Having purchased some more bulk instant dry yeast, I researched (again) the best way to store yeast for maximum shelf life.
Since we make all of our bread from scratch (from our own milled wheat), we go through yeast fairly quickly and therefore we like to buy and store larger quantities and store it (also good for general preparedness).
Knowing that yeast is ‘alive’, I wasn’t sure how necessary it is store and keep it ‘refrigerator’ cool, and I also wasn’t sure if storing yeast in the freezer would be best (or a problem by possibly damaging the yeast cells after they freeze).
Here’s my conclusion:
When you purchase dry yeast in bulk, it is vacuum sealed in jars or in packs (1-pound, etc.). They all have a date stamp. This date is typically two years from the date the yeast was packaged. So long as you do not open the sealed jar or pack, the yeast will be ‘good’ until the date stamp – so long as you store it in a cool dry place (nothing extreme).
Once the yeast jar or pack is opened (and exposed to oxygen), it will be good for approximately 4 months afterwards if it is kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Note that yeast will go bad if exposed to moisture.
There are conflicting reports as to the advantage (or not) of storing yeast in the freezer. I’ve done this in the past and have experienced problems with the yeast afterwards (although I was not convinced if it was due to freezing temperatures or being a cheaper brand).
My conclusion is to simply store your bulk yeast on the shelf where it doesn’t get too hot, etc. (Your pantry). Be aware of the date stamp (usually 2 years from packaging). Once you use it and open it for the first time, then keep it in the refrigerator (in an air-tight container) for 4 more months without issue.
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. It will fill four jars, which we then keep in the fridge.
What are your experiences and/or recommendations for storing yeast? Successes? Failures?