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First time baking with yeast, suggestions?

I have never baked with yeast before, but I bought some packets and am ready to give it a try! What should I make first?
I am thinking pizza dough or cinnamon rolls, but open to anything!

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  1. Pizza dough is simple!... especially if you have a stand mixer to do all the needing. Temp of water yeast gets dissolved in is important... to cool/hot and yeast doesn't do much... too hot will kill it. Usually recipes say something like 110-115 max. You'd be surprised how WARM 115 degrees is.

    Weather premitting (meaning NOT screaming hot), my sister makes pizza just about every Friday. She swears by her bread machine... sets it to go thru all it's step EXCEPT bake, and has dough ready to go when she gets home. She buys her yeast in bulk from one of the warehouse stores... gave me a pint jar ful that lives in my freezer. Has been there at least a year and still perks right up in warm water.

    I don't think the "recipe" for pizza dough has to be terribly exact. I can get 2 good sized pizzas with this: about a cup of warm water, 2 T (maybe a little less) yeast, pinch of salt/sugar, glug of nice olive oil. Into bowl of stand mixer with dough hook & as much flour as it takes to pull off side of bowl. I let machine knead for a few minutes before dumping into a well oiled bowl and covering with towel. I usually set oven to preheat to LOWEST temp (something like 170 for my oven) while I make dough. I turn oven OFF and place covered bowl inside with door cracked open. Usually have dough ready to go in less than an hour.

    Have made pepperoni bread... rolled out into rectangle, layered with a LOT of pepperoni & provolone and rolled up tight. Maybe half hour at 350 till golden. Experimented with what I call Taco Bread... taco meat & plenty of cheddar, rolled up same as pepperoni.

    1. You will impress yourself with the results of the easy-peasy no-knead bread technique: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4737...

      If you have the right size pot, this one's even simpler, though less gorgeous: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602295

      Both allow you to bake bread before you have the confidence to knead yeast dough.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        This is the way I'd go, too. For pizza, Lahey has the My Pizza book but here is the basic recipe:

        http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/no-k...

        1. re: greygarious

          Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes a Day is a fantastic no-knead recipe. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/aut...

          They have a basic book and a pizza/flatbread and a healthy bread book. They are all very popular. Here us a link for their most current book http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1250...

          Here's the basic recipe: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/201...

        2. You should make English Muffin Bread. It's the easiest bread recipe in the world to make. It doesn't require kneading, doesn't require a second rise, so it's relatively fast. It's also delicious with lots of butter...yum.

          If you like English Muffins, try it. Here is a very easy recipe from the King Arthur Flour web site:

          http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

          1. I use Mark Bitmann's recipe for pizza dough. The batter is very moist and doesn't need kneading. It improves with all day on the counter (I cover with a damp cloth) and then rolled out at night for pizza. In my limited experience, I would say this is one of the easiest yeast recipes. But, instead of packets (the pizza dough recipe only uses a 1/2 tsp of yeast) get a jar next time.

            Ever since a friend explained to me what the dough hook for my KA stand mixer was for (duh!), I don't worry about kneading. I let the machine do it. I haven't tried cinnamon rolls but have started a collection of tried and true dinner roll recipes. There's only two of us so if I make rolls for family dinner there's usually some extra I can stick in the freezer. When a family member (like my son) compliments you on your rolls/bread and asks you to make them again, it's all worth it!!!

            BTW I'm not as crazy about pizza as my husband is so when I don't feel like weekly pizza, my half of the dough goes in the freezer for another time.

            I bought a thermometer which I use to make sure the water is not too hot so I've never killed my yeast.

            1. Go for pizza dough, remember bloom the yeast in warm water.

              4 Replies
              1. re: treb

                I know some folks pooh-pooh it, but I always add at least a pinch of sugar to the warm water for the yeast to begin feeding. Maybe a wives' tale, but my bread/yeast products work!

                1. re: pine time

                  Adding sugar jump starts it and works well if you want a quicker rise. But, a slower rise gives a better product which is why some eschew it. I refrigerate to slow it even more.

                  1. re: pine time

                    I have also used the sugar thing as well.

                  2. re: treb

                    On PBS's Ciao Italia, Mary Ann Esposito did a show using a yeast (Fleischmann's, if memory serves) packet labeled especially for pizza-making, that required no proofing and no rising. I have never tried it and have zero idea how the results compare to standard methods/yeasts.