Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tips-n-Tricks Tuesday: Using Yeast For Baking

   There are some things we come in contact with during our journey in the art of womanhood that are more scary than others. They are usually really basic and easy things to do or make, but they can sound scary if we've never done them before.

   Lately I have been pondering these things in the food category. So I'm here to tell you: baking with yeast is SO EASY!!!! Thanks to my mom who taught me how to work with it, using yeast has always seemed "normal" and "easy" to me. It might sound hard and scary, but it's not. Trust me. After only a few times you should be able to do it just fine. The steps are really super easy, but it may look like alot because I wanted to describe the process (along with some tips) very thoroughly. If you want the quick description, follow any recipe in your favorite cookbook that includes yeast.

 Note: I never use "quick-yeast" - we simply use the plain "active dry yeast".
This yeast is ready for us to add the next ingredients.

Disolving the Yeast:

Step1: Place your bowl on a hot-pad (this is to help hold the heat while the yeast is doing it's stuff) and dump in some hot water. Give it a good swish around the bowl so you get the chill off it. Pour out the water.

Step2: Measure the amount of warm water into the bowl that your recipe calls for (click her to see last week's pretzel recipe if you need something to make). Make sure the water is plenty warm, but NOT HOT. My mom always tells us kids to make it the warmth that we would want bath water to be :) Not hot....just...toasty!

Step3: Sprinkle on the amount of yeast the recipe calls for over the warm water. Sprinkle over the sugar or other sweetener in your recipe (the yeast likes the sweet stuff). Give the mixture a VERY gentle stir only 2-3 times around the bowl.

Step4: Let the yeast set for about 5 minutes, but really just until it's done "doing it's thing." First the yeast will drop to the bottom of the bowl - then it will start bubbling up. Wait until it's not bubbling anymore and there is a frothy layer on top.

Step5: Continue with your recipe. If it doesn't work, try again! The water could have been too hot, too cold, or your yeast might be too old.

Kneading The Dough:

Step1: Sprinkle a layer of flour on the counter to keep the dough from sticking and plop your gob of dough onto it.

Step2: Take one side of the dough and fold it over top to fold the dough in half. Press down.

Step:3: Your dough will probably be oblong now. Give it a "hamburger bun fold" (not a hot-dog fold) and push. Repeat until the dough is soft and well mixed. Here's what you can tell yourself as you're kneading: fold, push, turn 90 degrees, fold, push, turn 90 degrees, etc.

   Note: For the picture below I only used a small piece of dough to better illustrate the process. When you knead your dough, it would be advantageous to do it all at once (unless of course you have a few little kids or siblings who wants to help - in which case you'd have to pull off a hunk for each of them).

 See? Now how stinkin' easy was that? SO easy! Do it. Try it!


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  1. this is a great tutorial. My mom bakes amazing bread, but I've found Jamaican flour is just too heavy. I didn't know to let the yeast get frothy until 2 years ago! I don't know how I missed that! Great idea to put the bowl on a hot pad, also! HAve a lovely day, Maria

  2. @raising4princesses

    Ha ha! I'm sorry but that makes me laugh about not realizing to let it get frothy. Because I hadn't realized for quite a while that I was supposed to give it a little stir to help it mix in. Tee hee!

    That is quite sad that the Jamaican flour is too heavy. You miss out on some good breads! I'm sure you have plenty of other good food that isn't in the States that make up for it though.

    Glad you like the tutorial :)


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