Thursday, April 14, 2011

George Foreman Breadmaker bread maker is not baking bread properly?


Having problems with your bread rising? It is "ALWAYS THE YEAST". When you purchase a two pound package of active dry yeast or a one pound package of instant yeast, also known as bread machine yeast, proof it. Put two cups of water at 110 degrees in a bowl. Actually measure the temperature of the water with a candy thermometer. Sprinkle in one tablespoon of yeast. Do not stir the yeast. After five minutes the yeast should start to bloom, blossom, grow, foam, froth and bubble. At seven minutes the yeast should look like the picture. If the yeast does not bloom, consider taking it back to the store. It may very well be bad or sub-par yeast.

Bad or sub-par yeast is more common than you might think. It is not your imagination if all of a sudden your bread stops rising like it used to, or comes out undercooked in spots, seems doughy, takes longer than usual to rise or seems to have "clumps" - most of it rises, but some spots are dough balls. Your first reaction might be to think you did something wrong. That's natural, but if you have been making bread for years and all of a sudden things just stop working, let me tell you right now in no uncertain terms that the problem is the yeast - period! It is not you. It is the yeast. Either the yeast is sub-par or you did not soak it at the right temperature or you did not use enough. I assume, since you are an experienced baker, that you soaked your yeast and used enough and again it is the yeast itself - period! I promote bread baking and don't like to see the novice or anyone else discouraged because of bad/poor quality yeast.

Recently, I had to purchase yeast at three different stores to find good really active yeast. After purchasing two one pound packages of name brand instant yeast, my bread did not rise well, was doughy and seemed under cooked. The yeast did not proof. The same store had only one package of active dry yeast on the shelf and it was punctured. I took the yeast back and purchased a one pound package of a lesser known brand name instant yeast. It worked, but did not proof and gave me a slower rise than I was used to.

I went to a national membership store and purchased two one pound packages of the other name brand instant yeast. My bread did not rise well, was doughy and seemed under cooked. The yeast did not proof. I took it back. Again, it was not my imagination. The yeast was not the good really active yeast that I was looking for and was used to working with.

I went to another national membership store and purchased a two pound package of national brand active dry yeast. It proofed really well. It was good yeast and really active. Again I have great fully risen loaves with a fast rising time. Thank God I'm not a beginner. How easy it would be to get discouraged if you happened upon bad/slow rising yeast.

This experience is not that unusual. The last time I purchased yeast, I ended up with a bad two pound package of name brand active dry yeast - it did not proof at all. As a matter of principle I returned the yeast and got my money back. In all these examples the expiration dates, when given, were good. The bags were not punctured. The yeast was not active enough for my liking. The frequency of finding bad/slow rising yeast being sold to the unsuspecting consumer is higher than you might expect. The results can be so damaging to someone getting started.

Again, it is "ALWAYS THE YEAST". Salt has no function in your bread other than flavoring the bread - if you have a problem you can rule out the salt. Sweetener is optional, you don't need any at all - if you have a problem you can rule out the sweetener. Oil is optional also - rule out the oil. Flour types do make a big difference, but that's another story. If you don't know if your problem is yeast or flour, make a sample loaf of white bread using any type of white flour - you will rule out flour as your problem. Again, it is "ALWAYS THE YEAST".

I know bread baking to be a craft. It takes time and experience to become an artisan bread baker. Here is something I have found that shows you will never know it all. There is always more to learn. When you first buy a bag of yeast and proof the bag that is not necessarily the end of the story. It has been my experience that some bags of yeast that do not proof well are sub-par and that other bags will proof better over time. Some yeast companies claim that the foaming that we look for while proofing is from additives and does not affect the rising properties of the yeast. Who knows what to believe? That is where experience in the craft comes into play. To be safe, I hunt down fast acting yeast that proofs really well and I get consistent results. I suggest that you do the same. When I find a really active batch, I have been known to purchase several bags. They are sealed well, don't need to be refrigerated and will keep arguably almost indefinitely.

If you can't find 2 pound packages of active dry yeast in your area - click on the following link Active Dry Yeast.

More Tips at the following links:

Using Enough Yeast?

Buying Yeast

Baking Issues & Stones

Active Dry vs. Instant Yeast