April 30, 2011 by Flora Dawn
I think one of the hardest parts about eating gluten-free is the bread. At least at my house, our meals (especially lunch) had always been bread-based; without bread I felt somewhat confused and lost.
Although the gluten-free breads available are edible, let’s face it, they aren’t fabulous. And if you have any other food issues (nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, etc), finding a pre-made gluten-free bread is nearly impossible.
So, we are left making bread from scratch or a mix. If you are familiar with making yeast breads, you probably know today’s tips. But if you are new to bread baking, there are some things that can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration…and bad loaves of bread.
Yeast is a living organism and the correct temperature is vital to it being activated; too high of a temperature and you “kill” the yeast. The result is a doorstop.
Some recipes have you add the yeast to the dry ingredients, others have you proof (dissolve in warm water or milk). If you are adding the yeast to the warm water/milk, you need the temperature to be 110-120 degrees. If adding to the dry ingredients the liquid in the recipe can be slightly hotter, but not above 130 degrees. Although I know many people just guess on the temperature, an inexpensive, instant-read thermometer is really helpful.
To test your yeast (yep, it goes bad), it needs to be mixed with warm water (110-120 degrees) and some sugar (a pinch or sugar, a drop of honey, a teaspoon of flour, etc). Let the mixture stand for 5-10 minutes, the mixture should be thick, bubbly, and fragrant like the picture above; if it’s not, time to buy some new yeast.
Personally, I like to add yeast in with the liquid ingredients, that way I know it is activated and really working before I add the flour (I think this is even more important now that I am using expensive gluten-free flours). If it doesn’t appear active, I know the liquid was too hot or my yeast was too old; and this is helpful information before proceeding with the recipe.
Now you’re all set to make some yeast bread, right?