Home Bread-Bakers v102.n004.6

Pedro - yeast

Sun, 20 Jan 2002 13:04:40 EST

I couldn't agree more with your attitude to yeast because it's identical to 
mine. It's far too easy to get hung up on different kinds of yeast and all 
too common for bakers to blame a failed bread on the yeast when the fault 
lies in their technique.

As for quantities, I measure in grams for yeast but that's just because I 
weigh everything routinely. If I put a little too much yeast on the scale 
then I don't worry because the difference in the finished bread produced by 
10 - 20 % variation in the yeast quantity is negligible.

I occasionally buy packages of compressed live yeast from a local store and 
the packages are just lumps off a brick of yeast, clingfilmed with the 
weight on the price label. If a recipe calls for 25 grams yeast and the 
package weighs 30 grams, do I cut 1/6 off the lump of yeast? Of course not! 
I just use the 30 grams with no fear of derailing the bread. Born to be 
wild that's me!

I've banged on about this before but I think there is a tendency on the 
part of some cooks to rely too much on the recipe and not trust their own 
judgement and taste. We've all seen recipes which specify every ingredient 
down to the last 1/16 teaspoon and do we trust them because of their exactness?

The "Yeast Debate" reminds me of the "All-purpose Flour vs Bread Flour" 
argument , the "Grams or Cups" squabble, the "Metal Pans vs Glass Pans" 
skirmish, the "Sourdough vs Commercial Yeast" battle, the "Pizza Stones vs 
Quarry Tiles" campaign and the "Mixer vs ABM" war. All good wrangling fun 
but often irrelevant to daily bread making and very confusing to a beginner.

John Wright
Yorkshire, England (Any other Yorkshires in the world?)

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger"