Super rising bread yeast!

Joined Nov 8, 2009
I've been trying to make bread for years and have not had much success.

Recently I thought I would get "scientific" and read a couple of books on the science of cooking. I've learned that yeast is the key to rising, AND the SOLUTION the yeast is prepared in is KEY!

I've tried different things with yeast and noticed a difference in the amount of foam/bubbles formed in the cup I prepare my yeast in.

As it turns out, the more foam/bubbles in the "yeast water cup", the better the bread will rise.

Today I made my best batch of "yeast water" ever! Higher foam/bubbles than ever before!

I'll explain it step by step as each step is quite important...(Instructions below)

I use a 2 cup size glass measuring cup because it is easier to mix in the ingredients.

Then I add a small bit of filtered water from the refrigerator to the cup. This is so the addition of corn syrup will not stick to the bottom of the cup and be easier to stir in. And filtered because it removes the chlorine from the water. My thinking is that the chlorine in city water might kill the yeast? And the water is at a specific temperature, thus I can heat it for a specific time in the microwave and get a specific temperature.

Then I add 1 tablespoon of corn syrup to the cup. This has "fructose" in it and is food for yeast, makes it grow.

Then I fill the cup up the rest of the way with filtered refrigerator water to be 1 1/4 cup of water. (This is the amount of water needed for 3 cups of high protein bread flour which will say 5g protein on the label instead of the 3g protein on "all purpose" flour. Yeast needs protein to grow. High protein flour needs more water.)

Then I mix the water to blend in the corn syrup.

Then heat for 65 seconds in my 1000 watt microwave. This brings that amount of water at my refrigerator temperature up to a little over 125° F. and this is the temperature yeast needs to be to grow. Measure the temperature with a candy thermometer to be sure you get this temperature. "Warm" as it says in cookbooks does not cut it! Make sure it is this exact temperature!

Then I add 1/2 teaspoon soy lecithin. This I got at a health food store as bulk lecithin granules and this helps yeast to grow.

Then I add 1/8 teaspoon citric acid. Yeast likes a slightly acidic solution. I also got this at a health food store in the bulk section.

Then I add 1/8 teaspoon ginger. I read this has some ingredients which yeast likes.

Then I add 2 packets rapid rise yeast. (I read that the drying process kills yeast, so I figure 2 packets is better!)

Then mix it all up well. Wait a few minutes, and there will be about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of foam/bubbles in the top of the cup! And this is what yeast needs to do to make the bread rise - make gas/foam/bubbles.

And my bread raised twice as fast as my previous batch of yeast water which only had 1/4 inch of foam/bubbles.

So I think foam/bubbles in the yeast water concoction is the key...

Yeast Water Recipe
Use “2 cup size” measuring cup.
Add a bit of refrigerator water to cup.
Add 1 tablespoon corn syrup to cup.
Fill cup with refrigerator water to make 1 1/4 cup liquid.
Heat cup in microwave 65 seconds (125°), mix.
Add 1/2 teaspoon soy lecithin.
Add 1/8 teaspoon citric acid.
Add 1/8 teaspoon ginger.
Add 2 packets rapid rise yeast, stir.
Wait a few minutes and should get at least 1/2 inch foam (if not try again!).
Joined Feb 13, 2008
You're doing a lot to turbocharge the initial yeast "proofing," and getting a populous and active spore colony as a result. But I'm not quite sure why. Why?

Very few good bread recipes call for really large amounts of yeast that active, and there's a reason for it. Yeast colonies need to be tamed -- either by using a very small amount, by multiple rises after the initial feed or preferably by both. If it isn't tamed, the resulting bread is too yeasty to taste good to most people.

As a minor FYI, filtering water doesn't remove chlorine. Letting it sit for awhile does, however. So, if you're using water from your refrigerator's tank or from water that's sat a bit in a filter-pitcher, you've probably allowed the chlorine to outgas. Same result, just a different cause than hypothesized.

You've got a heck of a science project going, but I'm not sure how it's going to lead to good baking. Can you tell me more?

