Fresh Yeast and Dry Pigment
I'm about to do a fair amount of baking for the holidays and when I went to my local Kitchen supply store [Surfas] they did not have any active dry yeast, only instant and a fresh yeast cake. Not liking instant I bought the fresh to try, but have been unable to find a primer on using it. the one thing I found said one cake=one packet of active Dry but since my cake is the size of 1/2 lb of butter I'm not sure I should go with it.
For cookies this year Alton Brown suggested using Dry Pigment over Liquid and Gel to color them. but the pigments have no guidelines for how much and when to add. Do I add it to the Liquid ingredients of the cookie dough or after the dough is made and do I need to dilute it to make it work? or can I only add the dry pigment to something liquid like frosting which is what Alton did?
I assume that your source was referring to the little cakes of Fleishman's yeast, which according to their web site are .6 oz each. Do check out their web site; it has lots of info on problem solving, substitutions of yeast types, etc. (check out the FAQ).
No help on the yeast, but I'm about to try using dry pigment in a sugar cookie recipe.
I don't want to use frosting as decoration, as these cookies have a delicate crispness that would suffer under even the lightest of glazes.
I'm first going to try adding the pigment with the creamed wet ingredients. Common sense tells me this should be the best way to promote even colouring, but I'm halving the recipe in case I'm wrong.
I'll let you know tonight if it worked.
I've gotten to the dough stage, but have not yet baked yet. This was with the same powered pigment from Surfas. I used yellow and red during the wet cream of a simple sugar cookie. For a nice orange it took about 1/10th tsp of yellow and 1/20th of red. This is via a toothpick into a measuring spoon.
The colour now is lovely, the test will be to see how the pigment holds during baking tonight. I also coloured the green and pink portions of the dough for a traditional layered Italian cookie.
A nice medium green was again about 1/10th tsp. 1/10th tsp of red looks too dark now for pink (it's red, what can I say), but hopefully it'll lighten during baking.
I have a worry, though, about the red and orange doughs. I didn't bloom the pigment in these, just added it to the already mixed creamed wet ingredients. As the pigment tends to pill together, I had to beat it quite some time to get it blended well, with no assurance there won't be little pills of pigment still hanging about. I did bloom the green in the milk that was added to that dough.
Another worry is that all the extra beating may have over aerated these doughs. I won't know until I see the final product.
The sugar cookie dough tinted a medium orange (think of an anaemic apricot) has been baked. If you have a discerning eye, you can see they're a pale orange. Non painters would mistake it for the golden-brown of a more baked cookie.
The more intensly coloured Italian cookie fared much better. The green is a true green, the red did mellow to a rich pink. I think blooming is the key.
I've yet to taste them. I don't detect any odour from the colouring, as I can sometimes with liquid colours, as well as the taste.