BREAD BAKING TIPS -
It's "ALWAYS THE YEAST".
Having problems with your bread rising? It is "ALWAYS THE YEAST".
When you purchase a two pound package of active dry yeast or a one pound package
of instant yeast, also known as bread machine yeast, proof it. Put two cups of
water at 110 degrees in a bowl. Actually measure the temperature of the water
with a candy thermometer. Sprinkle in one tablespoon of yeast. Do not stir the
yeast. After five minutes the yeast should start to bloom, blossom, grow, foam,
froth and bubble. At seven
minutes the yeast should look like the picture.
If the yeast does not bloom, consider taking it back to the store. It may very
well be bad or sub-par yeast.
or sub-par yeast is more common than you might
think. It is not your imagination if all of a sudden your bread stops rising like it
used to, or comes out undercooked in spots, seems doughy, takes longer than usual to rise
or seems to have "clumps" - most of it rises, but some spots are dough balls.
Your first reaction might be to think you did something wrong. That's natural,
but if you have been making bread for years and all of a sudden things just stop
working, let me tell you right now in no uncertain terms that the problem is the
yeast - period! It is not you. It is the yeast. Either the yeast is sub-par or
you did not soak it at the right temperature or you did not use enough. I
assume, since you are an experienced baker, that you soaked your yeast and used
enough and again it is the yeast itself - period! I promote bread baking and don't like to see the novice or anyone else discouraged
because of bad/poor quality yeast.
Recently, I had to purchase yeast at
three different stores to find good really active yeast. After purchasing two one pound packages
of name brand instant yeast, my bread did not rise well, was doughy and seemed under
cooked. The yeast did not proof. The same store had only one package of active
dry yeast on the shelf and it was punctured. I took the yeast back and purchased a
one pound package of a lesser known brand name instant yeast. It worked, but did not
proof and gave me a slower rise than I was used to.
I went to a national membership store and purchased two one pound packages of the other name brand instant yeast. My bread did
not rise well, was doughy and seemed under cooked. The yeast did not proof. I
took it back. Again, it was not my imagination. The yeast was not the good
really active yeast that I was looking for and was used to working with.
I went to another national membership
store and purchased a two pound package of national brand active dry yeast. It
proofed really well. It was good yeast and really active. Again I have great fully risen loaves with a fast rising time.
Thank God I'm not a beginner. How easy it would be to get discouraged if you
happened upon bad/slow rising yeast.
This experience is not that unusual.
The last time I purchased yeast, I ended up with a bad two pound package of
name brand active dry yeast - it did not proof at all. As a matter of principle I
returned the yeast and got my money back. In all these examples the expiration dates, when given,
were good. The bags were not punctured. The yeast was not active enough for my
frequency of finding bad/slow rising yeast being sold to the unsuspecting consumer is
higher than you might expect. The results can be so damaging to someone getting
Again, it is "ALWAYS THE
YEAST". Salt has no function in your bread other than flavoring the bread - if
you have a problem you can rule out the salt. Sweetener is optional, you don't need
any at all - if you have a problem you can rule out the sweetener. Oil is optional
also - rule out the oil. Flour types do make a big difference, but that's another
story. If you don't know if your problem is yeast or flour, make a sample loaf of
white bread using any type of white flour - you will rule out flour as your problem.
Again, it is "ALWAYS THE YEAST".
bread baking to be a craft. It takes time and experience to become an artisan
bread baker. Here is something I have found that shows you will never
know it all. There is always more to learn. When you first buy a bag of yeast and proof
the bag that is not necessarily the end
of the story. It has been my experience that some bags of yeast that do not
proof well are sub-par and that other bags will proof better over time. Some
yeast companies claim that the foaming that we look for while proofing is from
additives and does not affect the rising properties of the yeast. Who knows what to
believe? That is where experience in the craft comes into play. To be safe, I
hunt down fast acting yeast that proofs really well and I get consistent
results. I suggest that you do the same. When I find a really active batch, I
have been known to purchase several bags. They are sealed well, don't need to be
refrigerated and will keep arguably almost indefinitely.
If you can't find
two pound packages of
active dry yeast in your area - click on the following link Active Dry Yeast
Learn more home bread baking basics on Video Bread 101 -
Introduction to bread baking. Take at home class on 120 min DVD. Learn right
from the start.
at the following links:
Better bread baking starts
with Video Bread. The recipe for success!