What Are Yeast Envelopes and Yeast Cakes?

From time to time, I’ve come across a recipe that contains yeast (such as the great Curry Focus recipe for Naan Bread). And quite often, the recipe calls for fresh yeast.

But fresh yeast is hard to find nowadays. Probably because relatively few people use it and it goes off so quickly. I had a chat to the owner of my local Indian supply store and he said that it was rare for it to be in the shop and, once he received a supply, the yeast was quickly removed from the shelves. He reckoned that news of a delivery spread around like wildfire and his shop would be cleared of its stock within hours.

I tried to find fresh yeast for days so I could try the Naan Bread recipe but couldn’t find any for sale anywhere.

I saw that shops and supermarkets had jars of dry yeast so I did a bit of investigating on the internet to find out how much dry yeast was the equivalent to fresh yeast.

I soon entered a world of confusing terminology and strange numbers.

But I eventually worked it out and here are the results for you.

There are lots of different types of yeast but I’m only going to talk about dry active yeast (the type that you buy in jars) and fresh yeast (which I still haven’t even seen yet).

Active dry yeast is traditionally sold in envelopes, or packages (a package is the same as an envelope) but more lately you’ll find it in 130g (4 oz) jars (plastic or glass).

Fresh yeast is sold in cakes.

So how much is in an envelope, how much is in a cake and how much dry yeast is the same as fresh yeast?

An envelope has 7g (1/4 oz) of dry active yeast.

A cake of fresh yeast can be 19g (2/3 oz) or 56g (2 oz) in weight.

If you’re lucky enough to find fresh yeast then you can cut off a measure from the cake but how do you measure dry active yeast?

Luckily, you can measure dry active yeast with a teaspoon.

Now this is where the number crunching starts.

2 1/2 teaspoons of dry active yeast weighs 7g (1/4 oz).

An envelope of dry active yeast is the same as a 19g (2/3 oz) cake of fresh yeast.

You can see a dry active yeast to fresh yeast quantity conversion table here.

One advantage that dry yeast has over fresh yeast is in how long you can keep it before it goes stale. Whereas fresh yeast goes stale after only a few days, dry active yeast can be safely kept for around 4 months (longer if the jar is kept in the fridge).

I found most of the above details on yahoo answers. If you want to read about all of the different types of yeast, you can check out this great article.

So now you know about yeast cakes or envelopes.

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