Yeast, Salt, Flour

Bread baked in the Panasonic SD-YD250 bread machine does not need as much yeast as recipes other than the Panasonic manual say:

  • The yeast dispenser for a machine that will bake an extra large (2.5 lb) loaf that may take more than 4 cups of flour does not hold much more that a tablespoon;
  • Panasonic’s  recipes (in the manual; see its online recipe resource pages) call for half the amount of yeast in typical recipes:
    • 1 tsp (instead of 2 tsp or more ) for 3 cups of flour for a medium loaf;
    • 1.5 tsp. for 4.375 cups of flour for extra large loaves;
  • Medium loaves  based on The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (“BLBMC”) and other recipe resources filled the  pan, and had airy, weak crumb; some ballooned or cratered/collapsed/imploded.

I prefer low sodium bread machine bread. 50% salt reduction doesn’t affect the process or hurt flavour.  The principle is to reduce yeast by the same percentage as salt as suggested in BLBMC at p. 290 and by the Please Don’t Pass the Salt bread page

I monitored recipes in June-August, 2018. I peeked under the lid to see what happened – including the last part of the rise phase after the machine knocked down the dough.  I made manual interventions a few times – I ran a silicon spatula between the dough and the pan 5-10 minutes just before the start of baking to gently deflate the loaf. (Using a spatula risks marring the no-stick surface of the pan. Silicon spatulas are safer.)

I adjusted yeast in BLBMC formulas for white, whole wheat, and combined flour (multigrain), and formulas requiring 2 tsp  yeast for a medium loaf (a formula with 3 cups or 15 oz. flour +/- by weight). This approach resolved the inflation problem and produced loaves that were not inflated:

  • Ignore the amount of “bread machine yeast” in a formula in the BLBMC – (BLBMC has different amounts of SAF instant dry yeast and any other “bread machine yeast”)
  • Use half the amount in the recipe for SAF instant dry yeast in a BLBMC formula (instant or “bread machine” dry yeast in other formulas not specifically written for a Panasonic machine) i.e. reduce 2 tsp. for a medium loaf to 1 tsp.
  • Weigh yeast and know the correct conversion factor – 1 tsp of instant yeast weight 2.8 grams;
  • Weigh salt and know the correct conversion factor – assume a recipe is referring to conventionally ground table salt – 1 tsp weighs 5.7 grams.

For a Panasonic recipe I cut yeast and salt equally.  For a BLBMC or other recipe I make my “Panasonic” adjustment for yeast amount above first, then I cut yeast and salt equally.  When  I use 50% of a BLBMC recipe amount of salt, I use 25% of the BLBMC recipe amount of yeast (or less).

The recipes and my notes for that round of tests are in a separate post.

Panasonic’s recipes for medium loaves call for 1 tsp of yeast:

  1. Basic White Bread – basic bake cycle, 3 cups bread flour, 1.25 cups of water, 1.5 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of yeast. Basic bake cycle: 4 hours;  2 hours or more rise. This rises robustly – almost like French bread;
  2. 100% Whole Wheat – bake whole wheat cycle, 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1.25 cups of water, 1.5 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of yeast.  Bake whole wheat cycle: 5 hours; 2 hours 30 minutes or more rise. This produces a compact brown loaf.

These recipes have identical hydration rates – the flour and water weights are identical.  In each formula the yeast is 2.8 g to 417 g; in baker percentage (B%) 0.7%.

Panasonic’s  “bake sandwich” cycle are simplified bake settings for medium loaves – these cycles lock out the use of the loaf size command setting.  The recipes in the manual for white sandwich and whole wheat sandwich bread on bake sandwich cycle are identical to the formulas for medium loaves in the basic white and 100% whole wheat recipes. For the 2 hour “bake rapid” cycle and the 3 hour “whole wheat bake rapid” cycles, Panasonic suggests 2 tsp of yeast.

The differences between active dry yeast and  others dry yeasts: the particles of active dry yeast are larger, and coated in dead yeast cells killed in the drying process.  Active dry yeast has to activated with hot (not boiling) water. Instant dry yeast grains are smaller. It activates on contact with the water in a recipe, and almost never needs to be rehydrated to propogate.  See  All About Dried Yeast, What is Bread Machine Yeast, the King Arthur flour Ingredient Guide, the King Arthur web article All About Yeast, and the King Arthur blog post “Which Yeast to Use”. See also  Commercial Yeast in Fresh Loaf Baker’s Handbook, and What’s the Difference between Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast. For the history of baking yeast, and the ways it has been presented, Lesaffre’s Explore Yeast pages are informative.  A leading baking industry paper on instant dry yeast: Lallemande’s Update, Volume 2 # 9.

