Keeping Your Yeast Healthy

Whether you are crafting a home brew, making some homemade wine, or baking a few loaves of bread, healthy quality yeast is a vital piece of the process. Proper storage and preparation will keep your yeast viable and help assure your desired results. Additionally, using the storage and preparation techniques offered here will help prevent the waste of valuable ingredients caused by dead or unhealthy yeast cultures.

Fresh or cake yeast is an active yeast often used by commercial bakers. While available for home use, fresh yeast spoils quickly and is nearly impossible to store on a long term basis. Before using fresh yeast look over your cake and be certain it is free of mold. It should be grayish brown in color and crumble easily between your fingers. If your cake differs from this description it is likely the yeast is well past it useful life and should be discarded.

Cake yeast should be proofed in warm water at approximately 85 degrees Fahrenheit before you use it. This process takes approximately 5 minutes. If 10 or more minutes pass and you see little or no evidence that the yeast is still active you should discard the yeast and obtain a fresh supply before proceeding.

For short term storage this yeast can be kept under refrigeration for up to two weeks. For long term storage fresh yeast can be frozen. However, freezing fresh yeast will form ice crystals that effectively kill the yeast. If you are determined to use fresh yeast for your projects plan on replenishing your supply regularly and avoid the need to store your yeast long term.

Active dry yeast is the most popular choice for many home applications. It is simple to store and use and if kept healthy will provide dependable and predictable results. Before using active dry yeast it must be rehydrated and proofed. Add the yeast to warm water, approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit, along with a pinch of sugar. After 10 minutes or so, the yeast will start to bubble and take on a creamy look indicating it is ready for use. If there is little or no change in the yeast’s appearance discard it and obtain a fresh supply.

Active dry yeast stores very easily and keeps very well. If kept is a cool dry location you can easily store your yeast for a year or more. Once the container is opened store tightly sealed in your refrigerator.

Instant dry yeast is a new style of yeast thst is very popular for its ease of use. It requires no rehydration or proofing beforehand. In many recipes you can simply mix the yeast right into your dry ingredients.

If you are planning on substituting instant dry yeast for either “active dry” or “fresh” yeast, be certain to read the instructions carefully. Instant dry yeast acts very differently than these other yeasts do. Be sure you understand the differences in the ways these yeasts work before you make any substitutions. Instant dry yeast begins to rise much more quickly than fresh or active dry yeast do and this can be a potential problem depending on your planned use.

Instant dry yeast stores very well for a long period if kept in a cool dry location. If the container has been opened store tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

Before starting any project involving yeast first check the expiration date listed on the packaging. If your supply is expired replace it. Be certain to keep your yeast supply properly stored. In most cases this means cool and dry. If the package is open keep it refrigerated in a tightly sealed container. Finally don’t forget to proof your yeast. No matter which type of yeast you decide to use proper storage and preparation will help assure the health of your yeast and the success of your project.