Metafilter, can you help me find homes in the SF Bay Area for yeast? March 29, 2020 9:56 PM   Subscribe

I kept getting yeast orders cancelled, so I stomped off and ordered a case of SAF Instant Red yeast from a wholesaler, figuring that if it actually came I could redistribute it. And it did come, and so I have 15+ 1lb packages that I would like to deliver to people. I don't mind driving around to do it, I'm already going from San Jose to San Francisco to deliver some to a friend so I can make a circuit of the bay within reason. My only ask would be that if you can afford it, you make a small donation to Second Harvest.
posted by tavella to MetaFilter-Related at 9:56 PM (40 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

I also don't mind handing off several packages to one Mefite if they have friends that they will pass them on to.
posted by tavella at 10:05 PM on March 29, 2020

you are so generous and kind, tavella. i am heart-warmed by you.
posted by sums at 10:19 PM on March 29, 2020

Kind and generous indeed! Just memailed you.
posted by Aster at 10:50 PM on March 29, 2020

I am not in your area, sadly, but any chance you could share the name of the wholesaler? We have some grumpy bakers (and would-be bakers) around here.
posted by notquitemaryann at 7:27 AM on March 30, 2020

That's a lot of yeast? I am in your neck of the woods but can you share a picture of what one of these bricks looks like?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:57 AM on March 30, 2020

I got it from Baker's Authority. Looks like they are now wiped out of SAF, but have other yeasts.
posted by tavella at 8:15 AM on March 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

Here's a picture next to a 15oz can. It's the equivalent of 50 or 60 packets, but possibly you can share it on further?
posted by tavella at 8:41 AM on March 30, 2020

If you come through the East Bay, I'm interested!
posted by kendrak at 8:44 AM on March 30, 2020

I will be looping back down that way, so send me your address and a phone number if you want to be texted when I drop it off.
posted by tavella at 8:48 AM on March 30, 2020

A yeast packet is typically ¼ oz, so each brick is equivalent to 64 packets. A ¼ oz packet contains roughly 2 ¼ teaspoons (I measure yeast by volume because I don’t have a scale with precision high enough for the volume I need), and the secret is that you can usually use just a teaspoon or less for most recipes. So what I’m saying is that I’d get, say, 144 batches of bagels out of a single brick, and I don’t even know how many loaves of bread or batches of waffles.

In other words, a single brick is enough for at least four casual bakers to share. Once a brick is opened, transfer the yeast to a resealable container and it’ll keep in the freezer for [checks notes] longer than I can remember the last time I got a brick from Costco.
posted by fedward at 8:55 AM on March 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

Don't think of it as too much yeast, think of it as an opportunity to share with your friends and neighbors!
posted by tavella at 9:17 AM on March 30, 2020 [5 favorites]

...from a respectful 6 foot distance of course.
posted by tavella at 9:18 AM on March 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am for sure interested- memailed you the deets
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:41 AM on March 30, 2020

That's great, jorting!

Just a note -- for people living in parking-challenged areas or complexes, I may end up texting you to meet me at the street, since I'm going to have a lot of stops. If you have mobility issues or small children that can't be left or whatever, note that to me so I know I need to come up -- you don't have to say why, just that you can't come down.
posted by tavella at 9:55 AM on March 30, 2020

I memailed you about my sister who would love a source of yeast! Thank you, stay safe out there.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 10:00 AM on March 30, 2020

tavella, you're the best!

notquitemaryann: We have some grumpy bakers (and would-be bakers) around here.

With fruit (skins), a bit of water, flour, warmth and time, you can make your own yeast. Description in Twitter thread, which notes you can also start with beer or or wine. Another guide with more details from Off The Grid News, who notes you can start with the water from boiled potatoes, and also includes steps on how to dry and store your home-made yeast.

None of that will be as exact, precise, or reliable as store-bought yeast, but it's something. Good luck, bakers!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:25 AM on March 30, 2020 [4 favorites]

Ooh, definitely interested. Will send a memail. Thank you for sharing your abundance!
posted by Lexica at 11:00 AM on March 30, 2020

If you are worried you might run out of yeast, also, you can use any yeast to start up a sourdough culture that you can pull from later. Again, this won't be as predictable as store-bought yeast (as filthy light thief says) or as notably tangy as a purpose-bred sourdough culture, but it will provide yeast that you can use to bake more or less in perpetuity if it's fed properly.

There are a lot of sourdough cultures going around, too. I think it's making folks feel better to have on hand. It certainly is me.

