Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yeast In Dough Failing to Rise

I thought I would take time out to give everyone a refresher on baking with yeast dough. I tried making my annual houska before Christmas and received a painful reminder of what failed dough can create; flat doughy heavy bread that is inedible! This was my first failure with a houska and I am not proud of it, but I learn from my mistakes. The cause was the inability of my dough to adequately rise prior to baking. I assume most blog readers have the knack of proofing their yeast before kneading and raising. I will provide a refresher to the rest of us.
Causes of yeast failing to Rise:
Inadequate temperature of Yeast – If using fast acting dry yeast, make sure it is at room temperature before adding to warm water.  Ideal temperature for proofing yeast runs around 110 degrees Fahrenheit with a buffer of ten degrees below or above this temperature. Make sure to take the temperature of that small glass of water before introducing to yeast granules. This is very important. Keep yeast in warm areas of kitchen such as on stove while oven is preheating (Assuming oven is below stove top). Another trick is to place a pan of very warm water in the bottom shelf of oven and place the bowl of yeast mixed with water above it.
Expiration Dates of Yeast- Yeast can go bad or expire just like any other organism. Most quick rise yeasts these days have expiration dates printed on them. Check them not only before you bake, but also check them at the store when purchasing. Numerous times I have reached for the envelopes of yeast only to find old dates due to the store not appropriately rotating the stock. Fortunately the grocer does not make that same mistake with the meat or milk!
Bubbles and Expansion of Yeast - Once the instant yeast is introduced to the very warm water, one must exercise patience and watch for bubbles and growth. (This was where I erred on my Houska preparation before Christmas). I simply assumed the yeast was ready to be fed the flour and sugar and it wasn’t ready).
Again, this is just a simple reminder to those baking breads and rolls over the winter holiday.


Tillsonburgarian said...

I beg to differ but you never put instant or rapid rise yeast in water for rise. Yeast is always added with the rest of dry ingredients. I am not surprised that your Vanocka failed. I used to do that and had same problems and then I talked to professional baker that got me on the right track. You may want to check this video from Fleishmenn’s web site:
Also, the temp of your dough (water and flour etc) should be between 120 and 130 °F. I make yeast dough about twice a week and since my talk with baker, I have never failed. Check my Rye bread that has only 1/2 teaspoon of yeast for 4 cups of flour:
I hope it helps.
Jarda (Jerry)

Anonymous said...

You should never proof instant yeast.