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Can You Freeze Fresh Yeast?

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By Ross Young

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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 find some good-quality fresh yeast, you might find yourself asking how best to keep it?

Can You Freeze Fresh Yeast?

Yes, you can freeze fresh yeast 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.

Does Yeast Freeze Well? Sometimes

Can You Refreeze Yeast? No

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Wrap and Rewrap: Wrap each block with plastic or clingfilm wrap. Re-wrap each block with aluminium foil.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

Don’t Rush
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.

How Long Does Fresh Yeast Last in the Fridge?

When wrapped in cling film or kept in a sealed container, fresh yeast will last for around 2 weeks in the fridge, at most.

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.

Related FAQs

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.

Can Fresh 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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1 thought on “Can You Freeze Fresh Yeast?”

  1. Thank you for the advice on freezing fresh yeast as it is very difficult to find fresh yeast to buy these days unless you have a proper bakery nearby who will supply it. It is impossible to buy dried yeast in the UK that does not now contain Sorbitan Monostearate, a synthetic Ester which can cause gut problems. All of the manufacturers add it to cut out the first stage of making bread so that it is quicker but noneof them give you the option of just plain dried yeast as it once was!


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