Originally Posted by joesfolk
I have been gifted a large quantity of yeast but it is in a form I have never used before. It is not granular. Is a solid brick of yeast which is at this moment frozen. Does anyone know how I would use this? How much would I use in a recipe for bread that calls for 3 cups of flour?
If it's frozen it's probably "fresh" yeast (a contradiction in terms, I know) ie it isn't dried or instant yeast.
It would have been easier if you had portioned it before it was frozen but a good sharp or serrated edged knife (like a bread knife) should do the trick. Cut it into one ounce portions and get it back into the freezer asap before it thaws out. It will remain good in its frozen state for at least 3 months, possibly longer.
A good recipe should give quantities for both fresh and dried yeast but generally speaking you use twice the amount of fresh yeast as dried or instant yeast eg 1 ounce of yeast = 1/2 ounce of dried. If you increase the amount of flour in the recipe you don't have to increase the amount of yeast by the same proportion eg a loaf made with 1+1/4lbs of flour needs 1/4oz or dried yeast or 1/2 ounce of fresh yeast, but 3 times as much flour only needs 1/2 an ounce of dried or 1 ounce of fresh yeast - that's assuming you are giving your bread 2 risings over a period of say 3 hours. (No, you don't need to sit and watch it - go shopping, do the housework or have a snooze while it does its work). If you use too much yeast the resulting bread will be get dry and stale very quickly.
When using the fresh yeast put the required amount in a cup with just enough tepid water to cover and leave it for 5 or so minutes by which time it will have become soft enough to mix to a cream. (Sugar is not necessary when starting fresh yeast). Then carry on with mixing your bread. Incidentally "tepid" means warm enough to feel nothing - neither hot nor cold - when you leave your finger in it for a few seconds.
I hope this helps. I've followed Elizabeth David's instructions for bread making for nearly 40 years and rarely had any failures. If you can find a copy of her "English Bread and Yeast Cookery" it's well worth the investment. It's a fascinating read as well as a mine of information about cooking with yeast.