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51

The main reasons are speed and convenience. Yeast takes longer (even "instant" yeast) and requires more maintenance: waiting for dough to rise, etc. But those are the historical reasons for the adoption for baking powder. Since it became common, another reason emerged: that is, it's very difficult if not impossible to get some kinds of texture and crumb ...


38

The first yeast was "just there" - in the environment, everywhere. People discovered very early on that leaving the dough (or just a flour-water slurry) out would lead to it getting "sour" and "bubbly", thus leavening the bread: What we today call sourdough is in fact a mixture of yeasts and bacteria (lactobacillae). The origins of bread-making are so ...


32

Making bread without sugar is nothing strange - I do so several times a week! The wheat flour (or whatever you're using) contains enzymes which, when you blend it with water, breaks down starch to sugars which fermenting agents such as yeast or lactobacilli can feed off. The Wikipedia page on sourdough has more info.


28

You do not need sugar to make bread. The majority of traditional, rustic breads use just 4 ingredients - water, yeast, flour, and salt. Consequently, rising times are slower (usually resulting in better flavour) and the bread goes stale quicker (hence, for example, the French practice of buying fresh bread every day). Sugar softens bread by slowing gluten ...


26

I assume, by sugar you mean sucrose. However, yeast actually prefers glucose and maltose, see nutritional requirements of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and also proofing. Luckily, we get glucose and maltose "for free" from the flour, see this article on bread chemistry: Flour naturally contains both α- and β-amylases, which between them break down some of ...


24

The existing answers already explain why yeast and baking powder won't work together. But even if they did, you wouldn't have a reason to use them. You seem to think that fluffiness depends on the amount of gas produced by the leaveners. In fact, it depends on both the gas and the ability of the dough to trap that gas. If you produce too much gas (no ...


22

Everything @Cascabel says in her answer is correct--I wanted to elaborate on why it is true. In order for a yeast raised bread to work, since the yeast generates the raising gas (carbon dioxide) slowly over time, it has to stay trapped for a long time. This requires a good gluten network. The gluten network is like little rubber balloons throughout the ...


20

This recipe is listed under the section for fermentation, together with beer, wine and mead. The section starts with the sentence "Wine, beer and traditional sodas all depend on yeast to ferment sugar into alcohol and generate carbonation". I don't know enough about the history of soda to know if early sodas were alcoholic. Or rather, I am quite sure that ...


19

I love making bread. I make it every other day or three. (Also make your own butter it's so easy and tastes great plus less expensive than buying it. You can control the amount of salt.) My suggestion, as most of the reasons have already been very well addressed, is to split your recipe into two batches. Half of it should be cooked straight from its first ...


17

Salt in high concentrations can kill yeast yes. So can sugar, though salt is so much better at it. You see both are hygroscopic, meaning that they suck water out of stuff. This induces osmotic stress to the yeast cells leading eventually to cell breakdown (aka death). On lower concentrations salt will throttle the yeast fermentation producing a richer and ...


16

You might want to have a read through Why use yeast instead of baking powder? to fully understand the differences between yeast and baking powder. The short summary is that baking powder tastes bad if there's enough to taste, but it's a lot easier and faster to use. But either one provides enough leavening to do pretty much whatever you want. Given that, the ...


15

According to Red Star, a very common yeast brand in the US: The strip contains three packets; each packet in the strip is considered one package. Each package contains 1/4 oz. or 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. This is approximately 7 grams, or 11 ml. This is representative of all of the US brands.


15

Sugared bread is something mostly specific to the US. There might be a little sugar in European bread, but not much. From a personal opinion as a Belgian, I have to say that the few time I ate sugared bread (Harry's American bread), I found that it completely ruined the taste of the condiment on my bread, as well as make the bread less suitable to be used ...


14

It sounds like you have Fleischman's Pizza Crust Yeast (or a no-doubt quite similar product if from another manufacturer). The relevant phrase from the Fleischman marketing web site is: Pizza Crust Yeast is specially-formulated with dough relaxers that keep the dough from pulling or snapping back when shaping it. It is intended to make it easier to ...


14

In addition to Athanasius's excellent answer, the other reason to choose chemical over yeast leavening is the composition and proportion of the other ingredients. Yeast is an organism that requires a certain balance in order to reproduce and yield the CO2 that makes dough rise. Banana bread and other quickbreads often have an abundance of sugar. While ...


