What is Yeast? > <
The yeast strain most commonly used in baking is a living organism - yes, living! Its main purpose is to leaven the dough, develop the gluten and to contribute delicious yeast flavor. Yeast feeds on the starches in flour, producing carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide expands the gluten proteins in the flour and causes the dough to expand and rise.
Is it hard to bake with yeast? > <
Baking with yeast is easy, even if you've never done it before. Yeast is a living microorganism that simply needs a little warmth, some food and time to "do its thing", namely provide great flavor and leavening to baked goods. With our easy tips and simple short videos, you'll be eating delicious creations and have fun making them! See resources on left to learn more.
There are so many kinds of yeast, how do I choose? > <
How do I activate/"proof" Active Dry Yeast? > <
Yeast is a living organism. Proofing "wakes up" the yeast from its dormant state and ensures it is still alive and active. It is only necessary to proof Active Dry Yeast.
Start by dissolving 1 packet of yeast in ¼ cup warm (100° to 110° F) water. (TIP: No thermometer? The water should feel lukewarm. Hot water will kill the yeast.) Stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar and wait 10 minutes. If the yeast is alive, the mixture should bubble or foam and double in size. See Using Active Dry Yeast Video >
I've heard you can "kill" yeast, what does that mean? > <
Caution! Yeast is a living organism that thrives in a warm, but not too hot temperature. Liquids that are too hot (over 140°F) will kill your yeast, which means your dough will not rise. Heat your liquids just until it feels warm to the touch. If using a thermometer, 100°-110°F is the ideal temperature for Active Dry yeast and 120°-130°F is the ideal temperature for RapidRise™ and Bread Machine Yeast.
Can I use expired yeast in my recipe? > <
For best results, buy and use yeast before the expiration date. To test potency, proof yeast to determine whether it is still active.
How much flour should I add? > <
Your recipe will probably indicate a range for the amount of flour to be used. Start with the lower amount first. Then add the remaining flour as needed until the dough comes together and forms a ball, but is still a bit sticky. The trick to making perfect dough is to add the last of the flour gradually, so you don't add too much. You may or may not add all the flour called for in the recipe. That's okay! During the kneading process kneading process you can always add more flour. Be careful — adding too much flour can result in a dry, tough loaf. See Adding Flour Video >
I have no idea how to knead! What do I do? > <
Kneading develops the gluten (a protein) in the dough, which provides the bread's structure. To knead, place dough on a clean counter lightly sprinkled with flour. Then sprinkle a bit more flour on the dough and your hands to prevent sticking. Now just fold, push, turn and repeat! Here's how:
- FOLD - flatten the dough and fold it toward you
- PUSH - using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion
- TURN - rotate dough a quarter turn
Keep kneading dough until it is smooth and springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers. Kneading takes 6 to 10 minutes for most recipes. Use a little more flour if dough becomes too sticky. It's okay if you don't add all the flour called for in the recipe, add just enough so dough is easy to handle. See Kneading Basics Video >
Something came up! Can I save my dough for later? > <
Yes, no problem! Cover your dough loosely with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Your dough will be fine for up to 24 hours. When ready, remove from the refrigerator and continue letting it rise. It may take a bit longer for your dough to rise since it needs to return to room temperature first.
What does it mean to "rest" my dough? > <
Resting the dough after the kneading process allows it to relax a bit after that tough workout! To rest your dough, simply leave it on the counter where you were kneading and cover with a clean, dry towel. About 10 minutes is all you need. The dough will not rise during this time, but the rest will make it easier to handle.
Why does my dough need to "rise"? What does that mean? > <
Rising is the step where the yeast works its magic. During this time, the yeast will eat the starches in the flour and release carbon dioxide, which will make the dough inflate like a balloon. This process is important for giving the bread its delicious flavor and texture. To let your dough rise, place it in a bowl or pan and cover with a clean, dry towel.
Where should I put my dough while it's rising? > <
No need to worry about finding the perfect location for your dough to rise. The kitchen counter will work fine. However, if you want your dough to rise a bit faster, look for a warm place like on top of a pre-heating oven. If your dough doesn't appear to have doubled in size in the specified rise time, it's fine to let it sit up to 1 hour longer. See Rising Tips Video >
How do I know if my dough has "doubled in size"? > <
To determine if your dough passes the 'doubled in size' stage, press the tips of two fingers lightly and quickly about 1/2 inch into the dough. If the impression you made stays, the dough is doubled.
When will I know if the loaf is done baking? > <
Always test for doneness by checking internal temperature with thermometer in the center of the loaf; it should be between 190°-205°F. See Testing For Doneness Video >