Storing large quantities of Yeast

The key to keeping your baking yeast active for a long period of time is to store it properly.

And this article will guide you step by step on how to keep your yeasts of all forms fresh, active, and functional for a long period of time. And should save you a lot of time, money, and disappointment when baking.

Trust me, there is nothing more frustrating than painstakingly preparing a dough, taking time to carefully measure every ingredient just to find that your yeast is not active and the dough is ruined.

What is Baker’s Yeast and it’s Purpose?

Baker’s yeast is a strain of yeast that is used in the preparation of dough and bakery products as a leavening agent. It belongs to a variety of yeast species called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae.

Yeast causes the dough to expand and become lighter and softer by converting the fermentable sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol. Because of the dough’s elasticity and stretchable texture the carbon dioxide cannot escape. The expanding gas causes the dough to rise.

Types of Baker’s Yeast

There are two common types of baker’s yeast.

  1. Fresh Yeast
  2. Dry Yeast.

1. Dry Yeast

Dry Yeast helps to leaven bread and other dough. Dry Yeast is more popularly used than fresh yeast because it is easier to store and use.

Plus it can last a very long time if stored well.  They provide an airy, light texture to any dough. There are two types of dry yeast. They are

  1. Active Dry Yeast
  2. Instant Yeast

Active Dry Yeast

Active Dry Yeast is the most popular yeast variety sold in grocery stores. This type of dry yeast has a larger grain granule than instant yeast. Active Dry Yeast has a consistency similar to cornmeal.

Active Dry Yeast lies dormant until proofed or dissolved in a small amount of lukewarm warm water (about 105°F).After proofing Active Dry Yeast can be added to the rest of the ingredients, where it causes the dough to rise.The temperature of the water used to proof should never be lower than 90°F and not higher than 110°F.

Instant Dry Yeast

Instant Dry Yeast is also known as rapid rise or quick rise yeast. It has smaller granules than active dry yeast. Unlike active dry yeast, instant yeast does not need to be proofed first it can be mixed straight into the dry ingredients with the same result.

How to Store Active Dry Yeast & Instant Yeast

Both Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast are made in a similar process and can be stored in the same way. They are both very perishable when exposed to air, moisture, and/or heat. 

Unopened packages and jars of Dry Yeast should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard. For maximum self life storage temperature of Dry Yeast should be less than 70 °F. Dry Yeast should be stored in the refrigerator once opened or a freezer for long term storage.

Freezing Dry Yeast For long term Storage

Freezing both types of Dry Yeast is the best option for preserving bulk yeast for long term use. Freezing puts the dry yeast in a state of suspension. Keep them in an airtight container where they are protected from oxygen and humidity. Frozen Dry Yeast may last for 6 months and even longer.

How to Freeze Bulk Yeast

  1. Open the package of yeast and fold the package down to yeast level (this removes any air).
  2. Secure the the package by sealing with some tape before putting it into the freezer.
  3. You can also separate dry yeast into multiple air tight containers or multiple zipper bags if you have a large opened package just make sure to push out any air before sealing the plastic bags.
  4. Label bags with expiration date and the date the package was opened.
  5. Stored in the freezer dry yeast will keep for months past that expiration date.
  6. Just test the yeast after defrosting it by sprinkling yeast into a little warm water with a pinch of sugar. If it starts bubbling after a few minutes, then it’s good to go.

How to Defrost Bulk Dry Yeast

Dry Yeast should be at room temperature before using it. When you are ready to bake, take out only the amount of yeast needed for your recipe and let it sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before using it. Immediately put remaining yeast back into storage

Refrigeration of Dry Yeast for Short Term Storage

Smaller packages of Active Dry Yeast and Instant Dry Yeast once opened should be stored in the refrigerator.up to three or four months to maintain its activeness.

2. Fresh Yeast

Fresh yeast is pressed through filters to form a more solid matter, which is then compressed into small cakes about 1/2 ounce (15 g) or larger bricks about the size of a pound of butter used in bakeries.

Fresh Yeast also known as cake yeast or wet yeast or compressed yeast is a type of yeast used in older recipes.

Fresh Yeast contains about 70% moisture and is commonly used by baking professionals. It’s pale beige in color and comes in a block. Fresh yeast is very soft and crumbly.

