Fresh yeast is ivory colored with a yellowish hue and is soft and moist and should easily crumble. Fresh yeast is produced biologically by feeding yeast cells with sugar, water and oxygen so that they will start growing and dividing. Make sure it is fresh smelling and there are no dark or dried places on the yeast. It is mainly used by professionals as it is highly perishable and must be used within a short time of opening. It is sold is .06 ounce foil packages and must be refrigerated.
Fresh yeast for bread-making can be fresh, dried or 'easy-blend', but in all cases it is a living organism that needs moisture, warmth and food (such as sugar or flour) to grow. As Fresh yeast grows, it reduces carbon dioxide, which makes the dough expand and rise. In general, slowly risen dough results in bread with superior flavour and texture. Extreme heat kills the Fresh yeast, which is why the dough stops rising when it's baked in a hot oven. You should never use very hot water to mix dough because it will kill the Fresh yeast and stop the dough from rising. Be sure not to use too much yeast, or the final loaf will have a prominent yeasty flavour.
Crumbled fresh yeast
Crumble the fresh yeast with your hands to break them down. It can also be mashed with the use of a fork. Crumbled fresh yeast can be further stored or used as desired.
How to Select
Small, beige-coloured cakes of fresh yeast can be purchased from bakers and many health food stores. You can usually find Compressed/Cake Fresh Yeast in most large supermarkets in or near the dairy section of the store. It usually is packaged in 0.6 ounce cubes wrapped in silver foil.
When you buy Compressed/Cake Fresh Yeast, take it home and refrigerate it right away, and use it by the "Sell By" date on the package.
· When Fresh yeast is used in baked goods (breads, Danish pastries, brioche, croissants, etc.) It not only increases the volume but also improves the texture, grain and flavor of the bread
· When added to various dough's, the Fresh yeast starts a fermentation process by metabolizing sugar to produce ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, which leaven the dough.
· The gas bubbles are trapped in a porous, elastic web produced by the flour's protein (gluten) combined with liquid, giving the dough volume.
How to Store
Store fresh yeast in the refrigerator, well wrapped, or in the freezer, where it will keep for up to four months. If kept on a shelf, packaged and jarred yeast are not usable past the expiration date. However, they can be refrigerated for several months or frozen for up to a year. Always bring to room temperature before using. If you freeze it, defrost it for a day in the refrigerator before using.
It is important to keep the yeast from drying. Allow the yeast to defrost gradually in the refrigerator the night before you are planning to use it. The longer the yeast is frozen, the more it will lose potency. When in doubt, discard.