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First time baking with yeast

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#1 Almondmeal

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 07:06 PM

I am a novice in baking and am attempting to make some brioche out of curiosity. The recipe that I got instruct me to add in some milk, yeast and sugar and wait until its ready to mix with the rest of the dry ingredients. How would I know when its ready? I googled about it and I know that they are meant to go frothy, but it has been almost over 45 minutes now and it still seem rather liquid. I did warmed up the milk a little, and am wondering what did I do wrong? Could it be the content of the sugar, which was 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of sugar and i sachet of 75 g of dry yeast!

Any advice?

#2 lesliec

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 07:13 PM

Hi, Almondmeal. Welcome to the wonderful world of food that expands!

Yeast has a bit of a reputation of being finicky stuff to work with, but I haven't had much problem with it. The one rigid rule is that you mustn't put it in water that's too hot - you'll kill it. If you can put your hand in it comfortably, the yeast should be happy with it too.

I also haven't noticed much interesting activity in the first stages of dissolving the yeast, but don't worry too much - all it needs is five minutes or so to dissolve, then away you go. Magic will happen later in the process, you'll see.

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#3 Almondmeal

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 08:51 PM

You are right? After an hour of waiting, the mixture was still very liquid. I therefore retry the approach, only this time I heat the milk for a shorter time and the yeast starts working within 15 minutes!!!!!!! This is getting exciting, I am still proving my dough and hopefully I will see result!!!! I can;t wait till I could bake them!!!! this is going to be interesting!!! :)

Thank you lesliec!!

#4 Genkinaonna

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:04 PM

Brioche can be a little tricky, if it doesn't turn out on the first try, don't get discouraged! Sometimes it just takes trying a different recipe as well. As you bake more and more, you'll develop a feel for what a recipe should look like at each stage of completion, and start to understand what you can do to fix it if something isn't turning out how you'd planned.

Good luck and post some pictures when you have your brioche done!
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#5 Pierogi

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:47 PM

If you are using "instant" (aka "bread machine or "rapid rise" yeast) you will not see much action if you put it in with the liquid before adding it to the flour and other dry ingredients. The addition of yeast to a liquid (milk, water, etc., possibly sometimes with added sugar, oil or melted butter, depending upon the final product) is called "proofing" and is not technically needed for "instant" yeast.

"Active dry yeast" should be proofed before adding to dry ingredients by dissolving in the warm liquid and any added "food" (sugar, oil, melted butter). Let sit for about 5-15 minutes, and you should see some active (and I mean ACTIVE) bubbling and frothing. You won't see that with "instant" yeast.

Most people, myself included, sometimes still dissolve the "instant" yeast in liquid before adding it, but you will not see much (if any) bubbling or frothing, nor will it form a spongey-type thing without any flour. It's processed differently than the "active dry" and so is more available to do it's yeasty thing in the dough. "Active dry" yeast needs to sort of "awakened" before it's ready to do it's yeasty thing.

Both types work well, and are fairly interchangeable I've found. I think there may be a slight quantity adjustment between the two (there are conversion tables all over the web, Google "yeast conversion"), but I usually do one to one, and don't have a problem.

It won't kill your recipe to "proof" instant yeast, but you won't see the results the recipe describes. Yeast is not scary, it's actually pretty forgiving.

It's almost counter-intuitive, you'd think the "active dry" yeast wouldn't need to be proofed, but it does.

Good luck. Yeasted bread making is so much fun, and SO fulfilling. Once you try it, you'll be hooked !
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#6 dougal

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 03:37 AM

Temperature.
Yeast can be killed by temperatures that your hand can withstand.
Ideal is blood heat - just like a baby's bottle. You shouldn't feel it either hot or cold - just completely neutral.

Yeast.
There's a lot of misunderstanding and prejudice, even (and especially) from published authors.
Its important to recognise what your author means by "yeast".

