The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Storage of instant yeast

PaddyL's picture

Storage of instant yeast

Finally figured out how to post something, and my question is simple:  how do you store your instant yeast?  I've been buying Fleischmann's yeast by the pound, hermetically sealed, and once opened, I put it, package and all, into a plastic bag, seal it, and keep it in the fridge.  It usually lasts until the package is finished, but not always.  I've been told that it does better in the freezer, but that didn't seem to work at all for me.  I've also tried transferring it to a plastic jar with a tight-fitting lid, but it didn't last that way either.  The only reason I use the instant yeast is that it works out much cheaper than if I bought those jars of active dry yeast.  I'd love your thoughts, suggestions, etc.

mse1152's picture


I bought the same type of package you did in December 2003, and immediately transferred it to a glass jar.  It stays on the bottom shelf of my fridge, and it's still working fine.  It was SAF. 


PaddyL's picture

Years ago a friend bought me some instant yeast and she gave me detailed instructions on how to store it, never to leave it out of the fridge for long, or leave it open to the air in case humidity got to it, etc., etc.  I was almost afraid to use the stuff!  But needs must, as the saying goes, and I found that if I wanted to bake bread regularly, it had to be the instant yeast, or less bread.  I will transfer my yeast to a clean jam jar and keep it capped, in the fridge.

KipperCat's picture

Somewhere I read that it should keep in the fridge for a year after opening.  Since I have a lot of 1/2 cup jars, I transfer the yeast to these and keep one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.

Bella's picture

I only recently noticed that the yeast was supposed to refrigerated. I have been keeping mine in the pantry in the jar. I have had no problem but I do tend to go through it fairly quickly. I would divide it up into small jars and date them.

verminiusrex's picture

After opening the package I dump the yeast into a glass jar and keep in the freezer.  The first bag lasted over a year with no noticeable performance loss. Now I bake a lot more and the yeast is gone in about 4 months. 

For safety I only pull out the yeast when I'm about to add it, and never put the jar down on the counter so it goes straight back into the freezer (after forgetting a jar overnight on the counter once, oops.)

demegrad's picture

I have a 2lb block of active dry yeast I bought from costco for like 2 bucks I can't tell you how long ago, and still works beautifully. I keep a little bit in the fridge in one of those little brown jars. The rest is still in the foil pouch which I placed inside a plastic vacuum bag and I use my food saver to get the air out. Then the whole thing goes into the freezer. And being that I mostly bake with my starter, I'm expecting this yeast to last the rest of my life. I think without air and freezing cold temperatures, yeast will have a hard time doing anything.



LindyD's picture

Glezer's Artisan Baking was on my doorstep when I came home from work and as I was skimming through it, I came across her admonishment that one should never freeze instant yeast.

That was contrary to the advice given by Peter Reinhart in the BBA as well as the following statement on the King Arthur website: "Store in an airtight container in your freezer." (SAF page).

I keep the bulk of my SAF in the freezer in an airtight container. I also keep SAF in the refrigerator in another airtight container and when that supply runs low, I quickly transfer a supply from the freezer container.

So, I've chosen to ignore Ms. Glezer's advice about freezing yeast, as well as her comment that one should refrigerate bread. I do look forward to reading through the balance of the book. The photos are lovely and the technical information is very informative.

PaddyL, you might look into a container which has snap latches on each side and a sealing ring in the lid. I have a set of these (plastic) and they really are airtight.




FMM's picture

It's hard sometimes keeping up with what the various experts advocate, don't you think?  I was reading Hamelman last night and he also says to never freeze yeast.  I don't have the book here with me but I recall he says the yeast will die off over the course of 5 days or so if left in the freezer.  I always leave mine in the fridge.  I mark when I open it and I toss it out a year from that date.  I never get through it all beacuse I make mostly sourdoughs.  I did notice last year however that the yeast was definitely ready for the bin after a year.  My dough was getting very little rise and the difference when I bought new yeast was amazing.