Joined Nov 8, 2009
Basically I'm learning what makes bread rise. What makes it rise faster/slower and for my latest experimenting - what makes it rise the most.

The bread I made from the above tasted pretty much like the frozen dough you get at the grocery store to make bread - tasted good to me.

Also I read that salt slows down the yeast, so I've not added any salt to the dough. And I'm adding a tablespoon of gluten to the flour.

And I'm only machine kneading with a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook. And I'm only letting it rise once. (Not smushing it down and getting a 2nd rise.) In theory bigger holes in the bread. (I'm still experimenting with the dough making part though.)

Why am I doing this?

Because the other bread "recipes" don't work. I'm learning why by experimenting. One problem is they will say "warm" water for the yeast. Well how warm is warm? They don't say! I've noticed that if the yeast water is not foaming, the dough does not rise. It does not say that in these recipes. And then a very important thing I have learned is the type of flour you use - if not high protein, then it will not make good bread. They don't say that in the recipes either! All purpose flour which is 3g protein gets different results from the much better "bread flour" which is 5g protein on the label.

Also if you learn the extremes of things - how things work (more rising/less rising), then you can control that and make your own recipes!
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Like you, Bill, I struggled for years trying to bake great bread. And never got there via the normal follow-the-recipe route. Just never understood what was going on.

But you're both right and wrong in your contention about what "they" do or do not tell you to do.

I suspect that you've been either just reading recipes or baking books directed at housewives, or a combination of the two. If you would take some time to read a book or two directed at serious bread making all those questions you have would be answered. There's also have been several really good threads here at Cheftalk on the subject.

For instance, you may find that your discovery that bread flour is better than all purpose is fully understood, and not always true. The key, as you've found, is the protein levels, cuz protein translates into gluten development, and gluten is the building block of bread. But there are some all-purpose flours that actually have higher protein levels than so-called bread flour.

Anyway, just to reiterate, here are some of the books that might help you understand the science of bread making without boring you to tears:

1. The Bread Baker's Assistent. This has become almost the bible of home bread baking, and cannot be recommended enough, particularly as it details concepts like pre-ferments, delayed fermentation, &, to put a point on it, proofing and rising. Peter Reinhart's earlier Crust & Crumb is also a good one, but BBA builds on that and takes things much further.

2. Just about any of Dan Leader's books.

3. Beard On Bread. Often fogetten amidst the plethora of newer titles, James Beard makes bread baking easy to understand. And you can't fault his recipes.

4. Ultimate Bread. Not as well known as the others, it does provide some additional insights and recipes not available elsewhere. My first experience with a pumpkin yeast bread, for instance, came from this book, and I still make it fairly often.

5. Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective. Newest of the breed, it focuses on bread baking from one artisan baker's perspective. Perhaps even more than BBA, it helps you understand why serious bakers work from formulas rather than recipes.

Oh, and to answer one of your questions, "How warm is warm?" No more than 110F. Higher than that can kill the yeast, rather than promote its growth. But I don't know anyone who actually measures the water temp. Stick a finger in. If it feels warm, but not hot, it's good to go.

And I have to say that BDL's comment about yeast growth is well put. The name of the game, with yeast, is taming the beast, not letting it go feral.
Joined Aug 14, 2000
Hi Bill -
I too was mystified and mesmerized by bread baking and am now a fairly competant self taught bread baker. It is one of the few totally transfomational culinary experiences. What you start with in no way resembles what you end up with. There are so many things at play that is is easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees :)

Your focus on yeast is admirable. I think however it should be secondary. Yeast is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The experiments you describe all involve proofing yeast. Proofing yeast is simply a test to ensure that the yeast is viable. The resulting liquid is added to the dough and it's volume can be deducted from the amount of additional liquid called for. It's been a very long time since I proofed yeast. I use instant dry yeast. Instand yeast has a much higher percentage of live yeast than active dry yeast, about 25 % more. There is no need to proof it and I mix it right in with my dry ingredients.

