I was scared of bread making for years. I scoured the internet for non-yeast rolls, because I was so convinced that I could never make anything that required proofing or rising. A few years ago I decided that I needed to figure this out, I needed to learn. What’s the worse that could happen?
Over the years I’ve had more than a few flat lumps of dough tossed in the trash, and I’ve even been so frustrated that I’ve actually cried (my poor husband). All the bread fails have lead me to a few yeast discoveries and bread making is now one of my favorite kitchen related activities.
Here are my tips, the ways to reduce the odds of curse words, tears and flat dough:
First, salt can kill yeast, so don’t add it until one of the last steps. Salt is still important to brighten the flavors, so don’t skip it. Just don’t add it at the same time as the yeast.
Second, rapid rise yeast and dry active yeast aren’t the same. Rapid rise yeast needs to activated with liquid between 120 and 130 degrees fahrenheit and dry active yeast needs liquid about 110 degrees, it will be killed at temperatures much higher than that.
Third, check the expiration date! Once yeast expires, it’s actually dead and it won’t work.
Forth, even though the recipe might say, "allow to rise at room temperature until double in size, about 60 minutes," it might actually take 2 hours, or even three. Especially if your house is cold.
lastly, sometimes, every once in a while, it still just doesn’t work. This is pretty rare for me right now, but occasionally the completely unexplainable bread failure still happens. Even with that, it’s still absolutely worth it. Nothing beats homemade bread.