Hot answers tagged

55

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 ...


36

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.


36

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 ...


33

The whole idea of adding the yeast before kneading is to be able to mix it uniformly. By adding the yeast after the dough is formed, it will be mechanically more difficult to combine it and you might end up with lumps of yeastless dough. Those lumps won't rise. I suspect your bread will have a denser, non uniform crumb.


31

The advice to let the culture mature before you use it is targeted to getting reliable results. A mature sourdough culture has a relatively small number of strains of microorganism, which have outcompeted the others and formed a relatively stable ecology (assuming a regular feeding schedule). At that point the culture is reliable because newly introduced ...


30

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 ...


24

In addition to the accepted answer: This is called Fresh Yeast in English. There are two other types of yeast commonly available in the English speaking world, called instant (bread machine) yeast and active dry yeast. Both of these last two are more commonly used as they keep very well for extended periods of time. Fresh yeast is basically a cake of yeast ...


23

Milk does create gluten1 when combined with flour. The water in the milk does create a gluten structure. If it didn't, any bread made with milk would be dense and flat. But the dinner rolls I made yesterday (with no water, only milk) were light and airy. Milk clearly creates gluten. Note that gluten isn't only about elasticity. Beginning bread makers ...


22

Commercially produced yeast has been around since the mid-late 1800s, and the commercial strains we use today have been around since the 40s while Ciabatta was invented in 1982. So while ciabatta seems like it's a very old traditional thing it is relatively new, and commercial yeast was widely available.


19

You can certainly freeze it in roll form, but it will be virtually impossible to cut while still frozen*. You'd need to completely thaw the roll in the refrigerator, slice, and then rise in a pan. It would be far easier to slice and freeze. You can always reassemble the roll with the slices separated by parchment paper if you want to transport it as a roll. ...


18

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.


18

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 ...


16

It's often called fresh yeast in English.


15

There is a difference between resting and proofing. Resting allows flour to absorb water and lets the gluten that was formed during kneading to relax. Both of these make it possible to work with the dough. Proofing is letting yeast produce CO2 to raise the dough. Yeast doughs do both in the rest period after they are kneaded. Unyeasted, glutinous, doughs ...


15

There are no strict formulas or conversions, the mathematics of bread baking are too complex for such predictions. Rising at room temperature overnight is not recommended, it is generally way too warm in our homes. The thing you can do is to take any recipe you have, and stick it in the fridge as-is, either for the first or for the second proofing. It should ...


14

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 ...


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 ...


14

Could be that your yeast was simply not alive. You could simply try to bloom the yeast with water and sugar. It should become visibly active within a few minutes.


13

Yeasts are pretty much interchangeable but have different fermentation qualities. Most recipes will specify the kind and amount of yeast. Adding more yeast than called for makes bakes rise a little faster and taste yeastier, and this appears to be a regional preference in the US and in some other countries, so amounts called for in recipes will vary. ...


12

It doesn't work "sometimes", it works pretty much always. People are just being sloppy when they say "salt kills the yeast". Certain levels of salt inhibit the yeast, so that it multiplies less, or slower. If you have an old or improperly stored package of yeast, or you are working with a strain which is not very resilient, then the ...


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

Let's start with what Gluten development actually is. It's the process of developing the protein in flour, gluten, into a web that traps air into it. Water is essential for this web, and as you mention 87% of milk is water. However, 3% of milk (whole milk, at least) is fat. This fat will coat the gluten molecules, preventing them from being shaped into a ...


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 ...


10

No, the bacteria in yogurt will not serve as the primary leavening agent for dough.


10

The wait is to give the desirable yeast cultures time to fully establish themselves as dominant in the starter. Using a starter that's too young can sometimes mean it doesn't rise as well or that the sourdough flavour is less pronounced because of less yeast than ideal. You could also potentially kill the starter by removing too much of the yeast culture ...


9

If you make a bread without salt, you will have to make the dough dryer as well. Salt (for lack of a better word) competes with gluten and yeast for moisture. Without the salt, the yeast will work a bit faster (this effect isn't that pronounced) and the gluten will be very soft. The effect on the gluten usually causes loaves without salt to fall flat as the ...


9

No, the dead yeast (if it was dead at all) has nothing to do with the stickiness. Your dough has 87.5% hydration, which is unusually high. It also uses, for some unclear reason, pastry flour, so it will behave like much higher hydration. The stickiness is absolutely to be expected with this recipe. If you have never done high hydration doughs, maybe you ...


9

Filtering water may not remove all or even any of the chlorine in your water, it depends upon the filter. Chlorine is the bane of sourdough starter's very existence. In 2017, Nashville tested the free chlorine (the chlorine 'left' in water after it has done its job of killing nasties in the water treatment facilities and the pipes on the way to your home) ...


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