Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tips for Using Fresh Yeast

Fresh yeast is ivory colored and available in blocks of a couple hundred grams. In Delhi, you can find it at Modern Bazaar. In other places, you may be able to source some from a local bakery.

In the past week, I had a couple of failures using fresh yeast because it behaves a little differently than active dry yeast. Thankfully, after a lot of trial and error, I found out what I was doing wrong.

A simple rule of thumb -

1 tsp active dry yeast = 10g fresh yeast = 4-5 heaping tbsp {if you don't have a kitchen scale.}

{There are many websites/blogs that have different versions, this worked best for me.}

For my sandwich bread, I use 30g of fresh yeast.

How to use fresh yeast - 

Cut off the required amount from the yeast block. Be careful, it'll start  melting as soon as you touch it. Do the cutting off process directly over your mixing bowl, if possible.

Once your yeast is in the bowl, add 1-2 tbsp sugar {to give it something to feed on}, and mash it with the back of a spoon. The mixture will turn into a mucky liquid within seconds.

Add all your dry ingredients and continue with the recipe you're following.

Important things to remember -

Fresh yeast has a very fast proofing time. If the recipe calls for two hours proofing, check the dough after 30 minutes. It will have doubled in size. 

Fresh yeast has a short shelf life. Keep it stored in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight when using.

Never put salt directly on fresh yeast. You will kill it.

Never leave your dough uncovered. Always cover with cling wrap or a damp tea towel. This ensures an even rise and prevents the dough from forming a skin. 

Checking freshness of the yeast - 

Ensure there are no dark or dry spots on the yeast. 

Take a tablespoon of yeast, mix with sugar, 3-4 tbsp flour, and just enough water to make a shaggy dough. If it rises, the yeast is good.

Storage instructions - 

Keep stored in the freezer. 

Wrap in cling wrap or a food safe plastic wrap.

Thaw overnight in refrigerator before using.


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