Anyone who bakes a lot will tell you that you can take your baking to the next level by replacing your instant yeast with fresh yeast. But it’s not exactly easy to come by?
So if you manage to find some good-quality fresh yeast, you might find yourself asking how best to keep it to avoid killing it… Well, why not ask whether or not you can freeze fresh yeast?
Yeast can be frozen for up to 2 years. To freeze yeast, break it into manageable chunks before wrapping it multiple times to protect it. Once wrapped, bag them up and then place them into the freezer.
Can You Refreeze Yeast? No
Does Yeast Freeze Well? Sometimes
How to Freeze Fresh Yeast
If you have purchased the block of yeast and decided to use some of it and then freeze the rest, or have made your own from scratch, it is recommended that you follow these guidelines:
- Cut Into Chunks
Cut the block into large pieces. We would recommend cutting them into sizes that you would normally use in a standard bread mix. That way, you can easily defrost the right quantity.
- Wrap and Rewrap
Wrap each block with plastic or clingfilm wrap. Re-wrap each block with aluminium foil.
- Bag Up
Place each block individually or together, depending on use, in a sealable freezer bag. A vacuum sealer would be the ultimate idea to keep air out but if one is not available, squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal.
- Label and Freeze
Write the date frozen on the freezer bag then place the bag into the freezer.
The key to freezing fresh yeast is to keep the air out and not let it dry out! The purpose of wrapping, wrapping, wrapping, is so the product retains its moisture.
If the yeast dries out, it will not be viable when you unthaw it to use it and it will not rise, therefore, you will have wasted valuable time on fresh yeast that has to be tossed out.
3 Tips for Freezing Fresh Yeast
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing fresh yeast to have the best results:
Wrap and Wrap Again
Do all you can to keep the fresh yeast protected from the air. If this means you need to wrap it multiple times then so be it.
Break Into Chunks
Break the yeast into chunks to make it far easier to grab a piece at a time from the freezer. Trying to shave a little off a big lump is far from easy.
When it comes to defrosting fresh yeast… Don’t rush! You’ll ruin the texture and structure of the yeast and may actually kill the yeast which will impact the rise of your dough.
How Long Can You Freeze Fresh Yeast?
If the fresh yeast is cut and put into the freezer, free of oxygen and humidity, it can last well up to a year.
The optimal time for freezing fresh yeast is recommended at 3-6 months and don’t forget to label it with the date when freezing.
If the fresh yeast is the kind already packaged by a baker, it can last up to 2 years in the freezer, as long as it’s in the original package and has not been unwrapped at all.
You Can Freeze Fresh Yeast for Around a TWO Years
How Do You Defrost Fresh Yeast?
To defrost frozen yeast you have to gradually bring it to temperature. Do not submerge frozen yeast into warm water! Thawed yeast can lose its density and become a puddle of glue if it is not gradually defrosted.
Think of it like this, those little yeast cells that are alive have been suspended in the freezer so it slowly takes some time for them to wake up!
Leave the frozen yeast in the fridge overnight to thaw (At least 6-10 hours). Once it is thawed, unwrap each layer and check to make sure that it is not dry. The yeast needs to be moist.
If the yeast is dry, it must be discarded.
Can You Refreeze Fresh Yeast?
Unfortunately, refreezing fresh yeast is not a good idea. It can instantly dry out which can then kill the yeast and you’ll get no rise on your bread in future.
You can, however, freeze bread you have made with previously frozen fresh yeast. This means you can freeze fresh yeast twice: Once in its raw state and once in its baked state as part of dough or bread.
Does Fresh Yeast Freeze Well?
Freshly thawed frozen yeast does lose its properties when frozen.
The elasticity of the yeast in the process of freezing changes the cells slightly, they go to sleep and some of the cells die which is why it is critical to properly keep the yeast wrapped, and slowly bring it back to life.
As long as the yeast does not dry out, and thaws properly, the yeast taste and flavour will not change.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing fresh yeast or yeast in general, then these may help:
Can You Freeze Instant Yeast?
Instant yeast, unlike fresh yeast, has an incredibly long shelf life. That’s why we’d actually recommend not freezing it as there’s simply no benefit to freezing it.
It will, of course, freeze but you will damage some of its properties. When a product like instant yeast will last in the cupboard for months and months, there’s really no point in freezing it.
Can Yeast Survive Freezing?
It certainly can. When freezing fresh yeast, you’re essentially putting it to sleep.
As you thaw it, it reawakens. Some of the cells won’t have survived, unfortunately, but the majority will have. It’ll still act as a suitable rising agent.
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