Whether you’re using fresh or dry yeast, it’s crucial that you know the proper way to store. Of course, if you’re going to be using your yeast fairly quickly, you may have no reason to freeze it, but those who don’t bake a lot will need to store it appropriately.
Stored properly, yeast can last for even longer than the expiration date given on the packet, so it’s definitely worth the effort to store it well.
There are many ways to store yeast. People recommend keeping it in a cool cupboard, your fridge, or your freezer, but do you actually know which way is best for making your yeast last the longest? I’ll be going through everything you need to know in this article.
Can You Freeze Yeast?
Plenty of bakers find that freezing their yeast is a great way to store it for long periods of time.
Any kind of yeast can be frozen to extend its life. Frozen yeast can last months or even years longer than if they were to be stored in a cupboard or fridge. It should be tightly sealed in an airtight container for the best results.
Yeast can be frozen whether you’re using dry or fresh. In order to freeze it most efficiently, it should be kept wrapped up tight to prevent any air from getting to it.
Yeast needs to be stored properly in order for it to survive after being placed in the freezer. If there is airflow getting to the yeast, it likely won’t be alive when you come to use it.
There’s more about freezing yeast further down.
Does Yeast Die In The Freezer?
The freezer is quite a harsh environment since it’s so cold, so it can suggest that it may be able to kill or at least damage yeast over time.
Freezing yeast dramatically improves the shelf life of both dry and fresh yeast. In some cases, frozen yeast can for years before it dies. Instead of harming the yeast, it puts them to sleep until they warm up again. Yeast can become inactive in the freezer, but only with improper storage or a long period of time.
When putting microorganisms in the freezer, it doesn’t necessarily kill them but puts them into a state of hibernation. In this state, they’re not active and won’t do anything, but they will be as good as new once properly thawed out.
There’s no harm in freezing your yeast if you’re doing it properly. Keeping it in the right conditions is essential to making sure that it lasts as long as possible.
Keep in mind that yeast will die off after a certain amount of time or if stored improperly, so it’s important to use it up before it sits in the freezer for too long.
How Long Does Yeast Last In The Freezer?
The amount of time that yeast can survive in the freezer is near impossible to predict.
It all depends on the type of yeast, the temperature, how active it is already, etc.
That being said, there are some rough averages that might help to give you an idea of how long your yeast could last in the freezer.
Assuming that you’re freezing your fresh yeast shortly after bringing it home and you’ve wrapped it up properly, it can last at least 3 months before it starts to die.
Since fresh yeast can be so unpredictable, it’s difficult to know how long it will last. It might last just one month in the freezer or it might last six. There’s no telling, so it’s important that you prove it in water before every bake.
If you’re freezing an opened container of active dry or instant yeast, it should last at least 6 months but most likely 12 months or more. Some people find that their dry yeast lasts for 2-3 years past its expiration date after being frozen.
Again, the length of time it survives in the freezer for is dependant on how old it is and what kind of container it’s stored in.
You will most likely get at least 6 months extra from frozen yeast, but there’s no way of knowing how long it’ll really last.
How To Correctly Freeze Yeast
Freezing your yeast properly can be a tricky one as you have to make sure that you do it properly. It needs to be kept wrapped up tightly in order to survive the cold conditions of the freezer.
The main idea of freezing anything is to prevent as much airflow as possible, so it’s important to know the best way to freeze yeast.
Freezing Dry Yeast
Keeping dry yeast in the freezer is as simple as it gets.
All you have to do is make sure that it’s stored in an airtight container and pop it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.
You can keep it in a glass jar or a tightly sealed container. You just need to make sure that you’re preventing air from getting in.
It’s safe to use the yeast straight from the freezer, so there’s no defrosting to worry about.
Freezing Fresh Yeast
It’s slightly more difficult to freeze fresh yeast, but it’s definitely not hard. This yeast needs to be wrapped tightly in multiple layers for the most suitable freezing.
If you’re dealing with a block of fresh yeast, you should cut it into cubes that are enough for one loaf of bread.
Wrap the yeast tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Once wrapped up well, you can throw all the cubes into a container or ziplock bag and freeze until needed.
When you’re ready to use the yeast, you should take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge to allow it to defrost overnight.
Alternatively, you can try crumbling the yeast into some flour and freezing it in a ziplock bag. Just make sure to know how much flour you use so you can make up for it in the recipe.
To defrost this, all you have to do is take the flour-yeast mixture out the bag and allow it to defrost for a few minutes.
The most important thing to note when freezing fresh yeast is to keep it from drying out. Once the yeast starts to dry, it will die.
What’s The Best Way To Store Yeast?
Most people have their preferences when it comes to storing their yeast, but it all depends on how you’re going to use it, the quantity you have, and what type you’re using.
Storing Dry Yeast
If you’re baking very frequently (at least once a week), you’ll most likely be able to get away with storing your dry yeast in a cool cupboard or in your fridge.
Assuming that you’re only using yeast from a small jar or container, you should be able to use all the yeast before it dies.
However, if you’re buying a large bag/container of this yeast, it’s likely best that you store it in the freezer unless you know that you’ll get through it all in just a few months.
When it comes to storing dry yeast, it’s just personal preference. Personally, I just keep mine in a cool cupboard because I live in the cold UK and I get through it reasonably fast. If I was living in a warmer climate, I’d be keeping it in the fridge or freezer.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you store it. Just make sure that you’re keeping it in a good condition so it’s kept alive.
Storing Fresh Yeast
It’s a whole different story when it comes to the appropriate storage of fresh yeast. Unlike the dry stuff, fresh yeast has a very short shelflife and needs to either be used or frozen within a few days of purchase.
If you’re not going to be using all the yeast up within a few days, you’re going to need to freeze it.
Even if you’re baking daily, you might find that fresh yeast can start to lose its strength fairly quickly, so you may want to stick it in the freezer anyway.
My personal preference for fresh yeast is to buy big blocks of it at a time and freeze it in little cubes.