Adventures with fresh yeast

While trying to satisfy my craving for warm buttery brioche last weekend, I came across two possible recipes to try: Adriano Zumbo’s from his latest book and Dan Lepard’s from Short and Sweet.  The main differences between the two are that Adrian0 uses fresh yeast, a product I had never been able to find and had never worked with, and mixes his dough by machine whereas Dan uses dried yeast and mixes by hand.

I am always up for trying a new challenge so decided to source some fresh yeast and try Adriano Zumbo’s recipe (it also meant that I could take the easy way out and stick everything in the mixer!).  After a bit of Googling, I found a very useful post from Edinburgh Foody about buying fresh yeast on Amazon from Bertinet Kitchen. Who knew?!  For only £4.95 plus postage I got my hands on eight 42g blocks of Thirondelle fresh yeast.   Bargain! This does however mean that I now have enough yeast to make between 30 – 60 loaves!

As such, I chose to freeze 6 of the blocks to be used later. I was aware that you can freeze fresh yeast but was unable to find a definitive answer on Google as to how best to freeze it. Here’s hoping I’ve done the right thing and it doesn’t deteriorate too much.

With the remaining two blocks I created Adriano Zumbo’s brioche and made it into cinnamon rolls and a couple of chocolate chip brioche rolls.  The distraction of getting a new car and organising all the documents that go along with the process resulted in slightly over-baked cinnamon rolls.  Topped with a lovely, gooey cream cheese frosting however no-one seemed to notice too much!

Having only used around 9g of the unfrozen blocks of yeast in my fridge, it dawned on me half way through the week that I would have to use it or lose it – in my world, an unthinkable idea! So this weekend, I have gone back to basics and chosen a simple white loaf from the new Great British Bake Off How to Bake book.

I was looking for a loaf with maximum flavour that I could leave to rise overnight and this recipe didn’t disappoint.  With only a few ingredients (flour, water, fresh yeast and salt), and plenty of time, me and Mr H were treated to a hot loaf smothered in butter and jam for lunch. Unfortunately, I got slightly impatient with the first loaf and may have baked it before it had proved fully. The second loaf however was left for a full 2 hours and came out with a much more event crumb, as Mr Paul Holywood would say!

Now I just have to find more ways of using the remaining 300g yeast!

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