At Last! Success With Yeast - Life ... It's Why We Cook. Blog at - 300020

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At Last! Success With Yeast 
Mar. 28, 2013 8:54 am 
Updated: Apr. 12, 2013 11:20 am
For a few years I have been making Jay’s Signature Pizza Crust. ( …< … ) It’s been better than most pizza crusts but never would I have called it a winner. You see, I have this subconscious penchant to kill yeast. No bread that I have tried to make has survived long enough to make it into the oven. In the case of pizza crust, I’d spread it across the stone and watch it split, shrink and turn color. This last time I decided to ask for help.
I went to the Recipe Buzz and asked what I was doing wrong. ( …;prop25=108848624&amp;prop26=RequestAnswered&amp;prop27=2013-03-27&amp;prop28=RequestAnswered&amp;prop29=Request&amp;me=1&amp;requestId=299962< … ) and from all the answers I decided my problem was temperature. However, I could see other things that could affect the outcome and I adapted those, too.  From all that information the two things that stood out were temperature and how I was using then yeast.
The foremost issue is temperature. I was following instruction and putting the yeast in 110* to 120* water with the sugar and salt. The folks on the buzz use tepid or room temperature, nothing as hot as the directions.
We keep the yeast in the fridge. I was taking the yeast from the 38* of the fridge and putting it into 110* water. If I was in that situation, I think it would kill me, too.
A few of the buzzers put flour with the proofing. Others mix everything without proofing.
Here’s how I put everything together and wound up with a huge surprise.
I decided to use a stainless steel bowl because it conducts temperature faster than glass bowls. Into it I put all of the dry ingredients, covered the bowl and put it in my dehydrator at 105* and let it bask there for about ten minutes.
Then I made a crater in the middle of the dry mix and poured in all of warm to touch water. Using a large fork, I mixed it from the liquid into the flour until it was too stiff and finished the mixing with oiled hands. After this, I covered the dough with oil and then it went to the dehydrator to rise, covered with a plate and plastic wrap. I checked it after a half hour and the dough was pushing the plate up! Jay’s recipe said to punch it down and use it at this point. So, I did.
The dough seemed sticky to me but one of Jay’s reviewers said he used it at this point to make it stretch. I used the dough in this sticky stage. I covered the stone with a dusting of cornmeal and stretched the dough over the stone. (I warmed the stone in the oven for two minutes.) When I had the stone covered I noticed that the dough was still rising. That is a first for me! I added the toppings and put the pizza into the 425* oven. Jay said to let it bake 15-20 minutes so I set the timer for 20 minutes. I checked it at ten minutes and the crust had raised high enough to fall backward over the edge of the stone. Having no other choice, I let it finish baking.
At twenty minutes I took the pizza from the oven and set it on top of the range to cool. It was nicely browned around the edges. The cheese, which was the top layer, was browned beautifully. I cut it after letting it cool a few minutes.
On behalf of all the responders on the buzz, I’m going to brag. That was the runaway best pizza crust that has ever crossed my tongue and entered my gizzard! (Enter a four letter adjective with an appropriate superlative here!) It was crispy, not crunchy. (Another first.) Very light but held the toppings well. Best of all, it had that yeasty bread taste that I am crazy about.
As for that oversized edge, it was delicious! It was very airy and easy to eat.
Never again will I use hot water and I will always keep the ingredients warm. I now see no need to proof the yeast outside of the dry mix.
Today, I will make some Pane and bake it in a French loaf pan to see how it will crust with this new (for me) method.
Now I know I can cook a winning bread recipe. Thank you, buzzers!!!
Mar. 28, 2013 9:00 am
You make me want to give it a try! hahah I have always been too scared... Thanks! (and I am off to grab my lunch after seeing that picture! Only wish it were pizza! STRAVING)
Mar. 28, 2013 9:01 am
Congratulations Mike! You have inspired me to give yeast another try. I think I'll give that Artisan bread a go.
Mar. 28, 2013 9:43 am
I am still afraid to play with yeast but that pizza looks out of this world. Mail me some please.
Mar. 28, 2013 10:31 am
Congrates Mike job well done. Let us know what happens with the bread.
Mar. 28, 2013 10:45 am
Excellent post! I am going to adopt those measures next time I make my Honey Whole Wheat Crust and see if I can get that kind of rise out of it. It usually does pretty well, but your crust looked fantastic!
