Fresh Yeast Conversion

4334358436 1eb502ccea o Fresh Yeast Conversion

Fresh yeast, also called baker’s yeast, cake yeast or compressed yeast is my preferred type of yeast when making bread.  It should be kept in the fridge and lasts up to 4 weeks.  Fresh yeast has no artificial additives.  Although not widely available in Australian shops, it is possible to find it in some delis and bakeries.

To buy fresh yeast look for a nice creamy colour without any dark or dried out spots.  It should smell pleasantly and crumble easily.  Greyish yeast that is stretchy and gummy is past the required freshness and might produce unsatisfactory loaf.  If in doubt, mix a small amount of yeast in some warm water with a tablespoon of flour.  If it rises, it means it’s still active.

Dry yeast on the other hand can be kept for up to 2 years.   This is especially handy if you don’t bake with yeast very often.  However, dry yeast usually contains additive sorbitan monostearate (E491).

Common Yeast packaging

In recipes requiring yeast, different yeast types and amounts can be stated.  That can be very confusing.  Also, depending on the origin of the recipe the amount can be stated as a cube or a cake of yeast.  Here are the most common yeast packaging sizes:

  • Dry yeast in small packs has most universal weight.  One packet, one sachet or one envelope weighs 7 grams (0.25 oz or 2 teaspoons).   1 teaspoon (5 ml) of dry yeast equals 3.5 grams

  • Fresh yeast packaging differs significantly.  In Australia it’s commonly produced in 1 kg blocks and then cut up into prepackaged small chunks or sold at the counter according to the customer’s requirements.  US cake of fresh yeast is packed in 0.6 oz or 17 grams.  If a recipe of European origin asks for a cube of fresh yeast, the required weight is 42 grams or 1.5 oz or 2.5 US cake portions.

Fresh yeast to dry yeast conversion and vice versa

The packaging types, sizes and measuring systems aren’t the only thing needing conversions.  If you only have dry yeast and the recipe calls for fresh yeast, what do you do?  Fresh yeast to dry yeast conversion and other way round is an easier one.  Very often I read in different recipes suggestion to half  or double the amount to change the type of yeast.  That would result in too much of dry yeast of too little of fresh and longer proving time.

The rule of thumb is dividing or multiplying by 3:

  • from fresh yeast to dry – divide amount by 3, eg. instead of 30 grams of fresh yeast use 10 grams of dry
  • from dry yeast to fresh – multiply by 3, meaning 7 grams or dry yeast becomes 21 grams of fresh.

Another easy way to remember yeast conversion is:

10g of fresh yeast = 1 teaspoon of dry yeast

10 : 3 = 3.33 g

As you can see above, this is close to 3.5 g – the average weight of one level teaspoon of dry yeast.  Teaspoon volume varies depending on the manufacturer and the shape.  However, a few grams more or less of yeast won’t make a huge difference in your recipe.

Note:

The amount of dry yeast in recipes and on the packaging instruction is often exaggerated.  As a result the dough rises too quickly and has a yeasty taste.  Reduce the amount of yeast and allow the dough a bit of extra time if necessary.

Happy baking!

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks a lot for this, I checked so many other websites and your calculations and instructions are the best, definitely the easiest to understand and use :o)

      • Lisa says

        Hi,
        I am making brioche, and it says to dissolve the fresh yeast in milk. If I am using dried yeast do I still need to put it in milk or do I skip that step?

        Thanks

        Lisa

        • Vesna says

          Hi Lisa,

          You can skip that step and mix dried yeast straight into the flour.

          Happy baking!

  2. Andrew says

    Hi Vesna,

    I’ve had real trouble finding fresh yeast. I’m quite near you in Melbourne. Can I ask where you buy fresh yeast?
    Thanks for this great site,
    Andrew

  3. Lilbusgirl says

    A recipe I’m using for brioche asks for 4g of fresh yeast as I don’t have any I’m having to use dry. Using your conversion it means 1.3g of dry yeast. Seems too little yeast perhaps? Would you use the reduced amount or just a sachet of dry yeast 7g and hope for the best?

    • Vesna says

      Hi Lilbusgirl,

      Whether or not 4g of fresh yeast is a small amount depends on how much flour is in that recipe and what is the recommended proving time. Given that brioche has eggs and butter added (that requires a bit more yeast to get that rich dough in action), does the recipe ask for overnight proving? Less yeast improves taste, but requires longer rising time. Without the recipe it’s hard to know what would be best, but I would suggest you use 1/2 a sachet and follow the recipe. Hope this helps.

