Dry yeast and fresh yeast, what are the differences?

Dry yeast and fresh yeast, what are the differences

With either dry yeast or fresh yeast, you can bake light pizza and bread dough with both forms of yeast. In this guide you will discover what the differences are and how you can use fresh or dry yeast.

Dry yeast and fresh yeast, what are the differences

Yeast is a single-celled microorganism that belongs to the family of fungi. This living organism feeds on the sugar and starch in the dough and converts them, among other things, into carbon dioxide gas, which is responsible for the bubbles that swell and aerate the dough’s of bread, pizzas and buns.


There are two main forms of yeast on the market, dry yeast and fresh yeast, which is also known as block yeast. We’ll explain how the two are different, what to keep in mind when storing and using them, and how you can replace one yeast with another.


Dry yeast and fresh yeast have more in common than differences:

  • Both dry yeast and fresh yeast are the same yeast strain (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), also called baker’s yeast or brewer’s yeast.
  • Dry yeast and fresh yeast serve the same purpose in baking: they convert sugar and starch into carbon dioxide and allow the dough to rise.
  • Yeast cultures were also grown and propagated in the same way, in a nutrient medium rich in carbohydrates.
  • The exact form of cultivation depends on whether it is conventional yeast or organic yeast, but not whether it is dry yeast or fresh yeast.

But there are also big differences between dry yeast and fresh yeast:

  • While fresh yeast contains around 70% water, dry yeast only contains around 5% residual moisture. This is the biggest difference.
  • Dry yeast has a significantly longer shelf life than fresh yeast. While you can store fresh yeast in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, dry yeast can be stored at room temperature for several months to a year.
  • The fungal cultures contained in the dried yeast are inactivated and only activated by the addition of liquid. These are living microorganisms in a “resting state”.


Both dry yeast and fresh yeast do their job excellently as leavening agents. In the finished recipe, the difference is hardly noticeable, if at all.

The benefits of fresh yeast are quite subjective:

  • Some bakers go for fresh yeast, as it should give baked goods a rounder and slightly sweeter taste.
  • Also, some report that yeast dough should rise slightly better with fresh yeast than dry yeast.
  • Fresh yeast is generally recommended if baked goods require a particularly long fermentation time or several resting phases to rise, because it has a longer driving force than dry yeast.

On the other hand, dry yeast has established itself today as the most used for its practical advantages over fresh yeast:

  • Dry yeast can be kept for several months at room temperature in a closed package. Once opened, you can store the package in the refrigerator for another two weeks. Fresh yeast, on the other hand, should be stored in the refrigerator and used within two weeks of purchase.
  • You don’t need to mix the dry yeast with liquid beforehand, you can mix it directly with the dry baking ingredients. This makes it a bit easier to mix dry yeast into the dough than fresh yeast.
  • Also, thanks to its shape, dry yeast is a bit easier to dose than fresh yeast in block form.

Comparison conclusion:

  • Fresh yeast gives baked goods a slightly better flavor and also has a higher driving force than dry yeast. For some recipes like braids or buns, this is possibly the best yeast.
  • On the other hand, dry yeast is the much more practical form of yeast, especially for hobby bakers, it lasts much longer and is easier and faster to process.


If you want to make yeast dough yourself, you should keep the following points in mind when preparing it:

  • First , mix the fresh yeast with a little of the warm liquid from the recipe and a little sugar and let this mixture rest for about ten minutes. By the formation of bubbles you can tell that the yeast has started its activity. After ten minutes, you can add the liquid to the rest of the baking ingredients.
  • It is not necessary to mix the dry yeast with the liquid first. Mix them directly with the dry ingredients in the recipe. Make sure the rest of the ingredients are not too cold, they should be removed from the fridge well in advance.
  • Whether it’s fresh yeast or dry yeast, yeast has the best driving force at temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees. At more than 45 degrees, the yeast dies, while metabolic processes are considerably slower at less than ten degrees.

When baking, you can easily replace fresh yeast with dry yeast:

  • You can replace a cube of fresh yeast (42 grams) for two packages of dry yeast (fourteen grams).
  • As a result, a packet of dry yeast is roughly equivalent to half a cube of fresh yeast (21 grams).
  • As a general rule, half a cube of fresh yeast or a packet of dry yeast is enough for 500 g of flour. However, this amount varies greatly depending on the recipe.
  • In principle, you can also mix fresh yeast and dry yeast in a recipe, if necessary.


Whether it’s dry yeast or fresh yeast, we recommend that you pay attention to quality when buying, because there are some differences between organic yeast and conventional yeast:

  • Culture medium: Conventional yeasts are often grown on molasses (a by-product of sugar production), phosphorus, or inorganic nitrogen. Organic yeasts, on the other hand, are grown with natural raw materials from controlled organic farming, often in cereals or sugar beet syrup.
  • Antifoam Agent: Sunflower oil is added as an antifoam agent to organic yeast so that growth-inhibiting foam is not formed. With conventional yeasts, synthetic substances are used for this purpose, which must subsequently be rinsed with plenty of water. Therefore, more water is used in the production of conventional yeast than in organic yeast.
  • Genetic engineering: Furthermore, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not used in the production of organic yeast.

If you want to buy dry yeast, you should also take a closer look at the ingredients:

  • Part of the dry yeast contains emulsifiers. The most widely used emulsifier is sorbitan monostearate (additive number E491). There are isolated emulsifiers even in fresh yeast.
  • Green manufacturers, in particular, refrain from using emulsifiers. Nothing more than yeast in the package.


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