(We had the opposite issue--not yeast, but the only flour access my partner could find after running out last week was a 50lb sack from Costco. If someone in Austin is in dire need of flour, hit me up and we can spare a bit!)
posted by sciatrix at 12:35 PM on March 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I had to resist buying one of the big bags at Baker's Authority when I was buying the yeast, because I was kind of low on AP flour, but I decided that was taking ridiculousness too far, and indeed I was able to pick up another bag of a more reasonable size the next week.
posted by tavella at 12:41 PM on March 30, 2020

Yeaaaaaaaahh, this was after a week of not being able to get a more reasonable size and trying to minimize store trips. It turns out BTW that a Vittles Vault pet food container does a real good job at airtight storage for about 45lbs of flour, so.... that's a thing, at least. I gotta say, it's reassuring having it chilling out in our living room.
posted by sciatrix at 12:48 PM on March 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

If anyone is near Lake Merritt and would like to figure out a safe way to split one of these, my situation is
-not in need, still have a job, so happy to go low on the list
-have baked bread a long time ago but, like everyone else, thought "well, this would be a good time to give it a go."
-definitely don't need a huge amount, don't want to hog a whole one of these, would love to have the equivalent of a couple of packets
posted by less of course at 1:23 PM on March 30, 2020

Such a cool idea. I had to take a peek and those are the same bricks of yeast that I used to use when making 150 pounds of flour (plus etc.) worth of bagels at the bagel factory. Mad props.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:56 PM on March 30, 2020

Only tangentially related, but has anyone in the Bay Area had any luck buying flour lately? None of my regular places have any AP, just specialty flours and I have plenty left of those.
posted by tangerine at 2:29 PM on March 30, 2020

The Lucky on E. 18th Street in Oakland had flour and sugar back in stock when we went by today.* House brand, not the King Arthur or C&H, but at least some was available.

*I don't know when they got it back in stock; the last time I was in the store was almost a week ago, and they were out at that point.
posted by Lexica at 5:55 PM on March 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would happily take some off your hands and redistribute to needy bakers. I live in SF, right off 101 in the Mission.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:56 PM on March 30, 2020

That's so incredibly kind <3
posted by soakimbo at 8:27 PM on March 30, 2020

If you still have some left, I’d be interested. Memailing you.
posted by likethenight at 9:40 PM on March 30, 2020

So my plan is to do the delivery run Saturday. If I can just drop off the package at the front door I'll do that, with the yeast in gray Safeway bags to be less conspicuous, and if it's a complex or I can't find a place to park I'll text people to come out for the handoff. I don't really know when I'll arrive at each spot, but I assume everyone will be at home!
posted by tavella at 9:01 AM on April 1, 2020 [4 favorites]

You're amazing!!!! 👏👏👏
posted by sums at 11:35 AM on April 1, 2020

tavella, I live in Mountain View and would absolutely make a donation to Second Harvest for some yeast, if you still have some!
posted by potch at 12:25 PM on April 1, 2020

Ok, I think I'm full up, but possibly once I have made the deliveries then people who don't need all of their brick can post in this thread and distribute some locally.
posted by tavella at 1:13 PM on April 1, 2020

tavella, my sister called you the yeaster bunny, ahahaha. We already plan on sharing with some people in our networks who don't have yeast eirher. Both of us are going to make donations in your honor!
posted by sums at 3:23 PM on April 1, 2020

Ooooh, if you have any left and feel like mailing, I would be happy to reimburse you shipping, donate to the charity, and send you a coloring book! I can find flour here in South Florida, but no yeast. I would happily share with friends around here.

I’m so concerned about running out (I’ve got enough to make three dough batches left; I’ve been scrimping) that I started my own sourdough starter for the first time last week! It’s turning out pretty well, and the kid loves it, but my spouse...not so much. So yeast would be lovely if you have some left to share! And if anybody in South Florida wants some sourdough starter, I’ve got a nice healthy batch now, and will happily pass some along.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 8:39 PM on April 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

I haz yeast! Thank you Tavella. Donation made in your honor. I have some folks already lined up for it, but any other SF Mission bakers in need feel free to hit me up.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:17 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I salute you Tavella! Your yeast has a new home in my pantry- just in time! Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:29 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thank you, tavella! Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey is in the kitchen mixing up a loaf of bread as I type.

I'm already in touch with one Oakland MeFite with whom I'll be sharing this bounty. If anyone else who lives near the lake or between the lake and Fruitvale would like some, please MeMail me.
posted by Lexica at 5:45 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

YEAST! As of last night, we’ve already got some dang waffle batter explosively doubling in size in the fridge. What a lovely bounty, thank you for it.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:55 AM on April 5, 2020

I am glad everyone is enjoying their yeast, and I thank you for the donations to Second Harvest and other food banks.
posted by tavella at 1:00 PM on April 5, 2020

Thank you, Yeaster Bunny! Second Harvest donation sent. <3
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:54 PM on April 5, 2020

In related news.
posted by Slinga at 5:15 PM on April 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

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