Yeast experiments

Well it’s been a long time since my last post. I know I always say this but it HAS been hectic. I was researching into selling my bread at the local farmer’s market but it takes a Certified residential kitchen (where my kitchen is still being renovated) and a Food Safety Certificate. I actually obtained my ServSafe (which was terribly easy) but couldn’t afford a new counter yet for my kitchen.

Then I scored an assistant baker job, and now I’m just getting used to that. But I’ve found time to start posting again, so please be patient with me!

The summer hasn’t been nice to my bread and I still haven’t pin pointed the problem. It flattened so many times I started to doubt any baking skills at all! But they are popping back to life. Either it was weather(humidity) or yeast.

This was what my bread did all summer:

Bubbly starter.

Soupy and unshapeable.

Good taste but no spring..

So I thought the easiest was to test my beer yeast. I had about 8 jars to test. 2 jars I opened smelled bad, so I threw those out. I mixed flour, water and a teaspoon of each jar in each bowl. I used exactly the same amounts for all the bowls, I also cleaned the spoons not to contaminate the yeast with different yeast. I labelled each from A to F.

After proofing them, I discovered the following results:

A, D and E bubbled like crazy after 2 hours. The winners.

B, C and F started bubbling after about 5 hours.

For some reason my camera starting taking black pictures, so I don’t have any pictures of the starters..

I mixed these starters up into bread dough, the exact amount of ingredients for each.

Oh I almost forgot. I used a new method of making bread for this experiment. I borrowed a book with the no knead method which actually worked pretty well. The difference I think between that and Tartine is the Tartine bread had slightly larger holes. But the no knead method has nice holes, same chewy texture and nice crust. Basically, you make your bread, rise it for 2 hours or until double. Once it doubles and starts to fall, you can put it in the fridge overnight (I did 2 nights). The next time you want to bake, take some dough for your bread, shape it and let it rise ( I did it for about 45min). Bake it like normal, and it turns out pretty good with little effort.

Back to the yeast experiment, I did this for each bread. Some dough remained soupy and some were actually stiffer.. no clue why this happened.. maybe yeast can affect the mixed dough like this?

D and F popped nicely, although F was dense and underbaked. F was the stiffest of the doughs and D the wettest. The rest were wet, and popped but not as high. They all turned out great though I wished they had popped a little higher.

This was the D dough:

This was the F dough:

So I know some of my beer yeast worked better than others. Next might be weather. The hurricane pulled out most of the humidity from the weather here.. oh did I mention the hurricane. Another hectic week. My bread might survive better though with no humidity (thanks Hurricane Irene!). Humidity, amounts of flours, temperature of water, rising time.. there’s lots more factors to experiment with!

Stay Tuned!

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