13

Kenji over at Serious Eats gives some of the best "pizza science" lessons on the Internet. Here's a good article on the role of yeast and fermentation in pizza dough: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/09/the-pizza-lab-how-long-should-i-let-my-dough-cold-ferment.html In short, time and kneading cause proteins in dough to form an elastic network of ...


13

Your metal bowl sitting in your 70°F room is 70°F (at least, if its been sitting there for a bit). Your plastic bowl, or glass bowl, or ceramic bowl, or any other bowl sitting in the same room is also 70°F. They're all actually the same temperature. Now, given, when you touch the metal bowl, it feels cooler than the plastic one. This is because your finger ...


12

This is not really an answer, but rather a report on an experiment. After the discussion here I got very curious and wanted to compare what I would call a "yeast cake" (even though this is against the traditional definition, but the texture is more or less that of a spongy cake/quick bread) to the "same" cake made with baking powder. To perform the ...


11

Some answers to your questions, based on my experience with wild sourdough starter in San Francisco: 70-80F is the ideal temperature range. Below that the yeast incubates very slowly; above it, the starter will tend to ferment alcoholically. Do not leave the starter in direct sun. UV light is a powerful sterilizing agent. An organic, cold-processed (i.e. ...


11

The majority of the alcohol evaporates during baking. McGee's On Food and Cooking says (pg 532): In making beer and wine, the carbon dioxide escapes from the fermenting liquid, and alcohol accumulates. In making bread both carbon dioxide and alcohol are trapped by the dough, and both are expelled from the dough by the heat of baking. I also found this ...


11

I have to humbly disagree with SAJ14SAJ (I still have the utmost respect given the breadth of knowledge). Most of the steps you need to perform are regularly used by homebrewers and hobby mycologists to renew or isolate special strains of yeast/fungi that are otherwise unavailable. For instance, if you wanted to isolate the yeast used by Chimay to brew the ...


11

What to do A dough should be generally risen by size anyway, not by time. But it is also very forgiving, so it will probably still give you decent edible bread if you do it by time. The best way is to wait until it has doubled, no matter what the clock shows. But you insist on going by the clock, don't change the time, wait the 30 minutes. It may be ...


11

Ok, this is going to be long. And you just wanted to fire up your oven and slap the sauce on the dough...but bear with me. Gluten The Holy Grail of elastic dough that can trap all these nice bubbles: CO2 from the yeast and steam from evaporating water. Fact is, gluten is basically a protein (ok, scientifically speaking not exactly, but close enough). If you ...


10

There are two schools of thought as to where wild yeast comes from for a sourdough starter. One is that is in the air, the other that it is present in flour. Having made a few starters myself and trying different methods, I am of the opinion that the latter is more likely. I have had just as much success with starters I have simply mixed and put in a sealed ...


10

Never use boiling water with yeast! Using boiling water almost guarantees instant death. Baker's yeast is a live organism, a unicelluar fungus saccharomyces cervisiae, very closely related to and in fact bred from brewer's yeast. And yes, it's alive even in those dried granules in small packages or boxes. It's metabolism digests carbohydrates and produces ...


9

Damn, that looks good. I've never made this particular type of bread before, but here are some things that I do know which might help: Butter is (roughly) 10% water and 90% fat, while lard is 100% fat. So if you substitute one for the other, you should adjust the amount of water in the recipe accordingly. The flavor will be a little different, but I bet ...


9

(1) One critical element that hasn't been emphasized in answers so far is that the microorganisms that establish your starter mostly come from the flour not the air. The idea that the creation of a starter involves "catching wild yeast from the air" is commonly repeated in many, many books and resources, but I'd be interested if anyone has ever seen a ...


8

Run your dishwasher for a few minutes, wait to let the water finish dripping, cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and set inside--top rack seems to work the best for me.


8

Jay's answer of a couche is great for relatively long loaves like baguettes or even ciabatta. For oval or round loaves, however, you'll need support on more than two sides. In that case, the solution is a basket known as a banneton or brotform (depending on which language you prefer to make your bread in). Again, they are not for baking -- you dust them ...


8

Yeast does not feed on water, it feeds on carbohydrates, i.e. sugar and flour. If you got the impression that it feeds on water, it might be because you used dried yeast, which is basically dormant yeast that gets reactivated by the water. If you use lukewarm water alone to activate your yeast, it feeds on the food remains from the growing medium, if you ...


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