Fresh yeast imparts a flavor that isn't present in breads or pizzas made with dried yeast. It's not the same as sourdough, but it has a distinct flavor of its own. Here's how to buy it, proof it, store it, and revive it.
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Some people think yeasted dough recipes are overly fussy because many specify a very narrow temperature range for the water that's used to proof the yeast. But is it necessary to be that precise? What is the optimum temperature for getting your yeast going? And is it the same for all yeast?
Yeast is such a common thing that we don't give much thought to how amazing it is, and what a boon it is to bakers, brewers, and winemakers. And yeast is such a fun guy. Or, more accurately, a fungi. It converts the fermentable sugars in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol, and those bubbles, trapped in the matrix of gluten, are what causes bread to rise. When the dough is baked, the yeast dies but the pockets of air remain, giving the bread its unique texture.
Fermentation is a fascinating thing. It's what gives a great pizza crust (and all yeast-leavened breads, for that matter) its light, airy structure and distinctive complex, slightly sour taste. But what's the best way to ferment dough? This week, I try to find out.
[Photograph: pizzacrustyeast.com] Fleischmann's has introduced a new pizza crust yeast. Have any pizza-makers out there tried it yet? The breadheads over at The Fresh Loaf seem to like it. Fleischmann's product site for the new yeast makes it clear that it's aimed at people who want to make pizza quickly. You simply stir it in (no need to proof), knead, and stretch it out. It contains dough relaxers so you don't have to let it rest before shaping. Have you used it? Let us know what you think....