      Let me know how did your brioche turn out.

  4. MZ says

    hello,
    i am substituting fresh yeast for a recipe that calls for dry yeast. As a result I am not sure when to and how to add the fresh yeast. Your help is greatly appreciated!

    • Vesna says

      Hi MZ,
      If you’re kneading the dough by hand, it’s best to dissolve the fresh yeast in a little water, than pour it into the flour with the rest of the liquids. If using a mixer with a dough hook or a bread making machine, you can can crumble the yeast directly into other ingredients.

  5. liz says

    can someone help me with this conversion the recipe is asking for 1 yeast cake does anyone know what that would be in dry fleishman pkgs ……..please and thank u

    • Vesna says

      Dear liz,
      I assume that the recipe is of US origin as it’s asking for a cake of yeast which is 0.6 oz. Converted to dry yeast it’s about 1/4 oz. or 7g envelope.

  6. Claude says

    Dear Vesna
    Thank you so much!
    Most recipes these days call for active dry yeast or instant but I still prefer to use the fresh (compressed) yeast – because this is how my mother taught me to bake – by eye or sometimes by ratio of yeast to flour. It’s hard to break a habit and I don’t seem to get the same result with the granulated stuff.
    Yours is the only conversion either way which I have found on the www.
    Thank you again so much for all your help.
    Claude

  7. claude says

    Thank you Vesna. your conversion is the one i have followed as being the most accurate.
    I too prefer working with fresh yeast as my mother taught me.
    All the best

  8. says

    Hello has anyone used fresh yeast in there bread machine on the dough setting.

    If any one has I would love to know how you got on and your method.

    I’m in the UK and I have a Panasonic Bread machine.

    Many thanks Julie

    • Vesna says

      Hi Julie,
      You can use fresh yeast in bread making machines. Simply crumble the yeast into the liquid (no need to cream it first), add other ingredients and set the program.

      • says

        Thank you Vesna,

        I did have a play and did as you suggested and my loaf turned out really well.

        I also tried crumbling the fresh yeast into the flour as suggested by a French baker and that worked also.

        I put the tepid water at the bottom of the pan, then the flour with yeast and sprinkled the salt at the very top.

        I have given up using dried yeast now.

        Thanks for your knowlege. Happy baking. Julie

  9. Margaret says

    Thanks for the conversions and advice re bread machine . Ive just switched it on , so fingers crossed.

  10. Anakaren says

    Hi I am making a mexican bread and I need 30 grams of dry yeast I dont know what to measure it in I have tablespoons, a measuring cup and teaspoons but how much do I PUT IN THEM IF I CANT measure in grams with these objects.

  11. Katrine says

    Hello Vesna,
    I would like to hear if you know what to do with dry yeast. I am from Denmark and my recipe says I need to mix 25g fresh yeast in cold water, but since I am in Canada I can only find dry yeast and on the package it says to put it in hot water. Should I put it in hot water as it says or can I put it in the cold water as my recipe says?

    Thank you!

    • Vesna says

      Hi Katerine,
      Generally, it’s better not to put any yeast into hot water, especially fresh yeast, as the high temperature might kill it (yeast is living thing). Dry yeast tolerates warmer liquids than fresh though: by the time it absorbs the liquid, it cools down a bit. If using dry yeast I put it straight into the flour, but the rising process is faster if you hydrate dry yeast beforehand. The safest thing is to put whatever yeast you have in lukewarm water.

      Happy baking!

  12. Suzanne says

    Hi Vesna

    Your conversion looks good but I am using a recipe for a panettone which asks for 90g fresh yeast, which would convert to 30g dried yeast. That seems like a lot, although the recipe also calls for 5 cups of flour. What do you think?

    Thanks
    Suzanne

    • Vesna says

      Suzanne, although sugar, eggs and dried fruit in doughs call for more yeast, 90 g of fresh yeast sounds a lot for 5 cups of flour (roughly 700 – 750 g). Without the recipe it’s hard to guess, but I wouldn’t put more than 10, max. 15 g of dried yeast. Less yeast might lengthen the proving time, but you’ll avoid yeasty flavour.

      Happy Baking.
      Vesna

  13. Aggie says

    My European recipe calls for 80grams of fresh yeast what would the conversation to dry yeast be in teaspoons or packets.

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