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- STEP BY STEP GUIDE - BAKING WITH YEAST

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Bread making is an art form with many variables – such as ingredient brands, how you use & store ingredients, how you knead dough, and many more. All these factors have an effect on the final product. Take notes when you bake, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Most importantly don’t give up, and have fun! You’re on your way to becoming a successful baker!

Below you’ll find our Baking Steps Guide with helpful tips and tricks for baking with yeast. Click on the “+” to view information. Note that these are general guidelines. Before starting, always read recipe thoroughly.

Looking to prepare your breads or rolls ahead of time? Visit our blog to get tips and tricks.

There are two ways to incorporate yeast into dough:

1: Dry Blend Method: Yeast can be blended directly with dry ingredients

 

2: Rehydration Method: Yeast can be dissolved in liquids before mixing with the dry ingredients.

Don’t stress over liquid temperatures! If the liquid is comfortably warm for you to touch, you will not kill the yeast. Yeast begins producing CO2 as soon as it is activated and continues until the dough is baked in the oven. When the dough reaches 140˚F in the first few minutes of baking, yeast activity ceases.

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Mixing combines ingredients to form a dough mass that will be ready for kneading. Have all your dry ingredients at room temperature. Liquid temperatures depend on method of adding yeast.

Start with about half of the total amount of flour. Slowly incorporate enough of remaining flour to achieve the desired dough consistency. This will vary depending on the recipe. The dough is ready for kneading when it begins to stay together in a shaggy mass and pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Kneading time varies depending on many factors, including the recipe, ingredients, type of flour and kneading method (by hand, mixer, or bread machine).

Magic happens when you mix flour and water together! The mixture transforms into a smooth, elastic web of gluten strands during kneading.

 

Think of the dough as a balloon. The job of the dough is to hold the carbon dioxide gas (leavening) produced by the yeast.

 

The GLUTEN WINDOW:

The ‘gluten window’ is a simple test to tell if the dough is sufficiently kneaded and ready for the bulk rise.

Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a walnut, then stretch it gently between your thumbs and index fingers. A properly developed dough will stretch nicely without tearing and a translucent membrane will be visible. This is the ‘gluten window’.

Window Pane Test

Kneading Tips:

 

* Mix or knead the dough until it’s smooth, pliable, and elastic. Go by look and feel more than time.

 

* Stretch it out! If it doesn’t break, it’s ready to trap the leavening gas produced by the yeast.

 

* A properly developed dough will hold more leavening gas, and have a better rise.

Use the recipe rise times as a guideline. Many factors – including ingredients, dough strength, temperature and humidity will determine how long it takes a dough to rise.

Always cover dough during the rise time to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming. Use plastic wrap, a clean towel, shower cap, or large bowl. Note that you may need to coat plastic wrap or bowl with oil or butter to prevent dough from sticking.

Don’t stress about the temperature of your rising area. Heat generated inside the dough controls the rate of yeast action. Place covered dough on counter, in a draft-free area if possible. If your room temperature is cooler, the dough will just take longer to rise – and that is ok! No special environment or equipment is necessary.

RIPE TEST

Yeasted dough is considered “ripe” when it has risen enough, about double in size.

  • Gently stick two fingers in risen dough up to the second knuckle, and then take them out.
  • If indentations remain, the dough is “ripe” and ready for punching down. If not, cover and let dough rise longer. Repeat test until you get desired results.

Rising Tips:

 

* In order for the dough rise properly, leavening gas produced by the yeast must be trapped in the dough. This is why proper kneading and dough consistency is so important. See Kneading section above for more information.

 

* Avoid adding more yeast or increasing the temperature of the liquid or the room to speed up rising.

 

* Cooler environment = slower rise = more flavor; Warmer environment = faster rise = less flavor.

 

* Go by dough ‘look and feel’, not by time! Use the ‘ripe’ test.

