I revisited the best way to store yeast. Why? Because our homemade breads haven’t seemed to be rising as much like they used to. They were coming out okay, but I suspected that something might be going on. So I needed to figure out what might be happening…
A number of years ago I had bought a quantity of 1lb instant dry yeast packs for the sake of preparedness. They were from the most popular yeast company, Fleischmann’s.
However, I just realized what might be the problem:
The yeast that I was using was 4 years beyond the stamp date on the package. And the stamp date itself is 2 years after manufacture. So that means the yeast was 6 years old. Whoops. I hadn’t realized they were sitting on the shelf that long…
I then went through our long term storage – knowing that I had bought a number of these 1lb vacuum sealed packs. I found another that was 4 years beyond the date, and then found a 2-pack that was dated this year (meaning it was now 2 years old).
So, I figured I would do a yeast efficacy test and compare the two!
Is My Yeast Any Good? How To Test Instant Yeast For Efficacy
Add 1/2 Cup of warm water to a small bowl.
Add 1 Teaspoon of sugar and stir in till dissolved.
Add 2 Teaspoons of yeast. Just dump it on top.
Wait 10 minutes.
It should have foamed frothy on top.
I took a picture. Here’s how it should look after 10 minutes:
I tested the 2 year old yeast and the 6 year old yeast under the same conditions. (By the way, I adjusted the initial water temperature to 105-degrees-F)
They both rose and frothed. BUT, the older yeast didn’t rise as much.
Here’s the comparison:
The yeast on the left obviously rose more than that on the right. It’s not a huge difference, but definitely different.
So I have ordered brand new instant dry yeast (Fleischmann’s) and will do another test with the brand new yeast (because that’s just the engineer in me). But it does appear that my problem was older yeast, not quite as chipper.
The Best Place To Store Yeast
I had been storing my unopened vacuum sealed yeast packages at room temperature. When we needed to open a package, we keep that one in the refrigerator.
As you can see, that has worked okay. However, there’s a better way to store your unopened yeast for even longer shelf life.
In The Regrigerator
Just put it in the fridge!
I’ve read that ideally active dry yeast should be stored between 33 and 38-degrees-F.
The ‘living’ yeast will stay dormant until you ‘bring them back to life’, so to speak.
What About The Freezer?
People have had success storing yeast in the freezer, including me. However, I have also read sources that indicate yeast cell damage may occur if the freezer temperature is too cold.
That may indicate a subzero chest freezer might be risky (vs ordinary fridge freezer which are typically not as cold).
Keep it Dry and Air Tight
Make sure it’s sealed up. Air tight in appropriate seal-able container. NO MOISTURE!
Yeast will go bad if exposed to moisture.
How Long Will It Last?
‘They’ say that yeast will keep well in the refrigerator for 6 months after opening. But I know it’s much longer than that! What happens over time is evidently a slightly lesser rise. Eventually you may notice.
Unopened sealed active dry yeast should last for several years under good storage conditions.
Pro Tip: We have saved a number of the (4-ounce) Fleischmann’s jars and use them to dump in the yeast from a 1-pound packet when we open up a new one from storage. One pound will fill four jars, which we then keep in the fridge.
What are your experiences or recommendations for storing yeast?
What is your yeast brand of preference?
I’ve been using Fleischmann’s for many years.
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