ingredient spotlight: yeast

by jenna on November 4, 2010

Does yeast scare you?

Do you start to break out in a cold sweat when you read the sentence “dissolve the packet of yeast in warm water”?

Have you never attempted to make bread from scratch because of your phobia?

Do you love fresh baked bread?

Do you sometimes wear pink high heels when you bake…just because?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions this post is for you.

Here’s the good news! Yeast doesn’t have to scare you anymore. It really doesn’t. Soon, you too, can become a yeast-using-bread-baking-pizza-dough-flippin’ guru.

Say that ten times fast!

So, there are two secrets to success. Just two! They’re important though, so listen up.

1. Make sure your water (or milk) is at one hundred degrees farenheight. If need be, use a thermometer to make sure, but if it feels like bubble bath temperature, you’re usually good.

2. DON’T LET YOUR SALT GET NEAR YOUR YEAST.

I feel quite passionate about the latter because I made that mistake once….and it scarred me for life. You see, I was just an innocent culinary student working hard to bake the perfect loaf of bread for my final practical exam. I knew salt and yeast shouldn’t touch, but somehow that slipped my mind as I cranked up the Kitchen Aid and dumped my ingredients in the shiny metal bowl.

Everything was going so well….but then my bread didn’t rise. Like, at all. When I brought it up to Chef at the end of the evening he looked at the bread, looked up at me and said eat it.

So I did. And it tasted like nasty salt bread.

You see, salt kills yeast so if the two ingredients touch at all (before the actual mixing stage), you’ll be left with a loaf of flat salty bread…like me. It’s pretty easy to avoid this problem though. Just bury the salt in with the flour and you’ll be good to go.

Hope I didn’t scare you. I really didn’t mean it! You’re going to be great at this bread baking thing. I just know it!

I’m off to hobble around my kitchen now.

Try this and this while I’m gone!

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Katalina @ GreenLivingNY November 4, 2010 at 9:03 am

Nice post! I love bakind with yeast! and butter, and sugar…and white flour :)

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Rebekah @ Rebeltarian November 4, 2010 at 9:07 am

Ah! I just always seem to mess it up with yeast.

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Dorry November 4, 2010 at 9:07 am

I feel like you wrote this post just for me! I just posted about my first bread experience today (very simple, yeast-free) but I’m ready to tackle a proper loaf with yeast. Thanks for the tips and inspiration.

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Moni'sMeals November 4, 2010 at 9:07 am

Great post and Thank you for the awesome tips. I can be a little timid with recipes that invovle ‘yeast’.
:)

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Jenny November 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

I LOVE YEAST! oh, the smell alone makes my heart so happy. Good tip about the salt, never knew that!

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katie November 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

i have to admit iam afraid of yest. eeek! but maybe i will over come my fears and make some bread this weekend!

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Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) November 4, 2010 at 9:13 am

You crack me up Jenna… I was thinking to myself… yes… yes… yes… yes… and if I had some and could walk in them, YES :D And thank you for the helpful hints! When the weather cools down again I may, kinda sorta… start thinking about baking some yeast bread. But… you’re right, I am scurred ;P

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Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin November 4, 2010 at 9:13 am

I love this post. I’m slowly getting over my fear of yeast but I definitely think its intimidating still!

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Rebekah @ Rebeltarian November 4, 2010 at 9:13 am

I have a huge yeast fear! I always gravitate to quick breads because of it. You have inspired me to try again!

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Estela @ Weekly Bite November 4, 2010 at 9:14 am

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

I’m such a scardey cat when it come yeast! This is just what I needed to read!

Yeast = No Salt! :)

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

Thank you SO much for this post Jenna! I’ve been wanting to make a few recipes that involve yeast lately but I’ve had no idea how to do it. These are great tips! :D

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Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

I answered yes to most of your initial questions. Definitely afraid of yeast… just not really sure how it works or what to do with it. It’s time for experimentation!!

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Krystina November 4, 2010 at 9:24 am

I just bought yeast the other day, hoping to use it for something OTHER than pizza. I want to bake bread, but lack a stand mixer and bread machine. Any suggestions?

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Jackie November 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Knead your dough by hand! I have a stand mixer and have never used it for bread. I love the feel of the dough turning smooth and stretchy under my hands.

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Evan Thomas November 4, 2010 at 9:25 am

I had no idea salt killed yeast! I need to be more careful making pizza dough then

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 4, 2010 at 9:28 am

Love using yeast – i’ve just started, so I’m a beginner!

I never knew salt & yeast shouldn’t touch!

