Fresh yeast is sold in large blocks or small individual cakes. This type of yeast has become less commonly available and itâ€™s hard to store. So then, why does anybody want it? Because it's much faster working and, in many bakerâ€™s opinion, makes superior bread goods.
A few natural food stores carry the compressed yeast â€“ but most, I suspect, are not confident about preventing it from spoiling. However, some of these stores have realized that if they sell fresh yeast they will also sell more bread flour, as well as bringing their customers in at frequent intervals. So it may be part of a marketing plan.
At any rate, if you can manage to obtain fresh yeast (and if you pay the right price, as it normally should be the cheapest form to buy) check to make sure that itâ€™s fresh: It should be creamy grey in color; smooth and not crumbly; it must smell fresh â€“ not too strong. At home you must store it in the refrigerator, at about 38Â°, and it must be well & carefully wrapped to guard against dehydration. A layer of shrink wrap or waxed paper covered with a layer of foil is recommended. It will keep under controlled refrigeration for 2 or 3 weeks, although you may see some signs of drying on the edges after a mere few days. No problem â€“ just shave off the browned bits.
When substituting this type of yeast for the granular (active dry) type, a 1-ounce cube is equivalent to 1 Tablespoon of bulk dried yeast. When proofing compressed yeast, it is not necessary to use sugar or honey: The yeast begins to work as soon as it hits the warm liquid and soon fizzes and snaps like soda pop. It has a good flavor and a less beery smell than dried yeast. Also, when compressed yeast is used, the time of bread making is generally reduced by about one-third.
"Where love has entered as the seasoning of food, I believe that it will please anyone." ~ Plautus: Casina