Baking Lessons: Yeast & Kneading

One of the major processes in bread making is yeast activation, which is always a challenge for all bakers.

If the yeast is not activated properly, it is not alive (live) and the bread will not rise.

Activation of the yeast is the first step. It is always advisable to add the yeast to lukewarm water. If the water is too hot, the yeast will die and if the water is too cold, yeast will not activate.

So how do we ensure that the temperature is just right for the activation of yeast?

The water temperature should be between 40-46° C to activate the yeast without killing it. It is better to check the temperature with the help of a thermometer. If a thermometer is not there, make sure that the water is not too hot or too cold to touch.

The water has to be the right temperature and lukewarm.

Where art thou the microwave? One must have mastered the timing and wattage with experience.

Following this process will help activate the yeast and conquer the first hurdle of bread-making.

The second challenge for many bakers during bread making is kneading. The dough has to be kneaded enough until the gluten develops. Proper kneading helps create smooth, elastic dough that rises well and produces a desirable crumb in the finished bread. This part is crucial for texture because one wants that perfect chew when you bite into your bread.

Therefore, one needs to get the gluten proteins going and make sure they are well strengthened.

How do we achieve that?

If one is using a stand mixer, there shouldn’t be a problem. Just set the timer and let the machine do the work. However, if one is kneading by hand, it has to be done for at least 15-20 minutes. Clear off some counter space, dust it with a little flour and put on some good music.

If you aren’t getting the results, just keep going. It will get better with each round.

Happy baking.

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