It’s a fungus…it’s alive
Warm water activates the yeast, when the yeast is dry it is in a dormant state—adding water wakes it up
It is important that your water is not too hot or it will kill the yeast
Yeast ferments when sugar is added to it—it’s like food for the yeast, when the yeast eats sugar it produces carbon dioxide (this is what makes bread rise!)
So you could say that the reason bread rises is because the yeast is burping
Kneading Bread Dough
Yeast breads need to be kneaded a lot!
Kneading the bread dough develops the gluten
Gluten is a protein which gives the bread structure
If your bread was not kneaded enough it will be more crumbly
Think of a tangled ball of string—this is how the gluten is before you knead your dough. As you knead your dough it makes your gluten strands line up
Punching the Dough Down
When a recipe says to “punch the dough down” it means to gently push the gas out of the dough.
If you are rough with your dough when you punch it down your bread will be tough and not as tender as it should be.
Shaping the Rolls
You should try not to handle your dough too much when you shape it because it will make the dough tough.
Shape it, coat with a little oil, and leave it alone so it can double in size again
Putting oil on the top of the dough will make it so the “skin” of the roll doesn’t dry out—if it dries out it won’t rise as well
How Long Will it Take to Rise?
If you leave it on the counter it will take about an hour to double in size
In the refrigerator it will double in size overnight
In the oven at 150 degrees it will take about 20 to 30 minutes
Scoring the Bread
To score bread doesn’t mean rating it on how good it looks or tastes…it means to cut slashes about ½ inch deep across the top of the bread
Scoring bread prevents the crust from cracking as the dough rises—with a basic bread dough you don’t need to score it but with most artisan bread (bread with a very crunchy crust but a soft inside) you need to.
Breads provide a lot of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates give your body quick energy
Whole wheat bread is healthier than white bread because whole wheat flour uses all the parts of the grain…the whole grain
White flour is made from only the endosperm of the grain kernel