Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homemaker Monday: Working With Yeast

Welcome to the 64th weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Homemaker Barbi over at Home Ever After! Nessa was the guest poster, and she shared her scary Halloween snack recipes! Here are a few...

-Jack-O-Lantern Brownies
-Goblin Dip and Chips
-Eyeball Salad
-Worm Sandwiches
-Mummy Dogs

For her recipes, go HERE. Thank you so much, Homemaker Barbi and Nessa, for your inspiration! Please feel free to take the "I Was Featured" button from my left sidebar. Hope to see you again soon!

MINE: Because my last post was about how we had doughnuts for dinner (that's HERE), I thought I'd share with you a little bit about how to use yeast, for those of you who are yeasty-challenged. I certainly was at the onset of my homemaking career, so I'd like to share with you yet another tid-bit of my vast knowledge....

Buying yeast: You can buy yeast at Wal-Mart, in those little tiny expensive envelopes or in the tiny little jars, again, very expensively, or you can go to Sam's and purchase the bags of yeast, two to a package, much cheaper.

When buying these bags, make sure the bag is hard, like a brick. If you can squoosh it around, it means there's a tiny hole in the bag, and the yeast will not have as long a shelf life.

Storing yeast: Yeast is a living organism and if we don't treat it right, we could kill it. Because yeast has a short shelf life, only between 6 to 12 months, I store mine in my freezer. I have had yeast last up to 3 years this way. Once I open the Sam's packaging, I pour the yeast into a Ziploc bag, and scoop it from this bag when I need it.

Activating yeast: When using yeast in breads, doughnuts, and the like, it's important to let it activate in water that is just the right temperature. If it's too cold, the yeast won't activate, too hot and we kill it. The way a friend taught me to determine just the right temperature is to hold your hand under the hot running water. When it gets to the temperature where you can barely stand it, but can still keep your hand under it, you have the right temperature.

Measuring yeast: When a recipe calls for 1 package of active dry yeast, I use 2 1/4 teapoons.

Testing yeast: I never use yeast in a recipe unless I've first tested to see if it's alive. This is so easy to do. Say a recipe calls for 2 packages active dry yeast. I would pour my warm water in a small bowl, making sure it is just the right temperature, using the method stated above, then I would add 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast and the same amount of sugar, brown or white, even if the recipes doesn't call for it. I've never seen this make a difference. I'd gently stir it to make sure all the yeast is wet, then wait for five minutes. After five minutes, as the yeast feeds on the sugar, it should begin to foam, looking a bit like rootbeer foam, like so....

...or this...

Now you are ready to add your other ingredients! One note of caution, though. Many recipes call for scalded milk or other hot liquid to be added to the yeast mixture. It is imperative that you wait until this mixture cools down to about luke-warm before mixing it in, so as not to kill your activated yeast.

Okay, we're done! Hope this helps! Don't be yeasty-challenged! Try some of the bread and doughnut recipes on my left sidebar, or come up with one on your own. You don't have to be afraid of yeast anymore! Thanks for listening.

OURS: Okay, let's see what all of you amazing homemakers have for us today. If you've never entered a post before, but are thinking about it, feel free to dig through your archives and enter anything having to do with homemaking. Hope you enjoy the entries as much as I always do and thanks so much for joining us today!

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alessandra said...

Great advice! I imagine your headache is gone...yes?
Have (you all, 11.5) a nice day!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Alessandra, you are so sweet for asking! No, I still have the headache. I have a sinus infection, so I think it's here to stay until the antibiotics kick in. Waaaa!

alessandra said...

So sorry 4 U, big hug :-)

Amanda B. said...

This is helpful! I actually have a bag of yeast in my freezer that my mom wasn't using and passed on to me and her handwriting says she opened it in 2001! But, it still works and my stuff still rises! Thanks for the measurement conversion- I always struggle with that and end up guessing (though I think I had it pretty close!! :)). I do have a question for you- my bag is "instant yeast"- is the measurement for that any different? Do you prefer regular active yeast over quick yeasts? Thanks!!!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Amanda, I don't know if the measurement is the same for quick yeast. Also, I just always use the Sam's brand, which is just regular-rise yeast, because it's so much cheaper, so I don't know much about working with quick yeast. Sorry not so helpful!

the inadvertent farmer said...

Have you read 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day'? it skips the whole yeast proofing step along with the kneading. It really does make breadmaking simpler...especially for artisan type breads and pizza doughs, etc. I keep a bucket in my fridge at all time...
I have preordered the healthier version that comes out this month.
Great post! Kim

Michele S said...

Ha! I buy the big bag from Sam's club too! Now I can't use it because gluten free bread is soooooo nasty. Ugh.

Home Ever After said...

So glad you liked the Halloween recipes and thank you SO much for the feature and the link! Happy Halloween!

Danelle Ice / Home Ever After