I was once told by someone who makes bread, that Fresh Yeast is the best yeast for breads, so ever since I'd been following the advice and using fresh yeast.
Though fresh yeast is not so readily available, however with a little effort one can find it in markets like INA, but these packs come with screaming instructions that the yeast should be used up within 15 days from the date of manufacturing. It was never possible for me to use even half of the 500g block of fresh yeast (they don't sell it anything smaller than 500g) in 15 days and invariably I'd end up wasting it or realizing that the yeast is not rising and my plans for baking the bread would be shelved for until I went to INA to buy new yeast.
As usual this Friday when I wanted to bake a loaf I realized the fresh yeast was a bit old and I might not get the best results, but I had to had to bake the loaf and so this time I decided to get a little experimental and bake with dry active yeast.
Dry Active Yeast is readily available in most Departmental Stores, hence making life so much easier for us bakers.
This recipe that I'm sharing with you today is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Best Buns. I've made a loaf instead of burger buns and have used dry active yeast instead of Instant Yeast.
One cannot find instant yeast in Delhi NCR. However the results with dry active yeast seem as good. (Do read the verdict at the end of the post)
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, plus more as necessary
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
1 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast ( I used 2 tsp of Dry Active Yeast)
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt ( I used regular salt)
1 1/3 cups room-temperature water
1 teaspoon mild honey
¼ cup olive oil ( I used regular vegetable oil)
¾ cup toasted mixed seeds, such as cracked flax, sesame, poppy, sunflower and pumpkin, or 1 tablespoon sesame seeds for the topping (optional) ( I used poppy seeds)
Milk or water, for brushing the tops of the buns (optional) ( I used an egg wash)
- It is wisest to always test your yeast before mixing all other ingredients. Hence sprinkle the dry yeast on 1/2 cup or 100ml of lukewarm water . add a teaspoon of sugar, cover and keep in a warm place (I usually leave it in my turned off microwave) for 15 minutes.
- Once the yeast is activated or risen, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, whole-wheat flour and the salt.
- Add the yeast, honey and oil. and knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand, adding water little by little as required, until smooth and springy. The dough should be soft and just sticky enough to cling slightly to your fingers. If it is still very sticky, knead in a little flour. If it is too stiff, spray it with a little water and knead it.
- Set the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled. (The indentation from a finger stuck into the center of the dough should remain).
- When ready to shape the dough, set it on a very lightly floured work surface and form it into a log. and transferring it into a loaf tin lined with parchment paper (Its easier to remove the loaf from the tin). Make sure the loaf is even and smooth on the top.
- Brush the dough lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover the loaf tin with an inverted larger plastic box or loosely wrap with cling film and let it rest for another 45 minutes or until almost doubled; when the dough is pressed gently with a finger, the depression should very slowly fill in.
- 15 minutes before your dough is ready to go into the oven, preheat the oven on 220 degree centigrade and once preheated place the loaf tin into the oven. Bake at 220 degree centigrade for about 20 minutes and at 180 degree centigrade for another 10 minutes.
- Once the bread is golden brown on the top remove from the oven and transfer the loaf on to wire racks until it is completely cool.
- Slice and serve as it is or toasted or make a sandwich !!!
The Verdict: Very tasty. Crusty on the outside and very soft inside. Leaves a sweetish pleasant after taste. Excellent for sandwiches or when toasted.