February 18, 2011


        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!!


Sharada said...

Sushmita, I could not help but smile when I read this post. It was Deja vu for me. I made Flatbread with expired yeast two days back :-D I followed instructions on the net and used hot water, no froth. Threw away the yeast water. Mixed yeast again as per instruction on sache. Since it was expired it didnt froth as expected. Yet in my desperation, I went ahead and made it. Since it was a flat bread it came out fine obviously not as good as expected. I halved it, slit it from the middle and put sauted veggies for filling. So it got consumed. Going it to make it the right way and come up with the recipe soon :-)

SinFoodie said...

Lucky you ,that it was flatbread !!!
I manage to salvage this time, but the first time I made crescent rolls, it was with expired yeast and I had no idea then why my dough was not rising. I used the same yeast twice before concluding the reason :D

Chhavi said...

wooow...i would say you already have a lot of patience..The crackers do look sinful...and I guess anyone who has ever dabbled in cooking has had there share of yeast disasters..but thanks for analyzing and putting it down.
All the best for the next adventure

Mansee said...

yes sush... cudnt have been worse! I still remember the first time I made bread... so tiring... the kneading takes the life out of u :) the crackers r excellent idea and look great!

Lauren said...

I've not been so wise in the past! I've definitely been of the stubborn variety and insisted on baking my bread once I knew the yeast was dead...dumb idea.

Good points on using yeast.

SinFoodie said...

Thanks Chhavi ! Did a lot of research on yeast after this issue . So compiled all the information that was available on the internet. I hope , all new bakers will find this helpful :)

Mansee - I haven't tried a recipe yet which needs lot of kneading. This one would have been easy if not for the yeast troubles.

Lauren- :) Glad that you liked it :)

Mona...thoughts incarcerated! said...

I so much agree that it is a science altogether to get the yeast rising....and i also had my share of disasters....so now i have shifted to instant yeast...it's so convenient that way!!

Prachi said...

Good experiment Sush.. I will remember the crackers - if my yeast fails me :)

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