Previously in Naan I made a brief mention on fresh compressed yeast and that it was far superior to instant dry yeast but that it doesn’t keep long in the fridge but that you could also, supposedly, freeze it. (you didn’t think that sentence was going to end did you?) I also told you I would let you know if my frozen yeast would still do its thing once thawed, so this is me letting you know.
Yesterday at about 4:23 AM I realized that my husband would be out of bread soon so I needed to yank some yeast out of the freezer to thaw. Instead of actually yanking the yeast out of the freezer I, of course, just left myself a note to do so when I got home from work. There’s obviously a shorter way to relay my yeast information to you but I feel like babbling this morning so just hang tight (whatever that means).
We have a dry erase board on our fridge, so that’s where I left myself a note, “Amber, take yeast out of freezer.” Evidently, at some point during the day, my husband, who has been busy studying for his 3rd year law school finals, got bored and decided to have fun with the white board. By the time I got home it looked something like this:
The mind reels. 🙂
So, when I got home yesterday I took some yeast out of the freezer (no, Gary did not try to put it back in). The website that I previously learned you could freeze yeast from said that you needed to thaw it out for a day in the fridge, which is why I was taking it out yesterday. However, while piddling in the kitchen I got a hankering (I’m from the south, I can say that) for pizza. I obviously couldn’t wait an entire day for dinner so I took a gamble and grabbed some extra yeast and left it on the counter. Then I tried to speed up the process by holding it in my hands, and I happened to be reducing some marsala on the stove so the extra heat there was beneficial as well.
My point to all this yammering is that, yes you can freeze yeast. And yes, it will still work once it’s thawed. And no, you do not have to wait an entire freaking day to thaw it out. I had my 1/4 oz of yeast thawed out for pizza dough in about 10 minutes. And my husband and I both enjoyed some very tasty pizza last night for dinner, his with cheese and mine, of course, without.
I’m not sure how familiar you are with fresh yeast, but it comes in bricks like the one pictured above. Obviously, if you freeze the entire brick as is, you’ll be kicking your own ass later when you try to break off a small portion so you can use it. What I did was portion it all out before freezing. I grabbed my handy dandy scale (if you don’t have a kitchen scale, go get one straight away, they make your life much easier) and portioned the brick into 1 oz, 1/2 oz and 1/4 oz portions. I then wrapped each portion in plastic wrap, wrapped each portion group in more plastic wrap and labeled which group it was, and then tossed them all in a plastic bag. I figured this way you (I) could easily get the amount of yeast needed without the risk of wasting too much or having to refreeze it.
You may now be asking where exactly you can buy fresh compressed yeast from? Well, that’s a good question. And, actually, I don’t have a good answer. I got it from work, who got it from a food service company, who got it from Fleischmann’s. All I can find in the online shopping sectors is bulk quantities… while you can freeze this yeast, you don’t want to be freezing 24 lbs of it. Some quick Googling has revealed that certain stores like New Seasons and perhaps even Safeway and Fred Meyer carry it, but not at all locations (I know I’ve never seen it and I actually look for things like this). But I also read that some bakeries and bakery departments in grocery stores might be willing to sell you some, so just ask. If anyone knows of a guaranteed place to buy yeast from, please comment and let us all know.
So, there you have it, in a very long-winded, completely unnecessary and not very quick way of saying it; you can freeze fresh compressed yeast.