Punching down the dough redistributes yeast cells, sugar, and moisture so they can ferment and rise the dough during the proofing stage. It also removes some of the gas bubbles formed by the yeast during rising to produce a finer bread crumb texture.

When the dough has doubled in size and/or has passed the “ripe test” push your fist quickly, but gently, into the center of the dough. Then pull edges of the dough to the center. Take dough out of bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Pat dough gently. Turn over and shape your dough into a ball. Gently kneading the dough two or three times will help release remaining air bubbles.

Follow your recipe for shaping the dough.

Some doughs are quite elastic and will “pull back” at first when rolling out. If your dough is fighting you, cover and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This relaxes the gluten and makes the dough easier to roll out and shape.

Use the recipe as a guideline. Many factors- including the dough strength, temperature and humidity will determine how long it takes for a dough to rise.

Always cover dough during the rise time to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming. Use plastic wrap, a clean towel, shower cap, or large bowl. Note that you may need to coat plastic wrap or bowl with oil or butter to prevent dough from sticking.

Don’t stress about the temperature of your rising area. Heat generated inside the dough controls the rate of yeast action. Place covered dough on counter, in a draft-free area if possible. If your room temperature is cooler, the dough will just take longer to rise – and that is ok! No special environment or equipment is necessary.

Yeasted dough is considered “ripe” when it has risen enough – about double in size.

  • Lightly touch side of dough with your fingertip.
  • If the indentation remains, the loaf is done rising and ready for the oven. If not, cover and let dough rise longer. Repeat test until you get desired results.

Bake according to recipe directions. Keep in mind that bake times vary. Always bake on center rack unless otherwise specified in recipe. Use an oven thermometer to check the accuracy of your oven.

Yeast begins producing carbon dioxide gas (leavening) as soon as it is activated and continues until the dough is baked in the oven. When the dough reaches 140˚F in the first few minutes of baking, the yeast activity ceases.

What is Oven Spring?

In the first few minutes of baking, in a hot oven, the yeast gives its all to produce a surge of leavening. This final expansion of the dough is called “oven spring.”

 

After about 5 minutes, when the dough reaches 140ºF, the yeast is killed and no additional leavening gas is produced.

Par-baking Rolls

When a dough is par-baked, the yeast activity is stopped, the dough has risen to its final volume and there is no risk of damage to the yeast or dough structure during frozen storage. We recommend par-baking for smaller dough pieces – such as dinner rolls and sweet rolls.

Par-baking
  • Prepare the dough according to the recipe instructions up to the baking step.
  • While the dough is in its final rise, preheat the oven to 275˚F.
  • Bake the rolls at 275˚F for 25 – 35 minutes, this varies depending on dough piece size. Only bake them to the point when the crust has formed but has not started to turn brown.
  • Cool completely, then wrap airtight and freeze.
Final bake
  • Remove par-baked rolls from the freezer
  • Separate and place on prepared baking sheet or pan
  • Cover and leave at room temperature for 45-60 minutes, or until they are completely thawed.
  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
  • Bake the rolls for 10 – 15 minutes, or until they have reached the desired crust color.

For most breads, remove from pan immediately after baking and cool on a rack to prevent the bottom crust from becoming moist and soggy. For some richer breads and sweet baked goods, cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Completely cool breads before storing.

For crusty breads: Store unwrapped on the counter. Once sliced, place breads in closed paper bags.

For soft-crust breads: Store in airtight plastic bags or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil and store at room temperature.

Placing bread in the refrigerator is not recommend because it accelerates staling.

Frozen storage: This is the best way to preserve the freshness of the loaf. Wrap first in plastic wrap or foil, then place in a self-sealing bag. Let bread thaw at room temperature, partially unwrapped to allow moisture to escape. Slicing bread before freezing will make it possible to take out a partial loaf at a time and will shorten the thawing time, as the slices can easily be separated. However, it may not stay as fresh for an extended period of freezing.

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