Using fresh or dried yeast

Using fresh or dried yeast

There are three types of yeast available, fresh yeastactive dried yeast and instant yeast.

Both dried yeast and fresh yeast are the same yeast strain (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), a single-celled microorganism that is part of the fungi family. When we make a dough using yeast, we start to see active bubbles causing the dough to rise. It is the living organism that feeds on the sugar and starch, converting into carbon dioxide gas, which is responsible.

Sometimes you might come across breads or baked products that have a strong yeast or bitter flavour. This is the result of too much yeast, the dough has risen too quickly. It is better to reduce the amount of yeast and allow the dough more time to prove to avoid this happening.

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    The main reason I prefer using fresh yeast is that it is easily available for me and doesn’t contain artificial additives, some brands of dried yeast often use added emulsifiers which should be avoided. A way around this is to use organic dried yeast if you can find it in the shops.

    Many of the benefits found on the internet about fresh yeast are quite subjective. Some say it has a better flavour, increased rise ability, longer fermentation, etc. Dried yeast on the other hand does have two advantages, firstly, it has a long shelf life and can be stored at room temperature for several months, while fresh yeast will only keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Secondly, it doesn’t need to be mixed with liquid beforehand, you can mix it directly with the dry baking ingredients. 

    For the home baker 99% of the time, weather you use fresh or dried yeast, the difference in the finished recipe is hardly noticeable, both types of yeast do the same job. It’s really down to convenience and personal preference.


    Using fresh or dried yeast

    The amount of yeast you require depends on whether you are making bread or an enriched dough (one that includes eggs and butter)

    Simple bread recipes, like white bread and pizza require 15 to 25 grams (1.5% to 2.5%) of fresh yeast to 1 kilo of flour.

    Enriched doughs, like brioche need 30 to 40 grams of yeast (3% to 4%) to 1 kilo of flour.

    To calculate from using fresh yeast to dried yeast, the rule of thumb is to divide by 3.

    For example, 3 grams of fresh yeast = 1 gram of dried yeast and vice versa, if you want to calculate dried to fresh simply multiply the dried amount by 3.

    Tip: Never let salt and fresh yeast come into direct contact, it will destroy the yeast.

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