealing with large blocks of fresh yeast.

albacore's picture
albacore

The problem with fresh yeast is that its activity declines fairly rapidly with time. By the time you buy it, its activity is probably lower than when it was packaged up for sale - and usually you don'y know how old it is when you buy it.

Keep it in the fridge for a week and its activity will have declined further. The week after that, it will still be usable, but again it will be weaker.

So you will have to put up with variations in fermentation and proofing times. This is not such a big deal for bread but for pizza it is critical; for a 24hr dough, you might be looking at a fresh yeast rate of 0.1%, but if your yeast is one or two weeks old, then you might find that your dough balls are not ready when your oven is up to temp and your guests are hungry.

This is why I prefer IDY - the marginal flavour gains of fresh yeast are outweighed by the unknown of its viability at any point in time.

Lance

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Since I am unable to source the fresh yeast locally, I think IDY will have to do. If I had it shipped in, who knows how old it would be by time it was rec’d.

I would like to try some very fresh cake yeast, though. Just to experience it.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

IMHO, for small home bakes where low percentages are needed it's much easier to measure out fresh yeast.  This recipe for example takes 0.8% so supposing you began with 600g of flour, that's 4.8g.  The conversion to IDY makes that 1.6g which, unless you have a digital scale that is accurate to the 10th of a gram, then it's very easy to over or under shoot.  For the record, i think IDY (version ADY) is closer to Fresh in that they both contain ascorbic acid.  For me, I just enjoy using fresh yeast, strangely I like the smell of it.  Shelf-life, frozen, it lasts for a long time.  A one pound brick, if you're baking often can easily be used within the year of frozen shelf-life.  Case-in-point.  I mixed this same recipe last night and had way too much activity.  Even during the cold ferment it was kind of out of control.  So for me, it just boils down to yeast control (and its fun) 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Geremy, if I can store fresh yeast for year in the freezer, I'm all in. Do you see a drop in performance from a brick that has been frozen for a year?

$25 for a one pound brick (delivered) some very reasonable.

Update - just sent an email to the supplier and asked of they would be willing to ship out right away when they get a new shipment in. Awaiting their answer...

kendalm's picture
kendalm

After 6 months I don't notice any performance differences.  I've also said before here that I sometimes think it seems to have slightly extra kick which is probably just my imagination having doubts that it will perform.  2 side notes.  1. it's really really hard once frozen.  Many people say that it's best to cut it up into small cubes then freeze.  I don't do it because I find it kind of oxidizes a little on the surface so one large chunk means less oxidation.  When I need it, I'll take the full block and use my bread knife to saw off the desired quantity (literally it needs to be sawed because it's like concrete).  The small chunk then defrosts rather quickly.  Second, if you can find a source to pick it up - ie, a local bakery whose willing to sell you one of their many 1 pound blocks, the price is usually 5 bucks.  I know of several bakeries that are willing to hock a block off.  25 delivered, not too bad but if you want to save, ask a bakery ! 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I seriously doubt any bakery within 100 miles or more would use this type yeast. You Cali guys are “upidy”. We have a bakery supplier in New Orleans, maybe they supply restaurants near me. I’ll have to check.

kendalm's picture
kendalm

Even pizza places here use fresh yeast.  I spoke to  one of the local distributors and he just does rounds all over the city.  I think its more common in commercial settings that you might think. 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Thanks, Michael! That was interesting and informative.

Both forms of dry yeast (ADY & IDY) and also fresh cake yeast originate and are fermented exactly the same. Apart from various additives the fresh yeast is extruded into cakes and each of the dry yeast are sized, coated differently for their intended use.

Very interesting...

retired baker's picture
retired baker

Just get fresh yeast, the difference is day and night.

dry yeast is ok for frozen danish dough or white sandwich bread.

its not possible to make dry yeast without stunting its action.