I consider myself a pretty good cook. Not a gourmet cook, just your every day pretty good southern cook. Except for one thing....yeast breads. I have tried everything. I've read online, read cookbooks, etc. I've asked for advice from friends who are cooks. I just can't get it right.
I follow the recipes exactly. I've even used my candy thermometer when heating the liquid in order to make sure it isn't too hot, or too cold. It doesn't matter which recipe that I use, or whether it is bread, rolls, or cinnamon rolls, the dough never rises properly and the rolls are heavy, or in some cases hard as a rock. I tried dinner rolls again today. They didnt rise.
I had a brand new bag of flour, and a brand new packet of yeast. I'm pretty limited on the selection of yeast and flours as I live in a rural area and Publix is the top of the line as far as grocery stores here.
Can anyone give me some suggestions or advice? TIA.
Ps...I am determined not to let this whip me! I said the same about biscuits and these days I can make a pretty good biscuit!This message has been edited. Last edited by: Becky56,
First of all make sure your yeast proofs. I run my hot water until it gets hot and use that water. Don't use extremely hot water or it will kill your yeast. I also heat my oven to about 170 degrees and then turn it off. I put my dough in the oven to rise. I've never had a problem...works every !time. Hope this helps
I agree with proofing the yeast.
Then I tend the rising dough like a baby. Keep it warm, but not too warm. Keep it out of drafts. Check it often. Keep it covered with a kitchen towel while it rises. Be patient - let it rise long enough.
Also when mixing the dough, I add just enough flour to make an unsticky dough. Too much flour will make a heavy dry bread. The amount of flour varies every time I make bread. On a damp humid day it will take a little more flour, on a dry day a little less. I never go strictly by flour measurement for yeast dough. I go by feel. I want the dough to be soft but not sticky, and never do you want a dough to feel heavy or tough. It should feel tender to the touch before it rises.
And one more thing, kneeding is important. kneed longer than you think you should, but be careful not to kneed in too much flour.
When the dough has risen the right amount it should be as "soft and smooth as a baby's bottom". (or as soft as my grandma's waggy upper arms) If the recipe says rise until double, really let it get that big.
And you are right Becky56, don't let this whip you. Keep trying. I made a pie every week for a year before I got pie crust right. Eventually you will get the feel of it.This message has been edited. Last edited by: cocok,
Proof your yeast first. I use water that's the same as my body heat - testing it on my wrist.
I proof with a spoon or two or flour and half a teaspoon of sugar - and the yeast and half a cup of water - and let it proof for 10 to 20 minutes.
Have your other ingredients ready at room temperature - including the water or milk - eggs, etc...
Measure out your flour and add salt - start with the proofed yeast mixture - gradually adding more flour and liquid - until dough begins to form - and when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl - turn it out on a counter - and start kneading - adding enough additional flour to keep the dough from sticking. It's better to have a too soft dough than a too firm dough.
Knead for 10 to 20 minutes until the dough has a smooth surface and you can see bubbles forming under the skin. Also, be sure to maintain a smooth side away from where you're kneading.
Lots of videos available on line to watch how the kneading is done.
And don't be afraid of it - it's a living organism - and can take lots of abuse - IF - you didn't kill the yeast right at the first with TOO HOT water.
And when you let it rise, make sure that it's warm enough. A warmed oven like garden girl said is a good idea -- don't depend on the warmth of your kitchen. An oven, also is draft proof!
Proofing the yeast is a good idea as well as those before me said. Sometimes you can get a bad batch --
Also, don't give up.
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I turn on the oven just briefly - to warm it up before I put in the dough. Also, the bread crock should be warmed before-hand - and the oven should be left open a tiny bit - as the dough needs some air too.
Or - I place a shallow pan of hot water on the bottom of the oven - to help the rising process. Or - one can place the bowl over a pan of hot water on top of the stove - with a board underneath the bowl - have to be careful here - or you'll start to bake / cook/ the dough.
I'm pretty sure that my problem is the yeast not activating properly. Can y'all explain a little more in detail just what proofing the yeast is? Thx!
I'm not happy with my own bread-baking skills, so I'm not pretending to offer any sure-fire remedies.
But a really good bread baker once told me she always uses bottled drinking water to make her bread. Apparently, yeast is very sensitive to chlorine and fluoride in tap water and can be weakened or killed by them.
That said... I have bread recipes that seem to be foolproof and always come out good. Others confound me completely. I'm still trying to find a basic bread-making class somewhere, because reading about it isn't helping me that much.
Proofing the yeast - means to "try it out" first - to see if it's still "active." The yeast you buy in a package is in a "dry" form - and adding liquid, activates it - so that you'll know for sure if the yeast is going to work in your recipe.
Just try out some yeast now - without using it in a recipe to see what happens.
