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Old 12-19-2005, 03:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Goodweed of the North
Wow! Subfuscpersona, good stuff. I've learned a few things I didn't know about the rising properties of yeast. This will help me imensely. Thanks. Goodweed of the North
hi Goodweed - I'm honored to receive a compliment from an experienced baker like you.

deathvalleydan should be congratulated for taking the time to provide us with the *details* of his baking attempts. As the saying goes, "the devil is in the details" and only by knowing the particulars can someone offer useful assistance.

When deathvallydan said
I always use rapid rise, in the little packets...When yeast works, it usually rises very quickly, double in volume in about 15 minutes, but if there is no change whatsoever in 45 minutes, I usually call failure.
I *guessed* that he was using a type of yeast designed for one-rise recipes in bread machines. (I have no idea if I was correct - we'll have to wait for a reply from him).

I did a fair amount of reserach on the 'net prior to posting my response. I can't tell you how thoroughly irritated (an overly kind phrase) I got at the imprecise, unclear and actually *wrong* results I read.

FYI, the primary distributers of yeast for home bakers are Fleishmanns and Lesaffre (which markets its products with the brand name of either "Red Star" or "SAF"). The info on "Red Star" yeast was from Red Star Products while that for Fleischmann's was from Fleischmann's Yeast Products. If you actaully *read* these links, you will be confronted with 99% marketing hype and 1% information. I pity the poor beginning baker who attempts to make sense of this information.

Bread baking is not rocket science. Humans have been making bread for millenia (often under very primitive conditions) and, with some knowledge, practice and patience, we can too.

As anyone who reads my posts on bread knows, I'm a bread-baking enthusiast and I try to encourage and help all bakers who wish to explore the (seemlingly) endless varieties of bread one can comfortably and reliably make at home. I am far from being an "expert" but I enjoy learning how to make a variety of breads.

I've learned a great deal from posters at DC since I joined (I'm a "lurker" in many topics). Its the best 'net resource I know of for good information from experienced home cooks.

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Old 12-19-2005, 04:20 PM   #12
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Subfuscpersona, I agree. What I got from your posting that was of particular interest for me was that fat inhibits the growth of yeast. That tidbit was new to me. I pretty much knew the rest. But that one part will help me immensely as I tend to add fat to my bread to give the final product a more moist texture. Usually, I have time to allow a long rise-time. But when time is short, I now understand that less is more, when it comes to the fat and salt ratios in my bread dough.

And I agree, that when a poster, in this case deathvalleydan, give precise info about what's going wrong, it makes it much easier to torubleshoot the problem and offer helpful and accurate advise. Thanks dvd.

And I am honored to receive info from someone willing to do the work, someone who will sift the facts from the hype. Like you, I won't give info unless I know it is sound. That's why I haven't written the "Breads, Quickbreads, and Patries" cookbook yet. Though I am fairly skilled with quickbreads and many pastries, including pancakes and waffels, crepes, sweet rolls, both yeast risen and chemically leavened, my scratch cakes need work, and my breads, though usually successful, have failed me at times. I can't write the book until I know these products inside and out. That's why your info was important to me. It gives me another bit of knowledge that I can use to improve my bread skills. I know I could read cake and bread-making books by others, but feel that would be cheating. I need to know what works, how it works, and why it works, so that I can teach others the same thing through my cookbooks. If I don't do that, then I am merely a poser.

So again, thanks.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

“No amount of success outside the home can compensate for failure within the home…"

Check out my blog for the friendliest cooking instruction on the net. Go ahead. You know you want to.- http://gwnorthsfamilycookin.wordpress.com/
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Old 12-19-2005, 07:57 PM   #13
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Wow!!! Super thanks to subfuscpersona!!!

It's wonderful that you took the time to research all that information. You are right that bread shouldn't be rocket science, and the fat content info was also new news to me. Do you know if bleached or unbleached flour makes a difference? I have often wondered that. How about the % content of wheat flour?

I use the RED STAR QUICK RISE packets, and the only bread machienes I use are my two arms. I can't wait til I have time to try and do a yeast recipe again with all those helpful tips.

Thanks again, Dan
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Old 12-20-2005, 07:49 AM   #14
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Answers to Questions posted 12-19-2005- 08:57 PM by deathvalleydan

Originally Posted by deathvalleydan
Do you know if bleached or unbleached flour makes a difference? I have often wondered that.
I've always use *unbleached* AP flour since I could never understand why flour had to be bleached anyway and my general philosophy is to go with the least processed food stuffs.

Unbleached is also recommended by Peter Reinhart, who says (in The Bread Bakers Apprenctice) "...it is preferable to use unbleached...because the yellowish tint in unbleached four is caused by beta-carotene...the presence of beta-carotene...contributes better aroma and better flavor to the bread...the use of unbleached flour is especially important in simple lean breads...such as baguettes and other French, Italian and Vienna-style breads"

I do recommend using bread flour rather than AP in your bread recipes, at least in the beginning. I had untold failures using AP flour in bread when I began baking and when I switched to bread flour I had a much greater rater of success getting a well-risen loaf.

How about the % content of wheat flour?
Since your success rate is about 10% (though perhaps it is higher with some types of breads than others) I would go with a white bread first and then branch out to whole grains. If you want to use whole wheat, make it, in the beginning, no more than about 25% of the total flour content and use bread flour, not AP, for the white flour. The higher the proportion of WW flour, the heavier the bread. I always use some bread flour even in my "whole grain" loaves.

When you buy WW flour, make sure to get stone ground whole wheat flour. There is a noticeable flavor difference. Commerical milling processes heat flour to very high temperatures; stone-grind is slower and produces much less heat. High heat during milling reduces flavor in the final product.

Always read the label on your WW flour - some brands of WW flour in the supermarket leave out the germ of the wheat kernel (longer shelf life for the supermarket - inferior flour for the consumer). The King Arthur line of flours, if available in your area, are excellent.

I use the RED STAR QUICK RISE packets, and the only bread machienes I use are my two arms.
When I read the blurbs on the Red Star Yeast Products page, it looks to me like the you do *not* want RED STAR® QUICK·RISE™ Yeast but rather RED STAR® Bread Machine Yeast (or just get Active Dry yeast to be on the safe side - the descriptions on this site are a bit hard to decipher).

If you are near a wholesale supermarket (like Costco, Sams Club, etc), see if they carry baking yeast in one-pound packages. This will save you mucho $$$.

The instant yeast packages look like this

and you'll notice they just say "Instant Yeast", which (thankfully) tells us exactly what it is without any marketing babble.

The active dry packages look like this

and you'll notice they just say "Active Dry Yeast", which (thankfully) tells us exactly what it is without any marketing babble.

(you can buy one-pound bags of yeast on-line but the cost of shipping doubles the price so it is hardly cost-effective).

The expiration date on yeast refers to the amount of time it can be stored without refrigeration unopened. I keep opened yeast in my freezer. The bag is clipped closed and double bagged in a resealable plastic bag. The longest I have kept yeast this way was 4 years, with no noticeable decline in rising power. Many other posters to this forum have reported similar results.

The amounts of Active Dry vs Instant Yeast for a recipe vary slightly, so if you need to convert from one to another check out http://breaddaily.tripod.com/yeast.htm for a conversion table.

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