If there is one thing that absolutely cannot be missing in the pantry, especially during a pandemic, it is yeast.
Preparing bread, pizza and in general all the great leavened products has a great therapeutic value: kneading, caressing, curing the dough during the growing and cooking phase, and in the end the immense satisfaction of having made by yourself something simple but highly symbolic as bread.
I am therefore sure that during the various lockdowns all food lovers have tried their hand at baking, studying flours and yeasts. Considering the time available, I am equally sure that many, like me, have wanted to experiment with the cultivation and use of mother yeast and bread-making with long leavening and ripening phases in the refrigerator. I really enjoyed myself, with more or less satisfactory results but always above expectations.
What I want to talk to you about today, however, is a really simple product that allows us to make bread even when we don’t have much time and we want to prepare a focaccia like this: dried yeast and active dried yeast.
It is in fact dehydrated brewer’s yeast, therefore consisting of a mixture of fungi of the genus Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and known and used by man for thousands of years. It is not a chemical yeast but a mass of living cells that allow the dough to rise process, transforming sugars into glucose, alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Dry yeast comes in granular form, has a shelf life of about two years and should be kept tightly closed in a cool place, once the package has been opened, preferably in the refrigerator. The active one must be reactivated in warm water for about fifteen minutes, with the help of a little sugar or malt, and is suitable for doughs with long times of levitation and maturation. It cannot be used in the bread making machine. The easy bake is simply added to the flour and is activated with the moisture provided by the liquids in the dough. In both cases, to activate the levitation, in addition to liquids, heat is needed and the ideal temperature is around 28 degrees, instead above 45 degrees the yeast dies.
But this is certainly not a problem for those who live in England, right?
In relation to the fresh product, the quantity of product to be used is the following:
fresh yeast 25 gr
dried active yeast 15 gr
dried easy yeast 7 gr
However, the right amount of yeast to use depends on the recipe, and above all on the rising times. The longer the dough rests, the less yeast is needed, the result will be lighter and more digestible.
I have no particular suggestions to give you regarding brands. When I moved to England I started using Allinson Yeast easy bake and Allinson Dried Active Yeast, which you can really find everywhere here, and I have been highly satisfied with both, so I didn’t feel the need to try other products.
So why not do something different this time? If you have any suggestions on different brands for me, write them in the comments and I will be happy to experiment with new products!