Adding a bit of flour and sugar gives the yeast some "food" to grow. It should rise and become puffy - and then it is added to the flour and other liquids (if they're not too hot) to start forming the dough. Check out blogs and videos on the internet - lots of places will show you what it's supposed to look like.
To proof yeast can be as easy as mixing the required amount of recipe liquid at the lukewarm temperature (not over 110 degrees) with the yeast to dissolve. I stir it with a whisk, add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of sugar and combine. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. It should foam and puff up - that's 'PROOF' that the yeast is viable and you may continue with your recipe.
Continue to use your thermometer to discover what 110 degree water feels like on your hand.
In addition, you can have success with yeast breads and cold water, refrigerating the dough overnight, tightly covered; and letting it rise the first time when you bring it out of the fridge.
My first guess is the same as my problem was - I simply was adding the full recipe measure of flour and getting the dough too heavy and dense.
It really can be quite sticky and it will turn out okay after allowing to rise the first time.
I just made my traditional yeast Easter bread - which is an egg-rich sweet dough - and have done so for the past 45 years. I make a huge batch - using 10 lbs of bread flour, a dozen eggs, a pound and a half of butter - and about 5 cups of sugar - and I use a whole jar of yeast - my loaves rise to 6-inches in height - and are 10 inches in diameter - making about 6 of them at a time. They are set to rise 3 times - and the whole process takes at least 10 hours.
I always start with a proofing my yeast with flour, sugar and tepid water - it fills a whole mixing bowl - and I add to a huge bread crock of flour - slowly with other liquids and additional flour as needed. I do not have a Hobart mixer - but I do have a husband with strong arms - we use a long-handled wooden spoon to mix this dough - until it can be turned out on the "bench" - my counter - where I knead this ball of dough for 20 to 25 minutes.
This huge amount of yeast, though, is very unusal - but the high-rising bread is a hallmark of this traditional Croatian bread - and because it's so rich - it needs the extra yeast to insure rising.
I bake this bread by starting in a cold oven set at 200 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes and then I raise the temperature to 300 to finish the baking - taking about one hour to one-and-a-half hours of baking time - depending on the size of the loaves.
Ok, I'm off to read about proofing and to look at some pictures. This is NOT going to w h I p me!
Beck, I too recommend that you proof the yeast. As others mentioned, the water you use should be similar to a baby's bath water otherwise, if too hot it kills the yeast. Add a bit of sugar to activate the yeast. I place my test bowl in a cold microwave out of drafts. In ten to fifteen minutes, it should foam which means it is active. BTW, I often use Fleschmen's (sp?) Rapid Rise and keep my non expired packets in my fridge.
I am a lazy, but avid baker that has had much success with the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer vs hand kneading. Tends to work very well for me. I do punch down the dough after the first rise however.
Listen, if my DH can bake bread from scratch worthy of a photo shoot, so can YOU. I must point out that his idea of cooking is opening a can of tuna, mixing in mayo and relish.
I just now remembered an experience I had many years ago. At that time, I didn't know the difference between "regular" yeast and rapid-rise yeast. My loaves kept falling, no matter what I did. I called the toll free number on the yeast packet and found out that using rapid rise yeast in a recipe where the dough needs two rises will not work. Rapid rise yeast is meant to have only one rise, because it gives all its "oomph" the first time around and can't survive punching down and a second rise. It will deflate in the oven almost every time.
Thank you, NettieJay. I kind of wondered why they sold two kinds and why some things did not come out right when using rapid rise.
Could be true regarding the two varieties tho I typically use it for pizza dough, I do think I have used it for one family favorite bread dough with success in the past. My bread recipe calls for refrigerating the dough for an hour with a damp cloth over the bowl. You then punch it down and place it divided into two loaf pans that are greased, cover with sprayed plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm place till doubled. Then bake. Always works for me with this recipe.
Apparently Rapid Rise Yeast IS used in bread recipes!
Well, I didnt get to try anything today. I was so busy with my home business and finished a project this morning. I took the rest of today off and got out for a bit. Hopefully tomorrow I can try to proof my yeast. I do have rapid rise so I'm glad y'all posted about that.
So if I am using a recipe that says to punch down after the first rise, and I am using rapid rise, I need to disregard that step?
I do have a kitchen aid with a dough hook.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Becky56,
To be safe, I would not use Rapid Rise in the recipe unless it specifically calls for it. Tho my tried and true recipe tends to come out fine, why risk it? The recipe link I posted calls for Rapid Rise in them. Other sites claim using it eliminates the need for a second rise. Just follow your recipe to the letter and be sure to test the yeast first. Let us know how your fare.
Correct. You would mix the dough and put it in the pan. Let rise and bake.
When using regular yeast, the steps are - mix, rise, punch, shape, and rise again before baking.
If you've been using the rapid rise type and trying to let the dough rise twice, that might be your main problem.