Mar. 28, 2013 11:17 am
I have killed many yeast following the package direction 95°F is best for yeast. and I use 550F in the oven using a oven stone, that has preheated to 550F for 30 mins. brushing the exposed dough with egg yoke enhances the crust. If you use a Pizza pan use a dark pizza pan it browns the bottom better than the silver pans do.
Mar. 28, 2013 11:20 am
I wasn't scared, Heather. I just didn't have the magic combination!
Mar. 28, 2013 11:23 am
Durn, bd! I have a batch of French Bred going, right now. I should have thought about Baking Nana's post! I'm going to copy that recipe before I overlook it again. Good luck with that bread!
Mar. 28, 2013 11:24 am
It's coming air mail, Joey Joan! Catch!
Mar. 28, 2013 11:25 am
Sure will, Nadine!
Mar. 28, 2013 11:27 am
Doc, I have a batch of French Bread going right now to give the method a real test. This recipe is using six cups of flour so it should be a good tell-tale.
Mar. 28, 2013 11:29 am
Hi, King Sparta! When every recipe is telling me to proof in 110* water, I believed that was the thing to do. I use a pizza tone and have always liked the results, even with dead bread.
Mar. 28, 2013 12:59 pm
Yay! I'm so happy for you mainly because I know exactly how frustrated you were. I was too until these fine AR people helped me out a while back. Doesn't it feel good to know you can do it? I had to prove it to myself by making some type of yeast thing three days in a row. After the third day, I had convinced myself that I could make anything! No failures since!
Mar. 28, 2013 1:16 pm
You're right, Paula! It does feel good after decades of failure. Right now I have two loaves of French bread rising and then ready to bake. I can't do this final rise in a condition I want because the loaves are too long. Gotta settle for the ambient atmosphere. If it works, there'll be another post to follow up this one.
Mar. 28, 2013 3:13 pm
>> "I believed that was the thing to do." Me too, Live and learn.
Mar. 28, 2013 3:41 pm
Congrats Mike,your pizza looks really,really good.
Mar. 28, 2013 4:15 pm
by the way I actually made pizza the other day I like combination pizzas but my wife only likes peperoni
Mar. 28, 2013 4:44 pm
Amen, King Sparta!
Mar. 28, 2013 4:46 pm
Many thank yous, manella! Several great bakers pointed my way to sweet victory!
Mar. 28, 2013 4:49 pm
Your thread loads a server error, King Sparta. I'll try later.
Mar. 28, 2013 5:03 pm
Congratulations, Mike! Your pizza looks great! I love making bread and other yeast concoctions. When I have success it is such a feeling of accomplishment.
Mar. 28, 2013 5:20 pm
Thank you, Mother Ann! This must be how The Little Engine That Could felt like when it crested that hill! ;0
Mar. 28, 2013 5:45 pm
That's a nice looking pizza, King Sparta! Maybe it's the pic but is that pepperoni a thicker slice?
Mar. 28, 2013 6:10 pm
I am so excited for you. I saw your post and read the responses. I can do yeast but I was shocked at some of the answers! I always just run the tap water until it is hot and use that. I couldn't believe people use luke warm water and it works. I learn something new all the time. I'm happy for you that you finally conquered it with help from the buzz. I hope your story will inspire others.
Mar. 28, 2013 6:13 pm
I am especially happy to read your blog this evening Mike because I've declared this year the year I concur yeast breads. You have given us some great tips passed along by all the great bread baking AR peeps. I love how your Pizza looks. Thank you so much for sharing your success.
Mar. 28, 2013 6:14 pm
Conquer..... (Hey, I spelled it right. Must have been auto-correct.)
Mar. 28, 2013 6:18 pm
Those shocking responses work beautifully, iceemama! I baked two loaves of French Bread today and will blog about them in a few days. (I don't like to double up my posts.)
Mar. 28, 2013 6:23 pm
Well durn! If it ain't Candice it must be a look-alike! We don't care about that spelling stuff here! I wouldn't say anything anyway unless we are in a group somewhere! ... Take the suggestions from that Buzz thread, Candice! They work!
Mar. 28, 2013 7:08 pm
Congratulations, Mike! That's a great feeling, isn't it? I mean, you think that a person against a foamy mess wouldn't be such a big thing. But what a coup when you can win over that goop!
Mar. 28, 2013 7:16 pm
Marianne, most of the time, I would have been happy to see foam. A foamy mess would have been welcome! And, yes, I did win with much help!
Mar. 28, 2013 7:26 pm
Pizza today, Pane tomorrow, braided challah next week! It is like an addiction once you start. I knew you could do it!