My guess is that your search for an open crumb should begin elsewhere. Understanding fermentation as relates to your dough is likely to prove more helpful. There are many things that contribute to fermentation, most importantly time and temperature. How long your dough ferments and at what temperature will determine the chararacter of you bread. Is your dough well hydrated? Most of my doorstops resulted from the dough not being nearly "wet" enough. Are you kneading your dough sufficiently? Higher protein flours, like bread flour, require a lot of kneading to develop the gluten. It's the gluten that will trap the gasses and help your bread rise.

This is a long and wonderful road youve chosen :) Do lots of reading as has been suggested and remember that even the "failures" taste good!

Joined Nov 8, 2009
Thanks for the tips and list of books. I've obviously been getting the wrong cookbooks. I went through every cookbook I had looking for "whys" and did not find a thing! And that is why I purchased the scientific books - books which explain why. Now I will have more!

I like to get one thing down and throughly understand it. So my plan was to continue experimenting with yeast. Actually I was planning on changing the temperature to warmer / colder and see what happens. So now I have the 110 deg. F. to try! Thanks!

Once I get that down, I'll go on to experimenting with the dough. (Make one change at a time and you can learn the results...)

As to the "instant dry yeast", I read about that and looked for it in the store, but did not see it. I live in a small town which has limited products, but I'll look for it when I go to the "big city" next time.
Joined Aug 14, 2000
Look for Rapid Rise yeast. I think is't a Fleischman's brand and available in most supermarkets. Rapid Rise = Instant. FYI you can use 25% less than called for or shorten you rise time by 25%. As I am of the belief that more time = more flavor I tend to use the smaller amount of yeast.

I just finished reading all of your initial post. You are correct to assume that yeast plays a significant role in the process. I'm just not sure that your process will significantly improve the performance of the yeast. Yeast is yeast. It's either alive or dead. If it's alive it will work all by itself. If it's dead no amount of processing it will revive it.

Yeast eats sugars. The sugars are created by the breakdown of starches in the flour. As the yeast eats the sugars it burps carbon dioxide and pees alcohol. The alcohol disapates and the C02 is the gas that is trapped by the gluten. It's the trapped gas the raises the bread.

Here is a god read on yeast and bread.

Yeast's Crucial Roles in Breadbaking - Fine Cooking Article
Joined Feb 13, 2008

Let me start by endorsing KY and Kyle's offerings.

A couple of random thoughts before moving on:

"The Bread Baker's Apprentice," not Assistent. Although seeing the word "Assistent," spelled that way, makes me think I know what KY wants for Christmas; and it rhymes with "Electrolux." Reinhart has a lot of other books out all of the wonderful -- some of them more technically advanced than others. Bill, you could do worse than pick up a copy of "Brother Juniper's," which is a wonderful first (and inexpensive book).

Kyle -- Dude! You're not only right, you're sensitive. Anyone ever tell you that you can flat out write? Dude!

An active colony of the right yeast spores is one part of it. However, "faster," and "most" are not necessarily partners of "best." In fact, they almost never are.

De gustibus non disputandum (there's no arguing with [someone else's] taste), as the saying goes. If that's what you're happy with, I'm happy too. No put down, no sarcasm, that's genuine. But, if you want to go beyond that, we would like to help.

Kyle managed to respond to your posts without seeming overly critical of your more wrong-headed notions. Unfortunately his art of tact eludes me, so I'll just spit it out. For most of us who do bake bread, the whole idea is to get as far beyond "the frozen dough you get at the grocery store" as possible.

Bread needs salt to taste good -- at least to taste good to most people. Some bakers baking some bread wait to add the salt until the last possible moment in order to encourage to the yeast to give its utmost as quickly as possible. For most breads baked in a home environment it's not a big deal.

Indeed, when not using a "preferment," the modern shift to instant yeast encourages mixing all of the dry ingredients, including both salt and yeast, before adding all of the wet -- and mixing them all at once.

