Baking with yeast

Baking with yeast

RISING DOUGH

Baking with yeast

It’s your go-to baking saviour. It strengthens your bread dough, makes it rise gloriously, giving you a chance to experience billowy bread just like the one your local baker makes. A trusted friend in many baking recipes, yeast is the reason your bread looks and tastes the way it does. But who undertakes such time-consuming task today, you may wonder? But it turns out, baking your own bread isn’t all that difficult.

I am watching Mumbai-based blogger Saee Koranne Khandekar mix and knead her dough for Surti butter biscuits at SodaBottleOpenerWala in the upscale district of Lavelle Road in Bengaluru. She says baking isn’t something new that has suddenly come into our lives. “We Indians know all the baking techniques already; we know how to mix flour and water, we know how to knead. To be honest, baking bread is way easier than cakes.”

She’s right. Baking, be it making biscuits or bread, isn’t an art. The secret lies in practice. And when you have helpful elements like yeast, you can definitely expect to churn out some exceptional goodies from your kitchen. Now, one thing people often wonder about is the necessity of yeast while baking. Isn’t baking powder enough? The answer lies in your choice. Natural or synthetic? Yeast is essentially a microscopic fungus that works its magic when it gorges on sugar. It releases carbon dioxide and alcohol as by-products and it is this carbon dioxide that gets trapped in the air pockets of your dough and makes it rise.

Dependable ingredient

Yeast is like that one friend you can always count on and who will always help you out. It doesn’t matter to the yeast if you initially chose synthetic substitutes over it. As long as you take it out on a nice dinner with warm water and sugar, it will treat your bread with the utmost care and attention.

But any yeast just wouldn’t do. Your local supermarket might be stocked with a lot of active dry yeast, which needs to be proofed before usage. This means you have to mix this yeast with hot water and some sugar to make those tiny organisms come alive. This is something that Kulbeer Singh, the chef-de-cuisine at SodaBottleOpenerWala prefers for his Irani pao. “This kind of yeast looks like khus khus and is perfect if you are aspiring for a perfectly risen mound of bread,” he says.

But Saee suggests you go in for fresh yeast sold in the form of small cakes for the best results. You need to feed your fresh yeast some warm water and sugar (only when needed) to activate it. Remember the temperature of your water matters greatly.

Too hot and you will kill the yeast and too cold, you won’t be giving them a chance to live. Keep this mixture in a warm place. If you have put in the right kind of warm water, your yeast will froth and bubble in five to 10 minutes.

The third kind of yeast is instant yeast. Going by its name, this yeast can be added directly into your dough; no need for the whole proofing it exercise. When compared with active dry yeast, instant yeast is made of finer molecules which help it blend in with the rest of the ingredients easily. This yeast can be used interchangeably with an active dry one as both give you almost similar rises.

As it is with any other kitchen ingredient, quantity matters when it comes to yeast. If you overcrowd your proofing pan with too much yeast, they might not react in an even manner. If you do the opposite, don’t expect it to be potent enough. “Never go in for the commercial ones in the market. Otherwise, the whole point of using natural rising ingredients will be lost,” warns Saee.

So what advice does she have for aspiring bakers? “Start small and by following the recipe to the core. Consider quantity to be the Holy Grail of baking. And bake as often as you can. Dishing out a cake for a birthday or an anniversary just won’t do. The more you bake, the more number of mistakes you will make and the more you will learn,” she says.

Pao

Ingredients:

Maida: 500 gm
Dry yeast: 6 gm
Bread improver: 2.5 gm
Gluten: 2.5 gm
Sugar: 50 gm
Salt: 10 gm
Milk: 25 ml
Water as per needed

Method:

Mix maida with all the ingredients except water.
Pour the ingredients in a dough kneader.
Add water slowly into that.
Mix it until the mixture becomes soft.
When it is done, cut the dough as per your need.
Oil up a baking tray.
Roll the cut dough and place on the tray.
Prove it until the pao has properly risen in size.
Then bake it in a preheated oven at 200 degree Celsius.
After the baking is done, brush the top of the pao with some oil.
recipe courtesy: SodaBottleOpenerWala

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