Author Topic: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?  (Read 1406 times)

wenchsenior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
I'm getting SO frustrated.  Ever since the pandemic started, I have not been able to find any regular baking yeast that is consistently 'live'.

First, there simply was no yeast.  After a few months, our local stores started stocking large packages of yeast from foreign distributors and we bought one.  Expiration dates were still far off, but the yeast was mostly inactive. 

Eventually, yeast from regular manufacturers started to reappear...mostly Redstar in our area.  However, this yeast has also been mostly disappointing. We've bought it on two separate occasions, several months apart.  Again, expiration dates are fine, but the yeast dramatically under-performs when proofing and baking, like 2/3rds of it is dead.

I've been forced to try to switch to instant yeast, which does in a pinch but is not at all ideal for fresh sourdough, which is the primary thing I bake.

I notice even King Arthur Flour, which I occasionally buy from, is stocking primarily Redstar, so I'm not inclined to buy from them.

I need help.  Any suggestions?

StashingAway

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 375
We get ours from Costco (well, my parents do and then we all split it up because it comes in huge containers). Last we did this was in July. Yeast has been performing fine. I keep it in a Rubbermaid in the fridge and have noticed no difference from yeast in the before-times.

K_in_the_kitchen

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 195
I use SAF Instant.  I haven't had to buy any since before the pandemic started, but mine is working fine.  I keep it in the freezer.

Cranky

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2623
I bought a brick of yeast from amazon this summer. Itís some Canadian brand. It seems pretty lively.

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2059
I bake sourdough which doesn't use commercial yeast.

Eventually I bought the Costco stuff, which in our area is Red Star.  No problems the few times I've used it.

FrugalZony

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1530
After months and months of nothing I found both Fleischmans Active Dry and Rapid rise again.
I have only found one of the cubes they have in the dairy section on one occasion this year.
So dry it is for the time being.
Both Active Dry and Rapid Rise have worked, but not as well I they used to (500gr flour to one package).
For my last two uses I doubled up the yeast and that worked just fine. So I now use 500gr flour to two packages.
BIG difference. You need more, but yes it works.
HTH.

dhc

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
I greatly prefer instant. In fact, if your aren't a commercial baker using cakes of fresh yeast, I'd go so far as to say instant is clearly better for baking than the craziness that is active dry. Consistent, doesn't need blooming (but doesn't hurt from it), and keeps practically forever. And although I'm confused by your addition of commercial yeast to sourdough, instant can also be cold-proofed, which allows longer proof times and thus higher flavor if you so choose.

StashingAway

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 375
instant can also be cold-proofed, which allows longer proof times and thus higher flavor if you so choose.

Wait, what? This opens up some fun possibilities... I hadn't come across it before!

wenchsenior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
Thanks, guys. 

(I know super traditional sourdough is an overnight rise with no yeast, but our family 'traditional' recipe for several generations has always been the lazy version with yeast, using two 2-hour rises, and the bread is amazing, so I have no interest in changing to longer rise).

wenchsenior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
After months and months of nothing I found both Fleischmans Active Dry and Rapid rise again.
I have only found one of the cubes they have in the dairy section on one occasion this year.
So dry it is for the time being.
Both Active Dry and Rapid Rise have worked, but not as well I they used to (500gr flour to one package).
For my last two uses I doubled up the yeast and that worked just fine. So I now use 500gr flour to two packages.
BIG difference. You need more, but yes it works.
HTH.

Yes, I've been doubling also to get by.

Pigeon

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1275
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2020, 07:32:40 PM »
I've been happily using one pound bags of Fleischman instant for many years. I get it either from Amazon or BJs Wholesale Club and it's available both places last I checked. I transfer into a clean glass jar and it lasts perfectly for ages in the fridge.

StashingAway

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 375
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2020, 06:54:33 AM »
Thanks, guys. 

(I know super traditional sourdough is an overnight rise with no yeast, but our family 'traditional' recipe for several generations has always been the lazy version with yeast, using two 2-hour rises, and the bread is amazing, so I have no interest in changing to longer rise).

