The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

To freeze or not to freeze...yeast

Paddyscake's picture

To freeze or not to freeze...yeast

that is the question. I finally found a 1 lb package of SAF yeast. I'm wondering how do I store it, once open. One site said not to freeze, KA site says to freeze. Also, in what type of container..ziplocked, vacuum sealed etc. Thanks

Wayne's picture

I have kept my SAF instant yeast in the freezer for 2 or 3 has never failed to activate and raise my bread.  I take it straight from the freezer and add to the dough mixture.  I keep it in a stainless container with a gasket and snap lock ring.



pixielou55's picture


What is SAF yeast? Is it better than what I get at the health food store?



Paddyscake's picture

is the brand name. To tell you the truth, I don't remember who said this was the yeast to use. I do know that people I highly respect as our premiere bread bakers here at TFL do use this brand, although, I and many others now make mostly naturally leavened bread. I have no idea what type of yeast you are getting at your health food store, but if you are happy with it, that's great.


demegrad's picture

Yeast has basically an infinite life, but it depends on lots of things.  But storing in the freezer should fix nearly all of them.  You have wayne's experience above, and it's worked for him.   I would add that if you are using the yeast a lot you may benefit from putting a little in a container and just keeping in the fridge just to avoid having to expose a large amount of yeast over and over again to the humidity in the air.  And it seems to be more convenient.  If you have a food saver type vacuum packaging device go ahead and use it, I do, but it's not needed and definitely don't buy a vacuum device speiifically for this purpose, but if you got it go ahead. 


Paddyscake's picture

I do have a vacuum storing device..with canisters. After sealed, would I keep them in the fridge or could I keep it on the shelf?

bottleny's picture

What I do is put the yeast in several small containers (in 100 ml) and put all of them in the freezer (you can label them with the date too). When I need it, I just spoon a little from one container. This way, I can still use the yeast even after one year or more. Very convenient.

zolablue's picture

On page 61 of Bread Baker's Apprentice, Peter Reinhart states that some people think it kills the yeast to store it in the freezer but that he has done it for over a year's time, in an airtight container, with no discernable loss of potency.

weavershouse's picture

 I always freeze yeast and use it right out of the freezer without any problem. I use a screw top canning jar to hold the yeast.                     weavershouse

Paddyscake's picture

Into the freezer it will go.

Magrat's picture

I have always frozen my yeast and it has kept for years.  There was a time I did little or no baking for over 2 years, and the yeast I had worked just fine when I tested it.  I just leave it in the jar it came in, on the shelf in the door of my freezer. 

Sparkie's picture

Yeasties can survive the reeze very nicely provided there is no free water available. The freezing spears the yeast cells killing them, or engulfs them and crushes them to death, hence the goo that is left from frosen "Fresh" yeast.


if you have a vacumn bag sysstem, I was told that is the best way to keep yeast, and storing it in the fridge is the best place. Although the gent on the help desk added, if you can really vacum seal it w/o heat, you could just leave it itn the cubbord , although most people can not do that, so the party line is not freezer, but in the fridge. At Fleishmans, there can be a varient from active to fresh yeast, and it is indistinguishable to us, you need a microscope. The active dry and rapid rise are identicle, and ther is no difference in cell counts.

 They process it two-threeways, all describe above, that is as a block as fresh yeast, very perishable, and two dry. One is  pelletised and can be dropped into 115 degree water. the other is extruded and dried and has no buffer, so cooler water, like heads should prevail.

I have been buying red star in two pound vacumn bags and I put yeat in plastic veg bags then a chinese take out soup container and stored successfully for 1.5 -2 years. I will ditch it at 1.5-1.75 If I notice it takes too long to proof.


I recently bought Fleishmans in 1# bags (a two fer, no choice). Then an unseen chinese container FULL of yeast magically appeared in my freezer, ggrrrr. I guess I knead t make more bread and inspect my "science experiments" more often! Since did not .

Yeast is so cheap like this I do not mind ditching an underperformer. Now it has risen in price, but when I started a 3 packet strip (.75 of ounce), was $2.85 , a 32 ounce bag was $2.85, duh, but I had to get someone get it for me from Costco.