"Fresh" yeast is the manufactured product introduced from 1900 or before. It has a very short shelf life. You would ordinarily "proof" it (with warm water, etc) - to prove to yourself that its not dead yet (and thereby get it started). The short shelf life isn't a disadvantage if your bakery gets daily deliveries, but its a real nuisance for the occasional home baker. It doesn't freeze well (despite what some will say), which is why it is never sold frozen by the manufacturer.
"Active dry" is a product invented for military rations in the 1940's. It has a very long shelf life, being a robust, near bulletproof product. You still need to "proof" it, but the need in this case is just to get it going; its probably not too dead yet, but it has all the gastronomic quality expected of a ration-pack. And incidentally, it was originally called "actively dried", because its dried by heat - shortening the name to "active" was a marketing masterstroke. The beads of yeast are covered by a protective shell of dead yeast cells - which don't help the baked product quality, unless you like the "yeasty" taste.
"Instant-mix" (marketing term: 'instant') yeast takes advantage of the instant coffee technologies of the 1960's and 70's. In a sealed pack, it has a long easy-care shelflife. Its a very good product, but doesn't need (or want) 'proofing' - which comes as a shock to traditionally-trained bakers unused to the concept of technological change. They are, quite literally, being asked to change 'the habits of a lifetime'.

I strongly advice that you start with 'instant-mix' yeast, and recipes that are written for it, and sometime later, when you go back to try the other ways, you'll really wonder "why would anyone want to do it like this?"

For a beginner, using the same yeast as the recipe calls for is important.
Conversions can be made, but its a layer of complexity that the beginner can do without.

Yeast specifically for bread machines is (usually but in the US is not guaranteed to be) of the instant-mix type. And "bread machine" yeast will usually contain lots of the additives that so enthuse devotees of 'modernist' cooking.
You can find plain instant yeasts, but additive-loaded bread-machine-yeasts are much more easily found.
Incidentally, don't worry about Ascorbic Acid or Sodium Ascorbate additives - its just the merest touch of Vitamin C - the most ethical of additives - and it's there for good reasons!

The distinguishing characteristic of "instant-mix" yeast is that the packet instructions will speak of mixing the dry yeast with the dry flour.
The product is really fine-grained, (as fine as poppy seed), but you can't see that while the pack is still sealed! So check the instructions! (Even though you intend following other recipes.)

Brioche.
Tricky place to start.
The enriched dough is heavier, and so needs more 'lifting power' from the yeast -- BUT -- with lots of sugar and fat around, ordinary yeast actually slows down! So pro's would employ a special "osmotolerant" yeast (which they'd likely buy in an instant-mix form ...) Don't expect to find any in your local supermarket!

Suggested reading: The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Reinhart. Not the last word, but a great introduction, using instant-mix yeast. And including a Brioche section!

Edited by dougal, 26 April 2011 - 03:40 AM.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#7 Mjx

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:05 AM

Temperature.
Yeast can be killed by temperatures that your hand can withstand.
Ideal is blood heat - just like a baby's bottle. You shouldn't feel it either hot or cold - just completely neutral.
. . . .


Not certain what sort of yeast you use, but the cakes of yeast I normally buy respond best to fluids that are well over human body temperature: As soon as the fluid has cooled to the point that can keep a finger in it for several seconds, in goes the yeast (I always proof, since dead yeast is a depressing discovery to make an hour into the bread-making process). At about blood temp, there's no sign of any activity for a good half hour.

I'd experiment with this a bit.

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#8 dougal

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:08 AM


Temperature.
Yeast can be killed by temperatures that your hand can withstand.
Ideal is blood heat - just like a baby's bottle. You shouldn't feel it either hot or cold - just completely neutral.
. . . .


Not certain what sort of yeast you use, but the cakes of yeast I normally buy respond best to fluids that are well over human body temperature: As soon as the fluid has cooled to the point that can keep a finger in it for several seconds, in goes the yeast (I always proof, since dead yeast is a depressing discovery to make an hour into the bread-making process). At about blood temp, there's no sign of any activity for a good half hour.