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Michelle (The Runner's Plate) November 4, 2010 at 9:45 am

I love baking breads, but sometimes yeast still scares me. Thanks for the tip about salt; I wasn’t aware of that one!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) November 4, 2010 at 9:50 am

Yeast scares me. I have never bought a package of yeast in my life to bake with. I am GF and vegan, that’s enough to take into consideration when baking…trying to figure out yeast, well, that reminds me that I should leave that up to the professionals LOL

I guess though, I make my own homemade vegan kefir and homemade kombucha, and both of those are fermented foods, oh and homemade pickles, so I guess yeast are involved. And bacteria. But those are cultured foods that I feel like are hard to screw up. Bread. Rising. Dough. Now THAT is easy to mess up I think!

:)

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Tab - Just Weighing In November 4, 2010 at 9:53 am

I have to admit – it does scare me. Just a little. Or maybe a lot, since I’ve never actually used it before!

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Alina @ Duty Free Foodie November 4, 2010 at 9:56 am

It absolutely DOES scare me!

But I think it could also be really fun to make your own bread with your own add-ins, so I definitely want to work up the courage to try it … you know, one day.

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Heather (Heather's Dish) November 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

i answered yes to all of the questions and i am making yeasty bread for a week straight to practice when i get home ;)

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Melinda November 4, 2010 at 10:01 am

A sprained ankle in pink high heels? You must be super woman! lol :P

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Diana @ frontyardfoodie November 4, 2010 at 10:19 am

I LOVE yeast. I love the taste, the smell and what it does to bread and beer.

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grocery goddess jen November 4, 2010 at 10:20 am

I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of yeast, but I don’t love doing things with it, either. I am usually more of a brownie-baking girl than a bread baking girl, and often when I make bread I stick the ingredients in the bread machine and let him take care of the magic :)

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 4, 2010 at 10:35 am

I’m not scared of yeast. I LOVE IT!

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Lisa November 4, 2010 at 10:55 am

Thank you for the guide! I’ve been wanting to make bread for ages but I always killed the yeast…so I gave up. I’m going to be attempting again this weekend with a friend. Crossing fingers!

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Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes November 4, 2010 at 11:10 am

Me ‘n yeast are best o’ friends! :) Can’t wait to see what you’re bakin!
love,
cathy b. @ brightbakes

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Rachel @ The Avid Appetite November 4, 2010 at 11:19 am

I had no idea! Yes, I am afraid of yeast, and yes, I do wear heels in the kitchen just because :) Just kidding. Sort of.

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Amanda (Eating Up) November 4, 2010 at 11:23 am

Yeast does scare me! I have baked many flat loaves of bread…but I am determined to get a hang of it soon!

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Hope November 4, 2010 at 11:38 am

Thanks for the post – all of the above are me!
Baking bread is so foreign to me, then when I went to buy yeast there are different kinds you can buy….I’m too scared lol

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Lindsay November 4, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I had never bought yeast until about a week ago and now I can’t wait to make bread. Would never have thought to make anything with yeast before reading your blog. I was strictly a cook who occasionally made banana bread and cookies – no yeast needed :) but I am ready to branch out!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman November 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I’m too scared to bake bread, too. It always seems so complicated. And good to know about the salt. I never would have thought that.

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sarah k @ the pajama chef November 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

yeast used to scare me. then i made cinnamon rolls. now i love it because it can give me yummy things!

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Jessica November 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I’m terrified to make bread. Maybe in 2011…

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Laura (Starloz) November 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm

yeast does scare me, it’s stopped me making pizza dough many times.

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Jen November 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Haha funny you mention yeast and salt – I had that problem tonight! It was gross.

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jenna November 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm

what’s extra weird is that i’ve spent 2 years working in a research lab that uses yeast as a model organism for studying different things. i spent all summer looking at how the receptors they use for mating and the receptors they use to sense sugar are linked- aka how the presence of sugar affects mating. i know way more about yeast than the average joe. and yet, i always skip right by baking recipes with yeast because they frighten me. how does this even begin to make sense? maybe it’s because, as i always say to rationalize my hate for mushrooms, i get enough fungus at work. the good news is that i’ve put your recipe for naan on my to-cook list for this month, so i’ll be buying yeast very soon. :)

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Amanda November 4, 2010 at 11:43 pm

When I took mycology we learned supercool things about yeast. They are fascinating little buggers aren’t they? They like toasty places with sugar, don’t we all?

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megan @ whatmegansmaking November 5, 2010 at 7:27 am

I bake bread all the time and I never knew that! I’m just lucky that I’ve never added the salt in with the yeast! Thanks Jenna!

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Mary November 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

I answered yes to all of your questions except the heels! I need to overcome my fear and make fantastic things…like pizza and cinnamon rolls!

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