You can absolutely freeze fresh yeast, in fact, it’s recommended! Unless you are a baker who uses fresh yeast frequently, it is advisable to not waste your yeast. The key to fresh yeast is to keep it from being exposed to air and moisture which can destroy the living cells in the yeast that help make the bread to rise.
It is very important to decide within 12 hours if you are freezing the yeast as it will brown within a few days in the fridge. During the 12 hour window, make sure that the yeast does not dry out by placing a wet paper towel over the yeast and covering it in the fridge.
Unless you are making your own fresh yeast, it can be purchased in large blocks. If the fresh yeast you have purchased is already wrapped from a grocer or baker, there is absolutely no reason to unwrap it if you are planning on freezing it. It is wrapped tightly enough to be put into the freezer as is. Keep in mind that you still need to write the freeze date on the already airtight package.
Use the table of contents below to navigate through this article to answer some of the most common questions people have when it comes to freezing fresh yeast:
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 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 each block with plastic or clingfilm wrap.
- Re-wrap each block with aluminium foil.
- 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.
- Write the date frozen on the freezer bag.
The key to freezing fresh yeast is to keep the air out and to 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.
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.
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.
Other Questions about Fresh Yeast
Below are a few of the other common questions we have come across when it comes to fresh yeast – some related to freezing and some not. If you’re still sat there with a question or two about fresh yeast then drop a comment at the bottom of this article and we’ll aim to help out as much as possible.
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.