Many bakers prefer regular yeast to rapid. They say the flavor develops better with the slower rising process.This message has been edited. Last edited by: nettiejay,
I recommend using regular yeast the first time around. When you've had success, then you can experiment - unless of course, the recipe specifies rapid rise.
I, myself, have never used rapid rise yeast though.
All I have here at the house(live out in the country) is rapid rise. Who knew? I thought buying that kind was going to help get a better rise. So I will have to get regular yeast when I go back to town. I think since I already have it, that I will try the rapid rise w/o the second rise and see what happens. And report back when I do!
I have another yeast question. What is the difference between instant yeast and rapid rise yeast?
Beck...the definitions of yeasts found here...
I'm pretty sure they're the same thing. "RapidRise" is a trademark name of Fleischmann's fast-rising product.
Edit: Apparently not, according to Froo's article.
Their mention of compressed cake yeast reminds me... You almost always will be better off using dry yeast as opposed to the cake kind. The cake kind has to be extremely fresh; if it's anywhere close to the 'use by' date, it's too old to work well. Also, you can never be sure the store where you buy it has treated it with the respect it needs. Too warm or out of the refrigerator case for too long, too old... It won't work.This message has been edited. Last edited by: nettiejay,
Sorry I haven't been back. I just ordered this
I decided I would go with a good yeast, and that I wasnt going to find it Locally. So I suppose in the meantime while I wait for it to arrive, I will try a the rapid rise that I have here and let it rise once. Can't hurt.
Beck, the next time your bread fails to rise till doubled consider this Italian treat tho it is fattening. Heat oil in a pot. Test a small bit of the dough to see if it floats to the top sizzling and browns. When oil temp is ideal, tear small sections of dough stretching each slightly and drop into the oil, but don't over crowd. Flip as they brown golden. Remove with mesh ladle or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. While still warm, you have the option of sprinkling them with a combo of sugar and cinnamon, tho I prefer them plain.
That sounds good! A few weeks ago, I had leftover flour tortillas and prepared them that way. And for the first time I fried them in coconut oil. They were sooo good!
Well, let me just say it has been a crazy week here and leave it at that! Needless to say I never got to try the rapid rise yeast. But on a good note, the King Arthur came in the mail this afternoon. I finished a big sewing job after supper, and it will go off to the post office in the morning. My sewing room is closed until Tuesday. I'm taking a few days off to work in my flowers and try out my new yeast! I will report back!
Y'all wish me luck. I have a basic loaf of white bread "rising". KA recipe and yeast.
Actually, KA's recipes for Honey-oatmeal bread and French bread are in my list of "no fail" ones.
Wow, I have spent the past three days trying to get back on the site! I kept getting redirected by some Scripps controller that was a blank page.i kept trying and finally found a way in!
Well, my bread was edible. It wasnt what I hoped for, but it was in improvement. It has the texture of biscuits. The first rise rose really well, the second rose but not as well as the first.
I'll keep trying and I have plans to try the honey oatmeal in one of my next endeavors.
Yeah ... That's how I describe most of my bread making results. "Edible", but no great shakes. It's a texture problem. It usually comes out too wet. I'd love a chewy, dark brown crust and an interior like that in bakery bread. Just can't master it.
Did you keep the dough out of a draft and covered during that second rise? If the outside of the dough dries out, it prevents the interior from expanding as it should. Sort of like putting a girdle on it.
I did. It was covered in both rises. I laid the lid of the plastic bowl on top of the bowl first rise. Second rise, in the loaf pan, I turned the bowl upside down over the pan as I didnt want the rising dough to stick to anything. Both times the bread was in the same place...the back burner of my stove. No, it wasnt being used and it seemed like a good place. No pilot light either. I have gas, but it ignites each time I turn it on.
Just keep on keeping on! The more you make bread...the easier it gets and the better you get. You will still have some less than desirable results. But even if you forget the salt the bread is still better than store bought!
Does this hat make my butt look big?
Ladies, I did it!!!
I tried cinamamon rolls,this afternoon. These are so good! The pics on the site don't do them justice. They are big, soft, and fluffy!
Next I'm going to try this dough for dinner rolls.
Good for you! Those cinnamon rolls do look good.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
I'm printing that recipe for this weekend while stepD and DGD visit. This will be great Saturday morning!
Does this hat make my butt look big?
I also have problems with some of my mother's bread recipes that worked so well for her. I am lucky to have a special setting on my oven which allows the bread to rise without drafts, etc. so that's where I put mine to rise.
I would also recommend 2 websites: Nick Malgieri and King Arthur flour. Both have excellent recipes that have helped me overcome some of my problems. I have seen Nick on several programs and his recipes work well for me.
I use a thermometer to make certain that my water in which I proof the yeast is in the right range and not too hot or cold.
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