Does yeast go bad?


Two days in a row I've tried to make Pain de Mie following the recipe on this site. It calls for adding all the ingredients to a mixing bowl with yeast going in last after the flour. Both times I measured carefully and followed the instructions to the letter, but both times the dough remained flat. The yeast I'm using is the SAF purchased from this site and I've kept it in a ziplock bag in my cupboard for about a year.

Also, what is the difference between the red SAF yeast and the gold SAF yeast sold here?

Many thanks,

badge posted by: annekrobertson on February 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm in Baking, yeast
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reply by: Mike Nolan on February 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm
Mike Nolan

I keep my instant yeast in the freezer, and have never had any go bad on me. (I also go through a pound of it in 2-4 months.) In the cupboard, it could.

But I'm not clear as to whether this is 'instant' yeast or active dry yeast. The latter usually needs to be proofed in some of the liquid.

You could try proofing a teaspoon of the yeast in a cup of warm water with a little sugar in it. If it foams up in a few minutes, it's probably still good, otherwise, time to replace it.

I'll let someone else (from KAF, perhaps) answer the question about the differences between brands of yeast, I generally use Fleischmann's IDY and until recently didn't have a local source for SAF in 1 pound packages.

reply by: lindyd on February 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Hi Anne,

KA's instructions for storage of that pound of SAF yeast (which is instant yeast) states:

"Store in an airtight container: for 6 months at room temperature or in the fridge; or for a year or longer in your freezer."

Am sorry to say that since you've kept it in your cupboard for a year, it's most likely expired. SAF is a great yeast and keeps for well over a year in the freezer. I think it took me two years to use a full pound - but mine is kept in a locking plastic food container in my freezer.

The SAF Gold instant yeast is terrific for sweet doughs. The KAF link to that yeast is:

The SAF products are great and the best thing about instant yeast is that it can be added directly to the dry ingredients. None of that "proofing" business.

Do play it safe with your next yeast purchase and freeze it if you are buying a pound. Smaller packets should be kept in the refrigerator - and they all carry an expiration date.

reply by: meghildreth on February 16, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I keep my yeasts - instant and regular - in acrylic airtight containers that you can order from KAF, The containers live in the freezer and last a very long time. I spent a lot of last year being sick - H1N1 and then bronchitis. Both really threw me. I was still recovering from H1N1 when I contracted bacterial bronchitis, so I did not have the energy or desire to bake. My yeasts have been in the freezer for over a year and they are just fine.

reply by: pjh on February 16, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I'm sorry about your yeast, Anne. We just spent some time with SAF's reps last week, and they suggest strongly dividing any bulk yeast into small packets, and keeping them in the freezer for up to a year. Looks like the community hss answered your other questions - just to reiterate, SAF Gold is for sweet doughs, as it's "osmotolerant" – it's able to thrive with less liquid, which it must do as the sugar "hogs" the water in the dough. Hope you try that pain de mie again - it makes a really nice bread!

reply by: Midnite Baker on February 17, 2011 at 1:47 am
Midnite Baker

I just finished off a one pound bag of Fleischmanns Active Dry Yeast which I stored in my freezer in a sealed bag. This yeast, believe it or not, had an expiration date of 2005. And I got an extra 5 years because it was stored in the freezer. Of course, this yeast had to be proofed each time I used it. That was fine by me, since it was so outdated. I did throw away one to two ounces as it wasn't proofing very well. Sorry, about your yeast.
Happy Baking. M

reply by: annekrobertson on February 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

Thanks to everyone who responded. This was my first question to the community and I was astonished to wake up this morning to so many thoughtful posts! Best wishes to all,

reply by: frick on February 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Come visit us again, tell us what you are baking, and about successes and failures. You can learn a lot here, but it's likely we can learn from your baking experiences as well.