There's a lot to learn about mixing and kneading. The most important things with kneading are when to start; how much bench flour; how much force to use; and when to stop. A stand mixer is a great time and effort saver but it's not much of a teacher. Hand kneading is a better way to learn. Even partial hand kneading is better than doing all of the knead in the machine.

It's not only a better way to learn. Once you've developed an educated "touch," it will tell you everything you need to know about additions and timing. A machine just can't do that. On the other hand, if you're baking eight loaves a day...

Although, you don't mention how know when to stop kneading I suspect you go by a combination of looks (the dough clears the bowl entirely) and by the clock. That is, if the recipe says knead for 8 minutes, you knead for 8 minutes and that's that.

Mixing and kneading are two different processes; and when making many kinds of breads, including nearly all of the "artisanal" sort, they should be separated in time by at a short period so the mixed dough has a chance to autolyse. In addition, doughs that are at all "slack" (aka wet) benfit from "stretching and turning," so they can be handled without too much bench flour -- which they'd absorb.

Just dumping the ingredients into a mixer with a dough hook, and turning it on for some defined period of time isn't the best way to handle most doughs. You need a reliable ad hoc standard, like the "window pane test."

Forgive me for playing to my own wild hair, but there's a difference between theory and hypothesis. This is a hypothesis, and wrong at that.

In addition to "fermentation" (as Kyle used the term), you need to learn a lot about dough handling and loaf formation. You have to get pretty much everything right to get a nice, open crumb.

At least they don't work for you. Yet, if you're using recipes from good sources they do work for a great many other people. So it would seem the problem isn't entirely with the recipes.

That said, I'm impressed that you are analyzing the problems you're encountering, having the energy and courage to delve into them, and the creativity you show in the way you do delve. You're inquisitive, not afraid to experiment, and not afraid to be wrong. Good things, all.

You're learning, but you're drawing some wrong conclusions as well. Just another part of the learning process.

That information -- around 110F isn't exactly a secret.

Putting the yeast in a little warm water -- with or without a little extra food -- and allowing it to resume its dormant life style is called "proofing." You're right. If the yeast doesn't foam in warm solution it's kaput.

Where are you getting "these recipes?" They are either lousy recipes, very much not beginner oriented, or both. How to proof, and what a failed proofing (no bubbles) means is not exactly a secret.

Not true. The protein level of flour determines what sort of handling it should receive and what types of breads it's best for -- but high protein flours are your best choice for all types of handling and all types of breads. Almost all European, "artisanal" type breads are made with something softer than pure bread flour -- especially if they're mixed and or kneaded by hand.

High protein flours stand up best to machine kneaded, in fact they usually require it.

Consider the source.

The amount of protein in flour is usually expressed as a percentage rather than an amount by weight. If expressed by unit of mass, it's important to give the total mass of the flour used to get the protein's weight (using the terms mass and weight interchangeably because they're equal at the earth's surface -- for all you sticklers). Generally speaking, outside of the South, AP flour is around 12% protein, and bread flour comes in at around 13% - 14%.

Amen, brother. Testify.

Going back to KY's point, you could do a lot worse than investing in a good bread baking book. "Good," meaning one which includes a lot of explanation and beginner oriented recipes. KY's suggestions are all good. I mean "good."

Try lurking around a baking oriented forum -- one in particular -- The Fresh Loaf | News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Finally, at risk of immodesty, you could look at some of the bread recipes I've posted in Chef Talk. Most have very (almost painfully) detailed instructions; most, excepting the recipe for pain de campagne are beginner appropriate (at least if you use loaf pans); and the author (me) is available if you have questions.

Hope this helps,
Joined Aug 14, 2000
Bread Baking: The Good Cop/Bad Cop Episode :)

While we may have taken different approaches, our goal is the same; let's make Bill an amazing bread baker. BDL mentioned having an educated touch. This may be the single most important thing to learn about bread baking. Smart fingers = good bread. I am always slightly amused by those who get caught up in precise weights and measures, in terms of bread baking. Sure, it's important to use them as a jumping off point, but the exact amount of flour or water you add to your dough on a really humid day is going to be different from what is required on a nice dry day. The key is your fingers. They will tell you when the dough is right, not a scale etc.

