You might remember that I talked about my recent bread failure the other day. As planned, I set out to prove my hypothesis via the scientific method as to what I believed went wrong and why the bread didn't rise.
I was wrong.
Not that I think I was wrong with regards to my hypothesis. But, things kind of turned out differently so I will continue more testing to prove my thought. But, my initial reasoning was not the cause of the Muffuletta bread's failure to launch. And that leads me to a simple Thursday tip:
Always proof your yeast!
I honestly didn't think the yeast would have died in the cupboard. I bought this pound in early June, right before we made the decision to close The Wright Taste. As I always did in the past, I opened the vacuum sealed package and placed it in a container and kept it in the cupboard.
Was it the loss of its hermetically-sealed environment that led the yeast to an early death? I will say that this is the longest time period I've taken to use a pound of yeast in years.
For my experiment, I set up three bowls. In one, I measured a teaspoon of the "old" yeast (which was almost empty, anyway) along with one teaspoon of sugar and one-half cup of 110-ish degree water. In the other two (because I didn't have enough of the old yeast), I set out to prove my hypothesis from Tuesday with a freshly opened bag of yeast, set to expire in November of this year.
Within 5 minutes, the two experimental bowls were going crazy - foamy, happy, that rich yeasty smell you yearn for when you are baking. I quickly gathered the rest of the ingredients and put my Kitchen-Aid to work.
After 10 minutes, the old yeast had not yet begun to bubble. There was absolutely no reaction at all and I can only conclude it was dead.
If you bake bread regularly, it is so much less expensive to buy it in one-pound or even two-pound bags. Save yourself some aggravation - proof the yeast every single time you bake. I pay $2.99 for a one-pound bag of rapid-rise yeast at GFS Marketplace. I can't even buy three 3-strips for that price that will only yield 6-8 loaves of bread at the most. Even if I have to throw away one-third or one-fourth of my original pound of yeast, I'm far ahead on price.
Proof. Your. Yeast.