How does it get sour with no starter?

wenchsenior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2020, 08:57:24 AM »
Thanks, guys. 

(I know super traditional sourdough is an overnight rise with no yeast, but our family 'traditional' recipe for several generations has always been the lazy version with yeast, using two 2-hour rises, and the bread is amazing, so I have no interest in changing to longer rise).

How does it get sour with no starter?

I have starter...it's been going for years.  It's starter + yeast.  My family has done it his way for 4 generations at least, I assume b/c nobody wants to wait more than 4-6 hours for bread!  Out of curiosity, I just looked up one of James Beard's recipes, and it's very similar...calls for starter + yeast, so I don't think this is that unusual.

The recipe is 1 regular package yeast in 1 C hot water to proof, add 2 t salt, 2 T sugar, 2 C flour, and 1.5 C starter for the sponge.

Let rise a couple hours, add as much more flour as needed to make the dough (usually ~2 C), knead, shape, let rise again 1-2 more hours.

Bake.  Eat far too much of it (which is why I only bake it every 2-3 weeks).


StashingAway

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 375
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2020, 09:39:20 AM »
Thanks, guys. 

(I know super traditional sourdough is an overnight rise with no yeast, but our family 'traditional' recipe for several generations has always been the lazy version with yeast, using two 2-hour rises, and the bread is amazing, so I have no interest in changing to longer rise).

How does it get sour with no starter?

I have starter...it's been going for years.  It's starter + yeast.  My family has done it his way for 4 generations at least, I assume b/c nobody wants to wait more than 4-6 hours for bread!  Out of curiosity, I just looked up one of James Beard's recipes, and it's very similar...calls for starter + yeast, so I don't think this is that unusual.

The recipe is 1 regular package yeast in 1 C hot water to proof, add 2 t salt, 2 T sugar, 2 C flour, and 1.5 C starter for the sponge.

Let rise a couple hours, add as much more flour as needed to make the dough (usually ~2 C), knead, shape, let rise again 1-2 more hours.

Bake.  Eat far too much of it (which is why I only bake it every 2-3 weeks).

Cool, I might have to try that!

SailingOnASmallSailboat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 266
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2020, 06:48:39 PM »
There's Red Star available in one-pound bags at the local grocery store, and I'm close enough to King Arthur to stop there on our way south. They have a couple of brands. Let me know if you would like a shipment.

wenchsenior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2020, 07:08:12 PM »
There's Red Star available in one-pound bags at the local grocery store, and I'm close enough to King Arthur to stop there on our way south. They have a couple of brands. Let me know if you would like a shipment.

How nice!  I actually found a container of Fleischman's today (first time it's been available in a long time).  So I think I'm good...:crosses fingers:

WhiteTrashCash

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1330
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2020, 07:22:21 PM »
I've been happily using one pound bags of Fleischman instant for many years. I get it either from Amazon or BJs Wholesale Club and it's available both places last I checked. I transfer into a clean glass jar and it lasts perfectly for ages in the fridge.

That's what I use too. We get our at the warehouse store and keep it in a container I bought from King Arthur Flour online. The stuff keeps a long time and it works great.

K_in_the_kitchen

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 195
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2020, 09:01:25 PM »
I use SAF Instant.  I haven't had to buy any since before the pandemic started, but mine is working fine.  I keep it in the freezer.
Same yeast, same storage.

Additionally, I always warm the water to 100F and get a consistent bloom.

What conversion from regular to instant yeast are you using?

I don't convert.  I use the same amount of yeast and just watch the bulk fermentation time since it rises quicker; I've always done it this way but recently saw it confirmed on Sally's Baking Addiction).  But for a bread machine you have to either use the quick cycle (programmed for instant yeast) or use only 75% of the active dry yeast measurement -- the bread might overproof otherwise.  Cook's Illustrated says to always use 75% if the recipe calls for active dry yeast and you use instant.  I love instant yeast and have used it for more than a decade.  I first found it at the health food store, and we started shopping there 21 years ago.

