Sirious Science: Yeasty Breads


Active dry vs. rapid rise - ever wondered the difference between the two?  Your recipe will usually call for one of the two; but, DO NOT PANIC, they are completely interchangeable!    

They're both single-celled living organisms.  Both are fungi (ew).  Both will expand in water, much on the sugar you feed it, and produce CO2.

Active dry yeast is made up of dried, pressed granules of yeast incased in an outer shell of dead cells.  That means you need to reapply hydration before using it - usually by soaking in a bowl of warm water which activates it.

Rapid rise is exactly the same, but the beads are smaller in size.  This means that a higher amount of CO2 can be released, causing the bread to rise in half the time.  And who really WANTS to wait that long for their dough to rise?  No one.  I'm a full believer in rapid rise yeast.  And here's the proof!  (No pun intended...)

My Wednesday night dinner usually looks something like this.  We all use rapid rise yeast in our products including French bread, foccacia, steamed rolls, white bread, multigrain bread, and crescent rolls.  I made the gluten-free cinnamon rolls on the bottom!

Unlike my last blog, breads made with yeast are all about developing gluten.  Properly kneading dough is extremely important to maximizing gluten potential.  Kneading too little will make your bread dense and kneading too much will toughen the texture of your bread.  After kneading, the dough should be smooth and soft.  Remember: you can always add flour or water during this process!

Allowing your bread to rest, or proof, is vital for the yeast to ferment.  Keep your unrisen dough somewhere hot (85 degrees F is optimal) in a lightly greased bowl and covered with plastic wrap or a moist towel.  During this process, a lot of changes occur with the yeast.  While you won't be able to see the chemical changes, you'll surely notice the doubling of size of the dough.  This is due to the production of CO2, enzymes, and a pH change as it becomes more acidic.

Some people believe that rapid rise yeast doesn't end up tasting as "bready" because there isn't enough time for acidity to form in such a short amount of proof time.  Though that may be true in some cases, the texture, crust, and shape of the product will be exactly the same.  Both homemade, both delicious, and both even more delicious with butter.

*Thanks Professor Georgia!!  I had NO IDEA and always use Active Dry.  I will now seek out the other stuff because I am not patient.  Also, please invite us over for your Wednesday Night Carb Feast.  And speaking of... she included a recipe...

Multigrain Bread
(Servings: 24)
*This was everyone's favorite in the class, it was gone in seconds.  All of the recipes we use are created by William Collins, the culinary chef here at Syracuse.
Printable Recipe

1 cup water
1 cup yogurt, plain
1/3 cup canola oil, or vegetable oil
1/2 cup oats, quick cooking
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup bran, unprocessed
2 T flax seed
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 cups bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour, more if needed
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp yeast, rapid rise
2 tsp salt
2 each egg
Oats to top bread

Soften whole grains: mix wheat germ, cornmeal, oats, flax seed, and bran together in a medium bowl. Heat water, yogurt and oil till simmering and pour over whole grains, mixing well. Allow to cool till 120-130 degrees F –use an ice bath to speed process.
In mixing bowl with dough hook, add bread flour, all purpose flour, sugar, rapid rise yeast, and salt. Add yogurt grain mixture that is at 120-130 degrees F (this helps activate the yeast). Blend well using dough hook in mixer. Stir in one egg and enough remaining flours to make a soft dough. When dough begins to ball up, increase to medium speed and knead with dough hook for 2-3 minutes, till elastic. Cover and let rest in bowl for about 10 minutes.
Divide dough into four loaves, or scale to approximately 12 ounces by weight each. Roll each to the rectangle size of the pans used (8 1/4” x 4”) fold in half lengthwise and pinch ends with heel of hand. Repeat. Fold ends under to fit the pan. Place into pan that had been greased. Spray pan release on top and cover with plastic. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size. Up to 2 hours.
While bread is rising, preheat oven to 400F degrees. Place a sheet pan on lowest shelf and ad ice to pan before product goes in – this will add moisture to the oven and improve crust formation.
Using remaining egg, make an eggwash by beating egg with whisk and a pinch of water. Brush top of load with eggwash using pastry brush. Sprinkle with oats. Make several diagonal slashes with sharp knife on top to facilitate rising of bread. Lower temperature of oven to 375F degrees and bake loaf for 25-35 minutes or until done – temperature at the center of the load will read 200F when done. Remove from load pan and cool on wire rack.


KELSEY said...

I want, I want.

Mommy Colleen said...

So THAT'S what you to school for? Come home and bake for me!


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