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Yeast is used by bakers and cooks everywhere, and it’s a handy tool for making things like bread and cakes. Yeast feeds on dough and this produces carbon dioxide which helps the mixture rise. With the UK entering a second lockdown, keen bakers might be wondering whether you can freeze yeast?
Yeast comes in two forms: fresh yeast, and dry yeast.
Fresh yeast is mainly used by professionals.
It’s soft, moist, and will go off quickly.
Once refrigerated in a tight container, fresh yeast won’t last more than a few days.
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Dry yeast is fresh yeast that has been dried out and pressed until dry.
Dry yeast isn’t active until mixed with warm water, so lasts much longer than fresh yeast.
Dry yeast needs to be put into the fridge once opened.
Once stored in the fridge, dry yeast can last between three and four months.
Can you freeze fresh yeast?
Star bakers will normally argue that fresh yeast produces better loaves and cakes than dry yeast, with the only downside being that it has a very short shelf life.
Recipes only require a small amount of yeast, so if you only use a tiny bit and the rest goes of, you have wasted a lot of yeast.
You can freeze fresh yeast in small portions to use later.
Fresh yeast can last an extra three months or more if put in the freezer.
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If you decided to make enough for ten loaves, you will need to divide the total weight of the mixture by ten.
Place a layer of cling film onto your scales and weigh out one portion.
Wrap and twist the cling film-coated mixture into a ball, but make sure you keep it loose so it can crumble when you come to use it.
Put all balls into a plastic freezer bag and freeze.
Make sure you label the bag so you know what is in it.
How do you defrost fresh yeast?
Take one ball out of the freezer and crumble it onto a plate.
You will watch it defrost before your eyes almost immediately.
Weigh out your ingredients in the meantime, and the yeast will be ready.
Can you freeze dry yeast?
Dry yeast normally has an expiry date of two years from the date it was packaged.
As mentioned above, dry yeast is fine to be stored in a cool, dry place like a cupboard.
Once opened, it can last an extra four months in the fridge.
If you want to extend this date, you could freeze dry yeast to make it last an extra six months.
How do you freeze dry yeast?
Fold the package down to the level of the yeast in order to get rid of extra air.
Then, seal it with some cello tape.
If the package is too large to fit in the fridge, simple separate yeast into multiple bags and push out any air before sealing.
Again, label the bags.
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