I love making pizzas at home and using the best yeast is key to the recipe. If left open, the yeast can die and become ineffective so you need to know how to store yeast for a long time.
There have been a lot of problems when I first started baking at home. Yeast is a key ingredient to pizzas and other baked goods so I needed to know everything about storing it.
Usually, I buy yeast in large packages and I find this pretty hard to manage, especially when I do not bake that often during that week. So storing the yeast properly is important.
There have been a lot of problems regarding the yeast that I use and I did not know what to do with it or what went wrong. That is until I knew how to properly store the yeast when not in use.
You should always keep in mind that yeast is a living organism that can die quickly if not taken care of properly. It can irreversibly ruin your pizzas or other baked goods.
Once you open the pack of yeast, you should immediately use it and properly store it if you have extra. From there, you will have yeast available when you need to bake pizzas again.
Shelf Life Of Yeast
To understand how to store yeast for a long time, you need to know the shelf life of yeast. There are different types of yeast that you can use for pizza and other baked goods as well.
I have had times when I stored yeast in a random jar and the yeast did not last for a long time.
These different types of yeast also have different shelf lives meaning a certain type of yeast may last longer than the other. So for that, I will only briefly explain each and focus on dry or instant yeast.
If you manage to find fresh yeast, then that is the best yeast used for baking pizzas. You can be sure that the yeast is alive and make the dough rise properly if you use it right away.
However, fresh yeast can only usually be bought from bakeries and they sell it in bulk. The most common is a pound of yeast or half a pound of fresh yeast, which means a lot.
So unless you will be baking a bunch of pizzas or loaves of bread, I recommend going with other types of yeast that will last longer as fresh yeast can only last a month in the fridge.
The most common type of yeast used by home cooks for pizzas or bread is active dry yeast. Active dry yeast is a dried version of the fresh yeast you use to last longer when stored.
Most yeast packages are labeled “Best Used By Date” which means that the yeast will be most active before the date mentioned on the package. This usually means two years after the packing date.
By freeze-drying the yeast, the living organisms in the active dry yeast are in some sort of a long rest or hibernation. This way the yeast can last for up to two years but I recommend using it before 2 years.
Another addition to that is the active dry yeast will be at its best condition after 2 years if you have not opened the package. The yeast can become bad quickly once you opened the pack.
How To Store Yeast After Opening?
There are a few ways to store yeast for the long term once you open the packaging. No matter what storage method you use, there are some rules that you cannot break when storing the yeast.
First, you need to make sure that both the area and container you store the yeast are dry. A dry area to store the yeast is a pantry or drawer with no water leaks.
You also need to keep the yeast away from heat. Yeast is activated when there is heat and the higher the temperature is, the faster the yeast will act and reduce its rising capabilities.
Lastly, you need to keep the yeast away from the air if you want the yeast to last for a long time.
That is why I recommend storing yeast in an airtight container or an airtight bag before you place it in the pantry or the fridge.
How To Store Yeast In Fridge
One of the best way to store yeast is to put it in the fridge. Compared to freezing the yeast, storing it in the fridge makes it quicker to defrost whenever you need to bake a pizza.
My personal favourite and the best way to store yeast is to put it in the fridge but if you buy yeast in bulk and the quantity is like a year’s worth, you should store yeast in the freezer for it to last longer.
If you have not opened the package of yeast, then the yeast can last for up to 5 years in the refrigerator. That will not be happening in my household as I open the yeast once I purchase it.
For people like me who use yeast a little more frequently than others, you do not need to worry as your yeast will still be okay as long as you know how long yeast lasts in the fridge.
Opened yeast will last for about 2 years in the refrigerator. That is as long as you make sure that the package or container you use to store the yeast is sealed and airtight.
Remember that your fridge can be filled with other types of food that can emit moisture. So what you should never do is store the yeast directly in the refrigerator without an airtight container.
You can leave the yeast in the packets you bought it in but make sure to put the pack of yeast in a sealed container before placing it in the refrigerator so moisture cannot get in the yeast.
How To Store Yeast In Freezer
Perhaps a better way to store yeast is in the freezer. Another best way to store yeast is in the freezer.
The same goes with how you store yeast in the fridge when it comes to storing yeast in the freezer in that you need a sealed container.
As I have briefly talked about above, when you store yeast in the freezer or freeze the yeast gives them some sort of hibernation wherein the activity of the yeast is drastically reduced or even stopped.
While some reports of yeast lasting for over a decade in the freezer, I would not recommend letting it rest or storing yeast in the freezer for more than 5 years before using it.
After 5 years, the yeast would start to deteriorate even if it is frozen. Even when frozen, yeast still has some activity inside the freezer so it may decline after 5 years in the freezer.
When you store yeast in the freezer, you can make it last for a long time and if you are someone who buys in bulk at times, you should go for this method.
Unless you bought a very big package of yeast, then it should not last for more than 5 years in storage. Make sure to use the yeast as soon as possible so you can still get the most out of it.
