Is fresh yeast better than dried yeast?

Buying, storing and using fresh yeast can be rather time-consuming. But does it produce better bread?

Some cookbooks will insist that you simply cannot bake nice bread without making your own sourdough and using fresh yeast. Others, such as the River Cottage Handbook: Bread says that using fresh yeast is too much hassle most of the time. But what is the truth?

The biggest advantage of dried yeast is that it stays alive for a really long time. A packet may have a shelf live of 6 months or longer. In comparison, fresh yeast needs to be bought when you need it. It will stay alive a little while in the fridge, or you can freeze it, but then you need to remember to defrost it in advance of using it.

You also need to find it. None of the major supermarkets stocks it so you need to find a friendly baker or local health food shop and make an additional trip there to get it. The tried stuff just sits in your cupboard, ready to go.

How about the taste, though? Surely that makes it all worthwhile. Well, in reality, probably not. When I tried both, I could not tell the difference between the bread I had baked with fresh yeast and the bread I had baked with instant yeast.

This is surprising because you would think that I would get at least a placebo benefit from the fresh yeast. But there really is little to choose between the two, at least in bread, you make in your own kitchen.

Fresh yeast might be nice to try once in a while. However, it is unlikely you will notice any difference, and the additional complication makes it a lot of effort for little gain.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, March 4th, 2017 at 11:00 am and is filed under Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.