Sheepy's been experimenting, too. Her first loaves were a huge success. Light and fluffy and wonderful! The next four batches were bricks. Even the goats wouldn't eat them.
I had a big 'breakthrough' last Sunday when I promised Vet2Be I would make him rolls.... and I found out I had no store-bought yeast. All I had was the pioneer yeast sitting on the counter.
Since I had already mixed the liquids (eggs, buttermilk, water, sugar, and butter) I dumped in the pioneer yeast and then added the four.
Surprise! About 2 hours later it had risen enough to look like bread!
Yesterday I started some Cinnamon Rolls to bring to choir rehearsal on Sunday. I told Sheepy I would 'document the process' and post about it so she could see exactly what I do. (Being married to a scientist means I've learned to keep a lab notebook, complete with photos! It's now called a 'blog'.)
Not everyone uses a potato to proof the yeast, but we love potato bread, so that's what I do. This post includes the recipe, but realize that I don't use it 'by the book'. I often add a little more or a little less of liquid or flour to get the right consistency.
|One potato diced in about 3/4 cup of water. Cook until potatoes are soft.|
|I added enough water to make about 1 cup, and then blended the potatoes.|
|Pioneer yeast ready to use in cinnamon rolls.|
|Let it sit and proof for about 2-4 hours. Whenever you get back to it is fine. This is what it looked like after two hours. I knew I wasn't ready to make bread yet, so I let this sit in the breadmaker until about 9:30 pm.|
At this point I turn the breadmaker off. I really only use the breadmaker to mix and knead the dough. It does a good job, it's easy to clean, and if I forget about the dough it doesn't matter.
Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the dough when it was done kneading.... sometimes I get on auto-pilot and just move onto the next step!
|At this point I rolled my dough into a rectangle to make cinnamon rolls, but you could put it in a greased loaf pan, spread shortening on the top of the loaf, then set it to rise all night.|
|Spread the dough with softened butter, sprinkle on 3/4 cup brown sugar mixed with about 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon.|
|Roll the long edge up.|
|Slice and place on a jelly roll pan that has parchment paper on the bottom. You can grease the pan if you prefer.|
I completely forgot to take a photo of the cinnamon rolls in the morning before I put them in the oven. They were all raised and looked beautiful!
And then I forgot to take a photo of what they looked like coming out of the oven.
|When I did remember to take a photo, the rolls were half gone!|
This site is helpful, too, The Bread Geek blog. Since she one of the authors on the upcoming book called, The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast, it isn't overly helpful.
I'm anxiously awaiting the book The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast by Caleb Warnock and Melissa Richardson. Caleb is the person I got my start from. I've pre-ordered the book because the author sites his sources of studies that have been done by the CDC and different universities that show that rapid-rise (instant) yeast processes the gluten differently than traditional (pioneer or natural) yeasts.
In the meantime I wanted more information on working with this old-style yeast. I thought that since this is a 200 year old strain of yeast, it would be a great idea to read an old cookbook from the 1800's.
|My copy of Housekeeping in Old Virginia, originally published in 1979. Mine is a 1965 copy of the original.|
The first chapter was titled, "Bread". It had the most helpful information I found on working with this type of yeast and recipes for bread, pancakes, waffles, rolls.... you name it.
After reading the first chapter I realized that starting my yeast with potatoes and proofing it is very similar to what cooks did 130+ years ago. No wonder my accident last Sunday ended up being a success!
The author also taught, "knead the dough for 30 minutes by the clock." This dough needs more kneading than the bread made from rapid-rise (or instant) yeast.
Knowing those two things have made my pioneer yeast bread turn out nicely every day this past week.
Please leave me a message if you've used natural leavening or pioneer yeast! I would love to learn from your successes!