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What is a Yeast Cake? The Definitive Answer!

Those that are familiar with baking may know what a yeast cake is, or they may not.

It depends on what type of baker they are, and the recipes that they’re familiar with.

Professional bakers likely know the term “yeast cake”, but if you’ve ever scanned a recipe and then sat wondering what is a yeast cake, you’re not the only one.

In this article, we’ll talk a bit about what a yeast cake is, and its purpose. Spoiler alert: it’s not an actual cake, but instead aid to help you bake a cake!

What is a Yeast Cake?

A yeast cake is yeast. It is 0.25oz or 2.25 tsp of yeast and the equivalent of one packet of yeast. It’s similar to the active dry yeast that you’d purchase to bake soft pretzels or fresh bread, but it’s compressed into a small cake.

What is a Yeast Cake?
What is a Yeast Cake?

What Yeast Cakes Are And Where to Find Them

You might find yeast cakes on the supermarket shelves next to yeast packets, but if your local grocery store doesn’t have them, you might have to purchase them online.

Yeast packets work the same as active dry yeast, though they’re far more perishable and must be kept in the refrigerator.

Yeast cakes are fresh, and they’ll crumble apart when you use them.

In many cases, you’ll have to carefully measure out the amount that you need, which is another reason that active dry packets are so popular.

Active dry yeast is more popular than yeast cakes nowadays
Active dry yeast is more popular than yeast cakes nowadays

Utilizing Yeast Cakes

There are many professional bakers that still use yeast cakes, even though they’re not as widely available as they once were.

Most bakery supply stores have them in stock, and if they’re not local to you, you can purchase them online.

Yeast cakes are fantastic for baking, and they dissolve quickly in warm water for use.

Many people prefer active dry yeast over yeast cakes because they last much longer.

Yeast cakes are typically only good for up to 10 days in the fridge, but if you’re baking a lot (like a professional baker would) you’ll find that the expiration date is not an issue.

In general, one yeast cake (depending on size) is equivalent to one packet of dry active yeast.

You can use yeast cakes in anything you bake that requires yeast, with some of the most popular recipes on the internet being sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, soft pretzels, pretzel bread, and fresh homemade bread.

There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not yeast cakes actually make the finished product taste better.

But, that’s something you’ll have to decide on your own!

Yeast cakes are fresh
Yeast cakes are fresh

Where to Purchase Yeast Cakes

Also known as “fresh yeast”, yeast cakes can be purchased online, at bakery supply stores, and also at local bakeries that use fresh yeast.

You can ask your local baker (nicely) if you can purchase fresh yeast from them, but you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got the conversion rate down.

In many cases, you’ll need more active dry yeast than you would fresh, so just be sure to understand how much you’re getting, as larger yeast cakes can raise 9 to 11 cups of flour!

Larger yeast cakes can raise larger yeast cakes can raise 9 to 11 cups of flour
Larger yeast cakes can raise 9 to 11 cups of flour

Locating the Best Yeast Cake Recipes

The internet is full of recipes that will point you in the right direction if you’ve got some yeast to use up.

From cakes to homemade bread, there are very few things that yeast can’t do.

However, when you conduct your search, you’ll want to ensure that you are specifying whether or not you’re using a yeast cake.

Not only do recipes that utilize yeast cakes have different measurements than those that use active dry yeast, but if you try to swap, your results might not be what you’re expecting.

Libraries and local bookstores are full of recipe books that encourage you to bake from scratch, and chances are, many of those recipes will include yeast cakes.

There are hundreds of resources that will help you learn to bake using yeast cakes.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that it’s incredibly similar to active dry yeast, with a couple of curveballs thrown in.

The most important thing to consider when using yeast cakes is the fact that they do perish long before the yeast packets, so make sure you use them before they go bad.

A yeast cake is 0.25oz or 2.25 tsp of yeast that is pressed into a cake
A yeast cake is 0.25oz or 2.25 tsp of yeast that is pressed into a cake

Frequently Asked Question About What is a Yeast Cake

Because yeast cakes aren’t too readily available in stores, many people are unsure what they are.

Because certain recipes call for yeast cakes, there are various internet searches all wondering what yeast cakes are and why people might use them!

What is a Yeast Cake?

A yeast cake is a compressed, square, cake of yeast that crumbles apart and allows the baker to measure out how much yeast they’ll need. Pay close attention to your recipe when you’re measuring out the yeast, so you don’t use too much or too little.

Why Aren’t Yeast Cakes that Popular?

Yeast cakes have to be measured and they perish faster than active yeast dry packets, so these are the two main reasons that many bakers prefer to use the packets. However, those that use yeast cakes swear by them, claiming that they help the flavor and consistency of their results.

Successfully Using Yeast Cakes

Utilizing yeast cakes has the potential to level up your baking game.

Not only are you using a professional tool, but you’ll have the chance to see if your baked goods taste better with yeast cakes as opposed to using the dry yeast packets.

Check your local bakery and ask if they have some yeast cakes available for sale, and if they tell you no, check online!