I rarely bloom the yeast, since instant yeast doesn't need it.  In my Ankarsrum mixer, I add all wet ingredients plus the salt to the bowl, turn it on, add half the flour, then the instant dry yeast, then the rest of the flour.  For Kitchenaid 60 minutes rolls, I add the yeast in with the dry ingredients, then add liquids, and I follow the directions as if I'd used active dry yeast (since that recipe depends on lots of yeast rather than full fermentation and proofing times).  The KA mixer calls for dry ingredients first, the Ankarsrum calls for liquids.  The only bread I make in the KA is the 60 minute rolls.

Of course, this is mostly moot now.  I bake yeast and sourdough breads for DH occasionally, but was diagnosed with a yeast allergy and can't eat yeast or sourdough bread without symptoms.  I was actually diagnosed with IgE mediated wheat, rye, oat, and barley allergies years ago, along with yeast (both bakers and brewers) but the wheat wasn't nearly as bad as the rye and barley, and after avoiding yeast for a few years I seemed to be doing better.  Both of my kids are already gluten free, one for celiac disease and the other for wheat dependent exercise induced asthma (which I was also diagnosed with years ago), so my giving up bread means DH is the only one to eat it if I bake.  I eat a low wheat diet now, trying not to eat it daily but not being so strict as to never have a biscuit or piece of cake.  (Also, before someone suggests it, I also react to spelt, farro, and einkorn.)

When I do bake sourdough, I prefer long fermentation, and rarely bake before 24 hours (between bulk fermentation and final proofing/proving).  I mostly stick to a lovely sourdough sandwich loaf with wonderful keeping properties, which is good because it can take DH a full week to eat a loaf.

dhc

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2020, 09:27:47 PM »
instant can also be cold-proofed, which allows longer proof times and thus higher flavor if you so choose.

Wait, what? This opens up some fun possibilities... I hadn't come across it before!
Reading my own words quoted, I realize the terminology I used isn't really accurate. What I meant to say is that instant yeast, by virtue of its very high reliability, doesn't require proofing at all (technically, neither does active dry if you're sure it's still alive, but that's a whole lot less certain with active dry than it is with instant). Since proofing usually involves warm liquid, your dough can only start so cold during its bulk fermentation if you proof your yeast. Instant yeast can be mixed with the rest of the ingredients at any temperature, meaning you can start your fermentation with cold ingredients if you want an especially long bulk fermentation (which can lead to more intense flavor).

StashingAway

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 375
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2020, 07:33:32 PM »
instant can also be cold-proofed, which allows longer proof times and thus higher flavor if you so choose.

Wait, what? This opens up some fun possibilities... I hadn't come across it before!
Reading my own words quoted, I realize the terminology I used isn't really accurate. What I meant to say is that instant yeast, by virtue of its very high reliability, doesn't require proofing at all (technically, neither does active dry if you're sure it's still alive, but that's a whole lot less certain with active dry than it is with instant). Since proofing usually involves warm liquid, your dough can only start so cold during its bulk fermentation if you proof your yeast. Instant yeast can be mixed with the rest of the ingredients at any temperature, meaning you can start your fermentation with cold ingredients if you want an especially long bulk fermentation (which can lead to more intense flavor).

Terminology, schmerminology... somehow I understood what you meant! I plan on trying it this week once I locate some instant yeast. How long do you find that you bulk ferment it usually?

314159

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2020, 07:38:11 PM »
I use active dry yeast that I buy at my local food co-op. I don't proof and have never had a problem with dead or weak yeast. I put it in a jar in the fridge, and then it takes me a few months to a year to get through the jar since I don't bake bread all that often.

wenchsenior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2020, 08:31:23 AM »
Oh, I could try that. Not a co-op, b/c I don't think our city has one, but a Whole Foods type place.  Natural Grocers I think refrigerates their yeast, and I need to stop in there at some point in the next couple weeks for nuts (it's the only store around that refrigerates their nuts).

