Behind Every Successful Bread is a supporting Yeast :)
Today I am not sharing any recipe , just sharing the lessons I have learned while working with yeast .Almost everything that could go wrong went wrong yesterday when I tried to bake french bread.
Beginning with yeast:-
- Never use expired yeast. It is really expired-DEAD!
- The water temperature should be exact. Neither hot nor cold. If it is hot, yeast gets killed and if it is cold, it won't get activated.
- Follow the instructions given on your package of yeast. Don't follow what's given on internet, because every yeast gets activated differently.
- Yeasts feed on sugar, if your package says add sugar, you need to add it.
- And finally, if the yeast hasn't frothed even though it is well within expiry date, begin again . Don't use the yeast that hasn't frothed because it is never going to make the flour rise.
When the yeast didn't froth yesterday,I knew it in my mind that I am going to have troubles ahead. But then ,I didn't heed to it and went ahead and poured it into the flour. The second mistake I did was that I poured the entire quantity of water as was said in the recipe. So,instead of a dough, what I had was a slimy mess.Lesson learnt- Never pour all the water once. Go by the feel of how it is shaping up. To bring that slimy mess into a manageable dough,I had to add almost double the quantity of flour.
Finally after hours of waiting, as expected the flour didn't rise. I had to think, what could be done with the double the quantity of dough that I now had. So I started searching the net for what to do in case the bread doesn't rise. Nothing.. try again. This was what most of the sites had. After a lot and lot of searching I finally found somewhere that don't waste the dough, instead make crackers out of it. Thank God !!
But my heart still wanted to make the french bread and not crackers. Better sense prevailed and I divided the dough into two halves, one for the bread and one for crackers. I mixed another 1/2 tbsp of yeast in warm water and this time it did froth. I realized that the first time water was too hot. By this time it was already midnight. I did not have patience to let the bread rise for another 2-3 hours. So, I let it rise only till the crackers were rolled and made , an hour maybe. The bread came out okay. It would have been better if the flour had risen more. Lesson learned- Have Patience while cooking.
When everything was going wrong, at last few things went well, The crackers were extremely tasty. I had added lots of herbs in it and it worked very well. And the second thing that was good was that the bread got a nice crust which is how the french bread should have. So, I am going to make another French bread soon!!