How do you get smart fingers? the same way you get to Carnegie Hall; practice, practice, practice! Find a fairly straight forward recipe and make it over and over again. I am including Craig Kominiak's white bread from Baking with Julia. It is the recipe I baked 50 + times while educating my fingers. Your fingers need to tell you if the dough is too sticky or not sticky enough or whether the gluten has been fully developed. Try and focus on what the dough feels like before it rises for the first time (fermentation) and when you slice into the baked loaf connect the finshed bread to the state of the dough.

And then do it again :)

Makes two 1 3/4-pound loaves

2 1/2 cups warm water (105F to 115F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
7 cups (approx.) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 oz. unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature

Pour 1/2 cup of the water into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, sprinkle in the yeast and sugar, and whisk to blend. Allow the mixture to rest until the yeast is creamy, about 5 minutes
Working in the mixer with the dough hook in place, add the remaining 2 cups water and about 3 1/2 cups flour to the yeast. Turn the mixer on and off a few times just to get the dough going without having the flour fly all over the counter and then, mixing on low speed, add 3 1/2 cups more flour. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat, stopping to scrape down the bowl and hook as needed, until the dough comes together. (If the dough does not come together, add a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time.) Add the salt and continue to beat and knead at medium speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you prefer, you can mix the dough in the machine for half that time and knead it by hand on a lightly floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes.

When the dough is thoroughly mixed (return it to the mixer if necessary), add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until it’s incorporated. Don’t be disconcerted if your beautiful dough comes apart with the addition of butter—beating will bring it back together.

First Rise: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Place it in a large buttered or oiled bowl (one that can hold double the amount of dough). Turn the dough around to cover its entire surface with butter or oil, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest at room temperature until it doubles in bult, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Shaping the Dough: Butter two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans and set them aside.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half and work with one piece at a time. Using the palms of your hands and fingertips, or a rolling pin, pat the dough into a large rectangle about 9 inches wide and 12 inches long, with a short side facing you. Starting at the top, fold the dough about two thirds of the way down the rectangle and then fold it again, so that the top edge meets the bottom edge. Seal the seam by pinching it. Turn the roll so that the seam is in the center of the roll, facing up, and turns the ends of the roll in just enough so that it will in a buttered loaf pan. Pinch the seams to seal, turn the loaf over so that the seams are on the bottom, and plump the loaf with your palms to get an even shape. Drop the loaf into the pan, seam side down, and repeat with the other piece of dough.

Second Rise: Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap, and allow them to rise in a warm place (about 80F) until they double in size again, growing over the tops of the pans, about 45 minutes.
While the loaves rise, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.

Baking the Bread: When the loaves are fully risen (pokeyour finger into the dough; the impression should remain), bake them for 35 to 45 minutes, or until they are honey-brown and an instant-read thermometer plunged into the center of the bread (turn a loaf out and plunge the thermometer through the bottom of the bread) measures 200F. (If you like, 10 minutes or so before you think the loaves should come out, you can turn the loaves out of their pans and let them bake on the oven rack so they brown on the sides.) Remove the loaves from their pans as soon as they come from the oven and cool the breads on racks. These should not be cut until they are almost completely cool; just-warm is just right.

Storing: Once completely cool, the breads can be kept in a brown paper bag for a day or two. Once a loaf is sliced, turn it cut side down on the counter or a cutting board and cover with a kitchen towl. For longer storage, wrap the breads airtight and freeze for up to a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.
Contributing Baker Craig Kominiak
Joined Sep 10, 2009
I agree with BDL here. Two packets of yeast is a ton of yeast.

Try working with recipes that call for poolishes or bigas (different starters). I find that those create wonderful breads without much extra work. I have a fantastic baguette recipe that calls for a poolish, a "scrap dough", and, finally, a day-of-baking dough. I absolutely love the results.

