18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I

I’ve made a lot of bread during the 3.5 years I’ve been working on this project (both for the project and outside of it), and I hear a lot of the same remarks whenever I talk about making bread: “Oh, that seems hard”, or “It’s too much work to make bread”. I used to feel the same way, and shied away from yeast recipes for a long time out of a fear of failure. In cooking (like most things in life), you have to be ready to embrace failure and learn from it–otherwise, you’ll never get past heating up Hot Pockets in the microwave.

Simply Delicious even notes in their recipe blurb that bread making is perceived as hard. It’s maybe not the easiest thing in the world, but you’ll make a lot of friends fast if you can make them fresh bread. 18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I is the first in a three-part series on bread making, where you’ll learn some tips and tricks for improving your bread baking, as well as a few basic recipes that you can use.

In our gluten-free world these days, bread and wheat are the enemy a lot of the time. But if you can get your mind past all of that, developing the gluten for bread is important–it’s what gives it its structure and texture. A lot of bread-making (and baking in general) is chemistry–one poor-quality ingredient or missed step can be the difference between delicious bread and a rock-hard lump.

I’ve done quite a few yeast recipes at this point for this project, but I’ve always had to substitute in active dry yeast for cake yeast–the latter is a cold, perishable product that grocery stores only typically carry around the holidays. Remember that cake yeast usually dissolves in cold or warm liquid, while warm liquid is required for active dry yeast–too hot and you’ll kill your yeasties, too cold and they won’t wake up. Note their temperatures in the recipe card.

Here’s a few of my favorite Simply Delicious recipes (that use yeast) I’ve made so far–check out 18-2: Basic Yeast Dough II for the next part of the bread-making series.