Yeast substitutions?

Is it possible to substitute dry yeast for cake yeast, and if so, how? None of my zillions of cookbooks are revealing the answer, and I am dying to make this killer Swedish cardamom cake recipe from one of my favorite local bakeries, but have no idea where to find fresh yeast. Dry yeast would be easier, but if anyone knows places in Chicago to buy fresh yeast, that would be good too.

I’m not in Chicago, but I generally find yeast in the supermarket. The cake yeast must be kept refrigerated, so it is often kept in the dairy aisle. Ask the manager at the supermarket if they carry it.

It is definitely possible to substitute dry yeast. One cake of yeast is generally 2/3 ounce. This is equivalent to one packet (1/4 ounce, or about 2 teaspoons) of dry yeast.

What you must be careful of is the temperature of the liquid in which you dissolve the yeast. The cake yeast only needs a temperature of about 85 degrees F. The dry yeast needs it a bit warmer, about 110. Be careful not to get it too hot, or you’ll kill the yeast.

I use a very old (1964) copy of The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. It has wonderful explanations of ingredients, and a superb description of how to make yeast breads. I don’t know if newer versions are as good.

I see that the recipe you linked to refers to a 2-ounce cake of yeast. I don’t know if this is the same kind of stuff my book is referring to, but if it is, you would need of course to increase the dry yeast proportionally.

I use both interchangeably. I use a whole cake at a time, but when I use dry I don’t really measure; I just toss in a “handful.” It’s probably around a tablespoon or so.

The nice thing about yeast is that it makes more of itself. If you end up using too little, it will just take longer to rise. So when in doubt, err on the penurious side.

Like MLS says, cake yeast is a standard item in most supermarkets. I can get it here in the Frozen Wastes, so I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find it. Look over by the cheese in the fridge case, and ask if you don’t find it.