I would refer to Hamelman , at page 56

... For commercial yeast, the optimum temperature range for fermentation is between 86° and 95° {Fahrenheit, typical human blood heat being taken as about 98.5}, but it is important to note that dough temperatures in this range are inappropriate; fermentation would be favoured at these high temperatures, but it would occur at the expense of flavour development, which requires lower temperatures. ... At about 138° to 140° {ie 60C} yeast reaches what is known as "thermal death point" and dies.


I note that Glezer suggests using up to 110°F to rehydrate "Active Dry" yeast - where the concern is largely getting through the layer of dead cells to get to the viable ones. Perhaps your compressed yeast is not 'fresh'? As noted, it progressively dies in storage. Its an awkward choice for domestic use.
Temperatures higher than 110F (43C) for rehydration/proof are likely to be counter-productive. Brettscneider, for example, says yeast cells stop working (and start being killed off) above 45C/113F.
Try using water closer to blood heat, and crumbling your compressed yeast more finely?

But most importantly, a beginner using an instant-mix yeast does not have to contend with any of this. Just use water (or whatever the recipe wants) at blood heat for mixing, and then ferment at about 24C/75F, and you'll be fine.

Time, rather than speed, is the important ingredient in yeast cookery.
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#9 Mjx

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 06:40 AM

. . . .
I note that Glezer suggests using up to 110°F to rehydrate "Active Dry" yeast - where the concern is largely getting through the layer of dead cells to get to the viable ones. Perhaps your compressed yeast is not 'fresh'? As noted, it progressively dies in storage. Its an awkward choice for domestic use.


Fresh as a daisy (I'm fussy about the date stamp), and cake yeast is the readily available form, around these parts.

Temperatures higher than 110F (43C) for rehydration/proof are likely to be counter-productive. Brettscneider, for example, says yeast cells stop working (and start being killed off) above 45C/113F.
Try using water closer to blood heat, and crumbling your compressed yeast more finely?. . . .


I've experimented fairly extensively, and do crumble the yeast very finely; a fairly high temperature is simply what works best for this particular yeast.

Time, rather than speed, is the important ingredient in yeast cookery.


Agreed, although I prefer to not spend half an hour keeping an eye on a bowl of cloudy water, waiting for something to happen :wink:

My point? Experiment: it is the best way to get to know your ingredients, and this goes for the failures, as well as the successes.

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#10 Tom Gengo

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 08:02 PM

I did not read all of the responses, so, if mentioned, please accept my apologies. The sugar appears to be much too concentrated to proof yeast. The osmotic pressure on the yeast will kill them by dehydrating them at such a high concentration. When I proof yeast I will add only about a tsp of honey to a cup of liquid. I suspect that the sugar/milk slurry killed the yeast.
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#11 Almondmeal

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 12:25 AM

Hi all,

Thanks for the insights about Yeast. I did not realize there is so much to learn about them. I guess I underestimated the makings of bread. ! :)

This is the outcome of my first attempt. The top was burnt before the bottom bits get to be fully cooked. :( It tasted alright, just a little dry. Any idea why so?

http://s1228.photobu...448/almondmeal/


I have one more question! How many times do we have to proof the dough? I proofed them once, but some recipes I read said to proof them twice. And If I do proof them twice, do I put the dough in the fridge after the first them and them let it rise again?

I am using the instant yeast packets that I bought from the supermarket.

#12 Pierogi

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 11:30 AM

In my experience, which is vast by any means, but I've been at it now for almost 5 years, you let the dough rise initially immediately after mixing. Then you shape the loaf and let it rise a second time. Some people (and recipes) refer to that second rise as a "bench proof". When I want to retard it by refrigerating, I do it between the first and second rises. Or, if I've made a preferment, THAT goes into the fridge over night, then the next day you make the balance of the dough, mix in the preferment, and take it through the two rises. You'll see preferments called various things in recipes; bigas, sponges, preferments, and I think there's a couple of other variations as well.

And again, with the instant yeast, you will not see wild bubbling when you add it to liquid/sugar to "proof" it.
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#13 Almondmeal

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 02:16 PM

Thanks pierogi :)

I am going to make brioche for the second time today and hopefully the result would be better. I want to perfect them before I move on to the next step in using them for donuts :)

Bread making is so addictive and fulfilling! :) I can't stop!!!!
Thanks thanks!!!!!

#14 Pierogi

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 11:47 PM

Thanks pierogi :)

I am going to make brioche for the second time today and hopefully the result would be better. I want to perfect them before I move on to the next step in using them for donuts :)

Bread making is so addictive and fulfilling! :) I can't stop!!!!
Thanks thanks!!!!!

No problem !

It's a journey, and some loaves will work way (WAY) better than others. But dont' be discouraged by the not-so-good ones.

It still blow *MY* mind every time I see the dough double, and then smell the finished loaf. It's like....."wow...*I* did THIS !"

And of course, nothing beats the taste of a fresh-from the oven, homebaked loaf. Just the best.

Have fun !
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#15 Almondmeal

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 11:48 PM

You were right, so happens that I misread the instructions. Instead of adding one tspoon of the 1/4 cup of sugar in the milk and yeast, I added the whole 1/4 cup!! hahahah but the second time around when I retry making the sponge, the mix starts bubbling in less than 10 minutes!!! It was soooooo INTERESTING!!!!!!!!! I even bough books to read about yeast!!!!!!! :) Thank you, u must be a very experienced bread maker!!!!! :)

#16 Almondmeal

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 11:49 PM

The above reply was to Tom Gengo :)

#17 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:43 AM

Hi, how do I use the soft cake yeast. I havent made bread since I was a teen (lazy!) so I bought packets and a block of cake yeast.<br />Can I convert a recipe calling for regular yeast into cake yeast?
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#18 DianaM

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:47 AM

I am not sure what you mean by "regular yeast," but here is a formula from Peter Reinhart: 

 

100% fresh/cake yeast = 40-50% active dry yeast = 33% instant yeast 

 

This is the formula BY WEIGHT. So, if your recipe calls for 10 grams active dry yeast, you'd use 20 grams of cake yeast. If your recipe calls for instant yeast, then you roughly triple the quantity.  



#19 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:59 AM

You can. The proportion I was taught is 3/5 oz (18g) of cake yeast for every 1/4 oz (7.5g) of active dry. You'll want to crumble the cake yeast into your warm liquids - this exposes the maximum surface possible for activation and proofing. Incidentally, I use liquids at between 45 and 50 C for initial yeast proofing - get it active quickly, then use long initial and secondary proofing times with no additional heat to develop flavour and texture. (Also, since I'm at very high altitudes, I generally bulk proof twice before the bench proof.)
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#20 keychris

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:29 PM

This is the formula BY WEIGHT.

 

In my opinion, this is the single most important thing. To get consistent, reliable results, do everything by weight.

 

Welcome to the world of bread!



#21 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:55 AM

My doughs rising!

After this test loaf Ill use the fresh yeast...

YAY
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#22 DianaM

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 12:56 PM

My doughs rising!

After this test loaf Ill use the fresh yeast...

YAY

 

There are few things in life as satisfying as watching rise a bread that you made yourself.  :smile:

 

When you use the fresh yeast, you may notice that your dough will rise more, and will be more airy than dough made with dried yeast. If you have the time and inclination, here's a blog post with a side-by-side comparison of a dough made with dried yeast and fresh, it's quite interesting: 

 

http://www.delicious...d-kept-forever/



#23 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 04:22 PM

Okay so I burnt my mousing and typing fingers so I couldt tell you how it went last night, till my fingers stopped hurting.

The bread came out gorgeously, BUT

No flavor!

I used this recipe exactly, with honey
http://www.kingarthu...at-bread-recipe

Its good but Im looking for a yeasty full bodied richer whole wheat bread like the kind they sell at Great Harvest Breads in Wayne, Pa


Ill try fresh yeast, melted butter for the oil and molasses tomorrow, would that help?
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#24 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 05:47 PM

Not enough salt?