Also, 125 degrees is pretty hot. I'd try to aim for between 110 and 115 degrees. I usually don't measure these things anymore, but it's a good idea to do so at first so you know what you're feeling for.
Joined Nov 8, 2009
Thanks for posting that, but that's a lot of work!

What I'm trying to do is make my basic bread with less work - make it with the mixer at set times of mixing. And be consistent each time by using specific temperatures for rising, etc.

And the basic recipe above is what I have had problems with in the past. My adding the ingredients to the yeast water above and using high protein flour has made a BIG difference to the results! (Going the direction I am trying to go.)

BTW I like plain basic food. I hate "gourmet" food and don't care for food from fancy restaurants. Take me to a basic mom and pop diner and I am happy as can be!

Same with bread. I love the bread made from store bought frozen dough!

Basically I'm not interested in making "different" bread or bread which has a certain taste. Rather I'm trying to make the same "common" bread most people prefer. And do this scientifically.

FYI - The books I bought are "Cookwise" and "The Science of Cooking". These books are exactly what I was looking for. They explain the scientific basics for which I was able to make my yeast foam/bubble so much and make my bread rise so fast!

Also I'll say I love McDonald's French Fries and once read a book about their problems with consistency and how they researched the problems. And were then able to come up with set procedures for making French fries exactly the same each time. Part of this was getting the farmers to grow and store the potatoes with certain procedures.

I guess I would be fascinated by an industrial cookbook if such a thing existed. Something which would explain cooking using; high fructose corn syrup, ammonium sulfate, diglycerides, etc.
Joined Sep 10, 2009
Hey, make what you love! There's nothing wrong with that!

I wouldn't say that a baguette is fancy, though, although it is the fanciest bread I've made :p. I just love baguettes!
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Wow! I can't believe I typed "assistent" when I meant "apprentice." Nice catch, BDL.

Bill, if you can't find it labeled "instant" or "rapid rise" yeast you're market probably carries the instant yeast under the name "bread machine yeast." It's the same stuff.

While it does, indeed, contain 25% more active yeast spores, both Fleishman's and King Arthur Flour recommend using them one-to-one. That will work just fine. But keep in mind that a basic credo of bread makers is to use just enough yeast to get the job done. And more is definately not better.

If you really prefer the light, spongy type bread (many American's do) the simplest thing would be to track down James Beard's recipe for American White Bread. It's easy to make, and will give the taste and texture you prefer.

Let me know if you can't find it, and I'll type up the recipe for you.
Joined Nov 8, 2009
Yes I did see the "bread machine yeast" in the stores!

I'll give it a try. And that would fit well into my "less work" goal as I could skip the yeast prep step entirely.

And this would certainly help with learning the results of my mixing / kneading as I could put the same amount into the bread each time and from the same jar.

So the only variables left would be what I add to the flour like salt, sugar, gluten, corn syrup, oil / butter, etc. And then how I mix it knead it. Or machine knead -vs- hand knead. Or knock it down after it rises and let it rise again.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
As a general rule, machine kneading is for half the time specified for hand kneading. F'rinstance, if the recipe says to knead 10 minutes you'd go five minutes on the machine.

However (there's always a "but," right), dough speaks to you through your hands. Until you learn what a well-made dough feels like, and how it handles, you'll never truly learn how it should look, feel, and behave. So I would highly recommend that you stick with hand kneading until you've learned those lessons. Then you can switch to the machine if you want to.

One thing BDL and I totally agree on, however, is that even after machine kneading the final couple of minutes should be done by hand, to assure the dough is what it's supposed to be.
Joined Aug 14, 2000
Here is the info from Beard on Bread.

[1 large loaf or two smaller loaves]
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 to 2 cups warm water (100º to 115º , approximately)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (approximately 1 pound)
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons softened butter
for buttering bowl and pan

This recipe will make I large loaf using the approximate 9 x 5 x 3-
inch pan, or 2 smaller loaves, using the approximate 8 x 4 x 2.

