Sunday, March 11, 2012

More About Pioneer Yeast and Cinnamon Roll Recipe

I've gained about 4lbs this week because I've been experimenting with bread. Since I haven't eaten wheat in about 10 years, it has been a wonderful treat for me!

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.
Here's where I did something 'wrong', but the cinnamon rolls turned out great anyway. I should have added just the yeast start, honey, and potatoes, then let it sit for a few hours. But I got distracted and added the egg and buttermilk, too.

I added about 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 duck egg, 2 Tbls of butter, 2 Tbls of honey, and the potato puree. My breadmaker is then turned OFF, it doesn't go through a cycle at this point. I only let it stir the yeast into the rest of the liquids. You can do this in a mixer, too. I like my breadmaker, so that's what I use.
This photo was taken at 11:30 AM.

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.
In this batch I used 4 cups of white flour and 1 cup of wheat flour. Turn on the breadmaker (or use a mixer) and knead for a minimum of 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it is smooth and elastic.

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.

Put it in the oven overnight. I didn't turn the oven light on.

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 link has some good information about natural leavening. Cooking E-Z. However, I received a start from someone else instead of starting it from the yeast floating around in the air as discussed in the link.

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.
You can find Housekeeping in Old Virginia free online at Internet Archives here.

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!


Monday's Child said...

The closest I've come is wild sourdough starter. Mine lived and flourished a couple of weeks, then died off. I haven't had a chance to try again yet.

TJ said...

I'll post my friend's recipe for yeast today (April 15, 2012).

Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments. It makes me feel useful and helpful :)

Bessie's Music Corner said...

How fun,thanks for sharing your experiments with us! I also own goats, make soap,make bread, teach violin and so forth, and I really like your blog.
I like that you experiment with different yeast. I have read a really fascinating book called Nourishing Traditions. I think you would really enjoy it especially since you look like you love to try new things out. It has a recipe for bread using only the natural yeast that is found in yogurt.It is fool proof, It is so fantastic and healthful that I thought maybe you would be interested. Some people in my family have a low tolerance for wheat, and this bread is really wonderful for them. I was wondering if you have hear of kefir,I make kefir using goats milk and really enjoy it. It has helped my health very much and it is really prolific so if anyone needs a start I have a ton. Well sorry this turned into a lot a babbling but I just am really happy that I have been blessed by people sharing their knowledge, so I thought you might be interested in this book. Thanks:)

TJ said...

Bessie, Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you like my blog :)

I've read Nourishing Traditions. I'm married to a Ph.D. chemist which means I really like to find documentation for claims that are made. Although I tried a few things in the book, I didn't find anything that improved the health of our family.

Yes, we've made kefir :) Not my favorite, though. I like the flavor of yogurt, so that's what I make. I've heard that kefir is supposed to be healthier than yogurt, but if I can't stand to drink it--it doesn't matter how healthy for me it is. Guess I'm kinda weird that way--it's gotta taste decent or I won't bother with it!

I love that you took the time to leave a long post :) It's great to hear what people find helpful in their own lives. Hopefully someone will find Nourishing Traditions through your post here!