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54

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.


35

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 ...


27

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 ...


24

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 ...


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.


18

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 ...


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 ...


17

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 ...


17

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

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 ...


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

Bottom line - 13 year old yeast works, here is the whole story - I am about to use some Fleischman's active-dry yeast that expired in 1999 (pre-millennium). I am feeling lucky because today is Christmas eve day (2012). I am using it in a bread machine (normal 4 hour bake mode) I will write back in 4 hours to tell you the results. Per my wife's advice, I ...


13

(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 ...


13

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 ...


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

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 ...


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