Mar. 28, 2013 10:06 pm
I love to see someone victorious in bread making! When I first started, I made "blunder bread" for a year. Built strong bodies 12 ways just lifting it. I figured peasant women had been making bread for centuries without all the advantages I had so I had to keep trying. It was worth it. So glad to see you have crossed over to the winners side! LOL
Mar. 29, 2013 5:34 am
I decided to go a bit fancier, BigShotsMom. I went with French Bread ... ... It was a success, also. However, the next time I will take it from the oven sooner because it seemed too brown. Maybe that's how French Bread should be? Dunno, I wasn't raised fancy or cultured.
Mar. 29, 2013 5:39 am
Petey, those early loaves of yours were dangerous! Mine may have fallen close to that category. ... If I never bake a good loaf I will, at least, die knowing I had one success! That makes life good!
Mar. 29, 2013 6:08 am
Way to go Mike! I'll have to tell my son about your success. You had posted a comment on our blog about his bread, and he thought you were "nice and funny." I've been making bread and rolls for years, but I've never tried pizza crust. You've inspired a new project for me to do with my son! Can't wait to see your French Bread blog!
Mar. 29, 2013 6:45 am
Good for you, Mike! I love to conquer something that befuddles me. My recent accomplishment is Chicken Piccata or Marsala - it's was hard for me not to overcook the poultry & amazes me how quickly it does cook. Melt in your mouth chicken - I feel so smart - LOL!
Mar. 29, 2013 6:54 am
Thank you, Tammy! Tell Jared that if I can make a crust this good, he should be able to make it better! Maybe add some herbs and Romano?
Mar. 29, 2013 6:55 am
"I feel so smart..." Yeah!!! That's the phrase! Thanks, Maggi!
Mar. 29, 2013 7:14 am
Mike- Lovely Pizza-even though it's breakfast time, I want your pizza. Now you keep on baking, hope to see more high rise recipes from you. I think you are on to something with warming the bowl. It has been freezing and snowing here lately in Colorado. I noticed on those cold days, watch out my baking yeast recipes could fail. I am going to try the warming the bowl. Thanks, for such a great blog and tips.
Mar. 29, 2013 7:25 am
Mike: Your pizza looks amazing! Nice work! I think you're ready to share it with the world. How about opening a pizzeria?
Mar. 29, 2013 9:49 am
It looks amazing! Congratulations on your crust-making success. I have a thing about using yeast - I should practice more!
Mar. 29, 2013 10:48 am
Very NICE! I guess my Mom taught me how to deal with yeast. I have never temped the water but I "know" the right temp and I always proof it just like she did. Glad to see you conquered the yeast! That pizza looked very good!
Mar. 29, 2013 11:08 am
Glad our advice was helpful. I use a meat thermometer to tell the temp of the water since you can't judge that by 'feel' and most likely you will find the water is warmer then you thought. That is the most obvious thing that can go wrong. I proof with and sometimes without flour, doesn't seem to make much difference. If you don't have a thermometer, you can simply start off with cool water and it will slowly come to normal room temp after a few minutes, it doesn't require an exact temp as long as it isn't too HOT !!!!
Mar. 29, 2013 11:11 am
For pizza crust, proofing is entirely optional. With other types of rolls/bread, you want the dought to rise for a considerable time and the proofing helps get the process going. Even if you form the pizza crust immediately after you make it, the dough will still rise when baked.
Mar. 29, 2013 11:38 am
Congrats on the success, Mike! I make pizza once a week here, and I've used the Jay's crust many times for mine pan pizzas. My fave for regular pizza is the brick oven pizza from this site. I can make that with my eyes closed at this point, LOL! I love working with yeast, but I take the easy way out and use the SAF instant yeast. I use mine straight from the freezer, but since don't have to proof it, it really doesn't matter. I guess I've always been lucky, and I've had very few mishaps, none related to the yeast itself. Mostly due to the fact that I decided to substitute ww flour for white, but over the years, I've learned what to do to guarantee success. Let us know how your future experiments with bread turn out!
Mar. 29, 2013 2:09 pm
today I made another ball of dough using Wolfgang Puck's Pizza Dough Recipe using honey. and is now in the fridge for making a Calzone or Stromboli for tomorrow.
Mar. 29, 2013 5:41 pm
I warmed everything, Lela, and the yeast seemed to love it! Just warm, though.