 Now a 2 pound pack, is $3.86 and a 3 pack strip is $2.90. Amazing price diff.


allysnina's picture

Yes, I too, freeze yeast and have never had a problem...I've actually had my yeast in the freezer for 3 years that I bought from Sam's Club...just the other day I debated tossing it but figured I'd use it one more time, and low and behold it was perfectly fine....but I'm thinking I should still toss it because it surely will fail soon!

deblacksmith's picture

I am late to this thread but find it interesting that while lots of folks have good results with freezing instant yeast the manufactures do not recommend it as a storage method. They don't recommend against it either. They just recommend keeping it in a seal container in the refrigerator. I keep mine in the refrigerator and I use a pound in less than a year. Dave

Paddyscake's picture

This was my question way back when I was first starting to bake bread (2007). I have since gone on to buying a lb of SAF and filling an old 4 oz yeast jar, which I keep in the fridge. The rest of the bag is vacuum sealed and stored in the fridge. I've kept yeast over a year (don't use it much) and it has been fine.


mrosen814's picture

I store my instant yeast in the fridge, in an air-tight container,  with no problems at all :)

harold5259's picture

I bought two one-pound packages of Fleischman's instant about a year and a half ago. I opened one, poured about 1/3 cup into a glass jar and put it in the fridge, and kept the rest of the opened one in a ziplock bag in the freezer. I fed the glass jar from the bag in the freezer until the first pound was gone, then opened the second. After about a year, I noticed that although my breads were rising, it seemed that they weren't rising as much as I though they should. So yesterday, I performed a couple of tests. I bought a strip of envelopes at the grocery and put a couple of teaspoons of the new stuff and some sugar in cup of warm water. I did the same with the old stuff. After ten minutes, the two measuring cups looked just about the same. However, next, I made two identical batches of French bread and put them in a divided container in the fridge to rise next to each other. The dough made with the new yeast is at least one and a half times the volume of the dough made with the old yeast. I don't know what's going on, but at $2.25 a pound, I tossed what I had left of the old yeast. One thing seems certain, though: yeast can be "active" but can be underperforming.

Here's another mystery: The Red Star/SAF website says that if you're storing dry yeast in the freezer, you should always bring it to room temp before using. Yet, the blurb for SAF in the King Arthur catalog says you can use it directly from the freezer.

harold5259's picture

Here's another tidbit to add to the confusion: Fleischmann's website says that freezing instant dry yeast is "not recommended." (Pretty wishy-washy advice. Seems like it should either be frozen, or not, or freezing has no effect.) Is it possible that the product inside these different brand-labeled packages is that different that SAF should be frozen and Fleischmann's not? And that Red Star should be thawed before using and SAF not?

mimifix's picture


Possible reason for the website recommendation: too many variables once a consumer freezes their product and then uses it at a (much?) later date.

But you're assuming that companies post scientific data for their products. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. Marketing, public relations, and sales folks are in control of the websites. It's been my experience that web info for these companies can be based more on PR or an employee's personal opinion than on scientific data.

I've worked for several companies and at times have disagreed with their "official" recommendations. While working for one corporation I learned that the marketing department employees each changed their titles to Food Scientist. They went to conferences and trade shows, doling out their misinformation.


Janknitz's picture

Companies don't want you to freeze instant and active dry yeast because it will last longer and result in fewer sales???

southern grits girl's picture
southern grits girl

Must be so, I have frozen my yeast for years and never had a problem. 

nhtom's picture

I've frozen both Fleischmann's and Red Star for extended periods - months - with NO problem.


Go for it!

southern grits girl's picture
southern grits girl

You can purchase two 1 lb bags of yeast at Sam's Club in the States. It is very cheap. If you don't have a membership, find a friend who does and let them get it for you. Also flour is very cheap.

joem6112's picture

DITTOs to all you freezer storage replies

threedogs's picture

They also have it at Costco's, and for those in the Northeast, B.J.'s Wholesale Club. I've always kept mine (SAS, now Fleischman's) frozen (not in the fridge at all), use it directly fr the freezer & never had a problem w/it. I mix it right in w/the flour, & mine has lasted two to three years.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was actually just one manufacturer, & they sell it under different labels. I wish I knew someone in the business to ask.

BTW - this thread is like my yeast - it doesn't die (lol - like that one?) The OP started it in 2007. My yeast has lasted that long, though...