Home Bread-Bakers v006.n063.8

Re: advice needed

Darrell_Greenwood@mindlink.net (Darrell Greenwood)
Sat, 27 Jan 1996 14:27:30 -0800
Tue, 23 Jan 1996 13:04:41 -0500 (EST), Angela Fox <bford12@indiana.edu> wrote:


 > 2.  Yeast - I have been using Fleischman's Gold Instant Yeast from King
 > Arthur.  I get good results using exactly what is called for in all
 > recipes.  Once I used Red Star regular yeast.  I noticed it was very slow
 > to rise in comparison to the other loaves I have made with it.  However,
 > I only tried it once so don't have much scientific evidence to say that
 > it was the yeast.  The people at King Arthur told me not to decrease the
 > yeast in a recipe when using the Instant yeast.  What are other people's
 > experiences with this instant yeast?  Some cookbooks say that instant
 > yeast is double fast - but King Arthur says this one is not??????  I
 > guess I should try a couple loaves with Red Star regular again.

I bake with three strains of yeast. Two sourdough and one quick yeast
Yeast is unlike most other ingredients... it is alive and it
multiplies.  Each strain of yeast has its own speed and
characteristics. You may have to adapt the recipes to the yeast you use
depending on your experience (i.e., increase or decrease the yeast or

The strain, temperature, nutrient availability, time, all affect yeast
concentration.  If you are willing to wait any yeast will do the job.
(Of course bread machines are not willing to wait unless they are
programmable :-)


 > 4.  What are some expert hints for finding a nice warm spot for rising of
 > dough?  I have been using my oven warmed for exactly one minute on the
 > lowest temp - is this what others do?

I do. Another way is an oven with the light turned on. Another way is a
stryofoam cooler with a light bulb inside and a dimmer in series. (The
last is popular with sourdough bread makers... check out Usenet
newsgroup rec.food.sourdough if you haven't already.)

 > 5.  All purpose flour - I totally understand the gluten thing.  My
 > question is why do so many recipes (esp German's book The Bread Machine
 > Cookbook VI - Hand Shaped Breads From The Dough Cycle) call for all
 > purpose flour?  Is this because they do not need to rise as much and this
 > is an okay sacrifice to have a more tender bread????????

Gluten content varies significantly with supplier, locale, year,
country, even in flours with the same description. As a result all
purpose and bread flours can overlap slightly in gluten content
depending on the factors above.

Some all purpose flours have adequate gluten for bread and for some
bread styles contain the most appropriate amount.

The all purpose I get makes an excellent bread as it is in the high
range of gluten content for all purpose. As a result the gluten content
of the bread flour here is, for some breads, too high.  I understand
that some parts of the southern US have much lower gluten in their all
purpose flour as more of the purchasers want to make biscuits rather
than bread.

Try the flour. If you like bread from it go with that flour. If you
don't, get another suppliers or add gluten.  I keep a bag of all
purpose and a bag of bread flour to hand and use them in varying
proportions depending on the style of bread I am making.

 > Oh - also many of those recipes (BM Ckbk VI by German) call for Rapid or
 > quick yeast - why????

Slightly faster and probably best for a bread machine that is not programmable.

 > and the book does not tell (I don't think - or it was not clear to me)
 > how much to use if you use regular yeast - any
 > advice??  The book "Electric Bread" always gives the alternative which is
 > 1/2 as much rapid yeast as regular - but that does not seem to make sense
 > given the amount of rapid yeast called for in German's books.  Any
 > clarification?

The ingredient which is the most tolerant of measurement variability is
yeast in my experience. This is due to its ability to multiply. You put
in amount x. Later, depending on temperature, nutrient availability,
activity, you have amount 2x in your dough.

Yeast is a living organism and comes in tens of thousands of different
strains and varieties.
Learn the characteristics of the yeast you use and go with the amount you need.

You can use an very small amount if you give it time to multiply. This
is a sponge method of making bread that I am just trying out and it is
producing raves from the family.

1/2 tsp of yeast, half your flour, all your liquid, your sugar. Mix for
5 minutes and reset the bread machine and let sit for a couple of hours
(this is the sponge and the yeast are multiplying quite nicely at this

Add  the rest of the ingredients (in my case flour, 1 tsp salt (flavor,
dough conditioner), 1 tbs oil (dough conditioner, anti-staling), 80mg
vitamin C (dough conditioner)), restart the machine and process for
dough. Put in bread pan, let rise and bake. Result, in my case, more
flavor and a chewier texture.

 > 12.  Slashing the tops of loaves - Yikes!  I am scared to death to do
 > this for
 > fear of killing the loaf!  Should I use a straight edge sharp razor?  Any
 > hints?

There are two reasons for slashing the tops of loaves as far as I can
determine. Decorative or to cause the loaf to expand where you want it
to expand rather than tearing. In either case you need a *very* sharp
edge. I use a knife that is sharpened to a razor edge, cutting down
about an eighth to a quarter inch.

Check out my web page


for pointers to all kinds of interesting information and FAQs, recipes,
tips, sources on sourdough bread.



- --
Darrell Greenwood, Vancouver, BC   darrell_greenwood@mindlink.net
My web homepage...         http://mindlink.net/darrell_greenwood/