Conquering yeast… Or not

As indicated by the disproportionately high number of sweet recipes on this blog, cakes and desserts are my forte.  Yeast, however, is my nemesis.  Despite numerous attempts, I have only ever managed to successfully bake one thing involving yeast.  (A super-delicious stollen, since you ask.)  I think I just need to take the time to learn the basics of baking with yeast so that I can look at a recipe and tell if it’s likely to work out or not, and have a rough idea of how to tweak it.  This lack of knowledge is compounded by a lack of confidence.

Random RecipesConsequently, when I saw that this month’s Random Recipe challenge was “bread” – randomly pick a recipe from either a specific bread book, or the bread section of a cookbook – I may have let out an expletive or ten.  I don’t have any specific bread books, so I randomly picked cookbooks until I found one with a bread/yeast section: Baking – 100 everyday recipes.  I duly picked a recipe randomly and ended up with mango twist bread.  Which sounded totally delicious so I was rather excited. Maybe this time the yeast and I would get on and I’d successfully manage to produce a loaf of bread.

This was supposed to come out as a fairly tall loaf, not a short, wide, splodge.

It wasn’t to be.  Blaming the recipe might sound too easy, but I really don’t think it was particularly reliable.  From the very first step (before even adding the yeast), the contents of my mixing bowl did not match the descriptions given in the book.  The dough ended up extremely sticky, even after adding plenty of extra flour.  The two strands of dough that were supposed to be twisted around each other to give a pretty shape basically merged back into each other and there were no strands or twists in sight within about five minutes (photographic proof below).  The dough did not rise as much as it should have, and it didn’t quite bake all the way through either, despite being very browned on top (which granted, could be a simple oven problem, but I do know my current oven quite well now, so I’m hesitant to lay the entirety of the blame on it).  And to top it all off, it didn’t even taste of mango.  Basically, it was an all-round fail, so I won’t be sharing the recipe.

Hmmmmm.  Doesn't look promising.

Conquering yeast will clearly have to wait for another day.  At least I tried though, right?

Enjoy the rest of your day, wherever you are in the world.

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9 Comments

Filed under Sweet Foods

9 responses to “Conquering yeast… Or not

  1. there are just so many factors to baking bread and it’s so difficult to get it right all the time… i’ve followed recipes to the letter and ended up with nothing like what’s described… start again and go for something really simple like a basic white loaf and see what happens… i bet it tasted yummy…no? Thanks for taking part anyway, I know it’s been tough x

    • Mel

      You’re right, I think I need to start simple. A dedicated bread book which really explains everything would probably help, too! It tasted alright, quite dense though, and the mango flavour didn’t come through, which was rather disappointing. Oh well, at least it was certainly a challenge! Looking forward to next month’s Random Recipes…

  2. Yeast is a fickle mistress. But at least you had a go, so now you have a base level I’m sure you’ll get it bang on next time. I think Dominic’s right though – start really simple (that’s what I did). It does sound like a tasty recipe though!

    • Mel

      Haha, very true. Well, it’s not the first time I’ve tried baking with yeast, and aside from the stollen, none of those attempts really worked either, so I’m not sure that next time will magically end up being a success. I’ll be trying simple though, that’s for sure (unless some random challenge requires otherwise), so perhaps there’s hope yet.

  3. Looked great, sounded great, how did it taste minus the mango? Maybe we should not always judge a book by the cover, its what goes in the mouth that’s important.

    • Mel

      Oh there was mango in it, but the flavour didn’t come through at all, so it just tasted like fairly standard slightly undercooked bread.

  4. It sounds gorgeous and actually your pictures look very tempting too. That’s not chocolate in there by any chance? Would be a good WSC entry if so.

    • Mel

      That is indeed chocolate – well spotted! It was actually going to be my WSC entry, but I didn’t want to submit it since it didn’t really come out that great so I wasn’t very happy with it. Lack of mango flavour, dubious recipe, etc.

  5. Pingback: Crème de menthe & chocolate sandwich biscuits | Sharky Oven Gloves

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