Fresh yeast


Would you be able to tell me the shelf life of fresh yeast? Along with the best way to store it for longer life? I can’t seem to find an expiry date on the yeast I have or much information about it online. Also can you freeze it and use it after thawing it?



I found this link…has a little bit of info. Hope it helps you out.

I believe my Sysco rep told me the shelf life is 3 weeks. I order by the block so I never have it sitting around more than a week.

Be sure to catch our article on yeast in the next issue of PMQ Magazine.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

We also order by the block. It is very innexpensive so losing a block here and there would not bother me, but we rarely do. We order enough to have about a 10 days worth on hand.

Its funny cause in the Northeast, I’ve NEVER worked in a pizza place that used dried yeast. Every place used fresh cake yeast. The one time I was forced to use dried, it was a total dud. Im surprised how many places in the usa do use dried yeast.

When used correctly (that is the operative word) dry yeast, especially IDY is a great product, and ADY isn’t all that bad either, it just isn’t as convenient to use as IDY. The only issue with compressed/cake/fresh yeast is that is continues to age in the cooler, and is actually, quite temperature sensitive, for this reason it is mot the most consistent yeast on the block.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

We have always used fresh yeast. A block weighs a pound and we use 2oz in a batch of dough. (Cut block in half, cut halves into quarters and you are done). Because handling and measuring is so easy, crew tends not to mess up. I think dry yeast is more trouble to make sure you have it properly hydrated and measuring is more finicky.

Shelf life is easily a week or more so ordering more when needed on our twice a week order schedule is no problem. As pointed out above yeast is cheap if a couple per times a year you throw some away it just does not matter.

I think I can taste the difference.

I have used fresh yeast for over 50 years. Yeast is very powerful for the first few weeks. After four weeks it starts to lose strength. After six weeks it becomes very weak. After eight weeks it is completely useless.

Here is what we do to get the best performance and shelf life from our compressed yeast.
Measure the temperature of the yeast immediately upon receipt and refuse it if the temperature is above 45F.
Store it in your cooler at 38 to 40F, pretty standard cooler temperature, so nothing special here. If you remove a brick from the cooler for scaling, place it back into the cooler immediately after you have finished scaling it. We like to polace it into a plastic bread bag after opening the wrapper to help keep it fresh. While most manufacturers will say that the yeast will keep for up to 3-weeks under ideal cooler conditions, this is seldom the case for most stores with all of the traffic into the cooler during the day. Actually, most coolers are doing well to maintain 50F during business hours due to the traffic and employees propping the door open. Somewhere in the distant past, one of our ancestors got locked into a cooler and developed a gene in their DNA the would prevent this from ever happening again, this gene appears to be carried by many modern day individuals as exhibited by their propensity to prop the door open with something, anything, to prevent their getting locked into the cooler. In any case, this is a practice to be discouraged. Back to the yeast, to get consistent performance we feel that it is best to use a shelf life of 2-weeks for compressed yeast. This is why IDY is getting to be so popular, it has great shelf life properties, and until it is opened, it doesn’t require valuable cooler space for storage. Once opened, and handled properly (leave it in the original bag, fold the top of the bag down onto the yeast, and secure with a rubber band, then store at room temperature for up to a week. The amount of IDY that is typically used is 0.375% of the total flour weight, or use it at 62.5% less than your compressed yeast amount. Best way to add it is to just blend it into the dry flour, then prepare the dough in your normal manner.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Is there any difference in flavor resulting in the finished dough between the 3 varieties? What about “wild” yeasts - do they impart a different flavor (or is it bacteria doing all the heavy lifting)?

Between ADY, IDY and compressed yeast, there is essentially no difference in finished product flavor between the different yeast types, when used at their correct substitution levels. With wild yeasts, yes, there are significant differences in flavor, and the same goes for bacterial fermentation, different bacterial form different by products, in different porportions, hence they provide a different flavor to the finished product. This is why natural ferments and sourdough starters are so unique, and sometimes expensive. It is not uncommon for a unique starter to sell for $20,000.00 or more. This is also why it is vitally important to back up your starters in different locations, so if you were to lose one, you could easily use another one to rebuild another with the exact same flavor profile. If not, you would be starting from scratch, and you could only hope/wish you got the same, or similar flavor and performance profile. With natural starters, we feel that it is the wild yeasts that are providing most of the fermentive properties, while with a sourdough it is the bacteria (hopefully lactic acid forming) that is providing most of the fermentative properties.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor