Monday, November 27, 2006

Information to help you troubleshoot when your bread gives you grief.

If your bread is not rising well and you are using conventional yeast in your recipe, this is the first ingredient to check. Test the yeast by stirring a teaspoon of yeast with two tablespoons of flour. Add a quarter cup warm water, stir to combine. In ten minutes the mixture should have become frothy and/or bubbly. If it isn’t the yeast is probably stale or dead. Throw it out and get some more, checking the expiry date. If you buy yeast in large quantities, whether fresh or dried, store it well wrapped in the freezer. Keep small amounts of it out for day to day use.

Types of Yeast
o Fresh blocks– Usually sold by the pound in some grocery stores or bakeries, this is the yeast used by bakeries. It is softened and dissolved in water mixed with a little flour, much like Active yeast. I divide a pound up into 16 pieces, and wrap each 1 oz. piece well in plastic wrap, then store them all together in a zip lock bag. It is easy to pull out an ounce to thaw while getting ready to make bread. Fresh yeast is usually called for in a weight measure in recipes. If not, the little one ounce blocks equal about 2 tablespoons of dried active yeast.
o Instant, Rapid or Bread Machine Yeast– This type of yeast can be added directly to the bread dough ingredients without soaking. In recipes calling for this yeast, you often need less of it than active dried yeast because there are more yeast cell in the granules than in the “Active” yeast, (unless it is a fairly “rich” recipe containing milk, eggs and/or butter). In that case the bread needs a little more yeast to compensate for the higher sugar content in the dough.
o Active Yeast- This dried yeast is usually soaked in lukewarm water before adding to a recipe. It has less live yeast cells in it than Instant, and as Rose Levy Beranbaum explains it “is favored (sic) by pizza dough makers because the dead cells contain glutathione, which relaxes the gluten bonds, adding further to extensibility- making it easier to stretch out the dough.” I have not personally noticed this, but it certainly sounds important. Then again, I don't toss my pizza dough in the air... maybe I would notice then.


Anonymous AJ said...

Tell me more about the "dairy loaf"

5:14 PM  
Blogger Underground Baker said...

I will try to post it tonight.

tammyt, do you still need advice on kneading a wet dough?
And what is this book you are reading that has bean bread?

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Memory either enhances or detracts. I grew up in Toronto within blocks of the garment district. That means within blocks of numerous Jewish bakeries. I have this fond memory of sourdough rye breads.

Now I live in Victoria BC where there are many fine bakeries,but I haven't found any that make that bread. It takes long to make and there is little demand. But I hope on, so if anyone knows of a nearby bakery that makes a sourdough rye load please post its name.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I think I am getting it, thanks.

The book is "Cherokee Cooklore"
'to make my bread
recipes*herbs*wild foods*history*the feast

Interesting read. I am done with it if you want it :D its a short book i could send it to you in exchange for all your fabulous information here on the blog!


4:01 PM  
Blogger Underground Baker said...

Hi t
I would like to track Cherokee Cooklore down. Do you have the publisher?

The blog info is for all...someday I'll put it in a book, (with all that extra info I have in my head and books Candy!), I am just happy that it is of some interest to some people.

Anon - Do you want to try to make that sourdough rye, or do you already?

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re Cherkee Cooklore look in ABE Books there and increditable source on line for books, Here is a link for your query,

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I don't find a source for a sourdough rye then I guess I'll do so. It's been years since I made any sourdough bread.

What's driving me is that I have found a source for Dunn's Montreal Smoked Meat

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no really, i could just send it to you if you like...i was looking to sell/give it to a used bookstore but they didn't want it...

anyway, its offered...i would love to see it go to someone who would use and appreciate it. i got it from a small mountain community in north carolina...

published by mary and goingback chiltoskey

as for the sourdough rye...yes, there are a couple that you can probably get at lifestyles...i cannot remember the name of the bakeries at present, but i know that they sell them at the health food store on salt spring, so i imagine that they sell it in victoria as well? la boulange from qualicum beach i think does one.

good luck


2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe there isn't a decent bakery in Victoria.

We have had some awesome bread in the bakery at Tofino...a bit of a drive,


but always worth it to go to Tofino.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I am desperately looking for a place where I can get fresh yeast in Montreal, QC. Could you help me out?

3:10 PM  

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