So Much Yeast, So Little Time
June 22, 2007 10:40 AM   Subscribe

What do I do with all this yeast?

About 6 months ago I bought a 2 lb package of active dry yeast at Costco. (I know, who needs 2 lbs of yeast? But it's $3 for 2 lbs vs $7 or $8 for 4 ounces in a jar at the grocery...) I bake a lot of bread, but most of my recipes are for slow-rise, low yeast breads, which has left me with about a pound and a half of leftover yeast. I know the stuff becomes inactive after a while. My stash is still good. So:

1) Any additional yeast heavy recipes for me? Food, drink, science projects welcome.

2) Are there any disposal problems I should be aware of? Is it environmentally safe to toss a pound of still-active yeast into the trash?

posted by maryh to Food & Drink (24 answers total)
Proof a little of it to see if it's still active. If not, it's fine to throw it in the trash.

If it's still good, do you have friends/relatives who would take a bit from you?
posted by briank at 10:43 AM on June 22, 2007

You can store yeast in the freezer -- it keeps longer that way. You might know that already, though.
posted by rossination at 10:45 AM on June 22, 2007

No friends or family are interested. And yes, I do keep it in the freezer. It's perfectly active; I just put a bread starter together with some this morning.
posted by maryh at 10:49 AM on June 22, 2007

Make some beer?
posted by briank at 10:55 AM on June 22, 2007

Ginger Ale?
posted by rossination at 11:01 AM on June 22, 2007

Beer made with baker's yeast will not taste very good.
posted by goethean at 11:02 AM on June 22, 2007

But that uses 1/4 tsp. Maybe you should have a ginger ale party?
posted by rossination at 11:02 AM on June 22, 2007

The yeast wouldn't be hardy enough for beer...

...but would do for Ginger Beer!
posted by popcassady at 11:02 AM on June 22, 2007

(sorry, my comment referred to my Ginger Ale comment... ah, screw it).
posted by rossination at 11:02 AM on June 22, 2007

A mosquito trap? I can't find the link, but it was posted sometime this week I thought.

Cut off the top of a two-liter bottle, invert it, and glue it back tightly.

Add 5g yeast and 50g sugar dissolved in water.

Cover the cylinder with black construction paper.

You could make hundreds of these!
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:19 AM on June 22, 2007

Maybe try making some homemade marmite or vegemite? Might be a bit tricky to do at home.

But... if I were to try to make some, I'd brew up a cheap-o hooch-style wine with white sugar, lemons, raisins and the bread yeast. (The wine probably would not be palatable regardless of the ingredients, because bread yeast really isn't suited to alcoholic fermentation.) Then, after it was done fermenting, I'd pour off the hooch, scrape the yeast out of the bottom of the fermenter and into a deep-dished frying pan and simmer it at ~150 degrees for a while to kill the yeast and evaporate some of the leftover liquid. Maybe toss in some garlic, salt and soy sauce for flavor and color. Scoop the stuff into tubs and put it in the fridge.

You know what, I think I might try making a small batch of this using the yeast cake off a beer I've got going right now. I'll get back to you in a week or so.

(I am a homebrewer, not a biochemist.)
posted by cog_nate at 11:22 AM on June 22, 2007

I keep my instant dry yeast in an airtight glass jar (with a spring-loaded latch and a rubber gasket) in the freezer. I've had this batch (SAF Red) for about 6 years and it doesn't seem to have lost any potency.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:27 AM on June 22, 2007

There are a couple rootbeer recipes floating around the net that call for baker's yeast. . . I haven't had the best luck doing it. It's fun though.
posted by magikker at 11:35 AM on June 22, 2007

My family has a recipe for a delicious, yeasty root beer. We make it five gallons at a time, bottle it, and let it sit for a week or two, depending on the weather.

If you want real draft root beer (that really is draft root beer, instead of just claiming so on the label), then just buy a bottle of root beer extract and follow the yeast recipe.

The dry ice recipe is crap, by the way, and not very portable to boot.

Caveat: When fermenting, don't let the bottles go too long. Too much fizz makes for exploding bottles.
posted by SlyBevel at 11:51 AM on June 22, 2007

Damn you, magikker.
posted by SlyBevel at 11:52 AM on June 22, 2007

I freeze my yeast. Have no trouble with that at all.
posted by konolia at 1:07 PM on June 22, 2007

King Cake? Lots and lots of King Cake?
posted by Katemonkey at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2007

If you have a septic system, you can dump it down the toilet to rejuvenate the tank.
posted by zek at 1:53 PM on June 22, 2007

I'd be making soft pretzels and malasadas.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:04 PM on June 22, 2007

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:11 PM on June 22, 2007

Find an old fashioned dinner roll recipe made for busy housewives, that can rest in the fridge for a few days and rises quick. These recipes always call for more yeast than regular recipes. They allow for some of the yeast to be killed off before baking, while still having enough manpower to have a good bench proofing(they should rise to double size as always) and oven spring.

I use a recipe from a garage-sale McCall's baking cookbook. The dough mixes quick in my kitchenaid, and I divide the dough to provide rolls for the dinner I'm making, and then dough for another day. After the first rise, which is flexible between one hour and 2-3 days, the dough can be turned out, slightly kneaded and shaped. I like to make rosettes or braids, the pieces meld together well but it makes it easier to tear apart.

The yeast is pretty inactive while the dough is cold, so it's good to let the cookie sheet full of rolls rest on your stovetop while the oven preheats, propped up over whereever your oven vents the most heat (I remove the grates and trays out of my stovetop and lay the sheet over the wide holes). They'll rise fast this way and be ready when the oven is.

Pretty much every step is faster than making loaf bread except the shaping, and the shaping takes less time than shaping pretzels(which also have to be boiled before being baked). I love making all those kinds of breads but I make this kind more often because it's so much easier and the steps can be spaced out over a day.

You can also find refrigerator pizza dough recipes that behave the exact same way.
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:03 PM on June 22, 2007

If you have a septic system, you can dump it down the toilet to rejuvenate the tank.

I've been told by more than one plumber or septic guy that this can often cause more problems than it solves. Unless you don't use the toilets that much, there should be more than enough bacteria in normal waste. Adding a lot of yeast can make the whole tank foam and churn, and stirs up a lot of muck, clogging up drain lines and such. I never believed it until we tried it once, and the tank started foaming up through the sandy soil...
posted by pupdog at 3:26 PM on June 22, 2007

Yeast-risen pancakes and waffles are great. Also english muffins and crumpets.
posted by Goofyy at 9:26 PM on June 22, 2007

Big thanks to everyone that responded, but rxrfrx's comment pretty much negates my question. I'd read that even frozen yeast is only good for 6 months to a year. If I can get 6 years out of this batch, I'm loathe to waste any. Yet those ginger and root beer recipes sound great, and I'm totally going to try the homemade Marmite that cog_nate described. (It couldn't be more hellish than the store bought stuff!) Special thanks to solipsophistocracy for the skeeter trap idea. I've got big troubles with a neighbor (well, the bank that repossessed his house) letting a swimming pool go fetid. Those traps may be a happy communioty project to combat a grumpy community bitchfest.
Bravo to you all!
posted by maryh at 12:25 AM on June 23, 2007

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