Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rising to the Occasion

Without ever seriously intending it, I seem to have become a heavy user of yeast. Lo! these many years ago, a triple pack of the stuff would last for a long time -- sometimes longer than the Use By date on the packets. Then, as I got more enthusiastic about yeast breads, I graduated to the small jar of dry yeast, the one kept tucked on a refrigerator shelf and hauled out every time a spoonful or two was required for the latest batch of dough.

Fairly recently I emptied one such jar and, since Lee didn't have anything but the triple-packets at the Market, that's what I got to tide me over. I'd forgotten how spendy that form of yeast packaging could be. Don't know what it is in your neck of the woods but this one cost me $2.99. Round off that penny and we're talking a buck for each single packet. One Yankee dollah for 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. That's a mere quarter ounce of the stuff. Ye gods and little guppies, at that price, I might as well buy store-bought bread.

I asked Lee if he could get in the jars of yeast because that was more economical. "Let me check with Costco," he said. "I'll bet I can get you a good deal on a bulk package." (I'm not sure how it works but Lee has set up a sort of Costco Club for local customers and they can order bulk low-priced goods on a weekly basis. I'm not a member of the Club so he was doing me a big favor.)

I didn't hear any more from Lee so I called the other day to see if the yeast had come in. He wasn't there but one of the gals ran back to the office to see. Not knowing exactly what it was she was looking for, she thought there was no yeast package there.

Okay. No problem. I went online and did some serious shopping around. Hooboy! I managed to find -- and order -- a one-pound package of Red Star dry yeast for a mere $4.95. Then I called the Market and told them to have Lee cancel the yeast order.

A little later the phone rang and it was Lee, sighing mournfully. "I'm sorry, Dee. The package of yeast has been there for a week. The girls just didn't realize it. What kind of price did you get for what you found?" When I smugly told him it was just under $5 for a pound, he sighed again. His yeast was only $4.73 -- and it was TWO pounds!

Awwk! Where the single-portion packets were a dollar apiece, the same amount in bulk was now less than 4 pennies per portion! Which means, I guess, that my own now-not-so-hot deal was still only about 8 or 9 cents a portion. Vast difference.

It was too late to cancel my online order. Lee was perfectly willing to send the yeast he got back to Costco but I figured that wasn't really fair to him. When he works special favors for me, I don't mess with him, you know? So I picked up the 2-pound package yesterday and the 1-pound package will probably arrive at the post office Monday or Tuesday.

What am I going to do with this wealth of yeast? Well, obviously, it would be a good idea to share as much as possible with family and friends. That'll help. Also, after doing a little research, I discovered yeast keeps quite a long while if one stores it in an air-tight container in the freezer. I can do that. No problem.

Now all I have to do is surround my bread machine with mighty mojo so it won't break down before I run out of the yeastie beasties. Life is a balancing act but I'll try to rise to the occasion.


John Bailey said...

Now I'm going to have to check out the price of yeast here, Dee, just to compare. I doubt it's a dollar (£0.50) a pack but we'll see... :-)

Dee said...

Good mornin', John! I should have mentioned that price would be a bit higher than the norm in the larger grocery stores. Although many of Lee's prices are competitive, there are instances where his lesser buying power dictates the higher tariffs. Still, the 3-pack strip is always going to cost significantly more than any bulk purchase, no matter where you get it.

Need any yeast? (wiggling eyebrows expressively and grinning)

bb said...

I was just going to suggest you have a bread bake sale. Any tourists journeying down the road might be mighty happy. If they slowed down long enough that is. :-)

CJA said...

Do you have a coffee bar in your bookstore? I bet the smell of baking bread would really draw people in. Gee, I can almost smell it from here.

Dee said...

Bonnie, it's all in the signage. I've seen 'em do U-turns on Highway 101 when they see Crime Scene in big bold black on yellow. They simply *have* to come in and see if there's any blood splattered about.

Wilma, I did try the coffee the first year -- freshly ground beans -- wonderful stuff. My coffee customers were enthusiastic but too few to manage a fast enough turnover of the fresh roasted beans. Can't be serving stale stuff, you know. But, yes, both coffee and bread are hugely enticing aromas.

Ah gee, you people. Now I'm all hungry. Excuse me while I prowl the kitchen!

Mage said...

Ah Dee, you are going to have to bake a lot of bread....and perhaps by hand.....then give it away. Let's see, double sized, braided loaves will use up a lot of yeast. :)

Dee said...

Heh, heh ... I see where you're going with that train of thought, Mage. You little ol' braided loaf fetishist, you. (grin)

Mage said...

Well, dear you? Are you alive? Has the baseball season so sent you to sleep that you have once again vanished off our periscopes? Did you vanish under a mountain of yeast as it grew and expanded and exploded out your windows to take over your town?