Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bread Baking

Like my experience with Green Tea I feel I'm the last to know some crucial information regarding bread baking. Regarding "rapid rise yeast" or "instant yeast" (I haven't researched regular "active dry yeast" yet because I'm currently out of it) ... this "instant yeast" is exclusively used in Peter Reinheart's thorough books about bread, and I see it frequently on a fabulous website for bread bakers www.thefreshloaf.com . Well, typically a recipe will indicate that "lukewarm" water should be used at some point to activate the yeast. I have always read in recipe books that the temperature of the water should be between 105 and 115 degrees -- you don't want it too hot or you could kill the yeast, you don't want it too cool or it wont activate the yeast. When my bread wasn't rising nicely I tried water closer to the 105 side of the scale -- thinking maybe I was killing the yeast. Well, I just happened to read the label on the "Fleischmann's BreadMachine / RapidRise Yeast" today. It said that some liquid (be it milk or water or a combo) should be mixed with the yeast at some point that is between 120 to 130 degrees!!! Good grief. So, of course, when making Oatmeal Raisin Bread today I heated my "liquid" to the correct temperature and don't you know my bread rose beautifully! Wow. Lesson learned. I feel like a turkey. I'm going to check the regular active dry yeast package tomorrow to see if the same applies to that. Anyway ... problem solved. PS - the Oatmeal Raisin Bread is FABULOUS! If you bake bread ... try it. (see link above) Enjoy!

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