Mar. 29, 2013 5:43 pm
Pizzeria? I don't think so, bikerfamily! I'd eat up whatever profit there is.
Mar. 29, 2013 5:45 pm
midwestchef, that yeast thing is frustrating, for sure. However, it may now be far less frustrating.
Mar. 29, 2013 5:48 pm
Thank you, Cat! I won't say I conquered yeast. At this point, after many years of dismay, I may have only caught it at the right time- when it may have forgotten it doesn't like me.
Mar. 29, 2013 5:52 pm
Thank you, Goodfood! I've never had a decent rise with pizza crust until now. Ant that's what has me happy!
Mar. 29, 2013 5:54 pm
I will, wisweetp
Mar. 29, 2013 5:56 pm
I'll look up that recipe, King Sparta! We just had some Stromboli at a restaurant for lunch. Ours was a veggie but we often get a salami.
Mar. 30, 2013 4:03 am
I started making bread when I was about nine. Bread may not be the right term though since for 20-some odd years it could have doubled as a weapon and was always just turned into crumbs. As stubborn as I am I kept trying until, like you, finally found my wa-la moment. Yeast are such picky little things aren't they? Congrats on your success!
Mar. 30, 2013 4:50 am
Congratulations, Mike! Yeast is so much fun and it is addictive. I remember when I set out to make "Baps" - we used to have them for breakfast with bangers when I was living in England. They were soft white rolls just to light with perfect crust. My early attempts were very sad and the kids ended up using them as hockey pucks and baseballs. I now know where I went wrong but still yeast bread keeps me humble.
Mar. 30, 2013 7:02 am
Do you deliver?
Mar. 30, 2013 7:39 am
No one could call you "half baked" now, can they? Beautiful job. I've had some not so great results and figure it's the temp thing too. I'm getting Baking Nana's bread prepped today.
Mar. 30, 2013 4:24 pm
mamakittyto3, I had one batch that the food processor could not convert to crumbs. That's bad! Thank you!
Mar. 30, 2013 4:26 pm
Baking Nana, you re the last person I believed would be humbled by yeast. That big red purse of yours has a special pocket for keeping yeast and, to me, that's the mark of confidence!
Mar. 30, 2013 4:28 pm
Yes, I do deliver, mauigirl! I'm good for maui or Vegas for the same trip charge as my next door neighbor!
Mar. 30, 2013 4:29 pm
If nobody can call me half baked, what name do I answer to, Magnolia Blossom?
Mar. 31, 2013 12:51 pm
I'll have to think about the name. However, for now, I just picture you enjoying a slice of life.
Mar. 31, 2013 2:09 pm
Keep the picture, forget the name! I don't want to regret asking that silly question.
Apr. 1, 2013 8:13 am
After 25 years of being on the lam for homicide I tried the Artisan Bread and turned out perfect. Yee Haw! Now on to others. Thank you, Baking Nana and all the others for the inspiration.
Apr. 1, 2013 12:06 pm
OMG, I just finished lunch and then saw this, I WANT! ;) Looks so yummy.
Apr. 1, 2013 4:05 pm
I'll be doing Baking Nana's recipe, bd! Soon, too!
Apr. 1, 2013 4:06 pm
Thank you, REDCWOLF!
Apr. 1, 2013 7:03 pm
Well with that beautiful pizza crust and later pics of French bread I've seen, no one could mistake you as the Pillsbury Doughboy. Hehe, Buns of Steel perhaps?
Apr. 2, 2013 6:52 am
Buns of Solid Steel will work, MB. The acronym would be B-O-S-S! BOSS!
Apr. 2, 2013 10:46 am
Hehe, OK - good one. Just don't tell Mrs. Mike.
Apr. 2, 2013 5:29 pm
I already did tell her. She said she had no problem with it as she was explaining the in-depth retraining I will be needing.
Apr. 2, 2013 7:37 pm
Ahem, remember that old adage "Silence is golden."
Apr. 2, 2013 7:55 pm
Yeah. And, "The truth hurts".
Apr. 3, 2013 9:38 am
Try the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". Easy, delicious! No problem on my first try or to date!
Apr. 3, 2013 6:56 pm
Thank you, Hatteraslady! Last summer, I spent some time on Hatteras. The weather was a sizzler but the experience of food and people was great!
Apr. 12, 2013 11:20 am
Looks like you've tamed the Yeast Beast!! I've always had issues with yeast and I think temp might be the same issue I've had. Gonna try this over the weekend. That's one purdy pizza!
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog.
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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