#25 Panaderia Canadiense

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 05:51 PM

Melted butter will go a really long way, as will molasses, to boosting flavour.  How was the texture of the KA loaf?  Was it moist or was it drier?

 

You might also want to try this, which is my go-to honey whole wheat.  It's got all sorts of flavour and is quite moist and tasty....  It's not a 100% whole wheat, but I think that actually works in its favour.

 

4.5 oz pea flour (or similar light-bodied non-wheat flour; quinua or amaranth is nice)

18 oz unbleached AP flour

3 C water, at 50 C

1/3 C honey

1 oz active dry yeast

 

Sift the flours together.  Stir the honey into the warm water, then add the yeast to this and allow to stand until you have a good head of foam.  Stir the liquid into the flour, cover, and allow to double or triple in bulk (about an hour on cool days, and less when it's warm).  This is a poolish pre-ferment.

 

The most finely-milled whole wheat flour you can get.  This measurement depends hugely on humidity, so I simply don't measure anymore - I add to the poolish until it hits the right consistency, which is smooth without being too stiff, and the dough stops sticking to my hands and the bowl.  Usually this is in the range of 18-22 oz.

1/2 C butter, melted (this is 1/4 C of final volume - you start with 1/2 C of solid butter)

1/3 C honey

1 TBSP sea salt

* Up to 1 C oats (optional, but yummy)

 

Add the butter, honey, and salt to the poolish, then start adding the whole wheat flour while you mix and eventually knead with one hand.  Stop adding whole wheat flour when you've got a dough that is fairly smooth in texture and doesn't stick to your hands when you knead.  Continue kneading until the dough is slightly elastic, then put it in a greased, covered bowl and let it rise until it roughly triples in size (anywhere from 1 to 3 hours).  Punch down, form into loaves or buns or whatever, and allow to proof until roughly doubled.  Brush with butter.  425 F is the oven temperature; for 2.5 lb loaves, I bake for roughly 35 minutes, or until I've got a nice Maillard browning going on.  For buns, usually about 20 minutes.


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#26 Mjx

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 02:11 AM

. . . .

The bread came out gorgeously, BUT

No flavor!

I used this recipe exactly, with honey
http://www.kingarthu...at-bread-recipe

Its good but Im looking for a yeasty full bodied richer whole wheat bread like the kind they sell at Great Harvest Breads in Wayne, Pa


Ill try fresh yeast, melted butter for the oil and molasses tomorrow, would that help?

 

Butter should help, but if you can manage it, extending at least the first rising time should increase the complexity of the flavour. When I don't have much time to make a loaf, I always add olive oil (no special reason, just what I'm used to, flavour-wise) to compensate for the less-developed flavour.

 

I've also had nice results with malt powder.

 

What's the dried milk do in the recipe? Dairy often seems to sort of mute flavours, and I'm wondering whether that isn't the case here, too.


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#27 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:31 AM

The loaf was perfect, not too dry not too moist...

I let it rise for 2 hours the first time. How do I increase the fiber content?

Im also going to make Oatcakes from here
http://www.allotment...dshire-oatcake/


Thanks for your help

Edited by GlorifiedRice, 04 May 2013 - 06:32 AM.

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#28 Mjx

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:46 AM

. . . .

I let it rise for 2 hours the first time. How do I increase the fiber content?

. . . .

 

Depending on your preference in texture/flavour, rolled oats, cracked grains/grain blends, bran, or even grated veg. work well. If you use cracked grain blends, it helps to pour over just enough boiling water to cover, and let this sit about 10 minutes before adding to the dough.


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#29 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 03:58 PM

It is perfect!

It tastes like stout!
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#30 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 04:50 PM

Okay Im still using that recipe but I use half honey half molassess and its now my go to loaf...

YUM, ty guys
Wawa Sizzli FTW!





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