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Yeast - how can you tell if it is good to use

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#1 Soup

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 04:29 PM

two years ago, I bought a big back of red star (I hope I got the name correct) yeast at Costco. Been using it for a good two years and have worked well. However, last two times the dough did not rise right. It rose a little but really didn't come out right.

Do yeast go bad/dead (not even sure what the technical term is)?
How can you tell if they are dead and that it is not something I'm doing wrong (note: I am not exactly an expert baker)?

If they are "dead", what is the best strategy for making my next batch of yeast last long. I going to go out and buy the same block from costco.

Soup

#2 Fat Guy

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 04:45 PM

Yeast goes bad.

Put a little in warm water. Eventually it will bubble if it's still live.

Storing in fridge works well. Some yeast freezes well too. Mine does.

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#3 tafkap4d

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 04:45 PM

Yes, yeast can go "bad" (for lack of a better word). Yeast is living and has a shelf life like everything else. You had a great brand. I am not a baker so I do not purchase a large quantity of yeast. There are many factors for yeast - how it is stored, brand, how long you have it, contaminants, and expiry just to name a few.
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#4 baroness

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 04:48 PM

I keep a small glass jar of yeast in the refrigerator; the remainder sealed tightly and frozen.

#5 ElsieD

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 08:24 AM

Yeast usually has an expiry date on it. If you no longer have the original wrapper, your best bet it to test it as per the above instructions. The date, however, is a guideline only as other factors can affect the shelf life.

#6 Blether

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 08:58 AM

I buy Saf-Instant active dried yeast in a 500g (about 1lb) pack and keep it in a sealed freezer bag, in the fridge. (The cost savings over the little sachets is phenomenal). It takes me close to two years to get through that amount, and it does get tired towards the end - I used the last batch a tablespoon at a time in the last couple of months, whereas fresh, a teaspoon does the job.

I should think about freezing half the pack.

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#7 baroness

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 09:32 AM

I buy Saf-Instant active dried yeast in a 500g (about 1lb) pack and keep it in a sealed freezer bag, in the fridge. (The cost savings over the little sachets is phenomenal). It takes me close to two years to get through that amount, and it does get tired towards the end - I used the last batch a tablespoon at a time in the last couple of months, whereas fresh, a teaspoon does the job.

I should think about freezing half the pack.


The SAF freezes beautifully; as I stated above, I keep a small (maybe 4 oz./125ml) glass jar full in the refrigerator, and freeze the rest.

#8 Special K

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 01:28 PM

I use the Red Star brand from Costco, and I use it straight out of the freezer. I just bought a new bag - I'm sure the last one lasted for at least three years, but I've been baking a lot more lately.

#9 dougal

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 02:58 AM

two years ago, I bought a big back of red star (I hope I got the name correct) yeast at Costco. Been using it for a good two years and have worked well. However, last two times the dough did not rise right. It rose a little but really didn't come out right.

Do yeast go bad/dead (not even sure what the technical term is)?
How can you tell if they are dead and that it is not something I'm doing wrong (note: I am not exactly an expert baker)?

If they are "dead", what is the best strategy for making my next batch of yeast last long. I going to go out and buy the same block from costco.

Soup


Woooaaaaa.

"Red Star" seems to be a manufacturer rather than a specific product.
There is Red Star Active Dried http://www.redstarye...php?cid=1&pid=1
Red Star 'Quick Rise' http://www.redstarye...php?cid=1&pid=2
Red Star Bread Machine http://www.redstarye...php?cid=1&pid=5
and Red Star 'Cake' (or compressed or 'fresh') http://www.redstarye...php?cid=1&pid=9

These different preparations of yeast have different storage requirements and shelf lives.

"Cake" is the only one likely to be sold in "block" form.
And it has the shortest shelf life -- only about 10 days. Red Star say "Cake yeast is very perishable, requiring constant refrigeration to retain its freshness and activity. We recommend using it within 10 days of purchase."
Its a commercial product, invented (about a hundred years ago) for commercial bakers, who turn over their stock in a few days and who aren't bothered about long-term storage.
Its not designed for freezing. Its not sold as a frozen product. Freezing does not show the product at its best (it kills more yeast cells).

Active(ly) Dried yeast was invented primarily as a bulletproof long-term storage product (for the military). Say no more.
Bread Machine cocktails tend to be loaded with the food technologists best tricks, so avoid them if you want to avoid additives.

"Quick Rise" is what you probably should be using/buying as an occasional home baker.
It stores brilliantly and works brilliantly - and guess what - it was invented for home bakers!
However, its best to use less than the packet suggests, try using 3/4 of the advised amount... (its only 'quick' because they advise using excess yeast!) And VERY IMPORTANTLY, do mix it as the packet says, with the dry flour. That's how it works.
Sealed packs can be stored in an ordinary cupboard, probably for years. Open packs are best put in a closed glass jar in the fridge. (Humidity is the principal enemy of open packets.) Open packs remain usable for many months, tightly sealed in the fridge. Yes, if you have a vacuum packer ... :cool: However, there's no point in freezing it - it shouldn't have any water to be frozen!

For home baking, yeast is a trivial cost.
Use good stuff, not something bought in bulk and stored in hope.
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#10 rickster

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 01:27 PM

"Cake" is the only one likely to be sold in "block" form


I think it's quite possible the "block" referred to here means a vacuum packed brick of dry yeast, similar to the form I see SAF instant yeast sold in. Fresh or cake yeast is not that common in the US. (Note, I am not familiar with what is currently sold in Costco).

#11 Special K

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 02:19 PM

Costco sells the Active Dried Red Star yeast in the vacuum-packed brick.

#12 Soup

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 11:44 AM

Costco sells the Active Dried Red Star yeast in the vacuum-packed brick.

That is exactly the one I have. I just think after 2+ years of use it has gone very tired. Unfortunately, I have to throw about 1/2 away. From a cost perspective it is still way cheaper than buying those packets individually.

Guess I'm buying another block from costco. I will however use the freezer storage method.

#13 JHeald

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 11:53 AM

Guess I'm buying another block from costco. I will however use the freezer storage method.


It would probably be a good idea to cut the block into much smaller chunks, then freeze it. Because yeast is a living organism, it doesn't do very well when frozen and thawed repeatedly. By freezing the block in small pieces, you minimize the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw cycle.





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