As a child, I had watched my Mom and Grandmother both make bread in their kitchens on a regular basis. Nothing was better than the smell of fresh buns when I came home from school, so when I grew up and was a newlywed I asked my mom to teach me how to make bread as well.
These days, with so many people baking bread at home and yeast in short supply, sourdough bread has been very popular. But if you find you DO have yeast at home and it's not the right kind for your recipe, you can do a simple conversion.
This is how to take a recipe that calls for traditional yeast, and convert so that you can use quick rise yeast, and vice versa. The answer is really quite easy, but first you need to know the difference between the kinds of yeast.
Traditional yeast: to get it started in a recipe, you usually mix this with a warm liquid and some sugar and/or salt, then allow it to sit for a few minutes and bubble up before you pour it into a flour mixture.
Quick-rise yeast: Can be added directly to flour and doesn’t need to be started ahead with a liquid.
Swapping one for the other is really quite easy, and the secret really is all in the method. If you follow through these steps, it’s really quite easy to modify a recipe.
Firstly, read the recipe ALL the way through, looking for the directions on how to activate the yeast and what kind is used.
Add the same amount of quick rise yeast to the flour. In a separate container, combine the liquids and whatever other ingredients the liquids call for. You won’t need to let this sit at all, and instead you can then add it directly to the flour and yeast mixture. However, make sure that the liquid is fairly warm but not hot, to activate the yeast and make it rise. Sometimes you will need a little more liquid, so I always warm about 1/4 - 1/2 cup more just in case.
Traditional yeast will need sugar to ‘feed’ it while it activates. You will use the same amount of traditional yeast and then add the liquids (either water or milk warmed to between 105 and 115 F) and sugar. Let the yeast grow for about 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s working if you can see it start to bubble, and you’ll notice a yeasty smell as well. Then you just proceed with the recipe, stirring in eggs if they are called for, adding it to the flour, and off you go.
A good trick I learned about giving your dough a warm place to rise is to put it in an oiled bowl, cover, and set the bowl in your oven with the light on. The residual heat from the light will be enough to warm up the dough and since it’s in a closed place like your oven, it will have a draft free place to rise.
It may take a little practice, but there is little that gives me as much satisfaction as pulling freshly made buns out of the oven. A little bit of work, yes—but when you rip open a warm bun and slather it with butter? Entirely worth it.
In the mood to bake some bread? What's more Canadian than this easy recipe for Beer Rosemary Cheese Bread?