In relation to the refrigeration of bread; again, Hamelman advocates the complete opposite of Glezer.  He says bread stales quickest when kept at temperatures of between 5 and 10 degrees C (sorry, don't have a converter here) which is the temperature of the average fridge.  In fact he seems to suggest that one of the the reasons bread doesn't freeze well is because it has to go through that critical window of 5 to 10 degrees C twice- once when it is being frozen and again when it is defrosting.  From my own experience, I find bread has much less keeping properties when I leave it in the fridge so I always pop it in an air-tight container and leave it at room temperature.  Even in summer it doesn't go off. 


Rosalie's picture

It sounds like Hamelman is talking about fresh yeast.  I always freeze my active dry yeast and never have a problem with it.


LindyD's picture

Hamelman writes at page 56:

"Bakers often ask about freezing fresh yeast. When frozen, yeast cells (whether in a packet of compressed yeast, a frozen raw dough, or a sourdough culture) begin to die within a matter of days.... Dry yeast, being dehydrated, is less affected by freezer temperatures and can be safely frozen for several months."

I agree that refrigeration degrades bread and was surprised to read that comment in Glezer's book (page 19). I store mine in my microwave.

Now, I must say that all the good advice at this site has ruined my social life as yesterday I received Glezer's book and today Hamelman's Bread and Leader's Local Breads arrived. The books are so much better than what's playing at the local movie house!



dolfs's picture

This discussion is a good example of why we should get this "book" started on this site. Ultimately discussion threads like this hit on the true answer (see above), but for many people looking for this information later on it is hard to wade through this (14 postings as I write this) and find the little gold nugget buried in there. Even more so because of the different branches in the replies, the actual clue might not be in the last posting!

Floyd: I don't want to nag, but let me/us know what we can do to help get this off the ground. 


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Floydm's picture

Floyd: I don't want to nag, but let me/us know what we can do to help get this off the ground.

I can assure you that your comments the other day about getting it kicked off soon were heard and taken to heart. I agree.


It is also time for many things I can't reschedule to happen (my son's birthday, multiple projects at work in crunch mode, tax season, flu season, etc. etc.) I would love to have the time to focus on this as well as do preparatory software upgrades to the site, but realistically I won't have the bandwidth until at least early March. That said, I'm putting things in motion that I think will help us get started soon, so please be patient a little longer.

Flagging threads like this with really good information is something any of us could start doing now. Adding them to your favorites or bookmarking them or adding them to with a tag like "4thefreshloaf" would make is simple for us to retrieve them later.

dolfs's picture

My son's birthday is next week, and I just took on two new clients, so I am loaded 120% with work (need to pay for our current vacation!). We're just skipping the flu in our family (so far, keep fingers crossed!).


See my My Bread Adventures in pictures

ehanner's picture

So if I understand you, it would be helpful if we started to add web postings that are particularly on point to the favorites list? I just recently tried that feature out saving a recipe that I didn't want to save and print right away but wanted to find later. Now that you have added the "print friendly" feature it would also be helpful if recipes were not added down the thread but rather at the first post.

Keywords are an area I have been trying to work on in my own content so a search can find the content.

I'll start adding favorites.


JMonkey's picture

I buy one pound packages of SAF instant and empty them into a cleaned out pasta sauce jar, which I then store in the fridge. I usually go through it in about 6 months, and it continues to perform well until the last teaspoonful.

Drifty Baker's picture
Drifty Baker

I buy my instant yeast at Sam's Club and store the vacuum sealed, unopened bags in my pantry.  Once I open a bag I pour it into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and store it in my refrigerator and have not had any problem with the yeast at all, ever!  It works great.



tattooedtonka's picture

I use the exact same yeast you use in the 1lb. bags.  I just opened up a new one today.  Once opened I just close it by folding over the top, and placing a very tight "chip clip" over the seam.  I just finished my last bag that was about 3 months old from start to finish.  Once chip clipped I place it in my fridge wherever I find a free place, no specific shelf.  This has worked fine for me, I have not had a bag go bad before using it all yet.


weavershouse's picture

Now if I can only find browndog.


Anyway, I keep my instant yeast in a glass jar in the freezer. I've done it for years and never had a problem. weavershouse

PaddyL's picture

I think I'll keep my instant yeast, once opened, in the plastic bag, or a jar, in the fridge, and try never to leave it out overnight.  I did that once and ended up pitching what was left of the package.  Thank you all for your advice and thoughts; this is really a terrific website, now that I've figured out how to find my way around it.