Funky Fresh

You may have noticed that my recent bread recipes have called for fresh yeast, not the more commonly called for dry active yeast. Now, I’ve received quite the influx of emails inquiring about this switch, and before my inbox reaches critical mass, it seems like high time to address all of these inquiries!

Found in the refrigerated section of some standard grocery stores, it can be a hit-and-miss search trying to locate these little squares. They’re sold in both 0.6-ounce and 2-ounce cakes, but I’ve only been lucky enough to find the smaller sizes, and only some times, at some stores. However, if you see any sort of yeast on the shelves, you can probably request that the store you frequent stock fresh yeast for you, or at least put in a special order.

When I get my little cubes home, I tend to store them all together in a zip-top plastic baggie, since the foil wrappers are always applied so haphazardly that they tend to slide off the moment you pick one up. It also helps keep them in one place so that they’re easier to find- Such tiny packets are easy to lose in the chaos of my overstuffed fridge!

Otherwise, you can certainly find it for sale online, but in most cases, it will only be sold in bulk. Unless you plan on doing a heck of a lot of baking, I would recommend against buying such a large volume at a time, since fresh yeast is far more perishable that dried, and a little bit goes a long way. Fresh yeast should be stored in the refrigerator prior to use, but you can stock pile it in the freezer for up to 4 months as well.

In case all of that seems like too much of a hassle for you, you can always substitute one 1/4-ounce package of active dry yeast (not rapid rise) for one 0.6-ounce cube of fresh yeast. But before you give up on the notion, just check out what you’d be missing…

Both of these loaves were made from the same exact recipe, but the one on the left was made with fresh yeast, on the right, dried. As you can see, the left loaf rose higher and more evenly, with a finer crumb. What you can’t see is how much better it tasted- Bearing a more pronounced yeast flavor, it’s a much more complex and nuanced loaf. Both the texture and taste keep bringing me back to this leavener, and once you try it out for yourself, I promise it will become a staple ingredient in your home too.

21 thoughts on “Funky Fresh

  1. Oh nooo….we hardly even get dry yeast here in the barren wasteland that is Saudi Arabia. I’m sure I’ll never be able to find this! Hahhaa, now I have to move back to the US just so I can make your beautiful recipes!

  2. Agreed! Here in England we get it for free, seeings as no one ever attempts to sell it in stores (as it is so perishable), so if you’re here, just ask nicely to the local baker, or even the bakery section in big supermarkets, and they will usually be most obliging!

  3. I used to have access to fresh yeast when I was living among the Greek community. Now it’s harder to get. Thanks for posting this!

  4. In Germany it is still quite common to use fresh yeast and I usually do. When I started a blog I switched to active dry, because that seemed to be what all my readers seemed to use. But now I switched back and I am very happy with this decision.

  5. Since I asked you about this months ago I finally found it in crazy bulk at my local co-op! It’s awesome because you can buy any amount you want… the only thing is it’s just in big jugs, not refrigerated… which has me worried. I need to just bite the bullet and buy some!

  6. Wow, you really CAN see quite a difference between the two loaves (though it goes w/o saying that even your “lesser” loaf is about 1,178,246 times better than mine would be!) ;)

  7. I always use fresh yeast, as you say the results are sooo much better – much fluffier and tastier. In Germany almost every grocery store carries fresh yeast so I’m surprised to learn that in the US it can be hard to find.

    Everybody go try find fresh yeast, it’s worth it :-)

  8. I absolutely agree; I can’t even remember when was the last time I used dry yeast. I have to say, I really enjoy the smell of fresh yeast and I’m also partial to using the dry one, as I had noticed as well how much of a difference there is in the final product between the two.
    I really love this site by the way, I think I will bookmark you and visit often :)

  9. The photo comparison of the loaves is wonderful. I’ve been using active dry yeast but hopefully will get my hands on a sourdough starter soon so I can have plenty of fresh at my disposal!

  10. The voracious Vegan: you can’t find dry yeast in Saudi Arabia??? come on that “Exaggeration”!!!!!!!
    you can find it in most markets and even in small places that sell beverages at gas stations!!!!! you are in very rich country so don’t talk like that !!!!!!

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