314159

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2020, 05:21:33 PM »
Yeah, at my co-op it's in the refrigerated bulk section. Much cheaper than packets, too!

lhamo

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 791
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2020, 07:14:25 PM »
I'm still using a big package of Red Star active yeast that I got at Costco in 2015.  I think it officially expired in 2017 or 2018.  But it still proofs fine so I keep using it.

They had it in stock at our Costco today.

wenchsenior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2706
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2020, 09:43:47 AM »
Good news: the new Fleischman's regular yeast I bought (JUST started to reappear in local stores) is great! Finally!  I almost forgot what truly lively yeast is like...

OzzieandHarriet

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2020, 09:39:34 PM »
Good news: the new Fleischman's regular yeast I bought (JUST started to reappear in local stores) is great! Finally!  I almost forgot what truly lively yeast is like...

I have a jar of Fleischmanís Active Dry that I bought in the past month that is NOT working. Two inferior batches of bread from it thus far. It didnít proof well but I used it anyway. Expiration date is in 2022.

Iíve been baking bread every other week or so for the past decade (and before that on and off since I was a teen - so a LONG time), and this is the first time Iíve had this much trouble with yeast.

tawyer

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 210
  • Location: SF Bay Area
  • JFDI
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2020, 11:00:20 AM »
I use SAF Instant.  I haven't had to buy any since before the pandemic started, but mine is working fine.  I keep it in the freezer.
Same yeast, same storage.

Additionally, I always warm the water to 100F and get a consistent bloom.

What conversion from regular to instant yeast are you using?

I don't convert.  <snip>

I rarely bloom the yeast, since instant yeast doesn't need it.  <snip>
Thanks, I've learned a lot from this thread.

We've been making oat bread (oat bran, rolled oats, vital wheat gluten) and I continued to do the blooming when we ran out of regular and switched to instant because I didn't know any better. Something that was interesting to me was that putting the raw dough into the cold oven while the oven warmed up produced drastically better rising than putting it into the oven at baking temperature. Just a bit more rising time until the yeast dies, I suppose.

K_in_the_kitchen

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 195
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2020, 07:43:52 PM »
Good news: the new Fleischman's regular yeast I bought (JUST started to reappear in local stores) is great! Finally!  I almost forgot what truly lively yeast is like...

Woohoo -- I'm happy for you!

K_in_the_kitchen

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 195
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2020, 07:50:35 PM »
Just a note: proofing/proving yeast and proofing/proving dough are different things.  One is making sure active dry yeast isn't dead.  Instant yeast doesn't need proofing, although you can if you want to.  I've never had dud SAF Instant yeast, even when it's been in the freezer for years.

Proofing/proving dough is typically the last rise before baking.  The first rise is often called bulk fermentation, which I understood for sourdough but used to think was weird for yeasted breads until I thought about the fact that beer, etc. is also fermented with yeast.  And of course sometimes challah has a second rise, after the bulk fermentation (first rise), but before braiding and proofing (third rise).

blurkraken22

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Age: 5
  • Location: Very. Very. Close to the equator
  • C:。ミ
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2020, 02:09:49 AM »
If ever you really cannot find baking yeast, consider visiting your local homebrew shop.

And while you're at it, start making beer.

It is possible to harvest lots and lots of yeast each time you brew beer. You can store it in the fridge and then use it to make bread later. There are strains that store for 6+ months in the fridge.

Linea_Norway

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7051
  • Location: Norway
Re: Question for bakers: Does anyone have a source for RELIABLE baking yeast?
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2020, 08:53:38 AM »

We've been making oat bread (oat bran, rolled oats, vital wheat gluten) and I continued to do the blooming when we ran out of regular and switched to instant because I didn't know any better. Something that was interesting to me was that putting the raw dough into the cold oven while the oven warmed up produced drastically better rising than putting it into the oven at baking temperature. Just a bit more rising time until the yeast dies, I suppose.

From what I learned from you tube sourdough films, they said that oat broad requires sourdough, as normal yeast is not strong enough to lift up the heavier sourdough bread.