If you have baked a loaf of bread or made your own pizza dough at home, then you probably know all about the trials and tribulations of yeast.
Fresh yeast is an essential ingredient in most baked goods as it helps them rise and become delicious.
However, there is a huge debate on how to store fresh yeast. Fresh yeast goes bad rather quickly and so it needs to be stored properly to ensure you get the best result when baking.
I have some tips and tricks on how to store fresh yeast to extend its short shelf life. Whether it is for a few weeks or even months, you can get more out of your fresh yeast.
Never find yourself in a pickle because your fresh yeast went bad after a few days!
What Is Fresh Yeast?
Yeast is a single-celled microbe that belongs to the same family as molds and mushrooms in the fungal kingdom.
Although there are several species of yeast, we only ever employ Saccharomyces cerevisiae, often known as baker’s yeast or “sugar-eating” yeast, when we bake.
The name is appropriate because it describes exactly how this yeast works: by consuming the sugars and starches in the bread dough, it produces carbon dioxide gasses that make the bread rise and give it a light, fluffy feel.
The rising process is then stopped until the dough is baked, at which point it resumes.
Storing Fresh Yeast For The Short Term
When it comes to storing fresh yeast, it must always be covered and at least stored in the fridge.
You might not be concerned about preserving fresh yeast if you want to use it more rapidly.
Fresh yeast must be properly stored in your refrigerator and used within seven days. You can store it in your refrigerator to keep it fresh for a few more days or even more weeks.
If you want to help prolong the lifespan of your fresh yeast then you are going to need to take a few extra steps.
If you don’t plan on using your fresh yeast for over a week then there are a few things to consider:
In order to preserve fresh yeast, it must be protected from moisture and air. It must be wrapped in parchment paper and then stored in an airtight container before being placed in the fridge.
After a few days, the parchment paper will get moist, this means it is time to transfer the fresh yeast to another sheet of dry parchment paper. Place the fresh yeast back in the container and pop it back in the fridge.
This will help keep your yeast fresh and ready for use for around four weeks.
Storing Fresh Yeast For The Long Term
When life gets chaotic, you can either forget about your fresh yeast or simply not have the time to bake anything with it.
This means you need your fresh yeast to last longer than four weeks and I know exactly how to do it.
Store it in the freezer!
Freezing fresh yeast will allow you to have fresh yeast on hand for up to three months.
A freezer can significantly extend its life. Fresh yeast should be stored in the freezer if it won’t be used within a few days or weeks.
The trick to ensuring it stays intact when freezing is to cut your fresh yeast into small pieces. Each piece must be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to ensure it doesn’t get frost burn.
They should then be placed into a sealable freezer bag and in the freezer. Then you can simply forget about it for a few months!
If you happen to try freezing fresh yeast and then when you defrost it, something just isn’t quite right then I have some tips to help you get the best fresh yeast out of the freezer.
- Make sure each piece of fresh yeast is as close to the same size as possible before you begin wrapping them.
- When wrapping each piece in saran wrap, it must be wrapped super tight. This keeps any excess moisture out of the fresh yeast.
- Select a bag or container that you can squeeze all of the air out of.
- Make a note of the expiration date on your bags or containers of fresh yeast so they are not in the freezer for any longer than three months.
The best technique to freeze fresh yeast is in this manner.
But be aware that if you don’t wrap your yeast properly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil or if it comes in contact with cold air, it will dry out and become useless when you activate it.
Many people find freezing and thawing fresh yeast tricky and prefer to use dry yeast.
Defrosting Fresh Yeast
So, you put your fresh yeast in the freezer and it is finally time for you to start baking. But you have to defrost it first.
Defrosting frozen yeast is a lot more simple than people think. Like you would with chicken or meat, transfer the bag or airtight container of fresh yeast from the freezer to the fridge.
Now simply leave it to thaw. It can thaw in a few hours but I much prefer to let it sit overnight.
The only issue is that thawed yeast can lose its oomph. This is because the bacteria in yeast can slowly die in cold temperatures. This is why you must allow the fresh yeast to defrost gradually overnight.
Check to see whether there is any moisture after the yeast has defrosted. You can utilize it if it’s still damp. However, if your yeast has dried out, you must throw it in the bin because it is useless.
Yeast is an essential part of baking homemade bread and it needs to be treated with care.
Typically, fresh yeast won’t last much longer than two weeks in the fridge. Given that it is wrapped and sealed in a container.
But it can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. This is perfect if you find you don’t have the time to bake every few weeks or so. Or you can always use instant yeast to save you the hassle.
Make sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight for moist fresh yeast!