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Yeast: Types, Use, Storage, Conversions (instant<>active, US<>UK, etc.)

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I guess it is   dry yeast?   



Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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The packaged yeast I've used has always had a "use by" date stamped on the package.


Thanks ... originally I didn't see a use-by date, but after reading your post I looked for it and found it. 

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 ... Shel


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Dry yeast lasts a really long time. I buy mine in 500g packs. Store in jar in fridge. I've used it 5 years past the expire by date with no issue.


I've also found that with dry yeast rehydration is often called for in recipes. Best results are to skip that and add dry yeast with dry ingredients.

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Good to know you can freeze active dry yeast with good results. I was afraid it might kill the little beasties.


I always keep mine in the fridge, and have used it successfully over a year after the expiration date, but usually do the proofing/rehydration step with expired yeast. With fresher yeast I'll skip that process unless I will be adding a lot of expensive ingredients to the dough.

> ^ . . ^ <



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Good to know you can freeze active dry yeast with good results. I was afraid it might kill the little beasties.


I always keep mine in the fridge, and have used it successfully over a year after the expiration date, but usually do the proofing/rehydration step with expired yeast. With fresher yeast I'll skip that process unless I will be adding a lot of expensive ingredients to the dough.


Instant yeast is what I store in the freezer.

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I had to ask, since   8 month of fresh yeast it most often dead yeast,  it dies rather quickly but I still use it for some things.   Mine  dry yeast last 2 years in the pantry according to the package.

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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  • 5 months later...

Just baked 2 batches of baguettes using the ATK recipe. One used instant dry yeast (IDY) as called for in the recipe, and for the other I used fresh compressed yeast (3x the amount of IDY).


The dough using fresh yeast was much more voluminous than the IDY. The other ingredients were the same for both batches (though the fresh yeast dough felt softer). The resulting baguettes made with fresh yeast were much more SQUAT than the IDY ones. They weren't overproofed, and all conditions were equally the same for both batches.

Ideas as to why this happened?

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Fresh yeast is more variable than IDY; it's alive and active in a food base and based on its age can have more or fewer yeast cells per ounce. So, sometimes, you just get more for your money with it.


As for loaves being squat, I have generally found that to be a result of not being shaped long enough. I have made large batches of dough and demonstrated shaping various types of loaf, and shown the effects of taking more time to round boules or roll logs for braids, etc. Just a couple of extra minutes spent shaping can make significantly taller loaves.


Either that or, the yeast was so active, maybe the loaves were a bit overproofed.

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Fresh yeast is far too unpredictable for the home baker, imo.  Since the age of the fresh yeast dictates it's results, and, with supermarket turnover so variable, it's always going to be a crap shoot. If you can buy a block from a bakery, that should be much more consistent, but... only if, like the bakery, you can use the entire 1 or 2 pound block quickly, which really isn't viable for most home bakers.


While not as sensitive to age as fresh yeast, IDY packets can get pretty unreliable as well. The packaging doesn't lend itself to a product that's viable for long periods of time, and, again, with store turnover and storage at home, it's really easy to surpass that window.


For the home baker, absolutely nothing can touch the reliability and ease of jarred IDY yeast, kept in the fridge. You don't have to fuss with all that warm water proofing garbage- just add it to the water, then the flour and you're good to go. It may lose a little punch as the months go by, but if you make bread consistently, it will be easy to track and compensate for by adding a tiny bit more.

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Thanks Lisa & Scott - I did the poke test and it looked fine. I tried this once before with the exact same results. If the fresh yeast is more active, is the solution to just stick it in the oven sooner, or use less of it for a slower rise?

Lindag - there's a co-op store near me (SF Bay Area) where I stumbled across it by surprise. The sell it in small blocks, around 2x2x1", but I don't know how long it will last in my fridge. I'm tempted to freeze it but think that might kill it.

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  • 3 years later...

