What is fresh yeast?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “what is fresh yeast?” and will discuss the difference between dried and fresh yeast.

What is fresh yeast?

Fresh yeast is compressed yeast cells that are still damp.  Bakers often utilize a block of fresh yeast cells that includes around 70 percent moisture, also known as cake yeast or compressed yeast. Light beige, soft and crumbly like a pencil eraser, it has an even stronger yeast aroma than dried yeast.

What is yeast?

Single-celled yeast may be found almost everywhere, notably on the surfaces of grains (such as flour made from wheat) and fruits (like grapes). Yeast consumes sugar from grains and fruits and produces carbon dioxide gas as a byproduct when activated with water.

This gas fills the gluten structure of bread dough, causing the dough to puff up and rise. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the most widely used yeast, even though there are hundreds of distinct types of fungus.

Types of yeast

Most bread recipes call for one of four varieties of yeast even though yeast is abundant in nature.

Active dry yeast

This is what most bread recipes ask for when they call for yeast. When active dry yeast was developed in the early twentieth century, it revolutionized the baking industry by becoming the most commercially accessible form of yeast. Yeast granules are protected by a thin layer of gelatin. Warm water activates the yeast, making it active.

Dry yeast

To make dry yeast dissolve more quickly in the 1970s, adjustments were made to make it more dissolvable. Instant yeast may be added to dry ingredients without the need for activation. Instant yeast is used by both professional and amateur bakers because of its convenience and dependability (active dry yeast is notorious for dying out before it hits its expiration date).

Cake yeast

As the name implies, this fresh yeast is made up of compressed yeast cells that are still damp. In an airtight container, cake yeast may be kept in the refrigerator for two weeks. The refrigerated area of well-stocked supermarkets should have it.

Sourdough yeast

Most people don’t realize that a sourdough starter (also known as levain) is a kind of yeast. When it comes to bread-rising abilities, certain Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains are used to make commercial yeasts, whereas a sourdough starter utilizes naturally occurring wild yeasts. It has a long lifespan, but it needs regular upkeep.

What’s the Difference between Dry Yeast and Fresh Yeast?

Dry yeast (both active dry yeast and quick yeast) and fresh yeast (cake yeast). have four major distinctions


The texture of fresh compressed yeast is similar to that of the crumbly block of Feta. Yeast that has been dried, whether active dry, or quick, has the appearance and texture of sand or cornmeal.

Shelf life:

Fresh yeast has a substantially shorter shelf life than either instant or active dried yeast. Active dry and instant yeast may be kept at room temperature for many months, however, fresh yeast must be used within a week or two and should not be stored in the refrigerator. The shelf life of instant yeast is the longest of the three commercial yeasts since it has the lowest moisture content.


Active dry yeast has to be activated before it can be used in the dough. When the yeast grains are mixed with warm water and whisked until bubbles form, this is done. In both fresh yeast and quick yeast, this step isn’t necessary.

Rising time:

About 25% of the yeast cells are killed during the drying process used to produce active dry yeast. As a result, fermentation is slowed and a noticeable yeasty taste is imparted by these dead yeast cells. Active dry yeast produces less carbon dioxide than fresh yeast and quick yeast because it has a smaller population of live yeast cells.

Buying fresh Yeast

Some stores don’t stock fresh yeast because of its limited shelf life and the fact that it must be refrigerated. Wherever it is, it’s probably on the dairy aisle, near the butter.

It’s important to keep track of the expiry date on fresh yeast to ensure that you don’t waste it. Fresh yeast may spoil quickly due to its perishable nature, so you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator until you need it. Before usage, bring it back to room temperature from the freezer. A moldy or crusted piece of yeast should never be used in a recipe.

How to Make Yeast from Dry and Fresh Yeasts?

When converting between dry and fresh yeast, the following ratio should be followed: 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active, instant, or rapid-rise yeast granules (usually one 1/4-ounce packet) = 2/3-ounce fresh yeast. To make things even easier for the baker, Fleischmann’s and Red Star offer their fresh yeast in the same amount of dry yeast as one packet each. 

Uses of fresh yeast

Crumble the fresh yeast before using it. Add it to the dry ingredients or soften in warm water and continue with the recipe after this. As fresh yeast activates more immediately and lasts longer than dried yeast in bread that needs a lengthy, gradual rising time, it is ideal for these types of bread.

Other FAQs about Yeast that you may be interested in.

Does Nutritional Yeast Have MSG

What is the best temperature for yeast?

Can you eat nutritional yeast raw?



In this brief guide, we answered the query, “what is fresh yeast?” and discussed the difference between dried and fresh yeast.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.