1 CAKE OF YEAST EQUALS HOW MANY PACKETS?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question ‘1 cake of yeast equals how many packets?’ Also, a brief difference between commercial and cake yeast is discussed below and the converting rule is also concisely mentioned.

1 cake of yeast equals how many packets?

1 cake of yeast of approx 0.6 ounces is equal to 1 packet of dry yeast which is approximately 2 ¼ teaspoon or 7gms or 11mls.

What is cake yeast?

Baker’s yeast is marketed in two ways, either as compressed cakes or as a dry powder. Compressed yeast comes in cakes of live, active yeast plants. They are fresh and packed in a solid mass. Good compressed yeast breaks with a sharp edge is light gray in color and has a sweet, fresh odor. It is not safe to use poor yeast because the bread may have a rancid or sour flavor. Compressed yeast grows rapidly when placed in the bread mixture (2).

Cake yeast is fresh active yeast. Sometimes also referred to as compressed fresh yeast or wet fresh yeast.  It’s commercially sold as a tiny 2 ounces cake in the refrigerated aisle of supermarts. Because of its short shelf life of 2 weeks, not all supermarkets sell it.

Appearance-wise it’s a soft, dense and crumbly cake and is used as a leavener in bread making. It contains around 70% moisture and is pale beige in color, has a fresh soft feel as you look at it.  

Because of its high moisture content cake yeast is considered to be a highly perishable commodity therefore it is prescribed to use immediately after purchasing it. But if for some reason it’s not used it’s advised to store it in the freezer so as to inhibit the microbiota. 

Cake yeast has a fresh scent to it and is dense and crumbly. If these characters are not dominant it’s advised to discard them.

What is yeast?

Yeast is single-celled but mighty microorganisms that are used in baked goods and commonly are responsible for the characteristic taste and aroma of baked goods. Yeast cells used in baking belong to saccharomyces cerevisiae species. Yeasts are actually microbial eukaryotes which belong to ascomycetes that are a good source of vitamin B and protein. Yeasts are plant-like unicellular fungi thriving on every living organism. They are typically spherical, oval or cylindrical in shape and a single cell is around 8 μm in diameter. Every cell has a double-layered wall, which is porous to certain substances and in this way food fabric is taken into the cell and metabolites leave it (1).

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as baker’s yeast, is the most common food grade yeast  which is used worldwide for the production of bread and baking products. S. cerevisiae is the most widely used yeast species, whose selected strains are used in breweries, wineries and distilleries for the production of beer, wine, distillates and ethanol. Baker’s yeast is produced utilizing molasses from sugar industry by-products as a raw material. Commercial S. cerevisiae and other yeast products available to cover the needs of the baking and alcoholic fermentation industries or for use as nutritional supplements for humans (3).

Yeast requires food (carbs), warmth and moisture to exhibit its activity. Sugars and starch in the flour act as the food of yeast which through a process of fermentation results in the breakdown of these said sugars and starch and yields carbon dioxide and alcohol. 

Because of the elastic and stretchy nature of dough carbon dioxide remains trapped within and creates these beautiful pockets within the dough and give a nice fluffy, airy textured end product while the alcohol evaporates during baking in the oven and is also responsible for the specific baked flavor and aroma compounds. As soon as the yeast has been added to the dough or batter, the yeast begins to feed on the starch in the mixture, forming sugar, alcohol and carbon dioxide. The bubbles of CO2 cause the dough to expand. The dough must be “kneaded” thoroughly to distribute the bubbles evenly and then left to rise again, usually to about double its original volume. If the mixture is left too long, acid produced by the oxidation of the alcohol results in the taste sour of the product (1).

Instead of cake yeast, there are other commonly used yeast varieties. Among them, active dry yeast is the most preferred one.

Food grade yeasts can provide proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins (mainly the B group), minerals, essential amino acids (mainly lysine). Generally, the lysine content in yeasts is higher than in bacteria or algae. Moreover, yeasts contain low amounts of nucleic acids (6–12 % on dry mass basis). It is also an excellent source of Ca, P, K, Mg, Cu, Fe, Zn, Mn and Cr and has been studied extensively for its medicinal properties. It is often used for the treatment of diabetes (regulation of insulin levels), loss of appetite, chronic acne, diarrhea, etc. It is also recommended as a dietary supplement for healthy hair and nails (3). 

What is dry active yeast?

Dry active yeast is more commonly available yeast for home bakers. It is more easily available in supermarkets and also retails at a much lower price than fresh yeast. Dry yeast is slower in its action than the compressed yeast because the cells are in an inactive state (2).

It’s available in 7gms of packets or ¼ ounce a pack. This yeast is in the dormant or stationary phase and needs to be hydrated and proofed prior to usage. Dry yeast is stored in a cool dry place and often is prescribed to store in refrigerators after the pack is opened.

How can you convert cake yeast to dry active yeast?

A simple thumb of rule for this conversion is:

¼ ounce of active dry yeast is equal to 0.6 ounces of fresh active yeast.

Or another alternative.

2 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast are equal to 2/3 ounces of fresh cake yeast.

Note that some retail cake yeast as a 0.6-ounce cube while some as a 2-ounce cake.

Which yeast is better for baking cake yeast or dry active yeast?

After the brief differentiation, a question might have arisen which is better one. Well, bakers that have experimented with both claimed that there are no such major differences. In the dry product, the yeast plants are inactive until they are soaked in warm water. It takes some time for them to return to normal and for that reason the method of making bread with dry yeast is spoken of as the long process. The yeast plants require longer time to multiply. Instead, the cake yeast is more quickly activated (2). Some claimed that bread tasted better and sweeter with fresh yeast while some said that the flavor and texture were perceived the same.

Despite no big flavor or textural differences, there are other factors that come into account when buying such an important deal-breaker for baked goods. These factors can be its availability, shelf life, price point and its ease of use.

Cake yeast takes a minimum of 5 minutes to completely crumble while dry yeast needs to be dissolved in lukewarm water and proved that may also take about 5 minutes. Cake yeast is on the expensive side and is not that easily available everywhere while dry yeast is not that expensive and is a more easily available option. 

Also, cake yeast has a limited shelf life while dry yeast can be stored however long one wants to before its expiration date. 

However, Fresh yeast is great for breads that require a long, slow rising time, as it activates more quickly than dried yeast and also stays active for a longer period of time. The drying process involved in producing active dry yeast kills about a quarter of the yeast cells. 

Those dead yeast cells form a protective coating around the living cells that slows down fermentation and produces a noticeably yeasty flavor. Fresh yeast contains more living yeast cells, so they produce more carbon dioxide than active dry yeast, resulting in a bigger, faster rise.

So the final verdict is that dry yeast is better than cake yeast as it is easily available, easy to use, easy to store and comparatively cheap. But if you have access to cake yeast you may experiment with it.

Other FAQs about Yeast that you may be interested in.

Does nutritional yeast expire?

How long does yeast last?

Does Nutritional Yeast Have MSG

Conclusion

In this brief article, we discussed the query, “1 cake of yeast is how many packets”. Also, a brief difference between commercial and cake yeast was discussed and the converting rule was also concisely mentioned.

Any questions or comments will be appreciated please let us know.

Citations

  1. Ali, Akbar, et al. Yeast, its types and role in fermentation during bread making process-A. Pakis J Food Sci, 2012, 22, 171-179. 
  2. Wilder, S. Homemade Yeast Bread. South Dakota State University. 
  3. Bekatorou, Argyro, Costas Psarianos, and Athanasios A. Koutinas. Production of food grade yeasts. Food Technol Biotechnol, 2006, 44.