For starters, yes, you can freeze yeast. Yeast is a living organism and needs to be frozen at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius or colder for it to remain viable. When you take the yeast out of the freezer, allow it to thaw close to room temperature so that it does not die when exposed to warmer temperatures again. Once thawed, yeast can be stored in the refrigerator at 4 degrees Celsius and used as needed.
What is yeast?
Yeast is not a single organism but a single-celled microorganism that lives in the air and on grains. In fact, without yeast, we wouldn’t have bread but would have to live off of a barley meal or a mixture of cornmeal and rye meal to make anything with a yeast-like flavor. Yeast is useful for making bread rise because it makes the air in dough expand.
Many people know that bread made without yeast does not rise well but are surprised at how much more delicious bread can be. If yeast is used in proper measures and is stored at the right temperature, bread can rise quite well.
How yeast works: bread without yeast tastes more acidic, as if it’s “over-risen” by baking soda or other leavening agents. Bread without yeast has a slightly sour taste and a less aromatic taste than bread that uses yeast. Bread made with yeast however actually has a very sweet flavor to it, because the yeast gives off carbon dioxide gas that the bread is baked in.
How to freeze yeast:
1. Keep yeast in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge. Use a glass jar with a wide mouth and a sealable lid. The refrigerator is better for cold storage since some yeast will freeze at about -4 degrees Celsius.
2. Freeze yeast until it has frozen to the point you no longer can see any liquid (depending on which kind of yeast you are using).
3. Once it is frozen, scrape and squeeze the frozen yeast out of your container until it is completely airy.
4. Put in about 1/4 of a cup of liquid and mix to incorporate the liquid into the freeze-dried yeast. Do not over-mix. If you want to make a yeast cake, it is best to use a food processor or blender instead as over-mixing will not allow the full range of possible flavors to be recovered and can damage some yeasts that do not need agitation.
5. Leave it at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
6. Put the liquid into a bowl and add a yeast starter to it. The starter will be used once the yeast has been used up to make another batch of dough.
7. Pour the dry yeast into your dry ingredients and knead well until everything is incorporated, adding liquid as needed to bring everything together and create a smooth dough.
8. Leave in a warm place until it has tripled in size. To make yeast develop faster, you can use a mold to wrap it in that compresses the dough slightly and produces a warmer environment for your yeast to grow (like an oven with light on the inside). You can also begin to incorporate your yeast into your dough in the morning and leave it until the afternoon.
9. If you want to make bread, form it into a loaf shape and put it into pans (or don’t). Make sure you have 2 cups of flour left to make the starter while you use 1 cup of this recipe.
10. Bake as normal.
11. You can also use your starter to sauté some ingredients in oil/butter and add it to your dough.
12. Use a starter to make a sourdough that can be frozen and thawed as needed.
13. If you are using a bread machine, you can use this recipe in the machine, just make sure your dough cycle is on its highest setting.
14. Of course, you can also take it to your local baker and they should be able to use the yeast for you if they do not have enough yeast of their own (you may need to buy extra ingredients from them, though).
15. You can store your dry yeast cake in the freezer for about a year.
16. Fermented products like alcohol, butter, cheese, and bread, can be frozen indefinitely.
17. For those of you who use brewer’s yeast or torula yeast or Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Saccharomyces Exiguus on a regular basis, we recommend making small jars at a time (about 1/4 cup) and use them as soon as possible after opening so it does not go stale.
How long can I freeze yeast?
It depends on the type of yeast but it is best to keep yeast in the fridge until used or else it will become moldy.
If you are planning to freeze your yeast, we recommend either freezing it as soon as you make it or leaving it in an airtight container in the freezer for at least 3 weeks. This ensures that the yeast will not go stale and you can use it fresh when required.
How can I use yeast that I have frozen?
You can use your freeze-dried yeast in almost any dough recipe as long as you are using a recipe that follows the same type of yeast you used to create your freeze-dried yeast. If the recipe calls for dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar), you will have to use them in place of the wet ones. If the recipe calls for a liquid, use water instead of milk or juice. If the recipe calls for eggs, use an egg substitute instead. If the recipe calls for yeast (and it should, as it will further accelerate the fermentation process), you may need to add more yeast to your dough before using it. If you do not want to buy extra yeast, you can use your freeze-dried yeast in place of fresh yeast. The final product should be just as good as the original one if you have properly followed a baking recipe.
A few things to remember:
When you use yeast, it activates grain by converting it into sugars (sugars are the cause of fermentation). This is why bread made without yeast tastes acidic and is over-risen.
Eating foods that contain yeast will help to keep your body’s natural defenses strong and healthy.