1. Why do bread recipes call for different temperatures of liquid for activating yeast?
a. FAST RISING ACTIVE DRY YEAST — Dissolve in warm water at 105-115F and sugar; add to dry ingredients.
b. QUICK-RISE INSTANT YEAST — Follow quick-rise method. Mix yeast directly with dry ingredients and then add warmer liquids at 125-130 degrees F.
c. RAPIDMIX ACTIVE DRY YEAST — Mix yeast directly with dry ingredients and then add warm liquids at 120-130F. Rapidmix also can be dissolved in warm water and sugar and then mixed with dry ingredients.
d. COMPRESSED YEAST — Crumble directly into dry ingredients. Dissolve in warm water at 105-115F or soften in milk

2. What is the recommended temperature range for a rising yeast dough?
80-90 degrees F is best for all but refrigerator doughs.

Warning:
A low temperature can cause doughs to sour before they rise.
A high temperature can cause a raw yeast flavor.

The following are suggestions for rising:
– Set bowl in an unlit oven with a large pan of hot water beneath it.
– Heat oven at low setting for one minute. Turn oven off. Turn oven light on, if available, and set bowl in oven.
– Fill a large pan full of hot water, place a wire rack on top and set the bowl on the rack.
– Set bowl in a draft-free place near (not directly on) a range or radiator.
– Remember to cover the dough with a cloth or lightly greased plastic wrap to prevent the surf a ce f rom drying.

http://pasco.ifas.ufl.edu/fcs/PDF-YEAST.pdf

My bread dough didn’t rise.
1. Yeast is pretty temperature sensitive. When you first combine the yeast with water (proofing the yeast), the water really should be between 105 and 115 degrees.

If it’s colder, the yeast won’t wake up.
If it’s too warm, it kills the yeast.

I use a candy thermometer to make sure the water is the right temp. Also, even if your recipe doesn’t call for it, you should add a little pinch of sugar or dab of honey to the initial mixture of yeast and water so the yeast has something to eat.

This first mixture should form a foamy layer (like beer foam) on top after sitting for about ten minutes. If that foam doesn’t form, then your problem is either that the yeast is no longer active, or the water temperature was off.

If you get the foam, but the dough itself doesn’t rise, then you’re not keeping it at a warm enough temperature. It is hard to raise dough in the winter. (Cruel, since winter is when you really want warm bread) Some newer ovens have a setting called “proof” that keeps the oven at a good temperature for rising dough.

If you don’t have that, you can put the bowl somewhere near a heating vent, which is what I do. Just make sure you cover it with a damp towel, because the heat from the vent can dry out the surface of the dough.

(Also, sometimes it helps to use a mixture of regular whole wheat flour and white whole wheat flour (also made by Bob’s Red Mill), which lightens the dough a little, and makes it rise higher.

(Adapted from http://caloriecount.about.com/doesnt-bread-dough-rise-ft77743)

In The Perfect Pantry, I always keep both active dry and rapid-rise yeasts; they are different strains of the same basic organism. There are other differences, too. Though all granulated yeast is dried to no more than 8% moisture, which renders it dormant until it’s rehydrated, active dry must be dissolved in water before being added to other ingredients; rapid-rise can be added along with the dry ingredients. Active dry should be proofed, and doughs made with it often require two rises.

Why use active dry, then, when rapid-rise speeds up every step of the bread-making process? Two reasons: doughs made with active dry yeast taste better, and they have better texture.

If you’re planning to use your dough for a highly flavored bread or pizza, rapid-rise is great. For artisan breads that depend on the structure of the dough and few added ingredients, you might prefer to use the active dry yeast and let your dough rise more slowly.

A few more things to know about yeast:

  • One 1/4-ounce packet contains 2-1/4 teaspoons of granulated yeast.
  • Substitute the same amount of rapid-rise for active dry yeast in any recipe.
  • Substitute one packet of active dry or rapid-rise for one cake (.6 ounces) of fresh yeast.
  • Store all dry yeast in the refrigerator, or in a cool, dry part of your pantry.
  • All yeast is marked with an expiration date. For best baking results, use it by that date, or discard.

(Adaped from http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2008/04/yeast.html)

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