Hints and tips 2

Airing cupboard.  Many bread recipes suggest placing the dough to prove in an airing cupboard or other warm place.  This is not strictly necessary.  The speed at which dough rises is a function of several variables including the amount of yeast, the temperature of the flour and water, the air temperature and time.  It is also affected by the concentration of salt, sugar and alcohol (see below).  Dough will rise overnight in the fridge if there is sufficient yeast and overnight in a warm room with very little yeast.  So, no need to block the airing cupboard with rising loaves, simply work out the most convenient rise time and adjust the other variables accordingly.  Generally, the longer the rise/prove, the more flavour is developed.

Teatotal yeast.  I make a lot of breads with dried fruit: love buns, caraway and raisin knot rolls, Stollen and Panettone at Christmas and malted granary.  These sweet doughs take longer to rise because of the sugar content and, if you decide to add alcohol to your recipes, maybe by soaking dried fruit in brandy, the same thing will happen.  The reason is that yeast does not work so well when the concentration of sugar, salt or alcohol is higher than optimum.  It’s all to do with osmosis and , if you are interested in the science: www.theartisan.net/The_Artisan_Yeast_Treatise_Section_One.htm or, for a simpler explanation: www.joepastry.com/category/baking-basics/ingredient-basics/yeast/a-yeast-primer/

My solution is to increase by 50% the weight of yeast in a recipe with additional sugar, fruit or alcohol.

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