Today I learned that Red Star sells Instant Sourdough Yeast.  The package contains both yeast and sourdough starter.  I package of yeast works with 4 cups of flour.  Does anyone know anything about it?  Does anyone know where it is sold?  I'm intrigued.

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1 hour ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

@ElsieD  Go the the Red Star website  

Click on "find a store".     it works for the US.    I don't know about Ontario.   Good luck.


Thank you but been there, done that.  Doesn't work for Canada.  But along with trying to find out if I can buy it, I'm also curious to know if anyone has used it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wrote twice to the Red Star people and got really good replies both times.  It is only sold at HyVee stores in South Dakota at the moment so not exactly nation-wide let alone North America-wide.  The funny thing is, my sister and BIL were in South Dakota while Red Star and I were corresponding but by then they were out of HyVee range.  Too bad for me as they would have picked some up.  Red Star did point me to an on-line source and I plan on getting some.  I'm really curious to try it.

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On 9/10/2019 at 1:27 PM, ElsieD said:

I wrote twice to the Red Star people and got really good replies both times.  It is only sold at HyVee stores in South Dakota at the moment so not exactly nation-wide let alone North America-wide.  The funny thing is, my sister and BIL were in South Dakota while Red Star and I were corresponding but by then they were out of HyVee range.  Too bad for me as they would have picked some up.  Red Star did point me to an on-line source and I plan on getting some.  I'm really curious to try it.

I'm hoping a sample will show up shortly that I can get to you. Spoke with them at the IBIE.

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11 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

I'm hoping a sample will show up shortly that I can get to you. Spoke with them at the IBIE.


That would be fantastic, thank you.   Meanwhile, Red Star sent me an email telling me where I could order it on-line.  There is just the one place.  I tried, and tried, and tried to no avail.  My credit card has 6 debits and 6 credits on it attesting to this fact.  I wrote Red Star yet again and they are going to speak to the on-line proprietor.  I'm guessing Red Star would prefer that their one on-line source accept orders for their product.  I'm waiting to hear back from them.  The Red Star people are great.

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On 8/15/2006 at 5:24 PM, tino27 said:

I'm assuming that it isn't fresh cake yeast.

I, too, keep my instant yeast in a sealed container in my freezer. Never once had a problem with it.


Same experience here. 


As far as which is the best form of yeast, if you're interested in predictable and repeatable results, instant yeast is by far the best. It has the highest percentage of live yeast organisms, and is quite stable if stored well. Fresh yeast has the lowest percentage of live organisms and is the least stable; active dry is somewhere in the middle. 


They're all the exact same yeast strain. The strong yeast aroma from fresh yeast is partly from it being already hydrated and active, and partly because you have to use so much more of it (most of the critters are dead).


Yeast flavor in bread is traditionally regarded as a flaw, but if you like it (I know some bakers who do) you could more reliably achieve it by using instant yeast for leavening and then adding brewer's yeast (inactive) for flavor. 


The last few years I've gone in the opposite direction, to sourdough. I like the flavor enough that I'm willing to wrestle with the unknowns, and the unknown unknowns. 

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Notes from the underbelly

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  • 2 weeks later...

I requested and received a sample pouch via the Red Star website.    My question is how to use it.    I only use 1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast per batch of no knead bread.    I somehow doubt that 1/4 teaspoon of this "sourdough" enhanced yeast would impart much sourdough qualities.    At the same time, I think that using the entire package would not be a good idea.   


Anyone experiment with this with the NYT no knead recipe yet?

eGullet member #80.

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The Red Star people have told me that if a recipe calls for sourdough starter, this yeast is not meant to replace that.  This product is to replace regular yeast with recipes requiring up to 4 cups of flour.  The whole packet is to be used.  They have a few recipes on their web site.  I just wrote to them to ask if there is a minimum amount if flour that needs to be used with this yeast.  I'll post their answer here when I get one, likely tomorrow.

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