Storing yeast in the freezer is the best way to store yeast for someone who buys it in bulk, say about 1lbs of yeast at a time.
How to activate frozen yeast?
Once you store yeast in the freezer, it is a task to defrost or thaw the frozen yeast.
You need to activate the frozen yeast and hence you need to keep it at a higher temperature than the freezer.
To activate the frozen yeast, I recommend keeping it in the fridge for at least 12 hours before you use it while making your pizza dough.
There is nothing else I do to activate frozen yeast and if you have been wondering how to activate frozen yeast then this is the simplest way to do so.
I usually take a little bit of yeast and defrost that in the freezer and do not defrost the entire jar.
I only take a few tbsp of yeast and defrost it, making it quicker than defrosting the entire jar and also I do not recommend defrosting the entire jar again and again to activate frozen yeast.
You can leave it outside for a couple of hours too and that works.
How To Store In Cool Place
Another simple way to store the yeast is to keep it stored in a cool and dry place. The storing or packaging process of yeast is usually safe from air and moisture, so you need to keep it cool.
If you are not going to use your freezer or your refrigerator then make sure that the place where you store the yeast is as cool as possible. This will keep the yeast fresh for up to 2 years.
Yeast packages are mostly metallic material that keeps moisture out. T The packet is then vacuumed or you remove the air inside before you can seal the packet.
So since the package of the yeast keeps it safe from moisture and air, it does not mean that it is safe from all the things that you should avoid when it comes to storing the yeast.
Remember that heat is an enemy of the yeast when storing it. So find a cool and dry place away from the stove, vents, heaters, and other areas in the house that is too warm.
I usually put extra yeast in the basement as it is the coolest area in the house without needing air conditioning. You can use drawers or cabinets away from the kitchen to store the yeast in.
Yeast Storage Container
One of the most common ways to keep the yeast fresh when not used is storing yeast in mason jars. This is a common practice especially with yeast used in beverages like beer.
When it comes to instant or active dry yeast used for pizzas and other baked goods, then there are other options. No matter where you store the yeast, it should be first packaged properly.
Mason jars are a great option, but you still need to line the jar’s opening with a clean cloth or rubber band to make sure that it is sealed and neither air nor water can get in it.
Buckets or small containers with gamma lids are also very effective. They keep the yeast dry and make sure that no additional moisture can get in the container.
Sealed plastic bags are also one of my favorite packages for storing yeast in sealable plastic bags can be pressed to remove the air inside the package before storing the yeast.
As yeast deteriorates faster with oxygen, I still think that it is best to store your extra yeast in a sealable bag so that you can push as much air as you can out of the bag and make it airtight.
So no matter which container you use, make sure that it is airtight so that the yeast will not start to deteriorate or at least the deterioration of the yeast will be slowed a lot.
Best Yeast To Store For A Long Time
As I have mentioned above, there are many types of yeast that you can use for cooking pizzas and other baked goods. The problem is that not all yeast types are good for storing for a long time.
I personally love using the Caputo yeast which in my opinion is the best yeast you can use for making pizzas.
If you are looking for yeast that will last a long time, you should go with either instant yeast or active dry yeast. The longevity of the yeast will also depend on your personal preferences.
I have here some tips on what yeast to buy and you can follow them if you are looking for yeast that you can use in your next pizza-cooking activity.
Buy Small Packets
If you buy in bulk, one of the benefits you get is that you will ultimately be saving more money than buying small packets. However, there is a huge advantage when storing smaller quantities.
The only time that I recommend buying yeast in bulk is when you are an active baker. If you cook large batches of bread or pizza, then you can buy yeast in large quantities.
As for the people like me who just cook pizzas or bread weekly, I suggest you buy yeast in smaller packages. That way, you do not have to store the yeast for too long and risk letting it die.
The process called “nitrogen flushing” is something to look for. This process removes oxygen from the packaging and makes the yeast last longer due to the lack of air in the package.
If you think this is a bit of an overstep, you can just ask for yeast packaged in a vacuumed pack. Just make sure that you do not have to deal with too much air in the yeast.
Can I Use Expired Yeast?
Active dry yeast will usually go bad if it is not consumed 2 years after its packaging date. However, this does not mean that the yeast will be dangerous to your health when you use it.
If you think you have not been using active yeast the right way then check out our post on it.
If you leave the yeast unopened after you purchase it and use it after the “best used by” date, then there is still a huge possibility that the yeast is still active and makes the dough rise.
Expired yeast or yeast that has gone bad is not necessarily harmful to your health. Yeast that has gone bad usually means that it cannot act on the dough and make it rise.
Always test the yeast before using it to see if it is still active or not. Simply put some of the yeast in a cup of warm water and just half a teaspoon or less of sugar to see if the yeast acts up.
If the yeast starts to produce bubbles, it is still active and will help the dough rise. If after 10 minutes, the yeast just sinks at the bottom with no bubbles, then it is time to buy a new pack of yeast.
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