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Old 11-02-2004, 08:03 PM   #1
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Fresh yeast vs. Dry yeast

Does anyone know if there is a marked difference between the two? I have an old family recipe for a Romanian nut roll that uses fresh cake yeast, but I have never used it - only the dry stuff. I happen to have some new dry yeast, but don't know if it can be substituted and if so, in what quantities.



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Old 11-03-2004, 07:41 AM   #2
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Fresh yeast is sold in large blocks or small individual cakes. This type of yeast has become less commonly available and it’s hard to store. So then, why does anybody want it? Because it's much faster working and, in many baker’s opinion, makes superior bread goods.

A few natural food stores carry the compressed yeast – 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 it’s fresh: It should be creamy grey in color; smooth and not crumbly; it must smell fresh – not too strong. At home you must store it in the refrigerator, at about 38°, 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 – 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.

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Old 11-03-2004, 04:49 PM   #3
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Thank you for this information Konditor! The two and only times I have forked out the big bucks for "fresh" yeast cakes at Whole Foods resulted in wasted funds. They were anything but fresh and therefore quite ineffective. A lesson learned, in my area at least.
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Old 11-05-2004, 09:51 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I have one grocery store in mind that may carry the fresh yeast, and I'll post if I find it in good condition. My aunts who made this nut roll every year bought their fresh yeast from the church where they had bake sales and ordered quantities of it.

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Old 11-07-2004, 07:47 AM   #5
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A quick way to meause fresh yeast is to double the amount of dry yeast called for.

Example... If a recipe calls for 1/8 oz of DRY YEAST, use a 1/4 oz of FRESH YEAST.

If it calls for 1/2 and ounce of DRY, use a whole ounce of FRESH.

You will find a DIGITAL SCALE to be your best friend when weighing yeast. I got mine for like $17 at Wal-Mart.

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