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Oct 24, 2010 04:52 PM

Organic Active Dry Yeast


I've recently gotten into baking my own bread and have been using packets of RiZE organic active dry yeast. It seems that these individual packets will start to making the personal bread baking very pricey and I was wondering if anyone here knew where, in Los Angeles, I could buy organic active dry yeast in bulk.

Any and all help appreciated.


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  1. I know this isn't a super helpful answer, but unless you are making stuff for commercial sale (as certified organic), I'm not quite sure how much benefit you'd get from using organic yeast vs. other yeasts. Sure, maybe the growth medium might be organic molasses or whatever, but the amount of it (in terms of volume) is quite small. Are you concerned about the amount of pesticide residue in standard yeast?

    Of course, you could create your own starter using organic flours, and then make your bread with natural leavening (wild yeast), which to my way of thinking would be more beneficial than cultivated yeast, organic or not.

    4 Replies
    1. re: will47

      Honestly, you bring up something I hadn't even thought about.

      All the recipes I've been looking at online have called for active dry yeast and when I went to the store (Whole Foods) there was an organic option so I figured why not, organic is always better than not. Now you bring up wild yeast and I've restarted my google research.

      You seem well versed in the realm of yeast, why do you think wild yeast is more beneficial than cultivated yeast/can I get it in bulk/does it work the same way?

      1. re: mportal

        Natural leavening is often referred to as sourdough, but in the US, "sourdough" makes people think of a specific type of bread which often has a sour taste. I would suggest checking out Daniel Leader's books if you're interested in learning more about naturally leavened bread, but there's also a lot of information online. As to whether it's "more beneficial", I think there are probably a lot of viewpoints on this. Naturally leavened bread does tend to stay fresh longer without getting moldy, though.

        I'd agree with you in most cases (that "organic is always better"), but I think with yeast, you're unlikely to have major differences either in the amount of pesticides in your final bread, or in the production method of the product -- if you want to buy in bulk, you're probably just as well off getting SAF or another commercial yeast brand. I guess if I wanted to sell a finished product as "organic" bread, I'd probably have to use organic yeast, but other than that, I'm just not sure there's really much difference, though it's possible that someone else will clue us in.

        You can buy dried natural leavening, but typically, you keep a starter going by using part of it to make your bread, and then "feeding" the starter, at least once every week or so. There are a lot of different opinions about whether it's more desirable to "catch" your wild yeast or to start with a culture from a friend or commercial source.

        There is also wine made with natural yeasts.

        1. re: will47

          Actually, because water and salt are excluded from organic percentage calculations (used for whether a product can legally be labeled "organic" or "made from organic ingredients"), really the only thing in a loaf of normal bread that must be organic is the flour (and, if you're making brioche or challah, the milk or eggs).

          CCOF ( requires that processed products (i.e., not raw ingredients) have a percentage of at least 95% for the coveted "organic" label. If you use flour that is 100% organic, you should have no trouble given that the yeast is such a small component. For example, a standard, boring loaf of white bread is 100% flour, 66% water, 2% salt, 1.2% yeast. Taking out the water and the salt gives you an organic percentage (assuming the flour is 100% organic and the yeast is 0% organic) of 98.8%, well above the limit for "organic" labeling. All you have to do is apply ($275) and pay for the inspection and you get the label. :)

          To answer your original question, why not ask at places that carry the organic yeast? They may be able to help, or to point you to the supplier. If that doesn't work, try asking in an organic bakery.

          1. re: will47

            In yeast, organic is very important to me not because of pesticides but because of GMO and different conditioners used. Many companies "better" their yeast by using chemicals and use genetical modifications and that is why I either make my own starter or stick with organic yeast. There is a great all natural non GMO yeast made by Red Star however it's only available in 50 lb. bags for commercial bakeries.

      2. Here's a link to an excerpt from a book about creating your own wild yeast. Do keep in mind that it isn't a lot of work but you do have to tend to it regularly and if you're not baking a lot of bread you'll end up wasting a bit of flour.

        1. Nancy Silverton's bread book includes long and painfull instructions to catch yeast if you want to do it. Keep in mind that a lot of yeast in the home in a city is not good stuff so prepare to suffer.

          I buy pretty much everything organic but I would probably let the yeast slide and focus on the other baking ingredients like flour.

          1. Seems to me that since it's not an agricultural product, I don't think I've ever seen yeast with an 'organic' label.

            2 Replies
            1. re: The Professor

              Yeast is usually cultured on some sort of sugar medium (like molasses), as I understand it, so I assume "organic" yeast means that organic products are used for whatever medium it's cultured on. Might have some other production requirements too... but like I said before, I think the label is pretty much useless in the case of yeast, unless you're trying to certify an entire product for sale as "organic" rather than "made with organic ingredients".

              1. re: The Professor

                Organic means Non-GMOed ingredients were used to create. Rize & Red Star make Organic Yeasts. Non Organic yeasts are cultivated primarily from GMOed sugar beets.

              2. Uh -- ALL yeast is organic. It's a living organism, not made of rocks and stuff.