This type of yeast needs to be proofed just like active dry yeast.

How to Store Fresh Bulk Yeast

Fresh Yeast is extremely perishable, from the time it is produced it has a 2-week shelf life so not many grocery stores carry it. Fresh Yeast is very sensitive to moisture and heat.

Fresh Yeast needs to be refrigerated to preserve its strength because of the quick perishable nature. So Keep the Fresh Yeast stored well-wrapped in the refrigerator until you use it.

How to Refrigerate Fresh Yeast

Fresh yeast should be placed in the refrigerator at the ideal temperature of 35-45 F.

When fresh yeast is bought in cartoons by bakeries proper air circulation should be allowed between the cartoons when stored in the refrigerator, this is necessary to maintain baking strength of the yeast

Once stored properly fresh yeast will maintain it’s strength for 3 weeks in the refrigeration.

Fresh yeast should be opened only when ready to use, remove only the amount of yeast that is needed in the next 30 minutes of baking and return the rest of the yeast as soon as opened to the refrigerator to avoid air burn.

Once opened fresh yeast lasts only a matter of days before changing it’s color or smell, which is a sign the yeast has gone bad and needs to be thrown away. So if you are not planning to use the remaining yeast from a block of fresh yeast within a couple of days, I would recommend freezing it.

How to Freeze Fresh Yeast

Freezing Yeast helps to extend the life of fresh yeast for a longer time and avoids wastage but Frozen fresh yeast has to come to room temperature before you use it.

Step By Step Guide to Freezing Fresh Yeast in it’s package

When freezing fresh yeast in its package, don’t place the yeast in the freezer right away. Place it in the fridge for at least 12 hours then move it to the freezer. Its original package will protect the yeast from moisture so it should last 3 months frozen.

Step by Step Guide to Freezing Fresh Yeast That has been Opened

  • Fresh yeast once opened can be blended with flour in order to be frozen.
  • Open the package and place the block of fresh yeast in a bowl.
  • Weigh the yeast using a kitchen scale.
  • Crumble the fresh yeast in small pieces, try rubbing the yeast between your fingertips to loosen the yeast.
  • Add twice as much flour as the weight of the yeast.
  • Rub the yeast into the flour as if you were making pastry. You should have a fine mixture with no lumps.
  • Divide the yeast and flour mixture into portions as needed.
  • The amount of fresh yeast needed for each recipe varies per recipe so divide the portions according to how many loaves of bread you can get with the amount of fresh yeast you have.
  • For example, if you have 30 g of fresh yeast, you needed to add 60 g of flour. Then if you are using 10 g for 1 loaf of bread you have to divide the mixture into 3 equal portions.
  • Wrap the yeast well, then wrap again so it doesn’t dry out. 
  • Get a resealable plastic bag and put all the cut blocks of yeast inside. Squeeze the air out of the plastic bag.
  • Finally, seal the bag and place it in the freezer.
  • When ready to use thaw it out overnight in the refrigerator. 
  • If your frozen fresh yeast looks dry, discard it. Generally, it’s good for about 3 months in the freezer.
  • You can see how it’s done in the video below.

The way you seal your yeast determines whether it dries out or not. It should never dry out so seal the yeast properly.

How to Defrost Frozen Fresh Yeast

You should defrost it in the refrigerator for 12 hours before removing the fresh yeast then allowing it to come to room temperature for 1 hour before using it.

Fresh yeast should be good for 3 months in the freezer.

It is important to Proof your fresh yeast before adding it to the other ingredients.

Proofing yeast or proving yeast is a step used to certify that your yeast is alive and active.

Step by Step Yeast Proofing Guide

  • Dissolve the yeast needed for the recipe in 1/4 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • Allow it to rest for 10 minutes,
  • After resting the mixture should be bubbly.
  • If you see bubbles then you’ve proved the yeast is alive and active.
  • You can then add it to your recipe but reducing the water in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
  • If the mixture does not have bubbles, this indicates that the yeast is not active and therefore should not be used but discarded.

Types of Yeast used in food Preparation

But there are two types of yeasts that are commonly available:

  1. Brewer’s yeast- a wet yeast used primarily in beer making.
  2. Baker’s Yeast- used as a leavening agent in dough making such as bread.

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