Trouble starting yeast for bread

rascal

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So I've had disasters at making bread for last 12 months, discovered yeast was 2 years expired, OK, I'll get new yeast.
Got some today, yeast seemed to froth a wee bit? Made bread, didn't rise, I cooked it anyway, was ok but too dense because it didn't rise. So tried to start second batch.
First attempt 1 teaspoon sugar, yeast and some warm water. Nada
Second attempt, 1 teaspoon yeast some warm water. Nada.
Yeast has two years life in it yet.
What am I doing wrong.??

Russ
 

MrsDangermouse

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I'm guessing you have dried yeast, but which kind of yeast do you have? Is it instant yeast (sometimes called easy bake yeast) or active dry yeast? If the packet doesn't say then the way to tell the difference is that active dry yeast looks like tiny little balls, but instant yeast is much finer - very small particles, but not quite a powder.

Only active dry yeast needs activating first in water, instant yeast should be added dry to your flour. Also, don't let the yeast come into direct contact with salt - it kills it - so make sure the yeast is well mixed with the flour before adding the salt.
 

Morning Glory

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I'm guessing you have dried yeast, but which kind of yeast do you have? Is it instant yeast (sometimes called easy bake yeast) or active dry yeast? If the packet doesn't say then the way to tell the difference is that active dry yeast looks like tiny little balls, but instant yeast is much finer - very small particles, but not quite a powder.
Yes - as MrsDangermouse says, we need to know what type of yeast it is.

How long did you leave the dough to rise?
 

TastyReuben

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Good point about the salt, from MrsDangermouse - a lot (I dare say, the majority) of recipes don't mention this, and just say something like "Mix flour, yeast, and salt," and humans being what we are, it's not unusual to measure out the the flour, then dump in the yeast, then dump the salt right on top, then mix it up.

With instant yeast, I always add it to one side of the bowl, then add the salt to the other, then give it a good mix.

Also, if you're using active dry yeast (the kind you proof), and it's fresh, I'd say the next thing you need to check is the temperature of your water. Since you're having problems, leave the guesswork out, stick a thermometer in it, and make sure it's the right temperature.

Another thing, if you are using active dry yeast, you might need a little more. For most bread recipes here, the standard amount is one of those little sachets, which hold 2-1/4 teaspoons, so if you bought it in the jar, just measure it out. Yeast amounts are actually pretty forgiving, so if you go with less, you just may need to let it rise longer.

Since you said your yeast did froth a little, I'm going to assume that's ok, so onto the rising - did you cover the dough properly in the bowl (no drafts), was it sat in a reasonably warm spot, and did you wait long enough?

Room temperature can make a huge difference. Most recipes I've seen say to "let rise until doubled in size, about two hours." In the winter, when the house is cold, I've have dough take four or five hours to double in size, which is why I now keep a space heater set up in one room. I turn it on as soon as I start making bread, and in the 15 minutes it takes to get the ingredients together and into the bowl, the room heats up nice and toasty.

"Doubled in size" is just a guide. The best way to tell if your dough is at the right point to shape is to poke it with your finger, like the Pillsbury Doughboy. If that indentation stays, you're good.

Putting on my Sherlock hat, if I had to guess, I'm thinking it didn't quite rise enough, either based on the room temperature or the amount of yeast.
 

TastyReuben

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Also, you said you used a Jamie Oliver recipe. Would you post it here? I'd like to have a look at it, and I may even try baking it up.
 

TastyReuben

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I stick the dough in the oven with the light on or with the proof setting on if it's chilly in the house, which is not very often.
Some recipes will also suggest turning the oven on, say, 200F, bringing it to temp, then after several minutes, shutting it off, then using that as a proof box for the first rise.
 

rascal

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Ok I mixed it and neaded for 5 mins, put in bowl with cling film over it and into the cylinder cupboard foe 40 mins. No rise but I baked anyway. The yeast is all one size, the outdated was different sizes.
I'm trying again soon to see how it goes.

Russ
 

MrsDangermouse

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The yeast is all one size, the outdated was different sizes.
Its difficult to tell from your description what type of yeast that is. I'm thinking its possibly instant yeast, because as far as I remember active yeast granules are all slightly different sizes (but its a while since I've used that, so I might be wrong).

What exactly does the packet say?

Note: if its instant yeast you shouldn't put it in water first....it'll run out of puff before your bread is finished proving!
 
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