There has certainly been a lot of activity for me from subscribers to this
Digest. I welcome the opportunity to discuss problems with individuals via
E-Mail but there are frequently asked questions and problems that I would
like to reply to on the Digest.
The first topic is the matter of yeast. Yeast is a single cell organism
that eats sugar and produces carbon dioxide gas (CO2) and alcohol. There
are many different varieties of yeast. Some metabolize or digest the sugar
available to themselves more quickly, they are quick or instant yeasts.
Some produce different ratios of gas, alcohol and acid compared to others.
The nature of yeast and its variety was recognized by Louis Pasteur around
1860. Not very long ago, considering that yeast had been used for 5,000
years before that time. The best yeast we have ever tested in our own
laboratory for use with ABMs, is that made by LeSafre, Co., in France. The
same company that was established to produce and market yeasts which
Pasteur, himself had identified. This SAF yeast is the most popular for
commercial use in the world. It has not been available to the public but we
have it for sale at reasonable prices.
The most common questions about yeast are:
1. How much should I use? Our tests indicate that 1/2 tsp per cup
flour is suitable for SAF Instant French Yeast, when the bread is to be
baked in an ABM on the regular cycle. 3/4 tsp per cup flour is suitable for
the quick cycle.
2. How do I store yeast? Stored properly, yeast can have a very
long life (at least four years!) The arch enemy of yeast is water! It
should be stored in absolutely dry, airtight containers. Measuring spoons
should not be placed into the containers but the yeast should be poured out
into smaller containers or measuring spoons. When a vacuum packed package
of yeast is opened, a small amount should be put into a small container for
daily use, tightly sealed and put into the refrigerator. The rest of the
package should be put into a sealable container that is the right size to
store the rest in the freezer. The object is to keep the air space to a
minimum. Use the yeast from the refrigerated container and open it long
enough to measure the yeast and return it to the refrigerator. When the
small container needs to be refilled, Allow the container from the freezer
to come to room temperature before opening it! Open it and pour the yeast
into the small container. Re-cover both cont
ainers and return them to their respective locations.
3. Will my breads rise higher if I add more yeast? Generally not!
The bread rises because the gas produced by the yeast forms bubbles in the
dough. The amount of gas produced is determined by how much sugar is
available for the yeast to convert to CO2. The amount the bread rises is
determined by how strong the dough is and whether it is able to retain most
of the gas produced.
3. Are some brands better than others? In a given application, our
testing has indicated that some yeasts are distinctly better than others.
We found that Red Star was much better than Fleischmann's in the Zoji S-15.
It produced more uniform bread, cost less and produced a better aroma. When
we were encouraged to evaluate SAF Instant French Yeast, we found it to be
superior to all other yeasts we had tested. It cost a little more than Red
Star, (mostly because of shipping charges) but the rise, texture,
uniformity, aroma and price, made it the best yeast we had ever tested. As
a result we arranged to get the commercial package for our customers.
On another note, several subscribers have asked about sources of
information. If you don't have a copy of Bread Machine Magic Book of
Helpful Hints, by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway, get one! This book is a
valuable source of general information, contains 55 excellent recipes and
we think everyone who bakes bread, whether by hand or in an ABM should have
a copy. We think this book is so helpful that we offer a copy for only
$8.50 when ordered with a Zoji S-15A.
I must respond to Ron, who asks, "What is the advantage of using a Bread
Machine?" It is a very important question and the answer is the reason that
our Rehabilitation organization got involved in the sale of Zojis in the
first place. We thought of using bread machines to help improve the state
of mind of patients who were suffering from depression. Producing good
bread made them feel good about themselves. Many of our clients had
suffered injuries to hands, wrists and shoulders that made it impossible
for them to make bread, "the old fashioned way". The bread machine opened a
door that had been closed to them. It is an excellent rehabilitation tool!
It makes anyone feel good, who can give a loaf of bread to a friend and
say, "I made it myself!" We have used the Zoji S-15(A) with mentally
limited children, anti-social children and others who will cooperate with
one another to make a bread for themselves. We have found them to be a
powerful teaching tool. That's why we find considera
ble advantage in using a bread machine, Ron.
E-Mail if I can help. Irwin