First rise = 1-2 hours, until doubled
Second rise, in pan, 45-90 minutes until doubled

Bake at 400º for about 50 Minutes, begin testing after 35 minutes.
Joined Aug 14, 2000
I'm not trying to be a smarta*s, but have you ever considered a bread machine? It seems that they represent the least amount of work to get fresh bread.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
That's his basic white bread recipe, Kyle, which is more European in nature.

The one I had in mind for Bill makes a lighter, spongier, fluffier loaf. It's the one for Beard's American White Bread, which appears in Beard On Food.

"For American White Bread, proof 1 package active dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (90-95 degrees) with 1 tablespoon sugar (comments on fresh yeast omitted). Heat 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon salt and 3 tablespoons butter until the butter is melted. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and milk mixtures. Mix well. Stir in from 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, just enough to make a stiff dough. Turn the dough out and knead on a floured surface with floured hands until it is no longer stickly, turning the dough often so that it is evenly broken down. Knead for a good 10 minutes, then place it in a buttered bowl, turning it so the top is filmed with butter.

"Cover and leave in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours or slightly more. Punch the dough down, knead it lightly, and form into one large or two small loaves. Place in a well-greased loaf pan or pans and allow to rise again until light and doubled in bulk, from 45 minutes to 1 hour.

"If you want a glazed top, brush with 1 lightly beaten egg white combined with 1 tablespoon water before baking. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the bread is well browned and sounds hollw when rapped with the knuckles. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack. If you make this bread with unbleaced hard-wheat flour the texture will be more substantial and the flavor better, but you will have to knead it longer and let it rise longer."

Now then, some comments for Bill and other newbies.

1. Note that even as far back as the early 1970s some writers were explaining the things you find missing. F'rinstance, see how he gives temperature of the yeast proofing water.

2. Beard, self-admittedly, preferred salty bread. So he used a lot in his recipes. You can cut that down if you want.

4. Notice the range of time he gives for rising. That's because he knew, as do all serious bread makers, that rising is a volume thing, not a time thing. Doubled in bulk means just that, and if a particular dough takes more than the guideline time, so be it. Watch the dough, not the clock.

5. "Unbleached hard-wheat flour" in the last paragraph refers to what we now call bread flour. The difference in final texture comes from the higher protein level, which leads to better gluten development, etc.

Finally, let me point out that, like most specialized endeavers, bread making has it's own language. If I say "poolish" or "autolyse" or "windowpane" or "retarded fermentation," for instance, people like Kyle and BDL immediately know what I'm talking about. Those of us into it sometimes forget that beginners have not learned the language yet. So the one thing I have to stress is that if any of us uses a term you're unfamiliar with don't let it intimidate you. Just ask, and somebody will explain it.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
It seems that they represent the least amount of work to get fresh bread.

Kyle, I don't think it's the amount of work, per se, that Bill's concerned with. My God, look at the experiments he willing to conduct. Rather what he's looking for, as I interpret it, is a yeasted version of Wonder Bread that can be all, or almost all, machine made against a clock. And do that consistently with no changes in times, temperatures, or ingredients.

As you and I both know, that would be a tall order if he were looking for a great bread. But he's not.

So, yes, a bread machine probably makes sense for that industrial consistency. But what I don't understand is this: Bill, if you really like the results you get with frozen dough from the supermarket, why are you concerned with making bread from scratch? Why not just continue buying the frozen stuff?
Joined Feb 1, 2007

Just realized that my last comment below sounds kind of snippy. It wasn't meant that way.

People bake bread for all sorts of reasons. For some (and we know who we are) its a passion. For others just a desire to bake a better tasting bread than they can buy. For others it's just to produce a basic loaf of "homemade" bread, cuz, as everyone knows, homemade is better. Still others just want something a little better than the air-puffed Wonder types, but aren't interested in artisanal or fancy stuff.

What I was trying to say, in my last comment, was that you're obviously happy with the taste and texture produced by the frozen dough and that it gives you the warm inner feeling of having baked your own. That being the case, why change at all? While almost everybody loves the idea of fresh-baked bread, not everybody wants to be a bread baker. Seems to me the frozen dough satisfies your need for both.
Top Bottom