Instant yeasts, once they activate, ferment and propogate,  pick up speed and hit a peak.  Some compressed and active dry yeasts have a second peak – home wine makers and home beer makers encounter this with their yeasts which have a vigorous first fermentation and a secondary fermentation. Bakers may time their  bulk fermentation and final proof to take advantage of each. I found a graph on SAF Instant dry yeast gas production (with the Cyrillic text and the red line for SAF in the post by Mariana January 2, 2018 in the forum Difference in Yeast Brands). I have not found comparison graphs for other instant dry yeasts.

Some yeasts are called quick-rise/rapid-rise yeast. This seems to have been a way of preparing and presenting instant dry yeast – chemical coating of the individual grains. Instant dry yeast may be dried and coated differently than some rapid/quick-rise products. See: Yeast: Dry vs. Rapid-Rise and the thread “Fast Active Fleishmann’s vs. SAF Instant” (about pizza dough). The equivalences are debated in forums like Instant Yeast vs. Fleishmann’s Rapid-Rise.

Some yeasts are labelled as bread machine yeast. The manufacturers do not explain how rapid/quick-rise products are made, or how bread machine yeast is different from the rapid/quick-rise products. Bakipan, for instance, says that its “Fast Rising Instant Yeast [is] … cake yeast in a semi-dormant state. The drying process in its manufacture reduces moisture content, giving it a longer shelf life than cake yeast while retaining optimum activity. … BakipanĀ® Fast Rising Instant Yeast is a fast-acting yeast that can shorten the rise times for traditional baking …” Specifications and methods are not noted on the packaging or published widely – perhaps only for some customers.Ā  The manufacturers don’t, according to what home bakers say on the Web, respond to inquiries from home bakers.

Books on artisinal bread baking do not distinguish quick-rise/rapid-rise yeast from instant dry yeast: e.g.: Peter Reinhart, Crust and Crumb (Ten Speed Press, 1998); Peter Reinhart, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (Ten Speed Press, 2001); Peter Reinhart, Artisan Bread Every Day (Ten Speed Press, 2009); Robert DiMuzio, Bread Baking; An Artisan’s Perspective (Wiley, 2010). Books on artisinal baking do not mention bread machine yeast as a replacement or alternative to instant dry yeast. Reinhart said that instant dried yeast can be substituted for compressed fresh and active dry yeast for home bread baking – it is good enough for artisanal recipe uses. He came to accept that instant dry yeast should be rehydrated for artisanal breads in Artisan Bread Every Day  at p. 13 (although fermentation should be slowed down with refrigeration). The accepted ratio to substitute instant for active dry  in oven baking is 1 tsp of instant dry for 1.25 tsp active dry.

Instant dry yeasts , rapid/quick-rise yeasts, and bread machine yeasts  may vary in some way. Instant , rapid-rise/quick-rise and “bread machine” yeast are believed to be equivalent for bread machines. The proliferation of types and names arose because manufacturers use different techniques and marketing terms.

Some recipe and baking books suggest letting the yeast and ingredients warm to room temperature. Some  sources suggest that keeping yeast cold, including dried yeast, slows it down. Reinhart noted that instant yeast is potent but slow to awake in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice at p. 32. refrigeration preserves the product. The SD-YD250 warms the ingredients in its initial rest phase.

Most recipes round flour and water to the nearest quarter cup. BLBMC goes to the nearest 1/8 cup.   Too much water is cited by BLBMC and others as a source of some kinds of failure – weak and sunken loaves.  Too much means in relation to the amount of flour that is being hydrated, and the mixing or kneading action of the machine. An extra 30 grams (1/8 cup = 2 tbsp.) of water into 3 cups of flour means a wet sloppy dough, which affects how the gluten develops.  The goal is tenacious and somewhat elastic (i.e. that pulls back to its original size and shape) dough that is also extensible – it relaxes.  Too much water can make the gluten too slack.

Small measurement errors can affect the loaf.  If the recipe rounded the wrong way, being precise may lead to an unsatifactory outcome.Errors in conversion factors and mistakes in arithmetic – even in putting numbers into a calculator can lead to the extra tablespoon of water (15 ml = 15 g.) that changes the dough and the loaf.

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